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this sea, as before mentioned, and shall add to this letter (if an opportunity should not offer of forwarding it before my arrival) such occurrences or information as I may meet there.
On the 13th instant, the whole naval force of Algiers sailed on a cruize to the eastward, supposed to be destined against Tunis, or to make a descent on some part of Sardinia, for the purpose of getting slaves. It consisted of the following vessels : 1' frigate of 50 guns and
500 men 1 do. 46 do.
460 2 do. 44 do. 450 men each, 900 1 do. (new) 38 do.
450 1 xebeck,
200 1 schooner, 4 do.
40 1 row galley
50 6 gun boats, sloop rigged, carrying one twenty-four pounder, and one eleven inch mortar each.
The heaviest cannon in their frigates are eighteen pounders, but these do not extend through the whole battery, having some twelve pounders among them; the other guns are nine and six pounders. The corvettes and brigs carry twelve, nine, and six pounders : none of them have carronades.
The large frigate is about six years old, and the best of the squadron. She is about the size of our 36 gun frigates. Three of the others are very old ships, hardly sea-worthy, about the size of our 32 gun frigates. That of 38 guns is a new ship, launched at Algiers about two months since, and is about 500 tons burthen. The two corvettes of 24 guns are Greek prizes, converted into cruizers, about 400 tons burthen each. The corvette of 22 guns is an old vessel of about 350 tons. The two brigs are about 250, and the xebeck 200 tons. Four of the frigates, one corvette, and the two brigs are coppered.
The Algerines have not another vessel of war besides those mentioned, excepting three gun boats, of the size of those sent out, which are unfit for service. All their small
boats for the defence of the bay, are either broken up or entirely unfit for service.
The squadron before mentioned is commanded by their famous captain Rais Hammida, who bears the title of admiral. He is a bold, active, enterprizing commander, but entirely unacquainted with any regular mode of fighting; he has not the advantage of being a Turk, or even an Algerine by birth, and his advancement, which has been owing entirely to his activity,
enterprize, and singular good fortune, has excited the jealousy and hatred of the other commanders, who are far inferior to him in point of talents ; but he is much beloved by the sailors (if such they may be called who go out in their cruizers.) He is an Arab of the mountains, of one of the tribe of Carbiles ; he .came to Algiers when a boy, to seek a livelihood, as is the custom of those people, and going out in one of the cruizers became attached to that mode of life, and has risen to
present rank. He is about 40 vears old.
The crews of their cruizers consist principally of the lowest and most miserable order of people in Algiers, known by the name of Biscaries and Carbiles, from the tribes to which they belong. They are either taken from the streets at the moment when a cruizer is about to sail, or if a previous cruize has been fortunate they go on board voluntarily in great numbers, hoping to obtain plunder or prize money;
As the last cruize of their corsairs was esteemed fortunate by the capture of a number of Greek vessels loaded with wheat, and each man shared about 50 dollars, the vessels have been crowded with volunteers on the present cruize. Besides these there are a few who called good seamen for Algerines; and about 10 or 12 Turkish soldiers to every 100 men on board the vessel.
They know nothing of regular combat at sea, and if kept from boarding distance, they could not withstand one half their own force on board another vessel, which should be tolerably well managed in the usual mode of sea-fighting. It is on boarding that they depend entirely to overcome an equal or any force that will contend with them. These attempts they sometimes make with a desperation bordering on madness; but if foiled in that, they have no other resource.
After this account of the Algerine cruizers and their crews, which is faithful and correct, I am sure that our brave officers and seamen would rejoice to meet them with only half their force, if circumstances should make a recurrence to arms necessary on our part, and our ships could come freely into this sea. Enclosed is the account of the settlement of the
of the brig Paul Hamilton, made at the palace on the 22d instant, and although the prices allowed for the cordage and cables are at a great loss to the United States, yet those given for the plank and turpentine, &c. make the settlement upon the whole as good as usual, and had the cargo of the ship Allegany been received at the same rate, it would have paid the balance up to September next, which completes the 17th year of our treaty, according to our computation of time. The account of annuities between
the United States and Algiers, as per treaty, stands simply thus :
Dr. The United States to the dey and regency of Algiers. To 17 annuities ending Sept. 5th, 1812, at 21,600 dollars per year,
Cr. By 14; annuities paid as per receipts, at 21,600 dollars per year,
$ 313,200 By a tiscary given at the last settlement for a balance
in favour of the United States, 14,480 old
26,064 By the amount of stores brought by the brig Paul
Hamilton, as per settlement July 22d, 1812, 12,099
Balance due to the regency of Algiers on the 5th
The regency of Algiers counting the time by the Mahometan computation of 354 days to the year, make 173 years, which is an addition of half a year or 10,800 dollars to the above balance, which makes their balance 26,637 to the 5th of September, 1812, for which the dey demands 27,000 dollars, in round numbers.
