Imatges de pàgina

ter to which the peculiar situation and institutions of the United States do not permit them to accede.

The objections made are contained in an extract of a letter from the Secretary of State, under date of the second of November, 1818; in which it is observed, that, “in examining the provisions of the treaties communicated by Lord Castlereagh, all the essential asticles appear to be of a character not adaptable to the institutions, or to the circumstances of the United States. The powers agreed to be reciprocally given to the officers of the ships of war of either party, to enter, search, capture, and carry into port sor adjudication, the merchant vessels of the other, however qualified and restricted, is most essentially connected with the institution, by each treaty, of two mixed courts, one of which to reside in the external or colonial possession of each of the two parties, respectively. This part of the system is indispensable to give it that character of reciprocity, without which the right granted to the armed ships of one nation, to search the merchant vessels of another, would be rather a mark of vassalage than of independence. Bui to this part of thesystem the United States, having no colonies, either on the coast of Africa, or in the West Indies, cannot give effect. That, by the Constitution of the United States, it is provided that the judicial power of the United States shall be vested in a supreme court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may, from time to time, ordain and establish. It provides that the judges of these courts shall hold their offices during good behavior; and that they shall be removable by impeachment, on conviction of crimes and misdemeanors. There may be doubts whether the power of the Government of the United States is competent to institute a court for carrying into execution their pedal statutes beyond the territories of the United States--a court consisting partly of foreign judges, not amenable to impeachment for corruption, and deciding upon statutes of the United States without appeal.

** That the disposal of the negroes found on board of the slave trading vessels, which might be condemned by the sentence of these mixer courts, cannot be carried into effect by the United States: for, if the slaves of vessels condemned by the mixed courts, should be delivered over to the Government of the United States as free men, they could not, but by their own consent, be employed as servants or free laborers. The condition of the blacks being, in this Union, regulated by the municipal laws of the separate states, the Government of the United States can neither guaranty their liberty in the States where they could only be received as slaves, nor control them in the States where they would be recognised as free. That the admission of a right, in the officers of foreign ships of war, to enter and search the vessels of the United States in time of peace, under any circumstances whatever, would meet with universal repugnance in the public opinion of this country; that there would be no prospect of a ratification, by advice and consent of the Senate, to any stipulation of that nature; that the search by foreign officers, even in time of war, is so obnoxious to the feelings and recollections of this country, that nothing could reconcile them to the extension of it, however qualified or restricted, to a time of peace; and that it would be viewed in a still more aggravated light, if, as in the treaty with the Netherlands, connected with a formal adınission that even vessels under convoy of ships of war of their own nation, should be liable to search by the ships of war of another."

'i'he committee will observe, in the first instance, that a mutual right or search appears to he indispensable to the great object of abolition; for, while

Dags remain as a cover for this traffic, against the right of search by any vessels except of the same nation, the chance of detection will be much less than it would be if the right of search was extended to vessels of other Powers; and as soon as any one nation should cease to be vigilant in the discovery of infractions practised on its own code, the slave dealers would avail themselves of a system of obtaining fraudulent papers, and concealing the real ownership under the cover of such Aags; which would be carried on with such address, as to render it easy for the citizens or subjects of one State to evade their own municipal laws: but, if a concerted system existed, and a qualified right of mutual search was granted, the apprehension of these piratical offenders would be reduced to a much greater certainty; and the very knowledge of the existence of an active and vigorous system of cooperation would divert many from this traffic, as the unlawful trade would become too hazardous for profitable speculation

In relation to any inconveniences that might result from such an arrangement, the commerce of the United States is so limited on the African coast that it could not be much effected by it; and, as it regards economy, the expense of stationing a few vessels on that coast would not be much greater than to maintain them at any other place.

