The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Gazette (Detroit, MI), 28 Feb. 1826, page 2

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Mr. Editor,

In the Herald of last week it is stated that Mr. Woodbridge's appointment as Collector of the port of Detroit had been renewed, and that the Secretary of the Treasury had expressed his perfect satisfaction as to the correctness of that gentleman's accounts....

The following are the particulars of the "machinations which were carried on at Washington to deprive Mr. Woodbridge of his character and office."

Capt. Knapp, who formerly commanded the revenue cutter stationed in the Detroit District, and now commanding the cutter at Mackinac, being at Washington on business, during the present winter, took occasion to examine Mr. Woodbridge's accounts, with a view to obtain justice for certain seamen who had served with him, on board the cutter stationed in this District, during parts of the years 1817 and 1818. On this examination, together with an official abstract, before given to Capt. Knapp, and on that gentleman's personal knowledge of facts, the following statement was formed. That Capt. Knapp commanded the revenue cutter stationed in this District, during a part of the years 1817 & 1818. That Mr. Woodbridge paid him at the rate of $50 dollars per month, and took his accounts for $3 per diem as an inspector of the revenue and capt. of the cutter. That during three or four years after his services terminated, he made repeated applications to Mr. Woodbridge for a settlement of his accounts, who evaded his demands, upon the plea that they had not been settled at the Treasury Department. That he was at length advised to write to the Comptroller of the Treasury Department for a statement of his accounts. That when this was furnished, it was discovered that the accounts of Captain Knapp had been regularly settled at the end of each quarter, and the full amount charged allowed to Mr. Woodbridge. On the presentation of this official evidence to the latter, he paid the balance due to Capt. Knapp, without offering any explanation of his having retained it for four years, and refusing to make any compensation to Capt. Knapp for having withheld the money from him. For this a claim is still pending against Mr. Woodbridge.

It was also stated under oath, that during the period which Capt. Knapp commanded the cutter, four or five seamen were employed, to whom $15 per month was paid by mr. Woodbridge.--That their receipts were taken for $20, with a promise that if the account was allowed the balance should be paid to the seamen. That these seamen had repeatedly declared that the balance had not to this day been paid to them.

With a view to obtain justice for these men, or to relieve himself from any imputation of blame, Capt. Knapp procured from the Treasury an official statement, showing that the accounts were passed at $20 per month, immediately on their presentation. Whether this be a true state of the case, it is presumed that a judicial investigation will hereafter determine.

It further appeared by his accounts, that Voltaire Spalding formerly was, and that Warner Wing and --- Marsac now are, paid by Mr. Woodbridge at the rate of $27 per month, as mariners in the service of the revenue department. This, it occurred to those who saw the accounts, could scarcely be otherwise than fraudulent. How it admits of a satisfactory explanation it is not easy to conceive...

It is stated under oath by Capt. Keith, that moneys had also been withheld from him by Mr. Woodbridge, from the year 1822 to 1825, when the latter was compelled to pay the money, by the production of an official statement, procured by Capt. Keith at Washington. That in the interval between 1822 and 1825, Mr. Woodbridge had repeatedly asserted, falsely, as the document procured at the Treasury afterwards proved, that the money claimed by Capt. Keith had never been allowed. Mr. Woodbridge is also charged with various other malpractices by capt. Keith, and with having shown a decided hostility to the latter, in consequence of his having refused longer to employ the revenue cutter is conveying pickets from the islands to Mr. Woodbridge's farm.

... C.

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Column 5, -
Date of Original:
28 Feb. 1826
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Dave Swayze
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Detroit Gazette (Detroit, MI), 28 Feb. 1826, page 2