Thursday, May 14, 2009

Nicholas Ferdinand Westphal, British Deserter.

Nicholas Ferdinand Westphal, was a sergeant-major in the British service in the earlier part of the late war; that he was induced by certain handbills, dispersed in their camp, to desert from Fort Edward, and to bring off his whole picket, consisting of twelve men, which he did on the 8th of August, 1777; that, after great hardships and dangers, he arrived on the 17th of the same month at the American camp at Stillwater, with only five of his met, whom he presented with himself to the American commanding officer, by whose orders he brought the men on to Philadelphia, where they were permitted to disperse: the facts of his desertion and bringing to the American camp a part of a picket being confirmed by the certificate of General St Clair.

Nicholas Ferdinand Westphal, would retired into the country and married; that, after the war, he sent his wife and two children to Hanover, by the way of Hamburg, to endeavor to recover his property there, from whence they returned without having been able to do it; that he is, by an accident, disabled permanently from labor, and is, with his wife and three children, in a very indigent and helpless condition.

It appears, by a resolution in the printed journals of August 27, 1776, that Congress promised to every noncommissioned officer, who should leave the service of the enemy and, become a citizen of these States, one hundred acres of unappropriated lands; and, moreover, that where officers should bring with them a number of foreign soldiers, they would (besides the lands promised to the said officers and soldiers) give “to such officers further rewards proportioned to the numbers they should bring over, and suited to the nature of their wants;” which resolution was translated into German, printed in handbills, sent into the enemy’s camp, and there circulated.

The Secretary of State, seeking for principles whereon to estimate the further reward promised by the said resolution of Congress; considering that a soldier withdrawn from an enemy saves the necessity, and consequently the expenses, of raising one on our part; that the first expenses of raising a soldier were, by the resolution of June 26, 1776, $10 of bounty in money, and by that of September 6, 1777, a bounty of clothes, estimated in the resolution at $47. 67, and worth, at the then rate of depreciation, $46. 14 of silver, the two articles making together $56. 14 on each soldier; that the petitioner having brought five others with him, saved these first expenses on six men, amounting to $336. 84; that, in relinquishing this benefit to the officer, there will yet remain to the United States the saving of the subsequent expenses of annual pay, clothing, and subsistence: Is of opinion that one hundred acres of unappropriated lands should be granted to the petitioner, free of all charges, and that there be paid to him, as a further reward, the sum of $336. 84, with interest thereon, at the rate of six per cent, per annum, from the 17th of August, 1777, until paid.
Thomas Jefferson.
FEBRUARY 24, 1791.

No comments: