The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Caroline (Steamboat), burnt & over the falls, 29 Dec 1837


Description
Full Text

CAROLINE Steamboat, of 45 Tons, rebuilt Ogdensburg 1824. She was burned by a party of British, under the command of Capt. Drew, R. N. On the night of 29th. December 1837, while lying at Schlosser, one life lost for certain.
      " Trade And Commerce "
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      March 26,1847

      . . . . .

The steaboat CAROLINE, which plied between this city and Niagara, left our port this morning for Navy Island, where she will be used as a ferry boat between the island and Schlosser. -- Buffalo Commercial, Dec. 29.
      Cleveland Daily Herald
      Tuesday, January 2, 1838 2:3
     
      . . . . .

      From the Buffalo Commercial, Dec. 30th.
      The following was issued this morning, as an extra, from this office:
      STEAMBOAT CAROLINE BURNT
      Twenty Two Lives Lost !!!!
      8 o'clock A.M.
Capt. Keeler, of the Schooner AGNES BARTON, and F. Emmons, of this city, have just brought news by express from Schlosser, of an attack made this morning upon the Steamboat CAROLINE, lying at that place, which resulted in the destruction of the boat, and the DEATH of twenty two of her crew, only 12 escaping !
      It is stated that the attack was made about 2 o'clock, by five boats of armed Loyalists, containing from 100 to 150 men, who guarded the gangways, and cried "no quarters !"
      Capt. Appleby, of the CONSTITUTION, who went down as pilot of the CAROLINE yesterday, narrowly escaped with his life. He received a flesh wound, and was pursued to the house adjoining.
      A Mr. Durfee, lately belonging to the Stage Office at the Eagle, in this city, lies on the dock with his brains blown out.
      The CAROLINE was then set on fire, and finally drifted out into the current, and went over the Falls.
      We give the above, just as it was received, without vouching for any particulars. It may be proper to add, however, that Captain Keeler, as we are informed, saw the results of the scene above described.
      FURTHER PARTICULARS OF THE CAPTURE OF THE CAROLINE.
The 12 o'clock express confirms the news of this morning. It is said that the CAROLINE was filled with visitors and not soldiers. The word with the Loyalists was, " No prisoners! - No quarters! "Those who attempted to escape were killed, with a few exceptions - the boat was set on fire, and with the remainder towed into the current on the Canadian side, which soon carried her over the Falls. The Loyalists gave three cheers for Victoria, and under cover of darkness, it is supposed escaped the fire opened upon them from the Island. Those on board slept there, because the public houses were full.
      Captain Harding, of the brig INDIANA, escaped with a severe wound in the head; only one man was found on the shore, the one above mentioned; the rest reported MISSING - there is little doubt but that they went over the Falls with the burning steamboat.
      Cleveland Daily Herald & Gazette
      Tuesday, January 2, 1838

      . . . . .

      STEAMBOAT " CAROLINE" BURNT !
      Twenty-Two lives lost !!!
      8. A. M. Capt. Keeler, of the schr. Agnes Barton, and F. Eonmone, of this city, have just brought news by express from Schlosser, of an attack made this morning upon the steamboat CAROLINE, lying at that place, which resulted in the destruction of the boat, and the Death of Twenty-two of her crew - only 12 escaping!
      It is stated that the attack was made about 2 o'clock, by five boats of armed Loyalists. containing from 100 to 150 men, who guarded the gangways, and cried "no quarters!"
      Capt. Applebly, of the CONSTITUTION, who went down as pilot of the CAROLINE yesterday, narrowly escaped with his life. He received a flesh wound, and was pursued into the storehouse adjoining. A Mr. Durfee, lately belonging to the Stage office at the Eagle, in this city, lies on the dock with his brains blown out.
      The CAROLINE was then set on fire, and finally drifted out into the current and went over the Falls.
      We give the above, just as it was received, without vouching for any of the particulars. It may be proper to add, however, that Capt. Keeler, as we are informed, saw the results of the scene above described.
      An Express has been started to ascertain fully the facts.
Further Particulars of the Capture of the CAROLINE. The twelve o'clock express confirms the news of this morning. It is said that the CAROLINE was filled with visitors and not soldiers. The word with the loyalists was."No prisoners! no quarters!" Those who attempted to escape were killed, with a few exceptions -- the boat was set on fire, and with the remainder towed into the current on the Canadian side, which soon carried her over the Falls. The loyalists gave three cheers for Victory and under cover of the darkness, it is supposed engaged the fire opened upon them from the island. Those on board the boat slept there, because the public houses were full.
      Captain Harding of the brig Indiana, escaped with a severe wound in the head, only one man was found on the shore, the one above mentioned; the rest reported missing -- there is little doubt but they went over the Falls with the burning steamboat.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Saturday, December 30, 1837
     

