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Suppression of the Slave Trade.
est assurances that the solicitude of the United ment, all judicial power is to be vested in a SuStates for the universal extirpation of this traffic preme Court, and in such other inferior courts as continues with all the earnesiness which so long Congress may from time to time ordain and estaband steadily distinguished the course of their policy lish. It further provides, that the judges of these in relation to it. Of their general prohibitory law courts shall hold their offices during good behaof 1807, it is unnecessary that the undersigned viour, and be removable on impeachment and conshould speak, his Lordship being already apprized viction of crimes and misdemeanors. There are of its provisions; among which the authority to serious doubts whether, obeying the spirit of these employ the national force, as auxiliary to its exe- injunctions, the Government of the United States cution, will not have escaped attention. But he would be competent to appear as party to the inhas it in charge to make known, as a new pledge stitution of a court for carrying into execution of their unremitting and active desire in the cause their penal statutes in places out of their own terriof abolition, that, so lately as the month of April tory-a court consisting partly of foreign judges Jast, another act of Congress was passed, by which, not liable to impeachment under the authority of not only are the citizens and vessels of the United the United States, and deciding upon their statutes States interdicted from carrying on, or being in without appeal. any way engaged in, the trade, but in which, also, Again : Obstacles would exist towards giving the best precautions that legislative enactments validity to the disposal of the negroes found on can devise, or their penalties enforce, are raised board the slave-trading vessels, condemned by the up against the introduction into their territories of sentence of the mixed courts. If they should be slaves from abroad, under whatever pretext at- delivered over to the Government of the United tempted, and especially from dominions which lie States as freemen, they could not, but by their more immediately in their neighborhood. A copy own consent, be employed as servants or free laborof this act is herewith enclosed for the more par-ers. The condition of negroes and other people ticular information of his Lordship. That pecu- of color in the United States being regulated by liarity in the eighth section which throws upon a the municipal laws of the separate States, the defendant the labor of proof as the condition of Government of the former could neither guaranty acquittal, the undersigned persuades himself will their liberty in the States, where they could only be regarded as signally manifesting an anxiety to be received as slaves, nor control them in the suppress the hateful offence, departing as it does States where they would be recognised as free. from the analogy of criminal jurisprudence which The provisions of the fifth section of the act of so generally requires the independent and positive Congress, which the undersigned has the honor to establishment of guilt as the first step in every enclose, will be seen to point to this obstacle, and public prosecution. To measures of such a char may be taken as still further explanatory of its acter, thus early adopted and sedulously pursued, nature. the undersigned is further commanded to say, that These are some of the principal reasons which the Government of the United States, acting arrest the assent of the President to the very frank within the pale of its Constitutional powers, will and friendly overture contained in your Lordship's always be ready to superadd any others that ex- communication. Having their foundation in Conperience may prove to be necessary for attaining stitutional impediments, the Government of His the desirable end in view.
Britannic Majesty will know how to appreciate But, on examining the provisions of the treaties, their force. It will be seen how compatible they which your Lordship honored the undersigned by are with the most earnest wishes on the part of communicating, it has appeared to the President the United States that the measures concerted by that their essential articles are of a character not these treaties may bring about the total downfall adapted to the circumstances or to the institutions of the traffic in human blood; and with their de of the United States.
termination to co-operate, to the utmost extent The powers agreed to be given to the ships of of their Constitutional power, towards this great war of either party to search, capture, and carry consummation so imperiously due at the hands into port for adjudication, the merchant vessels of of all nations to the past wrongs and sufferings of the other, however qualified, is connected with Africa. the establishment, by each treaty, of two mixed The undersigned prays Lord Castlereagh to accourts; one of which is to have its seat in the cept the assurances of his distinguished considcolonial possessions of the parties respectively. eration. The institution of such tribunals is necessarily re
RICHARD RUSH. garded as fundamental to the whole arrangement, whilst their peculiar structure is doubtless intend
Mr. Rush to the Secretary of State-Extract. ed, and would seem to be indispensable, towards imparting to it a just reciprocity. But to this part
LONDON, March 5, 1819. of the system, the United States, having no colo- “Lord Castlereagh sent me, a few days ago, nies upon the coast of Africa, in the West Indies, the enclosed printed parliamentary document. li or elsewhere, cannot give effect.
will be found to comprise a variety of interesting Moreover, the powers of government in the Uni-papers relating to the slave trade, exhibiting all ted States, whilst they can only be exercised within that has lately been done by the Powers of Europe the grants, are also subject to the restrictions of upon the subject, and the actual and precise footthe Federal Constitution. By the latter instru-l ing upon which it now stands. Its receipt was Suppression of the Slave Trade.
