The Liverpool Packet's Letter of Marque

This is the text of the 1813 letter of marque for this remarkable little schooner which conservative estimates credit with 50 captures of American vessels in the War of 1812. This was not the first letter of marque for the Packet. Previous letters were issued for her previous captains such as Thomas Freeman and the famous Joseph Barss Jnr. Caleb Seely was her captain for her very successful last two years of the war. The original of this document, complete with a large red seal of the Vice Admiralty Court is held by the Public Archives of Nova Scotia in Halifax, MG 20, Vol. 701, #21.
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Sir JOHN SHERBROOKE, Knight of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Lieutenant-Governor, and Commander in Chief, in and over His Majesty's Province of Nova Scotia, and its Dependencies, vice Admiral of the same, &c &c

To The Worshipful and Honourable ALEXANDER CROKE, L.L.D Judge and Commissionary of His Majesty's Court of Vice Admiralty for the Province &c &c &c

Whereas, by His Majesty's Commission under the Great Seal of Great Britain bearing Date the 13th Day of October in the year of Our Lord 1812, and in the 52d Year of His Majesty's Reign, the Lords Commissioners for executing the Office of Lord High Admiral are required and authorized to issue forth and grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal to any of His Majesty's Subjects or others, whom we shall deem fitly qualified in that Behalf for apprehending, seizing, and taking the Ships, Vessels and Goods belonging to the United States of America, or to any Persons being Subjects of the United States of America (save and except for any Ships to which license has been granted) and to bring the same to Judgement in any of His Majesty's Courts of Admiralty with his Dominions, for Proceedings and Adjudication and Condemnation to be thereupon had, according to the Court of Admiralty, and the Laws of Nations; These are, therefore, to will and require you to cause a Letter of Marque and Reprisals to be issued out of the High Court of Admiralty unto Caleb Seely Commander of the Liverpool Packet Burthern of about sixty seven tons, mounted with five Carriage Guns carrying Shot of twelve, six & four Pounds Weight and navigated with Thirty men, whereas the said Caleb Seely is commander, to apprehend, seize, and take the Ships, Vessels and Goods Belonging to the United States of America, or to any persons being Subjects of France, according to His Majesty's Commission and Instruction aforesaid. And you are to keep an exact Journal of Proceedings, and therein particularly to take notice of all Prizes taken, the nature of such Prizes, the Time and Place of their being taken, the value of them as near as you can judge, as also the Situation, Motion and Strength of the Americans, as well as you can discover by the best Intelligence you can get; of which you shall from Time to Time as you shall have Opportunity, to transmit an Account to our Secretary. Provide always that security be given according to His Majesty's Instructions before mentioned; the Said Letters of Marque and Reprisal to continue in force until further orders, for which this shall be your Warrant.

Given under my Hand, and the Great Seal of the Province this 19th day of November 1812 in the 54th year of His Majesty's Reign.
By His Excellency's Command.

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Copyright Dan Conlin 2000. Last Revised August 21, 2000