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Africans were for some weeks within 60 miles of his Excellency's residence, (the seat of Government) there was no effort, no stir made by him, his agents, or subordinate State officers, to carry the laws into execution; but no sooner than it was understood that a seizure had been effected by an officer of the United States, a demand is made for them; and it is not difficult to perceive, by a compliance, that the very aggressors may, by a forfeiture of the mock bond, be again placed in possession of the smuggled property, at but little additional expense to him, but at the entire ruin of the officers who had executed with fidelity the laws they felt bound to obserye. There are many negroes (independent of those mentioned as having been bartered in Savannah, &c. before any decision had passed respecting them) recently introduced into this State and the Alabama Territory, and which can be apprehended. The undertaking would be great; but, to be sensible that we shall possess your approbation, and that we are carrying the views and wishes of the Government into execution, is all we wish, and it shall be done, independent of every personal consideration.
I have, &c.
WM. I. M'INTOSH, Collector. The Hon. WM. H. CRAWFORD,
Secretary of the Treasury.
Savannah, 25th November, 1817. Sir: I have the honor of informing you that the schooner Tentativa, reported to be under Spanish colors, with one hundred and twenty-eight slaves on board, was brought into this port on the 19th instant, by a part of the crew of the United States' vessel the Saranac, John H. Elton, commander, having been captured by said vessel, and, at the time, abandoned by her crew. The Tentativa has been libelled by the proctor for the captors; and the slaves, by order of the court, delivered over to the proctor for the captors and the Collector of this port, to be taken care of by them until demanded by the competent authority: this order was procured by the proctor for the captors, with a view of preserving the lives of the slaves, they being destitute of provisions and clothing, and must have perished had they been longer at sea. Four of them have already died, but ihe remaining part of them have been so disposed of as to ensure comfort to them for the present. Under the order of court, and the influence of humanity, it appears to be my duty to interest myself for the sufferers; and having an estate near the city, I inquired of my agent how many of these people he could accommodate with house-room, and, upon his statement, I have taken possession of forty in number, all of whom I have clothed, and shall continue otherwise to succor, until demanded by the competent authority.
I have, &c.
A.S. BULLOCK, Collector. The Honorable WM. H. CRAWFORD,
Secretary of the Treasury.
Extract of a letter from the Deputy Collector of Nova Iberia, to the Se
cretary of the Treasury, dated September 27th, 1818. "On the 8th day of July last, Captain Amelung, with eighteen of his wmpany, agreed to go with me to the Bayou Nementou, to suppress smuggling. On the day and succeeding night after our arrival there, we took thirteen prisoners that came armed to support smugglers, &c. The next day we took one of their vessels; set some hands to work in repairing her, and Captain Amelung returned to Nova Iberia for the balance of his company, returned with them, and we proceeded on with twenty-five men to the Bayou Cureuseau. On our arrival there we made more prisoners; seized three African negroes, two vessels, and part of their cargoes. Runners had been sent ahead of us, and five or six vessels run out of the Bayou a few days prior to our arrival there. A large number of African negroes had been on that bayon, eighty of which left there a short time before our arrival, and about twenty passed us the night before we arrived. We proceed. ed down the Cureuseau, and came round to the Bayou Nementou. Captain Amelung furnished me with a lieutenant and eighteen men, and returned by land to Nova Iberia with the balance of his company. We proceeded with the vessels down the Nementou; met a fellucca, commanded by one of Lafitte's captains, off the mouth of the Bayou. The captain took us for smugglers; we got him on board of one of our vessels, and, notwithstanding his directing his men in French, when he left his own vessel, to cut their cable if he did not return with the boat, run downour boat, and kill every man on board, we buarded her after they cut their cable, and took her without the loss of one man. Her cargo consists of coffee, cocoa, refined wax for candles, oil, dry goods, and about 10,000 lbs. of quicksilver. I arrived here yesterday, having suffered much. During the line storm we lost three anchors, sprung one mast, carried away our yards and sails. I left the vesselə in the Vermillion bay; shall start immediately to bring them round to this place. If there was one small cutter on this coast she would be of great service.”
Savannah, 22d May, 1817. Sır: I have just received information from a source on which I can implicitly rely, that it has already become the practice to introduce into the State of Georgia, across the St. Mary's river, from Amelia island, East Florida, Africans, who have been carried into the port of Fernandina, subsequent to the capture of it by the Patriot army now in possession of it.
As this species of traffic may be carried on for an indefinite period of time, without the interposition of Government, I have deemed it my duty to give you the earliest advice of it.
Immediately after the receipt of your letter of the 19th March last, I instructed Captain Smith to cruize with the cutter to the Southward as far as St. Mary's bar, with a view of preventing the landing of such people on the seaboard; but it is not in his power to guard the St. Mary's, which is the route for the introduction of them. It becomes more necessary for a guard to be organized by Government, as this State has never legislated on the subject of the importation of slaves. Were the Legislature to pass an act giving compensation, in some mariner, to informers, it would have a tendency
in a great degree to prevent the practice; as the thing now is, no citizen will take the trouble of searrhing for and detecting the slaves. I further understand that the evil will not be confined altogether to Africans, but will be extended to the worst class of West India slaves.
I am, &c. .
A. S. BULLOCK, Collector. The Hon. Wu. H. CRAWFORD,
Secretary of the Treasury.
COLLECTOR'S OFFICE, Port of MOBILE.
