The Suppression of the African Slave Trade to the United States of America Part 46

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— 5. “_And be it further enacted_, That in all cases in which a decree of any court having competent authority, shall be in favor of any or claimant or claimants, the said slaves shall be truly and faithfully, by said agent, delivered to such claimant or claimants: but in case of their condemnation, they shall be sold by such agent for cash to the highest bidder, by giving sixty days notice,” etc. _Acts of the a.s.sembly of Alabama, 1822_ (Cahawba, 1823), p. 62.

~1823, Jan. 30. United States Statute: Piracy Act made Perpetual.~

“An Act in addition to ‘An act to continue in force “An act to protect the commerce of the United States, and punish the crime of piracy,”‘”

etc. _Statutes at Large_, III. 510-14, 721, 789. For proceedings in Congress, see _Senate Journal_, 17 Cong. 2 sess. pp. 61, 64, 70, 83, 98, 101, 106, 110, 111, 122, 137; _House Journal_, 17 Cong. 2 sess. pp. 73, 76, 156, 183, 189.

~1823, Feb. 10. Congress (House): Resolution on Slave-Trade.~

Mr. Mercer offered the following resolution:–

“Resolved, That the President of the United States be requested to enter upon, and to prosecute, from time to time, such negotiations with the several maritime powers of Europe and America, as he may deem expedient, for the effectual abolition of the African slave trade, and its ultimate denunciation as piracy, under the law of nations, by the consent of the civilized world.” Agreed to Feb. 28; pa.s.sed Senate. _House Journal_, 17 Cong. 2 sess. pp. 212, 280-82; _Annals of Cong._, 17 Cong. 2 sess. pp.

928, 1147-55.

~1823, March 3. United States Statute: Appropriation.~

“An Act making appropriations for the support of the navy,” etc.

“To enable the President of the United States to carry into effect the act” of 1819, $50,000. _Statutes at Large_, III. 763, 764

~1823. President: Proposed Treaties.~

Letters to various governments in accordance with the resolution of 1823: April 28, to Spain; May 17, to Buenos Ayres; May 27, to United States of Colombia; Aug. 14, to Portugal. See above, Feb. 10, 1823.

_House Doc._, 18 Cong. 1 sess. VI. No. 119.

~1823, June 24. Great Britain: Proposed Treaty.~

Adams, March 31, proposes that the trade be made piracy. Canning, April 8, reminds Adams of the treaty of Ghent and asks for the granting of a mutual Right of Search to suppress the slave-trade. The matter is further discussed until June 24. Minister Rush is empowered to propose a treaty involving the Right of Search, etc. This treaty was substantially the one signed (see below, March 13, 1824), differing in the first article.

“Article I. The two high contracting Powers, having each separately, by its own laws, subjected their subjects and citizens, who may be convicted of carrying on the illicit traffic in slaves on the coast of Africa, to the penalties of piracy, do hereby agree to use their influence, respectively, with the other maritime and civilized nations of the world, to the end that the said African slave trade may be recognized, and declared to be, piracy, under the law of nations.”

_House Doc._, 18 Cong, 1 sess. VI. No. 119.

~1824, Feb. 6. Congress (House): Proposition to Amend Const.i.tution.~

Mr. Abbot’s resolution on persons of color:–

“That no part of the const.i.tution of the United States ought to be construed, or shall be construed to authorize the importation or ingress of any person of color into any one of the United States, contrary to the laws of such state.” Read first and second time and committed to the Committee of the Whole. _House Journal_, 18 Cong. 1 sess. p. 208; _Annals of Cong._, 18 Cong. 1 sess. p. 1399.

~1824, March 13. Great Britain: Proposed Treaty of 1824.~

“The Convention:”–

Art. I. “The commanders and commissioned officers of each of the two high contracting parties, duly authorized, under the regulations and instructions of their respective Governments, to cruize on the coasts of Africa, of America, and of the West Indies, for the suppression of the slave trade,” shall have the power to seize and bring into port any vessel owned by subjects of the two contracting parties, found engaging in the slave-trade. The vessel shall be taken for trial to the country where she belongs.

Art. II. Provides that even if the vessel seized does not belong to a citizen or citizens of either of the two contracting parties, but is chartered by them, she may be seized in the same way as if she belonged to them.

