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shown that daylight could not be waited for; that there could be no attempt at discrimination between the innocent and the guilty; that it would not have been enough to seize and detain the vessel; but that there was a necessity, present and inevitable, for attacking her, in the darkness of the night, while moored to the shore, and while unarmed men were asleep on board, killing some and wounding others; and then, drawing her into the current above the cataract, setting her on fire; and, careless to know whether there might not be in her the innocent with the guilty, or the living with the dead, committing her to a fate which fills the imagination with horror."

The best thing to be hoped is, that the English government may be able to make out this case, so as to stand justified in the premises. It would be unprofitable to prejudge an argument, which as yet has not been presented; but it is impossible to suppose, that silence on the subject can be eventually acquiesced in, or that any thing like the allegation of mere pretences for an act of such high-handed violence can quiet the feeling of anxiety and resentment with which it has agitated this country.

Another of the existing occasions of discontent with England, came under the notice of Congress at the late extra session. On the 14th of July, the President, in compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives, communicated to that body parts of a correspondence between the American Secretary of State and the Minister at London, "in relation to the seizure of American vessels by British armed cruisers, under the pretence that they were engaged in the slave-trade," and of a "correspondence with Consul Trist [at Havana] upon the subject of the slave-trade."

Our readers are aware, that, in the course of the negotiations prosecuted by England in order to establish a mutual right of search by cruisers of one nation in ships of the other, supposed to be concerned in the slave-trade, the American government has refused to be a party to any such stipulation. It has said; That trade is piracy by our laws, and we mean, in good faith, to prevent and punish its prosecution by our citizens; but we cannot permit another power to do it for us. It has maintained the inconvenience of submitting its merchant ships to search by the officers of foreign menof-war to be so great, that it must decline to come into any such arrangement, or to regard any act of the kind otherVOL. LIII. NO. 113.


wise than as a violence and indignity to its sovereignty and flag.* As the case now stands, if an English cruiser lies anchored by the side of an American slave-ship while she is receiving her cargo, the former cannot interfere. If an English officer fully believes that a slave-ship bearing the American flag is not in reality American, it is at his peril that he boards her, even to ascertain that fact. If, on examination of her papers, she turns out in fact to be Portuguese or Spanish, he stands justified; but if she proves to be American, no matter what reasons he had to suppose the contrary, his offence is complete. This latter case, it is true, is not likely to arise. The master of an American slave-ship will keep out of an English cruiser's way, because he knows, that, though theoretically secure against arrest, yet, if the cruiser should exceed its authority and send him home, he would be tried for piracy by the laws of his own country. But, if a bonâ fide American vessel, not a slave-ship, or able to conceal the fact that she is so, should be examined by an English officer, under the strongest presumption of her being engaged in that traffic under false colors, this is a violation of the friendly relations between the two countries, and one which will not fail to be brought by the injured party to the notice of its government.

It is obvious, that this state of things is fruitful in opportunities for mutual vexation. The English government has put itself to great pains and expense in negotiations for a combined action of the civilized states for the suppression of the slave-trade, to which it has not been able to persuade this country to become a party; and, while it supports a naval force on the African coast to carry into effect its own laws and its treaty rights in relation to this subject, it believes that it is often foiled by the fraudulent protection of the American flag. The British officer on the spot is annoyed by the belief, that, under the lying shadow of the Stars and Stripes, what ought to be his lawful prize is floating under his guns in impudent security. On the other hand, the apprehension, which the Duke of Wellington was candid enough to allow justified our government in not acceding to the right of

* A negotiation for this object came near to being successful in the year 1825, when it was arrested in the Senate, on account of the inequality of the concessions made on the part of England. The proposal has not, we believe, been revived since the letter of Mr. Clay to Mr. Addington, British Foreign Secretary, in April of that year.

search, is realized from time to time. A Salem merchant despatches his ship on an honest voyage, for African ivory, coffee, and gums. A rude and hasty British captain, vexed that he has been so often cheated, makes up his mind too incautiously on the case before him, insults the master, harries the men, vituperates the flag, embarrasses or ruins the voyage, perhaps sends the vessel home. And this is what hon

est traffickers can ill bear, and a watchful government will not submit to.

Of this description, cases have lately occurred with a very disagreeable frequency. No less than seven are presented in the papers lately sent by the President to the House of Representatives.

On the 13th of November last, Mr. Stevenson, the American Minister at London, addressed a note to the British Secretary for Foreign Affairs, calling his attention to the circumstances of "the seizure and detention of the American brig Douglas, of Duxbury, Massachusetts, on the African coast, by Lieutenant Seagram, of her Majesty's brigantine, the Termagant, on the charge of having on board a suspicious cargo, and intended for slave-trade." Another

of the 27th of February, detailed the circumstances of two other like outrages, as follows;

"The first case is that of an American schooner, the Iago, of New Orleans, commanded by Captain Adolphe Dupouy.

