In previous instalments, we saw Captain William Day gaining wealth and status, becoming a prominent citizen of the township of Sheffield, in Berkshire county near the borders between Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut. He may or may not have been the Captain William Day who served as a barrack-master at Roxbury during the 1775 battles for Boston (for example, another William, born at Roxbury in 1744, could have gained a commission in the new army). In Part 4, however, we shall see, almost certainly, the major reason why our William was described on his tomb as an "active patriot".
|Colour key||Family||Household / Community||Sea trade||War||Background||Possibly our William||Probably not|| ||Back to Part 3|
|14 Aug 1776|
|28 Oct 1776|
Rig/Name/Guns/Crew/Commander: Ship General Mifflin (26/120) William Day
Co-owners: Philip Moore & Co., John R. Livingston, Archibald Mercer
Bonder: William Day, Philip Moore, Archibald Mercer
Source: [Allen, MPR, 148]
|28 Oct 1776|
GENERAL MIFFLIN, Ship. Tons, 350; Guns, 26; Men, 120.
Commander: William Day.
Bond Continental, $10,000.
Bonders: W[illia]m Day, principal; Philip Moore and Archibald Mercer, of Boston, sureties.
Owners: Philip Moore and Archibald Mercer.
Witnesses: Jacobus Van Landt, Nath[anie]l Hazard.
M.A., v, 333, 159, 153, 166, 6.
|28 Oct 1776||There were several American ships named "Mifflin" or "General Mifflin". For example, Day's ship was not the sloop which George Washington had had fitted out in 1776, along with the "General Schuyler" for naval activities around New York.|
|1 Nov 1776|
State of MASSACHUSETTS-BAY:
To the honourable the Council now sitting in WATERTOWN:
The Petition of PHILIP MOORE and ARCHIBALD MERCER, of BOSTON, humbly showeth:
That your petitioners, owners of the ship called the General Miffin, burthen about three hundred and fifty tons, armed with twenty nine-pounders and six four-pounders, four thousand weight of powder and five tons of shot, navigated by one hundred and twenty men, William Day, Commander; George Starr, First Lieutenant; William Day, Jr., Second Lieutenant; and William Roach, Master; has on board, as provisions, bread and flour eight tons; one hundred and twenty barrels beef and pork. Said ship is designed to cruise against the enemies of the United States.
Your petitioners would therefore humbly request your Honours to commission said ship and commander for the purposes above-mentioned. And, as in duty bound, shall ever pray.
IN COUNCIL, November 1, 1776. #Read, and Ordered, That a Commission be issued out to the above-named William Day, as Commander of the said Ship called the General Mifflin, he complying with the resolves of Congress.
JOHN AVERY, Deputy Secretary.
|1 Nov 1776|
William Day of Sheffield, Private in Capt. William Bacon's company of Minute-men (Col. John Fellows's regiment); served with them in response to the alarm of 19 April 1775: 21 April to 7 May 1775, then enlisted for 3 months and a day, from 8 May.
William Day jr., Second Lieutenant aboard the ship General Mifflin, 1776-7.
William Day jr., Master's Mate aboard the US brig General Gates (under Capt. John Skimmer) [no date given, but the brig's first cruise was from 24 May to 31 August 1778, initially under Skimmer until he was killed in action on 3 August]
William Day, Midshipman aboard the frigate Boston (under Capt. Samuel Tucker) for 1 month from 16 Jan 1779
William Day, Marine aboard the frigate Boston (under Capt. Samuel Tucker) for 1 month from 22 Feb 1779
|2 Feb 1777|
1-16[th] of Ship General Mifflin mounts Twenty Nine pounders and Six fours now in the Port of Boston is supposed to Sail in Six weeks to carry 250 Men } £1245.16.8
[That valuation for a 1/16 share would make the whole ship worth £19933 6s 8d]
|26 Apr 1777|
The Commanders and Privates of the Private Armed Vessels except in Case of Accident to be upon the same footing exactly that the Captains Manly and McNeil and their men are, as to pensions and one months pay. The Owners expect the Ammunition expended in time of Action on this Cruize shall be made good by this State.
The Vessells shall Cruize under Command of Captain Manly or Commanding Officer of the Continental Ships for the term of twenty-five days from the day of Sailing, unless the Commander shall come into port and discharge them sooner.
The State shall pay a Months pay to
American Tarter 24 Guns 200 Men Capt. Grimes
General Mifflin 20 do 200 do Capt. Day
[+ 7 others]
|26 May 1777|
On the 21 of May at 12 on meriden the Commodore fird Signal for Sailing. The fleet got under way at 2 p.m. and stood to Sea ...
Monday, 26. This 24 hours Begins Hazey weather. At 2 p.m. set the F. hove the mizen T.S. to the mast to speak the Commander. At 3 a.m. the Mifline Bore a way for falmouth. She had the small pox on Bord. [That would be Falmouth on Cape Cod]
|18 Jun 1777|
Page 153; Prize vessel: Brig. Rebecca and Polly; Prize tonnage: 120; Prize-master: Arthur Culnan; Captor: Ship Gen. Mifling, William Day, commander; Date of capture: June 18.
|30 Jun 1777|
From Mercer & Schenk
Boston, 30 June 1777. [Encloses a letter from] “Messrs Bourdieu & Challet, a Very Considerable house in London, to Messrs Hugh & Alexr Wallace Merchts New York, It was on board of a Brig. bound to N. York from Cadize, Captured by the Privateer Ship Genl Mifflin & Safe Arrived at Casco Bay with a Valuable Cargo, particularly 4,000 lbs. Jesuits Bark a useful & we Presume much wanted Medisan for the Army. We have caused the most material part of Messrs B. & C. Letter Published, but thinking it would be a sattisfaction to your Excellency to Peruse the Original & the whole thereof, we have taken the Liberty to Inclose it. . . . N.B. We take the liberty to request your Excellency to forward the Inclosed for Capt. John Mercer, nothing but the hope of Accomodating a friend in distress would Induce us to take this Liberty.”
