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true construction to be put on the convention of 1818, on the interpretation of which the legality or illegality of the capture of the Argus as well as of the Washington, of course depends, I feel it is unnecessary for me to enter again on that branch of the subject; and from the difficulty of communication by post at this season of the year, I am not at present in a position to meet the allegations contained in Mr. Everett's representation with respect to the harsh treatment of the skipper and crew of the Argus by the captain and crew of the provincial schooner. These charges have, however, taken me by surprise, as William Doughty, the commander of the Argus, (and apparently, from the similarity of name, the brother of the other two men who feel themselves aggrieved,) was in Halifax some days, and in communication with the attorney general, to whom he made no complaint of having been ill-treated or harshly dealt with by Mr. Dodd, whose general character, as well as the kindly feeling he evinced towards William Doughty, forbids me readily to give credence to any accusation of such a nature that may be brought against him, until he shall have had an oppor tunity of offering a counter statement. I have, in consequence, transmitted to Mr. Dodd a copy of the affidavits of Edward and Joshua Doughty, and required an explanation from him, which I trust to receive in sufficient time to allow of my addressing your lordship satisfactorily on this topic by the next packet.
I have the honor, &c.,
Lord STANLEY, &c., &c.
DOWNING STREET, January 29, 1845.
MY LORD: With reference to my letter of the 9th instant I am directed by Lord Stanley to transmit to your lordship, for the information of the Earl of Aberdeen, the enclosed copy of a further despatch from the lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia, transmitting the answer of Mr. Dodd (the commander of the provincial revenue-schooner Sylph, at the time the American schooner Argus was captured by the former vessel) to the charge of harsh treatment towards the master and crew of the Argus, on the part of Mr. Dodd.
I have the honor, &c.,
Viscount CANNING, &c., &c.
G. W. HOPE.
Halifax, January 2, 1845.
MY LORD: In accordance with the promise contained in my despatch No. 281, dated 17th December, 1844, I have the honor to enclose copies of a correspondence between the provincial secretary of Nova Scotia and Mr. Philip Dodd, the officer in command of the provincial revenue-schooner Sylph, at the time the American schooner Argus was captured by that vessel on the 6th of August last.
Mr. Dodd's letter is accompanied by a statement of Mr. Davenport, the collector of customs at Sydney, Cape Breton, which, taken with his own
letter, appears to me, as I trust it will to your lordship, completely and satisfactorily to refute the charge of harsh treatment towards the master and crew of the Argus, on the part of Mr. Philip Dodd.
I think it right to remark that Edward and Joshua Doughty, who have preferred these charges, seem to have been simple mariners on board the Argus, of the same name as the commander, but not the skipper of that vessel, who is himself called William Doughty, and therefore, I hope, guiltless of the ingratitute which Mr. Dodd has attributed to him from similarity of name; but whether this be so or not, Mr. Dodd must, I think, be perfectly acquitted of having been harsh in his treatment of the fishermen of the United States who composed the crew of the Argus.
I have the honor, &c.,
Lord STANLEY, &c., &c.
PHILIP DODD, Esq.
PROVINCIAL SECRETARY'S OFFICE,
SIR: I have it in command from the lieutenant-governor to transmit to you the enclosed extract of a despatch which his Excellency has received from her Majesty's principal Secretary of State for the colonies, by which you will perceive that the minister of the United States at London has complained of the treatment which the master and crew of the American fishing vessel "Argus," lately seized by you, experienced from the captors,and his Excellency is pleased to call upon you for a full explanation of your proceedings on the occasion in question, in order that her Majesty's government may be able to answer the complaint of the American minister, the substance of which is contained in the second accompanying paper. 1 have, &c.,
RUPERT D. GEORGE.
