Thomas Jefferson Papers

Enclosure VI: Hugh Purdie to John Browne Cutting, 15 September 1790

Enclosure VI
Hugh Purdie to John Browne Cutting

Crescent Septemr. 15th.
12 O’clock.


My situation at this instant makes me shed tears plentifully. I must proceed to inform you that in delivering my letter to you dated this day, to one of the bargemen, I inadvertently handed it through one of the ports not knowing it was a crime. The Gunner, who is not a commissioned Officer, immediately ordered me to be whipped. I said on coming on the ships forecastle that shortly I expected to be on shore out of the way of such treatment. He immediately saluted my ears with the gentle epithet of d-d rebellious american son of a bitch, and to hell with me and my Mr. Washingtons. I said no more, being inwardly tortured, but walked along the gangway. The Gunner followed me and gave me so violent a blow on the head as to knock me into the waist, just brushing the butt of an eighteen pounder in my descent. I was immediately ordered into irons. In a moment the order was obeyed; and I now remain for punishment. Try dear Sir, if possible to respite me from this horrid treatment until I can have a fair and impartial trial. I am sensible you will be affected by this detail from your oppressed fellow Citizen.

Hugh Purdie

FC (DNA: RG 59, PCC No. 121).

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