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customs alone can be effectual in preventing the introduction of Africans from the Westward: to put a stop to that traffic, a naval force, suitable to those waters, is indispensable, and vessels captured with slaves ought not to be brought to this port, but sent to some other in the United States, for adjudication. Enclosed you will also find an act passed by the Legislature of this State, respecting slaves imported in violation of the laws of Congress, of the 2d March, 1807. The object and policy of this law requires no comment from me. Vast numbers of slaves will be introduced to an alarming extent, unless prompt and effectual measures are adopted by the General Government.
“ The master of an American schooner from Havana reports, that he was offered a full freight of Africans for this river, which he refused.”
COLLECTOR'S OFFICE, Dis. of BRUNSWICK, GEO.
Port of Darien, March 14, 1818. Sir: I had ihe honor to address you per last mail, and to enclose you papers respecting 47 African negroes, taken, by the Surveyor of Darien, from one Jared E. Groce, on their way to the Alabama Territory, through the Indian nation, and 41 others at the Creek agency, from the negro houses of the agent for Indian affairs. It is a painful duty, sir, to express to you, that I am in possession of undoubted information, that African and West India negroes are almost daily illicitly introduced into Georgia, for sale or settlement, or passing through it to the Territories of the United States for similar purposes. These facts are notorious; and it is not unusual to see such negroes in the streets of St. Mary's, and such too, recently captured by our vessels of war, and ordered to Savannah, were illegally bartered by hun. dreds in that city, for this bartering or bonding (as it is called, but in reality selling,) actually took place before any decision had passed by the court respecting them. I cannot but again express to you, sir, that these irregularities and mocking of the laws, by men who understand them, and who, it was presumed, would have respected them, are such, that it requires the immediate interposition of Congress to effect a suppression of this traffic: for, as things are, should a faithful officer of Government apprehend such negroes, to avoid the penalties imposed by the laws, the proprietors disclaim them, and some agent of the Executive demands a delivery of the same to him, who may employ them as he pleases, or effect a sale by way of a bond for the restoration of the negroes when legally called on so to do; which bond, it is understood, is to be forfeited, as the amount of the bond is so much less than the value of the property. And again, sir, an officer disposed to perform his trust with fidelity, is placed at the mercy of the State: for, to carry the intention of the federal laws into execution, great expenses may be incurred, and for which, the State seems not to have made any provision; but has, by its own law of the last session of the Legislature, invested the Executive with the power of becoming a speculator on the exertions and integrity of such federal officers as feel the weight of their responsibility, and who are willing to perform their duty. For instance, sir: after much fatigue, peril, and expense, 88 Africans are seized and brought by the Surveyor to Darien; they are demanded immediately by the Governor's agents, notwithstanding the knowledge which his Excellency had, that these very Africans were for some weeks within 60 miles of his Excellency's residence, (the seat of Government) there was no effort, no stir made by him, his agents, or subordinate State officers, to carry the laws into execution; but no sooner than it was understood that a seizure had been effected by an officer of the United States, a demand is made for them; and it is not difficult to perceive, by a compliance, that the very aggressors may, by a forfeiture of the mock bond, be again placed in possession of the smuggled property, at but little additional expense to him, but at the entire ruin of the officers who had executed with fidelity the laws they felt bound to observe. There are many negroes (independent of those mentioned as having been bartered in Savannah, &c. before any decision had passed respecting them) recently introduced into this State and the Alabama Territory, and which can be apprehended. The undertaking would be great; but, to be sensible that we shall possess your approbation, and that we are carrying the views and wishes of the Government into execution, is all we wish, and it shall be done, independent of every personal consideration.
I have, &c.
WM. I. MINTOSH, Collector. The Hon. WM. H. CRAWFORD,
Secretary of the Treasury.