SYDNEY, CAPE BRETON,
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 13th instant with an extract of a despatch received by his Excellency, the lieutenant-governor from her Majesty's principal Secretary of State for the colonies, having reference to a charge against me as late commander of the revenue schooner Sylph, for harsh treatment to the master and crew of the American fishing vessel Argus seized by me, and requesting a full explanation of my proceedings on the occasion in question. In reply I have to state, for the information of his Excellency the lieutenant-governor, that when in command of the "Sylph" on the 6th of August last, then cruizing round the coast of Cape Breton, I discovered the Argus some miles off Saint Anne's with her crew actually employed fishing; and although more than three miles from any land, still much within the bay that is formed by a straight line drawn from Cape North to the northern head of Cow bay, and consequently I felt it my duty to take her into Sydney, being the ne est port to me at the time, at which an officer of her Majesty's customs
was stationed. In corroboration of this part of my statement, I beg respectfully to refer to the affidavits made by two disinterested persons on board the "Sylph" at the time of seizure, at present in the office of the attorney-general at Halifax, and which I would now have renewed for the purpose of accompanying this communication, but the persons making them are out of the island of Cape Breton, and consequently out of my reach. The fact of the owners of the Argus allowing her to be condemned in the admiralty court of Halifax, without a defence of any kind whatever, must, to most minds, carry a conviction that the vessel when seized was not within the limits in which subjects of the United States are permitted to fish on the coasts of this province. Had it been otherwise, as stated in the affidavit of Doughty, that the vessel was three miles outside the line before referred to,—how is it that a defence was not made to the action, and the important fact at least attempted to be proved, which if successful, would have liberated the vessel and cargo, and made me liable to an action for damages? But all on board the Argus were too well satisfied of their liability, and of theirhaving violated the treaty which excludes them from our shores, to have risked the test of an examination, as witnesses in the case, and therefore they abandoned a defence as hopeless. The vessel, as I have already stated, was brought into the harbor of Sydney, which was on the seventh, in the morning, when I gave her in charge, agreeably to my instructions, to the collector of customs at the port, whose letter to me of this day's date, herewith enclosed, I beg to refer to for a more detailed account and perfect confutation of the charge of harsh treatment by me towards the master and crew of the " Argus."
The "Argus," on coming into the harbor of Sydney, was accompanied by another American fishing vessel, both in the employ of the same owners, for the purpose of giving assistance to the crew of the "Argus." They had also the advice and assistance of the American consul stationed at the port of Sydney, and yet, with all this assistance at hand, I was most desirous of doing all in my power to make their situation as comfortable as the circumstances of their case would permit; and after their remaining on board the "Argus" full thirty hours from their arrival in Sydney, thus giving them every opportunity to collect their private property and be prepared to quit the vessel; still, at the expiration of that time, I called with Doughty, the master, upon the collector of the customs, and requested him to permit their remaining a further time on board, but which he declined, for the reasons stated in his letter before referred to. I have every reason for believing that no part of their clothing or private property was detained from them; for if such had been the case I am convinced Doughty would have mentioned the subject to me; and as to my being privy to such an act, I am satisfied never once came across the master's mind until instigated to make this base charge long after leaving Cape Breton, for up to the period of his parting with me in Halifax, he repeatedly, in the presence of others, thanked me for my kind treatment of himself and crew, and the same sentiments he must have expressed to his consul at Sydney, who also thanked me for what he was pleased to call my generous conduct towards them. Several days after the "Argus" had been in charge of the collector of the customs, and I was preparing to leave with the "Sylph" for Halifax, I discovered that Doughty, with two of his crew who were witnesses for him, were anxious to proceed there, with the hope of obtaining a release of the "Argus." Upon representing this to his Excellency, the
Lieutenant Governor, and there being no other vessel in port at the time in which they could obtain a passage to Halifax, I, without a request on their part, offered them a passage in the "Sylph," and actually took them there without their being at any expense whatever. From the affidavit of Doughty being so completely at variance with truth I cannot help thinking he never could have supposed I would be called upon to answer it, for he knew full well how readily and perfectly his charge could be disproved; and were the consul of the United States still in Sydney, I would have no hesitation in being bound by a representation of the case as given to him by Doughty and his crew, together with what he himself witnessed of my conduct towards them; but that gentleman is now in Newfoundland, and I am therefore unable to obtain from him any corroboration of what I have now stated, but which, on his return to Cape Breton, I am quite satisfied can, if required, be procured. After the gross misrepresentation of Doughty, every line of his affidavit being marked with falsehood, it would almost induce me, should I again be honored with the command of one of the provincial revenue vessels, not to go out of my way for the mere purpose of extending to the class of persons to which Mr. Doughty belongs those acts of kindness and courtesy with which he was favored, but which have been returned by the blackest ingratitude.
