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FIFTEENTH CONGRESS-SECOND SESSION.
JANUARY 13, 1819.
Mr. Middleton, from the committee consisting of Mr. Middleton, Mr. Upham, sir. Sax.
yer, Mr. Floyd, Mr. Mumford, Mr. Lincoln, and Mr. Lynn, reported the following bill, with the exception of the 5th section, which was inserted as an amendment by the House of Representatives.
A bill in addilion to the acts prohibiting the slave trade.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President of the United States be, and he is hereby, authorized, whenever he shall deem it expedient, to cause any of the armed vessels of the United States to be employed to cruise on any of the coasts of the United States or territories thereof, or of the coasts of Africa, or elsewhere, where he may judge attempts may be made to carry on the slave trade by citizens or residents of the United States, in contravention of the acts of Congress prohibiting the same, and to instruct and direct the commanders of all armed vessels of the United States to seize, take, and bring into any port of the United States, all ships or vessels of the United States, wheresoever found, which inay have taken on board, or which may be intended for the purpose of taking on board, or of transporting, or may have transported, any negro, mulatto, or person of color, in violation of any of the provisions of the act, entitled 6 An act in addition to an act to prohibit the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States, from and after the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eight, and to repeal certain parts of the same," or of any other act or acts prohibiting the traffic in slaves, to be proceeded against according to law. And the proceeds of all ships and vessels, their tackle, apparel, and furniture, and the goods and effects on board of them, which shall be so seized, prosecuted, and condemned, shall be divided equally between the United States and the officers and men who shall seize, take, or bring the same into port for condemnation, whether such seizure be made by an armed vessel of the United States or revenue cutter thereof; and the same shall be distributed in like manner as is provided by law for the distribution of prizes taken from an enemy: Provided, That the officers and men, to be entitled to one half of the proceeds aforesaid, shall safekeep every negro, mulatto, or person of color, found on board of any ship or vessel so seized, taken, or brought into port for condemnation, and shall deliver every such negro, mulatto, or person of color, to the marshal of the district into which they are brought, if into a port of the United States, or, if elsewhere, to such person or persons as shall be lawfully appointed by the President of the United States, in the manner hereinafter directed; transmitting to the President of the United States, as soon as may be after such delivery, a descriptive list of such negroes, mulattoes, or persons of color, that he may give directions for the disposal of them. And provided, further, That the commanders of such commissioned vessels do cause to be apprehended and taken into custody, every person found on board of such vessel so seized and taken, being of the officers or crew thereof, and him or them convey, as soon as conveniently may be, to the civil authority of the United States, to be proceeded against in due course of law in some of the districts thereof.
Set. 2. And be it further enacted, That the President of the United States be, and he is hereby, authorized to make such regulations and arrangements as he may deem expedient for the safe-keeping, support, and removal beyond the limits of the United States, of all such negroes, mulattoes, or persons of color, as may be so delivered and brought within their jurisdiction; and to appoint a proper person or persons, residing upon the coast of Africa, as agent or agents for receiving the negroes, mulattoes, or persons of color, delivered from on board vessels seized in the prosecution of the slave trade by commanders of the United States' armed vessels.
Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That a bounty of twenty-five dollars be paid to the officers and crews of the commissioned vessels of the United * States or revenue cutters, for each and every negro, mulatto, or person of
color, who shall have been, as hereinbefore provided, delivered to the marshal or agent duly appointed to receive them. And the Secretary of the Treasury is hereby authorized and required to pay or cause to be paid to such officers and crews or their agent, the aforesaid bounty for each person delivered as aforesaid.
Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That, when any citizen or other person shall lodge information with the attorney for the district of any State or Territory, as the case may be, that any negro, mulatto, or person of color, has been imported therein, contrary to the provisions of the acts in such case made and provided, it shall be the duty of the said attorney, forthwith, to commence a prosecution by information; and process shall issue against the person charged with holding such negro, negroes, mulatto, mulattoes, person or persons of color, so alleged to be imported contrary to the provisions of the acts aforesaid; and if, upon the return of the process executed, it shall be ascertained by the verdict of a jury, that such negro, negroes, mulatto, mulattoes, person or persons of color, have been brought in contrary to the true intent and meaning of the acts in such cases made and provided, then the court shall direct the marsiial of the said district to take the said negroes, mulattoes, or persons of color, into his custody for safe-keeping, subject to the orders of the President of the United States; and the informer or informers who shall have lodged the information shall be entitled to receive, over and above the portion of the penalties accruing to him or them by the provisions of the acts in such case made and provided, a bounty of fifty dollars for each and every negro, mulatto, or person of color, who shall have been delivered into the custody of the marshal; and the Secretary of the Treasury is hereby authorized and required to pay or cause to be paid the aforesaid bounty, upon the certificate of the clerk of the court for the district where the prosecution may have been had, with the seal of office thereto annexed, stating the number of negroes, mulattoes, or persons of color, so deliyered.
Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the commander of any armed vessel of the United States, whenever he shall make any capture under the provisions of this act, to bring the vessel and her cargo, for adjudication, into some port of the State or Territory to which such vessel so captured shall belong, if he can ascertain the same; if not, then to be sent into any convenient port of the United States.
Sec. 6. And be it further enacted, That all such acts or parts of acts as may be repugnant to the provisions of this act, shall be, and the same are hereby, repealed.
Sec. 7. And he it further enacted, That a sum, not exceeding one hundred thousand dollars, be, and the same is hereby, appropriated, to carry this law into effect. [This bill finally became a law on the 3d March, 1819.)
MARCH 1, 1819. Note --In the course of the proceeding in the House of Representatives on the foregoing act, Mr. Strother, a member for the State of Virginia, moved to strike out the 3d and 4th sections; which motion was disagreed to by the House.
JANUARY 19, 1919. Mr. Middleton, from the committee on the subject of the slave trade, laid before the House sundry documents transmitted to him as chairman of the said committee; which are as follows:
Extracts from documents in the Departments of State, of the Treasury, and of the Navy, in relation to the illicit introduction of slaves into the United States.
WASHINGTON, November 28th, 1818. SIR: I am directed by a committee on so much of the President's Mes. sage as relates to the illicit introduction of slaves into the United States, to inquire whether you have in your possession any particular information which will enable you to state the extent to which that violation of our laws has been carried of late, or which may suggest any additional prohibitory enactments tending more effectually to repress it.
I have the honor to be,
Secretary of State.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
14th January, 1819. SIR: I have the honor of enclosing, herewith, copies of letters received at the several Departments of State, the Treasury, and the Navy, containing the information, possessed by the Executive, in relation to the subject of your letter of the 28th November last, and requested by the committee.
In answer to the inquiry, whether any additional prohibitory enactment might more effectually repress the illicit introduction of slaves into the United States, it is to be observed, that, by the act of Congress, of the last session, the first six sections of the act of 2d March, 1807, “to prohibit the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States, from and after the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eight,” were repealed: and that the authority given to the President of the United States, by the 7th section of the same act of 1807, “to instruct and direct the commanders of armed ves. sels of the United States to seize, take, and bring into any port of the United States, all ships or vessels of the United States, wheresoever found on the high seas, contravening the provisions of this act,” was thereby also virtually repealed, so far as it could operate upon the offences described in the six repealed sections. And as the authority thus given to the President was expressly limited to the capture of ships or vessels of the United States contravening the provisions of that act, it is understood as not including the authority to give similar directions and instructions to capture and bring into port ships or vessels of the United States contravening the provisions of the act of 20th of April, 1818.