Savannah, 25th November, 1817. Sir: I have the honor of informing you that the schooner Tentativa, reported to be under Spanish colors, with one hundred and twenty-eight slaves on board, was brought into this port on the 19th instant, by a part of the crew of the United States' vessel the Saranac, John H. Elton, commander, having been captured by said vessel, and, at the time, abandoned by her crew. The Tentativa has been libelled by the proctor for the captors; and the slaves, by order of the court, delivered over to the proctor for the captors and the Collector of this port, to be taken care of by them until demanded by the competent authority: this order was procured by the proctor for the captors, with a view of preserving the lives of the slaves, they being destitute of provisions and clothing, and must have perished had they been longer at sea.
Four of them have already died, but the remaining part of them have been so disposed of as to ensure comfort to them for the present. Under the order of court, and the influence of humanity, it appears to be my duty to interest myself for the sufferers; and having an estate near the city, I inquired of my agent how many of these people he could accommodate with house-room, and, upon his statement, I have taken possession of forty in number, all of whom I have clothed, and shall continue otherwise to succor, until demanded by the competent authority.
I have, &c.
A. S. BULLOCK, Collector. The Honorable WM. H. CRAWFORD,
Secretary of the Treasury.
Extract of a letter from the Deputy Collector of Nova Iberia, to the Se
cretary of the Treasury, dated September 27th, 1818.
“On the 8th day of July last, Captain Amelung, with eighteen of his mpany, agreed to go with me to the Bayou Nementou, to suppress smuggling. On the day and succeeding night after our arrival there, we took thirteen prisoners that came armed to support smugglers, &c. The next day we took one of their vessels; set some hands to work in repairing her, and Captain Amelung returned to Nova Iberia for the balance of his company, returned with them, and we proceeded on with twenty-tive men to the Bayou Cureuseau. On our arrival there we made more prisoners; seized three African negroes, two vessels, and part of their cargoes. Runners had been sent ahead of us, and five or six vessels run out of the Bayou a few days prior to our arrival there. A large number of African negroes had been on that bayon, eighty of which left there a short time before our arrival, and about twenty passed us the night before we arrived. We proceed. ed down the Cureuseau, and came round to the Bayou Nementou. Captain Amelung furnished me with a lieutenant and eighteen men, and returned by land to Nova Iberia with the balance of his company. We proceeded with the vessels down the Nementou; met a fellucca, commanded by one of Lafitte's captains, off the mouth of the Bayou. The captain took us for smugglers; we got him on board of one of our vessels, and, notwithstanding his directing his imen in French, when he left his own vessel, to cut their cable if he did not return with the boat, run downour boat, and kill every man on board, we buarded her after they cut their cable, and took her without the loss of
Her cargo consists of coffee, cocoa, refined wax for candles, oil, dry goods, and about 10,000 lbs. of quicksilver. I arrived here yesterday, having suffered much. During the line storm we lost three anchors, sprung one mast, carried away our yards and sails. I left the vesselş in the Vermillion bay; shall start immediately to bring them round to this place. If there was one small cutter on this coast she would be of great service.'
Savannah, 22d May, 1817. Sır: I have just received information from a source on which I can implicitly rely, that it has already become the practice to introduce into the State of Georgia, across the St. Mary's river, from Amelia island, East Florida, Africans, who have been carried into the port of Fernandina, subsequent to the capture of it by the Patriot army now in possession of it.
As this species of traffic may be carried on for an indefinite period of time, without the interposition of Government, I have deemed it my duty to give you the earliest advice of it.
Immediately after the receipt of your letter of the 19th March last, I instructed Captain Smith to cruize with the cutter to the Southward as far as St. Mary's bar, with a view of preventing the landing of such people on the seaboard; but it is not in his power to guard the St. Mary's, which is the route for the introduction of them. It becomes more necessary for a guard to be organized by Government, as this State has never legislated on the subject of the importation of slaves. Were the Legislature to pass an act giving compensation, in some mariner, to informers, it would have a tendency
in a great degree to prevent the practice; as the thing now is, no citizen will take the trouble of searching for and detecting the slaves. I further understand that the evil will not be confined altogether to Africans, but will be extended to the worst class of West India slaves.
