Affidavit of William Keith.
Territory of Michigan
County of Wayne.
I William Keith, of the County and Territory aforesaid, being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God, do depose and say, that on the first day of June, in the year one thousand eight hundred and nineteen, I took command of the United States Revenue cutter, Porcupine, stationed in the district of Detroit, of which William Woodbridge was then, and is now Collector. The said William Woodbridge informed this deponent that his salary would be fifty dollars per month and three rations, provided that rations were allowed to Captain Gilbert Knapp, who had the command of the Revenue Cutter Dallas, in the District of Michilimackinac. This deponent further saith, that he called at the office of the said William Woodbridge, in company with A.D. Stuart, the Collector of the District of Michilimackinac, and satisfied the said Woodbridge that rations were allowed to the said Captain Knapp by the Government.--Whereupon the said William Woodbridge directed John J. Deming, a clerk in his office, to make out the account of this deponent, at fifty dollars per month and three rations, the receipt for which account this deponent signed. And further this deponent saith, in about two months after he signed the aforesaid receipts, the said clerk, Mr. Deming, called upon this deponent, and stated to him that the government had refused to allow the rations, and requested him to sign an account without the rations, which request this deponent complied with.
And further this deponent saith, that the said William Woodbridge deducted from his pay twenty-three dollars and upwards, for articles of furniture and so forth, furnished for the said Revenue Cutter, which money, in the opinion of this deponent, never was passed to the credit of the government. This deduction was made principally for pork, flour, and whiskey barrels, in which provisions were delivered for the said Cutter.--And this deponent further saith, that the pork and whiskey barrels, for which the said deduction was made, were placed in the cellar of the said William Woodbridge at his own request, and as this deponent believes, for his own use.
And further this deponent saith, that the said William Woodbridge directed him to ship seamen for only one month at a time--That he shipped one David Morris, who served one month & re-shipped for another month; in a few days after which he absconded--and this deponent was ordered to Saginaw, freighted with government troops and property. On his return he was sued for the wages of the said Morris, and was compelled to pay them, with costs, amounting to more than fifty dollars. That he applied to the said William Woodbridge, who told him that he had no doubt but the government would pay him. That he frequently called upon the said Woodbridge, who uniformly told him that it had not yet been paid, but he had no doubt but it would be paid eventually. After which, this deponent transferred this demand upon the government to Mr. Abraham Wendell, who for a long time continued to call upon the said William Woodbridge, who uniformly gave him the same replies, as Mr. Wendell said, that he had given to this deponent. And further, that the said Wendell afterwards sued this deponent for the said demand, and that the said William Woodbridge was called as witness in the case, before James Abbott, Esq. and stated under oath that the said demand had not at that time been allowed by the government; and that afterwards, in the winter of 1824-25, when this deponent was at the city of Washington, he ascertained from Mr. Coyle, one of the Auditors of the National Treasury, that the said sum had been long allowed to the credit of the said Woodbridge, in the first quarter of the year 1822, and long before he stated under oath that it had not been allowed. And further, that on the return of this deponent from the city of Washington, in March last, the said Woodbridge paid him the said demand.
And this deponent further saith, that on his appointment to the command of the Revenue Cutter Porcupine, he was requested by the said Woodbridge, to keep his men employed in cutting cedar pickets whilst cruising near the Islands in Lake Erie, and to transport a cargo of them occasionally to the premises of the said Woodbridge; that one cargo of cedar pickets was brought in the said Revenue Cutter, and delivered at the house of the said Woodbridge; and the crew of the Cutter were ordered to carry the pickets from the beach to his garden. That on this deponent remonstrating against this employment of a government vessel in the service of an individual, the said Woodbridge uniformly treated him with disrespect, until he left the vessel.
And further this deponent saith, that in October, of the year 1819, he had directions in writing from the said William Woobridge [sic], to proceed in pursuit of a boat laden with smuggled goods, and destined, as this deponent understood, for Campau's Trading House, on the Saginaw River. That he proceeded according to his instructions, and with the assistance of a posse seized the said boat in the River St. Clair. That the said boat contained precisely the goods mentioned by Mr. Jacob Smith, who gave the information,and had been purchased at auction in the town of Sandwich, in the province of Upper Canada. And further, that the said goods were afterwards released by the said William Woodbridge, Collector of the District of Detroit, without trial. That afterwards, this deponent was prosecuted by Mr. Campau, for detaining his boat, and that he applied to the said Woodbridge, who told him that he was an attorney, and that if he defended him he should expect to be paid for it; and that the suit of Campau against this deponent is still pending in Court.
And further this deponent saith, that one John Fleeharty, who was an indent[ur]ed apprentice to the said William Woodbridge, did, whilst deponent commanded said cutter in the employment of the said Woodbridge, regularly sign receipts, as a mariner in the revenue service of the United States, although usually, if not altogether employed in the private service of the said Woodbridge. That the said Fleeharty was received as a seaman on board the said Revenue Cutter, the Porcupine, when this deponent took command of her, and continued to draw pay at the rate of twenty-seven dollars and fifty cents a month; though in the opinion of this deponent, the said pay went entirely to the emolument of the said Woodbridge. That in the year 1819 and '20 this deponent boarded the said Fleeharty at the request of the said Woodbridge, for about seven months, having stipulated with the said Woodbridge to receive in payment the amount of the ration allowed by the government to the said Fleeharty; but that the said Woodbridge always has refused and still does refuse to pay the same. And this deponent further saith, that the said Woodbridge, during this time, regularly drew the pay of the said Fleeharty, at the rate of twenty seven dollars and fifty cents per month.
And this deponent further saith, that he shipped, by direction of the clerk of the said Woodbridge, one Chester Root, who served one month, and was furnished with provisions by this deponent from his own house;--that this deponent saw the said Root sign receipts for his pay and rations, at the rate of twenty-seven dollars and fifty cents per month--and further that the said Woodbridge has always refused to pay this deponent seven dollars and fifty cents which he claims for rations for one month, furnished by him for the said Root.
And further, that the said Woodbridge frequently appointed a time for the settlement of the accounts of this deponent, and when this deponent called at his office he was uniformly told that the said Woodbridge was not at home, although it was generally known to this deponent that he was at home--or, if found in his office, he always framed some excuse and postponed the settlement.--And further, that the accounts of this deponent with the government have not to this day been settled by the said Woodbridge.
Subscribed and sworn to, the same having been first read and corrected by said deponent, this twenty-first day of February, A.D. one thousand eight hundred and twenty-six, before me.
Justice of the Peace W. Co. M.T.