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with EVEREST PHILADELPHIA, April, 1841.. SIR: I would take it as a very great favor, if you would give me sonie statement of the settlement of Lieutenant Henry Van Dyke, of the United States navy, under Commodore Thomas Truxton, who commanded the United States frigate Constellation. I should like you to give a statement of the accounts from the year of 1796 up to the time of his death, when up the Mediterranean, somewhere near the year 1804 or 1805, which account has never been settled by any one who was legally authorized to do it. There were three brothers of us at the time of his death; our eldest brother never had any right given him to act for us; Nicholas Van Dyke was...at that time my brother; all deceased, except myself. They have left no children. There must be at least from 3,000 to 4,000 dollars of prize money, agreeably to his own statement, for there were (frigate L'Insurgente) a good many privateers sent in-four or five-some had specie in, to some amount ; and you are the only source to get a correct statement of his, Henry S. Van Dyke, Esq's, interest of what is coming to him from the United States, for services he has rendered to his country. I am the only brother this side of the grave, and your honor will render me great kindness in forwarding of it to me, as I am much in want, having lost much in last war. With the greatest respect, your most obedient servant,



Direct to John S. Van Dyke, attorney-at-law, Market street, city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Fourth Auditor's Office, April 24, 1841. SIR: Your letter to the Secretary of the Navy, requesting information respecting the late Lieutenant Henry Van Dyke, having been referred to this office, I have to state, that the records have been examined, and nothing which will furnish an answer to your inquiries has been found. All the accounts of the pursers of the vessels which cruised in the Mediterranean, between the years 1796 and 1804, were burned by the British in . 1814, or when the Treasury Department was consumed in 1833. I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. 0. DAYTON. To John S. Van Dyke, Esq.,

Altorney-at-law, Market street, Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA, April 26, 1841. SiR : Your letter, dated 24th, came duly to hand; you will find his name on the list of officers in the navy, and under the command of Commodore Truxton, whọ commanded the frigate Constellation. It was during the war of the United States with France, during John Adams's time, you will fiud Henry Van Dyke's; and his account has never been paid, up to the time of his death.

ther, dated on 9th of Mayhey cap

Sir, I have been able to lay my hand on a letter from Henry Van Dyke to our mother, dated on board the United States frigate Constellation, June 12, 1799 ; and on the 19th of May they had arrived from their cruise off the West India islands, and when they captured the French frigate L'Insurgente, a fine ship, which was purchased by the United States, and is now in the navy, and also some large privateers, with some specie on board ; on which he states his prize money will amount to from 3,000 to 4,000 dollars, and having been sent out on another cruise, he could not get time to settle it; left it till he should have time to do it; and on that cruise they had an engagement with a French frigate called La Vengeance, which had struck to them; and the mainmast of the Constellation having been shattered, she got off. They on that cruise took two more privateers, which were sent into the United States and sold by Government, and while he' was at Malía he was killed ; and it has never been paid to any of his heirs since his death. I was young at the time of his death, and, having been absent some time, it had slipped-until, a short time since, having met Doctor Harris, who was in the navy at the same time, as surgeon, he asked me if I had got my brother Henry Van Dyke's pay or the money of his prizes that were taken while in the United States service, which I stated to him I had never been paid. He further informed me of a soldier's wife that had got pay and prize money that had laid over since that war; and that he only wrote to the Secretary of the Navy, informing him what ship he was in; they found his name, was on the list, and that you had paid him, for his wife, 1,000 dollars, through Doctor Robert Harris; and Lieutenant Henry Van Dyke's name is among the names of the officers of the navy, and that he has never been paid by the United States, and it still remains a legal claim due to me, as his lawsul heir; and I hope, from my stateinent, you will find that it is all correct. de I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,


Markct strcet, No. 503. A. O. DAYTON, Esq.


Fourth Auditor's Office, April 30, 1841. Sir: In reply to yorir letter of the 26th instant, in relation to your claim for prize money due to Lieutenant Henry Van Dyke, who was midshipman on board the United States ship Constellation, under the command of Commodore Thomas Truxton, at the capture, by that vessel, of the French frigate L'Insurgente, I have to state that the prize money, eighty-four thousand five hundred doliars, appropriated by Congress for the purchase of L'Insurgente, was paid over to Charles Biddle, Esq., of Philadelphia, the prize agent of the captors, who was not required to render any account to the office of the “ accountant of the navy," or to this office, showing the payments made by him in the distribution of said prize money amongst the officers and crew of the Constellation. To him or his heirs you will have to look for payment.

