Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress Page: 51
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-To Gales & Seaton's "Register.
18tk Congress, £
£d Session* 3
Report on the subject of Piracies.
[H. of R. & Sen.
harshly to a government embarrassed by internal diffi-
culties, and enfeebled by recent revolutions, the distance
Of (he seat of the Spanish Government from the places
in which the evils complained of originated, the death of
the Minister appointed by the Spanish Government on
the eve of his departure 10 this country, and the recent
selection of another Minister, whose appointment and
intended departure for the United States, has been com-
municated in an offi ial letter, a translation of which is
herewith presented to the Mouse, induce the committee
not to propose any legislative enactment, under the firm
conviction that this forbearance will give to Spain a new
motive to make speedily ample reparation for the inju-
ries sustained, and that, if it does not produce this desir-
ed effect, it will justify, in the eyes of all nations, any
and every step Congress may hereafter be compelled to
Department op State,
Washington, Jan. 24, 1825.
Sib: I have the honor of enclosing, herewith, a trans-
lation of the only answer yet received from the Spanish
Goteromcnt to Mr. Nelson's notes 011 the subject of pi-
racy ami outrages on our commerce. It has been re-
ceived since the communications to Congress of the pre-
vious documents were made.
1 am, with great respect,
Sir, your very humble and obed't serv't,
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS.
John Forsyth, Esq..
Chairman of the Committee of Foreign Helatims,
Mouse of Representatives, U. S,
Mr. Zea Bermudez to Mr. JV"leon.
Sin,: From the middle of September last, when I took
possession of the appointment which the kindness of
the King, my august master, deigned to entrust to me,
I dedicated, by order of His Majesty, my attention to the
different notes presented by you, relative to the claims
of the American subjects, who thought themselves en-
titled to he indemnified by Spain for the losses which
they have suffered in the seas of America. A business
so complicated, in which considerable interests are in-
volved, presented so much more difficulty, by how much
there were intermingled with it other interests and other
claims of Spanish subjects against the government and
subjects of the United States.
His Majesty, desirous of preserving the friendship and
good harmony which oappily subsists between both na-
tions, and that, in faithful observance of existing treaties,
both Governments should terminate, in a friendly man-
ner, this delicate question, the legitimate rights, and
just pretensions of both being mutually conciliated, has
thought that the most proper means for gaining this de-
sired end, is to send immediately a Minister Plenipoten-
tiary, to reside near the American Government, who, by
his information, prudence, and practical knowledge of
the relations between both countries, may be at the same
time the interpreter and the executor of the just inten-
tions of the King. In consequence, His Majesty has
been pleased, to appoint Don .Tose de Heredia, his En-
voy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary in the
United States of America. He will set out for his new
destination as soon as possible.
I hasten to inform you of this, that you may be pleased^
to lay it before your Government; and 1 avail myself of
this occasion, to repeat to you the assurances of my
Host distinguished consideration. God preserve you
Your most obedient servant,
PRAWISCO DE ZEA BERMUDEZ,
Sun Xsrenjs>, 19th JYbv. 1824.
Of the Committee on Foreign Relations in the Sen-
ate of the United States, on so much of the Pre-
sident's Message as relates to Piracies,
January 10, 1825.
That our commerce for years has been harassed, and
the lives of our citizens destroyed by pirates, issuing
from the colonies of Spain in the West Indies, is a fact
derived not only from the Message of the President, but
is of universal notoriety. These outrages have been so
long and so often repeated, and marked with such atro-
cious circumstances, that a detail of the particular cases
would be as impracticable as unnecessary. #ur Go-
vernment, with a view to protect our citizens, his resort-
ed to the means within their power, by stationing a na«
val force near the places where the pirates resort; a
measure also pursued by other Powers. Every effort,
heretofore, has been unavailing to put an end to these
atrocities. These desperadoes, acquiring confidence
from impunity, becoming more ferocious from habit, and
multiplying by recruits from the most abandoned of
other nations, threaten the most disastrous mischiefs,
justly alarming tothat highly valuable and most respect-
able portion of our fellow-citizens, whose pursuits are
on the high seas. It is manifest, as well from facts de-
rived from other sources, us from the Message of the
President, that the continuance of this evil is ascribable
to the asylum afforded the banditti in the colonies of
Spain. The Government of the United States, cherish-
ing the most amicable disposition towards Spain, has
presented the subject with great earnestness to the
Spanish Government, demanding reparation for the past,
and security for the future. To these reiterated remon-
strances, no answer was returned (ill very recently, and
to this day all that has been obtained is a promise of a
satisfactory answer to the applications of the Govern-
ment of the United States: although Spain has been so-
lemnly warned that if she did not promptly acquit her-
self of her obligations to 11s on this subject, our Govern-
ment would be constrained, from the nature of the out-
rages, to become its own avenger, and, availing itself of
its own resources, protect the commerce and lives of the
American citizens from destruction. In the same spirit
of conciliation an appeal has been made to the local au-
thorities, accompanied with a request that if, from weak-
ness, they were unable to exterminate the_ hordes of
banditti who took shelter from pursuit within their ter«.
ritories, that permission might be given our forces to
pursue them on land. This has been denied on the
vain punctilio of national dignity. The posturo in which
Spain now stands, is that of connivance in these inju-,
lies, or incapacity to prevent them. "A Sovereign who
refuses to cause reparation to be made of the damage
caused by his subject, or to punish the guilty, or, in
short, to deliver him up, renders himself an accomplice
in the injury, and becomes responsible for it." If the
committee were of opinion that the refusal on the part
of Spain was wilful, and not the result of inability,
they would, with a full view of ail the consequences
which the measure involves, at once recommend an up.
peal to the last resort of nations against Spain and all
her dependencies; but believing as they do that courtesy
requires that her refusal to do us justice should be plac-
ed on the ground of inability—an inability resulting
from causes which the committee intentionally forbear
to enumerate, they content themselves with recom-
mending only such measures as are believed to be mdis-
nensable effectually to roach the mischief- And hence,
they beg leave to present a bill, with suitable provisions,
for the end designed.
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Gales, Joseph, 1761-1841. Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress, book, 1825; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30752/m1/427/: accessed January 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.