I have, &c.,
Sir RUPERT D. GEORGE, Bart., &c., &c., &c.
P. S. DODD.
CUSTOM-HOUSE, Sydney, December 23, 1844.
SIR: I beg to state with reference to the complaint of Doughty, late master of the United States schooner 'Argus,' that on the afternoon of the day on which that vessel was placed in custody of the customs, having occasion to go into the town, I met two seamen in conversation with a gentleman, to whom, in very excited language, they were telling the story of that vessel's capture, and asserting that you had been guilty of great harshness to the crew.
I was at once referred to as the proper person to whom any complaint should be made, and then asked the man who he was and what he knew of the affair. He said he was the master of a fishing schooner belonging to the same owners as the 'Argus;' that he had been fishing in company with her, concealed by a fog bank at the time of the 'Argus's' seizure; that having learned she had been captured by the Sylph, he thought it right to come to Sydney and render the crew of the Argus any assistance that they might require. As you were not then in town, I did not communicate with you on the subject, but on the following morning Doughty was sent for to attend at the custom-house, and I then related to him the rumor circulated by the master of the other craft, and closely examined as to the truth of such and of all the circumstances connected with the seizure. He then expressed very strong feelings of indignation at the baseness of the authors of any report prejudicial to you. He assured me that no fault whatever could be found either with you or the Sylph's people, and twice or thrice repeated to me, "Mr. Dodd has behaved to us like a gentleman." At this moment, the man's earnestness of manner and these expressions, are most vividly impressed on my recollection.
To weigh the degree of accuracy which may be supposed to attach to the other assertions made by Doughty, I will remind you that it was on the morning of the 7th August, (not July as stated in the affidavit) that the Argus was placed in charge, the crew were not interfered with on that day, but were instructed to place themselves in communication with the United States consul; but on the day following the usual inventory was taken of the vessel's cargo, stores, sails, rigging, anchors, cables, and general fittings; and having given a receipt to you for these (a copy being also offered the master) I (not you as stated in the affidavit) desired the waiter and searcher of the port to request the personal baggage of the crew should then be removed, as the vessel required to be anchored in the stream, to prevent her being damaged as she must be where she then lay; the waiter at the same time offered the Queen's warehouse for the temporary reception of the baggage. After I had given this order, you may probably recollect bringing the master up to the custom-house and joining him in an application to allow the crew to remain on board the Argus, and the reasons I assigned for refusing these were: First, that having given a receipt to you and also to Doughty I had become personally responsible for all the goods named in the inventory; that in a former case the Hero, of Eastport, seized in 1838, under similar circumstances the crew had been thus billeted on the vessel and took away everything movable, for which I was of course accountable, and Doughty himself said he would expect everything returned to him in case of release. Secondly, because there was no reason why the regular course of procedure in all similar cases should be deviated from. The Argus crew had the means of immediate transport home in the sister craft, whose master had reported to me he came into port to render any assistance they might require. Besides, the consul was on the spot to provide all requisites, and there were ample means of shipping to the States. No less than thirteen vessels, British and United States, were loading for ports in the Union at that very time, and also as the Sylph must immediately resume her cruize, I did not think it prudent to allow a foreign prize to continue in charge of her own hostile crew, with a sister ship lying alongside ready to render any assistance required in a recapture, very easily effected, the Sylph once again at sea.
The crew of the Argus remained on board that vessel from the time she was brought into port, the night of the 7th August to about mid-day of the 8th, and therefore the story about their removal in fifteen minutes is not correct, and not less inaccurate is Doughty's assertion that the crew were denied any of their personal effects, because, later on the 9th than the events I have narrated, Doughty again applied at the custom-house for a hat said to have been left behind, the Argus being then removed to her final anchorage. I gave him an order to the ship keeper to give up the hat, and everything belonging to the master and crew, some of whom subsequently brought the hat on shore, together with some articles of cabin use, omitted in taking the inventory. This is a simple narrative of the I am, &c.,
P. S. DODD, Esq., &c., &c., &c.