H. E. (Henry Edward) Turner.

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New Series. I TFTT V 1 ftSP» ) Old Series.

No. 1, Vol.2;} JUIjI, lOOO. \No.l,Vol. 0.


Memorial of the Inhabitants of Newport, R. I., to the Delegates

of the United Colonies, 1775 1

The Sons of Liberty, South Kingstown, R. I., 1774 10

Abstracts from the Providence Gazette, 1767 and 1778 11

High Tide in Newport Harbor in 1768 15

Records of Trinity Church, Newport, R I...fl". E. Turner, M. D. 16

Will of Gov. Benedict Arnold, 1677 20

Friends Records, Newport, R H. E. Turner, M. D... 39

A British Navy Yard contemplated in Newixnt, 1764 42

Rules and Orders of the General Assembly of R. I. in 1648 47

Genealogical Notes.- -Marriage Certificate of Job Sherman and
Amy Spencer, 48 — The Maylem Bible, 50— Cozzens, 51 —
Will of Richard Smith, 1690-1, 53— Sherman Wilcox. 53—
Waldron, 54— Williams, 54— Will of Job Lawton, 1773, 53—
Perry, 60

Abstracts from the Records of Little Compton, R. I 61

Jamestown, R. I. Records U. E. Turner, M. D 69

Value of Old Tenor Money in R. L, 1763 71

Journal of Lieut. John Trevet, 1774-1782 72

Capt. Allan's Company, 1776 74

Notes.— Newport Lace School, 75 — Hand in Hand Fire Club,

1749, 76— Early Donations to the Redwood Library, 77.
Book Notices 79


i;r E W P O K T :



[Entered at the Post Office at Newport as second-class matter.]

^ ^33337


No. 1. July, 1885 Vol.6.


To the Delegates of the United Colonies of America, in
Congress at Philadelphia.

fHE memorial of the Inhabitants of the Town of
Newport hereby sheweth, that from their local and
defenceless situation, they are exposed to insults and de-
struction from the Ships of War that now are, and for a
long time have been, stationed in the harbor of Newport ;
that the General Assembly of this Colony well knowing
that it would be impossible, under our then circumstances,
to maintain their fort, the only place of defence against
any of the Ships of War which might attempt to take
possession thereof, and that the cannon if removed to a
place of safety might be serviceable to the American
cause, sometime in December last advised the same to be
removed into other parts of the Colony, and thereby this

2 Memorial to Congress in 1775.

Town is deprived of the appearance of defence on the
side next the harbor ; that availing themselves of our
impotency, the said Ships of War have with unparalelled
wantonness and cruelty interrupted our ferry boats, pro-
vision boats, and wood boats, in their passage to and from
the Town, and have scuttled, dismasted and stripped
some of them of their tackle and apparel ; have seized
upon our vessels from the West Indies and the united
Colonies, even in our harbor, and sent them to Boston to
supply tlie ministerial troops there, and in October last a
plan was laid to rob this and the other Islands of their
stock, and Transports were sent hither in order to carry
it to the same place, and for the same purpose ; that the
Deputy Governor and others, who were constituted a com-
mittee by the General Assembly of this Colony to trans-
act the business of the Colony during their recess, to de-
feat these intentions ordered a body of forces to this
Island which effectuallj' prevented the design upon the
Islands — that exasperated by this disappointment Captain
Wallace, with the fleet under his command, sailed to the
town of Bristol, and to terrify the inhabitants into a com-
pliance with his demand of stock, cannonaded, and bom-
barded the Town with unrelenting fury, but happily his
kind efforts were attended with but little damage, and
extorted but a few sheep from the inhabitants — from
thence, his malice unsatiated, he proceeded to and can-
nonaded both sides of Bristol Ferry, and pursuant to his
orders the largest ship under his command cannonaded the
Ferry at Jamestown ; in this iilarming situation, the com-
munication between the Town and the Western part of
the Colony, from whence we receive the greater part of
our supplies, being cut off, the towns around us having
been recently cannonaded and bombarded, and expecting
in our turn to be next attacked ; proposals were sent to
the Town by said Wallace, purporting that he would per-

