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"Extracts from the Republican Watch Tower," 14 June 1808-27 January 1809

Extracts from the Republican Watch Tower, printed in the City of New York.

June 14th. 1808.

"All persons having property which was intended for exportation to Canada, whether lumber in raft, or other merchandise, are informd that no such exportations can be permitted.

The laws and instructions received by the undersigned Collectors are such as require their utmost vigilance and exertion, in effecting the objects of the law: and while they lament the injury that will be sustained by some of their fellow-citizens, they indulge a hope that none will be so inconsiderate as to attempt a violation.

It is recommended, particularly to those concerned in rafts, that they lay them up in secure situations and wait patiently, for relief in a legal way; but is our duty, at the same time to inform all concerned, that we are commanded to use force where reason and honorable considerations are inadequate to restrain the illegal.

Mel. P. Woolsey, Collector of Champlain.

J. Penniman, Collector of Vermont."


August 5, 1808—Friday.

"From the Salem Gazette of Friday.

Rumor has been very busy for some days past on the subject of violations of the embargo. On Tuesday the Collector of this port seized upon some goods on board a vessel that had a permit to sail for the Havana, and has detained the vessel. On Wednesday it was reported that some boats had slipped out from Cape Ann, and gone off. Yesterday we had a more serious and alarming report, viz. that some people of Cape Ann had avowed their determination to load and send off their vessels in defiance of the government, and that the collector had declared that he could not carry the laws into effect without military aid."


NewYork, Tuesday, Aug. 8. "It was the brig Mount Vernon, not Montezuma, that was sent into this port on Friday last by the Chesapeake. She had cleared out from a port in Rhode Island, with lumber as was supposed, but it was afterwards discovered that she was deeply laden with provisions. The Captain of the brig made his escape from this city on Saturday morning."


"Removal by the President—Edward Pope, Collector and Inspector of the port of NewBedford, in Massachusetts, for not using due diligence in the execution of the embargo laws. Isaiah Weston is appointed in his place. Nat. Intelligencer. This extract was made from the Watch Tower of August 12. 1808.


Philadelphia. Yesterday returned to this port for adjudication, the schr. William & Samuel, cleared out from hence a few days ago by permission for Havana. She was stopped in our bay by Capt. Biddle, in gun-boat No.—, under suspicion of having $12,000 worth of unpermitted goods on board. Extracted from the Watch Tower, (New York,) of August 12. 1808.


From the Watch Tower of August 17. 1808.

St. Albans, July 14. As so many attempts have been made by a set of designing men among us to induce the people to believe, that no combinations and confederacies for the purpose of obstructing the execution of the embargo laws have existed on and about Lake Champlain, and that the Presidents proclamation was issued without just grounds, you will oblige me of your subscribers, by inserting in your paper the enclosed affidavits of Captain Hopkins and Lieut. Whittemore. These documents will convince every may, who is not deaf to the voice of reason and truth, that the information given by the collector of the district of Vermont, to the Secretary of the Treasury, of his being unable to carry the embargo laws into effect, without the aid of a military force, was true, and that that force must be very considerable to be adequate to the accomplishment of the intended object.

A. B.

"I, Heman Hopkins, captain of the detachment of militia from the third brigade, third division, of lawful age, being duly sworn, testify and say— That on the 4th day of May last, I was ordered to repair to Windmill Point, and take command of the detachment of militia from the said brigade. I accordingly repaired thither, there, with about 18 men. That during my being stationed there, hostile dispositions were manifested by many on both sides the line, and determined at all hazards to export their ashes and other property into the province of Canada; and in many instances actual force has been used to effect this purpose. That since I have been stationed on the east shore of Alburgh, similar dispositions and determinations have been manifested; and I have reason to believe that boats have been armed for the purpose of conveying property into the province of Canada, determined to effect their purposes by force, if they could not otherwise. (Capt. Hopkins closes his affidavit with a statement from report {as he was absent at the time} of the skirmish related in the affidavit of Lieut. Whittemore.)

Heman Hopkins, Captain.













State of Vermont, Swanton, June 24th. 1808.
Franklin County.  












Sworn before me, Luther Drury, Justice of the Peace.


From the Rutland Herald extra, August 6. 1808.

"Our Citizens murdered by Potash Runners!

Burlington, Aug. 5. Melancholy Event. We have to record a very melancholy event, which took place in this vicinity on Wednesday last. A revenue cutter from the lines, commanded by Lt. Farrington, with a sergeant and 12 privates, was sent by the Collector of the Customs, in pursuit of a large batteau called the Black Snake, owned by persons near the lines, well known there to have been employed in smuggling. The cutter pursued her up Onion River, where he was found and taken possession of by Lt. Farrington, while her crew, who were armed, stood on the bank of the river, and threatened to fire on the first man who attempted to come on board. The Black Snake was manned by a part of the crew of the cutter, who proceeded with her down the river, while the smugglers repeatedly declared they should never take her out of the river alive. They had not gone more than 100 rods, before they were fired on from the shore, through the bushes, and one man on board the cutter, by the name of Elias Drake, was shot through the head, [and] immediately expired. Several shots were made, when the lieutenant ordered his men to steer for the shore.

