Imatges de pÓgina

Notes des Commissions Mexicaines en Course conceder par le General Amable Humbert aux Capitaines des Corsairs ci-dessces.

Guns. Capitaine W. W. Mitchel

1 Do. Ene. Mouleton

1 Do. Tn. Mitchel

1 Thomas Williams, Do.

1 Ketch Surprise Do. D. Andres

2 Do. Franco. Thomasy

2 Do. Frank

2 Do. Andre (Italian)

2 Do. Ajustin (Plusieurs)

3 Do. Gambi

2 Maison, Do.

- 2 captured by the Firebrand Toutes les Commissions donnies aux dites Capitaines en arrivant dans ce Port de Galveston, donnerous un quincieme de la valeur de leur Prizes qui feront au Genl. Amable Humbert, pour les avoir conceder les Commissions Mexicaines.



On the 20th December, 1819, the President of the United States sent the following Message

to the two Houses of Congress, and, in the House of Representatives, it was referred to the Committee on the Slave Trade. To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:

Some doubt being entertained respecting the true intent and meaning of the act of the last session, entitled “ An act in addition to the acts prohibiting the slave trade," as to the duties of the agents to be appointed on the coast of Africa, I think it proper to state the interpretation which has been given of the act, and the measures adopted to carry it into effect, that Congress may, should it be deemed advisable, amend the same, before further proceeding is had under it.

The obligation to instruct the commanders of all our armed vessels to seize and bring into port all ships or vessels of the United States, wheresoever found, having on board any negro, mulatto, or person of color, in violation of former acts for the suppression of the slave trade, being imperative, was executed without delay. No seizures have yet been made, but, as they were contemplated by the law, and might be presumed, it seemed proper to make the necessary regulations applicable to such seizures, for carrying the several provisions of the act into effect.

It is enjoined on the Executive to cause all negroes, mulattoes, or persons of color, who may be taken under the act, to be removed to Africa. It is the obvious import of the law, that none of the persons thus taken should remain within the United States; and no place other than the coast of Africa being designated, their removal or delivery, whether carried from the United States or landed immediately from the vessels in which they were taken, was supposed to be confined to that coast. No settlement or station being specified, the whole coast was thought to be left open for the selection of a proper place, at which the persons thus taken should be delivered. The

Executive is authorized to appoint one or more agents, residing there, to receive such persons; and one hundred thousand dollars are appropriated for the general purposes of the law.

On due consideration of the several sections of the act, and of its humane policy, it was supposed to be the intention of Congress that all the persons above described, who might be taken under it, and landed in Africa, should be aided in their return to their former homes, or in their establishment at or near the place where landed. Some shelter or food would be necessary for them there, as soon as landed, let their subsequent disposition be what it might. Should they be landed without such provision having been previously made, they might perish. It was supposed, by the authority given to the Executive to appoint agents residing on that coast, that they should provide such shelter and food, and perform the other beneficent and charitable offices contemplated by the act. The coast of Africa having been little explored, and no persons residing there, who possessed the requisite qualifications to entitle them to the trust, being known to the Executive, to none such could it be committed. It was believed that citizens only, who would go hence, well instructed in the views of their Government, and zealous to give them effect, would be competent to these duties, and that it was not the intention of the law to preclude their appointment. It was obvious that the longer these persons should be detained in the United States in the hands of the Marshals, the greater would be the expense, and that, for the same term, would the main purpose of the law be suspended. It seemed, therefore, to be incumbent on me to make the necessary arrangements for carrying this act into effect in Africa, in time to meet the delivery of any persons who might be taken by the public vessels, and landed there under it.