Memorial to Congress in 1775. 3r

mit the ferry boats, market boats, and wood vessels, to
pass unmolested, provided his ships were supplied with
fresh Beef, Beer, &c. ; the Town Council in this pressing
exigency addressed a memorial to the committee of safety,
setting forth the proposals and the distressed state of the
town, and expressing their hopes that the committee
would point out some method that might enable the in-
habitants to procure common necessaries of life, and to
secure to their wives and children a peaceful asylum for
the approaching winter, and appointed a committee to
wait upon and lay the same before the committee of safety
in Providence, and in case the Deputy Governor should
be at Cambridge to proceed thither and present the me-
morial to him : pursuant to their appointment they re-
paired to Providence, and the then Deputy Governor be-
ing at Cambridge they wailed upon him there, and pre-
sented the memorial, who, as it contained matter of great
importance, laid the same before a committee of the Hon-
orable Continental Congress and took their advice thereon,
and they unanimously gave their opinion that the Ships
of War should be supplied as aforesaid, provided Wallace
complied with the terms he had offered, and afterwards in
consequence of a memorial presented by the Town Coun-
cil the General Assembly assented thereto, and the truce
was accordingly entered into between the Town and Cap-
tain Wallace, on the 14th day of November last, and per-
mission was granted by him to the ferry boats to pass un-
molested for a limited time. On the 9th day of Decem-
ber he engaged to give fresh permits the next Monday, if
nothing should happen to prevent it ; the next morning
the town was alarmed with the prospect of Jamestown
being on fire. Captain Wallace, with about three hundred
men, had landed there very early in the morning, and car-
ried ruin and devastation as far as he dared extend his

4 Memorial to Congress in 1775.

At a Town Meeting held by adjournment Tuesday
morning following, a committee was appointed to wait on
the present Deputy Governor and the General at head
quarters, and to lay before them the state of the Town,
and to hear whether the Town Council might supply Cap-
tain Wallace with provisions &c., as usual, in case he should
demand the same ; and if the committe could not obtain
satisfactory answer, then to wait upon the committee of
safety and to take their advice upon this head ; they waited
upon the Deputy Governor and General, and were inform-
ed the committee of safety were then sitting, and that
they expected an express from the Governor on that point
in a few hours, which put a stop to the committees pro-
ceeding to Providence. The next morning a gentleman
who had the preceding day received a permit from the
General to go on board a vessel belonging to him, which
had lately arrived from Jamaica, and was stopped by
Capt. Wallace, appeared in Town meeting and informed
the meeting, that Captain Wallace had ordered him on
board his ship, and expressed great surprise that the town
had not applied to him for a renewal of the truce, and
said if they did not apply he should look upon it they
meant to treat him as an enemy — that he should send a
flag to know their determination, and that if the Town
did not renew their Truce it would be attended with fatal
consequences — held up to view the destruction of James-
town — and requested him to lay the matter before the
Town ; the meeting appointed a committee to wait upon
the Deputy Governor, and commanding officer, to know
whether they had received orders from the committee of
safety, and to acquaint them with the message Captain
Wallace had sent to the town, and the said officer inform-
ed them that he had not received any orders, and they
consented that the Town of Newport might renew their
former truce with Capt. Wallace, and do everything for

Me^norial to Congress in 1775. 5

the safety of said Town that should not be repugnant to
the acts of the General Assembly, and the resolves of the
honorable Continental Congress ; and the commanding
officer added that he should be glad to be made acquaint-
ed with what should be done by the Town and Capt.
Wallace : upon this the truce was, the fourteenth of
December current., in form, renewed, and a committee ap-
pointed to lay their proceedings before the commanding
officer, who upon being acquainted therewith, from the
committee, told them he had positive orders, from the
committee of safety, prohibiting all supplies to the Ships
of War in this harbor. The astonishment that seized the
inhabitants on this occasion cannot be expressed.