Scarcely had they landed, when the whole contents of a large gun, called a wall piece, about ten feet in length, carrying sixteen ounce balls, was discharged upon them, which proved fatal to Asa March, another of the crew of the cutter, and Mr. Jonathan Ormsby, an inhabitant of this town, who, returning from his work, happened to be present at this unfortunate moment. The lieutenant also received a ball through his left arm, and was slightly wounded in the head. By the spirited exertions of the people of this village, eight persons were apprehended and safely lodged in the common jail, which is guarded by a detachment of the town militia. A jury of inquest was immediately summoned, who, after a view of the bodies, and a careful examination of the witnesses, returned their inquisition, that that the deceased came to their death by wilful murder. Two of the persons apprehended will probably make it appear that they were not concerned in this horrid transaction.

An examination of the prisoners has not yet taken place. As soon as an inquiry is made, the public will have a minute detail of the facts; in the mean time, it is hoped all opinion will be suspended. There are four of these desperadoes who have not yet been taken, but the greatest exertions are making to apprehend them.

In the Burlington paper from which we extract the above, we find an advertisement under the signature of the Collector of the Revenue, offering a reward of $100 for Samuel J. Mott, commander of the batteau; and $50 each for Wm. Nokes, Capt. Peas, and Slocum Clark, the remainder of the crew, who had committed the above recited outrage upon our citizens, and fled from the hand of justice. Capt. Peas, it is said, has since been apprehended, and committed to Burlington jail. (This article was published in the NewYork Watch Tower, on the 17th of August, 1808.


From the N. York Republican Watch Tower, of Aug. 31st 1808.

"From the Newburyport (Ms.) Statesman.

On Monday night last, a sloop loaded with provisions contrary to the laws laying an embargo, made her escape from Newburyport by the aid and assistance of a body of men. The officers of government obtained information previous to her departure, that an attempt would be made to run the sloop out in defiance of all authority. An attempt was made to prevent her departure, but the officers in the discharge of their duty were beaten with sticks and fired upon from the sloop. A boat with several men went alongside of the sloop, to be informed of her destination; they were insulted; and in consequence of the resistance made by those on board, the officer commanding the boat thought proper to retire.

A Schooner was immediately despatched in pursuit of the sloop, on board of which was a number of the United States troops, and several citizens, who patriotically volunteered their services to bring her back; and after a pursuit of ten hours, brought her too, and took possession of her; the men concerned in this affair against the laws of the land, had, in general, left her previous to her surrender. Several, however, remained on board when she was taken possession of.

We suspend for the present, all comment on this disgraceful transaction; but shall, in due time, give the public the particulars of this outrage against the laws of the land. The name of those concerned are well known; and whenever necessary shall be made public."


From the N. Y. Repub. Watch Tower, of Sept. 13, 1808.

"A gentleman arrived in town from Vermont, informs, that Capt Mott had received his trial, and was found guilty of murder by the jury." (Mott was captain of the batteau called the Black Snake. See p. 3 of this manuscript.)


From the N. York. Repub. Watch Tower, Sept. 19. 1808.

Detachments from the following corps are under orders for the north-western frontier, all belonging to the new raised troops.

Five companies of the sixth regiment of infantry, commanded by Col. Jonas Simonds, to wit:






























Capt. Bennet Companies of the 6th regt Infantry.
Capt. Cherry
Capt. Cock,
Capt. Cross.
Capt. Townsend, Light Artillery.
Capt. Bose, Light Cavalry.
Capt. Anderson, Rifle Corps.





























Col. Simonds, we understand, is under orders of March, in the direction of Oswego.

Col. Burbeck, of Artillery, is, we understand, ordered for Detroit, to which position a respectable force, it is supposed, will soon be detached from the new raised corps. Aurora.


From the N. York Repub. Watch Tower, Decr. 2d. 1808.

"Execution. Dean, the person who was convicted of firing on the soldiers who were executing the embargo laws, in Vermont, has suffered the sentence of the law. He appeared perfectly composed and hardened; denied his crime; Kicked his hat into his grave, spit upon his coffin, and pulled

See Nat. Int. of Nov. 14. Mr. Elliot's motion in the H. Reps. calling on the Sec. of the Treasury for copies of all the instructions transmitted by him to the Collectors of the Revenue & other officers of the U. States. Adopted on the 14th. See Intel. of the 16th (I have not yet found these instructions.)

In the Senate, on the 16th of Nov., Mr. White offered a resolution requesting the President to lay before the Senate, the reasons that induced him to call upon the governors of the respective States to have their quotas of one hundred thousand militia drafted.

House of Representatives, Nov. 25. 1808. Mr. Elliot offered the following resolution, which was agreed to without opposition:

Resolved, That the President of the U. States be requested to cause to be laid before the House a copy of a proclamation issued in April last, in consequence of the opposition to the embargo laws near lake Champlain. Nat. Intel. Nov. 28. 1808. (I have not yet found this proclamation.) We have not in the Library a copy of Gales & Seaton's State Papers.

