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1st Session.




No. 112..


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Information respecting disorders and outrages committed on the Rio-
Grande frontier.

JUNE 15, 1852.

Referred to the Committee on Military Affairs, and ordered to be printed.

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

I transmit to Congress a report from the Secretary of State, on the subject of the disorders on the Rio Grande frontier, and recommend the legislation which it suggests, in order that the duties and obligations of this government occasioned thereby, may be more effectually discharged, and the peace and security of the inhabitants of the United States in that quarter, more efficiently maintained.


WASHINGTON, June 11, 1852.

To the President of the United States:

Although there is a great want of official information on the subject, there is no doubt of the frequent occurrence of disorders and outrages comnitted on the borders between the United States and Mexico; and unhappily these disorders are not confined to the inhabitants on either side. Marauding incursions, and the violent seizing of persons to be transported across the line, have taken place, and are very likely to be repeated; and there seems to be an absolute necessity for the adoption of some measures for the preservation of peace and good neighborhood. There is no reason to suppose that these outrages have received any countenance or encouragement from the officers or agents either of the government of the United States or of Mexico. They are the lawless acts of individuals, the suppreson of which for the future has become quite necessary.

To the accomplishment of this end, I think it important that the attenon of Congress should be called to the necessity of some further legal Enactments. In the first place it seems necessary that on so extensive a border, along which the civil authorities may not always be able promptly

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to repel lawless incursions of individuals into the United States, the government should be authorized to employ the military force of the country stationed in that quarter. The existing laws do not appear to provide for this case. The President has authority"to call forth the militia to repel invasion from any foreign nation or Indian tribe," but these words hardly seem to embrace lawless inroads by gangs or masses of individuals. It was not probably thought necessary to provide for such cases as the civil power may have been deemed competent to prevent and punish. Existing circumstances, however, would seem to require an amendment of the law in this respect.

In the next place, it is the clear duty of the government of the United States effectually to restrain its own citizens from hostile incursions into the territories of Mexico. For this purpose, also, some further legal enactments appear to be necessary. The act of Congress of 10th March, 1838, entitled "An act supplementary to an act entitled An act in addition to the act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States, and to repeal the acts therein mentioned," expired several years ago by its own limitation, and I think it should be recommended to Congress to revive it, or such parts thereof as the exigencies of the present occasion may require. There is an omission in that act important to be supplied in any new legislation on the subject. The act provides for the seizure and detention of any vessel, or of any arms or munitions of war which may be provided or prepared for any military expedition or enterprise against the territory or dominions of any foreign prince or State, or of any colony, district, or people conterminous with the United States, and with whom they are at peace, but does not provide for their trial and confiscation. All which is respectfully submitted.



Washington, June 11, 1852.

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A report of the Secretary of State, and a communication from the Spanish Minister, asking indemnity for Spanish subjects in New Orleans.

JUNE 23, 1852.

Read, and referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and ordered to be printed.

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

I transmit herewith, for your consideration, a report from the Secretary of State, accompanied by a communication from his excellency Señor Don A. Calderon de la Barca, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of her Catholic Majesty, claiming indemnity for those Spanish subjects in New Orleans who sustained injury from the unlawful violence of the mob in that city, consequent upon hearing the news of the execution of those persons who unlawfully invaded Cuba in August, 1851. My own views of the national liability upon this subject were expressed in the note of the Secretary of State to Mr. Calderon, of the 13th November, 1851, and I do not understand that her Catholic Majesty's minister controverts the correctness of the position there taken. He, however, insists that the 13th article of the treaty of 1795, promises indemnity for such injuries sustained within one year after the commencement of war between the two nations; and although he admits this is not within the letter of the treaty, yet he conceives that, as between two friendly nations, it is within the spirit of it.

This view of the case is, at his request, submitted for your consideration. But whether you may deem it correct or not, there is perhaps one ground upon which this indemnity, which cannot be large in amount, may be granted without establishing a dangerous precedent, and the granting of which would commend itself to the generous feeling of the entire country, and that is this: the Queen of Spain, with a magnanimity worthy of all commendation, in a case where we had no legal right to solicit the favor, granted a free pardon to the persons who had so unjustifiably invaded her dominions and murdered her subjects in Cuba in violation of her own laws, as well as those of the United States, and the public law of nations. Such an act of mercy, which restored many misguided and unfortunate youths of this country to their parents and friends, seems to me to merit some cor

responding act of magnanimity and generosity on the part of the government of this country; and I think that there can be none more appropriate than to grant an indemnity to those Spanish subjects who were resident among us and who suffered by the violence of the mob, not on account of any fault which they themselves had committed, but because they were the subjects of the Queen of Spain. Such an act would tend to confirm that friendship which has so long existed between the two nations, and to perpetuate it as a blessing to both; and I therefore commend it to your favorable consideration.


WASHINGTON, June 14, 1852.


Washington, June 12, 1852.

The Secretary of State has the honor to lay before the President a translation of a note of the 22d of April last, addressed to this department by Señor Don A. Calderon de la Barca, her Catholic Majesty's Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, asking that those Spanish subjects whose property was destroyed in the popular tumult at New Orleans in August last, may be indemnified therefor. The Secretary of State accordingly suggests that Congress be recommended to make provision for the reparation desired.

Respectfully submitted,




Washington, April 22, 1852.

In pursuance of his duty, the undersigned, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of her Catholic Majesty, informed his government in due time, that in consequence of the jury at New Orleans not having been able to agree, they had not succeeded in proving who had been the instigators of the riot which had been excited in that city against Spanish subjects in August last, and that the instigators aforesaid had, therefore, remained unpunished.

Her Catholic Majesty's government has, in reply, given instructions to the undersigned, in consideration of which he proceeds to submit to the noble rectitude of the honorable Daniel Webster some few remarks, which he flatters himself will receive his attention.

The above mentioned case, the fact of there having been no agreement, neither on the part of the jury in the trial against the instigators and actors in the piratical expedition which was repulsed at Cardenas, and the recent disagreement likewise of the New York jury, in the suit which had been instituted there against O'Sullivan, the Hungarian Schlessinger, Captain Lewis and others, of which the two last mentioned had not only formed part of the Cardenas expedition, but also of that which the steamer Cleopatra had proposed to convey, and of the one that landed at Bahia Honda,

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