To the pleasing idea of living a little longer in some
degree of peace, succeeded ideas shocking to humanity —
of a large town in flames and five thousand men, women
and childien forced out of their habitations into the open
fields to perish ; numbers of them through the inclemen-
cy of the season. A Town meeting was thereupon imme-
diately called, the assembly was full, and all were unani-
mous tliat a numerous committee should be appointed to
wait upon his honor, the Governor, to request that the
committee of safety might be recalled to reconsider their
resolutions, and to permit the Town to renew their truce,
in order to prevent that destruction in which the town
would otiierways be involved ; it was done, the committee
met, and it was voted that the said resolution should be
revoked, and that the Town Council might be permitted
to supply Capt. Wallace's ships until the next session of
the General Assembly— the second Monday in January
next— and the truce was renewed with Capt. Wallace on
the twentieth instant ; on the same day advice came to
town that the Governor had received a letter from his
Excellency General Washington, informing liim that a
number of slii[)s with several regiments had sailed the

,6 Memorial to Co7igres8 in 1775.

Saturday preceding, with an intimation that they might
be destined for tliis Town, thereupon the committee of
safety had wrote to General Washington requesting that
a regiment with a General Officer might be sent to this
Island; the Monday following Major General Lee, with
liis own guard and about thirty riflemen, attended by the
Providence Cadet Company, came into this town ; the
Town Council immediately met and appointed a commit-
tee to wait upon his Excellency to congratulate him upon
his arrival, and to offer every assistance in their power to
make his stay agreeable ; the committee was received
with great politeness, and when informed that he intended
immediately to barricade the town, the committee repre-
sented to him that it might bring on cannonading and
bombardment, which, especially at this season, would
involve the inhabitants in the greatest distress ; he
desired a further interview with them in the evening,
and then, with that humanity which ever accompanies
true courage, told the committee he should be very un-
happy in doing anything which might involve the town in
miser}', and that he had laid aside his intentions of barri-
■cade ; but in the course of conversation, amongst other
things, infoimed them that letters had gone forward to the
Hon hie the Co7itine7ital Congress^ on the subject of supply-
ing the Ships of War^ and that the town was placed in an
unfavorable light. This conversation gave rise to this me-
morial, in which it seems necessary to your memorialists
to state particularly their proceedings relating to their
supplying the Ships of War in the harbor of Newport
with provisions, the recurrences that led to it, and their
exposed, defenceless situation, in order to justify their
conduct, and to remove any unfavorable impressions
which may have been made on the minds of the Honora-
ble the Continental Congress, by any misrepreseniationg.
The pa[)ers which accompany our memorial will verify

Memorial to Congress in 1775. 7

the statement we have exhibited, and we trust will ex-
oulpate usfioiu any imputation of misbehavior in this re
spect, for from state, and these papers, it will clearly ap-
pear that the town did not accede to the pioposal of sup-
plies, made by Capt. Wallace, notwithstanding the dan-
gerous and alarming situation they were in, until the com-
mittee of the honorable the Continental Congress had
given their unanimous opinion that the Ships of War
here might be supplied on tlu; conditions specified.

That afterward by an act of the General Assembly they
were allowed to do it, and very lately the committee of
safety of this Colony have, by their vote, j)erniitted the
Town Council to supply Capt. Wallace's ships with pro-
visions agreeably to the said act of the General Assem-

Your memorialists would now crave leave to ofler to
your honors the following reasons which we conceive will
evince that the supplies of the Ships of War here has
been attended with great advantage, n»>t only to this Col-
ony but to the common cause, and that the discontinu-
ance thereof may be attended with fatal consequences to
your memorialists, and with great disa<lvantage to this
Colony, and wound the common cause in which we are

In consequence of the Ships of War being supplied
with provisions they have lain since that time in quiet in
the harbor, and thirty vessels have had an opportunity to
pass on the East and West side of the bay, and to import
military stores and provision of every kind, for the use of
the Continental Army in this Colony without any moles-
tation or annoyance from these ships, and it may be fairly
infeired that a continuance of those supplies, upon the
same terms, and under the same regulations, will still be
attended with the same good effects. Whereas should
supplies be withheld from them, they might not only in-

8 Memorial to Congress in 1775.

terrupt the communication between the West Indies and!
the other Colonies, with this Colony, but carry devasta-
tion and destruction into abnost every part of it, where
the depth of water in the river and bay would admit
them, a cruel and shnckiuLi' instance of which they have
recently exhibited to us, in the conflagriition of Ja nes-

