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are committed, are daily occurring: these, as far as they shall come under the cognizance of your Excellency, I am persuaded will be restrained and prevented.
The amicable and friendly footing on which Spain and The United States are at this time, convinces me, that nothing more than a proper representation of these facts is required to call the subject-matter to the immediate attention of your Excellency.
Fully believing this, I have the honour to remain, &c.
H. E. Don Francisco Gonzalez de Linarez.
ROBERT T. SPENCE.
(Inclosure C.)-Captain Spence to the Governor of Porto Rico. United States' Ship Cyane,
St. John's, Porto Rico, 28th August, 1822. HAVING informed your Excellency, that I have been instructed to proceed to this Place, to communicate with your Excellency on the subject of captures, made by Privateers fitted out of this Island, of American Vessels, while pursuing, in time of Peace, a lawful trade, I now have the honour to transmit a Memorandum, embracing the names of these Vessels, and the circumstances attending their seizure.
It appears that some of these Vessels have been sent in, and, after a grievous detention, declared to be a "bad Prize;" subject, however, to pay all the costs of suit, and one-third of the expenses of the Privateer.
To one as profound in all matters of law and equity as your Excellency, this must appear a strange proceeding; a proceeding, calling, with much emphasis, for the interposition of your Excellency's authority, to remedy evils bearing a character calculated to diminish the high respect heretofore entertained by the World, for the equitable decisions of Spanish Courts.
A pretended violation of Blockade, it appears, is the pretext for sending into the Ports of this Island, Vessels navigating the Sea under the American Flag. The whole, therefore, may be resolved into two descriptions of Cases: the first, comprising Vessels seized and again released as "bad Prizes," paying the whole of the costs of trial, and a portion of the expenses of the Privateer.
The principles of equity applicable to such Cases are too simple to require exposition. The innocent are not to pay the penalty of another's guilt or imprudence. If an American is interrupted in her voyage, captured and vexatiously detained, until a judicial investigation determines her to be a "bad Prize," it seems to me self-evident, that all costs of the Suit should be paid by the Captors, in whom the wrong is; add to this, that proper damages should be levied on the Aggressor, that the sufferer may be fairly indemnified, and the "Privateersman" be restrained in future by a fear of being, in
all similar cases, called upon to make good the injury resulting from his wantonness: without such a check, what is there to limit the mischief done by Men of this order, who, stealing from their dens and lurking places, pollute the Ocean with the blood of defenceless Sailors, and gorge their cupidity with the spoils of plunder and ravage ?
The good of every Nation, and the honour of some, require that so foul a system should be made to cease, that every navigable Sea may be rendered safe to the honest efforts of enterprize.
The second description of Cases to which I wish to call the immediate attention of your Excellency, are those Vessels sent in under a pretext of attempting to enter a Blockaded Port. The pacifick policy uniformly pursued by the Government of The United States, the just and liberal principles by which it has been governed through all its various struggles, to treat all Nations as Friends, and, especially, to be on the most friendly footing with Spain, entitle the Citizens of America to the privilege of navigating the Seas without molestation, on pretexts so flimsy as those of violating a "Blockade" which has never existed de facto.
It is well understood, that a Blockade, to carry with it the penalty of forfeiture, must be conformable to the established opinions of those distinguished Civilians, who have fully and ably expounded this subject.
In the first place, it must be practicable; it must be defined within limits commensurate with the ability; a stationary Force must intervene; the Vessel entering must be warned off; these, and other qualifications, are essential to constitute a Blockade, as now understood by the President of The United States and other great Statesmen. If, then, such is the form and nature of a Blockade; if the constant presence of a stationary Squadron, adequate to the purpose of intercepting all Vessels, is indispensable; how is it, that a whole Coast, without any definite limit, should be under the ban of interdiction, without any visible Force; consequently, without the first requisite of a Blockade?
While such pretexts for spoliation exist, and the commerce of The United States is thus devastated, the relations of love and friendship now existing between the two Nations must be shaken, and a state of things produced such as I am persuaded your Excellency will feel desirous to avert.
I trust I shall be excused these remarks, made to one by whom the principles of "Blockade" are fully understood, and whose experience is such as to render the application of them in all cases just and proper.
It will readily occur to the wisdom and justice of your Excellency, that injuries sustained by American Citizens from illegal seizure and
detention, carry with them a fair claim to indemnity; and that where there has been a manifest partiality, in the Courts deciding on some of the cases presented for your consideration, that the arm of authority should be extended, to remedy, and to require more equitable decisions. In these cases, it is hoped and expected that your Excellency will direct a revisal of the proceedings of subordinate Tribunals, that such of the Citizens of The United States as have suffered by them, may be immediately made whole in their property, and receive damages for unjustifiable detention.
Your Excellency, influenced by high and honourable motives, will doubtless see the propriety of ordering all American Vessels now detained to be forthwith released, and the punishment of Marauders who have tarnished the dignity of the Spanish character by acts of inhuman treatment to Citizens of The United States; by the most flagrant outrages; by a prostration of all the usages of civilized society; thereby bringing the Commercial World into a state truly to be deplored, tending to arm Man against his brother Man, and to make safety no where but in strength and habitual hostility.
Submitting this application to the early attention of your Excellency, and calling upon your Excellency immediately to interpose your authority to prevent a continuance of these causes of just complaint, and confidently believing that your love of justice, order, and humanity, will impel you promptly to meet the wishes of my Government on this subject, I remain, &c.
