To open a negotiation with the British Government, in the view to obtain an arrangement, whereby fugitive slaves, who have taken refuge in the Canadian provinces of that Government, may be surrendered by the functionaries thereof to their masters, upon making satisfactory proof of their ownership of said slaves.A Presidential Election was then imminent, and neither party willing to provoke the jealousy of the Slave Power: so this disgraceful resolve passed the House without a division. In 1826, Joel R. Poinsett, our Minister to Mexico, acting under instructions from Mr. Clay, negotiated with the Mexican Government a treaty for the mutual restoration of runaway slaves, but the Mexican Senate refused to ratify it. In 1831 (January 3), the brig Comet, a regular slaver from the District of Columbia, on her voyage to New Orleans, with a cargo of 164 slaves, was lost off the island of Abaco. The slaves were saved, and carried into New Providence, a British port, whose authorities immediately set them at liberty. And in 1833 (February 4), the brig Encomium, from Charleston to New Orleans with 45 slaves, was also wrecked near Abaco, and the slaves, in like manner, carried into New Providence, and there declared free. In February, 1835, the Enterprise, another slaver from the Federal District, proceeding to Charleston with 78 slaves, was driven in distress into Bermuda, where the slaves were immediately set at liberty. After long and earnest efforts on the part of our Government, the British Cabinet reluctantly consented to pay for the cargoes of the Comet and Encomium, expressly on the grounds that Slavery
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1 “Art. I. All territory, places, and possessions whatever, taken from either party by the other, during the war, or which may be taken after the signing of this treaty, shall be restored without delay; and without causing any destruction struction or the carrying away of the artillery, or other public property originally captured in said forts or places, and which shall remain upon the exchange of the ratifications of this treaty, or any slaves, or other private property.”
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