the first notice that I had in any shape of the fact most desirable end. That it was his Lordship's of the publication, or of there being any intention design to enclose to me, at an early day, copies of to publish my notes to this Government of the these addresses, as a foundation upon which to 23d of June and 21st of December. It will be build in the new endeavor which this Government seen, from one of the papers, how unequivocal was now prepared to make. In doing so, his oband animated has been the refusal of France to ject, however, merely would be, that of bespeakallow her vessels to be boarded and searched at ing my interposition towards making known to sea for slaves. Now, there is nothing more evi- the President the measures contemplated ; since it dent, as may be collected from my despatch of the was intended that all further negotiation should be 15th of last April, than that this is a result which, carried on at Washington. This he thought inat that period, Lord Castlereagh did not antici- dispensable after the past failure, as it could not pate. Nevertheless, it would seem, from a pas- | be supposed that I was prepared with any new sage in his Lordship's letter to Lord Bathurst, from authority or instructions to resume it upon this Paris, dated the 10th of December, the last paper side of the water. That the new Minister, Mr. in the collection, and written subsequently to all Canning, who, his Lordship now informed me, the conferences and declarations at Aix la Cha- was to sail as early in the Spring as practicable, pelle, that he still indulges a sanguine expectation would accordingly have the whole subject in ihat the French Government may be brought, at charge, and be prepared to enter upon it on his no distant period, to unite their naval exertions arrival, under ardent hopes for an auspicious terwith those of the other allied Powers, for the sup- mination of his labors. I replied that I would, in pression of the trade. Some of the evidence fur- the same spirit as before, make known the communished by the African Society, in London, and nication to my Government. I adverted again to from Sierra Leone, as to the extent in which the the obstacles which the Constitution of the United trade continues to be unlawfully carried on, may States interposed to the project; and also to the probably command attention in the United States. peculiar and extreme caution with which the mo
“What communications may, at any former mentous question of search mingled with it would periods, have been made to the Government of the be looked at throughout every part of the country. United States, by the Government France, I said that these reasons superadded themselves to Russia, or Prussia, through any channel, either in that derived from the failure of the attempt already Europe or at Washington, of their intentions in made here to give great propriety, as it struck me, regard to this naval combination for putting down to a change of the scene of negotiation. That if the traffic, I am not informed. It is impossible to any thing could be done, it could be done only, or refrain from remarking, that, to me, they remained at all events be done best, at Washington. That utterly unknown, until I saw them recorded in the President, I was sure, continued to possess all these pages of a document given to the world by his original sensibility to the importance of the England."
subject, and would entertain any proposals, differ
ently modified, that were submitted, with the same Extract of a letter from Mr. Rush to the Secretary of to their objects.
anxious dispositions as ever, for a favorable result State, dated London, November 10, 1819. “ The conversation went off by reference on my “On the 7th of this month I received a note part to the Holy League. I remarked that, as from Lord Castlereagh, requesting that I would the Government of Great Britain had declared, call upon him at his house on the 9th. I waited that the principles of that league had its entire apupon him at the time appointed.
probation, although it had not formally become a "His object, he stated, was to say to me, that party to it, so the United States, acting within the Government of Great Britain had lost none of their Constitutional limits, had long and earnestly its anxiety to see produced among nations, more striven, and would, it might be confidently afuniversal and effective co-operation than had yet firmed, though restrained from going hand in hand been witnessed, for the total abolition of the slave with Europe, always continue their efforts in the trade. It was still carried on, he observed, to an same beneficent spirit, for putting down totally extent that was afflicting. In some respects, as the slave trade. It is well known that the Earl of the evidence collected by the African Institution Liverpool, not longer ago than last February, deand from other sources would show, the voyages scribed, in the House of Peers, the character of were marked by more than all their original out- this league, as well as the insurmountable impedirages upon humanity. It was the intention of the ment which held back this country from signing Prince Regent again to invite the United States it
. He distinctly declared that, as the signatures io negotiate upon the subject, in the hope, not- were all in the autograph of the respective soverwithstanding what had beretofore passed, that eigns, England, in point of form, could never acsome practicable mode might still be adopted by cede to it; for it was not consistent with her conwhich they could consent to become party to the stitution that the Prince Regent should himself association for finally extirpating the traffic. That sign such an instrument, without the intervention I was aware of the addresses which had been pre- of a responsible Minister. Upon my reminding sented to his Royal Highness by both Houses of Lord Castlereagh of this declaration, which I was Parliament, at the close of the last session, for the the more ready to do so since it was your wish renewal of negotiations with the Governments both that the illustration should be brought into view, of the United States and France, to effectuate this he candidly admitted that we too doubtless had Suppression of the Slave Trade.
