A Crowning outrage.
The Charleston Courier, of Saturday last, gives the following account of the capture of the brig Sarah Star
— by the U. S. steam frigate Wabash
. Captain Samuel Mercer
The brig Sarah Starr
was, and is, the property of a British subject, by fair purchase for good consideration, and with a sale concluded, attested and executed throughout with strict and scrupulous compliance with all the laws of the case.
She is, and was, by all possible constructions of law--American and British
--a British vessel, and without a title of interest or claim on her in any other owner than a British subject.
She was sailing under provisional register granted according to law, and is by law a British vessel, the property of a British subject, and had all papers on board at the time of her capture required by the Merchants' Shipping Act of 1854.
The papers relating to the transfer have been examined since her capture by an attorney in this city, and have been found legal and correct in every particular.
The owner has received the following report of the capture of the vessel:
"We were towed over the bar at Smithville
by the steam-tug Equator
, at six A. M. on Saturday, the 3d of August, and when about twenty miles from the Bar we were fallen in with and brought to by a gun from the U. S. steam frigate Wabash
, at four P. M., and boarded by an officer and papers partially examined.
The captain and papers were then taken on board the frigate.
After a delay of three hours and a half, the captain was informed that his vessel was seized, and a prize crew placed on board of her, retaining the cook and a boy. After some persuasion the captain was allowed to remain on board his vessel.
"The frigate, when at a distance, hoisted British colors, and we in response hoisted our ensign, the British
colors, when very shortly after the frigate pulled down the British
and hoisted the United States
I asked the captain of the frigate why he hoisted English colors?
He said it was to decoy us off shore, fearing we might go back.
I replied, ‘'that if there had been the whole United States squadron in the immediate vicinity of the bar I should have had no hesitation in going out, as I did not know, or for one moment think, that a British vessel was liable to seizure by an American man-of-war when engaged in legitimate trade.'’
"The captain of the frigate ordered the prize crew to take the vessel to New York with discretionary power to stop at Hampton Roads
‘"The frigate the same night at 12 o'clock ran square on to Frying-Pan Shoals, and it took two hours to get her off and clear; if there had been much sea on, she would have been a total wreck in a very short time.
I wish, if possible, to prevent any part of the cargo being disposed of in the United States
, and would sooner sell it at one-half the price in Europe
, under the circumstances.
Some of the officers of the frigate judge she was too far off shore to come under the liability of seizure in consequence of blockade, and told the captain that he ought not to have logged her as he did in such and such latitude and longitude on the high seas."’
We beg the reader to review carefully what has been stated above.
He will scarcely believe, on one or on a hasty reading, that a captain of the U. S. Navy, claiming allegiance and devotion to the flag once honored by Perry
, and since their day, by Tatnall
— a captain of senior rank, near the head of the active list of the U. S. Navy, and commanding one of the largest and most powerful steamers in that service — it will scarcely be believed, we say, even on a second and a careful perusal, that such a commander has done what is here reported.
To meet this surprise and skepticism, we reiterate our assurance and assertion.
The Sarah Starr
, although delayed some days by sickness of an officer, sailed from and out of the port of Wilmington, N. C.
, duly and lawfully cleared and reported, as above stated, on the thirteenth day of the fifteen days of grace allowed from the notice of blockade, which notice was given on the 20th July.
The evidence is painfully overwhelming, that Samuel Mercer
, U. S. N., has done what we considered impossible — he has added a new stigma to a flag which Lincolnism had nearly made an abomination and an offence to all Christendom.
While pretending exclusive and exalted allegiance to the United States
flag, and while in command of a large steamer, avowedly for asserting and protecting that flag, he, Samuel Mercer
, cowardly, and fraudulently, and cravenly usurped and abused the British
flag to decoy a merchant brig of some 270 tons!!
After valiantly capturing this merchant brig, which was and will be proved to have been a genuine British brig, in all incidents, conditions and privileges, and entitled to passage even according to Lincoln
laws of blockade — after achieving this valiant feat, Samuel Mercer
, either directly or indirectly, by his own hand or by dictation to some subordinate, fraudulently altered the record, so as to endeavor to falsify the position of the brig at the time of capture.
For what purpose the double outrage was committed, we need not inquire at present.--That the facts are as we have stated them, neither more nor less, is just as true as it is that Lincolnism is incompatible with decency and gentility as with American Republicanism — that Samuel Mercer
was once an orphan boy, fostered and nourished, and educated in this good city of Charleston
, and that Samuel Mercer
is now the synonym of infamy.