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Black Warrior seizure.

Prior to February, 1854, there had been several causes for irritation between the Spanish authorities of Cuba and the United States, on account of invasions of the territory of the former from that of the latter. Under cover of a shallow pretence, the steamship Black Warrior, belonging to citizens of the United States, was seized Feb. 28, at Havana, by order of the Spanish authorities in Cuba, and the vessel and cargo were declared confiscated. This flagrant outrage aroused a bitter feeling against those authorities; and a motion was made in the House of Representatives to suspend the neutrality laws and compel those officials to act more justly. A better measure was adopted. A special messenger was sent to Madrid, with instructions to the American minister there, Mr. Soule, to demand from the Spanish government immediate redress in the form of indemnification to the owners of the vessel in the amount of $300,000. The Spanish government justified the outrage, and this justification, operating with other causes for irritation, led to the famous consultation of American ministers in Europe known as the “Ostend conference.” (See Ostend manifesto.) Meanwhile the perpetrators of the outrage became alarmed, and the captain-general of Cuba, with pretended generosity, offered to give up the vessel and cargo on the payment, by the owners, of a fine of $6,000. They complied, but under protest. The governments of the United States and Spain finally made an amicable settlement.

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