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the transaction, that the ship and cargo reclaimed by the complainants are of that kind. This seems to me an abuse of the neutrality, as these fictitious profits added to the advantage of real carriage for the belligerent nations, they make it too much the interest of neutral neighbours to foment wars and obstruct peace, that such profits may continue. And if it is to be understood as a settled point, that such papers are to protect English property, the fitters out of privateers from France, Spain, Holland, and America; will in another year be all ruined, for they will find none but Flemish ships upon the ocean. With the greatest respect, &c.
Count de Vergennės to Dr. Franklin.
February 24, 1782.
YOU will find enclosed an official dispatch which has been sent me from the court of Copenhagen, respecting some excesses that are said to have been committed near the coast of Norway by three American vessels. ' I make no doubt but that you will take the earliest opportunity to transmit it to congress, that they may decide agreeably to the principles of the laws of nations upon the claim of his Danish majesty.
I have the honor, &c.
DE VERGENNES. [TRANSLATION.]
MEMORIAL From the court of Copenhagen, complaining of irregularities of
American armed vessels. " THREE American vessels, one of which was three masted, and called the Norfolk, captain Lines, and two brigs the Ariel, captain Maller, and the Virginia, captain Hodsheadson, all three armed in Philadelphia, committed a most grievous outrage on the second December last, on the coast of Norway, where they seized two English mer
chantmen and burnt them, after plundering them and sending away their crews. The circumstances are more parti. cularly detailed in the protest inclosed, made on the spot. It has moreover been proved by the report of his Danish majesty's grand bailiff at Christiansand, that the aforesaid American vessels having anchored in the port of Fleckeroe, before their meeting with the Englishmen, and displayed French colors, he had asked of the French consul information respecting their sea papers, and that the latter on examining their contents, declared that they were not furnished with any letters of marque on the part of congress. Their conduct proves this also in having burnt their prizes, notwithstanding the offers of ransom made them by the English captains. It therefore follows, that they can only be considered as pirates, whose crimes are greatly ago gravated by a manifest infraction of his Danish majesty's territorial rights.
The undersigned, his envoy extraordinary has received precise orders to communicate these particulars to his excellency, the count de Vergennes, requesting with every possible confidence the intervention of his most christian majesty with the United States of America, to effect not only the punishment of the guilty persons, but also to obtain an indemnification for the vessels and cargoes that were burnt, of which an exact statement shall be furnished ; and this satisfaction is due to repair the excesses committed on his majesty's territory.
COPY. I Frederick Fridrick, royal judge of the bailiwick of Mandahl, declare, that on the 4th day of December, 1781, was held at the house of madame Benl Biornsen, at Mandahl, an extraordinary tribunal, consisting of a sufficient number of justices, where appeared the Sieur Frederic :. Giertsen, the English vice consul of this place, who declared, that in consequence of the extraordinary violence committed on Sunday last, the 2d December, on the coasts
of this place near the shoals, by three American vessels, on two English vessels, to wit; the brig Constant Ann, commanded by captain Charles Lines, of Yarmouth, and the brig Elliot, captain David Ray, of Kirkaldy, near Leith; which Americans not only pillaged the English vessels and set them on fire, so as to consume them, but likewise chased on shore the English captains and their crews in their boats, who have arrived here at the appellants, who has therefore appeared this day to obtain a juridical deposition, in order to explain this circumstance.
For this purpose the Sieur Giertsen, has presented the two English captains with their crews, to wit; Charles Lines, captain, Royal Simonds, pilot, William Goldsmith, William Fairweather, William Urquhart and Thomas Reiley, sailors ; next David Ray, captain, Francis Banks, pilot, Robert Swain, carpenter, William Nackles, boatswain, William Abercrombie, Alexander Benny, Alexander Pearson, David Forresdale, John Harper, and James Stark, seamen ; when the said English captains Lines and Ray, presented their reports respecting the violence committed against them, set forth in the English language, and translated into the Danish as follows:
Report of what passed on board the Brig Elliot, belonging to Kirkaldy, commanded by captain David Ray, coming from Petersburg, loaded with hemp, flax, iron, tallow, plank and other merchandize, destined for Leith.
