The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 12, July 1908 - April, 1909 Page: 277
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The Case of the Brig Pocket.
ened by Hurd, acting as captain of th'e Brutus, and Damon, that
they should be hanged; the foreyard was accordingly loosed and
braced for that purpose, and the inoffending victims were actually
brought on deck with ropes around their necks and tortured with
their impending fate. Somers and Taylor were kept in irons, the
former for the space of twenty-five days, and the latter for seven
weeks. At the expiration of these periods, instead of being re-
leased, they were forcibly detained, without any legal pretext or
excuse for upwards of four months and seven months separately,
when they were permitted to depart for the United States. Somers
during all this period was compelled to perform various work, such
as unloading vessels, etc., and had all his clothing and instru-
ments of navigation taken from him."
In the same letter, La Branche also gives an account of the
seizure of another American vessel, the Durango, which at about
the same time as the capture of the Pocket, was seized at Mata-
gorda and pressed into the service of Texas by the orders of John
A. Wharton, adjutant general of the Texas army, and William S.
Brown, commander of the Texan armed schooner Liberty. The
claims for both vessels were usually urged together, and when mat-
ters were finally settled, provision was made for the payment of
an indemnity for both together.
La Branche's account gives only one side of the affair; it is also
somewhat prejudiced. The treatment of the crew and passengers
was not at all as brutal as he made it appear; in fact, Captain
Howes of the Pocket, the first officer, and several of the crew made
an affidavit in New Orleans to the effect that while they were
under the control of Captain Brown they were treated with kind-
ness and respect. Alexander Humphrey, a passenger on the
Pocket, made a statement to the same effect to William Bryan,
the Texan agent at New Orleans. He also stated that no part
of the cargo went to the crew of the InvincTible.2
The true facts in the case seem to have been somewhat as fol-
lows: Captain Brown, in the exercise of the belligerent rights of
Texas, was cruising against her enemies and attempting to en-
force the blockade of the Mexican ports. The Pocket was bound
for Matamoras, a Mexican port, and when she fell in with the.
Invincible her captain refused to show his papers. Captain Brown
'La Branche to Irion, November 29, 1837, in Diplomatic Correspondence
of the United States and Texas.
'The True Amnerican, May 14, 1836.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 12, July 1908 - April, 1909, periodical, 1909; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101048/m1/315/: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.