[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

#116: Pelletier Affair, Part III (Attachments to Hubbard letter to Sec State) (fwd)

From: Robert Perdue <vtandwi@erols.com>

Attachments (enclosures) to the Hubbard letter to the Secretary of

Translated Copy of a dispatch from E. Mennan, Vice Consul of France at
Cape Haytien, to G. Eustis Hubbard, United States Commercial Agent


No 71      Cape Haytien, 12 April 1861

 To the Consul of the United States of America


       I have the honor of advising reception of the letter which you
have addressed to me this day, asking me if the American flag was
floating on the vessel seized at Fort Libert.

 I hasten to write you that I remained two days in Fort Libert and that
never the flag of your nation was hoisted, for in that circumstance I
should have guarded myself about writing to Captain Letellier and not
Pelletier, as he calls himself today; the correspondence even which I
have had the advantage to communicate you proves that he claimed
protection from me as his countryman.

The authorities and the entire population of Fort Libert, besides my
statement, can always confirm this fact.

      Receive Mr. Consul, the
      assurance of my high consideration
       The Vice Consul of France
      (signed)    E. Mennan


Copy of affidavit of Isaac B. Gage, Master of the American Schr Joseph
Nickerson, about his having met a french vessel under suspicious

 I, Isaac B. Gage, Master of the American Schooner Joseph Nickerson, of
Boston, of the burden of 19831/95 tons, now at anchor in the port of
Cape Haytien, do hereby depose and certify, that on the 29th March at 2
o'clock AM, he then approaching the land of Hayti, hove to his vessel,
at day light, 1/2 past 4, Point Picolet bearing S.S.W 18 miles made a
bark 3 miles in shore from him; it being then calm, with a heavy sea
running, both vessels stood off shore, the bark gaining somewhat on the
Schooner; at 9 o'clock a little breeze sprung up and he, fearing the two
vessels would come too near together, kept off, and wove ship and passed
astern of the bark about a mile to leeward, the bark still continuing
off shore- as the vessels passed the Bark saluted with the French flag
and the Schr answered by showing her colors in her main rigging.

 The bark had two royal yards, two quarter boats, and when seen by the
deposer was under the following easy sail - two topsails, spinnaker,
mizzen staysail foresail and flying - jib everything about the vessel
was taut and ship shape and he should judge her to be a vessel of about
400 tons.  Under the circumstances in which he met the vessel, the
deposer could not tell where she was bound nor from, nor what she was

     (signed) Isaac B. Gage
   Signed in the presence of
   (signed) John L. Wilson
   (do) Benja P. Sears



    Copy of letter from Captain A. Pelletier to G. Eustis Hubbard,
United States Commercial Agent at Cape Haytien


