From William C. Bentley
Richmond [Virginia] October 4, 1799. “A few days before my arival at this place, some of the Troops of the Regimt. of Artillerists & Engineers, of Capt. Eddins’s1 Company, stationed at this place, were guilty of a most violent and flagrant breach of Civil Authority; the Circumstances were these; One of their new recruits was discovered to be a fugitive from justice, he had been committed to a County Court jail for Horse-stealing, which he broke and fled from. The Shff of that County discouvering him among the Soldiers in Town, had him apprehended under a Warrant from a Magistrate of this City, and which in possession of the Sheriff, he was rescued by Six or Seven of Eddins’s Soldiers, and Suffered to make his escape.2 This has afforded another opportunity for the Jacobines Printers to sport with the Standing Army, as they call it; The paper of this place, called the Examiner3 of which, that Scotch Fugitive Callender,4 has the direction, has detailed the circumstances to the public, rather highly coloured, and has called on all his Yoke Mates, (using his own Words) to notice it in their papers.…”
ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
1. Samuel Eddins, a veteran of the American Revolution, was a captain in the Second Regiment of Artillerists and Engineers.
2. On October 1, 1799, the [Richmond] Virginia Argus reported: “The following remarkable circumstance took place at the Swan Tavern, in this city, on last Friday evening:
“Joseph Fulcher Tribble, a person who lately enlisted in the troops of the United States, quartered here, had some months ago been committed to the jail of Mechlenburg county for horse-stealing. On Friday last, this man was apprehended in Richmond, on a warrant from Dr. Foushe, by Mr. Holman, constable. By him he was given up to Mr. Speed, deputy sheriff of Mechlenburg county. This gentleman took Tribble. for the evening, to the Swan tavern, where he had provided a room for the fellow’s confinement.
“In the course of the evening (we have not learned the exact time of night) Mr. Miles Carey, a Cadet belonging, it is said, to the Company of Captain Eddins, called on Mr. Speed, and obtained leave to see the prisoner. This Gentleman staid but a short time in the room. When he came out of it, one Sergeant Hacket, with seven soldiers in the federal uniform, rushed into the room and set the prisoner at liberty, the deputy and his party not being a match for eight armed men.
“Several Gentlemen, were present when this happened. Carey and Hacket have been committed to jail.”
3. The [Richmond] Examiner was published by Meriwether Jones.
4. James Thomson Callender, a native of Scotland, was a naturalized citizen. In 1799 he joined the staff of the Examiner. For his earlier publications, see Oliver Wolcott, Jr., to H, July 3, 1797, note 1.