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Morris, Robert (1734-1806) [Appointment of Samuel Chew as a naval captain]

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00346 Author/Creator: Morris, Robert (1734-1806) Place Written: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Type: Document signed Date: 17 June 1777 Pagination: 3 p. : address ; 32.1 x 20 cm.

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00346 Author/Creator: Morris, Robert (1734-1806) Place Written: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Type: Document signed Date: 17 June 1777 Pagination: 3 p. : address ; 32.1 x 20 cm.

Summary of Content: Signed by Continental Congressmen Morris, Thomas Burke, Abraham Clark, Philip Livingston, Henry Marchant, Roger Sherman, and Nicholas Van Dyke, who appoint Samuel Chew as a Captain in the Continental Navy. Instructs Chew to depart immediately for New London, Connecticut, to assume command of the ship Resistance. Relates that Nathan Shaw, a naval agent in New London, will assist Chew in fitting and manning the vessel. Discuss payment and provisions for the vessel's voyage. Instructs Chew to immediately sail with intent to intercept British merchant and transport ships, and "to take, Sink, Burn, or Destroy as many of their vessels of every kind as may be in your power." Orders Chew to send all prizes acquired from other ships to safe colonial ports. Order Chew to "preserve strict discipline on board your vessel ... and you will treat any Prisoners you may take with humanity." Requires Chew to make monthly returns of the state of the Resistance while in port, and to submit monthly returns and lists of every person on board the ship to the Navy Board in Boston. Contains two post scripts. The first relates that blank commissions have been transmitted to Mr. [Dishon?], so Chew fill in the names of his officers. The second post script authorizes Chew to obtain provisions from foreign ports. All seven men sign twice: at the end of the letter and underneath the second post script.

Background Information: Signer of the U.S. Constitution. Morris, Livingston, Clark, and Sherman were all signers of the Declaration of Independence. Van Dyke and Marchant signed the Articles of Confederation.

Full Transcript: In Marine Committee
Philadelphia June 17.th 1777
The good recommendations we have had of you, as being well qualified for a Command in Our Navy; has induced us to appoint ...you a Captain therein, in full faith that it will be your cheif studdy to contribute all in your power to the Interest of the United States and the Honor of their Flag.
We now think proper to direct that you repair immediately to New London, where you are to take the command of the Brigd. Resistance lately purchased by Nath Shaw jr Esqr our Agent at that place: That Gentleman will assist you in fitting and manning that vessel, and we expect your best endeavours will be united with his, to have this done with all possible expedition.
We have directed our said Agent to make the necessary advances of the Money that will be required in this business, and to put on Board Sufficient Provisions for a four months cruise. there fore as soon as ready for the Sea you are to proceed immediately on [inserted: a] Cruize against the Enemy, choosing such stations as you think will be most likely to intercept their Merchant or Transport ships, and you are to take, Sink, [2] Burn, or Destroy as many of their vessels of every kind as may be in your power. [struck: We are of opinion that you may have good success by [illegible] on the Enemys Transport Vessels in your [inserted: the] Bay, [inserted: Land] and we command this to you [illegible] [illegible] [illegible] desireable [illegible].
The Prizes you may take you will send into the most convenient and Safe Ports in these States addressed to the Continental Agents, and you may continue your Cruise so long as your Provisions will last and then return into the first safe Port you can make, advising us of your Arrival when we will give you fresh Orders.-
You are to preserve Strict discipline on board your vessel, using your People well; and you will treat any Prisoners you may take with humanity: great care must be taken of the Bugs her materials and Stores, observing that you are to be accountable for every thing on Board. therefore you will take care that your officers keep proper accounts of the expenditures in their respective departments and see that no waste is made of any kind.
You must make monthly returns of the State of your vessel while in port together with exact Lists of every person on Board, to the Navy Board at Boston or at this place and recommending strict attention to the orders. We remain Sir
Your very hble Servants
Roger Sherman Robt Morris
Nichs. Van Dyke Hnry Marchant
Saml Chew Esqr Phil. Livingston Abra. Clark
Th. Burke
[3] P.S: we now send forward to Mr Dishon a sufficient number of Blank Commissions & Warrants to be filled up with the Names of such persons as he may think proper to appoint your officers -
PS Should you be tempted by any Circumstances not known to us at present, to continue your Cruize untill your Provisions & stores may be nearly [struck: extended] expended, you may procure further supplies of such Foreign Ports as may be convenient for the purpose [illegible] shall punctually pay your [drafts] for the amnt.
Robt Morris
Phil. Livingston
HR Marchant
Roger Sherman
Tho Burke
Abra: Clark
Nichs. Van Dyke
[address leaf]
Samuel Chew Esquire
See More

People: Burke, Thomas, 1747-1783
Chew, Samuel, 1750-1778
Clark, Abraham, 1726-1794
Livingston, Philip, 1716-1778
Marchant, Henry, 1741-1796
Morris, Robert, 1734-1806
Sherman, Roger, 1721-1793
Van Dyke, Nicholas, 1738-1789
Dishon, fl. 1777
Shaw, Nathaniel, 1735-1782

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: NavyMaritimeRevolutionary WarCongressPrivateeringGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyMerchants and TradePrisoner of WarFinanceMilitary HistoryContinental Congress

Sub Era: The War for Independence

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