[Editor's note:] The docket reads in part, “Ansd by a Line of Thanks.” That reply has not been found, however.
The enclosed letter from the London merchant firm of Bourdieu & Chollet to New York City merchants and Loyalists Hugh and Alexander Wallace of 2 April 1777 predicts the eventual acknowledgment of the independence of the American states by England and the emergence of a new system of trade based on a federal union of those states.
|30 Jun 1777|
A Prize, taken by Captain Day, in the General Mifflin Privateer, arrived at a safe Port at the Eastward last Wednesday; she was taken two Days before their Time was out with the Continent. The Prize was bound from London for New York; her Cargo consists of Salt, about 200 Quarter Casks Sherry, about 300 Casks of Raisins, and 30 or 40 Tierces of Bark, containing about 4000 wt.
[also in the Independent Chronicle [Boston], 3 Jul 1777, p1, with a transcript of a letter being carried in the captured ship- the same forwarded to Washington]
|10 Jul 1777|
It was reported yesterday from indubitable authority, that the three American privateers, which have for some time so greatly alarmed the western coasts, were seen some leagues to the north of Ireland, with two large ships in company, supposed their prizes, and that they bent their course westward.
Letters from Corke, dated July 2, mention that two American privateers, the one of 10, and the other of 18 carriage guns, had been cruizing off Cape Clear for some days past, and had taken the Betsey brig, bound from Oporto to Bristol, and two sloops from Waterford. The intelligence was brought by a Dungarvan boat, out of which the rebels took a great quantity of potatoes, and then dismissed her.
Extract of a letter from Limerick, July 3.
"On the first of this inst. two of our fishing-boats fell in with a large American privateer, within two miles of the Loop-head. She mounted 24 guns, and, according to the account given by her crew, had been taken about six months since in the Gulph of Florida by Commodore Hopkins. They bought some brandy and fish of our people, and after making several enquiries respecting the number of King's ships upon our coast, dismissed the fishermen with great civility."
|10 Jul 1777|
A letter from Havre de Grace brings advice, that Cunningham, with his new privateer, was sailed from thence; he mounts 16 carriage guns, 12 swivels, and 130 men.
A letter from Dartmouth, dated July 6, says
"Yesterday passed by this harbour a ship from Jamaica, of and for Liverpool, which had been taken by the American Commodore Wickes, and retaken by the crew, and now carried to Portsmouth."
|10 Jul 1777|
Copy of a letter from Joshua Hamilton, Esq; Collector of the Port of Newry, to Geo. M. Perlis, esq; Collector of the Port of Belfast, in Ireland.
"Custom-House, Newry, 29th June, 1777.
I request that you will acquaint your merchants and traders that I received last night a letter (by the Fly Excise cutter, of Whitehaven, sent express) from the regulating Captain stationed there, with an account that three American privateers, viz. the Reprisal, a ship, mounting 18 six-pounders; the Lexington, a brig, of 16 four-pounders; and the Dolphin, a cutter, of 10 four-pounders; had entered the channel between the Mull of Cantire (in scotland) and Ireland, and cruised in consort; and that on the morning of the 26th instant, the captains of fourteen vessels which they had taken between the 19th and 24th, were landed at Whitehaven.- One of the Captains that had been taken came over with the express.
I am, Sir, your most obedient
J. HAMILTON, Collector."
Postscript. [10 Jul] ...
By a private letter from Dublin, dated July 1, we are informed "that the inhabitants of that metropolis are, at present, in the greatest confusion, and consternation possible, owing to two circumstances which have lately happened to affect their trade. The first is a large body of smugglers, who having attacked a party of soldiers at Rush, a little place near Dublin, defeated them; in consequence of which, and the numbers of the smugglers increasing, a larger military force has been sent down there, which has nearly left that capital defenceless. The next is, that several American privateers have of late appeared in the Channel, very opportunely for them, to obstruct the linen trade at the next fair at Chester.
These circumstances falling together, have alarmed not only the public at large, but the government, who has ordered all the artillery to guard the harbour, and orders are issued, that no person whatsoever shall be permitted to pass through the Castle Yard, lest such permission should endanger the stores.
Such, continues our correspondent, are some of the fruits of the American war; which not only is draining us of Men, money and provisions, in respect to the immediate carrying it on, but every moment putting our whole property, the labour of our lives, to the risque of a capture. All our merchants and tradesmen see it in this light; and even some of our contractors (now the shoe begins to pinch a little) turn their communications into a wish that a spirit of conciliation would soon take place.
P.S. It is just now reported, that seventeen soldiers have been killed in the second encounter at Rush."
|10 Jul 1777|
An American privateer, of 12 Guns, and full of Men, is taken and carried into Whitehaven.
Extract of a Letter from Chester, July 6.
"The News we have received, of the three Privateers being in our Channel has exceedingly alarmed all the mercantile People here; even Thurot was not more talked of. The Active, Simmons, bound from hence to Dublin, will not budge a foot without Convoy, and when that will come Heaven knows, as Government think but little about us, or the Privateers would not have visited this Quarter."
|11 Jul 1777|
"His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant, in order to secure the shipping in the harbour from any hostile attempts from the American privateers cruizing at this time in the Channel, sent yesterday from the arsenal in the castle ten pieces of cannon, under the care of two detachments of artillery, and parties of the 11th regiment of foot, one of which have raised a battery of four long six pounders at the extremity of the North wall, and the other a battery of six cannon at the Pigeon House, on the new South wall.
The shipping are falling down as near the bridge as possible, and the linen vessels are unloading with the greatest expedition. No insurance can be procured, and linen has already fallen 1d. per yard. Orders are given that no vessel shall go out of the harbour on any account."
FRIDAY, JULY 11.
