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550,000 dollars. The precarious state of Greece, was then adverted to; and also the necessity of furnishing them, "as commission merchants," with a solid foundation for their present advances, and future disbursements. And it is very plainly intimated, that, unless this be complied with, the frigates will not be suffered to depart.
If, in all the previous transactions, the conduct of the two houses had been unobjectionable, we do not perceive that they could be blamed for declaring they would hold the ships as pledges for their own indemnity. But it surely was incumbent on them, at the moment of making this serious declaration, to give something more than those general estimates; to account for the unexpected delays in their progress; and to show, with some precision of detail, what further sums would be absolutely necessary. The deputies were kept too much in the dark; and if, on the receipt of this letter, they felt astonished and indignant, those impressions could not have been diminished by the two separate letters, dated November 23d, which they soon afterwards received. The Messrs. Howlands, under this date, inform them that one of the frigates was launched on the ISth instant, and that the other would be in eight or ten days, which makes only four months from the time they were commenced. But Mr. Contostavlos reminds us of a joint letter, dated 4th May, in which it is stated that the construction was begun. Either that letter was a misrepresentation, or this an error as to time.
Le Roy, Bayard, & Co. more cheeringly assure them, that both are launched, and advance with a rapidity of which they, (the letter-writers,} had no idea. These inaccuracies might well excite uneasiness; but a more important part of the letters seems to have destroyed all confidence. They are informed that each house has drawn on Messrs. Ricardo for 15,000 pounds sterling.
No authority for these new draughts had been transmitted, and the letter of October 31st, conveyed a clear intimation, that before proceeding further with the vessels, the guarantee of two houses, Baring, Brothers, & Co. and Samuel Williams, must be transmitted to them. Their drawing before they had received an answer to this letter, tended to increase the suspicions already excited, and it became a distressing question with the deputies, whether they should give a sanction to an immeasurable power over their funds, or should put at hazard all that they had advanced, by refusing to add to the large sums already received. The latter was adopted; and we are told by Mr. Contostavlos, that the two houses did not complain of the conduct of the deputies. But these were not the only draughts protested. On the 15th of October, the deputies had sent a letter of credit from the Ricardos to Le Roy, Bayard, & Co. for 13,000 pounds sterling, and to G. G. & S.Howland for 12,000 pounds sterling, which they hope will be sufficient to provide for what yet remains to be done: and it is stated, that, after the arrival of this letter, and without adverting to their draughts of 22d and 31st of October, Le Roy, Bayard, & Co., on the 25th of December, drew at once for the 13,000 pounds sterling: on the 16th of January, 1826, Messrs. Howlands drew for the 12,000 pounds sterling allotted to them. These bills were drawn without letters of advice; and as well on this account, as for the reasons already mentioned, they also were protested: if the deputies were right in the first instance, it must be admitted that they also were in the latter. After the 23d November, no more letters were written by the two houses to the deputies; but they continued their care and attention to the vessels, perhaps not with the same zeal as before, although Messrs. Howlands, in the letter of 23d of November, strongly assert that "every earthly effort" shall be made to give them despatch.* countrymen; opposed by heavy and unfair accounts, which it would take much time to unravel; compelled to relinquish one of the vessels; and, at the interesting moment of his success in accomplishing this last object, threatened, in a manner which really bears the appearance of being mercenary and callous; with an accumulation of charge, under the name of commissions on the re-sale.* Neither the dignity of diplomatists, nor the habits of honourable commission merchants, can palliate the suggestion that they had a right to such a charge, "if they thought proper to make it." It does not appear, however, to have had any effect in disheartening Contostavlos, or abating the vigour and acuteness of his subsequent proceedings. The presence and representations of Mr. Contostavlos had a strong effect on the good feelings of the legislature, and an act of congress was passed, by which the President was authorized to suspend building one of the frigates ordered by government; and, in lieu of it, to purchase one, if it could be done consistently with the interests of the United States.t
After waiting some time for particular information, during which the anxiety of the deputies may easily be conceived, they determined to send one of their own countrymen to NewYork; and Alexandre Contostavlos, an active and intelligent merchant from the unhappy island of Scio, was selected. He arrived at New-York on the 12th of April, full of desire to learn the obstacles that prevented the completion of those vessels, and to see them despatched as speedily as possible. After ascertaining their condition, his next step was to know from the two houses what was the state of their accounts, and what retarded the departure of the vessels. The astonishing information was communicated to him, that the houses had actually expended 743,984 dollars and 64 cents; and that balances were due on contracts, to the amount of 68,012 dollars and 70 cents: that the whole proceeds of their bills on England were 597,783 dollars and 21 cents; and of course there was a deficit of about 214,000 dollars to be satisfied, before the vessels would be delivered. It will be seen hereafter, how great a portion of the latter claim was utterly unfounded, and after some time abandoned. Contostavlos, however, instead of sinking into despondence, exhibited much promptness and energy; and he appears,
• Report, p. 16. Captain Isaac Chauncey says that they might have been ffot ready for sea in February or March, 1826.
