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Interrogatories used by the Royal Navy when Questioning Sailors of
Captured Ship in the War
Submitted by R. Taylor
To be administered on behalf of Our Sovereign Lord George the Third, by
Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, King,
Defender of the Faith. To all Commanders, Masters, Officers, mariners, and
other Persons found on board any Ships and Vessels, which may have been, or
shall be seized or taken as Prize by any of His Majesty's Ships or Vessels,
which have or shall have Commissions or Letters of Marque and Reprisals,
concerning such captured Ships, Vessels, or any Goods, Wares, and
Merchandizes on board the same; examined as Witnesses in preparatory during
the present hostilities with the United States of America. Let each witness
be interrogated to every of the following Questions; and their answers to
each Interrogatory written down.
Where were you born, and
where have you lived for these seven years past? Where do you live? and
how long have you lived in that place? To what Prince or State, or to
whom are you, or have you been a subject, and of what Cities or Towns
have you be en admitted a Burgher or Freeman, and at what time and in
what manner were you so admitted? How long have you resided there since
you were admitted a Burgher or Freeman, or where have you resided since?
What did you pay for your admission? Are you a married man, and if
married, where do your wife and family reside?
Were you present at the time
of the taking and seizing the ship or her lading, or any of the goods or
merchandizes concerning which you are now examined, and Commission? What
and from whom?
In what place, Latitude, or
port, and in what year, month, day, was the ship and goods, concerning
which you are now examined, taken and seized? Upon what pretence and for
what reasons were they seized? Into what place or port were they
carried, and under what colours did the said ship sail? What other
colours had you on board, and for what reason had you such other
colours? Was any resistance made at the time when the said ship was
taken; and if yes how many guns were fired, and by whom, and by what
ship or ships were you taken? Was such vessel a ship of war, or a vessel
acting without any Commission as you believe? Were any other, and what
ships, in sight at the time of capture?
What is the name of the
Master or commander of the Ship or Vessel taken? How long have you know
the said Master, and who appointed him to Command of the said ship?
Where did such Master take possession of her, and at what time, and what
was the name of the person who delivered the possession to the said
Master? Where doth he live? Where is the said Master's fixed place of
abode? If he has no fixed place of abode, then let him be asked, Where
was his last place of abode, and where does he generally reside? How
long has he lived there? Where was he born , and of whom is he now a
subject? Is he married, if yes, where does his wife and family reside?
Of what tonnage or burthen
is the Ship which has been taken? What was the number of Mariners, and
of what country were the said Seamen or mariners? Did they all come on
board at the same port, or at different ports, and who shipped or hired
them, and when and where.
Had you, or nay of the
Officers or Mariners belonging to the said Ship or Vessel. concerning
which you are now examined, any and what part, share or interest in the
said Ship or her Lading? If yes, set forth who and what goods or
interest you or they have? Did you belong to the said Ship or vessel at
the time she was seized and taken? In what capacity did you belong to
her? How long have you known her? When and where did you first see her,
and where was she built?
What is the name of the
Ship? How long has she been so called? Do you know of any other name or
Names by which she has been called; If yes what were they; Ha s she any
Passport or Sea brief on board, and from whom? To what Ports or Places
did she sail during her said Voyage before she was taken? Where did her
last Voyage begin, and where was the said Voyage to have ended? Set
forth the quality of every cargo t he ship has carried to the time of
her capture from the time you have known her, and what ports such
cargoes have been delivered at? From what Ports and at what time,
particularly from the last clearing Port, did the said Ship sail,
previously to the capture? Under whose direction and management has she
usually been, with respect to her employment in Trade? With whom do you
correspond on concerns of the Vessel and her cargoes? I what country was
she built, as far as you know, or have reason to believe?
What Lading did the said
Ship carry out at the time of her first setting sail on her last voyage,
and what particular sort of Lading and goods had she on board at the
time when she was taken? In what year and in what month was the same put
on boar d? set forth the different species of Lading, and the Quantities
of each sort.
Who were the Owners of the
Ship or Vessel, concerning which you are now examined, at the time when
she was seized? How do you know that they were the Owners of the said
Ship at that time? Of what Nation or Country are such Owners by birth?
Where do they reside, and where do their Wives and Families reside? How
long have they resided there? where did they reside before, to the best
of your knowledge? To whom are they Subjects?
Was any Bill of sale made,
and by whom, to the aforesaid Owners of the said Ship; and if any such
was made, in what month and year? Where, and in the presence of what
Witnesses, was such Bill of Sale made? Was any and what engagement
entered into concerning the Purchase further than what appears upon the
Bill of sale? If yes, was it verbal or in writing? Where did you last
see it? and what has become of it?
Was the said Lading put on
board in one Port and at one time, or at several Ports and at several
times, and at what Ports, by name? Set forth what quantities of each
sort of Goods were shipped at each Port.
