Feb 04, 2016 - Sale 2404

Sale 2404 - Lot 27

Price Realized: $ 688
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,000 - $ 1,500
(AMERICAN REVOLUTION--1778.) [Leavitt, Elisha?] Draft agreement to lease a Boston Harbor island to the French Fleet. Unsigned manuscript draft document in an unknown hand. 2 pages, 9 1/2 x 7 1/4 inches, plus integral blank; folds, minor wear. (MRS) [Boston, 1778]

Additional Details

When the French fleet arrived in New England in 1778, they required the use of some of the islands in Boston Harbor for their fleet. In this document, the owner of Gallops Island offers his hospitality--for a price. He demanded that "the major of the squadron shall grant him the exclusive right of erecting a storehouse on Long Island & supplying the French officers & soldiers with all those necessaries which they may want to purchase, mean'g groceries of all kinds . . . at a very small advance from the price in Boston," adding that "he will supply the squadron with any quantity of fresh water delivered alongside the ships." We do not know whether this draft offer was ever submitted to the French, but they did erect earthworks on Gallops Island in 1778.
Elisha Leavitt (1714-1790) of Hingham, MA, who owned Gallops Island and several other harbor islands during the war, was a noted Tory. During the British occupation of Boston he invited them to forage on Grape Island, which led to a skirmish with the Continental Army, and then to an angry mob descending upon Leavitt's house. He did not flee to Canada as so many other British sympathizers did, but here seems to have grown more willing to support the patriots, if only for sheer self-preservation.