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Guide to the William Pickering Papers

MSN/COL 0500

 

Collection Summary

Title: William Pickering papers
Dates: 1703-1712/3
Collection No.: MSN/COL 0500
Creator: Lillie, Samuel, 1663-after 1730
Creator: Pickering, William, 1670/1-1723
Extent: 16 documents; 1 container
Language: Collection material in English
Repository: University of Notre Dame. Hesburgh Libraries, Department of Special Collections. 102 Hesburgh Library, Notre Dame, IN 46556
Abstract: A collection of documents relating to the commercial interests of William Pickering, a Salem, Massachusetts shipmaster and trader of the early eighteenth century.

Selected Search Terms

Pickering, William, 1670/1-circa 1723
Lillie, Samuel, 1663-after 1730
Maritime Provinces -- History -- 18th century -- Manuscripts
Massachusetts -- History -- Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775 -- Manuscripts

Administrative Information

Restrictions: There are no access restrictions on this collection

Preferred Citation: William Pickering Papers, Department of Special Collections, Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame.

Acquisition and Processing Note: The William Pickering papers were purchased by the Hesburgh Libraries between 2003 and 2007, from Paper Trails of Leicester, Massachusetts. Arranged and described 2007, by George Rugg. Finding aid 2009, by Jacob Baska.

Biographical Note

William Pickering was born in Salem, Massachusetts on 11 January 1670/1, the son of John Pickering (1637-1694) and Alice Flint. On 19 June 1695 he married Hannah Browne, with whom he had six children. For much or most of his adult life, Pickering was engaged in the fishing and coasting industries of New England, as shipmaster and trader. A group of his account books (1695-1718), now at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, cover voyages of two fishing sloops (Speedwell and Content), as well as the activities of the brig Hope, trading in the fishing settlements of the Newfoundland coast. In the first decade of the eighteenth century, at least, Pickering appears to have made frequent voyages between Massachusetts and Newfoundland, carrying cargo and fishing for cod off the Grand Banks. Petitions survive acknowledging Hope's delivery of critical supplies to the fishing harbor of Ferryland, on Newfoundland, during the harsh winter of 1708-9. Pickering died around 1723, at Salem.

Many of the documents in the collection relate to Pickering's work for Samuel Lillie of Boston. From the 1680s to 1707 Lillie was extensively engaged in commerce between North America, the Caribbean, and Europe. He owned or had interests in at least a dozen vessels; he also fitted out privateers. But Lillie's commercial career ended in ruin. By March 1707 he was unable to meet his obligations, and his ships and real estate were seized. Relatively little is known of the final decades of his life; he appears to have spent much of his time in England, seldom returning to Boston. He died after 1730.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of sixteen documents—eleven letters and five business records—retained by Pickering in the course of his commercial career. Nine of these items pertain specifically to Pickering's dealings with Samuel Lillie. The earlier of these (1703-1706) relate to the Newfoundland trade (Pickering appears to have served as a kind of agent for Lillie's interests there); the later items (1706/7-1708) relate to Lillie's debts. There are a total of six letters written by Lilly to Pickering. The Pickering letters in the collection are retained copies, in his hand.

Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged chronologically, one item per folder.

Related Material

Other papers of William Pickering are held by the Phillips Library of the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts, and by the Boston Public Library.

