The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Brockway, Charles J., 1807-1891
Charles J. Brockway (1807-1891)
0.5 linear feet (1 box)
The Charles J Brockway Papers
contain records of spoliation claims for merchants Charles J. Brockway and William Bartlett
of Newburyport, Massachusetts.
SERIES I. Brockway Correspondence SERIES II. Brockway Genealogy SERIES III. William Bartlett Papers SERIES IV. Vessels and Claims SERIES V. Attorney's Papers SERIES VI. Congressional Records
Scope and Content Note
The Charles J Brockway Papers contain records of spoliation claims for merchants Charles J. Brockway
and William Bartlett of Newburyport, Massachusetts. They are divided into six series.
Series I. Brockway Correspondence contains numerous
responses to the 1885 Newburyport Herald advertisement that deal primarily with the
descendants of ship owners or insurance underwriters who suffered monetary losses
due to French privateers prior to 1801.
Series II. Brockway Genealogy contains lists of
births, deaths and marriages of the Brockway lineage from the early eighteenth
century to the late nineteenth century.
Series III. William Bartlett Papers contains
correspondence and lists regarding the ships Rose and
Tom, both lost to French privateers in 1800. Also
included is the document from the Essex County Probate Office that lists Charles
Brockway as executor to the Bartlett estate.
Series IV. Vessels and Claims contains printed
documents listing spoliation claims for Newburyport citizens, including Bartlett and
Brockway, and lists of Newburyport vessels and cargo captured by French privateers
prior to 1801.
Series V. Attorney's Papers contains United States
Court of Claims documents regarding the Brockway and Bartlett claims as well as the
claimants' brief prepared by Amos Noyes.
Series VI. Congressional Records contains printed
reports from the Foreign Affairs Committees' of the United States Senate and United
States House of Representatives regarding the French Spoliation appropriation
Biographical and Historical Sketch
In 1885, the United States Congress passed an act which allowed American citizens to
file French Spoliation Claims with the United States Court of Claims. The act was
designed to reimburse the heirs of United States merchants, ship owners and
insurance underwriters whose vessels or cargo had been captured and condemned by the
French from 1794-1801. The United States assumed the claims of its own citizens as
part of the treaty made with France in 1800. In this treaty, France relinquished
their claim on the United States for violations of the cooperative treaty of 1778.
In return, the United States assumed the costs of American citizens' French
Charles J. Brockway (1807-1891) was a merchant and
businessman from Newburyport, Massachusetts who owned several vessels with his
associate, Amos Noyes, including the ships Adeline, Brutus, Calypso, Constitution and Euphrasia. Brockway also became the executor of the
William Bartlett estate in 1841.
William Bartlett (1748-1841) was a successful
merchant who owned a large fleet of vessels employed in the trade with the East and
West Indies and suffered some substantial losses at the hands of French privateers
prior to 1801. Brockway married Bartlett's granddaughter Elizabeth (b. 1811) in 1835
and was involved in Newburyport commerce as secretary of the Newburyport Mutual
Fishing Insurance Agency and as the first president of the Newburyport railroad.
In 1885, when the United States Congress began debate on legislation for
appropriating funds for French Spoliation claims, Brockway and Noyes offered their
services to those who could show evidence of their spoliation claims through an
advertisement in the Newburyport Herald. Respondents to this advertisement generated
most of the correspondence in this collection and deal primarily with the
descendants of those who suffered monetary losses at the hands of the French prior
This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons,
or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Bartlett, William, 1748-1841
Brockway, Charles J., 1807-1891
Noyes, Amos, d. 1896
French spoliation claims
Restrictions on Access
This collection is open for research use.
Requests for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in
writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex
Charles J. Brockway (1807-1891) Papers, MSS 394, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex
Museum, Salem, Mass.
This material was a gift from Ronald N. Tagney on October 1, 1995 (acc# 95002).
Collection processed by Kenneth Selnick, May 2009.
Currier, John. History of Newburyport, Massachusetts 1764-1909
Vol II. Newburyport, MA: Newcomb and Gauss, 1909.
Smith, E. Vale. History of Newburyport: From the Earliest
Settlement of the Country to the Present Time. Boston: Damrell &
Historical Collections of the Essex Institute Vol
46. Salem, MA: G.M. Whipple and A.A. Smith, 1862.