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Extract of a letter from the Secretary of the Navy to Captain John D.
Henley, dated November 14, 1817.
“Should you fall in with, on your way to St. Mary's, or find in Amelia, any vessels acting as privateers contrary to the laws of the United States, you will capture such, and send them to Savannah, Georgia, to be dealt with according to law. You will detain all prize or other vessels having slaves on board, as the presumption is strong that they are intended to be smuggled into the United States."
Extract of a letter from the Secretary of the Navy to Captain Daniel T. Patterson, Commanding Naval Officer, New Orleans, dated
NAVY DEPARTMENT, December 17, 1817. " Previously to the loss of the United States' brig Boxer, it was determined to increase the naval force in the Gulf of Mexico, for the better protection of our commerce and the revenue, as well as to prevent the introduction of slaves into our territory.
“For this purpose the United States' ship John Adams, under the command of Captain John D. Henley, has been ordered to the Gulf, with the brigs Prometheus and Enterprise, and schooner Lynx."
Extract of a letter from the Secretary of the Navy to Commodore John D. Henley, commanding United States' Naval Force off Amelia Island, dated
NAVY DEPARTMENT, January 16, 1818. “ Maintain a strict discipline among the officers and crews of the several vessels, especially as to their conduct when on shore at St. Mary's or Amelia, and when circumstances shall perinit, you will send the small vessels upon the neighboring coast, to watch the movement of privateers and vessels with slaves on board, all of which can have no other object than to introduce them into the United States, in violation of existing laws.”
NAVY DEPARTMENT, May 30, 1818. SIR: I enclose to you herewith, for your information and government, four copies of an act of Congress, passed on the 20th day of April last, entitled 6 An act in addition to an act to prohibit the introduction of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States, from and after the ist day of January, 1808, and to repeal certain parts of the same.
I am, very respectfully, &c.
BENJAMIN HOMANS. Captain D. T. PATTERSON,
Commanding Naval Officer, New Orleans.
Navy DEPARTMENT, May 30, 1818. Sir: Agreeably to a request recently made by Commodore Henley, I transmit, herewith, for your information and government, four copies of the act of Congress, passed on the 20th day of April last, entitled “An act in addition to an act to prohibit the introduction of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States, from and after the 1st day of January, 180s, and to repeal certain parts of the same.”
I am, very respectfully, &c.
BENJAMIN HOMANS. Captain A. J. DALLAS,
Commanding U. S. Naval Force, near St. Mary's, Ga.
JANUARY 21, 1819.
Letter from the Secretary of the Treasury, transmitting the inforna
tion called for by the Resolution of the House of Representatives, of the 4th instant, in relation to ships engaged in the Slave Trade, which have been seized and condemned, and the disposition which has been made of the negroes, by the several State Governments under whose jurisdiction they have fullen.
January 20th, 1819. Sie: In obedience to a resolution of the House of Representatives, of the 4th instant, directing the Secretary of the Treasury to report to this House the number and names of the slave ships, if any; the ports from which they sailed, and where, and by whom owned, which have been seized and condemned within the United States, for violations of the laws thereof, against the importation of slaves; and if any negroes, mulattoes, or persons of color, have been found on board such vessels, their number, and the disposition which has been made of them by the several State Governments under whose jurisdiction they have fallen," I have the honor to submit the enclosed communication from the Register of the Treasury, the Collector of Mobile, and the Marshal of the Alabama Territory.
From these documents, but little information is derived. Independent of the proceedings now pending in the Alabama Territory, it is understood that proceedings have been instituted under the State authorities, whichi have terminated in the sale of persons of color illegally imported into the States of Georgia and Louisiana, during the years 1817 and 1818.
There is no authentic copy of the acts of the Legislatures of those States, upon this subject, in this Department; but, it is understood, that, in both States, Africans and other persons of color, illegally imported, are direct. ed to be sold for the benefit of the State. In the former State, however, they are directed to be placed at the disposition of the society for colonizing the free blacks, upon condition of their transportation to some foreign State, and on payment of the expenses incurred by the State in relation to them. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, Sir,
Your most obedient servant,
W. H. CRAWFORD. The Hon. the SPEAKER
of the House of Representatives.
REGISTER'S OFFICE, 7th Jan. 1819. SIR: The resolution of the House of Representatives of the United States, which you did me the honor to refer, calling for information relative to the slave trade, and if any violations thereof had arisen, under the act of July, 1807, I beg leave to state, that it doth not appear, from an examina- . tion of the records of this office, and particularly of the accounts (to the date of their last settlement) of the Collectors of the Customs, and of the several Marshals of the United States, that any forfeitures had been incurred under the said act.
Although there are no records at the Treasury, of the facts, yet, from a memorial now before Congress, it appears there had been one ship condemned in the port of Charleston, South Carolina, for a violation of the act above mentioned, called the
Upon the sale of which, the sum of two thousand five hundred dollars, it is alleged, remains in the hands of the clerk of the court of that district.
