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January 3, 2013

Imprisonment of seamen

From the Otsego Herald

for Saturday, Jan. 2, 2013

Compiled, with comments



NOTE: The Otsego Herald for January 2, 1813 is missing from the file, so I am copying at length from the Newport (Rhode Island) Mercury of the same date:

Imprisonment of seamen

The President of the United States communicated by message the following Report of the Secretary of State:


“THE Secretary of State, to whom was referred the Resolution of the House of Representatives of the 9th inst. [December] requesting information touching the conduct of British officers towards persons taken in American armed ships, has the honor to lay before the President the accompanying papers marked A.B.C. from which it appears, that certain persons, some of whom are said to be native, and others naturalized citizens of the U. States being part of the crews of the U. States’ armed vessels the “Nautilus” and the “Wasp,” and the private armed vessel the “Sarah-Ann,” have been seized and under the pretext of their being British subjects, by the British officers, for the avowed purpose as is understood, of having them brought to trial of their lives, and that others being part of the crew of the Nautilus, have been taken into the British service….

“JAMES MONROE, Dept. of State, Dec. 19, 1812.”


Sir John Borlase Warren to Mr. Monroe.

“HALIFAX, Sept. 30, 1812

“SIR – Having received information that a most unauthorized act has been committed by Commodore Rodgers, in forcibly seizing twelve British seamen, prisoners of war, late belonging to the Guerriere, and taking them out of the English Cartel brig Endeavour, on her passage down the harbour of Boston, after they had been regularly embarked on board of her for an exchange, agreeably to the arrangements settled between the two countries, and that the said British seamen, so seized, are now detained on board the U. States frigate President as hostages – I feel myself called upon to request, sir, your most serious attention to a measure so fraught with mischief and inconvenience, destructive of the good faith of a flag of truce, and the sacred protection of a cartel.

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