Art. III. Requires that in all cases where any vessel of either party shall be boarded by any naval officer of the other party, on suspicion of being concerned in the slave-trade, the officer shall deliver to the captain of the vessel so boarded a certificate in writing, signed by the naval officer, specifying his rank, etc., and the object of his visit.

Provision is made for the delivery of ships and papers to the tribunal before which they are brought.

Art. IV. Limits the Right of Search, recognized by the Convention, to such investigation as shall be necessary to ascertain the fact whether the said vessel is or is not engaged in the slave-trade. No person shall be taken out of the vessel so visited unless for reasons of health.

Art. V. Makes it the duty of the commander of either nation, having captured a vessel of the other under the treaty, to receive unto his custody the vessel captured, and send or carry it into some port of the vessel’s own country for adjudication, in which case triplicate declarations are to be signed, etc.

Art. VI. Provides that in cases of capture by the officer of either party, on a station where no national vessel is cruising, the captor shall either send or carry his prize to some convenient port of its own country for adjudication, etc.

Art. VII. Provides that the commander and crew of the captured vessel shall be proceeded against as pirates, in the ports to which they are brought, etc.

Art. VIII. Confines the Right of Search, under this treaty, to such officers of both parties as are especially authorized to execute the laws of their countries in regard to the slave-trade. For every abusive exercise of this right, officers are to be personally liable in costs and damages, etc.

Art. IX. Provides that the government of either nation shall inquire into abuses of this Convention and of the laws of the two countries, and inflict on guilty officers the proper punishment.

Art. X. Declares that the right, reciprocally conceded by this treaty, is wholly and exclusively founded on the consideration that the two nations have by their laws made the slave-trade piracy, and is not to be taken to affect in any other way the rights of the parties, etc.; it further engages that each power shall use its influence with all other civilized powers, to procure from them the acknowledgment that the slave-trade is piracy under the law of nations.

Art. XI. Provides that the ratifications of the treaty shall be exchanged at London within twelve months, or as much sooner as possible.

Signed by Mr. Rush, Minister to the Court of St. James, March 13, 1824.

The above is a synopsis of the treaty as it was laid before the Senate.

It was ratified by the Senate with certain conditions, one of which was that the duration of this treaty should be limited to the pleasure of the two parties on six months’ notice; another was that the Right of Search should be limited to the African and West Indian seas: i.e., the word “America” was struck out. This treaty as amended and pa.s.sed by the Senate (cf. above, p. 141) was rejected by Great Britain. A counter project was suggested by her, but not accepted (cf. above, p. 144). The striking out of the word “America” was declared to be the insuperable objection. _Senate Doc._, 18 Cong. 2 sess. I. No. 1, pp. 15-20; _Niles’s Register_, 3rd Series, XXVI. 230-2. For proceedings in Senate, see _Amer. State Papers, Foreign_, V. 360-2.

~1824, March 31. [Great Britain: Slave-Trade made Piracy.~

“An Act for the more effectual Suppression of the _African_ Slave Trade.”

Any person engaging in the slave-trade “shall be deemed and adjudged guilty of Piracy, Felony and Robbery, and being convicted thereof shall suffer Death without Benefit of Clergy, and Loss of Lands, Goods and Chattels, as Pirates, Felons and Robbers upon the Seas ought to suffer,”

etc. _Statute 5 George IV._, ch. 17; _Amer. State Papers, Foreign_, V.


~1824, April 16. Congress (House): Bill to Suppress Slave-Trade.~

“Mr. Govan, from the committee to which was referred so much of the President’s Message as relates to the suppression of the Slave Trade, reported a bill respecting the slave trade; which was read twice, and committed to a Committee of the Whole.”

— 1. Provided a fine not exceeding $5,000, imprisonment not exceeding 7 years, and forfeiture of ship, for equipping a slaver even for the foreign trade; and a fine not exceeding $3,000, and imprisonment not exceeding 5 years, for serving on board any slaver. _Annals of Cong._, 18 Cong. 1 sess. pp. 2397-8; _House Journal_, 18 Cong. 1 sess. pp. 26, 180, 181, 323, 329, 356, 423.

~1824, May 21. President Monroe’s Message on Treaty of 1824.~

_Amer. State Papers, Foreign_, V. 344-6.

~1824, Nov. 6. [Great Britain and Sweden: Treaty.~

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