    Fort Libert, April 6th 1861

To Mr. Hubbard, Commercial Agent of the United States at Cape Haytien

    Dear Sir

     It is in a miserable dungeon that I write you, where I was placed
yesterday with all of my crew.  I am Master of the American Barque
William of New Orleans some time ago I left Port au Prince, where I was
the victim of great vexation and injustices inflicted upon me by the
authorities of that place; Mr. Lewis, our American Agent did his utmost
to get redress, but at last I was obliged to leave for New Orleans and
had a misfortune in a gale of wind to drift on shore into the Bahama
passage on a bank, which carried away my false keel and rudder spring
fore and main top masts etc., etc.  I was drifting about at sea for many
days almost unable to steer my Vessel and the first land which I reached
was this place where I could not get a pilot and I had to put in at any
rate for to save my vessel, and there again I had the misfortune to run
aground.  A boat put off from shore and I was really thunderstruck when
I see she was flying the Haytien flag, because I was unsure that if they
should find out that I was the Barque William I should certainly get
myself into more trouble; as to her bad name I will explain to you; that
vessel was sold by the United States to me having been captured on the
coast of Cuba with slaves, and ever since I have owned that vessel I
have been tormented by injustice of people which don't wish to inquire
into the private character of a man before they should act in the manner
they did against me, my social position in the United States is very
good, as I will be able to prove to you, if, as of no doubt, you come
here to reclaim American citizens and property to a large amount which
today is completely in their possession; with great trouble I got my
vessel afloat again and put myself to work with my men to repair my
rudder and other injuries to enable me to put off immediately as I were
fearful they would find out who I was, and with the purpose of keeping
secret I hoisted up a private signal at the head of may main mast which
was a small french flag leaving the American Ensign always ready but to
hoist up at the mizzen peak in case of necessity.  Two boats full of
Officers the second day I was there came aboard to inquire who I was and
at the same time to register my ship, they made me open my hatches and
overhauld everything in the hold, when they found everything was right
and that I had in nothing but was lawful, they came in the cabin and
demanded my papers, and I had for the sake of saving myself, ship and
crew telling them that my papers having been wet with salt water after
running aground as it would be dangerous to touch them as they would
fall to pieces; that falsehood obliged me to keep up the appearance of a
French vessel, and I told them that the vessel's name was the Guillaume
which means in French William and that my name was Tellicer, this is my
only crime Mr. Consul, and if it is one I will leave you to be my judge;
I was expecting to leave in two days and wrote to the Commander of the
Place I didn't wish any communication with the shore as this Port was
not a Port of Entre, the only thing I was wishing to do was to fix my
rudder to steer as far as the Cape to put myself under the protection of
my lawful protector; you will see by this that I was acting with best of
motives which were to save myself ship and crew which are all under
American protection, which I beg of you in the name of myself, crew,
wife, and family which are all here with me to protect us, and if I am
guilty by having employed those means before stated for the purpose of
saving my ship, at least save a poor woman and family and my crew which
are not guilty and if you wish to send me to the United States to be
judged by Christian laws, but here I am in danger so the rest are with
the feeling of hostility which exists against me and crew and family in
this place.

 Now Sir

 You will allow me the last act of this drama, which has put me
completely in their power, and which will be our complete destruction if
without a moment lost, you don't reclaim us and prohibit our
transportation to another part of the Island which they may do at any
moment.  On the night of the 3rd one of my men run away from the Ship
and made declaration that I was the Bark William of New Orleans, that
she has or was a slaver and that I meant to rob and I don't know how
many falsehoods guided by the spirit of vengeance.  I was then requested
immediately to come on shore with my papers; my boat was stopped, my men
examined and then sent on board again, then I received a communication
from the commander of the Place if I wanted to leave he would take means
to detain me; that night having fixed my rudder a little I very slowly
got under weigh with the purpose of going to the Cape to put myself
under your protection, the wind very light and the currents strong I ran
aground close to their Fort at the mouth of the river; that morning
having received a communication from the French Consul which had arrived
from the Cape to come ashore immediately with my papers and that if I
didn't hostile steps would be taken against me and Vessel; he was very
angry as he had been misled to believe it was a French vessel and he is
a man of great influence here with the people of the country I am afraid
my lot will be a hard one if you don't look upon me with mercy and come
immediately to the rescue and for God's sake do it.

 On the morning of the 5th five Schooners and several boats full of men
about two or three hundred armed with loaded muskets and swords came and
took me by assault and firing; I was obliged to hoist a white flag to
the main for the purpose of getting a conversation with the commanding
Officer which came alongside, I asked him what that meant, his answer
was by order of the French consul although the American flag was up; and
to save bloodshed I had to give myself up.  I was ordered to take my
papers along with me and the moment I arrived ashore I was searched as
well as my boats crew and my papers were overhauled and taken away from
me as well as the protections of all my men and private correspondence
which is now in the possession of the Commander of this place.  My ship
was got off and put under weigh and brought back here to town losing my
anchors and other damages which I don't know yet to what amount and we
were all put in dungeon; from hour to hour I don't know what will be our

 Therefore Mr. Consul I beg of you as a christian and representative of
the United States to give me that protection which we stand so much in
need, at the same time note my protest and I beg of you not to condemn
me until you hear me, as I am very sure the French consul will try to
inflame you against me, but you must recollect if there is one which has
committed any fault it is nothing but me and I only demand a lawful
trial of my country, therefore my crew and family are innocent and
deserve your pity and your protection with all respect due to the
representative of the United States you will immediately grant to them.

