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of transmitting herewith enclosed to his excellency, the treaty concluded between his Britannic majesty and his Catholic majesty, which stipulates on the part of Spain the final abolition of the slave trade, and thus offers a very satisfactory result to the solicitude which their respective courts evince for the fulfilment of the engagements they have contracted by the additional article of the treaty of Paris, of the 20th November, 1815. The complete at. tainment of this interesting object, now solely depending on the abandonment, by the court of Portugal, of that part of the slave trade which she has still reserved to herself South of the line, the undersigned have the honor to invite Count Palmella to solicit from his court full powers to enable him to act in concert with them towards the accomplishment of so desirable an object.
They have, at the same time, the honor to add, herewith, extracts from the protocols of the two last conferences on this subject, for his excellency's information, and they avail themselves of this opportunity to offer him the assurance of their distinguished consideration.
Extract of the protocol of the sitting of the 14th of February, 1818.
COUNT DE LIEVEN. The plenipotentiaries having approved the protocol of the last conference of the 11th February, it is signed.
The answer of the Count de Palmella to the note which the plenipotentiaries addressed to him on the 11th February, is read, and placed upon the present protocol, sub litt. A.
ENCLOSURE IN No. 5.
Annes A to the protocol of the 14th of February, 1818.
LONDON, February 12, 1818. The undersigned has received the note which the plenipotentiaries of those courts who signed the additional article of the treaty of Paris, of the 20th November, 1815, have done him the honor to address to him, under date of yesterday.
He will take the earliest opportunity of conveying to the knowledge of his court the treaty concluded between his Britannic majesty and his Catholic majesty, which their excellencies have been pleased to communicate to him officially, together with the extracts of the protocols of their two last confereres on this subject.
The undersigned being already furnished with the full powers and instructions necessary to enable him to assist at the conferences held by their excellencies, and to discuss in concert with them the means of attaining the. desirable objects in question, does not think himself entitled to ask for new full powers, unless the question should positively change its nature, by a refusal (which the undersigned cannot possibly expect from the plenipotentiaries) to admit, on their part, the principles put forth in the first note which he had the honor to address to them. Whenever their excellencies shall think themselves called upon to enter into the discussion of those principles, they will see that they all evidently and immediately spring from the declaration of the Congress of Vienna, of the Sth February, 1815, and from the treaty concluded at the period of the said Congress, between his most faithful majesty and his Britannic majesty, for the extinction of the slave trade to the North of the line.
The undersigned takes this opportunity of offering to their excellencies the assurance of his high consideration.
THE COUNT DE PALMELLA. Memorandum. The plenipotentiaries having reason to understand that the instructions under which Count Palmella acted were not of a nature which would enable him to conclude any convention, assigning any fixed period for the abolition on the part of Portugal, without reference to his Government, did not think it expedient to enter, under such circumstances, into further discussions with Count Palmella, inasmuch as they conceived that such discussions could not have led to any satisfactory result.
CONFERENCES AT AIX-LA-CHAPELLE.
Despatch from Viscount Castlereagh to Eurl Bathurst, dated Aix-la
Chapelle, 2d November, 1818. M, LORD: In the conference of the 24th October, I opened to the plenipotentiaries the existing state of the trade in slaves, and the progress made by the plenipotentiaries in London in proposing further measures for accomplishing its final abolition.
As the further examination of this question required that the ministers should have time to peruse the voluminous documents connected with it, I gave notice that I should, on a future day, submit to them two propositions:
The first, for addressing a direct appeal, on the part of the five courts, to the King of Portugal, founded upon the declaration made in his Majesty's name. by his Plenipotentiary at Vienna, and urging his Majesty to give effect to that declaration at the period fixed by Spain for final abolition, viz: on the 20th May, 1820.
The second would be, that the powers there represented should accept the principle of a qualified right of mutual visit, as adopted by the courts of Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands, and should apply the same to the case of their respective flags, as circumstances should point out.
It was impossible not to perceive, in the short discussion which ensued, that there was considerable hesitation, especially in the French Plenipoten
tiary, with regard to the principle of the latter measure. Under these circumstances I thought it better to avoid a prolongation of the conversation. I • had an interview with the Duke de Richelieu on the following day, for the purpose of urging his Excellency to a more favorable view of this important quesiion. This led to a very full examination of the measure in all its bearings; and, though I cannot say that I succeeded in shaking his Grace's opinion, I flatter myself I reduced the weight and number of his objections, and that I brought his mind to feel the extreme inconvenience, as well as moral objection, to leaving the question where it is.
It is due to the Duke de Richelieu that I should state, that I have found his Excellency uniformly anxious to render the measures of his own Government effectual to its object; and that he has been cordially disposed to receive and follow up every information which I have laid before him concerning the malpractices of the subjects of France in this traffic; but he seems, as yet, under great apprehension of the eilect in France of any concession of the nature above suggested.
The Duke, however, gave me every assurance of its heing fully considered; and, as a means of doing so, his Excellency desired me to furnish him with a memorandum, stating the substance of those explanations which I had given him cf the question. I now have to transmit io your Lordship a copy of this paper, and to assure you that I shall lose no opportunity, in conjunction with the Duke of Wellington, of following up, with zeal and perseverance, this important part of my instructions.
