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had, for sending them away, it would greatly add to the security of our country.
6 With esteem,
« DAVID PINKERTON."
~ President of the Board
Extract of a letter from Major Lewis Tousard, to
the Secretary of War, dated Fort Mifflin, June 28, 1798.
6 I have the honour of informing you, that yesterday, ten o'clock in the evening, the resident Doctor of the hospital of Pennsylvania came on purpose to give me the alarming information, that there existed a mutiny among the vessels in quarantine, now lying above the fort—that he thought in consequence of the report of four of the captains, it was proper to postone till this morning the order of the Governor of Pennsylvania to be made known to the convoy. The boat of the sloop of war, manned only with negroes, has been seen the whole day plying round all the other vessels which have negroes on board : they seem to have adopted between them the most desperate measures, to the execution of which they are incited by their owners. There is now in these vessels between 250 and 300 negroes, well armed, trained to war, and saying they will land-they know no laws, and count their Jives for nothing. Two of the pilots have left the vessels-one of them was so alarmed, that he is sick at the hospital.
is On this information, I immediately sent an officer to Captain Stephen Decatur, whose armed ship was at anchor below the fort, with a request of coming up with the tide, and cast anchor on the north east side of the island, where I had no guns to direct upon the insurgents. During that time, with the assistance of the labourers, whose exertions I cannot but highly commend, I had two heavy pieces transported and mounted on that side, when the Delaware passed up, and went to anchor in the middle of the convoy; she is now under way, and proceeds down.
« As to oppose the landing of these negroes and their proceeding through the Jerseys with their owners to Philadelphia, it is not in my power in the situation they lay above the fort. I have agreed with the doctor, that he would order then this morning below and abreast of my battery--then I may watch their motions."
Reply of the French Royalists. “ We, the undersigned, captain, owner, and passengers, of the armed ship MELPOMENE, now forcibly detained in the river Delaware, and placed between the cannon of Fort Mifflin, and those of the American sloop of war, the DELAWARE, laving been injured and defamed by the falsehoods aud misrepresentations that have been circulated respecting us, and particularly by those contained in a letter from DAVID PINCKERTON to the President of the board of health, and in an extract of a letter from Major TOUSARD to the Secretary at War, (both of which appeared in Brown's Gazette of , 28th instant), we feel ourselves called upon, as well for the sake of our reputation, as our interest, to give thereto an explicit and public reply.
- 66 We
“ We therefore attest, with the soleinnity of an oath, that all the pretended facts, stated in the above-mentioned letters, are false, groundless, and calumnious, as far as relates to us; that the truth is, we are all peaceable people and of good character, and that we all have fortunes more or less considerable, already lodged in the United States of America ; that we have besides sums on board more than sufficient to convince the government, that we are not vagabonds, and “ without any funds," as has been asserted by the modest and generous DAVID PINCKERTON; the falsehood of whose assertion it is extremely easy for us to prove to the satisfaction of any persons who may be sent to verify the fact.
“ There are at this moment on board the ship, 56 white passengers, of whom 29 are men, 16 women, and 12 children; 55 negroes, of whom 27 are men, 21 women, and seven children. All the slaves have followed their owners from choice, and are, as DAVID PINCKERTON says “ attached s to their master's interest;" but not one of theme is armed, nor is there one of them that ever bore arins.
“ It is false also to say, that the greatest part of the crew are negroes; there are but eight belonging to the crew of the ship.
“We have submitted ourselves to the laws of the country, and so strictly have we done this, that the captain ordered several musquet shot to be fired at a boat, which attempted to carry a sailor from on board, contrary to the quarantine regulations, and this sailor is still detained on board, by order of the resident physician, as are also the two Americans, who attempted to carry him on shore.
" In reply to what MAJOR TOUSARD asserts about our boat, “ manned only with negroes; ply66 ing round the other vessels, &c." We declare,
that, having convoyed four of the vessels now in this road, some of our passengers and officers wished to speak with their acquaintances, on board two of those other vessels which were out of hearing ; that for this innocent purpose, our boat was manned with four negroes belonging to the crew, who rowed her to the above-mentioned two vessels, and back again under the command of an officer and the cockswain ; and we declare, that nothing was done contrary to the quarantine regulations or to the strictest good order, and that no such thing as landing by force was either threatened, talked of, or contemplated.–And we further declare, that, during the passage, as well as during the quarantine, we have all continued in perfect good understanding with each other, and also in perfect health.
“ With this statement of facts before their eyes, we leave it to hospitable and candid men to form their opinion of the treatment we have received ; to judge whether we have merited the calumny that has been heaped on us, and whether the keeping of us in awe required all the formidable warlike preparation of which MAJOR TOUSARD has made such a pompous parade.
“ Signed, on board the Melpomene, this 29th day of
June, 1798. G. Majastre, Capt.
P. Belhomme, 2d. Capt.
Martin, 2d. Lieut.
Forgues, Surgn. Major.
Epoigny. P. Hartmann.
D. Hartmann. Le Febyre.
[This, as far as related to the Sloop of War, was quite satisfactory; but, there yet remained doubt as to the OTHER VESSELS, which doubt, I think must, in the opinion of candid man, be done away by the following certificate.] " We the subscribers, masters and pilots on board
the different vessels from the West Indies, in quarantine at Fort Mifflin,
“ DO HEREBY CERTIFY, to all whom it may concern, that the Melpomene's boat never went along side of any of the said vessels, to attempt to excite the negroes or crews of any of them to mutiny, and that a perfect discipline and subordination have been kept among the crew and negroes; the greatest harmony has also prevailed among the passengers ever since we have been on board; and moreover, we do certify, that no negroes have appeared to us to be armed, nor to have any hostile intentions, far from it; and that what has been written on these different subjects, is false and malicious; in witness whereof we have signed the present.
JACOB CORWELL, pilot of the ship Melpomene. WILLIAM PRICE, pilot of the ship Fair Ame- .
rican. WILLIAM MARSHALL, of the schooner Har
mony. SAMUEL THOMSON, pilot of the schooner Mole
Packet. CAPTAIN JEMENY, of the brig James. J. P. MARES, Captain of the schooner Daurade.