The committee have briefly noticed the practical results of a reciprocal right of search, as it bears on the slave trade; but the objection as to the propriety of ceding this right remains. It is with deference that the committee undertake to make any remarks upon it. They bear in recollection the opinions entertained in this country, on the practice of searching neutral vessels in time of war; but they cannot perceive that the right under discussion is, in principle, allied, in any degree, to the general question of search; it can involve no commitment, nor is it susceptible of any unfavorable inference on that subject; and even if there were any affinity between the cases, the necessity of a special agreement would be inconsistent with the idea of existing rights: the proposal itself, in the manner made, is a total abandonment, on the part of England, of any claim to visit and search vessels in a time of peace, and this question has been unequivocally decided in the negative in her admiralty courtş.

Although it is not among the objections that the desired arrangement would give color to a claim or right of search in time of peace, yet, lest the case in this respect may be prejudiced in the minds of any, the committee will observe, that the right of search, in time of peace, is one that is not claimed by any Power as a part of the law of nations; no nation pretends that it can exercise the right of visitation and search upon the common and unappropriated parts of the sea, except upon the belligerent claim. A recent decision in the British admiralty court, in the case of the French slave ship Le Louis, is clear and decisive on this point. The case is annexed to this re. port.

In regard, then, to the reciprocal right wished to be ceded, it is reduced to the simple inquiry whether, in practice, it will be beneficial to the two contracting nations. Its exercise, so far as it relates to the detention of vessels, as it is contined to the fact of slaves being actually on board, precludes almost the possibility of accident or much convenience.

In relation also to the disposal of the vessels and slaves detained, an arrangement perhaps could be effected, so as to deliver them up to the vessels of the nation to which the detained vessel should belong. Under such an understanding, the vessels and slaves delivered to the jurisdiction of the United States might be disposed of in conformity with the provisions of our own act of the 3d of March, 1819; and an arrangement of this kind would be free from any of the other objections.

An exchange of the right of search, limited in duration, or to continue at pleasure, for the sake of experiment, might, it is anxiously hoped, be so restricted to vessels and seas, and with such civil and harmonious stipulations, as not to be unacceptable.

The feelings of this country on the general question of search have often been roused to a degree of excitement that evince their unchangeable character; but the American people will readily see the distinction between the cases; the one on its exercise, to the extent claimed, will ever produce irritation, and excite a patriotic spirit of resistance; the other is amicable and charitable; the justness and nobleness of the undertaking are worthy of the combined concern of Christian nations.

The detestable crime of kidnapping the unoffending inhabitants of one country, and chaining them to slavery in another, is marked with all the atrociousness of piracy; and, as such, it is stigmatized, and punishable by our own laws.

To efface this rcproachful stain from the character of civilized mankind, would be the proudest triumph that could be achieved in the cause of humanity. On this subject the United States, having lel the way, owe it to themselves to give their influence and cordial co-operation to any measure that will accomplish the great and good purpose; but this happy result, experience has demonstrated, cannot be realized by any system, except a concession by the maritime Powers to each other's ships of war, of a qualified right of search; if this object was general;y attained, it is confidently believed that the active exertions of even a few nations would be sufficient entirely to suppress the slave trade.

The slave dealers could be successfully assailed on the coast upon which the trade originates, as they must necessarily consume more time in the collection and embarkation of their Cargoes than in the subsequent distribution in the markets for which they are destined; this renders that coast the most advantageous position for their apprehension; and, besides, the African toast frequented by the slave ships is indented with so few commodious or accessible harbors, that, notwithstanding its great extent, it could be guarded by the vigilance of a small number of cruisers. But, if the slave ships are permitted to escape from the African coast, and to be dispersed to different parts of the world, their capture would be rendered uncertain and hopeless.

The committee, after much reflection, offer the following resolution:

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President of the United States be requested to enter into such arrangements as he may

deem suitable and proper, with one or more of the maritime powers of Europe, for the effectual abolition of the African slave trade.

NAVY DEPARTMENT, February 7, 1821. ŠIR: I have the honor to transmit to you such information as this Department affords upon the subject of the slave trade, in answer to your letter of the 30th of January last.

The enclosed copy, No. 1, of a circular of the United States' District A& torneys and Marshals, has been answered, generally, that no slaves have been brought into their respective districts, with the exception of Maryland, South Carolina, and Georgia; answers have not been received from Louis siana.

