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pressed. A pair of soldiers happening to be near, interferred, rescued the seaman, and at his request carried him to the admiral of the port. The officers without knowing where they were taking him to, followed close after, in order that they might be able to report the circumstance, satisfactorily to their commander. As the subsequent part of this affair is explained in the correspondence, with which the commodore bas politely furnished me, to this I shall refer the reader, simply observing, that the commodore's letter was drawn forth by a request on the part of our minister, to be informed of the particulars. The first letter it will be seen, is from the Portuguese minister of state, to Mr. Sumpter.
February 3d, 1818. The undersigned,
'Has received orders from the king, his master, to communicate to the minister of the United States, the irregular and offensive conduct, with which, on the 2d of this month, two officers and two midshipmen of the frigate Congress, now lying at anchor in this port, proceeded to attempt to carry on board of the said frigate, a Portuguese sailor, who had left her to enter into the service of his own king in this capital. In the prosecution of their object, they forced the dwel. ling house of the major-general of the royal marines, the vice-admiral Ignacia da Corta Quintilla, pretending to retake and conduct him on board by force, which, however, they did not succeed in doing, in con. sequence of the prudent exertions used by this general officer. Such an insult cannot fail to deserve a serious reprehension, and a satisfaction such as ought to be
be expected in such a case; and his majesty hopes that the minister of the United States will take such measures on it, that those officers shall be properly repre. hended for this act of excess, and that the commander of the frigate will set at liberty the Portuguese sailors which are on board, and wbo desire, as it is their duty to do, to return to the service of their king and coun. try. The undersigned is well persuaded, that the minister of the United Suates will acknowledge the moderation with which his majesty has acted in this case, and will be ready to render that competent satisfaction which is claimed.
(Signed,) Thomas Anonia Villa Nova de Portugal. Palace of Rio Janeiro.
February 4th, 1818. The minister plenipotentiary of the United States, has the honor to inform his excellency Thomas Antonia Villa Nova de Portugal, &c. &c. that having received the complaint addressed to him yesterday evening respecting the proceedings of some officers and midshipmen of the frigate Congress, in endeavoring to recover a deserter on shore, who represents himself to be a Portuguese subject, and desirous to serve his own country rather than any other, he will take an early opportunity of inquiring into the facts of the case, after which he will be enabled to answer his excellency in form, and he hopes satisfactorily.
T'he minister of the United States profits by this occasion to renew to his excellency the assurance of his high respect and consideration,
UNITED STATES' SHIP CONGRESS.
Rio Janeiro, Feb. 6th, 1818. Sir,
I have the honor to acknowledge your note of the 4th inst. containing a translation of the Portuguese minister's statement of an affair which took place on the 2d inst. between two of the lieutenants of this ship and some officers of the Portuguese government.
So far as relates to that part of the minister's note, complaining of insults offered to a major-general and an admiral in the service of the king of the Bra zils, I can safely assure you that none could possibly have been intended, as these young men on whose assertions I place the most explicit reliance, declare, that being perfectly strangers in the place, and not understanding the language of the country, they were involuntarily led by a guard to the house of one or both of those gentlemen, from the desire of not losing sight of the seaman belonging to their boat, until they saw where he was deposited. That they did not know into whose presence they were ushered, neither of the above officers being in uniform; nor was it known to them until they were treated with great violence, contumely and gross abuse: one of my officers having his hat snatched off his head, at the moment when inadvertently he had put it on, according to the custom of our country, when about to retire, and one of the Portuguese officers before mentioned, clenching his fist in the face of the other, while they were both threatened with personal violence, at the same time that they were permitted to be insulted by a mob, which the Portuguese officers did not attempt to repress.
The instructions received from my government, in.
dependently of my own sense of propriety, when seeking refreshment in a friendly port, most positively forbid my pursuing any course of conduct, which might be offensive to any individual of the country; much less that I should knowingly suffer any thing like insult to be offered to the constituted authority of that country. I had with great confidence hoped, that the strict etiquette I had uniformly observed since my arrival, would have forbidden the possibility of my be. ing even thought capable of acting otherwise than in conformity to these regulations. I had with equal confidence believed, that the character of American officers for politeness, etiquette, strict subordination, anıl respect to officers superior or inferior in grade, of all nations, was sufficiently well established to have equally forbidden the belief for a moment, that they would knowingly have offered an insult to officers of the grade above alluded to, sooner than they would tamely receive abuse or insult, if in their power to redress it.
In compliance with your request, and to satisfy you that the cause of complaint lies on the side of my government, I will give you a brief statement of the aifair as it happened. With respect to the seaman, whom the Portuguese minister is pleased to call a deserter, the penalties of our laws prohibiting the enlistment of any but American seamen in our naval service, are too severe to admit a doubt that we should knowingly receive any that are not of this description, on board our ships of war. And if any to appearance should not be such, the fact is well known of our llaving within our own territory, people of every origin, and speaking almost every language of Europe, particularly since the acquisition of Louisianna, formerly belonging to Spain, and whose inhabitants have become citizens of the United States by treaty; it there. fore does not follow as a necessary consequence, that such are not Americans. From the circumstance of this ship having been stationed in that quarter, and hav. ing recruited a number of men resident in the ceded territory before mentioned, some of whom speak the Spanish and Portuguese, I am under the impression that the seaman in question is of that description. All I know with certainty is, that he enlisted as an American, and I shall feel myself bound to consider him as such, until satisfied of the contrary, of which no evidence has been exhibited to me, and from his speaking our language without the slightest foreign accent, I am induced to believe that if not a native of the United States, he is at least a native of Louisianna.
The man was taken on shore by some of the officers of the ship, to serve them as interpreter, from whom he strayed off, and as he stated to my officers, who af. terwards accidentally met him in the street, had been intoxicated. By our laws he could not be regarded as a deserter, not having been absent a sufficient length of time for that purpose—he was considered as a delinquent from duty, and as such was ordered to the boat. To this order he at first submitted and was proceeding on his way, the officers before mentioned considering it their duty to bring him on board, when he was forcibly taken from them in the manner above stated.
I cannot admit that my authority over my own men, who have voluntarily enlisted in the service, and received the bounty of my government, ceases while on shore on the duty of the ship. If under the necessity