From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol I. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.
September 2. –Lord Mulgrave, in the Ardent man-of-war, took the other day, on his cruise in the English channel, a Dutch vessel, with three hundred barrels of gunpowder on board, no part of which could be found in her bill of lading. On board her likewise were several French officers of distinction, and a German count, disguised as common mariners, who were discovered, it seems, by one of them being heard to speak elegant French. Finding they could no longer conceal themselves, they went down into the cabin, and soon after came on deck dressed in their French uniforms, denied that they were bound to America, and insisted on being released as officers of the King of France. Lord Mulgrave, however, refused to release them, but told them if they expected to be treated like gentlemen, they must honorably confess the errand on which they were going, for that he was convinced their intended voyage was to join the rebel forces of America. This had the desired effect, for it extorted from them a confession that they had each of them received commissions from the Congress, and on landing at Boston were to have been invested with separate commands of great consequence.1
1 Pennsylvania Ledger, Nov. 26.