The Hawke, (a letter of marque) Capt. Grible, is arrived at Falmouth, and has brought with her the John and Thomas, of Whitehaven, from Norway, laden with deal, which had been taken by an American privateer.
|11 Jul 1777|
The following are the details of this disagreeable intelligence:-
The Mifflin privateer, commanded by W. Day, mounting 20 six-pounders, and 94 men, fitted out at Boston, in Massachusett's Bay, having a Commission from the Congress of that Province, took the Rebecca & Polly, laden with wine and fruit, on the 24th of June, in lat. 45. 10. long. 25 West, and sent her to Boston. The Rebecca and Polly sailed out from Corke on the 22d ult. for New-York, along with 15 other vessels, under convoy of the British King, Capt. Purves.
The Mifflin also took
July 6. Ship Rebecca, of Workington, Joseph Bell, Master, from Liverpool to Limerick, with rock salt, taken two miles N.W. of Insterhull- sent to France
July 7. Brig priscilla, Richard Cassedy, master, from Sligo to Liverpool, with linen yarn, taken off Insterhull- sent to France
Same Day Brig Mary and Betty, of Mary Port, William Thornburn, Master, from Liverpool to Ballyshannon, with rock salt, taken five leagues W.S.W. from Lochendall, given to the Captain to proceed with the prisoners to Ballyshannon
July 8. Sloop James, Abraham Russel, Master, from Glasgow to Oporto, ballast, sunk
July 9. Sloop Molly, of Millthrop [i.e. Milnthorpe], J. Bouskell, Master, from Greenock to Lancaster, with wool, soap, and skins, taken off the Mull of Galloway, sent to France.
The Mary and Betty left the Mifflin on Wednesday last, about noon, off the Mull of Galloway. Capt. Thornburn stood over to Port Patrick, and the privateer stood down the South Channel.
The Mifflin, formerly the Isaac, belonging to Liverpool, Capt. Ashburn of this town, in the West-India trade, was taken by the sloop Warren, John Phillips, Commander, and carried into Salem, laden with sugar, rum, &c. She is frigate-built, and near four hundred tons burthen.
Captain Day appears to be upwards of 60 years of age, is rather lame, and was commander of a privateer last war. His crew consists of English, Scotch, Irish, and Americans, having few or no foreigners on board. [If our William, now nearly 62 years old, really was the only person of that name to command a privateer in the Seven Years' War / French and Indian War, then he is also this 1777 William Day]
The Mifflin had 94 men when she left Boston, but having put 6 men on board the Rebecca and Polly, 8 on board the Rebecca, 5 on board the Priscilla, and 4 on board the sloop Molly, in order to carry them to France, her crew must have diminished, as we are informed by some of the Prisoners [that no replacements for prize crews had been enlisted] since she left America. When she bore down upon the Rebecca, Capt. Bell, she shewed English colours, but when within gun shot hoisted a flag, with a white field, having a pine tree in the middle with the words Appeal to Heaven underneath it.
Several of the prisoners, whilst they were on board the privateer, learned that 13 other privateers sailed from Boston in company with the Mifflin, and that they agreed to share equally, all such prizes as the fleet should take during the space of 26 days; and that they expected a brig and two schooners to follow them thro' the channel, which they had parted with in a gale of wind.
The Mate of the Rebecca and Polly went Prize-master's mate of the Molly to France, and his Captain remains on board the Mifflin.
Several of the prisoners speak but indifferently of the honour of Capt. Day- Capt. Bell, of the Rebecca, had one gold and two silver watches in his chest which, together with his papers, were taken from him by the Captain.
Capt. Bell, of the Nancy, who arrived here this day, says he saw the Mifflin yesterday, with a vessel in company, supposed to be a prize, in the channel, betwixt the Calf of Man and the Irish shore.
Before the Prisoners were put on board the Mary and Betty, the five Captains signed an Obligation to the following Purport:
"WE whose Names are under-written, late Masters of the following Vessels, viz. Ship Rebecca, Joseph Bell; Brig Priscilla, Richard Cassedy; Brig Mary and Betty, William Thornburn; Sloop James, Abraham Russel; and Sloop Molly, Joseph Bouskell, taken by the Mifflin, in behalf of ourselves and our respective Crews, having Leave to go on Board the Brig Mary and Betty, William Thomburn, master, to proceed to Ballyshannon, and not to touch any other Port except Necessity obliges, and then to put into some Port in Scotland. In Witness whereof we hereby pledge ourselves, by every Tie of Honour, and set our Hands, this 9th Day of July, 1777.
Joseph Bell, Abraham Russel,
Richard Cassedy, Joseph Bouskell,
+The above is the best Account we have been able to procure of this alarming News. A List of the Vessels taken was put on board a Sloop, which arrived here Yesterday Afternoon, when an Express was immediately forwarded to the Lords of the Admiralty- and this Morning another Express was forwarded, by the Hussar Wherry, for the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
|15 Jul 1777|
This Afternoon the Mary and Betty, Captain Thornburn, of Maryport, which had been taken by an American Privateer yesterday, landed a Number of People at Workington and Maryport:
------ The following Particulars are the Report of Fifteen of them, to which they have offered to make Oath.
The Ship General Mifflin, of 20 six pounders, frigate built, commanded by Walter Day, was fitted out at Boston, with a commission for 26 days, from the Congress of that Province;--- on the 24th of May in Lat. 45. Long. 25 W. she fell in with the Rebecca & Polly, from Cork to New-York, with a valuable Cargo, which she took, and sent to Boston;--- the Master of this Vessel (name not mentioned) went Prize-master's Mate.
The Priscilla, Capt. Cassedy, from Glasgow to Oporto.--- Sunk.--- This Vessel was taken on Monday last, the Day after she left Glasgow.
The Rebecca, Capt. Bell, from Liverpool to Limbrick, with Rock Salt, taken on Sunday the 6th inst. off Insterhull.--- Sent to France.