Tuesday. January 3. 1838:
      The Steamboat CAROLINE.-- The history of the CAROLINE is rather an eventful one. She was built of live oak some years ago at Charleston S. C. and was brought to Albany between which place and Troy she plied for some time. She was then sent by the Erie and Oswego Canals to Canada, when a new keel was given her, and made a British bottom. Having been engaged in some smuggling transactions, she was condemned and sold, thus making her an American boat again. After plying from this to various ports on the lake, she went on her ill-fated expedition down the river, and met with an end, the sublimity of which can scarcely be paralleled.
      Her capture and burning, with all the successries of the surrounding scenery, would form a magnificent subject for a painting.
      Captains Appleby and Harding called on us this morning, and stated that at the capture of the CAROLINE, a boy called Billy was shot as he was running across the plank from the boat. Captain Appleby says he saw the boy fall into the water, and since then the body has not been found. It is now ascertained with certainty, that at least three were killed in the affair. None of the missing have yet been heard from
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Tuesday, January 3, 1838
     
      . . . .

      The funeral of the murdered Durfee, was held, this afternoon, at the Court-house. After prayers and some remarks, by the Rev. Mr. Hawes, of Trinity church, the concourse of people Was addressed in a feeling and patriotic nanner, by H. M. Smith, Esc. An immense concourse attended, who appeared to feel as one person, the thrilling interest of the occasion of the occasion.
      Cleveland Daily Herald & Gazette
      Thursday, January 4, 1838 2:2
     
      . . . . .
     
      head Quarters,
      Chippewa, 29th Dec. 1837.
      SIR - I have the honor to acknowledge the reception of your letter, of this morning, just handed to me by Judge McLean.
      With respect to the report in the city of Buffalo, that certain forces under my command, had landed uoon Grand Island, an Island within the territory of the United States, I can assure you that it is entirely without foundaition, and that so far from my having any intentions of the kind, such a proceeding would be in direct opposition to the wishes and intentions of her Britannic Majesty's Government, in this colony, whose servant I have the honor to be.
      Entering at once into the feelings which induced you to address me on the subject, I beg leave to call your attention to the following facts. That so far from, occupying or intending to occupy that or any other portion of the American territory, aggressions of a serious and hostile nature have been made upon the forces under my command, from that Island. Two affidavits are now before me, stating that a volley of musketry from Grand Island was yesterday fired upon a party of unarmed persons, - some of whom were females, without the slightest provocation having been offered. That on the same day one of my boats, unarmed by British subjects, passing along the Anerican shore and without any cause being given, was fired upon from the American side near Fort Schiosser, by cannon, the property, I am told, of the United States.
      I have also before me the most positive information that a Steamboat, called the CAROLINE, was sold to the pirates on Nlavy Island, and loaded with provisions and munitions of war, not only within your country, but immediately under the notice of the authorities of the United States, and of the citizens of Buffalo, whom, you state to have been in commotion, and that these stores and ammunition were forwarded to Navy Island, for the use and assistance of the band of Pirates assembled there for the purpose of invading and plundering this country, and deviding Her Britannic Majesty's land among their deluded followers.
      I have the honor ro be, Sir
      With the highest consideration,
      Your ob't serv't ALLAN N. McNab, Col. Com. H. M. Forces,
      on the Niagara Frontier.
      H. W. Rogers, Esq., Dist. Att'y, &c., &c.
      Cleveland Dailt Herald & Gazette
      Thursday, January 4, 1838 2:3
     
      . . . . .

