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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 6


This foot note contained in document ADMS-04-06-02-0136
16. The London Daily Universal Register of 14 Oct. reported that Capt. Stanhope of the Mercury and his officers, “were insulted and stoned by the populace, who desired them to leave off their uniforms, d—d the K——g their master, and nearly killed Captain Stanhope { 437 } and two of his crew with stones.” The article also summarized the correspondence between Stanhope and Gov. Bowdoin, related the publishing of “low and scurrilous abuse” in Boston newspapers (for examples of which see the Massachusetts Centinel, 3 and 6 Aug.), and concluded with Stanhope's threat, “that if any further insult was offered to the King's flag or his officers, he would lay part of [Boston] about his ears.” A brief paragraph in the same newspaper of 17 Oct. mentioned that, “to the great satisfaction of every friend of peace and good order,” the Mercury had sailed from Boston.
Under a covering letter of 7 Dec., Lord Carmarthen sent to JA the Admiralty's report on the incident. In their report, also dated 7 Dec., the Lords of the Admiralty declared that, despite some extenuating circumstances, Capt. Stanhope's conduct had been unduly provocative and contrary to his orders ( Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789, 2:545–548).
AA relates another version of these events in her letter to Thomas Jefferson of 19 Oct., immediately below.