Treaties have been concluded by the Government of Great Britain with Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands, by virtue of which the commanders of the armed vessels of Great Britain are authorized to capture the slave trading vessels under the flags of each of the others, and vice versa; and to carry them into certain ports, where they are to be tried by courts, consisting of judges from each of the two parties to the several treaties. Copies of these treaties have been communicated by the British Government to that of the United States, with suggestions, that it would be agreeable to Great Britain to enter into arrangements of a similar nature with the United States. The circumstances of the United States would render it impracticable to give to such arrangements the indispensable character of reciprocity; for which reason they have been declined. But, as a view of the treaties may, perhaps, suggest to the committee legislative measures in aid of the object which they are intended to accomplish, and as that object is the same to which the efforts of this nation are earnestly directed, they are herewith enclosed, with the request that, when the committee or the House shall have no further use for them, they may be returned.
I have the honor to be,
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS. HENRY MIDDLETON, Esq.
Chairman of a Committee of the House of Representatives.
Extract of a letter from Beverly Chew, Esq. Collector of New Orleans,
to the Secretary of the Treasury, dated 17th Jipril, 1818. .
“In consequence of information given me some days ago, that some persons, already distinguished in that way, were preparing to make another piratical cruise, and that their boats were concealed in some of the canals from the plantations into the lakes, I despatched an active and enterprising inspector, who discovered and seized a remarkably fine boat, completely equipped, mounting a brass cannon, and every way fitted for a cruise; one man, named Hacket, being left in charge. The owner of the plantation de livered the sails, oars, powder, &c. belonging to the boat, together with a pocket book, containing a commission and roll d'equipage, (in blank) signed by Amable Humbert, styling himself as commander-in-chief of the province of Texas, in the republic of Mexico, and purporting to be dated at Galveston, to cruise against and capture the property of vessels of Spain. By ant account stated in the pocket book, it appears she was built in this city, by a Captain Chambers, who is believed to be a part owner, and a prosecution has been accordingly commenced. In proceeding to the city with the boat and prisoners, the officers met Mitchell and O'Neal, (two of the characters alluded to) with a party of men, going to take possession of the boat which had been seized; the latter having been sent in advance, was captured, and is lodged in jail, to await his trial: Mitchell, with the remainder of his party, pulled across the river, drew up his men behind some logs, and declared he would shoot the officer if he attempted to approach; from the weakness of the inspector's party, they effected their escape. The same party, some days afterwards, robbed a vessel, and sallied out of a small bayou, just above fort St. Philip, where there is a small settlement of fishermen, who, I have reason to believe, assume that character, the more easily to conceal their real one, of smugglers.
“ It has been stated to me, on the authority of a letter to a respectable gentleman of this city, that there were three schooners lying in the river Mermentau belonging to Commodore Aury's squadron, smuggling their cargoes on shore. The audacity of the piratical set, since they find Galveston has not been, and, as they say, will not be, suppressed, knows no bounds. In order to keep them somewhat more in check, and to defeat their nefarious schemes, as far as in my power, until Government aid us with such force as it may deem best suited to the purpose, I have determined to station an additional revenue boat and crews, with an active, enterprising officer, at and near Fort St. Philip, and to increase the crews of the boats at the Balize and Fort St. John. It will, I think, render their operations a little more difficult, and I confidently rely on your approbation. The additionalexpense can be no consideration. But no efforts of the officers of the 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 wat. ers is indispensable, and vessels captured with slaves ought not to be brought into 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 law 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 Govern
COLLECTOR'S OFFICE, Nova IBERIA,
July 9, 1818. Sir: Since Mr. James Miller, Collector of this district, left this place, agreeably to his request I have sent him abstracts of the accounts I have kept in this office, to the Ist of January last, which he said would enable him to make out his returns: he afterwards wrote me to make returns to him, and direct them to the care of the Secretary of State. I complied with his advice; but afterwards, concluding that he had made a mistake, directed the last package to the care of the Secretary of the Treasury. In a short time after, I received information that Mr. Miller was insane, which has kept me from making any further returns to him. Mr. Miller requested
e of them that her of the