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- MAY 12, 1820.--The Committee of the Whole was discharged, and this bill was postponed until the first day of the next session of Congress; at which session it was not taken up.
SIXTEENTH CONGRESS_FIRST SESSION.
MAY 8, 1820.
Mr. MERCER reported the following amendments, proposed by the Com
mittee on the Slave Trade to the bill from the Senate, entitled " An act to continue in force an act to protect the commerce of the United States, and punish the crime of piracy, and also to make further provision for punishing the crime of piracy." After the third section of the bill, insert the following sections:
And be it further enacted, That, if any citizen of the United States, being of the crew or ship's company of any foreign ship or vessel engaged in the slave trade, or any person whatever, being of the crew or ship's company of any ship or vessel owned in whole or in part, or navigated for, or in behalf of, any citizen or citizens of the United States, shall land, from any such ship or vessel, and, on any foreign shore, seize any negro or mulatto, not held to service or labor by the laws of either of the States or Territories of the United States, with intent to make such negro or mulatto a slave, or shall decoy, or forcibly bring or carry, or shall receive, such negro or mulatto on board any such ship or vessel, with intent às aforesaid, such citizen or person shall be adjudged a pirate, and, on conviction thereof, before the Circuit Court of the United States for the district wherein he may be brought or found, shall suffer death.
· And be it further enacted, That, if any citizen of the United States, being of the crew or ship's company of any foreign ship or vessel engaged in the slave trade, or any person whatever, being of the crew or ship's company of any ship or vessel owned wholly or in part, or navigated for, or in behalf of, any citizen or citizens of the United States, shall forcibly confine, or detain, or aid and abet in forcibly confining, or detaining, on board such ship or vessel, any negro or mulatto, not held to service by the laws of either of the States or Territories of the United States, with intent to make such negro or mulatto a slave, or shall, on board any such ship or vessel, offer or attempt to sell, as a slave, any negro or mulatto not held to service as aforesaid, or shall, on the high seas, or any where on tide water, transfer, or deliver over, to any other ship or vessel, any negro or mulatto not held to service as aforesaid, with intent to make such negro or mulatto a slave, or shall land, or deliver on shore, from on board any such ship or vessel, any such negro or mulatto, with inteni to make sale of, or, having previously sold, such negro or mulatto as a slave, such citizens or person shall be adjudged a pirate, and, on conviction thereof before the Circuit Court of the United States for the district wherein he shall be brought or found, shall suffer death.
NOTE.-These amendments were agreed to by the House, and became a part of the bill which passed both Houses of Congress, and was approved by the President of the United States, May 15, 1820. When the bill was read the third time in the House of Representatives, and was on it passage:
Mr. Rich moved its re-committment to a select committee, with instructions to strike out the last section of the amendments; which motion was. rejected by the House.
May 9th, 1820.
Mr.MERCER, from the committee consisting of Mr. Hemphill, Mr. Mercer, Mr. Strong, of New York, Mr. Edwards, of Pennsylvania, Mr. Rogers, Mr Lathrop, and Mr. Abbott, reported the following resolutions:
1. 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 negotiate with all the governments where ministers of the United States are or shall be accredited, on the means of effecting an entire and immediate abolition of the slave trade.
2. Resolved further, That the President of the United States be requested to enter into a stipulation or formal declaration with the several maritime Powers, recognising the independence and permanent neutrality of any colony of the free people of color of the United States, which shall be established on the western coast of Africa.
3. Resolved further, That the President of the United States be requested, in such use as he may deem it expedient to make of the public ships of the United States, to afford every aid, not inconsistent with the public wel. fare, to the efforts of the American Society for Colonizing the Free People of Color of the United States upon the Western coast of Africa.
These resolutions were committed to a Committee of the Whole House.
May 12th, 1820.
Mr. Edwards, of North Carolina, moved that the Committee of the whole to which is committed the bill to continue in force the act, entitled “An act to protect the commerce of the United States, and to punish the crime of piracy;" the bill to incorporate the president and managers of the American Colonization Society, and the resolution authorizing the President of the United States to negotiate with foreign governments on the means of effecting an entire abolition of the American slave trade, be discharged from the further consideration thereof;
And the question being taken thereon,
live S Yeas, · · · · · · · 35,
:.: . . . . 78. The question was then put: Shall the second resolution lie on the table? And decided in the negative. And the question was then put: Shall the third resolution lie on the table? And passed in the affirmative.
Mr. Brush then moved that the first and second resolutions be postponed until the next session of Congress.
And on the question: Shalĩ the first resolution be postponed as aforesaid? It was decided in the negative. The question was then put: Shall the second resolution be postponed? And passed in the affirmative, • The first resolution was then ordered to be engrossed, and read a third time to-day.
Tbe said first resolution being engrossed, was read the third time, passed, and sent to the Senate for concurrence.
SIXTEENTH CONGRESS-SECOND SESSION.
MONDAY, DEC. 4, 1820.
On motion of Mr. Mercer, Resolved, That the President of the United States be requested to lay before this House any correspondence, that he does not deem inexpedient to disclose, which may have existed between the Executive of the United States and the government of any of the maritime powers of Europe, in relation to the African slave trade.