      British Account of the Outrage at Schlosser. -- The following are the statements relative to the affair at Schlosser to which we alluded on Saturday. It will be seen that the capture of the CAROLINE, and the slaughter of our citizens is openly avowed and gloried in by the British authority. It confirms our worst surmises as to the fate of the missing, all of whom were undoubtedly murdered.
      These documents furnish to our government precisely the evidence that was wanted. Many of the statements which were sworn to so positively, can be shown to be false by the most irrefragable testimony. Affidavits have been taken by the District Attorney, which rebut every material point.
      From the Toronto Patriot of Jan. 2. We have received from a friend at Chippewa the following gratifying intelligence: On Friday last the 29th ultimo, a steamboat called the CAROLINE, which had been given, lent, chartered, or sold by the Buffalonians to the Pirates on Navy Island, dropped down from Buffalo to Schlosser. A project was immediately formed to cut her out, and nine boats with nine volunteers in each were prepared in Chippewa creek, with intent to start on that service at 9 o'clock, but they did not depart till 10. The enterprise was commanded by Capt. Drew of the Royal navy. Four only of the boats made good their way to the Steamboat, which as they approached were hailed by a sentry, and no answer being given, the sentry again hailed, and the answer returned was "Friends," but the countersign being demanded and not given, the sentry fired at the leading boat, which he missed, and was instantly shot dead by a young sailor of the name of Arnold; twelve or fifteen of our brave volunteers were instantly on the deck of the steamboat, Capt. Drew being the first on board, when commenced the tug of war. The pirates lost 5 men killed, several of their wounded got away, so that we made but few prisoners, the number of pirates on board were about 30 well armed, but a great number of them were on shore firing rifles at a distance in the dark, regardless whether they killed friends or foes. Such is the courage of criminals. The same young sailor who had shot the sentry was wounded in the left arm the moment he reached the deck, but he gallantly with his right knocked down the pirates, who had wounded, and killed him with the butt end of his unloaded pistol . The pirate flag being a tri-color with two stars, was taken by a gallant young gentleman of the name of Finlaison, of the Cobourg Volunteers, a nephew of the veteran Capt. Hammond of Haldimand. Capt. McCormick, a lake Captain, who commanded the second boat was severely, though, thank God, not dangerously wounded. Two balls passed through his left wrist, and one entered his left shoulder. He had however, the satisfaction of killing on the spot the pirate who shot him in the shoulder. The gallant Capt. Warren, late of the 65th regiment who was in the same boat with Captain McCormick, we are sorry to say was also wounded by two sabre cuts and a pistol shot. "Capt. Zeland and Mosier were among the most gallant of the gallant boarders, indeed all far above our humble powers of praise.
      The Piratical steamboat was towed a short distance out, set thoroughly in a blaze, and in about an hour, admitting a light around, went thundering over Niagara Falls, and her fragments are now strewed on the banks of the Niagara river. This glorious achievement has not cost us a single man. The CAROLINE was rather old, and not supposed to be worth above L1000; a small damage, which the rich and generous Buffalonins can easily make up to the pirates, for whom their amiable sympathies gain daily strength. Thus perish every foe to Britain, and rational liberty!!
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Tuesday, January 3, 1838

      . . . . .
     
      THE BRITISH 0UTRAGE
The Buffalo mail came in a few minutes past nine o'clock last averting, and the deep interest felt by all our citizens in everything relating to the late brutal and dastardly massacre of American citizens at Schlosser, influences us to ???icipate our usual hour of publication to-cay. The following details and documents ue copy from the Buffalo -Star of Sunday
Evening. The cold blooded butchery perpetrated by the myrmidons of McNab, was sworn to by Captain Appleby and others, will excite a feeling of indignation throughout this Union never before equalled. Nothing can palliate, much less excuse, this wanton and most inhuman murder of the unarmed and unsuspecting inmates of the CAROLINE, in AN AMERICAN PORT; and the capture and detention of a mere boy, by the royalist forces of Upper Canada. McNab may prate as he pleases of the "Pirates on Navy Island," may prevaricate and apologize for the gross outrage committed on American citizens; the deed will be execrated, and the wrong remembered, if not avenged.
The excitement in this city is intense, and will be increased by the report now but little doubted, that Mr. Ward recently of this city, and the brother of Mr. Ward of the firm of Ward
and Smith, is among the missing in the ill-fated CAROLINE, The engineer of the Steamboat Constitution the past season, shared a similar fate. Name not known.
Stage passengers who left Buffalo on Mondey, inform us that two Brigades of Militia were mustering, and that General Burt was about stationing a body of 400 armed troops on Grand island, to prevent further aggressions. They also state that the Militia were still pouring into Buffalo, and that they could not have met less than 600 armed men in wagons on their way to that city.
We further learn, that one of the leaders of the attack on the CAROLINE, was the notorious Angus McLeod, Deputy Sheriff of Niagara district.
      James Smith, Esq., one of the special Deputy Marshals, has just returned from Waterloo, whither he went, for a boy, taken prisoner on board of the CAROLINE. The boy belongs to this city, and is about 15 years of age, by name of Luke Walker. Yesterday Col. McNab expressed a willingness to give up the boy; but today, he refuses to let him return! There can be but two reasons for this; he either considers him a prisoner of war, or fears that his affidavits will be used by our authorities; the latter the most probable.
      Cleveland Daily Herald & Gazette
      Thursday, January 4, 1838 2:2
     
