Page images
PDF
EPUB

of goods from a mercantile concern established in Nordburg. I have already mentioned the circumstance of the ship Orion * being made a prize: possession was now likewise taken of the cargo that remained still on board, and the part of it that had been unshipped was also confiscated. It happened shortly after that another Danish vessel, commanded by Captain Holme, which is said by Count Tramp to have had a licence -J- from Great Britain, arrived in Iceland with a supply of

* This was the only vessel that was seized.

f Asa difficulty may be supposed to exist upon the question of licences, and it may be considered by many of my readers that the taking violent possession of a ship furnished with one, must in every case bean act of piracy, I beg leave to subjoin an explanation on this

t head, with which I have been very lately favored by Mr. Jorgensen. When the British government grants a licence, it is expressly stipulated that the ship shall proceed directly from such a port to such a port, specifying their names. But should it happen, which is very frequently the case with vessels trading to Iceland, that after having procured a licence, in going from an Eng

•lish port they observe the sea clear and free from cruizers, they will run into Norway, sell their cargo there and go back to Copenhagen for another; but if they then, on their way to Iceland, meet an English ship of war, they necessary articles for the country, the whole of which, together with ten thousand rixdollars for the payment of the salaries of the public officers, &c, was considered lawful

will produce their licence, though in reality it is no security for that cargo. But should it happen that the people on board the man of war observe such a licenced ship, with a favorable wind, to be steering a course different from her direct one, and thereby deviating from the route pointed out in her licence, that vessel is a lawful prize. At other times, indeed, licences are only granted for a certain limited time, and, if exhibited after the expiration of the period expressed in the licence, such a vessel is also a good prize. One or other was the case with all the vessels in the Iceland ports in the summer of 1809, but none of them would have been condemned in England if they had been seized by the letter of marque, because they were then lying at a port to which their licences permitted them to proceed. That they had forfeited the protection granted them by their licence could not be proved by the ship's papers, though it could from letters to different people on the island: these, however, are not admitted in a court of admiralty. The case of the Orion differs from the former ones, in as much as the person to whom the licence was granted (Adzer Knutzen) was not with the vessel; but since the papers, which proved the forfeiture of the licence, were not on board the vessel at the time of her seizure, she was not considered a legal prize, and was restored to the owner.

plunder, and the Landfogued, Mr. Frydensberg, was compelled to deliver up the public money chest of the country, containing two thousand seven hundred rix-dollars.

In addition to the above, the four following circumstances are stated, as the most aggravating acts of violence and oppression that took place, by Count Tramp, who professes to regard the whole as a regular system of plunder, and considers this as the leading object in every thing that was done by Mr. Phelps or Mr. Jorgensen:—first, that Mr. Savigniac proceeded armed to a settlement at Oreback, belonging to a merchant of the name of Lambertsen*, taking with him a number of horses loaded with goods,

* Of this affair, which is by Count Tramp regarded as a case of peculiar hardship, I have just received from Mr. Jorgensen the following explanation: Mr. Lambertsen is owner of a vessel accustomed to trade between Iceland and Norway, for which purpose, early in the year 1808, he procured from the British government a licence, empowering him to convey to Iceland a cargo of provisions. Of this circumstance he had apprised his factor Sivertsen, who, after waiting till August, 1809, in expectation of the arrival of his principal, concluded that he must either be lost, or that he had taken adconsisting chiefly of tobacco and coffee with other articles of luxury, which Mr. Lambertsen's factor was forced to receive, though, far from having ordered any thing of the kind, he

vantage of his licence to carry on an illicit trade, as is often done between the different parts of Denmark, and that he would at all events not appear till the following year. The inhabitants of Oreback being therefore greatly distressed, as two years had now elapsed since any ship had come to them with provisions, and Mr. Lambertsen's own stock of goods, which had been lying all that time in his storehouses, beginning to be injured by keeping, Mr. Sivertsen wrote to Mr. Jorgensen different petitions, begging him to use his interest with Mr. Phelps to supply Oreback over land with things of absolute necessity; to which, after some delay, that gentleman assented, and an agreement was drawn up and signed by both parties, stipulating that a return should be made for goods so sent from Mr. Lambertsen's storehouses. Mr. Sivertsen, in consequence of this, gave an order to Mr. Petreus, Mr. Phelps' agent, for different articles, such as tobacco, coffee, sugar, cloth, &c.; the whole of which was accordingly sent on thirty-five horses, which returned laden with Icelandic produce; the expence of conveyance both to and from Oreback being defrayed by Mr. Phelps. Mr. Lambertsen at this time unexpectedly arrived, and was naturally hurt, as well at finding that the goods with which he had calculated on loading his own ship were in the possession of Mr. Phelps, as that his warehouses were filled with the property of the latter, which would obstruct the sale of what he had had applied to Mr. Jorgensen to be excused from taking them in; and that, in exchange for these, Mr. Savigniac compelled him to give up a quantity of merchandize, of which a return had previously been made to government :—secondly, that an accusation of oppresion and extortion having been made against Mr. Poulsen, a factor belonging to Mr. Petreus' establishment at Westmannoe, he was, without any inquiry into the grounds of the accusation, or without being allowed to speak in his own defence, summoned to appear at Reikevig, where he was detained for several days, and all the goods upon the island whether belonging to the factory or to any other person were confiscated :—thirdly, a vessel belonging to Mr. Clausen, which had a British licence, was seized and had her cargo confiscated ; it was, however, afterwards restored:—fourthly, Mr. Lambertsen,

himself imported. He therefore refused to ratify the agreement, and complained to Captain Jones of what he called the forcible taking away of his goods, requiring to be paid for them, though it was sufficiently notorious that he had already been over paid, in as much as coffee, &c, are more than equivalent to the same weight of Icelandic produce.

« PreviousContinue »