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This webpage reproduces a section of
Thence Round Cape Horn

by
Robert Erwin Johnson


published by
United States Naval Institute
Annapolis, Maryland
1963

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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This site is not affiliated with the US Naval Academy.

 p207  Appendix I

Sailing Orders to Captain Downes

Sept. 2, 1818

Captain John Downes

U. S. Ship Macedonian

Boston, Mass.

Sir,

The United States Ship Macedonian, under your command, having been equipped for service, you are hereby ordered to proceed to sea immediately, and shape your course for the Brazil Coast, and thence round Cape Horn into the Pacific Ocean.

One of the principal objects of the expedition of this ship, is to afford to the persons and property of the citizens of the United States protection and security, consistently with the laws of nations, and the respect due to all existing authorities, wherever and whenever such protection may be needed, and can be afforded.

You are directed to put into the Port of Pernambuco, and make a demand of the Governor of that place, for the release of seven American seamen, whose names are signed to a petition, a copy of which is herewith enclosed. The Consul, Mr. Rea, has not been able to effect this of the Brazillian [sic] Government, and should you not succeed, you will make a report upon the subject to the U. S. Minister, Mr. Sumpter, at Rio Janeiro [sic], to enable him to pursue the subject at that Court; — these men, if released, you may deliver over to the Consul, or leave at liberty to go where they please.

You will thence proceed to Rio Janeiro, and deliver the despatches from the Department of State, to Mr. Sumpter, with a statement of the issue of your application for the above mentioned Seamen. Making as short a stay as possible at possible, proceed thence to Rio de la Plata, and place the ship in the safest moorings in the Bay or River, with a view to remain as long there as the favorable season to double Cape Horn will admit.

It is Wished by the President of the United States, that you find or make an occasion to pass the most or great part of your time on shore at Buenos Ayres, observing the state of affairs there, and especially the movements of any agents, avowed or otherwise, of any European Power who may be there; — and you are requested to make report to this Department,  p208 of every circumstance interesting to the United States, that may fall within your notice.

After passing Cape Horn, and in pursuing your course through the South Sea, you will endeavor to ascertain whether any interruption has been given to our Whale Fishery or Merchant Ships in that quarter; and after touching at such ports for refreshments as may be convenient, endeavor to fall in with the above mentioned ships, and convoy them, if necessary, to friendly ports.

It is particularly recommended to you, to show every mark of respect to the existing governments of the several places you may visit, and observe the usual Salutes and etiquette to all ships of war of a friendly nation; and while in port permit no violation of the rights of hospitality and punish any offences which may be committed by officers or men, on shore, by a total prohibition of that indulgence afterwards.

To your good judgment and experience, are committed the health and lives of your crew; and you will endeavor to furnish them, upon the best terms, with all the necessary provisions and refreshments, the country you visit may afford.

You will have opportunities by the several whale ships returning home, to transmit frequent information to the Department of the events which shall occur during your cruize [sic], which may be extended according to circumstances, and the state of your ship, to the full term of the crew's enlistment.

The U. S. Ship Hornet is intended to be equipped when she shall return from her present cruize, and will be ordered to join you in the Pacific Ocean, and be attached to your command; — you will therefore leave a letter at Valparaiso, to notify the Commander where to meet you.

Enclosed you have letters of authority to draw upon this Department as occasion may require, for Provisions, Contingent, and other expenses.

In case of meeting with the U. S. Ship Ontario, Captain Biddle, you have an order to him, herewith to transfer Surgeon Hoffman to your ship, in exchange for Surgeon Edgar.

With sincere wishes for your health and success,

I am, very respectfully,

Sir, your most ob: Servant,

B. W. Crowninshield


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