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Otsego Herald

February 14, 2013

Rescue from Algerine pirates


I was one of those who remained on board the brig in confinement. An English frigate’s [officer] came on board, and by force immediately proceeded to the cabin, which was about 16 feet square, with 14 of us confined in it. The ensuing scene was most affecting. The officer burst into tears. It even touched the hearts of the honest tars, his followers. Among us was a very elegant lady, Madam Salmon, sister to Mr. Onis, the Spanish ambassador at Philadelphia, who suffered much during our confinement.

I demanded my release as an Englishman. With some difficulty the pirates admitted it, when I was allowed to go into the boat with my servant and about two thirds of my baggage. The rest being Spanish passengers the English could not demand them. However, after a long consultation they were given up on condition that they would leave the brig and take nothing with them but the clothes they had on. The unfortunate young lady was obliged to go on board the frigate and leave all her jewels, dresses, &c. amounting to almost $10,000.

We were fed on rice and water by the pirates … The English frigate was the Cossac, the Hon. Capt. King, commander, who treated me in the most friendly manner. Also his officers, to whom I am greatly indebted for their hospitality.

COMMENT: Difficulties were heating up between America and the so-called Barbary States of North Africa. Countries like England had treaties with them agreeing not to engage in this sort of piracy, in return for massive official bribes. So did the United States, at least in theory.

Murderess pardoned

Mary Cool, convicted of murder at the last court of Oyer and Terminer [“hear and determine”] in Ulster county, has received a free pardon from the Legislature of this state.

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Otsego Herald
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