The Privateer Yankee, Royal Bounty, and Henry Molyneaux


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Submitted by Brian Molyneaux - molyneau@winfirst.com


The Privateer Yankee, Royal Bounty, and Henry Molyneaux

The following transcription is from the Journal of Isabella (Robinson) Warren. The journal is in the possession of Isabella Robinson Warren's great grandson, Peter Warren. The transcription was done by Brian Molyneaux from a scan of two pages of the journal which recount the attack by the Privateer Yankee on the Royal Bounty August 1st, 1812.

There are several newspaper accounts of this story which are referenced on the Islandregister ships page in the entry for the Royal Bounty. Of the four passengers said to be aboard, only three are named in the newspaper accounts (David Moore, Mary and James Hutton). A fourth passenger is mentioned but not named and in one account is indicated as a man.

08/01/1812

Royal Bounty

Hull, G. Britain

P.E.I.

"Royal Bounty" from Hull England to P.E.I., Captain Henry Gamble, was attacked by an American privateer off St Pierre and Miquelon on 1 Aug., 1812. The Royal Bounty had an 18 man crew and 4 passengers, one of them a pregnant woman. David Moore (1753-1828) of Dorset, England and Milton, P.E.I., his daughter Mary and her husband James Hutton were three of the passengers. This incident is noted by a Newfoundland newspaper, the Charlottetown Weekly Recorder, and the Nova Scotia Royal Gazette Halifax, 9 Sept., 1812 page 3. - also - Weekly Recorder 19 Sept., 1812 page 7: "The Ship "Royal Bounty" 360 tons, consigned to Charles Binns, Charlottetown sailed from Hull 8 June, 1812 and was captured and burned by the "Yankee", Capt. Oliver Wilson, of Rhode Island 31 July." [GC].

Within the Molyneaux family, it is often said that Henry Molyneaux was the fourth passenger. Henry did marry David Moore's daughter Sarah in 1813 so there is a relationship between Henry and the Moore family but, to-date, I've yet to find any clear evidence that Henry was the fourth passenger. This journal entry is interesting in that it says a Molyneaux was aboard the Royal Bounty.

I would welcome contact by anyone with more information on the Royal Bounty or Henry Molyneaux.

Isabella (Robinson) Warren was born August 30th 1861, married John Oliver Warren, died August 6th 1945. Her journal has been passed down to Peter Warren from his father, James Preston Warren (Sept. 17, 1915-May 29, 2001).

It should be noted that Isabella's journal does not provide sources and there are errors - for example, the Moore's came from Dorset, not Devonshire. According to Gary Carroll, Mary Moore was on PEI prior to the Royal Bounty incident keeping her father's books. Henry Molyneaux can also be documented on PEI as early as 1810. Assuming that they were all aboard, then they traveled to England from PEI and then returned aboard the Royal Bounty.


The Moore Family -

"In the year 1808 Dr. David Moore with his wife and family, excepting their daughter Mary, emigrated from Devonshire, England to Mass. Being still loyal Britishers after a short sojourn in the United States, they steered their bark for Charlottetown Prince Edward Island, which at that time was mostly forest primeval. While in Mass one daughter, Hannah married a man named Inkpen & remained there."

"After getting the family settled in Ch'town, Dr. Moore went back to England & returned with his daughter, Mary & a young man named Molyneaux. While crossing the ocean they were attacked by pirates. Having some guns & ammunition on board for some time they tried to defend themselves, Mary, too, assisting by handing up the powder."

"However they were finally captured & but for the fact that Dr. Moore was a Free Mason high up in the order, they would have, to use the piratical term, been "obliged to walk the plank". Instead they placed them in an open boat giving the Dr. a defective compass & Mary her feather bed. They took from them all their other possessions but some sterling silver teaspoons that Mary concealed in the front of her waist. These are still owned by some of their descendants. After drifting for some time they landed at Newfoundland & later on succeeded in making their way back to Ch'town greatly to the relief of all the family. They afterwards moved out to Milton some seven miles from the town and there several of their descendants still reside."


The Ships Log for the Privateer Yankee has survived. It was published in the book "Journals of two cruises aboard the U.S. Privateer Yankee in the War of 1812" By A. Wanderer. 1967 - The Macmillan Company.

