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Machias Committee to Massachusetts Congress



Machias, June 14, 1775.

GENTLEMEN: We, the faithful and distressed inhabitants of Machias, beg leave once more, in the most respectful


manner, to approach your presence, and spread before you a just and full representation of our very critical situation.

On the 2d instant Captain Ichabod Jones arrived in this river with two sloops, accompanied with one of the King' s tenders. On the 3d instant a paper was handed about for the people to sign, as a prerequisite to their obtaining any provisions, of which we were in great want. The contents of this paper required the signers to indulge Captain Jones in carrying lumber to Boston, and to protect him and his property at all events; but, unhappily for him, if not for us, it soon expired, after producing effects directly contrary in their nature to those intended. The next effort, in order to carry these favourite points, was to call a meeting, which was accordingly done. On the 6th the people generally assembled at the place appointed, and seemed so averse to the measures proposed, that Captain Jones privately went to the tender and caused her to move up so near the Town that her guns would reach the houses, and put springs upon her cables. The people, however, not knowing what was done, and considering themselves nearly as prisoners of war in the hands of the common enemy, (which is our only plea for suffering Captain Jones to carry any lumber to Boston since your Honours conceived it improper,) passed a vote that Captain Jones might proceed in his business as usual without molestation; that they would purchase the provision he brought into the place, and pay him according to contract. After obtaining this vote, Captain Jones immediately ordered his vessels to the wharf, and distributed his provisions among those only who voted in favour of his carrying lumber to Boston. This gave such offence to the aggrieved party, that they determined to take Captain Jones, if possible, and put a final stop to his supplying the King' s Troops with any thing. Accordingly, they secretly invited the people of Mispecka and Pleasant River to join them; accordingly, a number of them came, and having joined our people in the woods, near the settlements, on the 11th, they all agreed to take Captain Jones and Stephen Jones, Esquire, in the place of worship, which they attempted, but Captain Jones made his escape into the woods, and does not yet appear; Stephen Jones, Esq˙, only was taken, and remains as yet under guard. The Captain and Lieutenant of the tender were also in the meeting-house, and fled to their vessel, hoisted their flag, and sent a message on shore to this effect: "That he had express orders to protect Captain Jones; that he was determined to do his duty, whilst he had life, and that if the people presumed to stop Captain Jones' s vessels, he would burn the Town." Upon this, a party of our men went directly to stripping the sloop that lay at the wharf, and another party went off to take possession of the other sloop which lay below, and brought her up nigh a wharf, and anchored in the stream. The tender did not fire, but weighed her anchors as privately as possible, and in the dusk of the evening fell down, and came to within musket-shot of the sloop, which obliged our people to slip their cable, and run the sloop aground. In the mean time, a considerable number of our people went down in boats and canoes, lined the shore directly opposite to the tender, and having demanded her to surrender, to America, received for answer, "Fire, and be damn' d." They immediately fired in upon her, which she returned, and a smart engagement ensued. The tender at last slipped her cable, and fell down to a small sloop, commanded by Captain Tobey, and lashed herself to her for the remainder of the night. In the morning of the 12th they took Captain Tobey out of his vessel for a pilot, and made all the sail they could to get off, as the wind and tide favoured; but having carried away her main boom, and meeting with a sloop from the Bay of Fundy, they came to, robbed the sloop of her boom and gaft, took almost all her provisions, together with Mr˙ Robert Avery, of Norwich, in Connecticut, and proceeded on her voyage. Our people seeing her go off in the morning, determined to follow her; about forty men, armed with guns, swords, axes, and pitchforks, went in Captain Jones' s sloop, under the command of Captain Jeremiah O' Brien, and about twenty, armed in the same manner, and under the command of Captain Benjamin Foster, went in a small schooner. During the chase, our people built themselves breast-works of pine boards, and any thing they could find in the vessels that would screen them from the enemy' s fire. The lender,


upon the first appearance of our people, cut her boats from the stern, and made all the sail she could; but being a very dull sailer, they soon came up with her, and a most obstinate engagement ensued, both sides being determined to conquer or die. But the tender was obliged to yield; her Captain was wounded in the breast with two balls, of which wounds he died next morning. Poor Mr˙ Avery was killed, and one of the marines, and five wounded; only one of our men was killed, and six wounded, one of whom has since died of his wounds.

The battle was fought at the entrance of our harbour, and lasted for near the space of one hour. We have in our possession four double-fortified three-pounders, and fourteen swivels, and a number of small arms, which we took with the tender, besides a very small quantity of ammunition, &c. Thus we have given your Honours as particular an account of this affair as possible; we now apply to you for advice, and for a supply of ammunition and provisions, (the latter of which we have petitioned your Honours for already,) which, if we could be fully supplied with, we doubt not but, with the blessing of Heaven, we should be fully able to defend ourselves. We purpose to convey the prisoners to Penalborough Jail, as soon as possible, there to await your orders.

We are, with deference, your Honours' most obedient humble servants. By order of the Committee;


To the Honourable Congress of the Massachusetts-Bay.