ROBERT T. SPENCE.
H. E. Don Francisco Gonzalez de Linarez.
(Inclosure C. 1.)-List of American Vessels captured by Spanish Privateers, and sent into the different Ports of Porto Rico.
Barque American, Emery, Master, of Kennebunk. This Vessel was sent into Cape Roxo by the Spanish Felucha La Carmen, tried, and declared a bad Prize, but sentenced to pay all costs of the trial, and one-third of the charges of the Privateer for her detention; and was compelled, in consequence, to sell her Cargo at a great sacrifice. Brig Sam, of Portland, Crowell, Master. This Vessel was sent into Cape Roxo by the same Privateer, and it is understood that she is still detained.
Brig Bliss, of Baltimore, Dungan, Master. This Vessel was sent into Cape Roxo by the same Privateer, and, after a vexatious detention, was suffered to proceed, paying all the costs of trial, and one-third of the expenses of the Privateer.
Brig Elizabeth, of Georgetown, West, Master. This Vessel was sent into Aguadella by the Privateer General Pereira, for trading to a Blockaded Port.
Brig General Jackson, of New York, Langdon, Master, captured and sent into Ponce by the Schooner General Pereira, at which Place she is now detained; and part of her Crew, after very inhuman treatment, imprisoned at this Place.
(Inclosure D.)—Captain Spence to the Governor of Porto Rico. United States' Ship Cyane,
St. John's, Porto Rico, 29th August, 1822. I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency's Letter of the 27th instant (a Translation I have but this moment been able to obtain), in which you refer me to a Communication made to Mr. Lord, the Commercial Agent, in reply to an application, made the day previous to my arrival, for the release of the Crew of the Brig Andrew Jackson. The sentiments and expressions of your Excellency, in relation to this outrage, are duly appreciated. I felt persuaded that the harsh and illegal imprisonment of unoffending American Citizens could not have come to the knowledge of your Excellency; and there are other outrages of similar character not yet known, I am convinced, to the High Authorities of Porto Rico.
I beg leave to enclose you a Copy of a Letter from the Govern ment Interpreter at Ponce, into which Place the Brig Andrew Jackson was taken. This is a Representation from a Spanish Functionary, and your Excellency, I doubt not, will agree with me, that, if the facts there stated are true, there is no other application by which I could designate the Perpetrators of such inhuman severity, save that of "Desperadoes;" Men restrained by none of the gentle obligations of humanity.
It is a fact, notoriously known, that the Crew of the " Andrew Jackson," illegally and harshly confined at the time of my writing to you, had been previously robbed of every thing save the clothes they had on at the time of entering the Prison; their jack-knives were even cut from their laniards! If to Men who can thus act, who can divest a defenceless "American Tar" of every thing, even to his wearing apparel, I could apply any other distinguishing name than that of "Robber," I confess to your Excellency I should have selected a milder epithet.
A glance at the history of the past, displays, in the Spanish character, the principles and high sentiments of which you speak: the Island before us bears full testimony of their enterprize and greatness. It was to those sentiments and principles I appealed, when I requested your early attention to proceedings calculated to sully that dignity of which every "Spaniard" is justly proud.
The capture of the Pancheta by a Vessel of War of The United States, was entirely unknown to me on my arrival at St. John's; but
I can confidently assure your Excellency, that you have been misinformed as to some of the circumstances attending it. I have understood that the Privateer Pancheta has been of considerable annoyance to our commerce in these Seas, and that, falling in with The United States' Schooner Grampus, fired into her. The consequences that would result from such an act, may be conceived by your Excellency.
The instructions given to Officers of the American Navy are such, as to render it impossible that they can be the Aggressors; and the feelings that have characterised them, will always insure, in these unhappy rencontres, humanity and tenderness.
Vessels have formerly been sent into Ports of The United States on apparent good grounds, such as, attempts on our commerce; but, in all instances in which cause for condemnation did not appear, heavy damages were awarded, and the Sufferers made more than whole in their property retribution is there always at hand.
In the Case of the Pancheta, I beg leave to assure your Excellency, there must have been great cause for the course pursued. As to the indignity offered to the Flag, your Excellency, I trust, is misinformed; for no Officer in the Navy dare stand before the Tribunal of the American People, justly charged with having violated the best constituents of the American character-magnanimity and knightly generosity.
This unfortunate occurrence has grown out of the necessity of sending an Armed Force to these Seas, for the purpose of convoying our Vessels, and of guarding them against the violence that has been committed upon them by Privateers infesting the Ocean, for the purposes of plunder. If, in the execution of this duty, rendered necessary by the state of things, calamities unavoidably occur, they must, doubtless, be deplored by the lovers of peace and concord, but cannot be chargeable to us, as voluntary acts.
It is an indisputable fact, although not known to your Excellency, that the Captain's and Mate's trunks of the American Brig Sam, captured and taken into Cape Roxo, were broken open while himself and Crew were on board the Privateer, and 420 Spanish dollars taken from them; also, 1 trunk of Madras handkerchiefs and other merchandize. These are transactions unknown to your Excellency, having taken place prior to your Excellency's arrival; they are the acts of Privateersmen, from which it would be absurd to infer the character of a wise and liberal Nation, like that of Spain.
Seeing the evils that result from the course pursued by Privateers out of this Island, I call upon your Excellency, in the name of humanity, and of that benign policy which has marked the course of our political career, to place such checks and restraints upon their