our Constitutional embarrassments; but he never transactions of any magnitude, will be contented to theless hoped that such, and all others, might, by acquiesce in the continuance of a practice so fiaproper modifications of the plan, be overcome.” grantly immoral; especially at the present favora
ble period, when the slave trade is coinpletely
abolished to the north of the equator, and counteMr. Canning to the Secretary of State.
nanced by Portugal alone to the south of that WASHINGTON, Dec. 20, 1819. line. The undersigned, His Britannic Majesty's En- Mr. Adams is fully acquainted with the parvoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, ticular measures recommended by His Majesty's took an early opportunity, after his arrival in the Ministers as best calculated, in their opinion, to City of Washington, to inform Mr. Adams that, attain the object which both parties have in view; in pursuance of Lord Castlereagh's note, dated the but he need not be reminded that the English 11th November, 1819, communicating to Mr. Government is too sincere in the pursuit of that Rush an address of bóth Houses of Parliament, common object, to press the adoption of its own relating to the African slave trade, he was in- proposals, however satisfactory in themselves, to structed to bring that important question again the exclusion of any suggestions equally conducive under the consideration of the American Govern- to the same end, and more agreeable io the instiment, in the hope of being found practicable so to tutions or prevailing opinion of other nations. combine the preventive measures of the two coun- The undersigned embraces this opportunity to tries as materially to accelerate the total extinc- offer Mr. Adams the assurance of his high contion of an evil, which both have long united in sideration. condemning and opposing.
STRATFORD CANNING. Mr. Adams will find no difficulty in recollecting the several conversations which have passed be
The Secretary of State to Mr. Canning. tween him and the undersigned on this subject; he will remember that the last of those conversa
DEPARTMENT OF State, tions, which took place towards the close of Oc
Washington, Dec. 30, 1820. tober, was terminated with an assurance on his
Sir: I have had the honor of receiving your part, that the proposals of the English Govern- note of the 20th instant, in reply to which, I am ment would be taken into full deliberation as soon directed by the President of the United States to after the meeting of Congress as the state of pub- inform you that, conformably to the assurances lic business would allow, with a sincere disposi- given you in the conversation to which you refer, tion to remove any impediments which appeared the proposals made by your Government to the at first sight to stand in the way of their accep- United States, inviting their accession to the tance.
arrangements contained in certain treaties with An interval of considerable length having Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands, to which elapsed since that period, the undersigned is per- Great Britain is the reciprocal contracting party, suaded that Mr. Adams will shortly be at liberty have again been taken into the most serious delibto communicate the definitive sentiments of his eration of the President, with an anxious desire of Government on a subject which is of too deep and contributing, to the utmost extent of the powers too general an importance not to engage the at- within the competency of this Government, and tention and benevolent feelings of the United by means compatible with its duties to the rights States.
of its own citizens, and with the principles of its In this persuasion, the undersigned conceives it national independence, to the effectual and final unnecessary, on the present occasion, to go over suppression of the African slave trade. the various grounds which formed the matter of At an earlier period of the communications behis late conversations with Mr. Adams.
tween the two Governments upon this subject, the Notwithstanding all that has been done on both President, in manifesting his sensibility to the sides of the Atlantic for the suppression of the Af- amicable spirit of confidence with which the mearican slave trade, it is notorious that an illicit sures, concerted between Great Britain and some commerce, attended with aggravated sufferings to of her European allies, had been made known to its unhappy victims, is still carried on; and it is the United States, and to the free and candid offer generally acknowledged that a combined system of admitting the United States to a participation of maritime police can alone afford the means of in these measures, had instructed the Minister of putting it down with effect.
