Peter Amiel

RolesNaval Sailor 
First Known Service1746CSORN
Last Known Service1846CSORN

Event History

Date fromDate toEventSource
1776 LieutenantOUSNMC

Notes on Officer

Oath of allegience
Copied from the Massachusettes Historical Society page

Peter Amiel: Oath of Allegiance to the United States

Docno: PJA06d200
Author: Amiel, Peter
Author: JA
Date: 1778-06-23

[dateline] [23 June 1778]
I, Peter Amiel, do acknowledge the thirteen United States of America, namely New Hampshire, Massachusetts-Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticutt, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free independant, and Sovereign States, and declare, that the People thereof owe no Allegiance or Obedience to George the Third King of Great Britain; and I renounce refuse and abjure any Allegiance, or Obedience to him. And I do {p. 233} Swear, that I will, to the Utmost of my Power Support, maintain and defend, the Said united States against the Said King and his Heirs and Successors and his and their Abettors, Assistants and Adherents, and will Serve the Said United States, in the office of Commander of the armed sloop the Alliance which I now hold, and in any other Office which I may hereafter hold, by their Appointment, or under their Authority, with Fidelity and Honour, and according to the best of my Skill and Understanding. So help me God.
[signed] Peter Amiel (1)
[signed] Test William Moore Joy Castle John Adams

[dateline] Subscribed 23 June 1778
Sworn before us at Passi this 23d day of June 17782
[signed] Arthur Lee
[signed] John Adams
MS , in JA's hand PPAmP: Franklin Papers; docketed: Peter Amiels Decn of Allegiance.

1. This is an example of the oath required by the Commissioners of those going to America or entering its service. Amiel's oath and appointment as captain of the sloop Alliance was the result of a scheme proposed by Poreau, Mackenzie & Cie. of Dunkirk to outfit a privateer at that port. According to a letter from the company of 7 July (below), this proposal was presented and approved during conversations between the Commissioners and a member of the firm visiting Passy; thus little is known of it except what can be inferred from the letter noted above and those to the Commissioners from Francis Coffyn of 7 and 9 July (both below). The Commissioners, having been authorized to select the captain, chose Peter Amiel, formerly of Boston and captain of the merchant ship Ranger, who was then in Paris and in contact with the Commissioners. On 22 June they issued a bond for the Alliance and on the 23d, in addition to administering the oath, sent Amiel the instructions for commanders of privateers and ships of war adopted by the congress on 3 April 1776. Amiel went to Dunkirk to assume command but, disappointed with the small size of the Alliance, soon withdrew, and the project was terminated. Amiel later received a commission as a lieutenant in the Continental Navy and served under John Paul Jones on the Bonhomme Richard ( Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S. , 3:431; Gérard, Despatches and Instructions , p. 440, note 2; JA, Diary and Autobiography , see index under Amiel, Peter).

2. This sentence is in the hand of Arthur Lee.

Previous comments on this page

Posted by Alan Merryweather on Tuesday 14th of April 2020 08:47

Last year a document was discovered in the (British) The National Archives, it being a Royal pardon granted by King George III to Peter Amiel for his activities committed when in the service of the Americans.

Posted by Alan Merryweather on Saturday 12th of August 2017 16:08

I've been on the hunt for my Amiel ancestry since c.1965 and have researched the name back to 1685. Peter's father John was a successful merchant and shipowner, undoubtedly involved in questionable trading, (Monte Cristi Bay), became a Boston Placeman and mixed in Boston's high society. He had married well, Christian Newton, (whose ancestry includes the John Adams family), dau of the collector of customs for Nova Scotia. She bore her husband 6 sons, all army officers or on board the King's ships so she and her sons were Loyalists most of eventually arrived in England. Despite determined efforts she was denied compensation for the family's huge losses as the British had a report about John. 'The old man was a virulent rebel ... '.
For the past 40 or more years I've tried to solve the enigma of Peter's oath of loyalty to the U.S navy prior to John Adams appointing him secretary to John Paul Jones, and his later becoming a British Royal Marine Lt. who seems to have died 1793.
But important information has come to light that he was probably on board the Bonne Homme Richard at the battle of Flamborough Head 1779. Despite the BHR being sunk, Jones managed to capture the British Serapis sail her to Holland.
Quincy Adams met Peter in Holland and later he was appointed 1st Lt of the vessel South Carolina but was discovered writing secretly to Joseph Yorke, the British Ambassador at Anmsterdam - a man who kept a large web of spies and informers. Peter was cashiered at Corunna.
The trail has run cold but it seems not illogical that he next appears as a R.M. Lt.
If you will allow me I will send my chapter about Peter and more importantly the website of a man whose life is the study of the South Carolina and its crew. In a long article he proposes that one reading of the letters of JPJ, Peter and others might indicate that Peter was being deliberately obstructive so had always been a Loyalist. It deserves careful reading.

Make a comment about this page

Recent comments to other pages

Date postedByPage
Tuesday 27th of October 2020 21:04James D Taylor Jr.British Third Rate galleon 'Philip and Mary' (1556) (39)
Monday 26th of October 2020 22:21Peter Evans Peter Butt (d.bef.1775)
Monday 26th of October 2020 22:17Peter Evans Peter Butt (d.bef.1775)
Monday 26th of October 2020 18:33regis Julien de Laage
Monday 26th of October 2020 15:10N W P van DiepenSpanish Third Rate ship of the line 'Fénix' (1749) (80)