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necessary supplies for carrying her to her destined port, and perfectly agreeable to our treaty with France. I am, sir, &c.
A. FENNER. EDUND RANDOLPH, Esq. Secretary of State.
STATE OF RHODE ISLAND, &c. In General Assembly, May Session, A. D. 1794. The following report was made to this assembly, to wit:
A statement of facts in the case of the six American sailors, illegally detained on board his Britannick majesty's sloop of war, the Nautilus, H. W. Baynton, com. mander.
On the 8th day of May, A. D. 1794, the said ship arrived in the harbour or port of Newport in the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, on the same day the commander of said ship made application to the general , assembly of said state, then in session, at said Newport
, for liberty to purchase supplies of provisions for the people on board of her: The general assembly immediately took the application into consideration, but during the progress of that business, they were informed that there were thirteen American citizens detained on board said ship against their consent, three of which had been pressed in the West Indies; and that great anxiety was occasioned thereby in the minds of the people. The general assembly immediately proceeded to measures for investigating the facts, sent a message to captain Baynton, then on shore, requesting his attendance before them : The captain immediately attended, with his lieutenant. The assembly also requested all the judges of the superior court, being then present, together with the judge of the district court, to confer with said officers on the subject, to inform them of the information they had received, of the uneasiness it occasioned, and of their expectation that if there were any American citizens on board their ship, they might be immediately released; and if not released to advise the general assembly of the measures which might be legally pursued to obtain the discharge of the Americans so detained. . The judges accordingly met the
said officers in the council chamber, where the said offi. cers, with the British vice consul, Mr. Moore, who attended them, were waiting, upon the request of the general assembly. The judges informed them of the information which had been received, and expressed their wish that they would afford the fullest satisfaction of the facts. The captain declared there were none on board of that description, at least within his knowledge, and so declared the lieutenant ; that he did not choose to take such seamen on board, that he had never pressed such, and requested their names: the judges told him they were not able to give their names, he appeared altogether to doubt the fact, hereupon, John Carr, gunner of the fort, was called upon, who on solemn oath declared, that he inquired of one of the ship's barge men, if there were any Americans on board of said ship, who answered that there were thirteen, ten of which had voluntarily entered on board, and that the three others had been pressed. The captain still appeared to disbelieve the matter; it was then proposed to him, that, to satisfy himself and the authority, he would permit a gentleman or two, with himself or lieutenant to go on board, and there to make the necessary inquiry. That if there should be American citizens on board, it was presumed he would not hesitate to discharge them, if there were none, the publick mind would be at ease, and mutual confidence would be restored. He agreed to the propriety of dismissing such, if on board, and at first agreed to the proposal ; but on something being dropped by the consul, viz. the ship to be searched; he withdrew his assent, and declared he would by no means consent to the proposition. Much argument was used to convince him of the propriety of it, or that he ought to point out some way to come at the truth, but to no purpose ; lic thought his word sufficient, it was observed to him, that it was not presumed he would undertake positively to deny the fact, since the information came from his own people, and it was not probable he could be certain of the fact; he said he would not say positively, but he was very confident there were none such, and that the information was groundless : it was observed to him, he must be sensible that that kind of argument would give no satisfaction, it was wished to conduct towards him with the utmost candour, and that he would exhibit the same; it was highly
reasonable that the authority should be satisfied : it was presumed that the British government would, under a like occasion, show the same solicitude for the relief of their subjects, and were possessed of sufficient spirit to obtain entire satisfaction. That he must expect it would be exerted here, if we were reduced to the necessity; but it was still wished he would obviate that necessity by a ready compliance with the proposition, or by proposing something equally satisfactory; he replied he could do nothing further, was surprised at being thus called upon this business, asked if he was a prisoner, and appeared to be going out of the room; it was said he was not a prisoner, no measure of that kind had been taken. It was proposed that the judges would leave the room to the officers with the consul, that as much had been said, they might further deliberate on the matter, and consult what might conduce most to a fair and just settlement of the business; this was refused, and the captain and his lieutenant both, against the advice of the judges, burst out of the room, but instantly returned, declaring they were stopped by the people in the lobby, who were there in great numbers, and they were under apprehensions of danger. The lieutenant said he was kicked, it was asked him with earnestness, you kicked,”
” he said “no, but what was next to it, he was jam'd up;” they were desired to be composed and to sit down, that it was wished they had taken advice, for while with the judges they should be protected; the cap, tain again declared he could not comply with the proposal made, or give further satisfaction than he had, as to the Americans said to be on board his ship. Information was then given to the general assembly of the proceeding thus tar, when they passed the following resolution.
Lower House of Assembly, May 8, 1794. WHEREAS complaint hath been made to this assembly, that sundry citizens of the United States are illegally detained on board of a certain sloop of war, called the Nautiluis, belonging unto his Britannick majesty, commanded by H. W. Baynton, now riding at anchor in the road of Newport, within this state. It is hereby voted and resolved, that the said captain H. W. Baynton, and the lieutenant of said sloop of war, who are now on shore, remain there until investigation of the subject of said complaint be had before the judicial authority of this state and district.
To effect which purpose, it is further voted and resolved, That on condition the said H. W. Baynton consent thereto, messieurs Henry Sherburne, John L. Boss, Samuel Wardwell, Christopher Ellery, and William Davis be a committee from this assembly, to go on board the said sloop of war, with Mr. Thomas W. Moore, vice consul of his Britannick majesty, for the district of Rhode Island, and request of the commanding officer, now on board said sloop of war, an examination of the crew thereof, and report to the judicial authority of this state and district, the names of any citizens of the said United States there detained as aforesaid: And that said judicial authority take examination of the birth and residence of such citi. zens, and enlarge those who, on such examination, are found to be citizens of any of the said United States. Voted, &c.
SAMUEL EDDY, Clk.
In the Upper House. Read the same day and concurred. By order,
HENRY WARD, Sec'ry.
The officers were informed of this resolution, and a conversation more cool and candid soon after took place; and the captain agreed that the gentlemen mentioned in the foregoing act of the general assembly might go on board his ship; the consul agreed to go with them, and the caplain sent a letter (which he first showed to the judges) to the commanding officer on board, directing him to give those gentlemen all the satisfaction in his power, as to there being any Americans on board. Those gentlemen proceeded on board, were received with the utmost politeness ; the books and lists of men were shown, the people called upon to delare whether there were then
Americans willing to remain on board; six appeared, as by the following copy, taken by the committee, from the shipping book itself, and by their own declaration, to be Americans.
Jobn M.Carthy, Martha's Vineyard, entry June 27, 1793.
John Johnson, Charleston, South Carolina, entry December 17, 1793.
Nicholas Martin, Boston, entry February 16, 1794.
Anthony Dwyer, George Town, South Carolina, entry June 14, 1793.
Samuel Brown, Portsmouth, Virginia, entry December 2, 1793.
William Denning, New City, New York, entry April, 1794.
N. B. The entries appeared to be made by some officer of the ship, and no signature of the sailors.
The above is a true copy of the extract, from the books of the sloop Nautilus, belonging to his Britannick majesty, now riding in the harbour of Newport, by the subscribers, who were appointed by the honourable general assembly of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, a committee, for the purpose of determining the number of Americans on board of said sloop, and which was reported on the eighth day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-four, to the said honourable body, by
The captain immediately declared that he was surprised; that four of them he now believed were Americans, but he was however willing the six should be brought on shore ; and as many as were Americans he would immediately discharge. His barge went again on board with his written orders, as follows:
Dear Mr. Innerheny,
H. W. BAYNTON.
Wm. Denning. air. Thomas to come on shore to take care of the boat; and not leave her,