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duly informed, and I can see no good reason under the circumstances for renewing the claim or for continuing a correspondence on the subject.” It is proper, and but just, here to remark that afterwards, in a personal interview, Mr. Calhoun denied to your memorialist ever having seen or written the letter abpve alluded to, and stated that such was the pressure of business in the department, that he was forced to rely upon the corresponding clerk, as it was as much as he could do to sign letters. Your memorialist is of opinion that the letter of Mr. Upshur, abandoning this claim, emanated from the same source.
The particular attention of Congress is drawn to the circumstance that this letter of Señor De Castro not only contained the first intimation, in writing, of the slightest objection on the part of the government of Portugal to the justice of the demand of the claimants of the brig General Armstrong, but there are certain passages in it, while they endeavor to escape from the responsibility imposed on Portugal, clearly acknowledge her liability, and disclose very distinctly the interference of England in this negotiation, whose known influence and interposition has tended to delay, and ultimately to defeat, the recognition and payment of this just claim. This Portuguese minister states that “the government of his Britannic Majesty appreciating the rashness with which his officers acted in a neutral port against said brig, without first recurring to the authorities of the country, had no hesitation in apologizing to the Portuguese government, and indemnifying the inhabitants of Fayal for damages sustained by the firing of the British vessels."
It is an astonishing fact, pregnant with interest, and involving the rights of the claimants in this case, (as will appear from the official correspondence,) that from and after the administration of Mr. John Q. Adams, the subsequent administrations of the United States government, down to Mr. Polk's term, prosecuted this claim without the knowledge of the previous recorded and voluntary admissions of the responsibility of the government of Portugal to the claimants, as contained in the official letters of the Marquis de Aguiar to Mr. Sumpter and Lord Strangford, the American and British ministers at Rio de Janeiro, notwithstanding these documents, during that whole period, were on file in the archives of the Department of State! And further, that the gorernment at Lisbon gave as a pretext for its delays in not replying to the repeated demands made by this government in behalf of the claimants, “that it could not find the proceedings had at Rio de Janeiro, while at the same time our chargé, Mr. Cavanagh, frequently stated to our government that “there were no records in the archives of the legation to show the result thereof!"
The acknowledged rights of the claimants having thus been abandoned by the Department of State of the United States, which refused to reply to the fallacies and admissions of Señor De Castro's letter, your memorialist sought relief by a resolution introduced in the Senate of the United States by the Hon. H. Johnson, of Louisiana, requesting the President “to cause to be communicated to the Senate copies of all the correspondence, evidence, and papers on file in the State Department, in the case of the brig General Armstrong, against the government of Portugal; and to communicate to the Senate the causes which have retarded an adjustment of the said claim, and of the proceedings still in progress to effect the object.” This resolution was responded to by a message from Mr. James K. Polk, President of the United States, in December, 1845, being Senate Document, No. 14, of the 1st session of the 29th Congress, containing all the correspondence thus far alluded to. In this document were disclosed, for the first time since their avowal, the voluntary admissions and acknowledged responsibility of Portugal to the claimants by the letters of the Marquis de Aguiar. The message and accompanying documents were referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations, before whom your memorialist, by consent, appeared in person, and urged the committee by argument, either to report in favor of paying the claimants out of the Treasury of the United States, on the ground that this government had abandoned and sacrificed the rights of the claimants by its manifest laches and neglect, or to recommend to the Department of State the further consideration of this claim. The committee reported through Mr. Atherton on the 19th May, 1846, and after reviewing all the correspondence, and the facts of this case, the report proceeds to say:—"The committee, as has been previously intimated, do not suppose it is expected that they should express an opinion on the decision of the State Department, as indicated in the letters of Mr. Upshur and Mr. Calhoun. They suppose this decision must be founded rather on the inability of the Portugese force at Fayal to protect themselves and others against British insolence and aggression, and an unwillingness on the part of the United States government to interrupt friendly relations with a government like that of Portugal, by pressing a claim to extremity, however abstractly just, which arose under circumstances like those attending this case, than on any facts or arguments contained in the letter of Señor De Castro.” The remarkable conclusion here arrived at, in favor of the Portuguese government, by excusing its unjust denial and delays to indemnify the claimants, and the silent assent of the course pursued by the State Department in refusing to make reclamation for the parties interested, is in strange contrast with the language held by Mr. Dickins, of the Department of State, in his letter of instructions to Mr. Cavanagh, dated May 20th, 1835, who then said: “ The Portuguese authorities at that place having failed to afford to this vessel the protection to which she was entitled in a friendly port, which she had entered as an asylum, the government is unquestionably bound, by the law of nations, to make good to the sufferers all the damages sustained in consequence of the neglect of so obvious and acknowledged a duty.” The committee, after commenting upon the letter of Señor De Castro, and considering the language very extraordinary, and the grounds assumed destitute of probity or probability, and the assumptions contained therein as entirely gratuitous and unfounded, suggested the subject for the consideration of the Department of State to decide whether further proceedings might not be called for in this case.
