No. 372. [1st Session.
SUPPRESSION OF THE SLAVE TRADE.
COMMUNICATED TO THE SENATE, IN EXECUTIVE SESSION, MAY 8, 1824, AND THE INJUNCTION OF SECRECY SINCE REMOVED.
To the Senate of the United States:
I communicate to the Senate copies of additional documents, relating to the convention for the suppression of the African slave trade, which have this day been received at the Department of State.
Washington, May 1, 1824.
List of papers.
Letter from Mr. Rush to the Secretary of State, April 1, 1824.
Letter from Mr. Huskisson to Mr. Rush, March 31, 1824.
Letter from the British Secretary of Foreign Affairs to Mr. Addington, communicated by Mr. Addington.
Act of Parliament of March 31, 1824, declaring the African slave trade piracy.
Mr. Bush to Mr. Adams.
London, April 1, 1824.
Sir: I have now the honor to transmit, in the shape in which it has received the royal assent, a copy of the British act of Parliament making the slave trade piracy. It was sent to me to-day by Mr. Huskisson, with a note, of which a copy is inclosed. It passed the House of Lords the day before yesterday by an unanimous vote.
In addition to the explanation which Mr. Huskisson afforded me of the clause at the end of the act, both himself and Mr. Secretary Canning have since stated to me that a further reason for it was, that a consolidation of this act with all the other British slave trade laws and regulations is in contemplation, perhaps in the course of the present session of Parliament, with a view to give to the British naval officers one comprehensive code of instructions under them.
I have the honor to be, with very great respect, your obedient servant,
Hon. John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State.
Mr. Huskisson to Mr. Bush.
Board of Trade, April 1, 1824.
My Dear Sir: I have the satisfaction to transmit to you three copies of the bill which received the royal assent yesterday, for declaring slave trading to be piracy.
These copies are the bill as printed for the House of Lords, in which shape, as no amendment was made in that House, it received the royal assent; but some few days will elapse before it can be published in the usual form among the laws of the present session.
I have the honor to be, dear sir, your very faithful, obedient servant,
Hon. Richard Rush, &c., &c.
Mr. Canning to Mr. Addington.
Foreign Office, April 2, 1824.
Sir: I herewith inclose to you several copies of the bill which has now passed into a law, affixing to the crime of carrying on the slave trade by British subjects the pains and penalties attached to piracy.
You will lose no time in calling on Mr. Adams, and in communicating this act of Parliament to him, in proof of the anxiety of his Majesty to carry into early and effectual execution the convention lately concluded on this subject by the United States; and with reference to that clause in the act which provides for possible alteration in the course of the session, you will explain to the American minister that this clause has in view no change in the act, but merely its consolidation with all the other slave trade regulations in one general act, (which is intended to be brought in before the close of this session of Parliament,) in order that British officers maybe furnished with one comprehensive code of instruction on this subject.
I have the honor to be, &c., &c.,
Hon. Henry Unwin Addington, &c.
An act for the more effectual Suppression of the African Slave Trade.
March 31, 1824.
Whereas it is expedient to make further provision for the suppression of the African slave trade, by enacting that persons committing the offences hereinafter specified shall be deemed and adjudged to be guilty of piracy:
Be it therefore enacted by the King's most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, That if any subject or subjects of his Majesty, or any person or persons residing or being within any of the dominions, forts, settlements, factories, or territories now or hereafter belonging to his Majesty, or being in his Majesty's occupation or possession, or under the Government of the United Company of Merchants of England trading to the East Indies, shall, except in such cases as are in and by the laws now in force permitted, after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-five, upon the high seas, or in any haven, river, creek, or place, where the Admiral has jurisdiction, knowingly and wilfully carry away, convey, or remove, or aid or assist in carrying away, conveying, or removing any person or persons as a slave or slaves, or for the purpose of his, her, or their being imported or brought as a slave or slaves into any island, colony, country, territory, or place whatsoever, or for the purpose of his, her, or their being sold, transferred, used or dealt with as a slave or slaves; or shall, after the said first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-five, except in such cases as are in and by the laws now in force permitted, upon the high seas, or within the jurisdiction aforesaid, knowingly and wilfully ship, embark, receive, detain, or confine, or assist in shipping, embarking, receiving, detaining, or confining on board any ship, vessel, or boat, any person or persons, for the purpose of his, her, or their being carried
away, conveyed, or removed, as a slave or slaves, or for the purpose of his, her, or their being imported or brought as a slave or slaves into any island, colony, country, territory, or place whatsoever, or for the purpose of his, her, or their being sold, transferred, used, or dealt with as a slave or slaves, then, and in every such case, the person or persons so offending 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.
II. Provided always, and it is hereby further enacted and declared, That nothing in this act contained, making and declaring the aforesaid offences to be piracies, felonies, and robberies, shall be construed to repeal, annul, or alter the provisions and enactments of any other act or acts contained, imposing forfeitures and penalties, or either of them, upon the same offences, or to repeal, annul, or alter the remedies given for the recovery thereof; but that the said provisions and remedies shall, in all respects, be deemed and taken to be and remain in full force, as they existed immediately before the passing of this act: Provided, also, That nothing herein contained shall be construed to repeal, annul, or alter any of the enactments or provisions contained in an act passed in the fifty-first year of his late Majesty, intituled "An act for rendering more effectual an act made in the forty-seventh year of his Majesty's reign, intituled 'An act for the abolition of the slave trade,'" except so far as such enactments or provisions are altered or varied by this act, but that the said act shall, in all other respects, remain in full force and effect.
III. And be it further enacted and declared, That all and every the offences hereinbefore specified shall and may be inquired of, either according to the ordinary course of law and the provisions of an act passed in the twenty-eighth year of the reign of King Henry the Eighth, intituled "An act for pirates," or according to the provisions of an act passed in the forty-sixth year of the reign of his late Majesty King George the Third, intituled "An act for the more speedy trial of offences committed in distant parts upon the high seas."
IV. And be it further enacted, That this act may be amended, altered, or repealed, by any act or acts to be passed in this present session of Parliament.