Container List

  • Letter. Sam[ue]l Lillie, Boston, to Capt[ain] W[illia]m Pick[e]rin[g], Newfoundland, 1703 August 3-6. Folder 1 (MSN/COL 0500-1).
    ALS, 1 page (31 x 22 cm.) on 1 sheet, w/address on verso.
    Sent to Newfoundland via the ship Margaret, the letter instructs Pickering to ship "What fish you have of mine" to Oporto in Portugal, aboard "the best of the Vessels that I am Conserned in . . . ."
    Page 1: 150 dpi image | 100 dpi image
    Integral address leaf: 150 dpi image | 100 dpi image
    • Letter. W[illia]m Pickering, St. John's, Newfoundland, to "Meseurs Timothy Harris Jackson & Pine", n. p., 1704 May 16. Folder 2 (MSN/COL 0500-2).
      ALS, 1 page (31 x 19 cm.) on 1 sheet, with docketing on verso.
      A retained copy of a letter sent to accompany a bill of lading for 413 quintals of fish, shipped from Newfoundland aboard the sloop Content, on Samuel Lillie's account.
      Page 1: 150 dpi image | 100 dpi image
      Integral leaf: 150 dpi image | 100 dpi image
      • Letter. W[illia]m Pickering, Newfoundland, to "Mr. Condy", n. p., 1704 July 14. Folder 3 (MSN/COL 0500-3).
        ALS, 1 page (30 x 20 cm.) on 1 sheet, with docketing on verso.
        A retained copy of a letter sent to accompany a bill of lading and invoice for goods shipped from Newfoundland aboard the bark Blessing. Pickering also informs Condy what goods he has been able to sell.
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        Integral leaf: 150 dpi image | 100 dpi image
        • Document. Bill of lading for the sloop Dove, 1706 July 23. Folder 4 (MSN/COL 0500-4).
          1 page (30 x 18 cm.) on 1 sheet, with docketing on verso.
          An invoice of goods shipped to Newfoundland per Samuel Lillie, to be consigned to William Pickering.
          Page 1: 150 dpi image | 100 dpi image
          Integral leaf: 150 dpi image | 100 dpi image
          • Document. Bill of lading for the Brig Elizabeth, 1706 August 26. Folder 5 (MSN/COL 0500-5).
            1 page (30 x 19 cm.) on 1 sheet, with docketing on verso.
            An invoice of goods shipped from Boston to Newfoundland per Samuel Lillie, to be consigned to William Pickering.
            Page 1: 150 dpi image | 100 dpi image
            Integral leaf: 150 dpi image | 100 dpi image
            • Letter. Samuel Lillie, Boston, to W[illia]m Pickering, Newfoundland, 1706 September 2. Folder 6 (MSN/COL 0500-6).
              ALS, 2 pages (30 x 20 cm) on 1 folded sheet, with address and docketing on integral leaf.
              Instructions from Lillie on a number of matters relating to the shipping and selling of fish. Lillie also requests that Pickering "gett me as many men as you can to be under Covenant to proced such voyages in my Vessells as I may send them, on the best terms you can . . . ."
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              Page 2: 150 dpi image | 100 dpi image
              Integral address leaf: 150 dpi image | 100 dpi image
              • Receipt. John Grafton, n. p., 1706/7 January 4. Folder 7 (MSN/COL 0500-7).
                ADS, 1 page (10 x 15 cm) on 1 sheet, with docketing on verso.
                Acknowledges the receipt of four hogsheads of earthenware and other items, on the account of William Pickering.
                Page 1: 150 dpi image | 100 dpi image
                Integral leaf: 150 dpi image | 100 dpi image
                • Letter. Samuel Lillie, Boston, to W[illia]m Pickering, Salem, Massachusetts, 1706/7 January 14. Folder 8 (MSN/COL 0500-8).
                  ALS, 1 page (30 x 19 cm) on 1 sheet, with address and docketing on verso.
                  Lacking ready money, Lillie instructs Pickering to purchase various goods on credit. Lillie promises to repay Pickering, with interest, in three months time.
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                  Integral address leaf: 150 dpi image | 100 dpi image
                  • Letter. Samuel Lillie, Boston, to Capt. [William] Pickering, Salem, Massachusetts 1707 June 23. Folder 9 (MSN/COL 0500-9).
                    ALS, 1 page (15 x 19 cm) on 1 sheet, with address and docketing on verso.
                    Lillie requests that Pickering come to Boston, "to discours me about our Affairs". He specifically mentions litigation brought against him by a creditor, Mr. Inglish.
