Monday, September 23, 2013

Such Liberties: Newport, Sept. 23

The September 23, 1776 issue of Rhode Island newspaper The Newport Mercury reported the meandering travels of two British prisoners captured by American forces in Canada.  The freedom of movement enjoyed by enemy prisoners, and the wages paid to British mariners captured and promptly released from merchant vessels taken as “prizes,” raised questions for printer Solomon Southwick

NEWPORT, September 23.
Last Tuesday [September 17] arrived here, Mr. Joseph Kinyon and Mr. William Clarke, who were two of the men made prisoners at the attack on Quebec; on the 6 of June they, with 8 more, were taken out of prison to go on a fishing voyage to Gaspee, which place Kinyon and Clarke, with 4 others, left in a boat the 4 of August, and got to Casco Bay, from whence they travelled by land.  As they came along, they lodged at Newbury-Post [Massachusetts], where they were informed that a number of prisoners who had been taken in prizes, had been paid their wages, &c. and allowed to purchase a vessel to go home in, but went immediately to Halifax, and that another set were then about purchasing another vessel for the same purpose—Query, Does the enemy give out people such liberties?!
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