I have the honor, &c.
CASTLEREAGH. EARL BATHURST, &c. &c.
First EXCLOSURE IN No. 9.
Protocol of the conference between the five Powers, held at Aix-la-Cha
pelle, the 24th October, 1818. Lord Castlereagh makes known to the conference the result hitherto obtained by the measures adopted for the general abolition of the trade in slares, and the actual state of things in regard to this interesting question, distinguishing between the legal and the illegal trade. His Excellency observed, that, since the convention of the 23d of September, 1817, by which Spain fixed the year 1820 for the final termination of this traffic, Portugal was the only power which had not explained itself as to the period of abolition. Lord Castlereagh added, that, while there was a State whose laws authorized the trade, if it were but partially, and a flag which could protect it, it would scarcely be possible to prevent ihe continuation of this commerce hy contraband means, the increase of which had been very considerable of late years; and that, even when the slave trade should be prohibited by the laws of all civilized countries, an active and permanent surveillance could alone guaranty the execution of those laws.
After this representation, Lord Castlereagh communicated several papers relative to the question, referring to the details already submitted to the ministers assembled in London. He at the same time explained his ideas:
1st. Upon the means of prosecuting the application of the principle of the Irgal abolition of the trade.
2d. Upon the means of insuring the execution of the laws and conventions relating to it.
Relative to the first object, Lord Castlereagh proposed that a measure should be agreed upon to be taken with respect to the Court of Rio de Ja. neiro, in order to induce it to explain itself as to the period it intended to fix for the final abolition of the trade.
Relative to the second object, his Excellency proposed to adopt, generally, and in an obligatory form, the measures decreed by the last treaties between Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
These propositions were taken ad referendum, and it was agreed to resume the deliberation in a subsequent sitting.
SECOND ENCLOSURE IN No. 9.
Note from Viscount Castlereagh to the Duke de Richelieu, dated
Aix-LA-CHAPELLE, the 27th of October, 1818. Lord Castlereagh has the honor to enclose to the Duke de Richelieu the memorandum which he yesterday promised to submit to his Excellency's consideration.
Lord Castlereagh will be most happy to reply, without loss of time, to any queries which the Duke de Richelien will have the goodness to put to him on this subject; or to procure for his Excellency any information which may appear to him material, and which Lord Castlereagh may not have the means of immediately himself supplying.
Lord Castlereagh requests the Duke de Richelieu to accept the assurances of his distinguished consideration.
First-as to right of Visit. None of the three conventions signed by Great Britain with Spain, Portugal, and Holland, gives this right to king's ships indiscriminately. In all it is confined to king's ships having the express instructions and authority, as specified in the treaty.
The provision is, in all cases, reciprocal; but the treaty with the Netherlands restricts the exercise of this right to a specified number of ships of each power, not exceeding twelve in the whole. Each power, as soon as it grants these instructions to any of its ships of war, is bound to notify to the other the name of the vessel so authorized to visit.
Second-Right of Detention.
No visit or detention can take place, except by a commissioned officer having the instructions above referred to, as his special authority for the same; nor can he detain and carry into port any vessel so visited, except on the single and simple fact of slaves found on board. There is a saving clause to distinguish domestic slaves, acting as servants or sailors, from those strictly appertaining to the traffic. The powers mutuully engage to make the officer personally responsible for any abusive exercise of authority, independent of the pecuniary indemnity to be paid, as hereafter stated, to the owner, for the improper detention of his vessel.
Third-Adjudication. The visiting officer finding slaves on board, as he conceives, contrary to law, may earry the vessel into whichever of the two ports is the nearest, where the mixed commission belonging to the capturing and captured vessels shall reside; but by doing so, he not only renders himself personally responsible to his own government for the discretion of the act, but he also makes his government answerable to the government of the State to whom the vessel so detained belongs, for the full compensation, in pecuniary damage, which the mixed commission may award to the owners for the detention, if unjustifiably made.
The mixed commission has no jurisdiction of a criminal character, and consequently can neither detain nor punish the persons found on board ships so detained, for any offences they may, by such slave trading, have committed against the laws of their particular State. The mixed commission has no other authority than summarily to decide whether the ship has been properly detained, or not, for having slaves illicitly on board. If this is decided in the affirmative, the ship and cargo (if any on board) are forfeited, the proceeds to be equally divided between the two States; the slaves to be provided for by the State in whose territory the condemnation takes place.
If the mixed commission orders the vessel to be released, it is required at the same moment to award such pecuniary compensation to the owners for the detentioti, as appears to them reasonable.
A table of demurrage is given in the treaties, and the government of the detaining officer is bound to discharge the sum so awarded, without appeal, within twelve months.
The mixed commission is composed of a commissary judge, and a commissary arbitrator, of each nation, as was provided in the convention signed between Great Britain and France, in 1815, for adjudicating the private claims.
Fourth-the Sphere of Operation. In the Spanish and Portuguese conventions, there is no other restriction as to the limits within which detention, as above, may take place, than what arose naturally out of the state of the laws, viz: that so long as either Power might lawfully trade in slaves to the South of the equator, no detention should take place within those limits.
In the convention with Holland, a line is drawn from the Straits of Gibraltar to a point in the United States, so as to except out of the operation what may be called the European seas.