An American brig-of-war of 266 tons' burden, and fitted to carry fourteen guns, but carrying ten, with a crew of officers, men, and boys of 120, under command of Alexander Slidell Mackenzie
, cruising along the coast of Africa
, left Liberia
on Nov. 11, 1842, for the United States
, via St. Thomas
On Nov. 25 Mackenzie
received information through Lieutenant Gansevoort
of a conspiracy on board to seize the brig and convert her into a pirate, etc. The leaders in this movement were reported to be Midshipman Philip Spencer
, son of John C. Spencer
, then Secretary of War
, and Samuel Cromwell
, the boatswain's mate, and a seaman, Elisha Small.
was arrested on Nov. 27, and the other two on the 28th, and put in irons.
These three were convicted by a court on board, and sentenced to be hanged at the yard-arm, the sentence being carried into effect on Dec. 1, 525 miles from St. Thomas
arrived at New York, Dec. 14, with several of the boys in confinement.
A naval court of inquiry, convened on Dec. 28, consisting of Commodores Charles Stewart
, Jacob Jones
, Alexander J. Dallas
, and Ogden Hoffman
, judge advocate
, sat until Jan. 19, 1843, and decided that Commodore Mackenzie
had simply performed his duty, etc. This court and verdict did not satisfy public opinion, and for a further vindication Mackenzie
called for a regular court-martial, which was held at the Brooklyn
navy-yard, and by a vote of nine to three also acquitted him. An attempt was now made to bring the case before the circuit court of the United States
, but Judge Betts
, although no overt act had been committed, and the hanging had been done on mere suspicion, dismissed the case for want of jurisdiction.
This case at the time created great excitement, many approving the course of Mackenzie
, and many considering him guilty of a great crime.
was lost in the harbor of Vera Cruz
while blockading it, Dec. 8, 1846.
See MacKENZIEenzie, Alexander Slidell