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EXTRACT FROM THE BOSTON CHRONICLE.
“The American seamen who were taken from the frigate Chesapeake, on the 22d June, 1807, by the British ship-of-war Leopard, were this day, Saturday, June 13, 1812, restored to the same ship in the harbor of Boston.
“They were conducted on board by Lieutenant Simpson, a British officer, and received at the gang-way by Lieutenant Wilkin. son, of the Chesapeake, who made the following pertinent address :
“SIR, -I am commanded by Commodore Bainbridge to receive these two American seamen, on the very deck from which they were wantonly taken in time of peace, by a vessel of your nation, of superior force.' Midshipman Saunders conducted the men to Commodore Bainbridge, upon the quarter-deck-the Commodore received them with these appropriate and truly American observations. My lads I am glad to see you—from this deck you were taken by British outrage--for your return to it you owe gratitude to the government of your country. Your country now offers you an opportunity to revenge your wrongs; and I cannot doubt but that you will be desirous of doing so on board of this very ship. I trust the flag that flies on board of her, shall gloriously defend you in future.' Three cheers were given by a numerous company of citizens and seamen, assembled to witness the interesting transaction.
“There were four men taken out of the Chesapeake; one, they tell us, has since died, two they now restore, and one they hung at Halifax."
I COMMENCE my plea, soliciting public approbation in favor of Privateersmen, and for those who served in private armed vessels in the war of 1812, 1813, and 1814. And in order to show the state of public opinion at that period, I will here insert an article, written by Mr. Jefferson, dated July the 4th, 1812:
"What is war ? It is simply a contest between nations, of trying which can do the other the most harm. Who carries on the war? Armies are formed and Navies manned by individuals. How is a battle gained ? By the death of individuals. What produces peace? The distress of individuals. What difference to the sufferer is it that his property is taken by a national or private armed vessel ? Did our merchants, who have lost nire hundred and seventeen vessels by British captures, feel any gratification that the most of them were taken by His Majesty's men-of-war? Were the spoils less rigidly exacted by a seventy-four gun ship than by a privateer of four guns; and were not all equally condemned ? War, whether on land or sea, is constituted of acts of violence on the persons and property of individuals ; and excess of violence is the grand cause that brings about a peace. One man fights for wages paid him by the government, or a patriotic zeal for the defence of his country ; an
other, duly authorized, and giving the proper pledges for his good conduct, undertakes to pay himself at the expense of the foe, and serve his country as effectually as the former, and government drawing all its supplies from the people, is, in reality, as much affected by the losses of the one as the other, the efficacy of its measures depending upon the energies and resources of the whole. In the United States, every possible encouragement should be given to privateering in time of war with a commercial nation. We have tens of thousands of seamen that without it would be destitute of the means of support, and useless to their country. Our national ships are too few in number to give employment to a twentieth part of them, or retaliate the acts of the enemy. But by licensing private armed vessels, the whole naval force of the nation is truly brought to bear on the foe, and while the contest lasts, that it may have the speedier termination, let every individual contribute his mite, in the best way he can, to distress and harass the enemy, and compel him to peace.
To arrive at the odium entertained against privateering by the honest and virtuous part of the world, I must carry my readers back to the piratical age of the reckless buccaneers, which continued for a period of twenty or thirty years, say from 1610 to 1640.
Although these piratical vessels occasionally infested almost every sea, their principal resorts were along the coast of the Spanish Main, and among the West India Islands.
These desperate buccaneers committed all sorts of barbarous acts, and were, in fact, a terror to the commercial portion of all civilized nations. They spared neither friend nor foe, and were alike regardless of age
Their only object was robbery and plunder, and by these means to enrich themselves, at the expense of the honest and industrious portion of mankind. These ruthless bravadoes, by the habitual practice of rapine and murder, became so hardened in sin and crime, that they seemed to riot and rejoice over the sufferings of their innocent victims.
No wonder, then, that a strong and deep feeling of enmity should still continue to be felt against privateering for centuries after it was abolished.
In Europe, where a large portion of every community is uneducated, it requires many long years to eradicate a deeprooted prejudice from among the masses, long after the enlightened classes are convinced that such transactions are no longer in existence. Even in our own intelligent country, there exists a strong prejudice against privateering, from the same cause as before stated, namely, by associating it with the by-gone days of the reckless buccaneers. It is to be hoped, however, that our late war with England has created a more favorable feeling on this subject, and that a more liberal sentiment will be cherished towards privateersmen, and to those who were employed in private armed vessels. The American people must be convinced that, in our last war with England, it was carried on by privateers and private
armed vessels in a spirit of honorable warfare, and generally by gentlemen of high and patriotic sentiments, and in most instances with marked humanity, coupled with acts of generosity and kindness toward their avowed enemy, and, as I believe, with a sincere desire to soften the rugged features of war.
It is true that every honorable device was practised to cripple our enemy, by diminishing his means and power to injure us, and thus compel him to an honora
It must always be borne in mind that the war on our part was strictly confined to the injury of Great Britain, and that in no instance was a single neutral nation involved in loss or insult by our privateers.
In this age of traffic and moneymaking, when patriotism is measured by dollars and cents, remarks prejudicial to those who sailed in privateers and letters-ofmarque are made by some, without much reflection or knowledge on the subject. Others assert that they were a mercenary set of desperadoes, only bent on enriching themselves with the spoils of their adversaries, possessing little honor, and less patriotism. Now if there be a single respectable individual possessed of this opinion, I shall be happy to disabuse his mind on the subject, for I can assure him, that there never was a viler slander imputed to such a noble class of men. I am happy to say I was personally acquainted with scores of the captains and officers, who sailed in privateers and letters-of-marque, during our war with England, and am confident, that a large proportion of those who com