THE CAPTURE OF THE SLOOP DIANA BY FRENCH PRIVATEERS, ONE OF THE EPISODES WHICH LED TO THE UNITED STATES' QUASI-WAR WITH FRANCE. A COLLECTION OF SEVEN MANUSCRIPT DOCUMENTS AND ONE PARTLY PRINTED DOCUMENT, REGARDING THE CASE .

THE CAPTURE OF THE SLOOP DIANA BY FRENCH PRIVATEERS, ONE OF THE EPISODES WHICH LED TO THE UNITED STATES' QUASI-WAR WITH FRANCE. A COLLECTION OF SEVEN MANUSCRIPT DOCUMENTS AND ONE PARTLY PRINTED DOCUMENT, REGARDING THE CASE .

[Alexandria, Virginia; Jean Rabel & Port de Paix, Saint Domingue: 1797-1798]. Manuscript copies, with corrections, of eight different documents related to the voyage of the Sloop Diana, from Alexandria, Virginia, under command of Capt. Henry Nicoll, bound for Cape Nicholas Mole and Port au Prince on December 15, 1797, with a cargo of flour, bread, butter, spermaceti candles and onions. The sloop was captured by the French privateer Flying Fish off the coast of Cape Nicholas Mole, forced into the harbor at Jean Rabel, and some of its cargo plundered. After several months, and more losses, the Diana was allowed to sail for home only to be captured again by the French privateer Le Trepied.
The documents include:
1. [Single sheet, partly printed, completed in ms.] An insurance agreement between James Patton and James Dykes [owners of the cargo], and the underwriters Wm. Hodgson [et al] for the "body, tackle, apparel, and other furniture, of the good Sloop called the Diana" during its voyage from Alexandria to Mole St. Nicholas and Port au Prince, and the return, value of the policy $2000.
2. [Single sheet, approx. 100 words] ALS from Patton and Dykes to Messrs. Wm. Wilson and John Janney, dated Alexandria, Jan. 14, 1798, explaining that the underwriters of their insurance policy have admitted that the sloop was abandoned "on having advice of her capture," and submitting Capt. Nicoll's letter regarding her losses. Patton & Dykes request Wilson & Janney award them their freight and all expenses with full compensation for damages.
3. [Folio sheets, 4 pp., approx. 1300 words; some chipping along outer page margins and lower page edge, with minor loss] Capt. Nicoll's oath, sworn before Cleon Moore, Notary Public, Alexandria, Virginia, June 6, 1798, describing the capture and plunder of the sloop Diana. Attached to this document, with stitching at left margin, is a 2 pp. account record of sales of part of the cargo and other disbursements for the sloop during its captivity.
4. [Document in French, 3 pp., approx. 370 words] Deposition from Capt. Nicoll regarding the seizure of his vessel.
5. [Document in French, 1 p., approx. 100 words] Port de Paix, Saint Domingue. Granting permission to Capt. Nicoll and his crew of the Diana to return to Alexandria, Virginia.
6. [Two folio sheets, folded, bound together at left margin with ribbon ties, [7] pp., (final page blank)]. An English translation of the case, made by Henry Moore, "Extract from the Register of deliberations of the Tribunal of Prizes established at the Cape in virtue of the Order of the Commission of the French Government at the Windward Islands, dated the 27th Vendmiarie, the sixth year." A record of the case before Pierre Adelon, Jacques Hugues nephew, Pierre Rene Cormeaux, Judges of the Tribunal of Prizes, sitting at the Cape regarding the papers relative to the American Sloop the Diana of Alexandria, Captain Henry Nicoll, "taken and carried into Port de Paix by the French privateer le Trepied, Captain Antoine Pellegrin." Moore lists the documents he was shown related to this case, including the letter of protest from Capt. Henry Nicoll regarding the "unlawful arrestation of the said Vessel, by the Privateer le Poison Volant (the Flying Fish) Captain Hardison on the sixth of January last," and the bargain he had struck to be allowed to sail on to St. Thomas. The Sloop Diana was seized again by Capt. Pellegrin and his crew on April 8. The Tribunal declared that "considering that the neutral property of the said Sloop Diana of Alexandria is proved by the Judgment of the Tribunal," she was "not a good prize" and should be returned to Capt. Nicoll. The French privateer was declared to have a right to the cargo. In his defense, Capt. Nicoll appeared and stated that he had "sailed from the Capes of Virginia in the said Sloop, laden with Flour, Bread, and other such Things, to steer the course for Gonaives" on December 21, 1797. On passing the point of the Cape Mole Saint Nicholas, he was chased and captured by the French privateer "Flying Fish," and brought to Jean Rabel on the coast of St. Domingo. The captain further states that while he was defending himself and his crew before the Tribunal, the French crew pillaged his ship. Once he was allowed to leave port, he was again captured by another French privateer, "The Trepied," and further damage was done to his ship. The translator Henry Moore attests to the veracity of his translation which he completed at the request of Messrs. James Patton and James Dykes of Alexandria, merchants [and owners of the cargo], on the final leaf, with seal of Cleon Moore, Notary Public, Alexandria, Virginia.
7. [Single sheet, approx. 100 words, dated July 6, 1798] Wm. Wilson and John Janney's opinion regarding the underwriters obligations to James Patton and James Dykes.
8. [Single sheet, approx. 300 words, dated July 9, 1798] A bond between James Patton & James Dykes, and Wm. Hodgson, et al., for $3000, noting the decision of Wilson and Janney regarding losses on the Sloop Diana and its cargo. Item #65284

Capt. Nicolls, his crew, and the sloop Diana were finally allowed to depart for Alexandria on May 14 1798 after having been detained a total of three months and 20 days [see Senate Documents, 61st Congress, 1st Session, Mar. 15-Aug. 5, 1909, Document 84, for further information on this case, still being argued about in 1909, and Greg Williams' book, "The French Assault on American Shipping, 1793-1813," [McFarland: 2009], p. 118]. Despite attempts to protect American shipping from aggressions by both France and Great Britain, via the Neutrality Act of 1794 and other means, skirmishes, impressments and confiscations continued. The sloop Diana was one of the episodes that led to the Quasi-War with France.

Price: $6,500.00

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