the United States residing near your Government That concurrence of principle in the condem- i to represent the difficulties, resulting as well from nation and prohibition of the slave trade, which certain principles of international law, of the has so honorably distinguished the Parliament of deepest and most painful interest to these United Great Britain and the Congress of the United States, as from limitations of authority prescribed States, seems naturally and unavoidably to lead by the people of the United States to the legislative to a concert of measures between the two Gov- and executive depositaries of the national power, ernments, the moment that such co-operation is which placed him under the necessity of declining recognised as necessary for the accomplishment of the proposal. It had been stated that a compact, their mutual purpose. It cannot be anticipated giving the power to the naval officers of one nation that either of the parties, discouraged by such to search the merchant vessels of another for offendifficulties as are inseparable from all human ders and offences against the laws of the latter, Execution of the Treaty of Ghent. backed by a further power to seize and carry into be given to the commanders of the vessels respeca foreign port, and there subject to the decision of tively assigned to that service; that they may be a tribunal composed of at least one-half foreigners, ordered, whenever the occasion may render it conirresponsible to the supreme corrective tribunal of venient, to cruise in company together, to commuthis Union, and not amenable to the control of nicate mutually to each other all information impeachment for official misdemeanor, was an in- obtained by the one, and which may be useful to vestment of power over the persons, property, and the execution of the duties of the other, and to reputation, of the citizens of this country, not only give each other every assistance which may be unwarranted by any delegation of sovereign power compatible with the performance of their own to the National Government, but so adverse to the service and adapted to the end which is the comelementary principles and indispensable securities mon aim of both parties. of individual rights, interwoven in all the political These measures, congenial to the spirit which institutions of this country, that not even the most has so long and so steadily marked the policy of unqualified approbation of the ends to which this the United States, in the vindication of the rights organization of authority was adapted, nor the of humanity, will, it is hoped, prove effectual to most sincere and earnest wish to concur in every the purposes for which this co-operation is desired suitable expedient for their accomplishment, could by your Government, and to which this Union reconcile it to the sentiments or the principles, of will continue to direct its most strenuous and perwhich, in the estimation of the people and Gov- severing exertions. ernment of the United States, no consideration I pray you, sir, to accept the assurance of my whatsoever could justify the transgression. distinguished consideration. In the several conferences which, since your
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS. arrival here, I have had the honor of holding with Rt. Hon. STRATFORD CANNING, you, and in which this subject has been fully and
Envoy Extraordinary, fc. freely discussed between us, the incompetency of the power of this Government to become a party to the institution of tribunals organized like those stipulated in the conventions above noticed, and EXECUTION OF THE TREATY OF GHENT. the incompatibility of such tribunals with the essential character of the Constitutional rights guarantied to every citizen of the Union, has been
[Reported to the House, February 3, 1821.] shown by direct references to the fundamental The select committee, to whom was referred the principles of our Government, in which the su- Message of the President of the United States preme, unlimited, sovereign power is considered respecting the progress and expenditures of the as inherent in the whole body of its people, while commissioners under the fifth, sixth, and seventh its delegations are limited and restricted by the
articles of the Treaty of Ghent, respectfully subterms of the instruments sanctioned by them, un
mit the following report : der which the powers of legislation, judgment, and The fifth article of the Treaty of Ghent provides execution, are administered; and by special indi- for ascertaining the boundary from the source of cations of the articles in the Constitution of the the St. Croix to the northwest corner of Nova United States, which expressly prohibit their con- Scotia, and also from that corner, westwardly, stituted authorities from erecting any judicial between the United States and Canada, until the courts, by the forms of process belonging to which line strikes the Iroquois, now called the St LawAmerican citizens should be called to answer for rence, in latitude forty-five degrees north. any penal offence, without the intervention of a Mr. Van Ness is the commissioner of the Unigrand jury to accuse, and of a jury of trial to ted States for this section of the boundary line. decide upon the charge.
The sixth article of the Treaty of Ghent proBut, while regretting that the character of the vides for ascertaining the boundary line, westorganized means of co-operation for the suppres- wardly, from the above mentioned point on the St. sion of the African slave trade, proposed by Great Lawrence, through Lakes Ontario, Erie, and Britain, did not admit of our concurrence in the Huron, and their water communications to Lake adoption of them, the President has been far from Superior. the disposition to reject or discountenance the Mr. Porter, of New York, is the commissioner general proposition of concerted co-operation with on the part of the United States assigned to this Great Britain to the accomplishment of the com- section. mon end—the suppression of the trade. For this By the seventh article of that treaty, it is stipupurpose, armed cruisers of the United States have lated that when the commissioners appointed under been for some time kept stationed on the coast which the sixth article shall have performed the duties is the scene of this odious traffic—a measure which required by that article, then they are authorized it is in the contemplation of this Government to con- to determine the boundary line from the water tinue without intermission. As there are armed communication between Lakes Huron and SuBritish vessels, charged with the same duty, con-perior to the northwest corner of the Lake of the stantly kept cruising on the same coast, I am Woods ; the whole boundary to be established directed by the President to propose that instruc- agreeably to the provisions of the treaty of 1783. tions, to be concerted between the two Govern- Mr. Porter will, of course, become the Ameriments, with a view to mutual assistance, should I can commissioner, when he shall have finished Execution of the Treaty of Ghent.
