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Letter from William Watson to General Washington



Plymouth, January 15, 1776.

SIR: Your Excellency' s favour of the 3d instant came to hand, annexed to which are the resolves of the Grand Continental Congress, respecting captures made by Continental armed vessels and others. In compliance with which, and in obedience to your Excellency' s command, I have libelled all the vessels which have been brought into this port, by the Harrison armed schooner, and which are now in my care, viz: one sloop, one schooner, and one fishing boat, of about fifteen tons, and shall use my best endeavours that these vessels be brought to trial as soon as may be.

The schooner Harrison, lately commanded by Captain


Coit, I find by strict inquiry, (though she be not very well accommodated for the officers,) is an excellent sailer, and s sufficiently strong. The Continent has been at considerable expense in fitting this vessel for the service, and should she be put out, and another taken into the service, one hundred pounds will necessarily be sunk to the Continent by the transfer. For these reasons I have thought it prudent to continue the Harrison in the service, and have, agreeable to your Excellency' s permission, nominated Captain Charles Dyar to the command. This Dyar was with Captain Coit, his last cruise, and can give the character of the schooner more perfectly.

Captain Dyar, the bearer of this wont, at first interview, appear to your Excellency to advantage; he is no orator, and seems rather softly; but his character ranks high as a good officer, and as an active, smart sailor. Captain Coit has recommended him in high terms, and will give your Excellency his true character.

We shall have no difficulty in getting as fine a crew as any on the Continent, provided they can be inlisted for six mouths only, or for so long a time as Captain Dyar shall continue to command. Our people are very fond of knowing their officers, and the best of them are unwilling to engage for a longer time than their officers engage for. Captain Dyar will wait on your Excellency, and will receive every necessary direction.

I am, your Excellency' s most obedient, humble servant,

To His Excellency General Washington.

N˙ B. Your Excellency will please to direct me whether I am to libel the two vessels taken by Major Tapper, and carried into Dartmouth.