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Transcript

of

Copy of an Agreement,
between William Newman and the Officers and Crew of the
Privateer The Admiral Edwards of Dartmouth. Dated 1779

Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VII, (1912-1913), Exeter: James G. Commin. 1913. pp. 141-148.

by

Editors

Prepared by Michael Steer

The Crown made use of private sailors, in the absence of a standing navy, to protect the English coasts with their private fleets. They were licensed to attack the ships of the king’s enemies and to help themselves to their valuable cargoes. The Crown took a portion of the profits, as was standard practice across Europe. Privateering, therefore, differed from piracy, since that preyed indiscriminately on the ships of any nation. Ships of neutral countries were meant to be left alone, as were French ships during the various truces of the wars. Dartmouth shipmen had their eye on profit rather than diplomacy, and their dubious activities meant that the Crown’s authorities frequently had to wade in to settle complaints from abroad. Notwithstanding Dartmouth's connections with the Crown and respectable society, it was a major base for privateering in medieval times and much later. For example, John Hawley or Hauley, a licensed privateer and sometime mayor of Dartmouth is reputed to be a model for Chaucer's "schipman". The article, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

Note 116. COPY OF AN AGREEMENT, between William Newman and the Officers and Crew of the Privateer The Admiral Edwards of Dartmouth. Dated 1779.

[This document has been trimmed and the writing in some places cut away. The missing portions are indicated by a *, The writing is also much faded, and where the folds are it is impossible to decipher it. The Editors are indebted to W. A. Parkhouse, Esq., Solicitor, of Exeter, for the loan of it.]

Articles of Agreement and Engagement for the Privateer or Letter of Marque called the Admiral Edwards belonging to Dartmouth in the County of Devon indented December in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy Nine and in the Twentieth Year of the Reign of King George the Third of Great Britain and so forth Between John Marden the Captain or Commander and William Newman . . . Roope . . . Roope and Company of Dartmouth aforesaid Agents Armatures and Owners of the said Privateer or Letter of Marque of the other part as followeth.

First. We the undersigned Captain Officers Mariners Seamen and others belonging to the aforesaid Privateer or Letter of Marque the Admiral Edwards at present lying or being in the Harbour of Dartmouth aforesaid do [hereby] bind and engage ourselves and each of us unto the said one or several Cruize or Cruizes in the said Privateer or Letter of Marque under the command of the undersigned Captain John Mardon and do hereby covenant and agree to seize or take from the Subjects of the French King and the King of Spain and all other Enimies of Great Britain . . .

Term of Four Calendar Months to commence and be completed from the Day the said Privateer or Letter of Marque shall sail from Dartmouth aforesaid on her first Cruize and we the said Crew do hereby bind and oblige ourselves and each of us himself not to quit leave or desert the Captain . . . Term or Time of Four Calendar Months without leave of the said Captain or other Officers Except in case of Sickness or being forced or impress'd into his Majesty's Service hereby promising and engaging ourselves and each of us himself to obey the said Captain John Mardon . . . support and maintain to the utmost of our Power on board the said Privateer the utmost Peace and Harmony amongst the Ships' Company and to follow the Captains Orders wherever he shall think proper to cruize In Consideration whereof the Owners of the said Privateer or Letter of Marque fit and necessary for the Armament of a Vessel of her Force and Burthen during the said Term of Four Months And the said owners shall have or be entitled to two Third Parts of the neat Produce of all the Prizes that shall be taken by the said Privateer or Letter of Marque . . . likewise to * Letter of Marque of all the Prizes she shall take or help to take in company with any other Privateer or Privateers or Ships of War And the Ships' Company is to have the other Third Part of the neat Produce of all such Prizes.

Second. It is hereby covenanted and agreed by and between the Parties hereto that no Officer or other of the Ships Company shall have power before their going out on a Cruize to sell to any Person or Persons whomsoever more than one half of their Shares or Parts of any Prize or Prizes that may be taken by the said Privateer * Purchase unto the said Owners under Penalty of each Person forfeiting the Shares so Sold but on their return from their Cruise or Cruises they shall have Power if they think fit to sell their Shares or Parts of the Prizes taken to any Person or Persons they may choose And which they have a Right to do in or by Vi ... * or Owners for each Prize.

Third. The said Owners shall take Care and have the [? order] ing and managing of all Prizes taken by the said Privateer or Letter of Marque that may be brought or sent into the Harbour of Dartmouth or any other Port or Place, And shall dispose of or sell the same for the most Money that can be had or gotten there * Disbursements made upon the Armament of the said Privateer or Letter of Marque [? as] likewise on their Disbursements and Receipts for and concerning the Prizes and Ransoms of which they shall have the Management, And as for such Prizes as shall be taken in Company or Conjunction with any [? ship] * such cases.

