A Spanish Privateer in the Delaware (1748)
Reported by Contemporary Newspapers
[Excerpted from American History Told by Contemporaries, Vol. II: Building of the Republic, Albert Bushnell Hart, ed. (New York, MacMillan, 1899), pp. 349-351]
Philadelphia, June 2. Sunday Evening arrived a Number of Mariners, that had been Prisoners on board the Clinton, who inform'd that the Richa, Capt. Burk, bound from Philadelphia to London with a very valuable Cargo, was taken by the said Privateer on the 16th past, about 25 Leagues from the Capes; that on the 17th she took a Sloop bound from Providence to Philadelphia, George Smith, Master, laden with Sugar and Indigo; that on the 21st she took a Hermaphrodite Vessel, Capt. Hinsley, bound from Virginia to Bristol; that on the 25th she came to an Anchor in Hoar Kill Road, and they used all their endeavours to get a Pilot to carry her up into the River, but in vain; and a Sloop standing in for the Road, she weigh'd and gave chase to her, but the Sloop stood out again and got clear; during the Chase they saw a large Brigt, which stood toward them, and proved to be another French Privateer, commanded by Capt. Berneau, with 180 Men, I4 carriage Guns and 30 Swivels, in 33 days from Cape François, during which Time they had taken 6 Prizes. Standing in again for the Shore, they saw two Sloops lying at Anchor in Townsend's Inlet, about 16 Miles Northward of Cape May; and manning out their two Boats, they sent them in to take them, which was done accordingly.
A Boat belonging to one of these Sloops was given to about 27 Prisoners to carry them to the Jersey Shore. While they were on board the Clinton, they learnt that she had been out from Cape François between 8 and 9 weeks, and had taken eleven Prizes, five of which they had [brought] out of Ocricot, in North Carolina; and that there were then fourteen Sail of Privateers cruizing between Sandy-Hook and South Carolina.
Yesterday arrived here Capt. Thomas Blake, late of the Schooner Martha, bound from Georgia for this Place, laden with white Sugar, 9c. taken by the Sloop La Fortune, Capt. Ramong, from the Havannah, of 10 Carriage Guns, Consort to the St. Michael, and bound into Delaware to join her; this Privateer came up on the Jersey Side of the Bay, and miss'd her Consort, who went down the other Channel: She landed her Prisoners at Cohansy, and returned to the Capes. While the Prisoners were on board they learnt, that 4 Sail more of Spanish Privateers, were fitting out for this Coast. This Sloop had taken Capt. Edwards, in a Sloop from St. Kitts, bound hither with West India Goods. At the some Time Capt. Thompson, who had been bound from Virginia to Scotland, was taken off the Coast; and Capt. Roberts, who had been taken in a Ship bound from Jamaica to London, by a French Privateer, after an Engagement of 4 Hours, in which the Enemy lost I2 Men, and Capt. Roberts one.ÑThe Boston Weekly News-Letter, June 23, 1748. No.. 24I0.
New-York, June 6. Wednesday last arrived here the Privateer Brig Castor, Capt. Arnold, of this Port from a Cruize of about 11 Months, but without any great Success; which we hear is chiefly owing to her being a heavy Sailer.
'This Morning hove in Sight, from a Cruize of about 5 Weeks, the Privateer Snow Royal Catherine of this Port, Capt. John Burges, Commander, with three Prizes; two of which we hear are Sugar Ships, and the other a French or Spanish Privateer Brig with upward of 100 Men on board; which they took lying at Sandy Hook, as they were coming in, on Friday last: But further Particulars must be deferred till our next. . . .ÑThe Boston Weekly Post-Boy, June 20, 1748. No. 709.
Philadelphoa, June 9. Since our last arrived two French Flags of Truce from Hispaniola, one of which is taken by a Boat and Hands with a Commission from the Government of the Jerseys, and carried to Burlington for Condemnation. She had before been plundered of her most valuable Goods by a Providence Privateer The other is seiz'd by the Collector of his Majesty's Customs of this Port. 'Tis said there is another in this River, and that more are expected There is Advice by these Flags, that a very large French Fleet lies at Cape François, waiting for Convoy to return Home; that they were in great Want of Provisions, and under continual Apprehensions of being attack'd by Admiral Knowles.
The Enemies Privateers have left our River at present.ÑThe Boston Evening Post, June 20, I748. No.. 671....
New-York, June 20. By an Express which came Yesterday Afternoon from Philadelphia to his Excellency our Governour, we hear, That on Friday the 17th Mr. Jenkins arrived there in a Sloop, and made his Affidavit before the President and Council, that he had been taken Wednesday the 15th on his passage from Boston bound to Philadelphia, about 5 Miles from Cape May, by a Spanish Privateer Sloop commanded by Don Joseph Hantenoau, mounted with 6 Carriage (Guns and about 10 Swivels, having on board about 40 Men, who plunder'd his Vessel of every Thing valuable, and then gave him his Vessel again, with which he arrived in Philadelphia. This Privateer that took him was then in Company with six others, viz. 2 Ships, 2 Brigs, and 2 Sloops. This we suppose to be Don Pedro's Fleet from the Havannah.
Boston. Last Night several Vessels arrived here from Philadelphia, who came out with above 30 others, bound to other Ports, and convoy'd out of Delaware River by the Love Man of War, with her Tender the Privateer Snow above-mention'd which she had mann'd and brought with her from Virginia.ÑThese Vessels left Cape May last Thursday, and we are inform'd, That 4 Days before they sail'd, the said Man of War took another Spanish Privateer Sloop of 8 Carriage buns and a Number of Swivels, within Sight of the people on Shore. This is the Privateer that took Capt. Jenkins, mention'd in the above Paragraph under New York.ÑThe Boston Weekly News-Letter, June 30, 1748. No.. 24II.
[William Nelson. ed., Documents relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey (Paterson, 1895), XII, 452-461 passim.]