      . . . . .

      State of New York, Niagara County
      Gilnan Appleby of the city of Buffalo, beinr duly sworn, says that he left the port of Buffalo the morning of the 29th inst. in the S. B. CAROLINE, owned by Wm. Wells of Buffalo, and bound for Schlosser upon the east side of the Niagara river, and within the U. States. That this deponent commanded the said CAROLINE, and that she was cleared from Buffalo with a view to run between said Buffalo and Schlosser, carrying passengers, freight, &c.,
that this deponent caused the said CAROLINE to be landed at Black Rock on her way down, and that while there this deponent caused the American flag to be run up, and that soon after leaving Black Rock Harbor, a volley of musketry was discharged at the said CAROLINE from the Canadian shore but without injury. That the said CAROLINE continued her course down the Niagara river unmolested, and landed outside of certain scows or boats attached to Navy Island, where a number of passengers disembarked, and as the deponent supposes, certain articles of freight were landed. That from this point the said CAROLINE ran to
Schlosser. Arriving there about 3 o'clock on the afternoon. That between that tine and dark the said boat made two trips to Navy Island, landing as before. That at about the hour of six in the afternoon, this deponent caused the said boat to be landed at Schlosser, and made fast with chains to the dock at that place. That the crew and officers of the CAROLINE numbered ten, and that in the course of the evening, 23 individuals, all of whom were citizens of the U. Sates, cane on board and requested this deponent and other officers of the boat to permit them to remain on board during the night, as they were unable to get lodgings at the Tavern near by. These requests were acceded to, and the persons thus coming on board retired to rest, as did also the crew and officers of the CAROLINE, except such as were stationed to watch during the night. That about midnight this deponent was informed by one of the watch, that several boats filled with men were making towards the CAROLINE from the
river, and this deponent immediately gave the alarm, and before he was able to reach the deck, the CAROLINE was boarded by some seventy or eighty men, all of whom were armed. That they commenced a warfare with muskets, swords and cutlasses, upon the defenceless crew and passengers of the CAROLINE, under a fierce cry of "GOD DAMN THEM, GIVE NO QUARTER - KILL EVERY MAN - FIRE! FIRE!!"
That the Caroline was abandoned without resistance, and the only effort made by either the crew or passengers seemed to be to escape slaughter; that this deponent narrowly escaped having received several wounds, none of which however, are of a serious character; that mmediately after the CAROLINE fell into the hands of the armed force who boarded her, she was set on fire, cut loose from the dock, was towed into the current of the river, and then abandoned, and soon after descended the Niagara Falls. That this deponent has made a vigilalent search for the individuals, 33 in number, who are known to be on the CAROLINE at the time she was boarded, and 21 are only to be found, one of whom to wit, Amos Durfee of Buffalo, was found dead upon the dock, having received a shot from a musket, the ball of which, penetrated the back part of the head and came out at the forehead. J.H. King and Capt. C.F. Harding were seriously though not mortally wounded; several others received slight wounds. The twelve individuals who are missing this deponent has no doubt were either murdered upon the boat or found a watery grave in the cataract of the Falls; and this deponent further says that immediately after the CAROLINE was got into the current of the stream and abandoned ss before stated, beacon lights were discovered upon the Canadian shore near Chippewa, and after sufficient time had elapsed to enable the boats to reach that shore, this deponent distinctly heard loud and vociferous cheering at that point. That this deponent has no boubt that the individuals who boarded the CAROLINE were a part of the British forces mow stationed at Chippewa.
      Gilman Appleby
Subscribed and sworn, Dec. 30th, 1837, before me S. B. Piper, Commissioner of Deeds, &c., for Niagara county.
      Cleveland Daily Herald & Gazette
      Thursday, January 4, 1838 2:4
     