The Molly of Millthrop [=Milnthorpe], Jasper Bouskell, from Greenock to Millthrop, with Wool, Soap, and Skins.--- She left Greenock on Tuesday last, and was taken Yesterday Morning about seven o'clock, three Leagues to the N.W. of the Mull of Galloway.--- Sent to France.
The Mary and Betty of Maryport, Capt. Thornburn, from Liverpool to Ballyshannon, was taken Yesterday Afternoon and given to the Crews to bring them to the nearest Port in the Channel.
The General Mifflin, which has (next to Wickes's Squadron) approached nearest us, formerly belonged to Liverpool; was called the Isaac, and commanded by Capt. Ashburner of this port, in the West India Trade; in which employ she was taken.
This privateer knew nothing of Wickes's Squadron, but the People on board mentioned two Schooner Privateers being in the Channel;--- the Mifflin was full of men, composed of English, Scotch, Irish, French, and a few Americans, but not more than 14 Seamen in all; the Seamen had been principally detached in manning their Prizes, a Number of which had been sent to France.
Capt. Day on Wednesday last put the prisoners (except some sent with the prizes) on board the Mary & Betty, which parted with him about three leagues to the Westward of Port patrick; the same day she landed two crews near Port Patrick, and this Afternoon put Capt. Bell and part of his Crew, and Capt. Bouskel, &c. on shore at Workington, and arrived a few Hours after with her own People at Maryport.
The People who were so unfortunate as to fall in with the Privateer speak much in Favour of the Captain and his Officers.--- The former walks with two Sticks, is much afflicted with the Gout, and upwards of Seventy Years of age. He was Captain of a Privateer out of America the last War.
Capt. Bell of the Rebecca had two silver wtaches and a gold one, at the time he was taken, with which he had acquainted the Captain of the Rebecca & Polly, who pretending great friendship for him, advised him not to inform Day that he had such in his possession. Day, who had hitherto treated Capt. Bell with the greatest civility, a few hours after demanded the watches, at the same time reproaching him for not placing as much confidence in an open enemy, as in a v---n who pretended secretly to rejoice at the success of that enemy. After this, Capt. Bell was stripped of every thing of consequence:--- but he is yet desirous that a distinction may be made between an avow'd enemy and a treacherous friend.
The Rebecca belonged solely to Capt. Bell, a new vessel, and no part of her (to his knowledge) insured at the time of the capture. He mentioned this to Day, who told him, as a private man, he compassionated his misfortunes; "but (said he) we must bear with patience the evils of war: I returned from a West India voyage expecting to go in peace to my family, but when I arrived there was only the place where my house stood--- Charlestown was in ashes." (Other particulars of a private nature we omit, as not proper matter for a public paper, except inserted as separate advertisements.) [William does not seem to have owned property in Charlestown, though he may have kept rented accommodation for convenience; then again, there is also no other evidence that he was still making voyages to the West Indies as late as the 1770s]
By a letter received this morning from Mary Port, we learn that the Hope, Capt. John Inman, belonging to that Port was taken by the Mifflin privateer on Thursday the 10th inst.-- about ten hours after the Hope was taken, and just as the privateers people were going to sink her, luckily for Capt. Inman, a ship from Norway with deals appeared in sight, which the Mifflin gave chace to, soon came up with, and took her; after which they stood after the Hope, and coming up with her again, put the prisoners of the Norway-man on board, with which she proceeded to Skerries. Capt. Joseph Nelson, of the Draper, who arrived at Mary Port yesterday, and left Dublin on Wednesday evening, says the vessel taken was formerly called the Peter belonging to this port; also that the Mifflin took, next day, a Newcastle Cat laden with timber, but did not learn her name: both vessels were sent to France. The vessel laden with deals, having a few puncheons of rum on board, put into Portaferry, where she took in two Custom-house Officers who were put on board the Hope with the other prisoners. Capt. Nelson also says that, being in the Custom-house at Dublin, on Tuesday last, the Master of a sloop who had just arrrived, from Neith in Wales, declared that as the Mifflin was standing down the Bristol Channel she took a sloop, and having put the Master, his wife, and the other people in their boat, left them to shift for themselves --- whilst they were rowing towards the shore they heard a bell ring which they made for, and in a short time came up with the Wolfe sloop of war, who took them up, pursued the Mifflin and coming up with her, in about three hours, and engagement ensued, and that the Mifflin struck after the second broadside from the Wolfe. The Wolfe also retook the sloop and gave her to the Master. The above are the particulars as related by Capt. Nelson.
Capt Briggs, of the Ann, who left Dublin yesterday forenoon, and arrived here this morning, informs us, that he did not hear of the Mifflin's being taken; nor did he hear of, or see, any privateers in the Channel.
By a vessel from the Isle of Mann, we are also advised that the General Mifflin had taken a smack belonging to Mr. Matt Kelly of Douglas, on board of which she put several prisoners, and sent her to Douglas.
|15 Jul 1777|
"A gentleman in town by the last Irish post received a letter which contains the following intelligence, That the Provincials had landed in that kingdom at Hoath-Head, and had pillaged and destroyed the seat of Lord Howe.
Yesterday an express arrived here from Ayr, informing that an American privateer had taken a vessel going to Ross, in Ireland, and had also chased two vessels into Larne, and that some time after a very great firing with cannon had been heard betwixt the Mull of Galloway and the Isle of Mann, which has alarmed the West coast very much."
|17 Jul 1777|
To all whom it may concern.
