To Timothy Pickering
[New York April 24–25, 1800]
I send you the paragraph of a News Paper just published.1 I hope it is an Electioneering lie—but as it is likely to do mischief I will thank you by return of Post to inform me whether you have any thing to confirm or refute & particularly whether you have heared of the list with which Commodore Truxton’s name is connected.2
T Pickering Esq.
ALS, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston.
1. The enclosure is a clipping from The [Hartford] Connecticut Courant, April 21, 1800. The clipping reads: “New-Haven, April 15. Capt. James Stewart, of Chatham, in the brig Sally, arrived at New London on the 4th instant from Jamaica, brings the most unpleasant accounts from that quarter. He states that the British capture all American vessel[s] that afford the slightest pretext for condemnation, and impress all their seamen without discrimination. Capt. Stewart was taken by his majesty ship Acasto, of 44 guns, the commander of which, Edward Fellows, came on board the Sally himself, ordered capt. Stewart’s chest open, and with his own hands took out 4250 dollars, besides plundering the capt. of other articles. On the arrival of the brig at Kingston, every man on board except the captain and boy, all natives of Connecticut, were impressed, and are left there. Capt. Nathan Allyn, of Groton, had all his people impressed with their protections in their hands. Capt. [John] Waterman of New York, was treated in the same manner, with many others. And Mr. [William] Savage the American agent in Kingston informed capt. Stewart, that he had forwarded to the secretary of State, by commodore [Thomas] Truxton, an attested list of the names of one thousand and one bona fide American seamen who have lately been impressed by the British in that single port. American vessels and cargoes were constantly condemned in that place, a full account of which must soon be made public. Several masters and supercargoes of condemned vessels came home with capt. Stewart, who, besides the general usage, was himself treated with personal incivilities and contempt.”
2. Pickering endorsed this letter: “answd. 25th. inclosing the paragraph in Brown’s paper of the 24th correcting the false statement in the Connecticut paper.” Pickering’s letter to H dated April 25, 1800, has not been found. In that letter Pickering enclosed an article from The Philadelphia Gazette and Universal Daily Advertiser, April 24, 1800. This newspaper was published by Andrew Brown and Samuel Relf. The article Pickering sent to H reads: “Communication. In the Connecticut Courant of Monday last, under the New Haven head, is a statement by a captain James Stewart, of the captures and impressment made by the British fleet on the Jamaica station. One circumstance, which is grossly misrepresented, renders it probable that the whole statement is erroneous and much aggravated. Captain Stewart says, that Mr. Savage, the American agent in Kingston, informed him, that he had forwarded to the Secretary of State, by Commodore Truxton, an attested list of the names of 1001 bona fide American seamen, who have been impressed by the British in that single port. On enquiry at the Secretary of State’s office, it is found that the list referred to contains the names of 53 seamen only, who claim to be Americans. In September 1799, Mr. Savage expressed his opinion to be, that the whole number of impressed Americans in Admiral [Hyde] Parker’s squadron was upwards of 250.”