18th Congress.]

No. 263.

[2d Session.



United States Commercial Agency. Be it known that, on the day of the date hereof, before me, John Mountain, vice commercial agent of the United States of America, at the city of Havana, personally came and appeared George Brown, of New York, seaman, aged 21 years and upwards, who, being duly sworn by me, according to law, upon his solemn oath did depose, declare, and say, that he was acting and employed in the capacity of seaman, on board of the brig Laura Ann, of New York, ------- Shaw, master, last from Buenos Ayres, with a cargo of jerked beef, bound to the port of Havana; that, on the night of the 20th day of October last past, they made the Island of Cuba, and on the next morning, being the 21st day of October, when about twelve miles to leeward of Matanzas, they were boarded by an open boat, with twelve men, armed with muskets, cutlasses, pistols, and knives, who ordered the captain into the cabin, fired two pistols, and drove the mate and seamen into the forecastle, and, in a few minutes, ordered three of the men out of the forecastle, and compelled them to take in the studding sails and brace up the yards, and running the vessel close in shore, near to Port de Canase, came to anchor, and, for an hour, the vessel beat heavy on the rocks; at this time, a schooner boat, armed with 1 gun, and 28 to 30 men, also armed, came alongside, appearing to be a party with the boat's crew, came on board and joined them, immediately ordered the second mate on board the schooner, and to make two masts for the boat; he, accordingly, obeyed their orders, and went on board. The pirates now numbered about 40 men; they called the captain upon deck and asked him where his money was; the captain replied that he was a poor man, and had not any money; they tied him (the captain) to the windlass, and beat him very severely, then untied him, and driving him into the forecastle, called the mate upon the deck, tied him to the windlass, and beat him in a like manner; then driving him below, ordered all the sailors to come upon deck; after the sailors came up, they were ordered aloft to furl the sails, which being done, they were again ordered into the forecastle; after all hands being below about an hour, three seamen were ordered upon deck; this deponent being one of the three, he went up into the foretop to unreef the maintopsail braces; it being in the dusk of the evening; as this deponent came down, he saw that the pirates were running the captain up to the larboard fore yardarm, being hung by the neck; as soon after as possible, this deponent ran into the forecastle, and immediately the mate was called upon deck, and this deponent heard him only say "Oh God!" They then called the cook upon deck, afterwards the sailors, one at a time; this deponent stowing himself away in the coal hole, where he remained hid, notwithstanding they searched for him with lanterns, without finding him, until he was compelled to leave his hiding place by the fire; when, on his going upon deck, and finding the vessel on fire, and burning as far forward as the fore-hatch, he dropped himself overboard, under the vessel's bows, and swam ashore, distant about sixty yards, accompanied by two sharks, one swimming on each side of him, After reaching the shore, and walking about three miles, he, being much fatigued, lay in the wood for the night, and on the following morning saw the same piratical boat board and take possession of a brig under American colors, this deponent remaining in the wood until the next morning, when he commenced his walk, making for Matanzas, keeping near the sea shore; coming to a small river, where there were many stores and small schooners, he swam across the river, and in the continuation of his walk, fell in with a small town, or place, and twenty persons, who, after questioning this deponent, who he was, and where he was going, some of them threatening to take his life, suffered him to proceed, and, on Saturday night, the 24th, reached a farm house, where he remained until Monday morning, when the farmer, having to send produce of his farm to Matanzas, on horses, and this deponent's feet being much cut, allowed him to ride on one of the hordes, and at about 10 o'clock of the same day he reached Matanzas.

GEORGE (his X mark) BROW.

Signed and sworn to before me, the said vice commercial agent. In faith whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name, and affixed the seal of my office, at Havana aforesaid, this sixteenth day of November, 1824, and of the Independence of the United States of America the forty-ninth.