|Naval history of Great Britain
||Leopard and Chesapeake
"directed Mr. Brookes, one of the midshipmen of the ship, to be confined, for telling Captain Saunders, that he thought it was not right to give up their deserters, when they would not give up ours. "
As the three men, thus taken out of a British ship of war, were all natives of Great Britain, one born at Londonderry, another at Manchester, and the third in some part of the United Kingdom, we must suppose that they were delivered up because the Chichester, circumstanced as she was, had no means of opposing force to force. It was therefore the prevalence of power over right ; and that, be it recollected on the part of the most vehement of all sticklers for right, the United States of America. Nay, at the very time of this occurrence, five marines and soldiers, all British-born subjects, had deserted from the Chichester; and three or four of them, with the British uniform on their backs, had since enlisted in the American land service, and been repeatedly seen by their late comrades, wearing the American military uniform. It was to these five deserters from the Chichester, that the young midshipman so spiritedly alluded. To the repeated demands made by Captain Douglas for the restoration of these men, the only answer obtained was, that, if any deserters had entered the American service, they had been sent with a detachment into the country ; which was likely enough.
But the Chichester was not the only British ship in the Chesapeake, whose men deserted to the United States and were refused to be delivered up. The Bellona, Belleisle, and Triumph 74s, Melampus frigate, and the 16-gun ship-sloop Halifax, Captain Lord James Townshend, had each a similar complaint to make. The case of the last-named ship deserves particular mention. On the 7th of March, at 6 P.M., as the Halifax was lying in Hampton roads, the jollyboat, with midshipman Robert Turner and five men, was sent to weigh a kedge-anchor, which had been dropped for swinging the ship. Profiting by the thickness of the weather, the men took the boat from the midshipman, and pulled with her towards the shore. Mr. Turner hailed the ship repeatedly until silenced by William Hill, a native of Philadelphia, who threatened to murder him if he did not desist. The boat soon afterwards reached Sewel's Point, and the five men, jumped out of her, leaving the midshipman to get back to the Halifax in the best manner he could. One of the men has already been named. The remainder were, Richard Hubert, born in Liverpool ; Henry Saunders, born in Greenock ; George North, born in Kinsale ; and Jenkin Ratford, born in London.
At this time the United States' 36-gun frigate Chesapeake Captain Charles Gordon, bearing the broad pendant of Commodore James Barron, was at an anchor in Hampton roads, fitting to proceed to the Mediterranean ; and a rendezvous for seamen, under the command of Lieutenant Arthur Sinclair, was open
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