Imatges de pÓgina

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 establish

ed 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 welfare, 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,

It passed in the affirmative.

Mr. Edwards then moved that the said resolutions do lie on the table. A division of the question on that motion was called for;

And on the question, Shall the first of the said resolutions lie on the table?




It was determined in the negative,

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: Shall 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.

The said first resolution being engrossed, was read the third time, passed, and sent to the Senate for concurrence.


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.

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 effecting 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.


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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.

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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 increased; 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!

Washington, 14th May, 1818.


Extract of a letter from Mr. Rush to the Secretary of State, dated February 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 Castlereagh 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

islands of the West Indies, "and the Southern provinces of the United States, would become the asylum and depot of it." I gladly caught the opportu nity of this accidental meeting" to say what could not have been otherwise than acceptable to the zeal for abolition. I stated the nature of our laws. I said, I felt sure that he would hear from me with pleasure that it was upwards of nine years since the traffic had been abolished throughout the Union; and that, so far had our acts of Congress carried the prohibition, that, to import even a single slave into any of the States, had, during the same period, been denounced as an offence, and subjected to unusually rigorous penalties of fine and imprisonment. His lordship admitted the prohibitions, but intimated fears lest we could not enforce them, alluding to the recent state of things at Amelia. In the end, he invited me to look into all their conventions with other Powers upon this subject, with a view to future conversation, adding that he was well disposed himself to a proper concert of action between our two governments, for the more effectual extirpation of the


"I shall look into the conventions accordingly, and wait the renewal of the topic. Whether policy would dictate any concert, is a point upon which, not being instructed, I will not presume to give any opinion. But I hope I do not misjudge in thinking that, for the present, merely bound to listen to, without seeking, any further conversation. I will take care punctually to communicate, for the President's information, whatever may be said to me, in like manner as my duty devolves it upon me to transmit this first sentiment, so cursorily thrown out by Lord Castlereagh. It will be understood, that, in adverting to our municipal prohibitions, I intended no advance to the point of national co-operation. It was barely for the sake of an incidental and gratuitous vindication, after a public remark, which, to say no more, was susceptible of unjust interpretations. On his allusion to Amelia Island, I reminded him that it was the very anxiety to prevent the illicit introduction of slaves that had formed a ruling motive with the Presi dent for breaking up, with the public force itself, the establishment at that place."

Extract of a letter from Mr, Rush to the Secretary of State, April

15, 1818.

"He (Lord Castlereagh) next spoke of the slave trade. The government of Great Britain felt, he said, an increasing desire that the Government of the United States should lend itself to the measures of regulation going forward in Europe for its complete extirpation. These measures mean, in effect, a reciprocal submission to the right of search. He explained, by saying, that only to a limited number of the armed vessels of each of the maritime states would a power to search be deputed, while the exercise of it would be strictly forbidden to all others. It was contemplated, he continu-ed, to form, out of an association of these armed vessels, a species of naval police, to be stationed chiefly in the African seas, and from whose harmonious and co-operating efforts, the best results were anticipated. He added, that no peculiar structure or previous appearances in the vessel searched, no presence of irons, or other presumptions of criminal intention, nothing but the actual finding of slaves on board, was ever to authorize a seizure or

*With Lord Castlereagh.

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