There appears to have been partial captures made upon the coast, and in the neighborhood of Georgia, by the public vessels of the United States; the slaves, in some cases, have been bonded out to individuals until adjudication.

The slave trade has been checked by our cruizers upon the Southern coasts of the United States, and no great attempts appear to have been made to introduce slaves through illicit channels.

There are now in charge of the Marshal of Georgia two hundred and forty-eight Africans, taken out of a South American privateer, the General Ramirez, whose crew mutinied, and brought the vessel into St. Mary's, Georgia; sixty more are in custody of the Marshal, detained and maintained in the vicinity of Savannah; forty or fifty more have been sent out of the State; under what orders it is not known.

The ships cruising on the coast of Africa, during the last year, captured the following vessels engaged in the slave trade, but having no slaves ok board at the time, viz: Schooner Endymion,

Do. Plattsburgh,
Do. Science,

Esperanza, and
Brig Alexander.

These vessels have been condemned in the District Courts of the New York and Massachusetts; and their commanders sentenced to fine and imprisonment, under the acts of Congress.

The most detailed information that has been communicated to this Department, in relation to the slave trade, will be found in the enclosed copy, No 2, from the late United States' agent, then resident in Africa, but since deceased.

I have the honor to be,

With great respect, sir,
Your most obedient servant,


Chairman of the Committee on Slave Trade, H. R.

No. 1.

Navy DEPARTMENT, 13th January, 1821: Sir: I duly received your letter of the 25th November last, an answer to which has been delayed by the urgency of public business.

I request you will be pleased to inform me what disposition has been made of the two hundred and fifty-eight Africans mentioned in your letter;

It is and what expense, if any, has been incurred for their safe keeping. very desirable to save further expenses-by an early decision of their case.

•The information contained in this paragraph is not derived from any official source: it is nevertheless believed to be correct.

i wish also to be informed upon the cases of all others within your jurisdiction, and coming within the execution of the laws for prohibiting and suppressing the slave trade.

am, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,


Marshal of the district of Georgia, Savannah.

No. 2.

Extract of a letter from the Rev. Samuel Bacon, to the Secretary of the

Navy, dated

CAMPELAR, (Sherbro Island,) 21st March, 1820. “ The slave trade is carried on briskly in this neighborhood: had I authority so to do, I could take a vessel lying within the floating of one tide, say 25 miles from us, in the Sherbro, under American colors, taking in a cargo of slaves. Their policy is to come with a cargo of goods suited to the market, deliver it to a slave factor on shore, and contract for slaves. They then lie at anchor in the river, or stand out to sea for a specified number of days, till the slaves are all procured and brought to the beach, and placed under a hovel or shed prepared for the purpose, all chained two and two. At the appointed time, or on a concerted signal, the vessel comes in and takes her slaves on board, and is off in an hour.

This is rendered necessary, as they cannot be seized unless they have slaves on board; and they are.watched by the cruisers, so as to be taken when they have slaves with them. The Augusta, (the schooner I purchased) is a vessel of 104 tons, a swift sailer, and was intended to take a cargo of 100; she has a camboose fitted to boil rice in large quantities. Slaves receive one pint each per day.”

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of Sierra Leone, April 10, 1820. During our stay at Sierra Leone, the European gentlemen who were residents at the place treated us with the utmost respect, striving who should be most forward in attention and hospitality. A party was formed by those gentlemen to show our officers the interior settlements; and from their report on their return, I learned the extent of the colony, and the benevolent philanthropy of the British nation, in alleviating the miseries of the oppressed and ignorant Africans. Not less than six thousand captured Africans have been landed at this settlement by the British ships of war. On their arrival, those of a proper age are named and sent to the adjacent villages. A house and lot is appointed to each family, and they are supported one year by government, at the expiration of which they are obliged to look out for themselves. The captured children are also sent to the villages, where they are kept at school till married, which is always at an early age. At the head of each village is a missionary, who receives his annual support

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