George Washington Papers

Enclosure: Memorial on the Andrew, 9 September 1793


Memorial on the Andrew

Philada 9th Septr 1793.

The Memorial of James King, Henry Pratt, Joseph Harper, & Isaac Snowden Citizens of these United States and Owners of the Ship Andrew and of a Considerable part of her Cargo & of William Bell in his own right and Henry Pratt & Geo. C. Schroeppel as administrators to the Estate of the late William Starman deceased as Owners of the remaining part of the said Ships Cargo Beg leave to represent in the first place that all the Claimants interested in the said Ship and Cargo are, & were at the time of Sailing of the said Ship from Charlestown Citizens of the United States of America, and as Such entitled to a full protection from the Government of the same;1 and which they now Claim having been divested of a very Considerable property—as by the following Narrative will more fully appear—Vizt.

The Ship Andrew. Samuel Makins Master Sailed from Charlestown in the State of So. Carolina bound for Amsterdam on or about the 28th of February last, at which time no declaration of War was Known to have been Made by the Government of France against any foreign power,2 that her Cargo Consisted of Eight hundred & Seventy five Whole Casks & Two hundred & two half Tierces of Rice, and of fifty seven bags of Pimento—Was Consigned to our respective Correspondents in the said Port of Amsterdam—there to have been disposed of for our Accounts—& the proceeds to be Applied agreeable to our Orders, that in the prosecution of the said Voyage to Wit on the 10th day of April last the said Ship was boarded by a French Privateer called L’ambitieux Capt. John Pontevin Who put a Prize Master and a number of hands on board the said Ship Andrew—Ordering them to Conduct her to some Port in France—at the same time taking the said Capt. Saml Makins & Six of his Seamen from on board of the said Ship and keeping them Prisoners on board the said Privateer untill after her Arrival in the Port of Brest in France; which was on the 19th of April, where he was detained on board untill the 22nd—when he was Orderd on Shore & informed of the Arrival of his Ship at Port LOrient. that being furnished with a Pass, himself and Men went to LOrient, and on the 25th of the same were there Examined by the Chamber of Commerce Who after a full hearing declared both Vessel and Cargo free & the Capturing illegal being American Property, that on the 26th of same Month in Consequence of a decree of the General Council of the said place at which were present two Commissaries deputed by the Convention of the department of Finistere and Morbihan, and by the National Assembly—the said Capt. Makins was Orderd to deliver up his Cargo for the use of the Republic (they being in great Want) at same time it was Order’d that the Ordonnature of the Marine of said Port shou’d pay the Freight; against the whole of which proceedings Capt. Makins regularly Protested but was obliged to Comply—and on the 14th of May Officers appointed by the Magistrates Came on board and proceeded to discharge the said Cargo which was Continued from day to day untill the 24th when the last of the Cargo was discharged—That Capt. Makins applied to the different Officers of Governmen⟨t⟩ in the Said Port to Endeavour to procure satisfacti⟨on⟩ for his detention as well as payment for his Cargo & Freight, but all without effect untill the 17th day of June—when he received from the deputy Paymaster of the Marine the Sum of Fifty One Thousand three hundred & twenty Eight Livres Nine Sols and one denier in Assignats—being according to a Statement by them made the Amount of the Freight—they having previously deducted from the Gross amount thereof the sum of One Thousand two hundred & Ninety Livres—being for five Casks of Rice difficient in the Cargo and which in the said Account (reference being thereunto made) appears to have been Calculated at the rate of Sixty Livres hundred—that the said Capt. Makin after using every other Means in his power to Procure Satisfaction & Payment found himself at last under the Necessity of abandoning any further proceedings in that Port & having received from the Mayor & Municipal Officers of L’Orient a Certificate of his having deliverd into the Stores of that Port in Consequence of a decree of the 26th April, the quantity of One Thousand & seventy hogsheads or half hogshead⟨s⟩ of Rice, weighing together Five hundred & Eighty Ni⟨ne⟩ thousand & thirty pounds Gross—for the Use of the⟨ir⟩ Marine & War departments, as also Fifty seven ba⟨gs⟩ of Pimento weighing together Eight thousand Nin⟨e⟩ hundred & Eighty Seven pounds—he then Ballast⟨ed⟩ his Vessel and on the 3d day of July left L’Orient and proceeded for this Port, where he arrived the 29th Ult. On the whole of this Narrative your Memorialists beg leave to Observe that they are in possession of authentic documents to Prove every thing herein set forth—and by which it will plainly appear that in direct Violation of the Treaty existing between the Two Nations of America & France, the Property of your Memorialists hath been forcibly, illegally, and without any Colour of Right whatever taken from them3—that a Ship Sailing under the American Flag hath been in Open defiance of Said Treaty taken upon the high Seas—Carried in to Port & there detained at very Considerable Expence—the Captain and a part of the Crew taken out, and Confined as Prisoners—and after the utmost exertions on the part of the said Captain to Obtain Payment and satisfaction, he hath not been able to Obtain Any[.] They beg leave also to represent that in addition to the actual loss sustained, had the Ship been sufferd to proceed on her said Voyage without molestation in Consequence of the previous Arrangements that had been taken at Amsterdam, she woud have made a return Freight from at least One thousand pounds Sterling—& for which the Owners of said Ship do think themselves intitled to have full Satisfaction and for which the Owners of sd Ship as Citizens of the United States of America they Conceive they are not bound to prosecute their Claims at any Foreign Government—but Pray that the Government under which they live, and to which they very largely Contribute, will indemnify them for all losses they have sustained which they believe can be more readily done, as it has it at this time in its Power to do it, by an appropriation to which with submission we Concieve there Can be no reasonable Objection either by our Own Government or that of France.4

James King Henry Pratt
Harper & Snowden Geo. C. Schroeppel
  William Bell

DS, DNA: RG 76, International Claims: France.

1James King (1751–1832), Henry Pratt (1761–1838), and William Bell (c.1739–1816) were merchants living in Philadelphia in 1793, and Isaac Snowden, Jr. (1764–1835), was Harper’s partner in the firm of Harper & Snowden, which dissolved in 1794. George Casper von Schroeppel (1747– 1825), originally from Germany, was naturalized at Philadelphia in 1784. By 1795 he was a merchant at New York City, and he later founded the town of Schroeppel in Oswego County, New York. Frederick William Starman (d. 1793), another Philadelphia merchant, was a victim of the yellow fever epidemic.

2France declared war on Great Britain and the Netherlands on 1 Feb. and on Spain on 7 March 1793. News of the former declaration reached Philadelphia around the first of April. Samuel Makins (d. 1802) lived at 15 Lombard Street in Philadelphia. In 1794 he obtained an invalid pension based on naval service in Massachusetts in 1779.

3The petitioners were referring to the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between France and the United States (1778), which is printed in Miller, Treaties description begins Hunter Miller, ed. Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America. Vol. 2, 1776-1818. Washington, D.C., 1931. description ends , 3–34.

4The ship Andrew is number 79 on “A statement of the claims of citizens of the United States upon the French Republic, presented by Mr. Skipwith, Consul general of the United States at Paris . . . ” 20 Nov. 1795. At that time the claims “for the value of the cargo, and for an indemnity for the detention of the vessel” were “not determined” (ASP, Foreign Relations description begins Walter Lowrie et al., eds. American State Papers. Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. 38 vols. Washington, D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1832–61. description ends , 1:753–57). The claim evidently was settled under the French treaty of 30 April 1803 (Maclure, To the People description begins [William Maclure]. To the People of the United States. Philadelphia, 1807. description ends , 104; Payments of Awards, 10, 12, 135, 138).

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