By this Public Instrument of Declaration and Protest Be it known to all whom it may concern that on the eighth day of September in the Year of Our Lord One thousand eight hundred and twenty seven personally came and appeared in the British Consulate in this City of Buenos Ayres in South America Stewart Leith Master of the Brig or Vessel called the "Concord" of Aberdeen North Britain of the burthen of Two hundred and ten tons 86/94 or thereabouts belonging to Andrew Oldman Merchant, John Chalmers and others of Aberdeen in the County of Aberdeen North Britain who made Oath and declared that the said Brig "Concord" being duly cleared out at the Custom House in London bound for the Port of Monte Video in South America with a general cargo and sailed from Gravesend on or about the seventh of the same month that nothing particular occurred during the voyage until the twenty-seventh of April when at about 7 am saw a schooner & a ship to the northward at Meridian being in about Lat 34° 20' S Long 53° 0 West.
The said Appearer found that the Schooner was fastly approaching towards the Brig that at about 1-30pm on the 28th the said schooner fired a shot at the Deponent's vessel and hoisted Brazilian colours upon which the said Appearer hove to when the Schooner rAAn under his Lee, hauled, and ordered the Master to come on board with all his papers and letter Bags while the Deponent was getting them ready having ordered the boat to be lowered, he was again hailed from the schooner and told that if he did not be quick in bringing his letters and papers his Brig would be fired at and at the same time ordered him to tack to the Eastward which orders were complied with and at about 2 pm the said Appearer got on board the Schooner which he afterwards found to be the "Vencedor de Ituzanigo" Buenos Ayrean Privateer commanded by J.J. Coste.
On the said Deponent's proceeding into the cabin with his Papers the Captain said he had a damned good mind to have fired into this Brig. On looking over the papers he said "I observe you are cleared out for Monte Video and I therefore have to inform you that this Schooner is not a Brazilian but a Buenos Ayrean vessel." He then gave orders to haul down the Brazilian Flag and hoist the Buenos Ayrean Colours at the same time ordering a Gun to be fired. Two Officers and four Seamen armed were sent off in the said Deponent's boat to take charge of the aforesaid Brig "Concord" and himself together with a Passenger called Mariano Pereira and his boat's Crew consisting of four seamen were detained on board the Schooner. When the Boat got on board the Brig Captain Coste ordered the Schooner to be steered E by S.
The said Appearer and Deponent then told him, the said Coste, that it was a most arbitrary and unwarrantable act to take such forcible possession of his vessel and to run her out of her course without having any plea for so doing and in reply he was told that it was his, Coste's intention to open and read all the letters etc. which would take him a considerable time and that he should run to Eastward to look after the Ship, a Prize he had taken the day before but which he had then lOst sight of. The said Appearer again told Coste that he was committing himself by detaining the Brig and taking command of her. The said Coste then replied that if he did anything wrong the Owners of the Privateer would be accountable for it. At 5 pm hauled by the wind the Prize Ship in company called the "Gertrude and Elizabeth" of Hamburgh Captain H. H. Bliker.
After the said Deponent's papers and letters were examined and read Captain Coste then said that there were nine cases marked "MA" containing pistols on board the Brig which he should take out and that if they were not cleared away by ten o'clock the next day, he had a great mind to send the vessel to Rio Negro where he could have an opportunity of overhauling the Cargo to his satisfaction upon which the said Appearer and Deponent said that if he did so he should expect to be amply paid for being sent thither as there was no plea whatever for it, not even for his detaining him from proceeding on his voyage. Captain Coste further said that if he had made up his mind to send the vessel to Rio Negro and could find no plea against her after she got into Port that it would not be worth Deponent's while to apply to the Court for redress as it might be twelve months before any decision would be obtained and that the expense of keeping the boat there would amount to more than any sums of money he might recover for damages.
The said Appearer finding that the letters had been opened and read and knowing that the manifest and all other documents relating to the Cargo had been strictly examined he at length desired they might be returned to him but which the said Captain Coste refused to do until he got out the 9 cases marked MA, had taken opportunity of overhauling the cargo and made up his mind as to whether he would send the vessel into Port or not.
The Said Deponent told him, Coste, that he had no right to overhaul or break out the Cargo as he was in possession of a true and just manifest of the whole of the goods on board and every other document relative to the Cargo and by which he must know what was really on board the Brig. The said Coste then said he would at all events endorse the Papers to prevent the Ship's going to Monte Video or any Port on the Coast of Brazil as it was all Blockaded.
The said Appearer and Deponent then told him that at the time the vessel sailed from England no accounts of such Blockade had been received there nor did he suppose that the Buenos Ayrean Government had a sufficient force to blockade any one Port, upon which Coste replied that there were twenty five Privateers cruizing from thence and enquired if he had not fallen in with any of them before he saw the Schooner. This Deponent stated that he did not consider such a force sufficient to blockade the Coast of Brazil and his answer was "because we are weak you want to take advantage of us."
About 5:30 pm the Deponent requested Captain Coste to put him on board his own vessel or to heave the Schooner to until the Brig came up which was about half a mile astern in order that he might hail her for his own boat. He however paid no attention to this demand but on the application being repeated Coste said it would be too great a risk to lower a boat down as there was a good deal of Sea when the said Appearer told him he had no fear of getting on board & safe at the same time mentioned the impropriety of detaining him a prisoner upon which Coste replied he would not allow him to go until the following morning and would then take out the above mentioned cases and allow him to proceed to Monte Video and he also added that he would pay the freight of them.