In relation to the other captures made by the Constellation, as referred

to in your letter, this office has no information other than that stated by you. I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. O. DAYTON. To John S. Van Dyke, Esq.,

Attorney-at-law, No. 503 Market street, Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA, May 7, 1841. Sir: Your letter of the 30th instant came duly to hand; and, on viewing the contents, I find no statement of his pay, up to his death, as one of the officers of the United States, of the monthly pay and rations of Lieutenant Henry Van Dyke; he could not have been paid at the time of his death. You have given a statement of what Congress ordered to be paid for L'Insurgente frigate, and do not give any account of the other two prizes that came in at the same day, and under convoy of the frigate Constellation, into Hampton Roads, for there is where Lieutenant H. Van Dyke dates his letter to his mother, on buard the Constellation, in 1799. Henry Van Dyke made a gift of it to his tender mother, as a donation from her much-respecting son, as a reward for the many moments of sorrow she must have endured, requesting her to attend to the getting of the whole amount of prize money that he was legally entitled to, as one of the officers of the Constellation, coming from the capture of L’Insurgente and the two privateers. He has not stated their names in the letter. My mother was at that time beginning to decline in her health, which lasted for several years, and I was very young. She never did receive any part of it. Dr. Robert Harris, who was in the United States navy as surgeon at that time, was the first to say to me that there must be something coming from the United States, if it had not been paid. I told him my mother had never been paid, nor myself, who was the only surviving heir; and he said I was wrong in not seeking for what was my right.

Sir, I have taken a view of this thing, and find that the Government of the United States had not the right to make Charles Biddle the agent, without the consent of Charlotte Van Dyke, to whom that money is coming, from his letter to his mother, from the United States, legally and truly. As for C. Biddle's heirs, I have nothing to do with them. It is the United States that stands bound for the payment. It having been placed in C. Biddle's hands does not release the United States of its liability to pay me, as there has never been any assent on our part to what has been done on the part of the United States. In that business it was the United States that was indebted to her for the amount of Henry Van Dyke's prize money, as one of the officers of the frigate Constellation, and therefore I have no right to look to C. Biddle; it is due from the United States, and to them I nust make my claim. Having consulted with some men of talents at the bar, they are of opinion, with myself, that the United States is bound to pay the amount of my claim; for their not having done it, as far as the Government made themselves liable, they should have paid the claims as they came in, agreeably to the regulations of war. He states that if they were sold for any thing like their value, he thinks that his mother will receive from $3,000 to $4,000. Sir, I should like to have it setiled as soon as expedient. lam, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,

JNO. S. VÁN DYKE. A. 0. Dayton, Esq.,

Treasury Department, Fourth Auditor's Office.


. Fourth Auditor's Office, May 12, 1841. SIR: I have received your letter of the 7th instant, in which I understand you to complain that you have not been furnished with a statement of the pay due to your brother, Henry Van Dyke, formerly of the United States navy, at the time of his death, about which you inquired in your recent letters; and that although I have mentioned the sum allowed by the United States to the officers and crew of the Constellation, as the captors of L’Insurgente frigate, I have given you no account of certain other prizes said to have been sent in by the same vessel. If you will revert to my letter of the 24th ultimo, you will find it there stated that all the accounts of the pursers of the vessels which cruised in the Mediterranean between the years 1796 and 1304 having been burned by the British in 1814, or having been destroyed when the Treasury building was consumed in 1833, I was unable to ascertain whether any balance was due to your brother at the time of his death.

In my letter of the 30th ultimo you were told that this office was possessed of no information respecting the prizes to which you referred as having been captured by the Constellation, other than L'Insurgente frigate. As to the question which you raise respecting the right of the Government to pay to Charles Biddle, as prize agent, without the consent of Charlotte Van Dyke, the money allowed for L'Insurgente, I have only to say that it appears that the payment was made by warrants upon the Treasurer, issued in favor of Mr. Biddle, by the Navy Department; and that any question, as to his right to receive it, must be settled with that Department, which it is presumed was put in possession of sufficient evidence of his being the regularly constituted agent of the captors. I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. 0. DAYTON. To John S. VAN DYKE, Esq.,

Attorney-at-law, Philadelphia.

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