In pursuance of the call contained in the foregoing resolution, the President of the United States transmitted to the House of Representatives two messages, which, with their accompanying documents, are as follows:
I communicate to the House of Representatives a report from the Secretary of State, which, with the papers accompanying it, contain all the information in possession of the Executive, requested by a resolution of the House, of the 4th of December, on the subject of the African slave trade.
JAMES MONROE. Washington, 4th January, 1821.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
January 4th, 1821. The Secretary of State, to whom has been referred the resolution of the House of Representatives, of the 4th ult. requesting the communication to that House of any correspondence that the President does not deem it inexpedient to disclose, which may have existed between the Executive of the United States and the government of any of the maritime powers of Europe, in relation to the African slave trade, has the honor of submitting copies of the papers requested by the resolution. With the exception of a note from the late Spanish minister Onis, communicating a copy of the treaty between Spain and Great Britain on this subject, the only Government of Europe with whom there has been such correspondence is that of Great Britain; and these papers contain all that has passed between them on the subject, in writing. Since the arrival of Mr. Canning, various informal conferences between him and the Secretary of State have been held, in which. the proposals on the part of Great Britain have been fully discussed, without effccting a removal of the objections upon which the President had, in the first instance, found himself under the necessity of declining them. They have not yet terminated, nor have any written communications passed on the subject, with the exception of the note from Mr. Canning, and the answer to it, herewith submitted, both of a date subsequent to that of the resolution of the House.
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS.
LIST OF PAPERS.
Feb. 18, do
April 15, do
June 24, do
Nov. 2, do
Dec. 20, 1820.
Dec. 30, do
[TRANSLATION.) Don Luis de Onis to the Secretary of State. SIR: The introduction of negro slaves into America was one of the earliest measures adopted by the august ancestors of the king, my master, for the improvement and prosperity of those vast dominions, very shortly after their discovery. The total inaptitude of the Indians to various useful but painful labors, the result of their ignorance of all the conveniencies of life, and the imperfect progress in civil society, made it necessary to have recourse to strong and active laborers for breaking up and cultivating the earth. With the double view of stimulating them to active exertion, and of promoting the population of those countries, a measure was resorted to by Spain, which, although repugnant to her feelings, is not to be considered as having originated the system of slavery, but as having materially alleviated the evils of that which already existed, in consequence of a barbarous practice of the Africans, upon saving the lives of a considerable portion of the captives in war, whom they formerly put to death. By the introduction of this system, the negroes, far from suffering additional evils, or being subjected, while in a state of slavery, to a more painful life than when possessed of freedom in their own country, obtained the inestimable advantage of a knowledge of the true God, and of all the benefits attendant on civilization.
The benevolent feelings of the sovereigns of Spain did not, however, at any time permit their subjects to carry on this trade but by special license; and in the years 1789 and 1798 and on the 22d of April, 1804, certain limited periods were fixed for the importation of slaves. Although the last term had notexpired when his majesty, our Lord Don Ferdinand the Seventh, was restored to the throne, of which a perfidious usurper had attempted to deprive him, his majesty, on resuming the reins of government, soon perceived that those remote countries had become a prey to civil feuds; and, in reflecting on the most effectual means of restoring order, and affording them all the encouragement of which they are susceptible, his majesty discovered that the numbers of the natives and free negroes had prodigiously increased under the mild regimen of the government, and the humane treatment of the Spanish slave owners; that the white population had also greatly increase ed; that the climate is not so noxious to them as it was before the lands were cleared; and, finally, that the advantages resulting to the inhabitants of Africa, in being transported to cultivated countries, are no longer so decided and exclusive, since England and the United States have engaged in the noble undertaking of civilizing them in their native country.
All these considerations combining with the desire entertained by H. M. of co-operating with the Powers of Europe in putting an end to this traffic, which, if indefinitely continued, might involve them all in the most serious evils, have determined H. M. to conclude a treaty with the king of the united kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, by which the abolition of the slave trade is stipulated and agreed on, under certain regulations; and I have received his commands to deliver to the President a copy of the same, his majesty feeling confident that a measure so completely in harmony with the sentiments of this government, and of all the inhabitants of this republic, cannot fail to be agreeable to him.
In the discharge of this satisfactory duty, I now transmit you the aforesaid copy of the treaty, which I request you will be pleased to lay before the President, and I have the honor to renew the assurances of my distinguished respect. God preserve you many years!
LUIS DE ONIS. Washington, 14th May, 1818.
Extract of a letter from Mr. Rush to the Secretary of State, dated Fe
bruary 18, 1818. “ You will probably have perceived, by the proceedings in the House of Commons, that treaties have been formed between this government and both Spain and Portugal, securing, as far as may be done by treaty, the final abolition, after a specified time, not very remote, of the slave trade. Thus is a last hand to be put to the work of America, whose legislators led the way, with Europe against them, in this transcendent moral reform. But it is a triumph, which as little the Courts as the public of Europe seem willing, in any shape, to acknowledge. The palm is claimed by others. America is even placed in fault. In his speech on the Spanish treaty, delivered in the House of Commons, on the 8th instant, Lord Castlercagh observed that it was in vain for Britain alone to shut the door of her colonies against the slave trade; for that, unless there was a concert of exclusion, the other