On this view of the policy and sanctions of the law, it has been decided to send a public ship to the coast of Africa, with two such agents, who will take with them tools and other implements necessary for the purposes above mentioned. To each of these agents a small salary has been allowed; fifteen hundred dollars to the principal, and twelve hundred to the other. All our public agents on the coast of Africa receive salaries for their services, and it was understood that none of our citizens possessing the necessary qualifications would accept these trusts, by which they would be confined to parts the least frequented and civilized, without a reasonable compensation. Such allowance, therefore seemed to be indispensable to the execution of the act. It is intended, also, to subject a portion of the sum appropriated to the order of the principal agent, for the special objects above stated, amounting, in the whole, including the salaries of the agents for one year, to rather less than one-third of the appropriation. Special instructions will be given to these agents, defining, in precise terms, their duties, in regard to the persons thus delivered to them; the disbursement of the money by the principal agent, and his accountability for the same. They will also have power to select the most suitable place on the coast of Africa, at which all persons who may be taken under this act shall be delivered to them, with an express injunction to exercise no power founded on the principle of colonization, or other power than that of performing the benevolent offices above recited, by the permission and sanction of the existing government under which they may establish themselves. Orders will be given to the commander of the public ship in which they will sail to cruise along the coast, to give the more complete effect to the principal object of the act.

WASHINGTON, December 17, 1819.



On motion of Mr. Whitman, it was Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury be directed to lay before this House copies of such communications as he may have received since 1816, and such information as he may possess, in relation to the illicit introduction of slaves into the United States, with a statement of the measures adopted to prevent the same.

On motion of Mr. Whitman, it was Resolved, That the Secretary of the Navy be directed to lay before this House copies of such communications as he may have received since 1816, and such information as he may possess, in relation to the introduction of slaves into the United States, with a statement of the measures adopted to prevent the same.

In obedience to the foregoing orders of the House of Representatives, the Secretaries of the Departments of the Treasury and of the Navy made the communications which follow.


January 11th, 1820. Sir: In obedience to a resolution of the House of Representatives, of the 31st ultimo, directing the Secretary of the Treasury to lay before the House " copies of such communications as he may have received since 1816, and such information as he may possess, in relation to the illicit introduction of slaves into the United States, with a statement of the measures adopted to prevent the same,” I have the honor to submit the enclosed letters, from different Collectors of the Customs, to this Department.

It appears, from an examination of the records of this office, that no par ticular instructions have ever been given, by the Secretary of the Treasury, under the original or supplementary acts prohibiting the introduction of slaves into the United States.

The general practice of the Department has been to confine its attention, and to limit its instructions, to cases arising under the revenue laws, except where, by directions of the President of the United States, the superintendence of the execution of other laws has been specially required of it. No such duty has, in relation to the laws prohibiting the introduction of slaves into the United States, been required of the Secretary of the Treasury. His letter to the War and Navy Departments, of the 16th July, 1817, a

of which is also enclosed, was written during the absence of the President, under circumstances which did not admit of the delay necessary to obtain his direction and instruction. An additional reason for writing that letter may be found in the fact that the other heads of department were absent, and the officers exercising their functions provisionally, were unwilling to incur the responsibility of the measures required by the occasion.

I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient servant,


Speaker of the House of Representatives.



July 16th, 1817. Sir: From information recently received by this Department, there is just reason to believe that Sir Gregor McGregor has taken military possession of Amelia Island, in the name of the Spanish Patriots. Considering that the restless and adventurous of all nations, and especially of the island of St. Domingo, have ranged themselves under the banners of the different leaders, by sea and land, who are engaged in the civil war now raging between Spain and her colonies, and that the port of Fernandina will necessarily become the common rendezvous of all the vessels sailing under the various flags of the Spanish provinces which have declared themselves independent, apprehensions are justly entertained by the citizens of the Southern section of the State of Georgia that their peace and tranquillity will be disturbed, and their rights infringed, unless protected by the presence of a force sufficient to command respect from the troops thus expected to be congregated in their immediate neighborhood.