Included at the end of the Journal for the first cruise (which includes the Royal Bounty incident) is a picture of a letter which reads:

District and Port of Bristol, October 13th, 1812

I, Oliver Wilson, commander of the brig Yankee, do solemnly swear the forgoing is a true journal of the late course of said brig and that all the material occurrences on the course are therein faithfully recorded. So help me God.
Oliver Wilson

Sworn to before
Charles Collins


The Journal for 31 July and 1 Aug, 1812 read as follows:

"17 days out Friday 31st, July 1812 - These 24 hours light winds, clear sky, smooth sea and pleasant weather. At 1 a.m. tacked ship to the eastward. At 2 saw our prize the Harmony, distant 4 leagues to the leeward; the Henry was also visible from aloft. At 10 Isaac Butler called out from masthead a sail bearing E. by N. 1/2 N. distant about 5 leagues. Set all sail in chase. At 11 saw land, supposed to be Cape Pine. At 1/2 past 10 George Disley saw another sail bearing N.E. Got out all the sweeps in chase of the first mentioned vessel and rowed the brig at the rate of 3 knots per hour. At meridian we were still in chase of a large English ship, distant about 4 miles upon the lee bow. The land all in sight from deck."

"18 days out Saturday 1st, August 1812 - At 1 A.M. we prepared for action and ran down upon the weather quarter of the ship mentioned in yesterday's journal, who filled away and also prepared for action. We immediately fired our 1st Division, upon which the ship returned a broadside, and the action became general. The officers and marines poured into the enemy a full volley of musquetry, and the three divisions. At the same time gave her a broadside. We then bore away, run athwart his bows, gave him another broadside, which raked him fore and aft and discharged all the small arms. During this time, however, the enemy kept up a well directed fire, shot away some of our rigging and wounded two of our men. But we soon completely destroyed her standing and running rigging and sails, killed the helsman and kept up so warm a fire of round, langrage, cannister, grape, musket balls, buckshot and pistol bullets, that the enemy's ship became unmanageable and she came down bows upon us. We instantly sheered off, gave her another full discharge of all our arms, and prepared to board her with boarding pikes, muskets, cutlasses and pistols, when the enemy hawled down his colours. The firing then ceased and we gave the enemy three cheers. Sent Lieutenant Sweet with an armed boat's crew on board and took possession of her. She proved to be the English ship Royal Bounty, Captain Henry Gambles, 353 tons burthen, mounting 10 carriage guns, with powder, shot, muskets, cutlasses and pistols. She was from Hull 7 weeks out bound to Prince Edward Island. On boarding her we found one man killed, the captain, two mates, boatswain, cook and one seaman dangerously wounded. That we had shot away nearly all her standing and running rigging, stove her boats, damaged her sails, masts and spars and pierced her hull and bulworks with great many shot both large and small. Her maintopsail and indeed all her other sails were so completely cut to pieces as to be unserviceable. Even her colours were penetrated with six musket shot."

"We regret to mention that two of our own seamen, namely Aaron Mason Boatswain's, first mate, and John Chace, quartermaster, were badly wounded through not dangerously. The prisoners were taken on board the privateer and the wounded dressed by our surgeon."

"At 4 P.M. saw a brig in shore of us, gave chase and at 1/2 past 5 came alongside of her. Found she was deserted by her officers and crew, who had plundered her of all valuable articles, taken to their long-boat and made for the land, during our engagement with the Royal Bounty. Discovered by her log, which we found on board, that she was the brig Thetis, 136 tons burthen, loaded with coal; thinking her of little value, the commander with the consent of his officers, ordered her to be set on fire, which was done accordingly. We then stood for the Royal Bounty, and after taking out of her sundry small articles of no great value, she was also set on fire. The Royal Bounty being a Dutch clump built vessel, and in so shattered a condition as to be unmanageable, the commander and officers did not think her worth sending into port."

"The prisoners, 24 in number, then on board the Yankee, solicited the commander to give them the Ship's sideboat and permit them to go on shore, being within two leagues of St. Mary's Bay, which he did immediately, supplying them with all kinds of necessaries for their departure. At 11 o'clock, being a fine night with a smooth sea, the sideboat left us, proceeded for the land and we made sail to the southward."

"We lament to state that Carlos Bucetti, one of our seamen, being on board the Royal Bounty at the time she was set on fire, became intoxicated and fell into the ship's hold; great exertions were made to relieve him but without effect, as he was probably killed by the fall."

"The commander was highly gratified in observing the greatest emulation and activity both in the officers and company as well upon this as all other occasions. Their readiness to attend quarters, to obey orders, exercise their guns, and go through the ship's duty merit his applause. He feels the greatest reliance upon their courage and fortitude in the day of battle, "which tries men's souls," and had no doubt but their endeavors will always be crowned with Fortune and Victory."


Dave Hunter and The Island Register: HTML and Graphics© 2003

Last Updated: 12/21/2003 3:28:07 PM
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