The Committee on Foreign Affairs of 1846, in denying the responsibility of this government to indemnify the claimants, state that, “ this is a claim on the United States, not on account of spoiliation committed by Portugal, but on account of a violation by Great Britain of the neutral rights of Portugal, which Portugal, a third power, failed to enforce. And whether this violation of neutral rights arose from the weak
ness or the connivance of the Portugese authorities, the government of the United States must decide as to the time and the method of demanding, and especially as to the propriety of enforcing, redress.” In oppo . sition to this view entertained by the Committee on Foreign Affairs of 1846, the Naval Committee of the Senate, in 1817, held that, “in principle, the committee can see no distinction between a private armed ship and a merchant ship, nor between property captured and converted to the use of the captors, and property destroyed by a third party omitting to do its duty.” It is evident, that at the time the report was made by the Naval Committee it was not aware that Portugal had previously acknowledged this claim, and received satisfaction from Great Britain. Besides, the United States government had not then abandoned the prosecution of this claim in behalf of the owners, while it is clear that the Committee on Foreign Relations, of 1846, mainly followed in its conclusions the report of the Naval Committee, which will be found in the pamphlet, (herewith filed,) at page 20, being “a collection of sundry publications and other documents in relation to the attack made during the late war upon the private armed brig General Armstrong." In accordance with the suggestions contained in the report of the Committee on Foreign Relations of 1846, this case was referred back to the State Department, but the balance of Mr. Polk's term, three years, was permitted to expire without any reply being made to Señor De Castro's letter of denial.
In 1849, your memorialist again renewed his application in behalf of the claimants, under the administration of President Taylor, and Mr. John M. Clayton, Secretary of State, in his letter of instructions, dated April 20th, 1849, to Mr. G. W. Hopkins, chargé d'affaires of the United States at Lisbon, in regard to this and other claims, assumed a decisive tone. In speaking of the Armstrong claim as “the oldest case of wrong, and the most remarkable," and in alluding to the wrongs and grievances so long borne by our countrymen, Mr. Clayton says: “it is under these circumstances that the President has resolved to make one more attempt to procure satisfaction for American claimants, and to assert the national honor. You will impress upon Portugal this idea, that, on entering upon the duties of his high office as Chief Magistrate of the United States, the President determined that he would assert the rights of his fellow-citizens upon foreign governments; proceeding upon the principle, often avowed by our government, 'to make no demand not founded in justice, and to submit to no wrong.' Further delay will be construed into denial. It is in contemplation to lay before Congress the result of this final appeal, at an early period of the next session. Should it happen, unfortunately, that a satisfatory answer be denied, or withheld, until the arrival of the period for making the proposed communication, the subject will then be submitted to that body as it shall at the time stand; and the Portuguese government may rest assured that any measures which Congress in their wisdom may decide upon, as due to our citizens and country, will be faithfully carried out by the Executive." In carrying out these instructions, Mr. Hopkins, in his letter, dated Lisbon, June 28, 1849, to Count Tojal, the Portuguese minister of foreign affairs, after concluding an unanswerable argument in behalf of the claimant, says: “ The President of the United States
sincerely desires to cultivate peace with every nation and people, but he will never compromit the dignity of the republic, nor abandon the just rights of his fellow-citizens to attain any end."
Mr. James B. Clay, who succeeded Mr. Hopkins, continued the negotiation by incontestible arguments, and in his letter of the 24th April, 1850, peremptorily refused to accept the proposition of Count Tojal to refer the case of the General Armstrong to the arbitration of a third power. In the final instructions sent to Mr. Clay, by the Department of State, dated March 8, 1850, a peremptory demand was made on the Portuguese government, and twenty days allowed for a final reply. These instructions were sent to the commander of the American squadron in the Mediterranean, to be delivered to Mr. Clay, and the demand was backed by the presence of the American fleet in the river Tagus. In these instructions Mr. Clayton says: “In regard to a reference of our claims to an arbiter, which has been indicated, the President has directed me to say, that no such course will, under the circumstances, receive his sanction, and this for reasons too obvious to need enumeration."