      . . . . .

      The CAROLINE. -- Mr Wells, the proprietor of this ill-fated boat, now the subject of so much and so important controversy, called at our office this morning , to state the following facts.
The CAROLINE was never bought, chartered, hired, or bonded in any manner by the people on Navy Island, or any persons in their interest. She was started by himself as a matter of speculation, to run as a ferry boat between Black Rock, Tonawanda, Schiosser, and Navy Island for freight or passage. She had her regular papers. She carried no flag but the flag of the United States and had no other on board.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Thursday, January 18, 1838

      . . . . .

      CAROLINE Paddle wheel steamer built New York, N.Y. 1822 as CAROLINA, of 45 Tons. Home port, Savannah, Ga. Renamed May 26, 1836. Burnt deliberately, during "Patriot War" Dec. 29, 1837 at Schlosser, N. Y. precipitating incident between United States and Canada.
      Merchant Vessels of the U.S. 1790 - 1868
      The " Lytle - Holdcamper List"

      . . . . .


      OUTRAGE ON THE CAROLINE
      Anniversary meeting of the citizens of the County of Erie, held in the city of Buffalo, on Tuesday evening Dec. 29th. 1840, pursuant to a call to commemorate and act upon the means of redress for the burning of the American Steam Boat CAROLINE, on the eve of the 29th. day of December, 1837.
A commitee of five was appointed to draft suitable resolutions, touching the national and individual outrage committed by the authorities of the British Government on the peaceable citizens of the United States, in violation of National law and all neutrality acts, existing between the American and British Governments.
      The following resolutions were adopted :-
      Resolved:- That this day be considered the epoch which proclaims a sanctioned outrage of the British Government, on the peaceable citizens of the United States.
      Resolved:- That we will commemorate this day henceforth, as a gross violation of the laws of neutrality existing between the American Government and Great Britain, until the blood of the murdered Durfee and his fellow citizens be atoned for.
      Resolved:- That this meeting consider the burning of the Steam Boat CAROLINE in American waters, a "National Insult" of the highest degree, and which calls loudly for a national interference.
      Resolved:- That the demand of A. Stevenson, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States, to the kingdon of Great Britain, in relation to the burning of the Steam Boat CAROLINE in American waters, has not been answered, and that, in applying the principles of the laws of nations in that demand, the contest between Great Britain and her colonies must be considered as a civil war, so far as the United States are concerned;
and that citizens of the United States having associated themselves for succor, or for the purpose of forming an independent Republican government, should be considered as allies, and entitled to all the rights and privileges guaranteed by the laws of nations as a common enemy, and not as pirates and outlaws against the British Government.
      Resolved:- That the British Government, in hanging, shooting and transporting American citizens, who were found in arms assisting the Canadian Revolutionists, have been guilty of a gross violation of the laws of nations, and the natural rights of every free man throughout the globe.
      Resolved:- That the burning of the Steam Boat CAROLINE in American waters, was a violation of every treaty and association entered into between the American Government and the kingdon of Great Britain, and fully debars Her Majesty's government from all claims whatever, under the neutrality act, until a full reparation shall be made.
      Resolved:- That the thanks of this meeting, together with the proceedings, be sent to the Hon. Millard Fillmore, our Representative in Congress, for his prompt and efficient course in introducing early in the session, his resolution relative to the burning of the Steam Boat CAROLINE in American waters.
Resolved:- That any officer of this meeting be authorised to call a meeting, to commemorate this anniversary on the 29th. of December 1841, at the Court House in the city of Buffalo.
On motion, the meeting was adjourned to meet at the same place on the 29th. day of Dec. 1841
      Commercial Advertiser & Journal, Buffalo
      Saturday Evening, January 2, 1841. p. 2 col. 2


