Sir F. Bruce to Mr. Seward

Sir: The British Admiral Sir James Hope has forwarded to me copies of the correspondence which took place between Captain Boggs and the officers in command of her Majesty’s ships Niger and Fawn, with reference to a shot fired from the latter vessel while lying in the river St. Croix, which appears to have struck on the American side of the river, near Robbinstown, on the evening of the 11th of May.

Without entering into the details of the affair, which have no doubt been communicated by Captain Boggs, I think it right to mention that the shot was not fired in a spirit of wantonness, or without a reason. Orders had been given to search boats leaving the New Brunswick shore, in order to prevent some men who were missing from the regiment stationed in the neighborhood of St. Andrews from crossing to the American shore. On observing a boat pulling across from the New Brunswick side, the captain of the Fawn despatched one of his own boats to see that the men were not on board, and on perceiving that she did not stop, and was likely to succeed in escaping the search, his suspicions were aroused, and he caused a shot to be fired to bring her to. I see no reason to doubt the statement that the boat was in British waters at the time when the shot was fired, and that, as the vessel was riding to the flood-tide, and the gun was fired over the stern, there was no reason to apprehend that the ball would deflect in such a manner from its true course as to strike the American shore.

I regret very much that a violation of the American territory, though fortunately unattended with injury, has taken place, and I can assure you, sir, that the instructions issued to the squadron, and the disposition of the officers commanding, prescribe not only the respect that is due to the territory and jurisdiction of the United States, and an abstinence from any proceeding that is an infringement of her rights, but a harmonious co-operation with the United States navy and authorities in the discharge of the delicate duties which have been imposed on them by the late occurrences on the frontier.

I have the honor to be, with the highest consideration, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, &c., &c., &c.