Head Money Vouchers: ADM43/67
The captors of an enemy Ship of War, national warship, privateer or letter of marque, were entitled to a bounty known as HEAD MONEY; this allowed that £5 would be paid for every member of the enemy crew whose was aboard the prize at the commencement of the action.
The three documents here comprise the HEAD MONEY papers for the capture of the American Privateer Prince of Neufchatel during the War of 1812.
Before a claim could be placed for Head Money the vessel in question had to be condemned in an Admiralty Prize Court, a sworn statement had to be taken from the surviving members of the captured crew as to the number of men aboard.
Having obtained these documents the Prize Agent, acting for the captors, could forward his claim, as shown below
The State of the Case of Messrs. Wm. Marsh & Rd. Creed and Mr. Edmd. Lockyer jointly and severally Thos. Collier Esq. and Messrs. James Sykes and James Sykes jun. claiming payment of Bounty Money of £5 per Head for one hundred and thirteen Men belonging to the Prince of Neufchatel American Ship of War, which was taken on the 28th. December 1814 by H Ma. Ships Leander, Newcastle and Acasta commanded by Sir Geo. Collier, Alex. Rob. Kerr and the Right Honourable George Stuart
They have produced
- Proof of Condemnation of the said American Ship of War The Prince of Neufchatel in the High Court of Admiralty.
- A Certificate of the number of Men above mentioned, grounded on Affidavits made before a master Extraordinary in the High Court of Chancery
- Letters of Attorney from the Commanders Officers and Companies of the Ships appointing them their Agents
- Lists of the said Ship's Companies certified as usual.
The Vouchers produced, being conformable to what are required by Act of Parliament, let a Bill be made out for the Head Money claimed.
[The supporting documents are the extract of the sentence of condemnation, given below, followed by the sworn statements from the officers of the Prince of Neufchatel as to the number of crew she carried.]
Extracted from the Registry of His Majesty's High Court of Admiralty of England.
On Friday the forth day of march in the Year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifteen before the Right Honourable Sir William Scott, Knight, Doctor of Laws, Lieutenant of the High Court of Admiralty of England, and in the same Court Official Principal and Commissary General and Special and President Judge thereof, and also to hear and determine all and all manner of Causes and Complaints as to Ships and Goods seized and taken as Prize specially constituted and appointed in the Common Hall of Doctors Commons London present James Farquhar one of the Deputy Registrars
PRINCE of NEUFCHATEL
Nicholas Millin Commander
Our Sovereign Lord the King against the said Ship her Tackle Apparel & Furniture and the Arms Stores and Ammunition therein taken by His Majesty's Ship Leander, Sir George Collier Bart, Commander in Company with His Majesty's Ship Newcastle and Frigate Acasta and brought to Penzance and against all persons in general.
In pain of Parties cited thrice called and not appearing Bishop [Acting for the Crown] gave the usual Allegation which in like pain the Judge at his Petition admitted and assigned the Cause for Sentence on the first and second assignations immediately, and having heard the Proofs read, on Motion of His Majesty's Advocate by Interlocutory Decree pronounced the said Ship her Tackle Apparel & Furniture, Arms Stores and Ammunition to have belonged at the time of the Capture & Seizure thereof to Enemies of the Crown of Great Britain and as such or otherwise subject and liable to Confiscation, and condemned the same as good and lawful Prize taken by His Majesty's Ship Leander Sir George Collier Knight Commander in Company with His Majesty's Ship Newcastle and Frigate Acasta
And moreover pronounced the said Ship to have been a Ship of War in the Service of the Enemy, and that there were alive and on board the same at the commencement of the Engagement in which the same was taken one hundred and thirteen men.
Statement by the Officers of the Prince of Neufchatel as to the number of crew.
These are to certify the Principal Officers and Commissioners of His Majesty's Navy, or whom else it may concern that there came and personally appeared before me
- Nicholas Millin late Commander
- William Stutson late first Lieutenant
- John Martin late second Lieutenant
on board of and belonging to an American Privateer called the Prince of Neufchatel, and Jointely and severally made Oath and said that:
the said American Privateer was taken and seized about five o' clock in the Evening of the twenty eight day of December one thousand eight hundred and fourteen by his Britannic Majesty's Ship Leander, commanded by Captain Sir George Ralph Collier Bart in sight of his Majesty's Ships of War Newcastle, commanded by Captain A. R. Kerr, And that they the said Deponents had since been brought into the Port of Plymouth, being the first Port they were brought into after being taken,
- And that he the said Deponent Nicholas Millen, with William Stutson late first Lieutenant and John Martin late second Lieutenant taken as aforesaid And the three Deponents further said that they were actually alive on board of and belonging to the said American Privateer at the Time She was taken as aforesaid one hundred and thirteen men including the Deponents.
Sworn at Asburton in the County of Devon the twenty eighth day of February one thousand eight hundred and fifteen.