What are the names of the
respective Laders or Owners, or Consignees, of the said Goods? What
Countrymen are they? Where do they now live and carry on their business
or trade? How long have they resided there? And where were the said
Goods to be delivered, and for whose real account, risk or benefit? have
any of the said Consignees or laders any, and what Interest, in the said
goods? If yes, whereon do you found your belief that they have such
Interest? Can you take upon yourself to swear that you believe, that at
the time of the lading the Cargo, and at the present time, and also if
the said Goods shall be restored and unladen at the destined Ports, the
Goods did, do and will belong to the same Persons, and to none others?
What is the ground of your knowledge or belief?
How many Bills of Lading
were signed for the Goods seized on board the said S hip? Were any of
those Bills of Lading false or colourable, or were any bills of Lading
signed which were different in any respect from those which were on
Board the Ship, at the time she was taken? What were the contents of
such other Bills of Lading, and what became of them?
Are there, in Great Britain,
any Bills of Lading, Invoices, Letters or Instruments, relative to the
Ship and Goods, concerning which you are now examined? if yes, set forth
where they are, and in whose possession, and what is the purport
thereof, and when they were brought or sent into this Kingdom?
Was there any Charter-Party
signed for the Voyage in which the Ship, concerning which you are now
examined, was seized and taken? What became thereof? When, where and
between whom, was such Charty-Party made? What were the contents of it?
What Papers, Bills of
lading, Letters, or other Writings, were on board the Ship at the time
she took her departure from the last clearing Port, before her being
taken as Prize? Were any of them burnt, torn, thrown over board,
destroyed or cancelled, concealed or attempted to be concealed, an when,
and by whom, and who was then present?
Has the ship, concerning
which you are know examined, been at any time, and when seized as prize,
and condemned as such? If yes, set forth into what port she was carried,
and by whom and by what authority, or on what account was she condemned?
Have you sustained any loss
by the seizing and tasking the ship, concerning which you are know
examined? If yes, in what manner do you compute such, your loss? have
you already received any indemnity, satisfaction, or promise of
satisfaction, for any part of the damage which you have sustained, or
may sustain by this capture and detention, and when, and from whom?
Is the said Ship or Goods,
or any, and what part, insured? If yes, for what Voyage is such
Insurance made, and at what premium, and when and by what Persons, and
in what Country was such Insurance made?
In case you had arrived at
your destined Port, would your Cargo, or any Part thereof, on being
unladen, have immediately become the property of the consignees or nay
other Person, and whom? Or was the Lader to take the chance of the
Market for the Sale of his Goods?
Let each Witness be
interrogated of the Growth, Produce, and manufacture of what Country and
place was the lading of the Ship or Vessel, concerning which you are
know examined, or any part thereof?
Whether all the said Cargo,
or any part thereof, was taken from Shore or Quay, or removed or trans
shipped from one Boat, Barque, Vessel or Ship, to another? From what and
to what Shore, Quay, Boat, Barque, Vessel, or Ship, and when and where,
was the same so done?
Are there in any Country,
besides Great Britain, and where, or on board any and what Ship or
Ships, Vessel or Vessels, other than the Ship and Vessel, concerning
which you are now examined, any Bills of Lading, Invoices, Letters,
Instruments, Papers, or Documents, relative to the said Ship or Vessel
and cargo, and of what Nature are such Bills of lading, Invoices,
Letters, Instruments, Papers, or Documents, and what are the Contents?
Were any Papers delivered
out of the said Ship or Vessel, and carried away in any manner
whatsoever? And when and by whom, and to whom, and in whose custody,
possession, or power, do you believe the same now are?
Was Bulk broken, during the
Voyage in which you were taken, or since capture of the said Ship? And
when and where, by whom, and by whose orders? And for what purpose, and
in what manner?
Were any Passengers on board
the aforesaid Ship? Were any of then secreted at the time of Capture?
Who were the Passengers by name? Of what Nation, rank, profession, or
occupation? Had they any Commission? For what purpose, and from whom?
From what place were they taken on board, and when? To what place were
they finally destined, and upon what business? Had any, and which, of
the Passengers any and what property or concern, or authority, directly
or indirectly, regarding the Ship and Cargo? Were there any Officers,
Soldiers or Mariners, secreted on board, and for what reason were they
secreted? Were any of His Britannic Majesty's Subjects o n board, or
secreted or confined at the time of capture? How long and why?
Were, and are, all the
Passports, Sea Briefs, Charter-Parties, Bills of Sale, Invoices and
Papers, which were found on board entirely true and fair? Or are any of
them false or colourable? Do you know of any matter or circumstance to
affect their credit? Were they obtained for this ship only? And upon
what oath, or affirmation of the persons therein described, or were they
delivered to, or on behalf of the person or persons who appear to have
been sworn or to have affirmed thereto, without their having ever, in
fact, made any such oath or affirmation? How long a time were they to
last? Was any duty or fee payable and paid for the same? And is there
any duty or fee to be paid on the renewal thereof? Have such Passports
been renewed, and how often? And has the duty or fee been payable for
such renewal? was the Ship in a Port in the Country where the Passports
and Sea Briefs were granted? And if not, where was the Ship at t hat
time? had any person on board any Let-Pass or Letters of Safe-conduct?