The town of Newport, the capital of this Colon}^ con-
sists of eleven hundred wooden dwelling houses and up-
wards, exclusive of stores, warehouses, &c., and is situated
so near the shore that the Ships of War may, and often
do, approach within pistol shot of some of those build-
ings, and if this indulgence had not been granted, the
ruin and destruction of this town must have ensued, and
many of its inhabitants perished with it, and a severe
wound been given to the cause in which America is en-
gaged ; for your memorialists beg leave to state that the
town of Newport ?'tseZ/" pays nearly one sixth part of the-
whole taxes of the Colony, and will probably (if not de-
stroyed) pay tliat proportion of the charges and ex-
penses which have already arisen, or that shall arise in
the present contest with Great Britain and America; the
preservation of said town therefore is not only of infinite
advantage to the ]^resent owners and possessors thereof,
but to the Colony in general, for if it should be destroyed
the burden will be greater on the other part of the Colony.

Your memoiialists farther observe, that the weak, de-
fenceless state of the town is greatly owing to our forts
being dismantled and the cannon removed, some of which
are employed in the general service, by many of our ac-
tive men having enlisted in the Continental army, more
than any other ])lace on the Continent in proportion to their
nunibeis, who have carried with them all their military
stores lielonning to the town, as well as to private per-
sons still reaiHining in it, who have cheerfully pai'ted with.

Memorial to Congress in 1775. 9^

their arms and stores for the support of the common

Your memorialists would also further observe, that they
cannot be persuaded to believe that the destruction of the
town of Newport can have, at any season, or at any time,,
the least tendency to promote or serve the common cause,
more especially at this inclement season of the year, when^
the inhabitants not knowing where to findshelter, it being
impossible for them, at this time, to move into the coun-^
try, their ruin would be certain, and man}- persons would'
inevitably perish by the seveiity of the season.

Your memorialists would, for the reasons aforesaid,,
most earnestly request the Continental Congress that
they might still be permitted to supply the ships, at least
for a season, and they would beg leave to be understood
to ask this indulgence for these reasons only; and to as-
sure the Honorable the Congress that they ask the favor
of further supplying the Ships of War here as usual,,
only from necessity and regard for the common cause, and
that they have not given them any aid, countenance or
assistance, in any respect whatever, unless supplying'
them with the approbation and consent aforementioned,,
should be so considered, whatever misrepresentation may
have been made and given of the conduct of this town
to the contrary by any pei'sons here, that a similar indul-
gence has been given to places less exposed and not sO'
defenceless as we are, not only on account of our cannon
and military store.s, and many of our effective men being
removed from us, but on account of our insular situation.

To conclude, trusting and confiding in the justice, wis-
dom, humanity and care of the honorable the Continental
Congress, your memorialists cheerfully submit themselves,,
their wives, children and fortunes to your determination,
not doubting but that you will take our distressed circum-
stances into your deliberate consideration, and make suchs,

'J.0 Memorial to Congress in 1775.

•orders and resolutions as you in your wisdom shall ad-
judge convenient and necessary for their relief, consistent
with the general happiness and safety of the country.
And your memorialists as in duty bound will ever pray.
Newport, R. I., December, 26, 1775.

♦ « ♦ « ♦

The Sons of Liberty, South Kingstown, R. I.^
1774.— "On the 29th of October, 1774, the sons of liberty
in the western part of South Kingstown, met together at
Mr. Jonathan Babcock's, Itinholder, about four miles
west of Little Rest, on the country road, where, in a
Jujst abhorrence of tyranny, and all its open and secret
abettors, they erected a pole sacred to liberty, 85 feet
in height, with a neat VANE on the top, with the word
liberty, in capitals, thereon ; as also a label on the
• body of the pole, neatl}- painted, with the following in-
-scription, 'liberty in opposition to arbitrary tax-
ation.' There was a large and respectable concourse of
people assembled together, who expressed great satisfac-
tion at having this mark of their detestation to SLAVERY
erected. After the pole was raised, and properly secured,
•and success drank to the free-born sons (and supporters) of
liberty through every quarter of the universe, and the
-downfall and destruction of all TORY jacobites, every
person returned, without the least disoider, to his own
house.' — [Newport Mercury, Nov. 14, 1774.