In addition to the circumstances already communicated, the disposition which has been manifested by the vessels of Spain, engaged in the African slave trade, to introduce illicitly into that section of the Union the persons who, in the prosecution of their traffic, have been subjected to their control, seems to require the presence of a force sufficient to enforce the due execution of the laws against the introduction of slaves into the United States. From the known character and conduct of the leader of the enterprise against Amelia Island, there is just ground to apprehend that this illicit traffic, if continued, will, under his auspices, assume a bolder character; and, if abandoned, that it will be substituted by measures equally derogatory to the laws, and more destructive of the rights and interests of the citizens of the Eastern section of the Southern States. To guard against the unlawful introduction of slaves, and to repress any attempt that may be made by the foreign belligerent force collected in that neighborhood to excite domestic insurrection among the blacks, it appears to me to be absolutely necessary that a land and r.aval force be stationed at St. Mary's.

As the portion of East Florida immediately bordering on the United States is but sparsely, if at all, inhabited, the entrance of vessels into the river St. Mary's, freighted with slaves, can have no other object than the violation of our laws by covertly introducing a population which is prohibited. Under such circumstances, and especially when the imbecility or indisposition of the local authorities to preserve the accustomed relations be tween independent States are considered, and, above all, the odious character of the traffic intended to be restrained, the seizure of every vessel, freighted with slaves, which shall be found in the river St. Mary's or hovering upon our coast, is respectfully submitted.

I have the honor to be, &c.

W. H. CRAWFORD. The SECRETARIES of War and the Navy.

Extract of a lelter from the Deputy Collector of Nova Iberia to the Se

cretary of the Treasury, daied July 9th, 1818. “ By Mr. Dick's advice, last Summer, I got out State Warrants, and had negroes seized to the number of eighteen, which were a part of those stolen

out of the custody of the coroner, and the balance condemned by the District Judge of the State; and the informers received their part of the nett proceeds from the State Treasurer. Five negroes, that were seized about the same time, were tried at Opelousas, in May last, by the same judge: he decided that some Spaniards (that were supposed to have set up a sham claim, stating that the negroes had been stolen from them on the high seas) should have the negroes, and that the persons that seized them should pay one half the costs, and the State of Louisiana the other. This decision had such an effect as to render it almost impossible for me to obtain any assistance in that part of the country. There has been lately up the Bayou Nementou two schooners from Galveston; they sold a part of their cargoes, and deposited the balance, and I could get no assistance to take them. I made two seizures of wine, a part of one of their cargoes, in the neighborhood of the Vermillion bridge, about 20 miles to the Westward of this place. I summoned assistance, part of which refused to assist, a part deserted while guarding the property, and the balance, not being sufficiently strong to pro

was taken from them the ensuing night. The smugglers had forcibly prevented our removing the property in the day time.”


Port of Darien, July 5th, 1818. Sir: On the 14th March, I did myself the honor to address you on the subject of Africans illicitly introduced into the United States. Not being favored with a reply, it may be proper for me to state, that, a demand being subsequently made, by the Executive of this State, for all such Africans in my possession, in compliance therewith, I delivered over to his agent ninety-one negroes.

I have the honor to be, &c.

W. I. MCINTOSH, Collector. The Honorable WILLIAM H. CRAWFORD,

Secretary of the Treasury.

Extract of a letter from the Collector of New Orleans to the Secretary

of the Treasury, dated April 17th, 1818. “ It has been stated to me, on the authority of a letter to a respectable gentleman of this city, that there were three schooners lying in the river Mermentau, belonging to Commodore Aury's squadron, smuggling their cargoes on shore.

The audacity of the piratical set, since they find Galveston has not been, and, as they say, will not be, suppressed, knows no bounds. In order to keep them somewhat more in check, and to defeat their nefarious schemes, as far as in my power, until Government aid us with such force as it may deem best suited to the purpose, I have determined to station an additional revenue boat and crews, with an active and enterprising officer, at and near Fort St. Philip, and to increase the crews of the boats at the Balize and Fort St. John. It will, I think, render their operations a little more difficult, and I confidently rely on your approbation. The additional expense can be no consideration. But no efforts of the officers of

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