      I am
      Your Most Obedient Servant
     (signed)  A. Pelletier
      Master of the Am. Barque William

Since writing this last, my Family were likewise put in a prison.  For
God's sake do come; the French consul is at the head of all.

     (signed) A.P.


Copy of Dispatch from G. Eustis Hubbard Commercial Agent of the United
States of America, to Captain A. Pelletier in answer to his
communication of the 6th April 1861


No 9       Cape Haytien 11th April 1861
Captain A. Pelletier
 Prison of Fort Libert


   Your communication of the 6th inst has been handed to me open by the
Haytien authorities and its contents have had my careful attention.

 You endeavor to prove to me that after having left Port au Prince you
run ashore in one of the Bahama passages in a gale of wind and there
lost your rudder and part of false keel; that after drifting about
without being able to steer the vessel, the first land you made was Fort
Libert; that on discovering the Haytien flag you became frightened and
hoisted a small French flag at the main, proclaiming your vessel to be
the French Bark Guillaume.  These assertions are entirely untrue - had
you lost your rudder and part of false keel as you pretend, it would
have been impossible for you to beat up to windward from the North
western point of this Island to Fort Libert a distance of 100 miles,
that Fort Libert was not the first land you made, and that you was
perfectly aware that you were on the Haytien coast, and where you were
going, is proved by the fact that you were in sight from the signal
station of Point Picolet for 5 days, laying off and on the coast under
easy sail, gradually working your way up to windward; on the 26th of
March at 2 o'clock PM I saw your vessel with my own eyes, jammed on a
wind with a stiff breeze, in such a position that you might have arrived
in this port in 3 hours had such been your intention, that you hoisted
the French colors before you arrived in Fort Libert, and for purposes
which you alone can explain, is proved by the fact that on the 29th inst
you saluted an American Schr at sea, by running the French flag up and
down three times at the mizzen peak - Point Picolet at the time beaming
from the two vessels S.S.W. distant about fifteen miles; of this I have
in my possession the written affidavit of the Master of the Schr, and
this alone would prove you to have acted as a pirate.

 I am sorry to inform you, Sir, that under the circumstances I do not
deem it my duty to interfere in the least with the Haytien authorities
in their actions with regard to you and your crew; and most positively,
in consequence of your late suspicious actions, withhold from you that
protection which you might otherwise have claimed under the American
flag.  You have rendered yourself by your proceedings amenable to the
law of nations and you will have to prove your innocence before a
competent court of law and justice.
      I am, Sir
      Your Obedt Servt
    (signed)     G. Eustis Hubbard


Translated Copy of a letter addressed by Captain A. Pelletier of the
American Bark William, under the fake name of Captain J. Letellier of
the French Barque Guillaume Tell, to the French Consul in Cape Haytien,
the original letter written in French.


To the French Consul at Cape Haytien

      Mr. Consul

        I have the honor of informing you that the French Bark
"Guillaume Tell" from Havre bound to Havanna, got aground on her return
for her point of departure, in the passages in a gale of wind from S.E.
to N.E., and that she has experienced heavy damage, amongst others,
broken her rudder, top masts and false keel, lost a chain, 2 anchors
sails etc., etc.

 In the impossibility to continue my voyage, I have to let the vessel
drift to reach the first port to repair damages; and it is by the effect
of this drifting that I find myself in the Port of Fort Libert, which
port is not, as I have been informed, open to commerce.

 I have the honor of informing you, Mr. Consul, that my intention is
only to arrange here my rudder to enable me to steer my vessel, in order
to render myself to Cape Haytien where I shall have the honor to put
myself under your protection.  This will be tomorrow or the day after.

 I have the honor to be, Mr. Consul with respect, your very Obedient
Servant and countryman.

      (signed) J. Letellier

     Fort Libert le 1re April 1861.