|Naval history of Great Britain
||Captain Whitby off New York
distant about five leagues, the squadron discovered several sail in the south-west by south, apparently about four leagues from the Jersey shore, steering towards the Hook.
Soon after 4 P.M. the Cambrian, at that time the leading ship of the three, and distant about three miles and a half from the land, fired at some of the nearest vessels, and, heaving to, sent her boats on board three or four of them. The Leander then passed astern of the former, and stood on, to endeavour to bring down several brigs, one or two schooners, and a ship that had brought to at the distance of two or three miles from the squadron, with their heads in shore and their foresails set. After firing two guns at two brigs, that lay close together, and were more advanced than their companions, the Leander, being within about three miles of the shore, tacked, and continued occasionally firing single guns ahead and astern of the brigs, until the latter wore and stood towards her. The brigs were then boarded by her boats, and suffered to proceed ; as were all the other vessels boarded by the squadron on that afternoon, except the ship, which, being detected in an illicit trade from Havana, was detained and sent to Halifax, where the greater portion of her cargo was legally condemned. Among the brigs not boarded was one from the West Indies, laden with a full cargo of contraband, and commanded by the nephew of the celebrated Paul Jones.
No sooner had the two first-mentioned American brigs altered their course to approach the Leander, than a small sloop discovered herself at a short distance in shore of them. Little did the Leander's captain imagine what a powerful instrument of persecution against him this apparently insignificant object was to be made : insignificant, indeed, for who, beyond some half a dozen citizens of New-York, had ever heard of the " American coasting-sloop Richard, Jesse Pierce, master?" It appears (for there is no positive evidence of the fact) that a shot from the Leander killed John Pierce, the brother of Jesse, as the former was standing at the helm. A splinter was said to have struck him under the jaw, and to have caused instant death. The man never moved after he fell, but his brother acknowledges that he neither saw John Pierce fall, nor the splinter strike him. The sloop was presently in New-York, and alongside of one of the wharfs (sic). An election was at this time going on in the city. The body of the man was carried on shore, and the scenes that followed were a disgrace to the citizens.
In mockery of all justice, a grand jury collected among the citizens found a bill for wilful murder against Captain Whitby. The impulse, once given, extended all over the United State. Even the president was induced to issue a proclamation, declaring the captain of the Leander to be a murderer, and calling upon the citizens to seize him, Captain Whitby, that he might be proceeded against according to law. By the same
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