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Whipple, William (1730-1785) to John Langdon

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC06531 Author/Creator: Whipple, William (1730-1785) Place Written: Portsmouth, New Hampshire Type: Autograph letter Date: 6 July 1777 Pagination: 4 p. ; 23.2 x 19.5 cm.

Summary of Content: Whipple, chairman of the Marine Committee in the Continental Congress, informs Langdon that despite the efforts of Captain Dudley Saltonstall, the ship Trumbull remains grounded in a Connecticut river. Discusses the cost of moving the ship versus building new vessels. States that while in New London, Connecticut, he saw the vessel intended for Captain Chew (possibly Samuel Chew). Relates information pertaining to Mr. Shaw (possibly Nathaniel Shaw, a Connecticut shipowner, merchant, and Continental agent). Reports that the vessels Warren, Providence, and Camden are in the Providence River, despite Commander Esek Hopkins' efforts to evade British ships and transport them elsewhere. Mentions the vessels Alfred and Raleigh. Cites a lack of men to operate naval vessels due to the great number of privateers in neighboring ports. Relates seeing Captain John Paul Jones in Boston, Massachusetts.

Background Information:

Full Transcript: Portsmouth 6th July 1777
Dear Sir
In my way through Connecticut I had an opportunity of seeing the Trum[inserted: b]ell, and am sorry to say that her situation is ...such that in my opinion, she can be of no use to the Public this year, if ever, Capt Saltenstall is doing every thing in his Power to get her out of the River, he has [inserted: lifted her with] four sloops about two feet and says she must be raised one foot more, before she can be got over the Bay which is about four miles, [inserted: distant] from where she now lays, if she shod be so fortunate as to get over the Bar she must lay one day, & perhaps two or three [struck: in] in a defenceless situation exposed to the Enemies ships (which are continualy cruising in the Sound) before she can possibly be got ready to proceed to a place of safety she has now on board about 100 men & if she was at New London I am in no doubt wod soon be ready for sea but I think the chance is at least 20 tons against her ever geting there, I am much surprised that any Person knowing [2] the situation of the Place shod advise the Building of ships there, But it seems another ship something larger, consequently of a greater daught of water, is to built in the same place, I know not what forwardness this ship is in, but even if she was half built, was she my property, I wod go no farther but content myself with the first loss for sure I am that the Expense of geting such a ship from that place will be [struck: more than] half the Cost of the Hall and the risque while the Enemy have the Command of the Sound is more than Equal to the other half But if two ships must be Built in Connecticut, the materials prepared for that which is [inserted: ordered] to be Built in River might be transported to New London or Norwich at less than a quarter of the Expence [struck: that] [inserted: then] the ship can be moov'd at, and the [struck: which] risque saved- as I passed through New London I had an opportunity of seeing the Brig: which is to be Command by Capt Chew & am confined in my opinion that if she would have answer'd the private views for which she was first intended the Public would not have had the offer of her, if she proves a fast Sailor I [struck: shall] [inserted: am] [3] [struck: be very agreeaby disappointed, if she is not a very costly vessel I shall with great Pleasure acknowledge my mistake be] exceedingly mistaken, as I shall also be, if she is not a very Costly Vessel Mr: Shaw [strikeout] [inserted: says] she may be got away in a very short, [inserted: time] I had some conversation with that gentlemen about the Money he has [inserted: in] the West Indies he declin'd [struck: making] entering into a perticular agreement with me, but says the Committee may have all he has [struck: in the West Indies] [inserted: there] at the [inserted: same] Exchange they have given others and promised to write you particularly [strikeout] [inserted: on the subject] he has 3 or 4000 Sterling at Dominica but knows not how much he has at Martinique. -
[struck: at Providence] The Warren, Providence, & Camden are still Laying in Providence River nor do I see any Prospect of their getting from thence [struck: while the Enemies ships remain there] [inserted: at present] Capt Hopkins says he is determin'd to make a trial, but I cannot see a possibility of his escaping the Enemies ships while they remain in their Present situation. [4] The Alfred is ready to sail waiting only for orders the Captain tells me his last orders refers to others which was to be lodg'd with the agent, the first of July but have not been sent he has 150 men on Board which [inserted: in my opinion] is 30 more than he ought to have however they may be well dispos'd of for the other ships can find room for all he has to spare. - The Raleigh has her Guns on Board at last, 'tho 6 of them are 9 Pounders, all she now waits for is men, she wod be compleatly mand in a very few days were it [inserted: not] for the Privateers of which they are a great number filing out in this, and the Neighbouring Ports I hear 60 [inserted: Sea] -Men have march'd from hence for Newbury this day to go on Board Privateers however, I flatter myself the Raliegh will soon be got [strikeout] sea & [inserted: that] the Ranger will shortly follow her. I saw Capt Jones in Boston he Promis'd to follow me immediately but is not yet arrived here, every possible means will be used for his dispatch
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People: Whipple, William, 1730-1785
Langdon, John, 1741-1819
Saltonstall, Dudley, 1738-1796
Chew, Samuel, 1750-1778
Hopkins, Esek, 1718-1802
Jones, John Paul, 1747-1792
Shaw, Nathaniel, 1735-1782

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: Revolutionary WarMilitary HistoryNavyMaritimeConstructionPrivateeringContinental CongressCongress

Sub Era: The War for Independence

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