TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives, of the 22d of November last, "requesting the President to inform that House what naval force has been stationed, for the protection of the commerce of our citizens, in the West India Islands, and parts adjacent, during the present year, and whether any depredations, by pirates or others, upon the property of citizens of the United States engaged in such commerce, have been reported to our government," I now submit, for the information of the House, a report from the Secretary of the Navy, with accompanying documents, which contain all the information in the possession of the government required by that resolution.
Washington, January 1, 1821.
December 27, 1820.
Sir: Upon the subject of the resolution of the House of Representatives, inquiring "what naval force has been stationed, for the protection of the commerce of our citizens, in the West India islands, and parts adjacent, during the present year, and whether any depredations, by pirates or others, upon the property of citizens of the United States engaged in such commerce have been reported to our government," which you were pleased to refer to me, I have the honor to state, that, for the protection of our commerce in the West India islands, and parts adjacent, the brig Enterprize, of 14 guns, schooner Nonsuch, of 8 guns, schooner Lynx, of 6 guns, and Gun Vessels Nos. 158 and 168, have been, during the present year, constantly cruising in the Gulf of Mexico, among the West India Islands, and along the southern coast of Florida and the United States; and, in addition to this permanent force, all the ships and vessels of war proceeding from the United States or returning to the same from the Mediterranean, coast of Africa, or elsewhere, have instructions to take their route through the West India Islands, to afford protection to our commerce in that quarter, and to give efficacy to the several acts of Congress for the suppression of the slave trade and capture of piratical vessels.
Accompanying this are papers marked A, B, C, and D, which contain all the information reported to the government of the United States of depredations committed on the property of our citizens engaged in commerce with the West India islands and parts adjacent.
I have the honor to be,
With the highest respect, Sir,
Your most obedient servant,
The President of the United States.
New York, March 23, 1820.
Sir: We take the liberty of annexing a statement of all the information we have been able to collect relative to Old Providence, and the force of Aury's squadron, one of which is supposed to be the vessel that captured the ship Corsair and cargo. We have little doubt, if a vessel of war could be immediately dispatched, this ship, with her valuable cargo, might be rescued from the hands of those freebooters.
We cannot but hope, therefore, that the Hornet may be spared for this expedition, and, if there is any prospect of it, you will much oblige the concerned, by giving us early information of it. We deem it proper to state that the ship belongs to captain Thomas Backus and ourselves, that she was chartered by captain B. to go the voyage from Havana to Nicaragua, and back to Havana, for eight thousand dollars, and, in consideration of this high charter, it was stipulated that the cargo, (which was in reality Spanish property,) should be shipped in our name, and apparently for our account. The vessel and freight are insured by one of the New York Insurance Companies, with a knowledge of the above facts, and, should a vessel be dispatched, it will be our wish to protect the cargo, so far as it can be done, without injury to our reputations, or the violation of an oath.
With due respect,
We are your obedient servants,
G. G. & S. HOWLAND.
P.S. We enclose a duplicate letter announcing the capture, &c.
G. G. & S. H.
To the Hon. Smith Thompson,
Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D.C.
Havana, March 4, 1820.
Gentlemen: The feluche Nuestra St. del Carmen has just arrived from St. Juan de Nicaragua, and brings the fatal news of the taking of the ship Corsair, captain Robinson, on the 18th December, at 11 o'clock, at anchor in said place, by an insurgent vessel, whose name and class is not yet known; and, on the 19th, both vessels set sail, bound for Old Providence, from which place we have not heard any thing; and you will immediately take your measures with your government, in order to save the vessel and cargo, which was shipped for your account, and that of Mr. Thomas Backus; and it
will be necessary that, by your influence with the government, you should obtain, immediately, a man of war, and have her sent thither to save the whole; and send the C[orsair]. to the place of her destination, to take on board a cargo of 2,500 tierces of jerked beef, and 250 boxes of tallow, which were ready at the arrival of said vessel, besides other articles that were to be shipped – the whole on your account and risk.
We shall remit you all the documents necessary, and we hope that you will use all means in your power to save and respect the property; in a word, you will act in this case as you will think most proper and convenient to both parties.
We remain, respectfully,
Your obedient servants,
LANGRONIZ, HERMO, & Co.
Messrs. G.G. and S. HOWLAND,
Sir: Permit me to lay before you the copies of two letters, received, one yesterday, from Mr. Thomas Backus, of this city, now in Santiago de Cuba, and the other from Messrs. Wright and Shelton, merchants, at the aforesaid place; both informing me of the capture of my brig the William Henry, captain Edward W. Dugan, by two small schooner privateers. The William Henry was on her voyage from Santander to Havana, with a cargo of flour, on my account, and is insured at the American and Ocean Insurance Companies of this city.
With great respect,
Hon. SMITH THOMPSON,
Secretary of the Navy, Washington.
Santiago, 16th March, 1820.
Sir: The sloop Brilliant, arrived here from Bayonne, was boarded the 16th ult. and detained twenty four hours, near Cape Cruz, by two small schooner privateers, and am sorry to say, at the time had your brig William Henry at anchor under Cape Cruz. The captain of the sloop says, they had the William Henry three days in their
possession, and had not determined what to do with her. He saw the captain of the William Henry on board the privateer. They had some time previous captured the Corsair, and took her to Old Providence.