      THE UNITED STATES AND GREAT BRITAIN
      from the National Intelligencer, Jan. 2.
      The following are the two documents of latest date among those transmitted to the House of Representatives by the president of the United States, in answer to a call for copies of any correspondence between the Governments of the two countries concerning the burning of the Steamboat CAROLINE, &c.
      Mr. FOX to Mr. FORSYTH, Washington, Dec. 13, 1840
      Sir :- I am informed by his Excellency the Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Upper Canada, that Mr. Alexander McLeod, a British subject, and late deputy sherif of the Niagara district in Upper Canada, was arrested at Lewiston, in the State of New York, on the 12th. of last month, on a pretended charge of murder and arson, as having been engaged in the capture and destruction of the piratical steamboat " CAROLINE," in the month of December, 1837. After a tedious and vexatious examination, Mr. McLeod was committed for trial and he is now imprisoned in Lockport jail.
      I feel it my duty to call upon the Government of the United States to take prompt and effectual steps for the liberation of Mr. McLeod. It is well known that the destruction of the steamboat CAROLINE was a public act of persons in her Majesty's service, obeying the orders of their superior authorities.-- That act, therefore, according to the usagesof nations, can only be the subject of discussion between the two National Governments; it cannot justly be made the ground of legal proceedings in the United States against the individuals concerned, who were bound to obey the authorities appointed by their own Government.
      I may add that I believe it is quite notorious that Mr. McLeod was not one of the party engaged in the destruction of the steamboat CAROLINE and that the pretended charge upon which he has been imprisoned, rests only upon the perjured testimony of certain Canadian outlaws and their abettors, who, unfortunately for the peace of that
neighborhood, are still permitted by the authorities of the State of New York to infest the Canadian frontier.
The question, however, of whether Mr. McLeod was or was not concerned in the destruction of the CAROLINE, is beside the purpose of the present communication. That act was a public act of persons obeying the constituted authorities of her Majesty's Province. The National Government of the United States thought themselves called upon to remonstrate against it; and a remonstrance which the President did accordingly address to her Majesty's Government is still, I believe, a pending subject of diplomatic discussion between her Majesty's Government and the United States Legation in London. I feel, therefore, justified in expecting that the President's Government will see the justice and the necessity of causing the present immediate release of Mr. McLeod, as well as of taking such steps as may be requisite for preventing others of her Majesty's subjects from being persecuted or molested in the United States in a similar manner for the future.
      It appears that Mr. McLeod was arrested on the 12th. ult; that after the examination of witnesses, he was finally committed for trial on the 18th, and placed in confinement in the jail at Lockport, awaiting the assizes, which will be held there in February next. As the case is naturally occasioning a great degree of excitement and indignation within the British frontier, I earnestly hope that it may be in your power to give me an early and satisfactory answer to the present representation.
      I avail myself of this occasion to renew to you the assurance of my distinguised consideration.
      H.S. FOX
Hon.John Forsyth, &c.