NOTICE is hereby given, that libles are filed before me, against the following vessels, their cargoes and appurtenances, viz. In behalf of John Clouston, commander of the brigantine Freedom, in the service of this State, his company and all concerned therein, against the brigantine Phoebe, of about 400 tons burthen, Nicholas Devereux late master; and also sundry goods taken out of several British vessels on the high seas; In behalf of William Day, commander of the private armed ship General Mifflin, his company and all concerned therein, against the brigantine Rebecca and Polly, of about 120 tons burthen, Arthur Culnon late master; in behalf of Jonathan Oakes, commander of the private armed brigantine, called the Hawke, his company and all concerned therein, against the brigantine charming Sally, of about 150 tons burthen, John M'Croersky late master; and against the brigantine Janey, of about 150 tons burthen, ---- Brodey late master. All which vessels and their cargoes, so libelled, are said to have been taken and brought into the middle-district aforesaid; and for the trial and justice of these captures, the maritime court for the said district will be held at Boston, on Thursday the 31st day of July, 1777, at the hour of ten in the forenoon, when and where the owners of said captures, and any person concerned, may appear and shew cause (if any they have) why the same or any of them, should not be condemned.
N. CUSHING, Judge of said Court.
|18 Jul 1777|
Custom-house, Ayr, July 11.
Sworn before ROB. FERGUSON, Col.
|19 Jul 1777|
"This morning the whole town was alarmed at hearing that a French American privateer of 22 six pounders had taken last night, near Lambay, three ships bound to this port, viz. a collier, a vessel with deals, and another from Belfast with forty puncheons of rum, and some officers from America, who were wounded. ..."
Extract of another Letter from Dublin, July 11.
"I wrote to you on the 7th, acquainting you that an American privater was off this place, since which we hear she has taken two timber ships. The General Miffling privateer is cruizing between Belfast and Donaghadee, and has taken five prizes. The vessel now off here mounts 22 guns, and was bought and fitted out at Nantz."
The packet, with the mail from Holyhead for Ireland, which was reported to be taken by an American privateer, is safe arrived at Dublin.
Three sloops of war are ordered for the Irish Channel immediately; they are to occupy the following stations; one from Fair Head to the Mull of Galloway; another to the Calf of Man; and the third from thence to St. David's.
According to advices lately received, 13 vessels have been taken by the American privateers on the coast of Scotland.
|19 Jul 1777|
All trade is stopped between Bristol, Livepool, Whitehaven, &c. &c. and Ireland, on account of the American privateers cruizing in St. George's Channel, and not a man of war to protect the trade.
|21 Jul 1777|
"Two days ago a vessel was chased in here by the General Mifflin privateer, who almost run her into the harbour's mouth; the alarm was given here, and the people thought she would have entered the port; the invalids got under arms, and the old women and children were running about with tears in their eyes, thinking, I suppose, that they should all have their throats cut; however, she thought better of it, and stood to sea again; she had then a vessel, supposed to be a prize, in company. We are in daily hope of having some men of war stationed here, as we dare not budge to sea either to Ireland or England, and so are quite pent up. The smugglers, I hear, don't mind them. Two, I am told, have been on board the above privateer, who used them very well, and took nothing from them; but it is not always the rule that rogues should behave well to one another."
|21 Jul 1777|
"An express came here yesterday, informing that several vessels, particularly two belonging to this place, have been taken by provincial privateers, so stationed in the mouth of the river, that nothing can pass them. Such as attempt to run, they sink them. The master and crew of one of the vessels that was taken the other day have come to town; they were allowed to come ashore, but their cargo and vessels were, as they understand, sent to France, with some of the other prizes, under convoy of two of the privateers; but a privateer of 20 guns, well armed, and about 100 men on board, still remains in the river, not far from Greenock, where she is expected every night. The Council met yesterday, and have resolved to fit out three vessels, one of 16, one of 14, and one of 12 guns ... About 100 sailors are already enlisted ..."
Extract of a letter from Dublin, July 9.
"Our trade with Waterford, Corke, Belfast, and Derry, is entirely at a stand, in consequence of the swarms of American privateers, which infest our coast. Sixteen sailors from on board a Boston brig, landed yesterday near Skerries, and staid in that part of the country several hours; they behaved with great civility to the country-people, whom they upon all occasions excite to rebellion. ..."
At no period of time have the merchants of Ireland been in greater uneasiness than the present, as every day convinces them of the audacity and success of the French American vessels on their coasts. ...
|22 Jul 1777|
Certain Advice is received of an American Privateer being in our Channel, she mounts 26 Guns, 22 six and four nine Pounders, and is very full of Men; and it is evident from the grassy Appearance of her Bottom, that she has been a long Time at Sea. Of the Mischief she may have done, the following only is come to hand:
"On Wednesday Morning [i.e. 9 Jul], about Twelve o'Clock, she fell in with a large three-masted Vessel, called a Cat, about 500 Tons Burthen, last from Portaferry, in the North of Ireland, laden with Timber, between Carlingford and Drogheda; the Master of the Cat thought to escape, but a shot from a nine Pounder brought her to. The Privateer had in Company a Vessel from Belfast for Dublin (laden with Rum, and under Seizure) and a Collier; the Hands of the different Vessels, Passengers with their Luggage, and the Revenue Officers who were put on board the Rum Ship, were put on board the Collier, with Liberty to go wherever they pleased; they accordingly put off, and landed safe at Balbriggin on Thursday Evening, lay at Swords that Night, and arrived here Yesterday, when the Officers waited on the Commissioners with the above Intelligence, who were pleased to order written Notices to be fixed up in different Coffee-Houses for the Information of the Merchants, Traders, and others concerned. [Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser, 22 Jul, adds sentence: "It is thought the timber ship belonged to Newcastle, and that she was consigned to Messrs. Hotham and White, merchants in this city, who have been in expectation of such a vessel for some time."]
"One of Mr. Babe's Wherries being in the Bay on Thursday evening last, they saw a large Vessel between Ireland's Eye and Lambay, which they took for en English Frigate; they made for her, and when they got alongside were invited on board, when to their great Surprize they found her to be an American Privateer, and from their Description proves to be the above Vessel: they were treated with Beef and Grog, and asked several Questions, particularly if the Yacht was in the Harbour; to this they say they answered in the negative. After the People of the Wherry staid some Time on board, they were ordered to depart. During their Stay they could neither learn the Privateer or Captain's Name, but say she was a very large Vessel and well manned.
