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Account of the Seizure of a New-England Vessel


Martinico, October 25, 1775.

A few days ago an English frigate cast anchor in the harbour of Fort Royal, under the cannon of the fort, and sent some armed men in her boats to seize a New-England vessel which lay in that harbour, whose crew they made prisoners, then plundered the vessel, and afterwards left it to the mercy of the waves. The Count De Nozieres, being then at Guadaloupe, the Sieur de Sablonet, commandant in his absence at Fort Royal, failed not to take upon him to punish this violation of the law of nations, by firing on the English frigate, which, after this expedition, sailed for St˙ Pierre, where there were then a dozen ships belonging to New-England. The frigate anchored, without ceremony, also in that port, and despatched her boats to visit the ships which she suspected to be laden with warlike ammunition; but, as they met with resistance from the first they attempted to board, the inhabitants of St˙ Pierre defended the English Americans, and, having armed themselves, took the boats with their crews, and the men were conveyed ashore, notwithstanding all their resistance. Some of them were wounded on this occasion. The Count de Choiseul-Meuze, second in command at Martinico, and then chief in the absence of the General, immediately went to the store-house where the English were detained, and, after sharply upbraiding them for so manifest an infraction of the law of nations, he sent a detachment on board the English frigate, and caused it to be signified to the commander, that he would not release his men till such time as he had repaired the injury which had been done. This was accompanied with an express order to put to sea immediately after; and the more efficaciously to decide the matter, he instantly set about preparing the battery of St˙ Martha, and threatened to sink the English frigate if she deferred giving the satisfaction which was demanded. The firmness of our commandant had its effect on the Captain, who speedily performed what was desired, and then weighed anchor, after having received his boats and his men.