Fourth. In Case anyone of the Ships' Company engages himself for any Office which he is not able or capable to do or perform as he ought to do, it shall be lawful for the said Captain to turn him out, break him or displace him and put another Man in his Place.

Fifth. When the Captain (after having received his orders from the Owners of the said Privateer or Letter of Marque) shall think proper to sail All such of the Crew as shall not forthwith embark or being embarked shall fail or refuse to do their Duty on board the said Privateer or Letter of Marque on the first Sig * forfeit Thirty Shillings to the Owners of the said Privateer or Letter of Marque and besides shall lose all the Shares or Wages that shall be due to them to that day And shall have no Right to any Prize that may be taken by the said Privateer or Letter of Marque during the Time they shall be *

Sixth. The Doctors Chest on board for the use of the said Privateer or Letter of Marque [? as well as the cares and] Remedies of the Surgeon ... for such of the Ships Company as shall happen to be sick or wounded shall be paid out of the Two Third Parts of the Prizes appertaining or belonging to the said Onr. *

Seventh. In case anyone that shall belong to the said Privateer or Letter of Marque shall be unfortunately killed or shall be wounded so as to loose the Use of either of his Legs or Arms the Sum of Ten Pounds Sterling shall be paid by the Owners to each of those who shall loose a Leg * Executors or Administrators of each of those who shall be killed or die of his Wounds, which Sum or Sums shall be taken from the Bulk of the Prizes taken by the said Privateer or Letter of Marque (if any shall be taken) but if no Prizes shall be taken then the said Sum * Months from the Loss of a Leg or Arm or of the Death of the Person so killed or dying of his Wounds as aforesaid And in case any or either of the Men who may belong to the said Privateer shall be unfortunately killed or die of the Wounds received in taking any Prize from * Then the Owners shall and will pay to the Widow of such Person (if married) the Sum of One Shilling each Week during the Term of Seven Years from and after the End of the said Cruize and if the Owners shall share amongst them from such Prize the Sum of Twen . . * during the said Term of Seven Years and in Proportion for every Ten Thousand Pounds which the Owners may share from such Prizes the Widow is to receive the weekly Sum of One Shilling during the said Term of Seven Years, but not proportionably for any Su . . * Owner.

Eight. All such as shall or may be wounded and thereby be obliged to live on Shore to have their Wounds duly attended to shall receive their Shares or Parts of Prizes (if any) in the same Manner as tho' they were on board the said Privateer, but they shall be obliged to go on board the * judge them able and fit for going to Sea, under the same Penalty as those who shall refuse to embark on board the said Privateer on firing a Gun or making any other Signal for sailing as aforesaid.

Ninth. That those who shall refuse to do their Duty on board the said Privateer or Letter of Marque Or who shall be drunk or so overcome with Liquor as to be unable to perform their Duty either in chasing or engaging the Enemy and all such as shall refuse to fight or shall disobey their Officers An * In all any or either of these Cases they shall loose their Shares or Parts due unto them at that Time.

Tenth. None of the Ships Company shall presume to Embark in any Prize whatsoever against the Will or Consent of the said Captain John Mardon under Penalty of forfeiting All the Shares or Parts that shall be due to him or them so offending at that Time and may become due to them during the Time th . . *

Eleventh. In case any Prize taken by the Admiral Edwards Privateer shall be retaken All such Persons as by the Order of the said Captain shall embark on board such Prize shall have or receive their Shares or Parts during the Time they shall be detained Prisoners to the full as much as tho' the * aforesaid or until the Day the said Privateer shall be disarmed but in case they shall return before the said Four Months Armament is expired they shall be obliged to embark on board the said Privateer under Penalty of forfeiting the Shares or Parts due to them to that Day.

Twelfth. And Whereas in former Wars the Captain and other inferior Officer had for Plunder certain Articles of Provision Ammunition Stores and other Things found on board the Ships or Vessels taken from the Enemy it is hereby covenanted and agreed upon between the Parties hereto that no such Plunder * of all and every Prize or Prizes that may be taken is or are to be left without taking out of any of them any Article whatsoever belonging to the said Prize or Prizes by way of Plunderage IN CONSIDERATION whereof and instead of such Plunderage there shall be allowed twenty per [cent.] * Enemy that is on the Ship or Vessel only (the Cargo not being hereby included or comprehended) which Twenty per Cent, shall be divided in Manner following (that is to say) the said Captain is to have five per Cent, the Lieutenants Master and the other inferior Officers under them *

