ARNOLD (Arnall, Arnol, Arnald), WILLIAM, master of a sloop trading from New England to Newfoundland; fl. 1713–16.
William Arnold was one of several New England men held suspect by the English government for the illegal practice of “Seducing away great Numbers of Fishermen, and Seamen, and transporting ’em to New England.” The laws of the period encouraged the use of the Newfoundland fisheries as a training ground for seamen for the English navy. A certain proportion of “green” men were sent out each year to the fishing grounds to learn the art of seamanship. Many of these men preferred a period of indenture in the colonies, and eventual freedom there, to the risk of being seized by the press gangs of Bristol and Portsmouth. Thus it was not difficult for men of Arnold’s trade to “seduce” these seamen away to New England at the end of the fishing season.
A major source of information about Arnold and the irregularities of the Newfoundland fisheries is the “Schedule of Trade and Fishery of Newfoundland” for 1715, which was prepared by Captain Falkingham* of the Gibraltar, and included in the report submitted to the Admiralty by the commodore of the Newfoundland convoy, Thomas Kempthorne. This “Schedule” informs us that William Arnold, master of a Boston vessel, sailed into Trepassey with a cargo of provisions, rum, and sheep, and that he exported a cargo of “passengers.” Arnold sailed a 70–ton, plantation-built vessel which had a crew of seven men, and carried no guns. Other contemporary documents record that Arnold brought 80 sheep, provisions, and stores to Newfoundland from Boston in 1714–15. He returned there from New England the following year (1716) in the ship Friendship with a similar cargo. Captain Kempthorne complained of Arnold to the Board of Trade for illegally transporting seamen to New England. A postscript to Kempthorne’s report stated that Arnold was “one whose impudent practice this way deserves correction above any others.”
Little is known about Arnold’s personal life other than that he was married to the former Mary Holyoke in Boston. The ceremony was performed by a Presbyterian minister, the Rev. Benjamin Wadsworth, on 17 Sept. 1713.
PRO, C.O. 194/4, f.389; 194/6, ff.20, 194. Boston, Registry Dept., Records relating to the early history of Boston, ed. W. H. Whitmore, W. S. Appleton, et al. (39v., Boston, 1876–1909), XXVIII: Boston marriages, 1700–1751 (1898). PRO, CSP, 1714–15, 1716–17. C. B. Judah, The North American fisheries and British policy to 1713 (University of Illinois studies in the social sciences, XVIII, nos. 3–4, 1932, distributed 1933). Lounsbury, British fishery at Nfld. Prowse, History of Nfld. John Reeves, History of the government of the island of Newfoundland, with an Appendix; containing the acts of parliament made respecting the trade and fishery (London, 1793), 37–38, 56–57, 66; App., xxx R. H. Tait, Newfoundland: a summary of the history and development of Britain’s oldest colony from 1497 to 1939 (Harrington Park, N.J., 1939), 19–21 R. G. Lounsbury, “Yankee trade at Newfoundland,” New. Eng. Q., III (1930), 607–26.