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Extract of a letter from John Mitchell
, esq. agent for American prisoners of war at Halifax, to the secretary of state, dated
5th December, 1812. I cover you a copy of a correspondence, which took place in consequence of different applications I received, either by letter or personal, from persons detained on board his Britannic majesty's ships of war in this place.
I formerly mentioned to you that the admiral had assured me, that he would discharge all the citizens of the United States who were in the fleet, and actually did discharge several. This induced me to think I should be correct, and in the perfect line of my duty, in sending him a list of the applicants to me, and requesting an enquiry to be made, and discharges granted to all who were citizens of the United States; I therefore, covered him a list of the names now enclosed to you, which produced his letter to me of same date (1st Dec. 1812).
I read it with surprize, because some of the men had informed me their captains had refused to report them to the admiral. Now, if no one here was or is allowed to do it, their situation is hopeless.
It is not my place, sir, to reason with you on this business. Proof of nativity, in his first letter, is a strong expression; and how few are in possession of it, and how many who cannot obtain it! The second paragraph, in the second letter, prevents my
interfering; and I have since been obliged to send a man away, requesting him to apply to his commanding officer. Copy of a letter from John Mitchell, esq. agent for American
prisoners of war at Halifax, to admiral sir John Borlase WarSir,
1st December, 1812. Since the sailing of the last cartels, in which you were pleased to send home several Americans, who had been in his Britannic majesty's service, others, who are now on board the Centurion and Statira, have requested of me to procure their discharge, and to be sent home.
Will you, sir, have the goodness to direct an inquiry, and order the release of such as are citizens of the United States ?
Besides the enclosed list, I am told there are others, whose names I have not. I have the honour to be, &c. &c. &c. (Signed)
Copy of a letter from admiral Sir John Borlase Warren, to
John Mitchell, esq. agent for American prisoners of war at
Halifax, dated Sir,
1st December, 1812. I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of this date, respecting some men, therein mentioned, on board his majesty's ships under my command, said to be citizens of the United States, and in reply beg to acquaint you, that whenever I have received representations from the captains of his majesty's ships, of any part of their crews being citizens of America, with sufficient proof of their nativity, I have directed their discharge from the service.
I must observe to you, that I cannot permit the interference of any applications from men belonging to his majesty's ships, but through their commanding officers; and in your department, of prisoners of war only, I shall at all times be most
happy to receive your communications. I have the honour to be, &c.
(Signed) JOHN BORLASE WARREN. Copy of a letter from John Mitchell, esq. agent for American prisoners of war at Halifax, to admiral Sir John Borlase
Warren, dated Sir,
3d December, 1812. I had yesterday the honour to receive your letter, dated the 1st instant, and observe that you cannot permit the interference of any application from men on board his Britannic majesty's ships of war, but through their commanding officers.
Desirous of conforming as far as possible to established regulations, permit me the honour to inquire of your excellency, if by your letter I am to understand that I am not to receive the applications of seamen, declaring themselves citizens of the United States, who are on board of his majesty's ships of war, and communicate the same to you? If this is the meaning, I shall most certainly conform, though I must lament the regulation. I have the honour to be, &c.
(Signed) JOHN MITCHELL, Agent, &c. &c. Copy of a letter from admiral Sir John Borlase Warren, to John Mitchell
, esq. agent for American prisoners of war at Halifax, dated Sir,
4th December, 1812. In reply to your letter, dated yesterday, I have to acquaint you, that whenever any address is made relative to men on board his majesty's ships, it must be by the commanders of such vessels direct.
I cannot permit any application by other persons in time of war, but in the above mode.
It will always afford me pleasure to attend to your wishes in any respect relative to the situation or exchange of prisoners, or to afford any aid or relief in my power. I have the honour to be, &c. &c. (Signed)
JOHN BORLASE WARREN. From Commodore Rodgers to the Secretary of the Navy.
(Copy) Sir, U.S. Frigate President, Boston, January 14, 1813. Herewith
you will receive two muster-books of his Britannic majesty's vessels Moselle and Sappho, found on board the British packet Swallow.
As the British have always denied that they detained on board their ships of war American citizens, knowing them to be such, I send you the enclosed, as a public document of their own, to prove how illy such an assertion accords with their practice.