"A Fishing-Boat had been brought to by the above Privateer on Thursday Evening, while Mr. Babe's Men were on board her; the Americans took a small Quantity of their Fish, which they paid them amply for, treated them as they did the Wherry-Men, and then dismissed them.
"Yesterday two Colliers in Ballast, for Whitehaven, were brought to off the Mouth of our Harbour by an American privateer, when after taking from them what Cash they had on board, the Produce of their Cargoes of Coals, sold in this Port, together with such Provisions as they found on board, suffered them to proceed on their Voyage home.
Extract of a Letter from Robert Kyle, Deputy Collector of Donaghadee, dated the 9th of June, to a Merchant in Dublin.
"Mr. Michael Andrews, just landed from Port Patrick, tells me, that on leaving that Place this Afternoon at Four o'Clock, he saw Capt. Russell of the Sloop James, and his Crew, landing there; the said Captain told him that four Vessels were taken by the Privateer Ship Miffling, Capt. Days, of 20 Guns, belonging to Boston.
The Privateer stood Southward this Evening, and also took a Sloop from Greenock, laden with Soap and Wool."
|23 Jul 1777|
We have had a Rebel Privateer in this Port for Four Days now for repairs; she mounts 26 nine-pounders and has already taken Eight Prizes; there are some Frenchmen on Board. She saluted M. du Chaffault's Flag with Fifteen Guns, this was returned with Three; all this surprised People very much.
|24 Jul 1777|
[Letterbook copy: Yale University Library]
Nantes July 24. 1777.
I have Just received Letters from L’orient which informs me that a Prise is brought in there which was taken by the Genl. Mifflin Capt. William Day or Dee in the Irish Channel on the 10th Instt. She has made 3 prises in all which are forwarded to Different ports in France. The Present one is a norway ship loaded with 403 doz. Comon planks 74. others of different Sizes and about 30 barrells of Whale Oil. I have a Letter from Capt. Johnson at Morlaix which advises the safe arrival of this privateer at Brest where he says he meets with assistance even from the Kings Yard. The Commissary at L’Orient is extreemly troublesome about the above prise on Account of an order from the Minister ordering all prises to leave the Port in 24 Hours. Mr. Gorlade has endeavour to make her appear not as a prise but as a Ship from Boston. He however is forbid to unload her till new orders from the Minister. I therefore mention these Circumstances thinking your previous knowlige of the matter may tend to facilitate the procuring a favourable order. The Genl. Mifflin is owned by Messrs. Ph. Moore & Co. She left Boston the 24th may in Consort of two frigates of Force who were bound on a Secret Cruise.
|24 Jul 1777|
"A Ship which was fitting out at a Northern Port from hence took on board 14 Puncheons of Rum on Debenture, i.e. not to be landed again in Ireland; she however touched at Strongford, and there put them on shore; the Commissioners of the Customs having Advice thereof, sent Officers to seise the Ship, and bring her round to Dublin. They seised her, but on the Passage round she was taken by the General Mifflin Privateer. The Merchants deny the legality of the Seisure, and mean to sue the Commissioners for the Value of the Ship and Cargo."
|25 Jul 1777|
A prize, taken by Capt. Day, in the General Mifflin, arrived at a safe port at the Eastward yesterday se'ennight. She was taken two days before their time was out with the continent. The prize was bound from London for New York; her cargo consists of salt, about 200 casks of sherry, about 300 casks of raisins, and 30 or 40 tierces of bark, containing about 4000 wt.
[Purdie's Virginia Gazette, 1 Aug 1777, gives the sherry quantity as "about 200 quarter casks", and prints the text of a letter from a London business, written in April which was being carried to New York in the captured ship, and suggests that permanent independence for the thirteen colonies is effectively inevitable, and that "A federal union in that case would in time heal all animosities, and eventually, perhaps, prove the means of awing the powers of France and Spain, more than a general confederacy ..."]
|25 Jul 1777|
|26 Jul 1777|
[ALS: University of Virginia Library; letterbook copy: Yale University Library]
Nantes July 26. 1777.
I have just parted with Capt. Green who has been to L’orient ... Capt. Green reports that the Gen. Mifflin privateer now at Brest has among his prizes taken some Dispatches from the English Ministry to Gen. Howe. I have therefore thought it my Duty to send a Letter to the Commander desiring him in your name to forward any such dispatches he may have by express to you, and offering to be answerable for the Expence.
|26 Jul 1777|
"Our linen trade is opened with few sellers, and a less quantity of Goods, than was ever remembered. The city is crowded with long, sullen, and gloomy countenances. Trade which used to be brisk at this season is almost entirely dead. The privateers cruising in the Irish Sea are said to amount to seven large vessels, all resolved on some important enterprise. Adieu. God send I may be able to give you a better account in my next."
The captures of linen ships in the Irish channel have ruined the affairs of two capital houses in that branch in the heart of the city, which yesterday stopped payment, and several others are tottering.
|26 Jul 1777|
|27 Jul 1777|
[ALS: American Philosophical Society]
St. Malo 27th. July 1777
Capt. Day of the General Mifflin privateer of 20 Guns is Now at Brest and will soon sail for L’Orient.
|5 Aug 1777|
PARIS, July 28, 1777.