On the 2d December, 1781, at half past 11 o'clock in the morning, we left the port of Kleven, near Mandahl, and set sail with fine weather; wind at north east, accompanied by the brig the Constant Ann, of Yarmouth, Charles Lines, captain; bound on her way from Stockholm home. Being without the shoals, we sent off the coasting pilot about half past twelve. In about three quarters of an hour after the pilot left us, we saw three vessels coming towards us with a pressing sail, the brig Constant Ann was then about an English mile a stern of us. These three vessels endeavored all that lay in their power to run close in with the shoals, in order to prevent our gaining the port. We saw
that one of them was a vessel with three masts, and the two others brigs. As soon as they came near us they furled their small sails; one of the brigs run along side, and hailing us, asked from whence we came, and ordered us to follow them immediately; after which they sent a boat on board of us with people and a prize officer, who told us that our vessel and cargo was a lawful prize to the American congress. Our captain was afterwards ordered to go into the boat, to go on board the privateer, which carried eighteen guns. The captain of the privateer having examined my papers, immediately ordered me, David Ray, to return on board my vessel the Elliot. I repeatedly requested him to ransom the vessel and cargo, but he positively refused, saying that he would not on any account.
On my return on board my vessel, I was very badly treated by the American officer and crew then on board her, who had already cut to pieces and destroyed every thing they came across, taken the sails from the yards, and cut the cables from the anchors, which they carried on board the privateer, they cried out altogether, you rascals and bou. gres, get into the boat, or we will sink her, and burn you up with the vessel and cargo. We were accordingly obliged to leave the vessel, without taking with us the most triffing article, excepting the poor clothes we had on our backs. When this happened we were about two or three English miles N. N. E. of Koe and Kaly near Kleven. We arrived in the greatest distress with the boat at Kleven, about seven o'clock in the evening. The crew of the privateer told us, that their vessel belonged to Philadelphia, that they had letters of marque from congress, and that they were from Maelstrand in Sweden; they shewed English colors, but would neither tell the names of their vessels, nor captains. On our arrival ashore, we found that they had set fire to our vessel, as well as the Constant Ann, which were not very far from each other, and they burnt till midnight, when one of them disappeared.
Francis Banks, Robert Swain, William Nicolls, William Abercrombie, Alexander Benny, Alexander Pearson, David Forresdale, John Harper, James Stark.
REPORT of what passed on board the brig Constant Ann of Yarmouth, commanded by captain Charles Lines, coming from Stockholm, laden with iron, planks, pitch, tar, &c. and destined for Yarmouth.
The 2d December, 1781, about noon, we left Kleven, near Mandahl, with fine weather, the wind north east, and put to sea in company with the brig Elliot of Leith, commanded by captain David Ray, on her way from Petersburg home. After we had been at sea about an hour, we sent our pilot ashore ; in about three quarters of an hour we saw two brigs and a ship bearing down upon us under full sail. The brig Elliot was then about an English mile ahead of us. As soon as those vessels drew near us, they furled all their light sails, and the two brigs shewed English colors, but the ship which was probably commodore shewed none ; when they fired several cannon and musket shot at us, which made us know they were enemies. Upon this we shaped our course to the east, in order if possible, to gain the port, being only distant about a quarter of a Norway league, and Kleven near Mandahl bore about N. N. E. the people on board the ship, who were so near as to speak to us, called out in the following manner; if you do not instantly bring too, you bougres, we will sink you. We lowered our colors; they came along side, and a part of their crew boarded us with cutlasses and pistols. Afterwards a boat came to us with an officer as captain of the prize, who behaved towards me and my crew in the most inhuman manner, they tied one of my people's hands behind his back, they presented a pistol at my pilot's head, and threatened to blow his brains out, and said they would kill us all if we opened our mouths. They then began to cut away every thing, and take the sails from the yards, and cut the cables from the anchors, and carry all off on board the ship. Having carried every thing on board, they ordered us to launch our own boat, saying you bougres, if you do