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                    Integral address leaf: 150 dpi image | 100 dpi image
                    • Letter. Sam[ue]l Lillie, Boston, to W[illia]m Pickering, n. p., 1708 May 14. Folder 10 (MSN/COL 0500-10).
                      ALS, 1 page (33 x 19 cm) on 1 sheet, with docketing on verso.
                      Pickering's retained copy of a letter from Lillie, in which the latter urges the collection of outstanding debts to stave off his creditors: "you have hear with my Letter to Mr Wm Keen to deliver you the Listt of debts by bills bonds & Accotts in his hands which were made by you please to Reiseve all you can for me, and whatt you Reiseve Improve for me for my mostt advantage to this place one hundred and fivety pounds & Consign to Captn Andrew Belcher for my Accott to Remaine with him to Sattisfy what I may be Indebted to you what more you may Reiseve send to London to Mr Robert hackshaw in Good Biils for my Accott . . ."
                      Page 1: 150 dpi image | 100 dpi image
                      Integral leaf: 150 dpi image | 100 dpi image
                      • Note. Samuel Lillie, n. p., to W[illia]m Pickering, n. p., 1708 May 20. Folder 11 (MSN/COL 0500-11).
                        1 page (11 x 21 cm) on 1 sheet, with docketing on verso.
                        Another request to collect outstanding debts.
                        Page 1: 150 dpi image | 100 dpi image
                        Integral leaf: 150 dpi image | 100 dpi image
                        • Document. William Ponpryes bond, 1708 October 23. Folder 12 (MSN/COL 0500-12).
                          ADS, 1 page (8 x 19 cm) on 1 sheet.
                          A bond acknowledging that Ponpryes has paid a 55 schilling obligation to Giles Hall. Pickering has signed the document as a witness.
                          Page 1: 150 dpi image | 100 dpi image
                          • Letter. Andrew Belcher, Boston, to W[illia]m Pickering, n. p., 1709 May 11. Folder 13 (MSN/COL 0500-13).
                            LS, 1 page (31 x 20 cm) on 1 folded sheet, with integral address leaf.
                            A letter and bill of lading itemizing goods to be shipped to Salem aboard the sloop Dolphin. At this time Belcher was one of the wealthiest merchants in Massachusetts.
                            Page 1: 150 dpi image | 100 dpi image
                            Integral leaf: 150 dpi image | 100 dpi image
                            • Letter. W[illia]m Pickering, Salem, Massachusetts, to Peter Butler, n. p., 1712 June 26. Folder 14 (MSN/COL 0500-14).
                              ALS, 1 page (15 x 22 cm) on 1 sheet with docketing on verso.
                              A retained copy of a letter from Pickering to Butler. Pickering informs Butler that some of the fishing lines sold by Butler to Pickering are substandard.
                              Page 1: 150 dpi image | 100 dpi image
                              Integral leaf: 150 dpi image | 100 dpi image
                              • Receipt. W[illia]m Pickering, Salem, 1712/13 January 17. Folder 15 (MSN/COL 0500-15).
                                ADS, 1 page (22 x 21 cm) on 1 folded sheet. Docketed on the back by Pickering.
                                Receipt signed by Pickering and Daniel Bray acknowledging that Bray has paid for the future delivery of wine with hard currency and beeswax.
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                                Integral leaf: 150 dpi image | 100 dpi image
                                • Letter. W[illia]m Pickering, Salem, to John Moody, n. p., 1712/3 January 19. Folder 16 (MSN/COL 0500-16).
                                  ALS, 1 page (31 x 21 cm) on 1 sheet, with docketing on verso.
                                  A retained copy of a letter from Pickering to Moody. The previous year, Moody had borrowed "ninety Quintos of merchantable fish" from Pickering. Pickering explains that he would have sought to collect before but had "heard thatt you mett with som troble after you Came home".
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                                  Integral leaf: 150 dpi image | 100 dpi image