“ You will, no doubt, have heard long ere this, and with great éclat on the part of Lord Stormont, and exultation on that of your Ministers, that the Court of Versailles, in answer to the boasted remonstrance of the English Ministry, had knocked under, and faithfully promised to shut their ports against the American privateers and their prizes. Be it so; let these purblind politicians exult, and deluded England go to sleep; I promise you that a short time will awaken both from their lethargy. In addition to Mr. Sartine's letter, which you have already got, I send you the following striking proof of the sincerity with which the French adhere to their own interest, and their natural, unconquerable enmity to England. The fact is undoubted, as you will venture from my authority to affirm, and will soon receive a fuller confirmation:-
“ The General Mifflin privateer, which has lately committed such depredations upon your coasts, and in the very mouths of your harbours, is just arrived at Brest, where she found the French squadron under the command of Monsieur de Chaffault. The privateer saluted the French Admiral, who was at a loss how to conduct himself. A council of war was held therefore immediately, when, after an hour and a half's consultation, it was agreed to return the salute, which was done in form, as to the vessel of a Sovereign Independent State. This is known and approved of by the Court. It is but the other day that the Governor of St. Eustatia was ordered home by the States General of Holland, for returning the salute of the American flag, in consequence of a strong, decisive memorial from Sir Joseph Yorke. Eustatia is at a distance; Brest is at home. The fact will not admit of shuffling. Now is the time, therefore, for the spunk of Lord Weymouth, and the firmness of Lord George Sackville (Germaine). I beg his Lordship's pardon. You may safely defy the Courtiers to deny, or palliate a single circumstance of this. I see the papers say, that Cunningham is chained up in Dunkirk harbour; but I will whisper you, that he has broke his chains, and is now prowling at large for prey, as the beasts in that foul den at Lloyd's will soon discover. The General Mifflin is preparing for sea again; yet the French ports are shut, as the Scotch will tell you in the City."
|8 Aug 1777|
|20 Aug 1777|
|21 Aug 1777|
“ As I find by the last letters from England, that all apprehensions respecting the ill designs of France, were removed by the late order of this Court respecting American privateers, I beg leave to inform you of a few facts, which you will probably think worth publication.— By the treaties subsisting with England, France has obliged herself to afford no aid or succour to the privateers of of any nation at war with England; and the established laws and marine regulations of France forbid the privateers of all nations whatever from continuing in the ports of this kingdom more than 24 hours; these laws and regulations have been repeatedly dispensed with in favour of the American rebels, but the doing it is so contrary to the treaties and to the neutrality professed by the French Ministers, that it is impossible they should, at any time, upon proper application, refuse to order the American privateers out of their harbours, unless they would have thrown off the mask, and provoked immediate hostilities. When Capt. Wickes first arrived here with Dr. Franklin, no notice was taken of him by Lord Stormont, and he was suffered quietly to dispose of his two prizes, and refit for a cruize; but when he afterwards brought five other prizes, and among them the Lisbon packet-boat, into Port L'Orient, the Ambassador complained, and Wickes was in consequence ordered out; though, it is true, the order, like all orders given here against the Americans, was never executed …
The order obtained by Lord Stormont required not only all privateers, but their prizes, to leave the ports of this kingdom; but not one of them has obeyed it: on the contrary, all those sent into Nantz, &c. by Wickes's squadron have been unladen and sold; and the same has been done to the Guernsey brig at Cherbourg; nor has any privateer quitted the French ports in consequence of the order about which you in England are exulting. Cunningham had been long ready, and waiting for an opportunity to escape the British cruizers, who were watching for him; and the Admiralty at Dunkirk even assisted in enabling to deceive and escape them. The General Mifflin privateer too is still at Brest: she arrived there soon after the order in question had been received; but, pretending to be leaky, she was not only permitted to stay and repair, but has been actually supplied with materials out of the royal yard there. This privateer on her arrival at Brest, saluted the Admiral du Chaffault commanding there, who, after consulting all his officers, returned the salute to the flag of the rebel Colonies, thereby acknowledging their Independency, and insulting Great-Britain in the most public manner. After this the officers of the French fleet dined on board the rebel privateer, and in their excess of zeal and mirth, as I am told, drank success to the united arms of France and America, confusion to Great-Britain, and other laudable toasts; for which the British tars, it is hoped, will one day remember them. These facts have been obtained from an authentic and more than common source. They may enable your readers to judge whether England has indeed reason to be satisfied with the proceedings and secret designs of France, especially when it is known and considered that uncommon exertions are now making here to increase the naval force of this nation; that several more frigates, and an additional body of troops, are about to be sent to the West-Indies ; and that the French, fishermen, from some cause or other, were (if we may believe the accounts lately arrived from those places) preparing to return home a month sooner than usual.
|23 Aug 1777|
|29 Aug 1777|
They were in error to tell you that when the anglo-american Privateer capt. mifflin entered the port of Brest she was saluted, but it is certainly true that when she came into the roads she saluted the King's flag with 13 guns. I returned 3 to her. I beg you to inform me whether I did right or wrong. In all foreign roads, I have always seen salutes rendered to various nations. ..."
|3 Sep 1777|
[ALS: American Philosophical Society]
On board the Genl. Mifflin Port Louis.
3 Sept: 1777
It is with the Greatest pleasure I embrace this Conveyance, per Monsier Rochette who says he has the Honour of being personally Known to You, and has promised to deliver my Letter himself. The Thought that it was my duty (to inform You of the Occurrences of my Cruize) must appologize for my Freedom of troubling a Gentlemen of Your Character with a scrawl, and doubt not Your Goodness will Pardon my boldness.
We left Boston 21st May in Company with the Hancock of 36 Guns. John Manley Esq. the Boston of 28 Guns Hector McNeill, Esq. the Tarter of 20 Guns, a Private Ship of Warr, and several other small Privateers. We engaged to Cruize for 25 days in the service of the United States, under the Command of John Manley Esq. After Experation of the said time agreed for We steer’d for the Irish Channel, nothing remarkable occurr’d. The Linnen Ships being stop’d (by reason of Commander Wickes & Co. going through the Channel a short time before) disappointed us greatly.