Another, and the only additional case that can, at present, be brought into view, in relation to an infraction of the provisions of the aforementioned act, is explained in the certified copies herewith presented, marked A, of the proceedings of the court of Alabama Territory, the originals being filed in the office of the Comptroller of the Treasury.
I have the honor to be, Sir,
JOSEPH NOURSE Hon. W. H. CRAWFORD.
July 22d, 1818. Sır: Enclosed is a copy or transcript of the minutes of our last General Court. The proceeding in this case is perhaps unprecedented, but your bet
ter judgment can more correctly determine. I believe the law recognises the Marshal only, as the proper person to have the charge of property seized for a violation of the laws of the United States: but that course would have deprived those particular friends of Judge Toulmin of a grand speculation, of which they boast very much. If it was proper that the court should let out the negroes, as a saving to the Government, or parties interested, they could have been hired out for a very considerable sum, clear of all expenses; but this course would have destroyed a grand individual speculation. And, on the contrary, had the negroes been left, as is usual, in the hands of the Marshal, he would have been entitled to a small pittance for keeping, to which the Judge could not reconcile his malice. You will also observe that this court has granted a commission to take depositions in the Havana, a foreign government, and in a government where there is no dilliculty in procuring any testimony. There has been considerable expense, on the part of the Government, and I can hazard an opinion, that, if this course of proceeding is admitted, the property will not be condemned. Your obedient humble servant,
Marshal Alabama Territory. Jos. ANDERSON, Esq. Comptroller U. S.
P. S. Should you think this proceeding unlawful, you will please to lay the papers before the proper authority, and indulge me with your opinion.
JULY TERM, 1818.
cargo. Ordered, That commissions do issue to take depositions in the Havana, to be directed to Messrs. Gray and John Murdock, in Pensacola, to be directed to Gen. Gaines, Colonel King, and Captain Call, or either of them, and that the said depositions be taken as evidence, as well in the case of the United States, against the said vessels and cargoes, as in the several libels for restitution for the negroes on board the said vessels. And that the vessels and cargoes, in these cases, be delivered to claimants on bond and security, to be approved by the court, being entered into in the appraised value thereof, conditioned to have the property forthcoming, to abide the judgment of the court.
Ordered, That Samuel H. Garron, Lewis Judson, David Files, John W. Simonton, John Whitehead, and Jotham S. Patton, or any four of them, David Files being one, be accepted as securities to be given under this order, and that Henry D. Merritt, Christopher Strong Stewart, and Daniel Duval, be appointed appraisers of the vessels and cargoes aforesaid.
Ordered, On the agreement of the parties, That the one hundred and seven negroes found on board the vessel Merino, the schooner Louisiana, and the Constitution, and libelled in this court, be placed in the possession of James Caller, Benjamin S, Smoot, and David Files, on their entering
into bond in such amount and with such security as may be approved and agreed upon by the parties; conditioned that they have the said
negroes forthcoming to abide the order and decree of the court.
Whereas one hundred and seven African negroes have been brought within the jurisdiction, and have been placed in the custody of this court, as being liable to forfeiture under the laws of the United States: And whereas certain persons have claimed the said negroes, and deny their liability to forfeiture as aforesaid: And whereas the said causes, in reference to the liability of said negroes, could not be decided at July term, 1818, of the Alabama General Court, sitting in admiralty, it was agreed, by and with the advice and consent of the said court, and of all the persons interested, either in the seizure of said negroes aforesaid, or those claiming restitution of the same, that the said negroes be delivered to some responsible persons, to be admitted by the said court aforesaid, for safe keeping, until the court aforesaid, or their officers, shall demand the same; when the said negroes are to be returned into the custody of the court aforesaid, to abide their decision in the premises; all casualties in reference to the said negroes to be excepted from the liability of the said responsible persons.
Whereupon, James Caller, David Files, and Benjamin S. Smoot, came into court, being the persons agreed upon by the parties interested aforesaid, by consent of the court aforesaid, and stipulated, as well to all the parties interested, as to the court aforesaid, to keep them well, and return them unto this court, when demanded by the said court, free from all expense to any party concerned, under the penalty of one hundred thousand dollars, to be levied of their goods and chattels, lands and tenements, if they should make default in the stipulation herein mentioned.
I, Francis H. Gaines, Deputy Clerk of the General Court of the Alabama Territory, do certify that the foregoing pages, numbered 1, 2, 3, contain true extracts from the minutes of said court, at July term, 1818.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and affixed my private (SEAL.] seal, having no seal of office, the 23d day of July, A. D. 1818, and 43d year of American Independence.
F. H. GAINES, D. C. General Court, TREASURY DEPARTMENT,
REGISTER's OFFICE, Jan. 8, 1819. I certify the foregoing to be true copies of the originals on file in this Department.
COLLECTOR'S OFFICE, PORT OF MOBILE,
November 15th, 1818. SIR: As Congress are now in session, I beg leave to suggest, for your consideration, the subject of a revenue cutter for the coast of this district It is evident, from a view of our local situation, that no part of the American coast affords more inviting opportunities to violate the revenue laws, and those prohibiting the importation of slaves, than this. In other parts of the country, revenue cutters and boats have been provided; here, from the Chan