MVB Senate remarks on the claims of the captors of the frigate Philadelphia, 7 February 1828
Thursday, February 7, 1829.
Mr. VAN BUREN was not pleased with the time which has been chosen for presenting this document. But the statement itself was a very lame one, and he thought failed to sustain the claim of its author. In the first place, it did not appear by whom this statement was sworn to. And then the grounds on which the co-operation of the Syren was sustained, were very slight. The gentleman supposes that a signal for reinforcements proves this fact. But the signals, it is said, were exchanged at half past ten, and the boats were not sent off until some time after; nor does it appear that they were sent off in consequence of the signal. At half past midnight, he goes on to state that the boats of the brig, and of the Intrepid, appeared, and were received with three cheers—so that it is clear that the reinforcements did not assist Decatur in destroying the ship. They were probably sent off to pick up the crew of the Intrepid. The paper came before the Senate without any name attached to it, and without satisfactory proof of its validity. He hoped no time would be wasted in its consideration.
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Mr. VAN BUREN remarked, that a list was reported of the officers and sailors engaged in this brilliant action, in order that they might receive double pay—and not an individual belonging to the Syren had been mentioned in that list. Now, can it be tolerated, that, at this late day, the officers and seamen of any other vessel than the Intrepid shall be allowed to step in and share the glory and the reward of these brave men? The proposition was, he thought, in the highest degree offensive.
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Mr. VAN BUREN said that the officers refused to receive the double pay. The sailors did receive it. But it was given by the Department, and Congress had nothing to do with it.