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judication Vessels of The United States engaged in the pursuit of a lawful commerce. This information your Excellency has not thought proper to afford.
From the facility with which these small Privateers are fitted out, and from the description of Persons on board some of them, it has occurred to me, that they are not made to enter into penal bond, to restrain and produce responsibility for the excesses they may commit, but are left to cruize ad libitum. Under such circumstances, transgressions are inevitable.
It is against the aggressions of such Vessels, I remonstrate-protesting against the improper privilege they have exercised, of intercepting and detaining, on the High Seas, Vessels of The United States engaged in a lawful trade. And it becomes necessary for me to inform your Excellency, and wish it should to be known to all whom it may concern, that, with a view to prevent, as far as practicable, a state of things fraught with mischief and abuse; to guard against a maritime anarchy, to which the commerce of The United States cannot be subjected; to secure to its Citizens safety, and to its Flag the benefits of peace and neutrality; and to preserve the harmony my Govern ment is desirous should exist between the two Nations; I shall, as far as possible, give Convoy to American Vessels navigating these Seas, and shall forbid, and prevent, any interruption or detention by any Privateer or Armed Vessel, and shall feel it incumbent on me to treat as an Enemy, and send to The United States, any Privateer, or Armed Vessel, that shall cause hindrance to the lawful Voyage of an American Vessel, or shall be found violating the Flag of The United States, and the Laws of Nations.
Satisfied that your Excellency will look upon this course of conduct as moderate, and unavoidable, I remain, &c.
H. E. Don Francisco Gonzalez de Linarez.
ROBERT T. SPENCE
(Inclosure G. 1.)—The Governor of Porto Rico to Captain Spence. (Translation.)
Porto Rico, 27th August, 1822 On the receipt of your Official Letter, informing me, generally, of the depredations and excesses committed by the Spanish Privateers of this Island, upon the Vessels of The United States, as I was informed, and in particular, upon the Brigantine, General Andrew Jackson, by the Pereira, I resolved to take the first care with respect to the last, by the information of an Individual of that Nation, Mr. Judah Lord.
My Answers to this Gentleman shewed him my surprise, and the just indignation which so unlawful a transgression of the Law of Nations had excited in this Government; the precautions which it took
to prove its truth; and the justice which animated it to punish the crime with all the rigour of the Spanish Laws;-Laws capable of them. selves of what he, on his part, can desire.
The same, therefore, that I said to Mr. Lord, I repeat to you; animated with the same principles and sentiments which govern the conduct of the supreme Government of the Spanish Nation, and which form its character, acknowledged by all the Nations of the Earth.
But I am certain that you have not been well informed regarding the destruction and spoliations generally committed upon all American Vessels. I have the most repeated proofs of the regular conduct of the Spanish Privateers towards these Vessels, which they have examined and respected in very considerable numbers, showing to the World, that they are not Desperadoes, because they know not what it means, nor Thieves because they are Spaniards.
Would to God that some Vessels of the Military Marine of The United States, had observed towards Spanish Vessels, and towards the National Military Flag, a conduct so regular! I am certain that then there would not have been the disagreeable sensations which now exist from it.
When I speak to you, Sir, in this manner, I do it with respect to the scandalous attack made by The United States Schooner of War, the Grampus, upon the Spanish Privateer the Palmyra, which she attacked in the midst of Peace, killed and wounded several of her Crew, treated with indignity the Spanish Flag, confined in chains the greater part of her Crew, and that at the very moment when an Officer was about going on board of her to present her Papers, and to comply with the Law of Nations.
You will perhaps be informed of this attack, seldom seen in the history of civilized Nations; and no doubt if you have been so with truth, as I am, you will have had the same horror and disgust; because it is impossible otherwise to consider the most sacred Conventions trampled upon, and the majesty of a Nation insulted;-of a Nation. which has always preserved her Rights, and which, oftener than once, has given publick proofs of her constancy, and of her never having been offended with impunity.
For my part, with respect to this event, I do nothing else but point it out to you as a particular piece of news, because its decision belongs to the Supreme Government of both Nations. As a functionary of mine, I will not depart from the path which it has pointed out to me : justice shall always be my guide. I shall respect the Laws of Na. tions; and I shall punish, with the Laws in my hand, such Spanish Subjects as shall transgress their duties.
God preserve you many years.
FR. GONZALEZ DE LINAREZ.
(Inclosure G. 2.)-The Governor of Porto Rico to Captain Spence. (Translation.)
Porto Rico, 28th August, 1822. I HAVE just seen your Official Letter of yesterday, relative to the depredations which are said to have been committed by Spanish Privateers against the Vessels of The United States.
As this Communication is substantially the same as the former, it appears only necessary to repeat my yesterday's Answer; but, wishing to give you new proofs of the justice and good faith of the Spanish Government, I will enter into new explanations.
I am persuaded that the armed Privateers of this Island have not committed, upon the Vessels of The United States, the scandalous crimes with which your personal concern has been raised, or a mistake has entered into your mind. They have been examined by many, and have, without the least injury, continued their Voyages; and doubtless, in a short time, you will be convinced of a truth so notorious.
I only speak of the Privateers armed in this Island, and am very far from making an apology for those that have been armed in other Provinces, because I am ignorant of their conduct; and although it may have been criminal in this manner, it belongs not to my authority to punish them.