Message from the President of the United States transmitting a
Report of the Secretary of State, made in obedience to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the ninth instant, requesting information touching the conduct of British Officers towards persons taken in American armed Ships.
To the House of Representatives of the United States.
I transmit to the house of representatives a report of the secretary of state, complying with their resolution of the 9th instant. December 21st, 1812.
The secretary of state, to whom was referred the resolution of the house of representatives of the 9th instant, requesting information touching the conduct of British officers towards per
sons taken in American armed ships, has the honour to lay before the president the accompanying papers marked A. B. C. from which it appears, that certain persons, some of whom are said to be native, and others naturalized citizens of the United States, being parts of the crews of the United States' armed vessels the “ Nautilus” and the “ Wasp,” and of the private armed vessel, the “ Sarah Ann,” have been seized, under the pretext of their being British subjects, by British officers, for the avowed purpose, as is understood, of having them brought to trial for their lives, and that others, being part of the crew of the Nauti. lus, have been taken into the British service.
The secretary of state begs leave also to lay before the president the papers marked D. and E. From these it will be seen, that whilst the British naval officers arrest as criminals such persons taken on board American armed vessels as they may consider British subjects, they claim a right to retain on board British ships of war American citizens who may have married in England, or been impressed from on board British merchant vessels ; and that they consider an impressed American, when he is discharged from one of their ships, as a prisoner of war. All which is respectfully submitted.
JAMES MONROE. Department of State, December 19, 1812.
A. No. 1. Extract of a letter from Lt. F. H. Babbitt to master and commandant Wm. M. Crane, of the United States' navy, (late of the United States brig Nautilus,) dated
Boston, Mass. 13th Sept. 1812. Enclosed I send you a description of the proportion of our little crew, who have been so debased and traitorous as to enter the service of our enemy. Also, a list* of those gallant fellows whose glory it would have been to have lost their lives in the service of their country, and whose misfortune it has been to cross the Atlantic on suspicion of their being British subjects : four of them, native born Americans, and two naturalized citizens. On their parting with me, and removal from the Africa of 64 guns to the Thetis frigate (the latter with a convoy from England, then in 43. 30. N. and 46. 30. W.) their last request and desire was that I would particularly acquaint you with their situation, with their determination never to prove traitors to that country whose flag they were proud to serve under, and
whose welfare and prosperity they equally hoped and anticipated to realise. (Signed)
F. H. BABBITT.
A list of men said to have entered on board his B. M. frigate
Shannon, commodore Broke. Their description as far as known.
Jesse Bates, seaman, about 5 feet 9 inches high, dark hair and complexion, dark snapping eyes, has an impediment in his speech, and at times affects lunacy ; has a wife and family in Boston, Mass.
Samuel Lang, marine, born in Kentucky, 5 feet 8 inches high, or thereabouts, and is supposed to be with capt. Hall, of U. S. marines, New York.
John Young, marine, 5 feet 5 inches high, large mouth, enlisted with capt. Hall, navy yard, New York ; when addressed, or is addressing an officer, casts down his eyes. For his particular description as well as that of John Rose, marine, about 5 feet 8 inches high, brown hair, full face, thick set, and a scowl in his countenance, refer to capt. John Hall.
John O'Neal, seaman, about 25 years of age, 5 feet 5 inches high, dark hair, sharp face, dark eyes, thick set, and was shipped at Norfolk, Va. previous to your taking command of the Nautilus.
William Jones, od. seaman, about 5 feet 8 inches high, light hair, 24 years of age, full face, thick set, down-cast look, and is a very alert man ; entered at New York April last. (Signed)
F. H. B.
A. No. 2.
Halifax, 30th September, 1812. Having received information that a most unauthorized act has been committed by commodore Rodgers, in forcibly seizing twelve British seamen, prisoners of war, late belonging to the Guerriere, and taking them out of the English cartel brig Endeavour on her passage down the harbour of Boston, after they had been regularly embarked on board of her for an exchange, agreeable to the arrangements settled between the two countries, and that the said British seamen, so seized, are now detained on board the U. States frigate President as hostages ; I feel myself called upon to request, sir, your most serious attention to a measure so fraught with mischief and inconvenience, destructive of the good faith of a flag of truce and the sacred protection of a cartel. I should be extremely sorry that the imprudent act of