It will appear by these two muster-books, that, so late as August last, about an eighth part of the Moselle and Sappho's crews were Americans ; consequently, if there is only a quarter part of that proportion on board their other vessels, that they have an infinitely greater number of Americans in their service than any American has
had an idea of. Any further comment of mine on this subject, I consider unnecessary, as the enclosed documents speak but too plainly for themselves. I have the honour to be, &c. (Signed)
JNO. RODGERS. The honourable Paul Hamilton, Secretary of the Navy.
Message from the President of the United States, communicating
resolutions of the Legislature of Pennsylvania on the subject of our foreign relations.
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States.
At the request of the legislature of Pennsylvania, conveyed through the governor of that state, I transmit to congress copies of its resolutions of the 16th December, 1812. January 30th, 1813.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Ss.
Secretary's office, January 21st, 1813. I certify that the annexed is a true copy of the original reso·lutions remaining among the rolls in this office. Witness my hand and seal.
N. B. BOILEAU, Secretary.
Viewing the present state of our foreign relations, we with astonishment and regret behold the emperor of the French withholding from our country those indemnifications which ought to have been rendered with liberality and promptness. After the aggressions of Great Britain had by long continued practice been regarded by her government as right-after the forbearance of the American government had assumed the appearance of cowardice-war is reluctantly, unavoidably, but decisively declared. Animated by the most sincere love of peace, the president of the United States, in the same despatch, announces to the British government the existence of war, and the equitable, easy, and honourable means by which its progress might be arrested, and its calamities permanently prevented; but this extraordinary proof of a humane and pacific disposition is treated with contempt. Familiarized with the slaughter of man around the globe, the British government prefers the effusion of human blood to a suspension of the inhuman practice of impressment, even during the short space of an armistice agreed on, for the purpose of negotiating a just and honourable peace; nay, notwithstanding the offer made by the government of the United States, to exclude British subjects from our merchantmen and navy. But what atrocities are too enormous to be found in that government? whose characteristical features are cruelty and perfidy; which stimulates the savage to drench his tomahawk and scalping knife in the blood of our frontier men, women, and infants; which, making the most solemn professions of friendship and peace, strives by the malignant breath of its secret emisaries to kindle in our nation dissatisfaction, discord, rebellion, and civil war, with all their sanguinary and horrible consequences. Thus is extinguished in the American government, and in every American bosom, the last hope of finding in the conduct of Great Britain towards the United States, a single voluntary act of justice or humanity.
Impressed with these considerations, and with others of a collateral and subordinate nature, we, the senate and house of representatives of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in general assembly met, do adopt the following resolutions:
Resolved, that the declaration of war against the united kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, issued by the general government on the eighteenth day of June last, was the result of solemn deliberation, sound wisdom, and imperious necessity.
Resolved, that the sword, being drawn, should never be sheathed till our wrongs are redressed, our commerce unfettered, and our citizens freed from the danger of British impressment, of imprisonment in the floating dungeons of the British navy, and the painful necessity of fighting the battles of an inveterate enemy, against their fathers, their brethren, their native country, and their friends.
Resolved, that to exert all the energies of his body and of his mind, and to devote his property to bring the existing war to a speedy, just, and honourable issue, and to teach our insolent foe, that the Americans are as free from timidity and weakness in battle as from covert and disguise in negotiating, is a duty which every
citizen of the union owes to himself, to his country, and to his God.
Resolved, that with painful regret we contemplate the refusal by the executive authorities of some of the states in the union, to furnish, on the president's demand, their quota of militia for the defence of the sea-coast, and that with confidence we expect from the national legislature a prompt attention to this alarming and unprecedented occurrence.
Resolved, that the promptness and the zeal with which the governor of this commonwealth executed the military orders of the president since the commencement of hostilities, entitle him to the gratitude of this general assembly of Pennsylvania, and of the nation.
Resolved, that the governor of this commonwealth be instructed to transmit a copy of these resolutions to the president of the United States, with a request that he communicate them to congress.
P. C. LANE,
Speaker of the Senate. In Senate, December 10th, 1812. Read and adopted.
JOSEPH A. MJIMSEY,
Clerk of Senate. In the house of representatives, December 16th, 1812. Read and adopted. Attest,
GEORCE HECKERT, Clerk of the house of Representatives.