October 7th, 1818. Sir: It is understood that Judge Webb, one of the Judges of the Territory, has resigned. Permit me, Sir, to suggest the importance of an early appointment to the vacancy, in order that the person appointed might be present at the next session of the General Court, on the first Monday of January next. There are now pending before that court a number of cases of very great importance to the public interest, particularly those of the three vessels, their cargoes, and upwards of one hundred slaves.
I hope the Attorney of the United States has informed the Treasury Department of the proceedings of the court in these cases; not having seen him since, I have not attempted a statement of proceedings, to me so very strange. This, however, appears certain, that the vessels and cargoes and the slaves have been delivered on bonds, the former to the owners, and the slaves to three other persons. The grand jury found true bills against the owners of the vessels, masters, and a supercargo-all of whom are discharged; why or wherefore, I cannot say, except that it could not be for want of proof against them.
It is certainly a matter of great importance that these cases be stamped with the full force of the law, to prevent future importations. Two of the vessels were cleared at Havana for New Orleans, and one for this port; and all American registered vessels, the former at New Orleans, the latter at this port.
Perhaps the magnitude and importance of these cases would render it expedient to employ additional counsel, in aid of the United States' Attorney, as he will be opposed by able lawyers from New Orleans. Should you deem this proper, be pleased, Sir, to direct the sum which may be allowed.
I have the honor to be, &c.
ADDIN LEWIS, Collector. The Hon. W. H. CRAWFORD,
Secretary of the Treasury.
Navy DEPARTMENT, January 6th, 1820. SIR: In obedience to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 31st December last, requiring the Secretary of the Navy to furnish copies of such communications as he may have received since 1816, and such information as he may possess, in relation to the introduction of slaves into the United States, with a statement of the measures adopted to prevent the same, I have the honor to transmit sundry extracts of letters, numbered 1 to 4, in
clusively, comprising all the information communicated to this Department since 1816, in relation to the introduction of slaves into the United States.
I have the honor to refer the House of Representatives to my report of the 9th January, 1819, on this subject; and I transmit, herewith, paper marked A, which contains that part of the instructions from this Department to the commanding naval officers in relation to slave vessels.
The public vessels now cruizing have not yet reported their operations, nor is it known that any seizures have been made by them.
I have the honor to be,
SMITH THOMPSON. The Honorable the SPEAKER
of the House of Representatives.
Extract of a letter from Captain Charles Morris to the Secretary of the
Off the Balize, 10th June, 1817. “ Most of the goods carried to Galveston are introduced into the United States; the more bulky and least valuable, regularly through the custom house; the more valuable, and the slaves, are smuggled in through the numerous inlets to the Westward, where the people are but too much disposed to render them every possible assistance. Several hundred slaves are now at Galveston, and persons have gone from New Orleans to purchase them. Every exertion will be made to intercept them, but I have little hopes of success.”
Extract of a letter from Lieutenant Commandant John Porter to the
Secretary of the Navy, dated
U. S. BRIG Boxer,
Off the Balize, June 28th, 1817. “ I shall leave this on Monday to cruise off the Sabine river. It is reported that attempts will be made to smuggle slaves into Louisiana from Galveston, and the natural presumption is, that they will attempt the Sabine or the Achafalaya rivers. The depth of the water of those rivers is very inaccurately represented on the charts, and it will not be in my power to approach nearer the shore than within ten miles of the Sabine, and not nearer than thirty off the Atchafalaya. Whatever can be done to prevent their being brought clandestinely into the country, will have to be performed by the boats, which, sir, shall be actively employed the moment we arrive on the ground."
No. 3. Extract of a letter from Captain John D. Henley to the Secretary of
the Navy, dated
U. S. Ship John ADAMS,
Amelia Sound, January 24th, 1818. “ I yesterday detained the English brig Neptune, of London, for a violation of the slave act. By her papers it appears that she cleared from Jamaica for this port, with a small quantity of rum, and eight convict slaves, sentenced to transportation for various offences. It is evident that their object was to emuggle them into the State of Geogia, thus making a Botany Bay of the United States. I shall send her to Savannah for trial.
Extract of a letter from Captain John D. Henley to the Secretary of
the Navy, dated
U. S. Ship John Adams,
Cumberland Sound, March 17th, 1828. 66 It would be gratifying to me to know how far the commissions granted by Aury or M'Gregor, to vessels evidently commanded and manned by citizens of the United States, are to be respected. I have not the smallest doubt, from the situation those pirates have fixed upon for their rendezvous, that the goods found in their prizes will be disposed of principally in the United States, and that the part which may consist of slaves will be smuggled into Georgia, as many of the inhabitants are too much inclined to afford every facility to this species of illicit trade.”
Extract from the instructions of the Navy Department to the Command
ers of all United States' vessels cruising in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, 8c.
“ You have also enclosed such parts of several acts of Congress, prohibiting the importation of slaves into any ports or places within the jurisdiction of the United States, as are necessary to point out to you your duty and authority under these laws; and it is expected and required of you by the President, that a strict and vigilant attention be paid to the direction therein contained, that, if possible, this inhuman and disgraceful traffic may be suppressed.
" By the act of the 20th of April, 1818, you will perceive that it is made unlawful to import or bring, in any manner whatsoever, into the United States or Territories thereof, from any foreign kingdom, place, or country, any negro, mulatto, or person of color, with intent to hold, sell, or dispose of such person as a slave, or to be held to service.