Your memorialist desires to draw the special attention of your honorable body to the fact, that in the letter of Count Tojal to Mr. Hopkins, dated Lisbon, September 29, 1849, he states: “that it is well known that the British government had already, in 1817, (the identical year in which the naval committee of the United States Senate made its report,) disapproved of the conduct of Commodore Lloyd, thereby giving satisfaction to his Majesty's government, and that it had, in March, 1818, made compensation for the losses occasioned to the inhabitants of Fayal by the artillery of the British forces, while absolutely refusing indemnity for the loss of the American privateer, on the grounds of her having been the first aggressor, and therefore the cause of her own destruction." Furthermore, Count Tojal states in his letter of March 9th, 1850, to Mr. Clay, that, “In 1814, the government of her Britannic Majesty, through Lord Bathurst, then minister of foreign affairs, directed Mr. Canning, ambassador at Lisbon near the regency, to give the Portuguese government a verbal satisfaction for the occurrences which had taken place, and which resulted in the destruction of the privateer General Armstrong, in the port of Fayal,” &c. And finally, that “in 1817 Lord Castlereagh, who was then minister of foreign affairs to her Britannic Majesty, sent the sum of £319 to the inhabitants of the village Da Horta, as a compensation for the damage which the balls of the brig Carnation had caused to their dwellings," &c. On Mr. Clay afterwards quoting these facts as conclusive evidence, both against the Portuguese and British governments, Count Tojal replies in his letter of May 15th, 1850, that, "the English government does not consider the conduct of Commodore Lloyd as amenable to censure; that upon being informed of its having been asserted, in the course of this correspondence, that Commodore Lloyd had been reprimanded by the government of his Britannic Majesty, on account of his conduct in the affair of the privateer General Armstrong, an official communication was sent, a few days ago, to the government of her most faithful Majesty, stating that the assertion in regard to such censures were entirely destitute of foundation.” It is worthy of remark, that the Portuguese
government studiously concealed the diplomatic correspondence with England in regard to this whole transaction, although requested to exhibit it by Mr. Clay.
The government of Portugal thus supported, aided, and encouraged by the government of England, continued to resist the payment of this claim, while she willingly admitted others of unequal justice and merit. Under these circumstances, on the 11th July, 1850, Mr. Clay, according to instructions, demanded his passports and left the country. In the mean time the Portuguese minister at Washington, J. C. de Figaniére é Morâo, had opened a correspondence with the Secretary of State in relation to the Armstrong claim, urging a reference of the claim to a third power. Mr. Clayton rejected the proposition, and in his letter of the 30th April, 1850, says: “ The undersigned, in conclusion, is compelled to add, that should the Portuguese government persevere in the refusal to adjust and settle what are believed to be the incontrovertible claims of American citizens upon that government, the only alternative left to the President will be immediately resorted to—the submission of the whole subject to the decision of the Congress of the United States, whose final determination as to the mode of adjustment will have all its appropriate influence upon the course of the Executive.”. Again, on the 19th June, 1850, Mr. Clayton, in reply to Mr. Figaniére's trumped-up and obsolete reclamations on this government, as a set off against this and other claims, says: “In conclusion, sir, I beg leave to repeat to you the assurance contained in my note of the 30th May last, “that the just claims of the citizens of this country upon Portugal will lose none of the merit which characterizes them, nor any portion of that protection which this government has determined to extend to the claimants, by the resuscitation of such unfounded pretensions.'” All the diplomatic correspondence here referred to will be found in Ex. Doc. No. 53 of the House of Representatives, lst session, 32d Congress.
At this critical juncture, on the 9th of July, 1850, unfortunately for the claimants, President Taylor died. On the formation of the new administration under Mr. Fillmore, the proposition of Portugal to submit this claim to a third power for arbitration was renewed, accepted, and agreed to, by this government, without the knowledge, advice, or consent of
of the claimants. A treaty was concluded on the 26th February, 1851, and ratified by the Senate on the 10th March, without that honorable body having had the slightest knowledge or information of the diplomatic correspondence and negotiations which had been carried on between the two governments ! This treaty was proclaimed only on the 1st September, 1851. Louis Napoleon, president of the republic of France, was chosen as arbitrator. Your memorialist then submitted to the Department of State, and filed a written argument in behalf of the claimants, to which the especial attention of Congress is most respectfully solicited, (hereunto annexed and prayed to be received as a part of this memorial,) with the request that it should be transmitted to the arbitrator chosen by the high contracting parties. The Secretary of State, Mr. Webster, refused the application, on the ground that the terms of the treaty did not permit of it, and the claimants were deprived of the privilege, and