Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver - Part 7

This is the seventh post of a series concerning the adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver (1780-1814), who was a mariner, captured by the Moors in Morocco in 1806.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2, which introduced a series of seven letters published in the "Connecticut Herald" newspaper (published in New Haven CT, dated 20 January 1807 (Volume IV, Issue 169, Page 1), and posted the first letter, is here.

Part 3, which includes the second letter, is here.

Part 4, which includes the third letter, is here.

Part 5, which includes the fourth letter, is here.

Part 6, which includes the fifth letter, is here.

I accessed the images of these newspaper pages on the "America's Historical Newspapers, 1690-1876" (provided by NewsBank) through the New England Historic Genealogical Society website, www.newenglandancestors.org. They are also available through www.GenealogyBank.com (a commercial website).

Here is the sixth letter in the series:


Headline: No. VI. Messrs. Courts to Captain Seaver.

................Mogadore, Sept. 14, 1806.
Capt. Benjamin F. Seaver, Wedmore.

We have received your two favours of the 31st July and 3d September. By the first of which we observe it was your intention as well as your mate, Mr. Lee, and Mr. Berrit's, to forward us bills or letters of credit on your friends in America, to enable us to proceed in procuring your and their liberty, of which we shall be expecting in course.

The present is to inform you, that having communicated your very unfortunate situation to Capt. Elihu Smith, of the American brig Bellona, from New-Haven, in Connecticut, and to Mr. Elihu Daggett, merchant of the same place, both of whom are now here; they have most humanely determined (on perusing your letters to us, and seeing how very uncertain, relief was likely to come from the Consul) to deposit in our hands the sum of two hundred and fifty dollars, in order to enable us to procure your immediate release, and we have promised to advance another hundred, making in the whole the sum of three hundred and fifty dollars, which sum we have no doubt will be sufficient to procure your liberty. You are therefore enabled to offer this sum for your ransom, which shall be immediately paid to the person who brings you to our house, and which we hope will be in the course of fifteen or twenty days.

We have no doubt but on your arrival here, you will (if not already done) take the necessary measures to reimburse the before named gentlemen and us, in manner pointed out in your different letters, to say by drafts on your friends in Boston.

The present goes by a Moor of the name Abduhamhu, but for fear of accidents, we shall send you a copy by some Moors to-morrow, and also a letter wrote by our Jew broker, to Ben Nahin, desiring him to exert himself, in order to get you here as soon as is practicable.

Mr. Guyn no doubt has informed you of the Preliminaries of a general peace having been signed at Paris the 30th July.

Inclosed a Boston Gazette to amuse you. We hope soon to see you here, and in the interim remain,
........................................Sir, your most obedient servant.

P.S. We believe you will do best to leave the whole affair to Ben Nahin, probably you will sooner get your liberty than if you interfered in it.


This is the first letter we have from Messrs. Court to Captain Seaver. They have acquired the ransom money, and are asking Ben Nahin to negotiate for the release of the captives.

What amazes me is that all of these letters were delivered within weeks and responses were received, especially in Wednow.

The last installment is coming soon - stay tuned!

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