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that every American vessel in Norway, together with those who may be expected, will share in the same fate; but when the appeals will be ultimately tried, whether in one month, or in one year, or peradventure the next century, your memorialists have not with all their anxiety to ascertain a fact so much involving their interests, been able to learn.
Finally, your memorialists beg leave to assure your excellency, that unwilling to trouble or alarm our government, until every means in our power had been tried, which could tend to render this very unpleasant alternative unne. cessary, we have applied repeatedly to our consul at Copenhagen, who answers that he feels for our situation, but could not render us any assistance; but observed that the higher courts of Norway would not fail to do us justice. To the laws of Norway we have appealed, but with the hopes already expressed in this memorial. Thus situated, we forbear to colour a simple representation, of itself so gloomy and degrading, that except in this single instance, : will at all apply to the history of the civilized world, to the citizens of any free, brave, and powerful nation. Strangers therefore in a foreign country, dispossessed of our property, in the power of a people, who have arrested our vessels and cargoes, who, (if they know) do not appear to respect those salutary laws recognised for ages, and neces. sary for the safe and honourable intercourse of mankind, with upwards of four hundred of our seamen, depending on us for protection and bread, without having the ability to extend to them the one, or procure for them the other. We supplicate most earnestly and respectfully your excellency's interposition, in such a manner as your wisdom shall approve; and we do this, with the fullest confidence that such measures as your excellency may adopt for the recovery of our property, the security of our rights, and the vindication of our national honour, will be as distinguished for their promptitude, firmness and decision, as the treatment of which we complain is remarkable for its novelty, severity and injustice.
We beg your excellency to accept the assurance of our respectful and high consideration.
Phinchas Drinkwater, George M'Lellan, William Leech, jun. John L. Lewis, Robert Thompson, William Foun
tain, Henry Skinner, Thomas Harding, James Jacobs,
, Isaac Stone,
Christiansand, July 19, 1809.
to the President of the United States. . August 11,
“ At a time at which nearly all the European powers
Under these circumstances, the captains of those vessels, as well as the supercargoes, have found it expedient to choose a general commissioner, who was able to direct their business here, give them advice and assistance during their stay here, and, in the whole, who was able to fulfil all the functions of a consul. I am unanimously elected
by them, being a merchant and Danish citizen at this place.
Persuaded of the most perfect neutrality of the United States of America with all the belligerent powers, and that its government always has kept a friendly connection and understanding with my sovereign, the king of Denmark, and his dominions, and under the supposition, that American subjects neither can or will permit themselves any actions contrary to the positive laws, and which are not consistent with the most perfect neutrality. In consequence of this, I found myself in duty bound not to deny them that assistance, of which they stand so much in need, in a country where they were altogether strangers, and deprived of the disposal both of their vessels and cargoes.
These motives have determined mysell, for the first, to annex the functions of a consul and commissioner, which has enabled me to my great satisfaction to find, that my expectations with regard to the lawful business of the American subjects, and the justice of their cases have not been entirely unsounded, and in behalf of this I do myseļf the honour to give the following submissive account.
Twenty-six vessels have been brought in here, of which cightcen have already undergone trial. Of these, eight have been cleared, and ten have been condemned as lawful prizes, for reasons that in the ship's papers have been found suspicious circumstances, viz.
The erasing or altering of the date in the sea letter, the vant of the signature of the Secretary of State in the sea letter, and that they not altogether have been conformable with each other, &c. &c.
And further it has been observed, that among the several ships' documents has every where been wanting the charty party, which, according to the regulations for privateers, are ordered to be found on board of every neutral vessel, which want has occasioned, that the court of prizes has awarded the privateers to the expenses of the captures.
Those different sentences have produced the appeals to the high court of admiralty at Christiana, established there for the kingdom of Norway, either by the captains whose vessels have been condemned, or by the privateers against those yessels which have been liberated, which pro
cedures will occasion further delay, expenses and loss for the captured.
I hope that the most, if not all the cases appealed to the high court of admiralty, will be decided in favour of the Arnerican captains ; in consequence of this I have proposed to the government, if the privateers who have appealed, being mostly but poor pilots and fishermen, ought not to be ordered to give security for the unnecessary delay and loss and damages derived from it, and which the American captains further might have to suffer, or if this security was not given, then it then might be permitted them immediately to proceed on their voyages--but I have received neither answer or resolution thereupon.
In the present situation of things exists consequently no remedy to lighten the burden of the captains, or procure clearances for their ships and cargoes, but to wait for the success of the expected resolution upon my proposal, or for the event of the sentence of the high court of admiralty in appealed cases—in the mean time I shall not fail to procure the cases of the captains pleaded, and in the whole observe their interest as well as possible.
Permit me further to make the following observations :
In the same manner as the treacherous behaviour of England towards Denmark has occasioned the war beIween these two powers, in the same manner has our government considered privateering as one of the most useful means to hurt the enemy in his navigation and commerce. At the same time it gives a material interest to the privateers themselves, especially in a period at which our own navigation and commerce lay at rest, and the mariners have no other means of getting their livingconšequently the privateers can in fact not be blamed to make use of their privileges and permission, by every opportunity, and I might dare to say, that the capturing of neutral vessels, according to political principles, might be excused, having had several instances, that vessels of such nations, which conforming to the famous Berlin decree, ought not to sail for England, or to be in any commercial connection with it, nevertheless have by the help of fictitious and counterfeited papers, favoured the commerce of that country, especially since the commencement of war between Denmark and England, and thus have made themselves the enemies of Denmark, by car
rying those articles to England, of which it stood in abso. lute want to keep up the war.
It is therefore nearly adopted as a common principle, not to respect the colours of any nation on the ocean, under the supposition, that as well the colours as the documents might be fictitious and false, and that the cargoes might be, direct or indirect, destined for the enemies of Denmark. This principle has been the more justified by having found at the examinations of several captured vessels, that they were not only provided with a double set of papers, but sailed besides under British licenses."