The first church incoiporated by the General Assem-
bly of Rhode Island was Trinity of Newport, in Februa-
ry, 1769. I'he second, the Benevolent Congregational at
l^rovideiice, Oct. 1770, and the third, the Second Congre-
vgational at Newport, June, 1771.


(^EVERAL copies of the Providence Gazette for 1767
)^ and 1778 having come into my possession, I send you
a few abstracts from them which may interest your read-
ers. H.


[Fro7n the Prov. Gazette, March 28th, 1767.1

''Newport, March 23.

The friends of liberty, on the approach of the 18th
day of March, instant, the anniversary of the repeal of
the late stamp act, were determined, on that memorable
day, to make some public exhibitions demonstrative of
their invariable adhesion to the cause of libert)'' and their
country, — and of theii- inviolable faithfnlness and loyalty
to his sacred majesty GEORGE the third. — and of sin-
cere affection for their brethren and fellow subjects, the
inhabitants of England : — Accordingly the Tree of LIB-
ERTY, being well pruned, a flag was displayed at the
top, and a large copper plate affixed to the trunk, with
this inscription, viz.: TREE OF LIBERTY. STAMP
ACT REPEALED Ma^rch 18th, 17u6.

Flags were hoisted at Foi't George, at the Battery
erected at the Point, &c., and the sf'ipping in the haibor
displayed their colors. A royal salute was fired fi'om tlie
point Battery ; the bells were rung, &c. The Honorable
Metcalf Bowler, Esq., in the evening gave an elegant en-

12 Abstracts from the Providence Gazette.

tertainment to a number of gentlemen, true friends of


[JFrom the Providence Gazette of August 29th^ 1767.1

•'We hear from Newport, that on Wednesday last,,
about 8 o'clock in the evening, a large brigantine, belong-
ing to Messrs. Evan and Francis Malbone, commanded by
Mr. John Malbone, son of said Evan, homeward bound
from Jamaica, with a number of passengers on board,
took fire between Point Judith and the Light House, and
was, with hei" cargj, totally consumed, with five passen-
gers, being three women and two children, who were
burnt in the vessel's cabin. She was thb finest vessel in
the Colony, being 210 tons, and built after the best man-
ner, and fully loaded with Rum, Sugar and Molasses,
with a large quantity of cash, besides, on board, as there
were many passengers. This melancholy affair (as we
are told) happened as follows : — Supper being set in the
cabin, a negro went to draw some rum between decks,
there being a great quantity there. The rum took fire
from his candle, which could not be extinguished by their
utmost efforts. The cask soon burnt, and the flames were
instantly communicated to every part of the vessel..
Nothing remained but to save their lives, and even that
was attended with great difficulty, although the weather
was good and the sea smooth. They could not get out
the great boat, but only two small ones, and the flames
and heat in and about the cabin was so intense, that with
the greatest danger of their lives, the men got out of the
cabin two women, but could not do more for saving the
rest in the cabin, altho' their shrieks and cries called for
a helping hand. They quitted the vessel and went on
shore ; she burnt all night, and then sunk in fifteen fath-

Abstracts from the Providejice Crazeite. 13

•oms of water, and everything on board, even the money,
was lost. This is the short account we have received ;
(perhaps a more particular detail of this sorrowful affair
will be published hereafter."


[From the Piovidence G-azette of May 30, 1778.]

"Sunday night last some of the Enemy's Shipping stole
up the Bay from Rhode Jsland undiscovered ; next morn-
ing at daybreak they landed about 600 men between the
towns of Bristol and Warren, and marched immediately
through Warren to Kikemuit, where a number of flat-
bottomed boats and a galley were repairing, which they
burnt, together with a grist-mill ; then returning to War-
ren they entered the houses, grossly insulting the inhabi-
tants, most of which they plundered of clothing, bedding,
furniture, &c. They afterward sat fire to the meeting-
house, parsonage and several other houses, wliich were

Online LibraryH. E. (Henry Edward) TurnerThe Rhode Island historical magazine (Volume yr.1885-1886) → online text (page 1 of 25)