I am, &c.
A. S. BULLOCK, Collector. The Hon. W. H. CRAWFORD,
Secretary of the Treasury.
COLLECTOR'S OFFICE, Port of MOBILE.
October 7th, 1818. Sir: It is understood that Judge Webb, one of the Judges of the Territory, has resigned. Permit me, Sir, to suggest the importance of an early appointment to the vacancy, in order that the person appointed might be present at the next session of the General Court, on the first Monday of January next. There are now pending before that court a number of cases of very great importance to the public interest, particularly those of the three vessels, their cargoes, and upwards of one hundred slaves.
I hope the Attorney of the United States has informed the Treasury Department of the proceedings of the court in these cases; not having seen him since, I have not attempted a statement of proceedings, to me so very strange. This, however, appears certain, that the vessels and cargoes and the slaves have been delivered on bonds, the former to the owners, and the slaves to three other persons. The grand jury found true bills against the owners of the vessels, masters, and a supercargo-all of whom are discharged; why or wherefore, I cannot say, except that it could not be for want of proof against them.
It is certainly a matter of great importance that these cases be stamped with the full force of the law, to prevent future importations. Two of the vessels were cleared at Havana for New Orleans, and one for this port; and all American registered vessels, the former at New Orleans, the latter at this port.
Perhaps the magnitude and importance of these cases would render it expedient to employ additional counsel, in aid of the United States’ Attorney, as he will be opposed by able lawyers from New Orleans. Should you deem this proper, be pleased, Sir, to direct the sum which may be allowed.
I have the honor to be, &c.
ADDIN LEWIS, Collector. The Hon. W. H. CRAWFORD,
Secretary of the Treasury.
NAVY DEPARTMENT, January 6th, 1820. SIR: In obedience to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 31st December last, requiring the Secretary of the Navy to furnish 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, I have the honor to transmit sundry extracts of letters, numbered 1 to 4, inclusively, comprising all the information communicated to this Department since 1816, in relation to the introduction of slaves into the United States.
I have the honor to refer the House of Representatives to my report of the 9th January, 1819, on this subject; and I transmit, herewith, paper marked A, which contains that part of the instructions from this Department to the commanding naval officers in relation to slave vessels.
The public vessels now cruizing have not yet reported their operations, nor is it known that any seizures have been made by them.
I have the honor to be,
SMITH THOMPSON. The Honorable the SPEAKER
of the House of Representatives.
Extract of a letter from Captain Charles Morris to the Secretary of the
U. S. FRIGATE CONGRESS,
Off the Balize, 10th June, 1817. “ Most of the goods carried to Galveston are introduced into the United States; the more bulky and least valuable, regularly through the custom house; the more valuable, and the slaves, are smuggled in through the numerous inlets to the Westward, where the people are but too much disposed to render them every possible assistance. Several hundred slaves are now at Galveston, and persons have gone from New Orleans to purchase them. Every exertion will be made to intercept them, but I have little hopes of success.
Extract of a letter from Lieutenant Commandant John Porter to the
Secretary of the Navy, dated
U. S. BRIG BOXER,
of the Balize, June 28th, 1817. “ I shall leave this on Monday to cruise off the Sabine river. It is reported that attempts will be made to smuggle slaves into Louisiana from Galveston, and the natural presumption is, that they will attempt the Sabine or the Achafalaya rivers. The depth of the water of those rivers is very inaccurately represented on the charts, and it will not be in my power to approach nearer the shore than within ten miles of the Sabine, and not nearer than thirty off the Atchafalaya. Whatever can be done to prevent their being brought clandestinely into the country, will have to be performed by the boats, which, sir, shall be actively employed the moment we arrive on the ground.”