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Petition to the Lord High Chancellor, dated 17th Febry. 1761, relating to a claim by a gunner for a share of the prize money gained by a British private Man of War.
1761 Six folio leaves, written on 9 pages, the final 3 left blank; some chipping to leading edges with no loss of text, some sl. tears into central fold with no loss, sl. browning. Signed by Fountaine Cooke, solicitor of Clements Inn, and also to His Majesty's Mint. 32.5 x 20.5cm.Written on behalf of William Watson of Deptford who, from 1758, served as a gunner on board the 'Duke of Marlborough' , Captain Nathaniel Tanner, a private man-of-war, mainly owned by merchants of Deptford. The petition is a plea for a judicial enquiry to determine whether the owners have unlawfully withheld monies due to the gunner under the terms of his employment.This may be a copy rendered to the ship's owners, and is interesting as the owners' comments are noted in the margin. The Officers, Sailors and Landmen had entered into a written contract with the owners and captain which set out the rewards to which the crew would be entitled and 'of the amount of the sales and produce of such prize or prizes as should be taken by the said ship during the cruise and to one full and equal moiety or half part of head money and Ransom Bills that should be received ... and to one equal moiety of half part of the net produce of all such of the enemies' ships merchandizes, gold, silver, jewels, treasure, effects , goods, things of every sort & kind whatsoever that should be taken by the said ship & condemned as legal prizes after the charge of victualling & manning the said ship & of condemning prizes and Eight Pounds per centum for the Captain for his proportion should first be deducted ... and the rest divided amongst the crew, the gunner taking seven shares'. The recital notes that that ship cruised from September 1758 to November 1759 and took 'several prizes to the value of £30,000 of thereabouts'. The gunner's seven shares amounted to c£500 which the owners refused to pay, citing that he 'did misbehave himself' and that no threat of violence was used to make him relinquish his claim. The final three pages request that a Court of Equity summons the owners to swear on oath as to the facts of the case. The marginal notes record that some cargoes were sold by auction at Garraways Coffee House, and also at Gibraltar, and that the gunner's share of the prize might have been £70 if he had not forfeited the same. A note at the foot of the penultimate page records that the 'Managers gave him 2 guineas out of compassion as being in distress'. At Kew (Ref: HCA 26/9/137) and dated May 26th 1758, there is a record of a judgement of the High Court of Admiralty in respect of this ship, perhaps to award prize monies for an earlier voyage (the Captain and owners are the same, but not the gunner). This judgement records that the Duke of Marlborough was of 450 tons, had a crew of 220, and was armed with 36 carriage and 20 swivel guns.
      [Bookseller: Jarndyce Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2016-03-16           Check availability:      Direct From Bookseller    

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