Three naval officers, of the first rank and character, were immediately sent to New-York, to examine those which were offered for sale; and in the execution of this public duty, no one ought to suppose that advantage was taken of the necessities of the Greeks, and a vessel obtained under its value, because there were no competitors in the market.:): After a careful examination of both vessels, these commissioners recommended the purchase of the Liberator, and a sale of her was made to the United States, for the sum of 230,510 dollars, being about half her cost to the Greeks. It then remained only to settle the accounts of the houses, and prepare the Hope, (subsequently called the Hellas,) for her departure. After some time, and while both vessels remained in custody of the two houses, an arbitration was agreed on.
With full confidence in their judgment and integrity, both vessels were conveyed to the arbitrators in trust for the purposes of the award, with power to convey one of them to any person or persons nominated in writing by both parties, for a price agreed to by both; the purchase money to be paid to the arbitrators. But if within thirty days such sale shall not be effectuated, the arbitrators may within twenty days afterwards sell
• S6e the Narrative, p. 31, and compare the language of Mr. R. Bayard with the letter from the two houses to Mr. Contostavlos, in p. 32. f Act of May 22, 1826.
i The covert insinuations to this effect, in p. 13 of the Exposition, cannot be misunderstood, and cannot be approved.—It is noticed and refuted in the Examination, p. 58, &c.
on mortgage both, or either of them. Out of the proceeds of such sale or mortgage, the arbitrators are first to deduct their own charges for their services as arbitrators, and pay to the two houses the sum awarded to them, if any, and the balance to the Greeks.—The award to be made within twenty days from its date, June 23d, 1826, but by consent of parties the term was subsequently enlarged.—Indemnities, arising from objections stated by the arbitrators, in respect to their responsibility as trustees, were subsequently signed by the counsel on both sides, Mr. Contostavlos being absent at the moment; and the two houses verbally engaged to pay the current expenses of watching, guarding, and insuring the ships. Able counsel on both sides attended, and on the 27th day of July the award was delivered.
The sum of 75,933 dollars and 89 cents, was awarded to Le Roy, Bayard, & Co. and to Messrs. Howlands 80,922 dollars 52 cents.—These sums, together with 4,500 dollars, the personal charges of the arbitrators, and all incidental expenses which they might have incurred in relation to the ships, until their sale or delivery of them, are declared to be payable from the "avails of the ships, their tackle, apparel, furniture, and equipments." In the concluding paragraph, the arbitrators exhibit a strict regard to their own interests. If "the fund now provided shall prove inadequate to the payment and indemnity of the said sum of 4500 dollars, due to them as arbitrators, with the contingent expenses," the parties shall be jointly and severally bound to pay and indemnify them to the extent of said sum, with the contingent expenses and "interest thereon."
At the time of making this award, the arbitrators were ignorant of the state of the negotiations at Washington.*—They were then informed that the money would be ready on the part of the government to pay for the Liberator in four or five days, and on the day of August,t after it had been received, the arbitrators conveyed this vessel to the United States, for the stipulated sum of 230,570 dollars; to which the sum of 3000 dollars was afterwards added for some reason that is not explained. On the 10th of August, the arbitrators, after deducting their own charges, paid to Le Roy, Bayard, & Co. 59,392 dollars and 27 cents—and to Messrs. Howlands 68,922 dollars and 28 cents, which the reader will observe is 16,540 dollars 33 cents less than had been awarded to the former, and 12,000
• Report, p. 42.
f The day is left blank in the document published, Report, p. 77.