I remain your friend and obedient servant,
Mr. P. HARMONY.
St. Jago de Cuba, 17th March, 1820.
Dear Sir: Your introductory letter in favor of Mr. Job S. Comstock, was forwarded us by that gentleman, and we thank you for your kind attention. The sloop Brilliant, captain White, of New London, arrived here two days since from Bayonne; on her passage from this to that place, was taken possession of for twenty-four hours, by two patriot privateers, and states that your brig William Henry was then a prize to them, and that he conversed with the captain of your brig for some time. Captain White was informed that they intended to send the brig to Old Providence for condemnation. They also stated they had captured the Corsair.
We are, dear sir, at all times,
Your most obedient servants,
WRIGHT AND SHELTON.
PETER HARMONY, Esq.
Office of the Delaware Insurance Company
of Philadelphia, 27th, November, 1820.
Sir: Having observed that a resolution had passed the House of Representatives for information from the President of the United States, as to depredations, by pirates or others, upon property of citizens of the United States, &c. I beg leave to state to you an unwarrantable capture of a vessel bound from St. Jago de Cuba to this port, viz: the schooner Martha, captain William Wild, of Troy, Massachusetts, with a cargo of 213 hhds. 22 tierces molasses, and 100 bbls. sugar, on the sole account of Mr. Robert Adams, a resident merchant of this city, and a citizen of the United States; which cargo
was insured by this company at the low premium of 1 1/2 per cent. in the sum $9,000, and the amount, in consequence of said capture, paid him. She was captured the 24th June last, off the harbor of St. Jago, by the Venezuelian privateer Admiral Brion, of 18 guns, commanded by commodore Jolly, and sent for adjudication, after landing three of the crew at Cumberland Harbor in the neighborhood. The only further information that has come to the knowledge of this company or the owner of the cargo is contained in a letter addressed to said owner by the owner of the vessel, Mr. Joseph E. Read, Troy, Massachusetts, October 17th ultimo, in which he says, "I received a letter a few days since, under date of Baranquilla, (on the Rio Grand de la Magdalena, about 80 miles north-east of Carthagena, Spanish Main) August 21st, 1820, from captain Wild of the schooner Minerva, in which he informed me, that he was at that place waiting the trial of his cargo; the captors had offered to pay him his freight and discharge the vessel, but he is determined not to give up a cent, but means if they take the property, they take it at their peril. When captain Wild will be at home, it is out of my power to tell, as he writes not a word, only that the business progresses very slowly. You wrote me you had abandoned your property in the Minerva to the office, (and, I think, from the tenor of captain Wild's letter) the office have an agent that will do all in his power to save their property. Should the schooner be so fortunate as to arrive at your place, any service you can render captain Wild will be gratefully acknowledged, &c. &c."
I shall take occasion to communicate to you any further information that may be received of the concern; and remain with the highest respect,
Sir, your most obedient servant,
President Delaware Insurance Company.
The Honorable JOHN QUINCY ADAMS,
Secretary of State.
STATE OF MARYLAND, City of Baltimore, Sct.
Be it remembered, that, on this eleventh day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty, before me, Samuel Farnandis, notary public for the state of Maryland, one of the United States of America, dwelling in the city of Baltimore, duly commissioned, and by law authorized to administer oaths and take proof, personally appeared Bartolomeo Bela, at present residing in said city, who, being duly sworn on the Holy Evangels of Almighty
God, deposeth and saith: That he is an Italian by birth, being born in the town of Final, near Genoa. That, having gone to South America for commercial purposes, and being desirous of coming to the United States of America, he sailed with his friend and partner (who is at present absent from this city) Mr. George Morito, on the eleventh of September, 1819, from Porto Bello for the port of Baltimore, in the state of Maryland. That the schooner Sam, an American bottom, owned by Messrs. Jacquin and Pomairal, merchants in the said city, the vessel in which they embarked as passengers, the day after her departure from Porto Bello was fallen in with and boarded by the privateer Impressor, under the Buenos Ayrean flag, commanded by captain Bradford. That the said commander and crew, after depriving them of all the papers they could obtain, robbed this deponent and the said George Morito, who were equally interested in the same, of the following property, to wit: one package marked G. M. containing eighty-eight doubloons, one other containing half a pound of gold dust, one other containing one thousand dollars provisional money of Porto Bello; a bag containing a thousand Spanish milled dollars and ninety doubloons, which the said Morito confided to his servant for safe keeping, whom they also took off. That on the voyage to Baltimore, the crew being disabled by sickness, the said schooner was compelled to put into Port-au-Prince, in the island of Hayti, where captain Fleetwood protested against the illegal conduct of said privateer Impressor, mistaking, however, the initials of one of the owners on the said property, by stating the same in his protest to be J M instead of G M, which is the real mark. That since the said Bela and Morito have been in Baltimore, they have commissioned a certain John C. King to apply to general Aury for a restitution of said property illegally taken, who admitted the same to be in his possession, and that the same would be restored on the demand of the government of the United States.
In testimony whereof the said deponent hath hereunto subscribed his name, and I, notary, have hereunto set my hand, and affixed my notarial seal, the day and year aforesaid.