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I have just received the copy of a declaration, made by the captain and crew of the American ship, the Little Cherub, which proves that this ship, having taken on board thirty French passengers, whom the Spanish government had sent away, conducted them to Havre ; which place he left on the third in stant, provided with a passport from the Executive Council, for going to Hamburg ; that, on the evening of the sixth, being then near Dunkirk, he was taken by the privateer, le Vrai Patriote, and the lugger, FJlrgu-s, belonging to the Republic, and conducted to this latter port ; that the captain and crew have been very ill treated, although they made no resistance ; and that the French having entire possession of the American ship, one of them seized the second mate by the collar, and without the slightest provocation blew his brains out. Facts of so serious a nature oblige me, Sir, to make complaint to you, and earnestly beg that a strict search may be made into this business, and in case they should be proved to be such as they were represented to me, that the murderer may be punished with death.
I was much astonished, Sir, to learn, some days since, that the Convention had repealed, on the 28th of last month, its de cree of the 23d, and that consequently the provisions of the decree of the 9th, acknowledged to be contrary to the treaty by that of the 23d, were again in force. I could not believe it, but a copy of the decree has been sent to me.
I see that the Committee of Public Safety, in conjunction with that of the Marine, was charged with making a definitive report on this affair, in the course of three days. It is very important to pass a definitive resolution respecting it, for the fate of a rich cargo is already depending on it, and we must expect to see contests of this kind multiply, in which cupidity on one side, and fear on the other, give rise to calumnious in sinuations, which lead persons of little information to believe, that national decisions are influenced by individual interests- I have the honor to be, &c.
- Gouverneur Morris
- The Life of Gouverneur Morris With Selections from His Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers Vol. II., Jared Sparks, 1832