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instructions transmitted to him at the time of his appointment. After repeated examinations at the War Department it was found that no such instructions were issued to him, excepting as contained in the certificate of his appointment, a copy of which is herewith enclosed. He is therein referred to the instructions which had been forwarded to his predecessor. The Chief Clerk in the War Department states that "on turning the records for the general instructions to Colonel Hawkins, it is found that he was appointed previous to the year 1800, at which time all the books and papers belonging to the Department were burnt, and there is no copy of them now in its possession from which one could be furnished."
You have observed in the public prints that General Jackson has been appointed a Commissioner to treat with certain Indians within the state of Mississippi. It is proper for me to inform you that when I had the honor of writing you that an application to the President for his appointment to that service had been declined on the ground of his own wish urgently expressed, I was under the impression that it had been positively declined. In that, however, I was mistaken. It had been suspended, subject to the determination of General Jackson himself, who as I now learn, yielded reluctantly to the request of the whole delegation from the state of Mississippi and consented to serve in that case. I feel this explanation to be necessary from me to you, and trust it is unnecessary for me to add how much I should have been gratified by his appointment conformably to your proposal.
I have received under blank cover two or three Georgia newspapers containing speculations upon speeches and resolutions of Mr. Cobb's 1 at the two sessions of Congress last
1 Thomas W. Cobb (1784-1830).
elapsed. I have not the honor of a personal acquaintance with Mr. Cobb, but am well assured of the earnestness of his zeal for the interests of the state, one of whose Representatives he is. I believe he was informed when he made the motion for an appropriation to hold Indian treaties, that a message from the President, founded on your communication of 19 January, had already been determined upon, recommending the same thing. It certainly had been before his motion was made, and when it was not anticipated. There was assuredly no merit in the promptitude of attention in the general administration to the interests and wishes of the state of Georgia, so earnestly and forcibly recommended by you. As little reason was there for the insinuation that such promptitude had not been exercised.
This letter is marked as private, though relating altogether to transactions of a public nature. I am desirous that its explanations may be personally satisfactory to you, convinced as I am that I do but concur with you in the wish that to whomsoever the palm of preeminent ardor in the public service may belong, all its competitions may redound to the general prosperity of the Union, and to the special welfare of each and every one of its confederated states.
I am, etc.
TO THE PRESIDENT
WASHINGTON, 28 July, 1820.
I had the honor of receiving yesterday your letter of 24th instant which came by express. The reprieve for twelve months of both the men under sentence of death at Alexandria
had already been made out and transmitted to the Marshal
of the District.
Copies are now enclosed of all the instructions which have been forwarded to Mr. Forbes. As they were on various subjects, and I was under no small pressure of current business, I sent them in several successive letters. Upon the case of Lord Cochrane's capture I have not had the time to draw up a formal memorial. The letter of the 6th of July to Forbes, and the memorial of the complainants to which it refers, contain all the principles and all the reasoning that occur to me as applicable to the affair.
A letter from R. W. Habersham, the District Attorney in Georgia, received yesterday, likewise enclosed, calls for an early answer and presents for consideration several questions of great importance. First, of the dispositions to be made of the slaves; and secondly, of the Baltimore South American patriots, who figure again in our courts. The first however is the only one upon which immediate decision is necessary, and I am to ask your directions.3
I am, etc.
TO THE PRESIDENT
WASHINGTON, 29 July, 1820.
Three letters from Mr. Parker, United States District Attorney at Charleston, South Carolina, upon which I beg
1 James Grant Forbes, commissioner to carry the order from the King of Spain to the Governor and Captain General of Cuba for the delivery of the Floridas and of the archives belonging to them.
2 The revenue cutter Dallas had captured a brig under the colors of Artigas with about 275 Africans on board.
'Monroe's reply is in Writings of James Monroe, VI. 145.
to be honored with your instructions. Judge Johnson seems to have discovered an agent from Buenos Ayres here, of whom I never heard a Mr. La Borde. But the Wilson alias the United States brig Enterprise, alias the Bolivar,1 is not now a Buenos Ayrean but a Colombian. Weedon, the surgeon, whom they caught at Charleston, is pleading his cause in the newspapers, and insists that no court has a right to try him but the court at Margarita. He is for being tried only by his peers. I hope Judge Johnson will show a little of his indignation in his decision of the case, and also in that of the mutineers of the General Rondeau, and above all that the indignation will be pointed to the right quarter. I take the liberty to propose that orders should be given to the Navy Department to purchase the Valiente and send her to cruise for Baltimore South Americans, and especially for any vessel commanded by José Almeida, be her name or flag what it may. I would also suggest that the collector at Norfolk be requested to give information how so notorious a pirate as Almeida could be permitted to refit his vessel and recruit men and go to sea, under the nose of all the revenue officers of the United States, merely by the paltry evasion of calling his vessel the Wilson, and his co-pirate George Wilson her commander. Weedon says that the ship from Porto Rico bound to Baltimore which they took in the waters of the United States was a slave trader. That if true is some consolation.2
1A "Baltimore South American privateer," which after refitting and recruiting at Norfolk, sailed under the name of the Wilson, Captain Wilson, but committed an act of piracy as the Bolivar, Captain Almeida.
2 Monroe's reply, dated August 4, is in Writings of James Monroe, VI. 152.
TO THE PRESIDENT
WASHINGTON, 2 August, 1820.
A letter from the Collector of Baltimore 1 of 28 ultimo, enclosing one to him and extract of another from Mr. R. M. Harrison at St. Thomas, concerning the case of the Cameleon. As my impressions on the perusal of these papers happen to differ both from those of the collector and of Mr. Harrison, I take the liberty of submitting them to you for consideration. By the collector's own showing the Cameleon was either a pirate or a slave trader, and very probably both. The expression of surprise by the Governor of St. Thomas, that in time of profound peace the collectors of our ports should clear out armed merchant vessels with guns mounted and guns in the hold, is in my judgment altogether natural. The facility with which both pirates and slave-traders have year after year cleared out from the port of Baltimore has long struck many others besides the Governor of St. Thomas, and his meaning in the remark is not at all offensive to the United States, however it may be to Mr. McCulloh.
I wish to cast no reflection upon the collector of Baltimore, but his indignation like that of Mr. Harrison is not pointed to the right quarter.
Vigilant, zealous, and energetic revenue officers at Baltimore would have saved the United States not only from such
1 James H. McCulloh.