House of Representatives. Nov. 25. 1808.

"Enforcing the Embargo.

Mr. Macon said he had some time ago moved three resolutions, two of which had been agreed to, and the third ordered to lie on the table, on the suggestion of some gentleman that it would interfere with a resolution already referred. He had waited this long that a decision might be had on the resolution alluded to. (Mr. Chittenden's.) Several unsuccessful attempts having been made to get that up, he now moved for the consideration of his resolution of the following words:

Resolved, That the same committee be instructed to inquire into the expediency of amending the act laying an embargo and the several acts supplemental and additional thereto.

The resolution was taken up and agreed to without opposition. See Nat. Int. Nov. 28. 1808.

House of Representatives, No. 30. Mr. Newton, from the Committee of Commerce and Manufactures, to whom the bill had been referred, reported the bill authorizing the President of the U.S. to employ 12 additional revenue cutters; which was twice read, and, together with a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury on the subject, referred to a committee of the whole. Dec. Nat. Intel. Dec. 5. 1808. (I have not yet found the Secretarys letter)

House of Reps. Dec. 5. On motion of Mr. Newton, the House went into comm. of the whole on the bill authorizing the President of the U.S. to employ an additional number of revenue cutters, Mr. Trigg in the chair. The bill having been read, on A motion of Mr. Newton the committee rose and reported it, without debate or amendment. The bill was ordered to be read a third time this day. Intel. Dec. 9. 1808.

House of Reps. Dec. 9. 1808. The engrossed bill for authorizing the President of the U.S. to employ an additional number of revenue cutters was read the third time; and, on the question on its passage, Mr. Durell moved that it be recommitted for amendment. The motion for recommitment was supported by Messrs. Durell, Ely, Gardner, Sloan, and Upham; and opposed by Messrs Newton, Blackledge, and Dawson. The motion was negatived—ayes 33.

The question on the passage of the bill was then taken—yeas 90, nays 26. Intel. Dec. 12. 1808.

In Senate. Mr. Giles, from a committee appointed in the Senate, yesterday reported "A bill making further provision for enforcing the embargo."— Nat. Intel. Dec. 9. 1808.

In Senate, Dec. 18, ^13,^ 1808. After consideration, the bill making further provision for enforcing the embargo was recommitted to the original committee. Nat. Int. Dec. 14. 1808.

Intel. of Dec. 16. The Senate, after adopting several amendments to the bill making further provision for enforcing the embargo, ordered it to a third reading.

Nothing else of consequence has been done in the Senate for the two last days.

Senate, Dec. 17. The bill making further provision for enforcing the embargo was read the third time; when a debate commenced on its passage. Mr. Goodrich spoke at length against the bill, when the Senate adjourned, without taking the question. Nat. Intel. Dec. 19. 1808.

Senate, Dec. 19. The Senate resumed the consideration of the bill making further provision for enforcing the embargo. Mr. Lloyd opposed the bill. When, on motion of Mr. Bradley, ordered that it be recommitted to the original committee, and that Mr. Crawford and Mr. Thruston be added to the committee further to consider and report thereon.

December 20. The Committee to whom the foregoing bill was recommitted, reported it with various amendments, which were adopted, and the bill thus amended ordered to a third reading tomorrow. Nat. Intel. Decem. 21. 1808.

In Senate, Dec. 21. The act to enforce and make more effectual an Act, entitled an act laying an embargo on all ships and vessels in the ports and harbors of the U.S. and the several acts supplementary thereto, was read the third time. Messrs. Giles and Pope supported, and Messrs Hillhouse and Pickering opposed its passage. The debate was continued till about 8 in the evening, when the question was taken by Yeas and Nays as follows:

Yeas—Messrs Anderson, Condit, Crawford, Franklin, Gaillard, Giles, Gregg, Kitchell, Milledge, Mitchill, Moore, Pope, Robinson, Smith, (N.Y.) Smith, (Md.) Smith, (Ten.) Sumter, Thruston, Tiffin and Turner. 20.

Nays—Messrs. Gilman, Goodrich, Hillhouse, Lloyd, Matthewson, Pickering, White. 7.

In the House of Representatives. Yesterday, the bill from the Senate for enforcing the embargo was twice read and referred to a committee of the whole on Saturday next. Nat. Intel. Dec. 23.

See Nat. Intel. of Jany 9. 1809, for Proceedings in the House of Reps. on the bill for enforcing the embargo, with debate on the subject. (These make several columns. I wish you could see them).

From the Nat. Intel. Jan 27. 1809.

The towns of Gloucester, Northampton, and Newburyport, have passed resolutions declaring the embargo laws unconstitutional. Contrary resolutions have been passed in various other towns. In Philadelphia meetings have been held, in which the following resolution, among others, has been adopted: "Resolved, That we consider every person who violates or attempts a violation of the embargo laws, to be an enemy to the United States, and totally unworthy the name of an American citizen.

Source: DLC Library of Congress
Collection: MVB Papers (DLC)
Series: Series 1 (5 December 1782-31 December 1811)