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McKean, Thomas (1734-1817) [Privateer's license for William Van Duerson]

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02542.18 Author/Creator: McKean, Thomas (1734-1817) Place Written: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Type: Printed document signed Date: 21 October 1781 Pagination: 2 p. ; 33.8 x 41.8 cm.

Partially printed document signed by McKean as President of Congress and countersigned by Charles Thomson as Secretary of the Continental Congress. Identifies Van Duerson as the commander of the brigantine Middletown owned by Chauncey Whittlesey. The verso has a signed statement by Connecticut Governor Jonathan Trumbull providing a physical descriptions of Duerson and his lieutenant, William Spencer, given at Hartford, Connecticut. Includes a paper seal.

TO ALL to whom these PRESENTS shall come, send GREETING.
THAT we have granted, and by these PRESENTS so grant licence and authority to William Van Duerson Mariner, Commander of the Brigantine called the Middletown of the burthen of Two hundred - tons or thereabouts, belonging to Chauncey Whittlesey Esqr & Compn mounting Fourteen carriage guns, and navigated by thirty men, to fit out and set forth the said Brigantine in a warlike manner, and by and with the said Brigantine and the Officers and Crew thereof, by force of arms to attack, subdue, seize, and take all ships and other vessels, goods, wares and merchandizes, belonging to the King or Crow of Great Britain, or to his Subjects, or to other inhabiting within any of the territories or possessions of the aforesaid King of Great-Britain, or any other ships or vessels, goods, wares or merchandizes to whomsoever belonging, which are or shall be declared to be Subjects of Capture by any Ordinance of the United States in Congress assembled, or which are so deemed by the LAW of NATION [text loss] And the said ships and vessels, goods, [text loss] and merchandizes so apprehended as aforesaid, and as prize taken, to bring into Port, in order that proceedings may be had concerning such captures in due Form of Law, and as to Right and Justice appertaineth. And we request all Kings, Princes, States and Potentates, being in Friendship or Alliance with Us, and others to whom it shall appertain, to give the said William Von Duerson all necessary aid, succour [sic] and assistance in the premisses [sic]. This Commission shall continue in force during the pleasure of the Untied States in Congress assembled, and no longer.

IN TESTIMONY whereof, We have caused the Seal of the Admiralty of the United States in Congress assembled, to be affixed hereunto.

WITNESS His Excellency Thomas McKean Esquire, President of the Untied States in Congress assembled in Philadelphia this twenty first day of October in the Year of Our Lord One thousand seven hundred and eighty one and in the sixth Year of our Independence.

[struck: Secretary.]
Attest CharThomson secy

[2] State of Connecticut
By the Governor
To all whom it doth or may concern -
The Description of Capt. William Van Duerson is as follows - Viz Twenty eight years of Age, five feet nine inches high, blue Eyes - light long hair, light complection & Slender Sett -
William Spencer Lieut. Of the same thirty five years of age, five feet eight inches high Grey Eyes, black long hair, dark complection - thick sett -
Given at Hartford under my hand and seal at [illegible] this twenty first day of October - A Domi 1781. in the sixth year of our Independence
Jonth, Trumbull

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