Thirteenth. And in Regard to the Goods and Merchandizes that may be in the Cabbin of any Prize or Prizes which shall be the Property of the Owners or the Captain before she was taken and for which no Bills of Lading are signed they shall belong as followeth (that is to say) One Half to the Captain of * Quarter to the Prize Master who shall be by the Captain established and sent on board such Prize to conduct her into safe Port Provided that the same do not exceed the Sum of Fifty Pounds Sterling in the Judgement of the Owners of the Said Privateer and that the said Owners shall be at Libert * Lieutenants Master and Prize Master aforesaid the Sum of Fifty Pounds Sterling or leave them for the Use of them the said Captain Lieutenants Master and Prize Master to be divided in Manner aforesaid And it is further to be understood that all the Goods or Merchandizes which shall be found out of the Ca *

Fourteenth. And whereas it frequently happens when any Privateer arrives from a Cruize that all the Seamen or Crew or most of them go on Shore on their own Business or Diversions without taking any Care or Trouble about the Privateer which very often suffers much for Want of ready and Proper Assistance and proves a Hindrance to the Armame ... * other the Ships Company belonging to the said Privateer or Letter of Marque shall conform and submit themselves to the Orders they shall receive from the Captain in that Particular under Penalty of forfeiting Forty Shillings Sterling each to the Owners of the said Privateer for every such offence.

Fifteenth. In case the said Captain John Mardon should think fit to quit or leave the said Privateer the Admiral Edwards before the said Four Months Cruize or Armament is expired We the Lieutenants Master and the rest of the Officers and People belonging to said Privateer bind and engage ourselves and each of us himself * Months Cruize under the Command of such other Captain or Captains as the Owners of the said Privateer or Letter of Marque shall appoint for the Command thereof And under his or their Command to do or perform our Duty in every Respect and in the same Office or Station as we are engaged to do under the said Captain Mardon And * Privateer should think proper to promote any or either of us and to put any other Person or Persons in our or any of our Places or Stations.

Sixteenth. That if when the said Four Months Cruize or Armament is expired the said Privateer or Letter of Marque shall be at Sea it shall be lawful for the Captain to cruise as long as he shall have Provisions and every one of the Ship's Company shall have and be entitled to the same Advantages as he will be entitled to during * shall force or oblige the Captain to return home he or they shall forfeit All his or their Shares or Parts which shall at that Time be due to them to the Use of the Owners of the said Privateer.

Seventeenth. All those who shall have Shares or Parts shall take Tickets from the Captain which Tickets shall be endorsed by the Owners or Agents or some or one of them or tendered to them or him for that Purpose within one Month from the Date of the same In default thereof each Ticket shall be null and void.

Eighteenth. That in case the said Privateer or Letter of Marque Admiral Edwards shall happen to be taken or shall be disarmed before the said Four Months Armament shall be expired the Shares or Parts of each Person shall . . . from the day the said Privateer or Letter of Marque shall be taken ... *

Nineteenth. That in case any Prize or Prizes shall be taken and brought into the Harbour of Dartmouth or elsewhere it is hereby agreed it shall be at the Option of the Owners of the said Privateer to send the Ship or Ships taken with their Cargo or Cargoes to any other Market or Place that it shall be deemed most advantageous to the Owners a . . *

Twentieth. It is hereby covenanted and agreed between the Parties hereto that the one Third Part of all Prizes which by the first Article is mentioned and agreed that the Property of the Captain Officers and Crew of the said Privateer shall be divided amongst them in such Proportions as is specified in and by a certain Shedule [? hereunder] written.

Twenty First. It is agreed that the Man who shall first board any Enemy's Vessel before she strikes shall receive as Gratuity for his Courage the Sum of Ten Pounds Sterling to be paid out of the Gross Produce of such Prize before any Division whatsoever shall be made.

And Lastly. It is hereby declared and agreed by and between the said Parties hereto and declared to be the true Intent and Meaning of them and of these Presents That the said Four Months Cruize or Armament thereby agreed on is to be computed only during the Time the said Privateer shall be actually at Sea after her first setting sail from the Harbour * lay in any other Harbour or Road shall not be reckoned or computed as any Part of such Four Months Cruize But the said Privateer is to be actually at Sea Four Calendar Months after her first setting Sail aforesaid IN WITNESS whereof the Parties to these Presents (written on Parchment duly stamped) their Hands Seals inte . ; . *

THE SCHEDULE above referred to in Article the Twentieth.

QUALITY SHARES
The Captain ...
The Second Captain ...
The First Lieutenant ...
Second Lieutenant ...
Third Lieutenant
Master 25
Surgeon ...
Prize Master each, and Mates 15
Carpenter 15
Boatswain 15
Gunner 15
Cook 12
Surgeons Mate 15
Boatswains Mate 12
Gunner's Mates each 12
Carpenter's Mate 12
Quarter Masters each 12
Captains Clerk and Steward 6 each
An able Seaman *
An ordinary *
Boys *