But if it is very strange that, even when there were some trifling excesses, energetical remonstrances were made for them; and the attack of the American Schooner Grampus has been passed over in silence, or considered as a circumstance of no moment, in which the particular circumstance occurred of her belonging to the Navy of The United States;-what comparison can ever exist between the detention of a vessel, and even committing some pitiful and contemptible depredation (if such has been done) and the attack of the other, to destroy her in a perfidious manner, to cause the death, and imprisonment of the Crews in chains; and what is more, insulting and trampling upon the Spanish Military Flag! Who ever so openly violated the Maritime Law of Nations? And who, after such a violation, will attempt to declaim against injuries either imaginary or immensely less!
In fine, the peace between two Nations, as Spain and that to which you belong, Sir, is a blessing for the preservation of which I am ready to become a sacrifice; therefore I do not hesitate to assure you that the Laws will be enforced in as far as they have been transgressed; and therefore I consider myself entitled to require the same frankness and consideration from you, notwithstanding my having explained myself so rudely; because our respective Governments will do what they think proper, and will do what is most just for the well being of their People. God preserve you, &c. Captain Spence.
FR. GONZALEz de linareZ
(Inclosure G. 3.)-The Governor of Porto Rico to Captain Spence. (Translation.)
Porto Rico, 31st August, 1822. I HAVE the honour to answer the Note which you were pleased to address to me, under date of 28th instant, relative to the indemnification which ought to be made to the American Vessels detained by Privateers of this Island, and condemned to pay Costs, after being declared innocent by the Courts of Justice; and also, relative to the nullity and illegality of the Blockade declared against the Ports of Terra Firma, for the reasons which you are pleased to give as your opinion.
The principles established by the Maritime Law of civilized Nations are not unknown to me, nor the causes which have influenced the declaration of Blockade against the Ports occupied by the Insurgents; nor even the Maritime Military Force by which this declaration can be, and has been, supported; yet, as, on one hand, my authority being circumscribed to a Province, at a distance from those Places, has no influence, nor can have, in any Official acts; and, on the other, subjects of this nature belong, by their character, to the examination and decision of the Supreme Governments of the Nations, it is my duty to avoid all interference in them, and to confine myself to the circle of my functions.
I have before me the Note which you were pleased to enclose to me in your said Official Letter, containing the Vessels detained, with the circumstances in which they have been, and the consequences which have ensued. I owe it to the justice, to the unalterableness of my principles, and to the rectitude of the Government which I represent, to declare to you, that I shall take all the provisions within my power, to elicit the truth of what has occurred with respect to the detained Vessels, repeating, that you may rest assured, that the Laws of the Kingdom shall judge and decide upon them, without the possibility of any alteration in their legitimate application. Neither partiality nor personal interest, nor the passions, shall have any voice, or take any part in the decisions: the Law shall dictate, and all (I the first) shall submit to it. God preserve you, &c. Captain Spence.
FR. GONZALEZ DE LINAREZ.
(Inclosure G. 4.)-The Governor of Porto Rico to Captain Spence. (Translation.)
Porto Rico, 1st September, 1822. I HAVE just received the Translation of your Official Note of the 29th ult., and which is an Answer to mine of the 27th, containing also the former acknowledgment of the Letter of the Interpreter, De Ponce, which was communicated to me by Mr. Lord, a Citizen of The United States; and now recently of the Declaration of Mr. Arthur Edgarton,
Mate of the Brig Andrew Jackson, in which I have had the pleasure of reading that he and his Companions, detained on board the Privateer, had been well treated.
You will be pleased, Sir, to let me know the things which have been plundered from the detained Vessel, and claim the damages which have ensued on her detention. I have taken all the measures which were in my power, for eliciting the truth of the facts, in the manner provided by the Laws of Spain; and when, according to them, the Delinquents are tried and convicted, they shall be punished; then the Tribunals established by the Constitutional Law of the Monarchy will take cognizance, to which the power of judging and applying the Laws is exclusively granted-principles from which it is impossible for me to deviate, as it is with respect to those which rule in The United States, for any Functionary to deviate from them.
You may rest assured, that, if the Authorities appointed there to try crimes of this class, are inexorable in their conduct, admitting nothing but Law and justice, those which are in the Territory of the Constitutional Monarchy of Spain, summoned for that purpose, will never yield in their principles of justice, and in the fulfilment of their duties. To them it belongs to try by the Laws, and to apply them, and to the political government of the People, to enforce the execution of the legal decisions of the Judicial Power, and to watch over the observance of the Laws, by taking care that no one breaks them. God preserve you many years.
FR. GONZALEZ DE LINAREZ.
(Inclosure G. 5.)-The Governor of Porto Rico to Captain Spence. (Translation.)
Porto Rico, 2nd September, 1822. YOUR Official Note of the 30th ult. has informed me of the intelligence which has reached you, of the motives which the Schooner Grampus had, for the hard and unexpected treatment of the Spanish Privateer the Palmyra.
My former Communications have shown you what my principles are, and what my conduct has been in this matter, as a faithful observer of the Fundamental Laws of the Spanish Monarchy. The truth of what has happened in that capture, will be the result of a legal investigation, in which sinister informations, which partiality or personal interest often dictate, have no part. When that shall have been elucidated in the way which the Laws require, our Supreme Governments will decide with justice what is proper.
God preserve you many years.
FR. GONZALEZ DE LINAREZ.