the duties required by the sixth article of the have devoted about six years to the performance Treaty of Ghent.
of this part of their duty. By their resolution of the 21st of November After this they will be ready to turn their attenlast, the House requested the President of the Uni- tion to the boundary from the water communicated States to lay before them information respect- tion between Huron and Superior to the northing the progress made by the commissioners in west corner of the Lake of the Woods, according to establishing the boundary above mentioned, and the seventh article of the treaty. the expenses already incurred. With his
It is observed in the letter of Mr. Porter, above of the 14th December last, the President transmit- referred to, that “the seventh article of the treaty ted a report of the Secretary of State, containing relates to a country which is comparatively of litall the information in the possession of that De- tle importance, and a system of operations is propartment requested by that resolution.
posed to be adopted for designating the boundary, So far as relates to the boundary from the head which will greatly reduce both the time and exof the St. Croix to the St. Lawrence, it seems pense of its execution.” What this system of opethat no information had been afforded to the Gov- rations may, be is not disclosed. It is presumed, ernment at the date of the President's Message. however, to be such a system as will not endanger Mr. Van Ness, in his letter of the 25th of Novem- the rights of the nation, while it is a subject of reber last, observes, with respect to the progress gret that it had not been sooner applied. which has been made by the commission, I under
From an examination of the printed documents,
it stand the agent has already given to the Government
appears that the sum of $194,137 63 has been all the information which it would be in my power
drawn from the Treasury on account of the two to communicate.” He also mentions that the commissions under the treaty which have been commissioners under the fifth article of the treaty Mr. Van Ness, as commissioner under have held two sessions the present year;" but there is no disclosure of past exertions or future
the fifth article, has received - $82,444 00 prospects in the discharge of the duties assigned
Mr. Bradley, as agent
16,655 10 to him.
$99,099 10 Since that time, the committee have been furnished with a communication from Mr. Van Ness, (marked No. 18 in the manuscript documents at the agent, and the accounts adjusted by the Ameri
Of this sum, $35,676 13 has been expended by iending this report,) dated January 6, 1821, in which he observes that the next meeting is to be afforded are in such general terms that explanation
can and British commissioners; but the statements held on the 14th May, and that the commissioners is required to determine how far they could be apintend at that meeting to continue in session until proved by this Government. The remainder of they have decided upon all questions submitted to the sum drawn under the fifth article remains withthem by the treaty. To this letter the committee out evidence of its disbursement, except what may would call the atiention of the House, as contain- be retained for the commissioner's salary. ing much information of the progress which the commissioners under the fifth article have made. and seventh articles of the treaty, has drawn from
Mr. Porter, the commissioner under the sixth No satisfactory reason, however, is assigned why the Treasury $65,315 95. No part has been acearlier information has not been given to the Gov-counted for. He has transmitted statements of exernment. The committee have not seen any oc- penditures to the amount of $47,263 09, exclusive casion for secrecy on the part of the commission of his salary. He informs the Secretary of State ers. They were appointed to ascertain certain that “the vouchers will be transmitted to Washfacts which were supposed to exist. A disclosure ington on the closing of the sixth article." of their proceedings would neither change the po- Mr. Hawkins, the late agent under sition of the northwest corner of Nova Scotia, nor the sixth and seventh articles, has alter the forty-fifth degree of north latitude.
drawn from the Treasury
$28,891 80 The information of the progress of the commis- Received from Mr. Parker
1,815 95 sioners under the sixth article of the Treaty of Ghent is found in the letters of Mr. Delafield, da- Amounting to the sum of 30,707 75 ted October 13th and November 1st, and in one Statements of expenditures, which from Mr. Porter, of December 22, 1820, which are yet are not adjusted, are furnishamong the printed documents. These gentlemen ed, including salary while employexpress a belief that the surveys under the last men- ed, amounting to
18,548 97 tioned article will be completed during the next season. But it appears that no part of the bound- Balance against Mr. Hawkins $12,158 78 ary is finally settled. Whether it will be done next season, must depend on the termination of the sur
It has not been explained to the committee why veys and the agreement of the commissioners. the persons employed under the treaty have not Any event which should prevent the agent or com- accounted for the moneys which have been drawn missioner on either side from attending to his du- from the Treasury. The nation is as deeply inties would probably delay a decision for another terested in the proper application of its funds exyear; and should the calculations of the American pended under a treaty as under any other law. It commissioner and agent prove correct, they will is important, also, that the Government should