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of calling in the civil authority in all cases of delinquency, in disobedience of orders, it would be absolutely impossible for us to suffer our boats to leave the ship while in foreign ports.
Such I believe to be a correct statement of the case. It is a case in which my officers while engaged in compelling one of my men to do his duty, he was forcibly taken from them, and themselves grossly abused; where, instead of securing the man, that his claim to liberation, if he had any, might be properly investi. gated by some civil tribunal, he was taken by a mili. , tary guard before military officers, (who could not even be known as such to strangers, by any uniform they wore) and then at once discharged, or rather, as I am informed, taken into the service of his majesty the king of the Brazils, while my officers were treated in a most unbecoming and ungentlemanly manner.
I consider it my duty, therefore, to demand the man in question, as an American seaman, regularly enlisted and paid as such, on the books of this ship; forcibly and irregularly taken out of my possession, by the officers of his majesty, the king of the Brazils; unless satisfactory proof can be exhibited, of his being a pative subject of his majesty. In which event, you will act as the laws of the country in which you reside, and your sense of what is due to your own country may dictate. After the manifest disposition I have evinced, of my desire to treat with marked respect, every constituted authority of this government, I should not do justice to my own feelings, or to the dignity of the nation I represent, were I not to dwell upon the insult offered to my country, in the abuse of two officers bearing her commission, while in the lawful and regu
lar exercise of their duty, and require that redress adequate to the abuse given.
With respect to the general demand of the Portuguese minister, for the surrender of all Portuguese subjects who may be on board this ship, it is of so extraordinary a nature, that until it assumes a more defi. nite and specific shape, I have only to reply, under present circumstances, that the flag of my country protects every man in the ship, which I have the honor to command. · I have the honor to remain, with high respect, sir,
your obedient servant, (Signed,)
The affair had been buzzed abroad through the city, and was no doubt represented in the most unfavorable light with respect to us. The jealous and unfriendly disposition we had at first remarked, among those generally collected at the common lounging place, was evidently heightened, and studiously displayed in their looks. It became unpleasant for us to go on shore, from the apprehension of being exposed to insult; and the commodore laid his injunctions on the two lieutenants to remain on board. But the most unpleasant circumstance, was the singular demand made by the Portuguese minister, of all the Portuguese seamen on board the Congress; thus taking it for granted, that there were such. It is probable that this was founded upon the statement of the deserter, who would naturally enough be inclined to ingratiate himself with his new friends, by inventing such stories as he supposed would feed their antipathies to us.* But it is surprising, that there should have been so little decency and good sense in the minister, as to make a formal and unqualified demand, without previous inquiry or investigation. The names, or at least the numbers, of the pretended Portuguese seamen, ought to have been given. When properly considered, the manner in which the demand was made, from a national vessel, was in itself a gross insult, and as such, properly resented. Mr. Sumpter suggested the propriety of waiting a few days, until the affair could be terminated; but being on the eve of departure, and it being uncertain what length of time would be neces. sary for its adjustment, the commodore determined to depart without paying any further attention to the affair. On the evening previous to departure, some of our officers who had been on shore on business, receiv. ed an intimation that an attempt would be made to prevent the Congress from sailing, and compel her to surrender the seamen whom the minister's imagination had conjured on board. The commodore was now determined to attempt to pass the forts at all hazards. ACcordingly, next morning, a pilot having come on board, the Congress weighed anchor, and stood out with a light breeze, the men called to quarters, and the matches lighted, determined to give Santa Cruz a broadside or two, at least, before she could sink us. As
* There is but little doubt, the foolish fellow has long since had ample cause of repentance. He forfeited his pay, amounting to several hundred dollars, and as his term of service had nearly expired, he would have been discharged on the return of the Congress; instead of this, he is now provided for during life, unless he has the good luck to desert.
we neared the fort, we were overtaken by a boat which had been rowed swiftly, and having on board a Portuguese officer. We waited for some moments with anxious suspense, to know the object of his mission; but were soon relieved, on being informed that his visit was only in compliance with the usual ceremony, of board. ing every vessel about to leave the port, for the purpose of ascertaining whether any, and what passengers, had been taken; having made these inquiries, the officer retired, apparently with some surprise and agitation, at the preparations on board the Congress. It is unnecessary to say, that we passed the fort without molestation; and soon after had a fine breeze, which enabled us towards evening, to overtake captain Hickey, although he had had several hours start of us.
From the ninth of February, the day of our departure, until the fifteenth, nothing material occurred in our voyage; we had generally a fair wind, but were considerably detained by the slow sailing of the Blossom. The Congress was obliged to be stripped of most of her canvass, so as to keep company with the British ship, which was probably one of the dullest sailors in their nary. We now experienced, in latitude thirtythree degrees, thirty-five minutes, a head wind, which continued from the same point until the nineteenth. We bad also to contend with a current, which along this coast, always sets with the wind. During these four days we made about a hundred miles by beating; and in latitude thirty-three degrees, thirty-nine minutes, south, stood into nine fathoms .water, hard sand, the water very thick and yellow. We could at this time just discern from deck, the low broken sand hills along this part of the coast. The commodore observed, VOL. I.
that he would not think it advisable to stand in nearer than twelve or thirteen fathoms soundings, as every cast of the lead varies several fathoms; he ventured to act differently, only from the circumstance of there being another vessel sounding ahead.
We made Cape St. Mary's on the nineteenth, and were abreast of the island of Lobos, at twelve o'clock of that night. The next morning at eleven o'clock, we were compelled to come to anchor in nineteen fathoms, below this island, having been drifted at least twenty miles during a calm which ensued, and which, on account of the great draught of the Congress, operated more powerfully on her than on the Blossom; this vessel was now, out of sight. Having run down twelve or thirteen hundred miles of the Brazilian coast, I shall avail myself of the opportunity, of giving the reader a few sketches of the provinces along which we passed..
Next to the province of Rio Janeiro, on the coast, comes that of St. Paul, which stretches along it about four hundred miles, and is about five hundred in depth. It is bounded to the west by the great river Parana, which separates it from the Spanish province of Paraguay. On the south it is bounded by the Iguazu, and a line drawn from this river to the small river St. Francisco, and down to its mouth. It is one of the most fertile and delightful provinces of South America. The great range of mountains which here runs close along the coast, on the western side, is a vast inclined plain, down which some of the largest brancbes of the Parana flow into that immense river. The western slope is so gentle as scarcely to be perceptible, and although not level, it can hardly be considered hilly