The aforesaid Brig "Concord" was not in sight the next morning which the said Appearer has no doubt was owing to the misconduct of the Officer sent on board. Captain Coste then spoke the "Gertrude and Elizabeth" and enquired for the Brig but was answered that they had not seen her upon which Coste told the said Appearer that he would Cruize of the Cape of St Mary's for six days in search of her and if he did not then fall in with her he would run the Schooner into the Rio Salado and land the Deponent there.
However on the third of May he made the best of his way to the Northward having fallen in during the forenoon of the same day with the Brig "Adolph" from Monte Video, the Captain of her was ordered to come on board the Privateer with his papers and letter Bags and after being examined he was allowed to proceed.
A short time after the Captain of the Adolph had left the schooner the said Deponent was informed that a conversation had taken place between the Boat's Crew belonging to the aforesaid Brig "Adolph" and the people of the Schooner stating that the said Brig the "Concord" had been recovered by H.M Ship "Ranger" and was then under her protection. The said Appearer has every reason to imagine that this intelligence was communicated to Captain Coste and which was the reason of his changing the course he had otherwise intended to steer in order to land him at the Rio Salado.
On the 16th of the same month the Privateer was brought to anchor off Isla Grande where two of the seamen belonging to the Deponent's brig (William Mitchell and Robert Burwood) were obliged to accompany some of the crew of the "Vencedor de Ituzaingo" who were ordered on shore with three boats to fill water for the schooner.
The said Appearer's seamen had been repeatedly tempted to enter on board the Schooner but had always refused to do so and it was only from fear of personal violence that they worked having heard the Captain threaten to shoot the second Mate of the Hamburgh vessel who was likewise detained on board the Schooner for refusing to do so. On this watering party William Mitchell and Robert Burwood with fifteen others were left behind on shore as a party of Negroes came down to attack the boats and the Deponent has heard that Robert Burwood was killed and one of the boats was destroyed by them.
The following morning as sloop of war hove in sight supposed to be a Brazilian when the Privateer slipped her cable and went to sea. On the 20th May in the Lat 21°S and Longitude 38° 0 W Captain Coste sent the said Appearer on board the British Brig "Huskisson" which he detained and dispatched to the Rio Negro.
He the said Coste took from this Deponent the Cocket of the nine cases marked MA, the Certificate of the Brazilian Consul in London which is of the greatest importance to this Appearer in his transactions with the Brazilian Authorities at the port for which the vessel was cleared out, and two bills of lading with the letter in which they were enclosed although the said Deponent strongly protested against his detention of the same and stated that he should hold him responsible for so doing.
anchored off the Rio Negro on the 21st of June but not being able to get into
the river she was run to the Bay of St. Blas where she anchored on the twenty
fourth of the same month and the said appearer reached Patagones on the 28th
where he then heard that the Brig "Concord" was at Monte Video.
He was however obliged to remain in Patagones until the eighth of August when he embarked on board the "Lilia" bound to the River Plate she being the first vessel which sailed after his arrival. On the twenty second of the same month she anchored off the Tuyú and commenced landing her Cargo when the said Appearer left her and traveled over land to Buenos Ayres where he arrived on the fourth of September 1827.
Wherefore the said Appearer and Deponent Stewart Leith Master of the said British Brig "Concord" and on behalf of the owner or owners of the said vessel and cargo hereby protests as he doth by these presents most solemnly protest against the said J. J. Coste the Commander of the said Buenos Ayrean Privateer called the "Vencedor de Ituzaingo" for his detention of the Brig "Concord" as aforesaid to the end that all losses costs charges detriments delays and expenses already suffered and sustained owing to the aforesaid detention as well as for the personal losses charges and expenses incurred by the said Deponent and Protester in consequence thereof or any which may hereafter be sustained and suffered on account of the same shall be borne and paid by the said J. J. Coste or those whom of right it may concern. Thus done and concluded at the British Consulate in this City of Buenos Ayres the day and the date before written.
/signed/ Stewart Leith
In testimonium veritatis
/signed/ Charles Griffiths
H.M Vice Consul
Lloyd's Register - 1827 - Concord, Ship, sheathed with copper over boards in 1825, 215 tons, single deck with beams, Master S. Leith, 12 years old, Survey Port: Aberdeen, draws 12 feet when loaded, Owners Allen & Co. , Proved Iron Cables, vessel rated as E (second class) 1 (materials of first quality) Stewart Leith had been on this ship on voyages to Pernambuco in 1824 & 1825. In 1829 Lloyds Register shows S. Leith as master of the Concord on a voyage to Pernambuco.
The war between the
Empire of Brazil and the government in Buenos Ayres was declared in December
1825 because of Buenos Aires' annexation of the Banda Oriental (East bank of
the river Uruguay).
On land Argentina had the upper hand but at sea the Brazilian Navy concentrated on strangling commerce by means of a blockade and dealing with Buenos Aires' small navy under the then Colonel Guillermo Brown. Buenos Aires sent out a "swarm of corsairs" to harass Brazilian shipping. Many of the seamen on both sides were British (English, Scots or Irish). This war has been described in the book "A War Betwixt Englishmen, Brazil Against Argentina on the River Plate 1825-1830 by Brian Vale, London 2000 and translated into Spanish as "Una Guerra Entre Ingleses" published by Instituto de Publicaciones Navales, Buenos Aires 2005.
The peace was signed in Rio de Janeiro on August 27th 1828 and Uruguay became an independent state, a buffer between Brazil and Argentina.