|Naval history of Great Britain
||Light Squadrons and Single Ships
for her at the town of Norfolk. To this rendezvous, on the 9th, the five British deserters made their way, and all enlisted themselves to serve on board of the Chesapeake. On the day previous the British consul at Norfolk, Colonel John Hamilton, had been officially informed of the desertion of these men. So that Lieutenant Sinclair must have been acquainted with the circumstance ; and, as a proof that he suspected a demand would be made for their restoration, this conscientious officer asked each of the men if he had not " a second name. " Either he, or some one else, soon furnished, we have no doubt, the whole of the men with second names. At all events it was afterwards clearly proved, that Jenkin Ratford had been entered in the Chesapeake's books by the name of Wilson.
Lieutenant James Masters of the Halifax, who had been sent to give information to the British consul, saw the five deserters parading the streets of Norfolk with the recruiting party of the Chesapeake. On the 10th Captain Lord James Townshend went himself to the Chesapeake's rendezvous at Norfolk, and, presenting a list of names, asked Lieutenant Sinclair, if those five men, or any of them, had entered for his frigate. The lieutenant replied, as well he might, that none had entered " by those names, " and referred the British captain to the magistrates. The magistrates were applied to, and so was the mayor, and so was Captain Decatur, but all in vain. Lord James afterwards met Ratford and Saunders in the street. The latter would have returned, but Ratford dissuaded him, and abused his late captain in the grossest manner. Lord James went again to Lieutenant Sinclair, and stated that, if the latter would allow him to go into the rendezvous, he, Lord James, would point out the deserters ; but the American lieutenant refused to permit him.
A representation of all these circumstances was forthwith made to Vice-admiral the Honourable George Cranfield Berkeley, the British commander-in-chief on the North-American station, then residing at Halifax, Nova-Scotia ; and in the early part of June the 50-gun-ship Leopard, Captain Salusbury Pryce Humphreys, the vice-admiral's flag-ship, sailed from Halifax for the Chesapeake, with an order, dated on the 1st of the month, and addressed to the different captains and commanders under the vice-admiral's command, directing, that, in case of meeting the American frigate Chesapeake at sea, and without the limits of the United States, they were to show to her captain that order, and to require to search his ship for deserters from the "Belleisle, Bellona, Triumph, Chichester, Halifax, and Zenobia cutter," and were to proceed and search for the same ; and that, if a similar demand should be made by the American, he was to be permitted to search for any deserters from the United States' service, " according to the customs and usage of civilized nations on terms of peace and amity with each other."
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