      Mr. FORSYTH TO Mr. FOX
      Department of State, Washington, Dec. 26, 1840
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge, and have laid before the President, your letter of the 13th. instant, touching upon the arrest and imprisonment of Alexander McLeod, a British subject, and late Deputy Sheriff of the Niagara District, in Upper Canada, on a charge of murder and arson, as having been engaged in the capture and destruction of the steamboat "CAROLINE," in the month of December, 1837; in respect to which you state that you feel it your duty to call upon the Government of the United States to take prompt and effectual steps for the liberation of Mr. McLeod, and to prevent others of the subjects of her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain from being persecuted or molested in a similar manner for the future.
This demand, with the grounds upon which it is made, has been duly considered by the President, with a sincere desire to give to it such a reply as will not only manifest a proper regard for the character and rights of the United States, but, at the same time, tend to preserve the amicable relations which, is advantageously for both, subsist between this country and England. Of the reality of this disposition, and of the uniformity with which it has been evinced in the many delicate and difficuly questions which have arisen between the two countries in the past few years, no one can be more convinced than yourself. It is then with unfeigned regret that the president finds himself unable to recognise the validity of a demand, a compliance with which you deem so material to the preservation of the good understanding which has been hitherto manifested between the two countries.
The jurisdiction of the several States which constitute the Union is, within its appropriate sphere, perfectly independent of the federal Government. The offence with which Mr. McLeod is charged was committed within the territory, and against the laws and citizens of the State of New York, and is one that comes clearly within the competency of her tribunals. It does not, therefore, present an occasion where, under the Constitution and Laws of the Union, the interposition called for would be proper, or for which a warrant can be found in the powers with which the Federal Executive is invested. Nor would the circumstances to which you have referred, or the reasons you have urged, justify the exertion of such a power, if t existed.
The transaction out of which the question arises, presents the case of a most unjustifiable invasion, in time of peace, of a portion of the territory of the United States, by a band of armed men from the adjacent territory of Canada, the forcible capture by them within our own waters, and the subsequent destruction of a steamboat, the property of a citizen of the United States, and the murder of one or more American citizens. If arrested at the time, the offenders might unquestionably have been brought to justice by the judicial authorities of the State within whose acknowledged territory these crimes were committed; and their subsequent voluntary entrance within that territory places them in the same situation. The President is not aware of any principle of international law, or
indeed, of reason or justice, which entitles such offenders to impunity before the legal tribunals. When going voluntarily within their independent and undisputed jurisdiction, because they acted in obedience to their superior authorities or because their acts have become the subject of diplomatic discussion between the two Governments. These methods of redress, the legal prosecution of the offenders, and the application of their Government for satisfaction, are independent of each other, and may be seperately and simultaneously pursued. The avowal or justification of the outrage by the British authorities might be a ground of complaint with the Government of the United States distinct from the violation of the territory and laws of the State of new York. The application of the Government of the Union to that of Great Britain, for the redress of an authorized outrage of the peace, dignity, and rights of the United States, cannot deprive the State of New York of her undoubted right of vindicating, through the exercise of her judicial power, the property and lives of her citizens. You have very properly regarded the alleged absence of Mr. McLeod from the scene of the offence at the time when it was committed, as not material to the decision of the present question. That is a matter to be decided by legal evidence and the sincere desire of the President is, that it may be satisfactorily established. If the destruction of the CAROLINE was a public act of persons in her Majesty's service, obeying the order of their superior authority, this fact has not been before communicated
to the Government of the United States by a person authorized to make the admission; and it will be for the court which has taken cognizance of the offence with which Mr. McLeod is charged, to decide upon the validity when legally established before it.
The President deems this to be a proper occasion to remind the Government of her Britannic Majesty that the case of the CAROLINE has been long since brought to the attention of Her Majesty's principle Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, who, up to this day, has not communicated its decision thereupon. It is hoped that the Government of
Her Majesty will perceive the importance of no longer leaving the Government of the United States uninformed of its views and intentions upon a subject which has naturally produced much exasperation, and which has led to such grave consequences.
I avail myself of this occasion to renew to you the assurance of my distinguished consideration
      JOHN FORSYTH
H.S. Fox Esq. &c. &c. &c.
      Commercial Advertiser & Journal, Buffalo
      Thursday evening, January 7,1841 p. 2 col. 1



      ACQUITTAL OF McLEOD
      This important trial has ended in the acquittal of the prisoner. Judge Gridley charged the jury on the afternoon of Tuesday, in a speech of two hours, reviewing the mass of testimony with much ability and impartiality, although his charge was decidely for the prisioner.
      The jury was absent only 30 minutes, and at half past 4 P. M. returned into court with the verdict of Not Guilty.
      No excitement was manifested at the result and no attempt to injure McLeod were apprehended. he was immediatley discharged and received the congratulations of his friends.
      Commercial Advertiser & Journal, Buffalo
      Friday evening, October 15, 1841 p. 2 col. 7
     


Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
Reason: burnt & over the falls
Lives: 1
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
1837
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.W.9742
Language of Item:
English
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 43.262222 Longitude: -79.073055
Donor:
William R. McNeil
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
Contact
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Email
WWW address
Comment on this item
Groups of Related Records
Shipwreck news
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit




My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.










Caroline (Steamboat), burnt & over the falls, 29 Dec 1837