"This vessel sailed from Matanzas, in the island of Cuba, in November, 1838, for the Cape of Mesurado, on the coast of Africa, for the purpose of trading in palm-oil, wood, and other African produce.

"That, after proceeding on her voyage to different parts of the coast, she arrived at Cape St. Paul, where the captain landed his cargo, and from whence he was preparing to go into the interior of the country to trade, having bought for that purpose a quantity of oil and produce.

That, on the 21st of February, 1839, and whilst within 5° 46′ north latitude, and 00.55' east longitude, and whilst Captain Dupouy was on shore, the schooner was boarded by Lieutenant S. S. Seagram, commanding Her Majesty's brigantine of war, the Termagant, and during his absence his trunk was broken open, and a sum of money, amounting to one hundred and sixteen Spanish doubloons and fifty-four dollars, was taken therefrom, as also his chronometer and watch,

and that a large quantity of wine was drank, destroyed, and lost; that all his men had been conveyed on board the Termagant, except the mate; that the captain thereupon asked leave of Lieutenant Seagram to search the sailors, and, in doing so, found upon them a sum amounting to one hundred and fourteen doubloons, and nineteen dollars, and that the sailors informed him, that they had taken the money because they were afraid that they would be set on shore and abandoned, and the schooner destroyed. That all the captain's clothes were left on shore, and have been wholly lost.

"That all the crew, and a passenger by the name of Bouyolli, an American citizen and native of the State of Maryland, were put on shore at Cape St. Paul, and that Captain Dupouy was detained and brought to Sierra Leone, where he arrived on the 18th March, 1839.

"That Lieutenant Seagram then endeavoured to proceed against the Captain of the Iago, in the British and Spanish mixed court of justice, established in the colony for the prevention of illicit traffic in slaves, but the court would not allow such proceeding; and that, accordingly, on the 30th March, 1839, Captain Dupouy was put in possession of his vessel, which was done in the presence of four masters of vessels, who signed a receipt for the vessel, and who were present when an inventory was taken of the articles on board the said schooner.

Amongst the documents herewith transmitted are two certificates of Lieutenant Seagram, the one admitting the capture of the vessel, and the other stating the amount of money found in the possession of the crew, and left in charge of the prize master.

"The other case is that of the schooner Hero, of New Orleans, commanded by Captain James B. McConnell.

"It appears, that this schooner sailed from the Havana in June, 1840, with a cargo of assorted merchandise, bound to Wydah, on the African coast. That on her voyage, on the 9th of August, she was boarded by Her Majesty's brig the Lynx, and brought to anchor; her hatches were broken open and overhauled, and the commander of the Lynx then determined to send the schooner into Sierra Leone. That, after removing a part of the crew of the schooner on board the cruiser, and sending his own men to take charge of the Hero, who robbed her of a part of her supplies, the commander of the Lynx determined to surrender the schooner, and permit her to pursue her voyage. That, on the arrival of the schooner at Wydah, her cargo was found to have been greatly damaged by the crew of the Lynx, during her capture and detention by the British commander."- Cong. Doc. pp. 4, 5.

Mr. Stevenson hereupon repeats the assertion of the principle, always assumed by his government, and also, as he shows by an extract from a letter of Lord Palmerston, maintained by the British government itself, in its correspondence with that of Hayti;

"Of the right of one nation to search or detain the ships of any other (who may not be a party to the treaties for the suppression of the slave-trade) on the ground of their being engaged in slave-trade, there is no shadow of pretence for excusing, much less justifying, the exercise of any such right. That it is wholly immaterial, whether the vessels be equipped for, or actually engaged in, slave traffic or not, and consequently the right to search or detain even slave vessels, must be confined to the ships or vessels of those nations with whom it may have treaties on the subject.". Cong. Doc. pp. 5, 6.

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On the 2d of March last, Mr. Forsyth forwarded to Mr. Stevenson papers relating to four more such cases, and instructed him to address without delay to the British government a demand for proper redress," with the warning that "persistence in these unwarrantable proceedings is not only destructive of private interests, but must inevitably destroy the harmony of the two countries."

On the 16th of April, Mr. Stevenson complied with this instruction, arguing the question again at some length, and expressing the painful surprise with which the government of the United States have learned, that the repeated representations which have heretofore been made on the subject, have not only remained without effect in obtaining a favorable decision, but have failed to receive the attention which their importance merited ;" and avowing, again, "the fixed determination of the American government, that their flag is to be a safeguard and protection to the persons and property of its citizens, and all under it, and that these continued aggressions upon the vessels and commerce of the United States cannot longer be permitted." Mr. Stevenson adds, that "her Majesty's government have permitted a delay to take place of so marked a character as not only to add greatly to the individual injuries which have been sustained, but to become itself a fit subject of complaint," and that "neither the dignity of the government of the United States, nor the duty which it owes its citizens, can justify any further delay." On the 14th of May, he informed Mr. Webster, that he had received Lord Palmerston's promise of

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