Gaspée Affair

views updated

Gaspée Affair

GASPÉE AFFAIR. 9 June 1772. The armed revenue schooner Gaspée, stationed in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, to support the customs commissioners, was attacked and burned on the night of 9 June 1772 after having run aground on what is now called Gaspée Point, seven miles below Providence, while chasing another vessel. Despite a £500 reward offered for information, the British were never able to uncover sufficient evidence to try the culprits. The sixty-four attackers had been organized by John Brown and led by Abraham Whipple.

Another British vessel named the Gaspée was an armed brigantine. Isaac Coffin served aboard her, under Lieutenant William Hunter, in 1773. An ensign and twelve marines of her complement took part in the unsuccessful defense of St. Johns, Quebec, in September-November 1775, and became prisoners there. The ship was seized by the Americans after the fall of Montreal on 13 November.

SEE ALSO Coffin, Isaac; Customs Commissioners; Montreal (13 November 1775); St. Johns, Canada (5 September-2 November 1775).

                         revised by Harold E. Selesky