After a cartel of exchange had been agreed upon, Colonel Scott and the other regulars, prisoners, were embarked on a vessel for Boston. As they were about to sail, Colonel Scott’s attention was attracted by an unusual noise on deck. Proceeding from the cabin to the scene of the disturbance, he found a party of British officers in the act of separating from the other prisoners such as by confusion or brogue they judged to be Irishmen. The object was to refuse to parole them, and send them to England to be tried for high treason. Twenty-three had been selected and set apart for this purpose.
Colonel Scott learned with indignation that this proceeding was under the direct orders of Sir George Prevost, the Governor General. He at once protested, and commanded the remaining men to be silent and answer no questions. This order was obeyed despite the threats of the British officers, and none others than the twenty-three were separated from their comrades. He then addressed the party selected, explaining the laws of allegiance, and assuring them that the United States Government would protect them by immediate retaliation, and, if necessary, by an order to give no quarter hereafter in battle. He was frequently interrupted by the British officers, but they failed to silence him. The Irishmen were put in irons, placed on board a frigate, and sent to England. After Colonel Scott landed in Boston he proceeded to Washington and was duly exchanged. He at once addressed a letter to the Secretary of War as follows:
“Sir: I think it my duty to lay before the Department that on the arrival at Quebec of the American prisoners of war surrendered at Queenstown they were mustered and examined by British officers appointed to that duty, and every native-born of the United Kingdom of Great-Britain and Ireland sequestered and sent on board a ship of war then in the harbor. The vessel in a few days thereafter sailed for England with these persons on board. Between fifteen and twenty persons were thus taken from us, natives of Ireland, several of whom were known by their platoon officers to be naturalized citizens of the United States, and others to have been long residents within the same. One in particular, whose name has escaped me, besides having complied with all the conditions of our naturalization laws, was represented by his officers to have left a wife and five children, all of them born within the State of New York.
“I distinctly understood, as well from the officers who came on board the prison ship for the above purposes as from others with whom I remonstrated on this subject, that it was the determination of the British Government, as expressed through Sir George Prevost, to punish every man whom it might subject to its power found in arms against the British king contrary to his native allegiance. I have the honor to be, sir,
“Your most obedient servant,