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This digital collection contains correspondence relating to the British seizure of American ships from 1793 to 1801 when the U.S. was neutral during the war fought by Britain and other European nations against France. Four of the letters in this collection are from American captains whose ships were seized by the British in the West Indies. The captains of the ships, owned by Philadelphia merchants, wrote to the ship owners about being stopped, searched, and detained, the treachery of British crews whom they were forced to carry aboard, and general mistreatment by the British authorities, including the willingness of British captains to enlist privateers to seize an American ship. The correspondence documents delays from storms and losses from damaged ships and ruined cargoes. There is also a 1797 letter from Jacob Wagner of the U.S. State Department concerning a possible claim by the ship owners against the British for a captured ship.
Finding Aid to Papers Relating to the British Seizure of American Ships, 1793-1801