On April 15, 182, Aaron Burr, the former Vice President of the United States, has been on board the Aurora heading for Boston since March 26, 1812. On April 15th Burr describes the beating of the "impertinent" ship's steward by the "good natured" Captain. Burr expresses no disapproval. Quite the contrary, he approves of the prolonged beating that "quite disfigured" the steward. His entry in his private journal reads:
April 15, 1812. A mild, pleasant, clear day, with a constant and regular wind at N. E., going at six knots. An observation to-day gave us lat. 40 45' and, at the same time (noon), our reckoning gave us on. 29 30'. The night is most brilliant; like an American sky. Passed a large turtle about 6 P. M., but did not see him in time enough to take him. What a fine feast he would have made for us! The steward of our ship is a young man from Albany, who engaged to do the duty of steward for his passage. He has affected to consider himself above the place. A dirty, negligent, morose rascal as I ever met. He has insulted us all repeatedly. For the last eight days I have not asked of him the slightest service. He has repeatedly been impertinent to our Captain, who is certainly a very civil and good-natured man. But to-day Mr. Steward carried his insolence so far that the Captain could not bear it. A battle ensued, and the Captain beat the steward till he was quite disfigured; then tied him up, and left him to cool two or three hours, and made him strip off his waistcoat, and beat him with a rope's end till he howled most piteously, and promised reformation. Since the which process the aforesaid steward seems exceedingly modest and complaisant.