We took nine Prizes, six of which we sent to different Ports, which hope has arivd safe. Sunk one and two we gave the prisoners.
We shall sail for America in about 8 days, and if You have any Publick or Private Commands that way, will execute them to the Utmost of my Power, As every opportunity of serving my Country and its Friends gives me the greatest pleasure. Cannot Conclude without Congratulating You on the success of our Countrymen (in the Jerseys) on the 10 and 11 of June and hope the success of that Day is followed by many more. As there is many different accounts thereof, Should esteem it a Particular favour if You write Just to mention the true Loss sustain’d by the Enemy with ours. I remain Honour’d Sir Your Most Obedient Humble Servant
Addressed: To / The Honble: Doctor Franklin / Agent / For the Honble: the American Congress / Paris
|10 Sep 1777|
|23 Sep 1777|
“I left Portsmouth the 17th of August, having received orders from my owners to wait for no convoy; on the 20th we fell in with a large ship under English colours, but well knowing the deceit of the enemy, we tacked and stood from them, but falling little wind, after a chace of four hours she boarded and took us. She proved to be the Gen. Mifflin privateer, John Day, Commander, mounting 20 six pounders, eight swivels, and four cohorns in each top; her number of men (consisting of different nations) was 106, out of which were 36 French marines. At the same time the Success, Captain Fletcher, another privateer [a Massachusetts schooner which had been working out of the Spanish port of Bibao over the summer], came up with us and took a brig from Ireland to Bourdeaux; she mounts 8 three pounders, 10 swivels, and 30 men, her colours 13 stripes and a palm-branch [possibly a misinterpretation of the pine tree with separated, uptilted branches seen in some New England naval ensigns]; the other was a pine-tree with this motto, "Appeal to Heaven." They carried us within nine leagues of Brest, when they made us prisoners for three days, but finding we would not go a privateering with them, suffered us (seven in number) to take our small boat. On the evening of the 24th we left them, and proceeded along-shore round Ushant; next day our boat proving leaky, being too deep laden, we were obliged to put ashore to dry our things, but the disrespectful behaviour of the natives forced us (although a very greaty surge) to put to sea immediately; the second day we came to a small town called Rosco [i.e. Roscoff], where we refreshed ourselves, and set out again, steering along shore till the fourth day, which proving hazy we lost sight of land, and at the same time lost four gallons of water by accident, which was all we had left. Next morning we saw the island of Guernsey at six leagues distance, but the wind then blowing strong, we laboured hard at the oars a long time before we could reach shore, where luckily we found a vessel bound to London, who conveyed us thither in safety.
|25 Sep 1777|
|25 Sep 1777|
|25 Sep 1777|
[Lloyd's List, 27 Aug 1777, gave the name of the William's captain as "Wading", but the issue of 2 May had spelled it "Wadden"- both reports were of arrivals from Wexford at Poole, Dorset; the spelling of Camaret with a z instead or r was a common alternative.]
|9 Oct 1777|
[Westminster Journal and London Political Miscellany, 11 Sep, names the recaptured vessel as the Thomas, but Lloyd's List, 22 Oct 1776, reporting arrival at Cadiz from Hull, gives it as Thames]
|29 Oct 1777|
“By a letter received this morning from Maryport, we learn that the Hope, Capt. John Inman, belonging to that port, was taken by the Mifflin privateer on Thursday the 10th instant. …
|30 Dec 1777|
Understanding there has been various reports respecting the treatment of the Americans in France- We beg leave through the channel of your paper, to undeceive the public, by assuring them that the treatment of the officers and seamen of the ship General Mifflin both at Brest and port L'Orient, was beyond their most sanguine expectations- We were permitted to go into the King's dock at Brest, to clean (a privilege never granted to a Briton) and when there, received every assistance we could expect, both from the gentlemen of the navy and army, of his Most Christian Majesty.- As to the mercantile part, we have nothing to say.
William Day, Captain.
William Chambers, 1st Lieut.
Tim. McDaniel, 2d Lieut.
Dated on board the ship General Mifflin, in Boston harbour, 29th November 1777.
|30 Dec 1777||Timothy McDaniel does not seem to be mentioned in other sources, though there was an older Major Timothy McDaniel ["Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War" vol.10, p463] and there was a Timothy McDaniel, master of the ship Mary in 1739 (Records Relating to the Early History of Boston , Vol. 24, p219). A Timothy McDaniel, merchant, was bonded for the Massachusetts privateer Hannah & Molly (master: Agreen Crabtree), 31 Jul 1776.|
|30 Dec 1777||A Timothy McDaniel married Phebe Fillis at Boston, 29 Apr 1798|
|30 Dec 1777|
|1 Jan 1778|
State of MASSACHUSETTS-BAY,
Middle District. To all whom it may concern.
NOTICE is hereby given, That Libels are filed before me, against the following Vessels, their Cargoes and Appurtenances, viz.- In Behalf of William Day, Commander of the Ship General Mifflin and all concerned therein, against the Brigantine Fame, of about 150 Tons burthen James Coates, late Master ...
... for the Trial of the Justice of said Captures, a Maritime Court, for the said District, will be held at Boston, on Friday the 16th Day of January, A.D. 1778 ...
N. CUSHING, Judge of said Court.
|5 Feb 1778|
[other transcripts give 3 or 8 Feb; an original manuscript image on ancestry.com, probably of declarations of intent to marry, gives a date of 22 January 1778]
[According to Wikipedia, Samuel Stillman was minister of the First Baptist Church of Boston, and was connected with political thinkers such as John Hancock and John Adams]
|5 Feb 1778|
490. * William, b. 1780; supposed to have died in Maine, in 1804 or 5.
491. Susan, b. _
492. *Elijah, b. _ d. in childhood.
[“Cother” is evidently a misreading of a handwritten “Collier”]
Coming in Part 5- the end (with a bonus feature on the post-Day career of the "General Mifflin"). Or: return to start.