If yes, from whom and for what business?
If it should appear that
there are in Ireland, or the British American Colonies, or in any other
Place or Country, besides Great Britain, any Bills of Lading, Invoices,
Instruments, or Papers relative to the Ship and Goods, concerning which
the Witness is now examined:- Then Interrogate, hoe were they brought
into such a Place or Country? In whose possession are they, and do they
differ from any of the Papers on board, or in great Britain, or Ireland,
or elsewhere, and in what particulars do they differ? Have you written
or signed any Letters or Papers, concerning the Ship and her Cargo? If
yes, what was their Purport? To whom were they written and sent, and
what is become of them?
Towards what Port or Place
was the Ship steering her course at the Time of her being first pursued
and taken? Was her Course altered upon the appearance of the Vessel by
which she was taken? Was her Course at all times, when Weather would
permit, directed to the Place or Port for which she appears to have been
destined by the Ship Papers? Was the Ship before, or at the time of her
capture, sailing beyond, or wide of the said Place or Port to which she
was so destined by the said Ship Papers? At what distance was she
therefrom? Was her course altered at any and, at what time, and to what
other Port or Place, and for what reason?
By whom, and to whom hath
the said Ship been sold or transferred, and how often? At what time and
at what place, and for what sum or consideration, hath such sum or
consideration been paid or satisfied? Was the sum paid, or to be paid, a
fair and true equivalent? Or what security, or securities, have been
given for the payment of the same, and by whom, and where do they live
now? Do you know or believe in your conscience, such sale or transfer
has been truly made? And for the purpose of covering or concealing the
real property? Do you verily believe that if the Ship should be
restored, she will belong to the persons now asserted to be the Owners,
and to none others? Are there any private Agreements for the return of
the Ship to her former Owners at the conclusion of the war, or at any
What Guns are mounted on
board the Ship, and what arms and Ammunition were belonging to her? Why
was she so armed? Were there on board any other Guns, Mortars, Balls,
Shells, Handgranades, Muskets, Carbines, Fuzees, Halberts, Spontoons,
Swords, Bayonets , Locks for Muskets, Flints, Ram-rods, Belts
Cartridges, Cartridge-Boxes, Pouches. Gun-Powder, Salt Petre, Nitre,
Camp Equipage, Military Tools, Uniforms, Soldiers Clothing or
Accoutrements, or any sort of Warlike or Naval Stores? Were any such
Warlike or Naval Stores, or things, thrown overboard, to prevent
suspicion at the time of the Capture? And were, and are any such Warlike
Stores, before described, concealed on board under the Name of
Merchandize, or any other colourable appellation, in the Ships Papers?
If yes, what are the marks on the Casks, Bales, and Packages, in which
they were concealed? Are any of the before-named articles, and which,
for the sole use of any Fortress or Garrison in the Port or Place to
which such a Ship was destined? Do you know or have you heard of any
Ordinance, Placart, or law existing, in such Kingdom or State,
forbidding the Exportation of the same by private persons without a
Licence? Were such Warlike or Naval Stores put on board by any Public
Authority? When, and where, were they put on board?
What is the whole which you
know or believe, according to the best of your knowledge and belief,
regarding the real and true property and destination of the Ship and
Cargo concerning which you are now examined, at the time of Capture?
Did the said Ship, on the
Voyage in which she was captured, or on, or during any, and what former
Voyage or Voyages, sail under the Convoy of any Ship or Ships of War, or
other armed Vessel or Vessels? If yes, Interrogate for what reason, or
purpose, did she sail under such Convoy? Of what force was or were such
convoying Ship or Ships? And to what State or Country did such Ship or
Ships belong? What Instructions or Directions had you, or did you
receive on each and every such Voyages, when under Convoy, respecting
your sailing or keeping in company with such armed or convoying Ship or
Ships, and from whom did you receive such Instructions or Directions?
had you any and what Instructions or directions, and from whom, for
resisting or endeavouring to avoid or escape from capture, or for
destroying, concealing, or refusing to deliver up your Ship's Documents
and Papers? Or any and what other papers, that might be , or were put on
board your said Ship? If yes, Interrogate particularly as to the Tenor
of such Instructions, and all particulars relating thereto? let the
Witness be asked if he is in possession of such Instructions, or Copies
thereof, and, if yes, let him be directed to leave the same with the
Examiner, to be annexed to his deposition.
Did the said Ship, during
the voyage in which we was captured, or on or during any and what former
voyage or Voyages, sail or attempt to enter any Port under Blockade by
the arms or Forces of any, and which of the Belligerent Powers? If yes,
when did you first learn or hear of such Port being so blockaded, and
were you at any and at what time, and by whom warned no to proceed to,
or to attempt to enter such blockaded Port? What Conversation or other
Communication passed thereon? And what course did you pursue upon, and
after, being so warned off.
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