The Boston Packet, James Shepherd, Master. Instructions Issued by Vice-Admiral Graves… in Obedience to which (Lieutenant lined through and corrected in manuscript to) Captain Bromedge Siezed the Ship.
(Graves, Vice Admiral Samuel.)
Two folio sheets, 45 cm. Text sheet is printed both sides. Cover sheet is a docketed in print.
In January 1776, Captain Bromedge wrote to Vice Admiral Schuldham regarding his boarding of the ship “Boston Packet,” and his suspicion that they were carrying stores to the enemy. “I am informed by the crew of the Boston Packet that the Master declared repeatedly on the Passage that, could he make Cape Codd, he would go in there and land his cargo, or could he make Cape Ann, he did not fear meeting with some of his Friends, to carry him into Beverly or Salem.” (See “Naval Documents of the American Revolution” Vol III, p. 1005 for the full text of this letter.) Regarding this, and similar allegations, Vice Admiral Graves issued the orders printed here, specifically pertaining to the “Boston Packet.” – “You are to seize and detain all Ships and Vessels belonging to the Inhabitants of the four New England Provinces, and to send them to Boston…” On the verso is printed Rear Admiral Schuldham’s confirmation of Graves’s order, “the probability of these stores being smuggled away to the Enemy… makes me think it highly proper that they should be detained.” In effect this is a Letter of Marque, issued during the Revolutionary War, but pertaining only to a particular class of merchant ships, and to two vessels in particular, one of which was the “Boston Packet.” Rare. Worldcat shows only the John Carter Brown holding a copy. With manuscript additions dating the document September 1775, and addressing it to Captain Bromedge. Paper repairs around edges of both sheets. Some soiling, but legible.