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Deposition of Elisha Nye



I, Elisha Nye, innholder, living on one of the Elizabeth Islands, commonly called Naushan, and near to Tarpaulin Cove, testifieth and sayeth, that some time about the fifth of May the sloop-of-war called the Falkland, commanded by Captain Linsey, came into the cove, and as soon as the vessel had come to anchor, the Captain came on shore with his boat' s crew, all armed, and came to the house, and said unto the deponent, You need not be scared; upon which I told him it was enough to scare any body to see so many men come on shore armed; and the women are all fled, and to where I knew not. Upon which Captain Linsey told me to call them in, for he did not mean to hurt any body; upon which promise I and my family were satisfied. Soon after, the Captain asked me to walk with him, which I complied with, and in the course of the walk he demanded to know what stock I had, and added, to tell him right, for if I did not, he would take all that he met; upon which I gave him the account. Then the Captain told me, (the deponent,) if I sold any one of them be would take the remainder by force; upon which I told him if he were here when they were fit for market, he might have them by paying the price I used to have. Soon after which he went to Rhode-Island, and returned back in a few days; after which he used to pass and re-pass the island almost every day, mostly in company with the Doctor of the ship, leaving down the fence repeatedly, which let the cattle often mix together, which I told the Doctor was a great damage. The Doctor' s answer was, then you may put it up yourselves, for I will not; and often talked in an abusive, insulting manner, that he (the Doctor) would soon take what he wanted without any pay. On the twenty-sixth instant a sloop came into the cove with about twenty passengers — men, women, and children — in great distress for provisions, and made application to me for supplies. Captain Linsey, knowing that, (his boat having boarded her,) sent his boat on shore and forbid me letting them have any. Then I advised them to apply to Captain Linsey, and see if they could not prevail upon him to let them have some. Accordingly they went. Afterwards the Captain of the sloop told me that he absolutely refused them, and said, damn the dog that would let them have any, and if they were not gone immediately they would sink them; upon which they set sail immediately without any supplies.

And further, the deponent declareth that the Doctor came on shore, and said that the Captain' s orders were that I should go with him and destroy all the boats on the island. I told him I could not go upon such business as that. He said he would send me on board the ship if I did not go; upon which I found I must comply, and accordingly went with him, and saw him (the Doctor) stave three boats. On the twenty-ninth, about eight o' clock in the evening, he (the said Doctor) came on shore, and told me he had come for my sheep; upon which I told him they were out in the pasture, and I could not get them into the pen, it being dark, but would fetch them in as early in the morning as he pleased. The answer from the Doctor was, damn you, what did you turn them out for; the reason I told him was


that they had got out their own sheep, and did not say any thing more about when they should want mine, and I thought it best the sheep should be let out to feed. Upon which the said Doctor said to me, Damn your eyes, go on board the ship, and I' ll see what they were turned out for. I told him I would not, but would go and try to get the sheep up; well, damn you, make haste; and swung his sword over my head. But upon trial I found it so dark I could not get them in; but on my return was informed that he (the Doctor) had sent on board for more help to carry me and my brother on board the ship. Upon which, with the abuses and threats I had received before, thought it time to make my escape, which I did, to the main land, and begged the assistance of the people, who readily came to my assistance; and when I returned, which was about three o' clock in the morning, some of my family told me they had been ashore, armed, and had taken all my calves, being seven in number; two of the poorest and smallest they sent ashore in the morning, the others, with four sheep they had some days before, they carried off without paying any thing for them. And I do further declare the abuses and threats I received from Captain Linsey and the Doctor is the occasion of my moving off the island and leaving my interest. And I declare that I never refused Captain Linsey, or any other person belonging to a sloop-of-war, entertainment in my house, or supply of provisions that I had on my farm that I could spare. And I further declare, that on the night of the twenty-ninth instant aforesaid, the Doctor, as my wife informs me, came on shore and demanded my gun with his sword in his hand, which she delivered to him, and have not seen it since, though the only weapon of defence that I had on the island. The value of the sheep, calves, and gun, which they took from me, and the use of my horse and well, are as follows, viz:—

Four sheep, value £2 16s˙; three calves two months old, value £3 6s˙; four quarters of veal, weight sixty pounds, sold before and delivered, 16s˙; one gun, taken out of my house by the Doctor of the ship, of great value, £3; riding my horse, and use of my well, £3.


BARNSTABLE, ss˙, May 31, 1775:

Then the within and above named Elisha Nye made oath to the within and above named deposition and account as the truth, and by him subscribed. Before me,

THOS˙ SMITH, Justice of the Peace.