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Prince Regent in Council of the 31st of May last, for prohibiting the exportation of guvpowder, arms, or ammunition, to the Places therein specified, will expire on the 30th day of November next; and whereas it is expedient, that the said probibition should be continued for some time longer; His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, in the Name and on the behalf of His Majesty, and by and with the advice of His Majesty's Privy Council, dotb, therefore, hereby order, require, probibit, and command, that no Person or Persons whatsoever (except the Master-Geveral of the Ordnance for His Majesty's Service) do, at any time during the space of 6 months (to commence from the 30th day of November next, presume to travsport any gunpowder or saltpetre, or any sort of arms or ammunition, to any Port or Place on the Coast of Africa, or in the West Indies, or on any part of the Continent of America (except to a Port or Place, or Ports or Places, in His Majesty's Territories or Possessions on the Continent of North America, or in the Territories of the United States of America), or ship or lade any gunpowder or salt-petre, or any sort of arms, or ammunition, on board any Ship or Vessel, in order to transporting the same into any such Ports or Places on the Coast of Africa, or in the West Indies, or on the Continent of America (except as above excepted), without leave or permission in that behalf first obtained from His Majesty, or His Privy Council, upon pain of incurring and suffering the respective Forfeitures and Penalties inflicted by an Act, passed in the 29th year of His late Majesty's Reign, intituled “An Act to empower His Majesty to prohibit the exportation of salt-petre, and to enforce the Law for empowering His Majesty to prohibit the exportation of gunpowder, or any sort of arms or ammunition, and also to empower His Majesty to restrain the carrying coastwise of salt-petre, gunpowder, or any sort of arms or ammunition ;' and also by an Act, passed in the 33rd year of His Majesty's Reign, cap. 2, intituled, “ An Act to enable His Majesty to restrain the exportation of naval stores, and more effectually to prevent the exportation of salt-petre, arms, and ammunition, when probibited by Proclamation or Order in Council :"
And the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of His Ma. jesty's Treasury, the Commissioners for executing the Office of Lord High Admiral of Great Britain, the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, the Master-Geveral and the rest of the Principal Officers of the Ordnance, and His Majesty's Secretary at War, are to give the necessary directions herein to them may respectively appertain.
CORRESPONDENCE laid before the Congress of The
United States, relative to the government and regulation of Seamen in the Merchant Service, and for the relief of distressed and destitute American Seamen in Foreign Ports. -1815-1817.
(1.)- The Committee of Foreign Relations to the Secretary of State. SIR,
Washington, 13th December, 1816. A RÉSOLUTION has been referred to the Committee of Foreign Relations, instructing them to inquire into the expediency of amending the existing Laws for the relief of distressed American Seamen in Foreign Ports. I have the honor to apply to you for such information as has been communicated to the Department of State, relative to existing abuses, which may lead to a knowledge and correction of the defects of the present system.
I have the honor to be, &c. The Hon. James Monroe.
(2.)— The Secretary of State lo the Committee of Foreign Relations. SIR,
Department of State, 20th December, 1816. I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Letter of the 13th instant, requesting such information as may be in the possession of this Department, and as may lead to a knowledge and correction of the abuses and defects of the existing Laws, in relation to distressed American Seamen.
The great and increasing expenses to which The United States are subjected, for the relief of sick and indigent Seamen Abroad, are imputable chiefly to 3 causes :
Ist. To the provisions of the Act of the 20th July, 1790, entitled, "An Act for the government and regulation of Seamen in the Merchant Service."
2nd. To the want of adequate penalties for the non-payment by Masters of Vessels, of the 3 months' extra wages, on the discharge of Seamen Abroad, as required by the Act of the 28th February, 1803.
3d. To the want of proper checks upon the Consuls, for the due accountahility of such moneys as they may receive on account of discharged Seamen.
1. The 5th Section of the Law of 1790, first referred to, provides that if any Seaman shall desert the Vessel in which he is employed and not return within 48 hours, all the wages due to him at the time, as well as the goods and effects he may have on board, shall be forfeited to the use and benefit of the Owner of such Vessel. This provision, which was calculated to protect the Owners of Vessels against the losses and inconveniences attending the desertion of their Seamen in Foreign Ports, bas been perverted, greatly to the injury of the Seamen, and is the principal source of the heavy expense to which The United States have been exposed, for the relief and support of this meritorious class of our Fellow-Citizens.
The forfeiture of wages, &c. accruing to the Owner, has been found on long Voyages, particularly those to the North-West Coast of America and to India, when considerable sums are due to the Seamen, to be a sufficient inducement for the Masters of Vessels to abuse and ill treat their Men, in such manner as to oblige them to desert and incur the forseiture. They then wander in a destitute condition to some Port where there is a Consul, to be supported and sent Home at the public expense. When they are not driven so to desert, they are often discharged on the shores of the Pacific, at Ports where there are no Consuls, and are either not paid their wages at all, or paid in peltries, or portions of the cargo, at prices fixed by the arbitrary will of the Captain himself, and which they can never realize. With the small pittance thus obtained, they wander from Port to Port, and Island to Island, and if not fortunate enough to obtain the protection of a Consul, or to fall in with American Vessels, they enter those of other Nations, and their services are probably for ever lost to the trade and navigation of their own Country.
For a fuller view of these abuses, I refer the Committee to the Copy and an Extract of a Letter, herewith enclused, from the Consul of The United States in Canton.
To remedy these evils, an alteration of the 5th Section of the Act of 1790, so that the forfeiture of the Seamen's wages and effects for desertion should accrue to The United States, and not to the Owner or Master of the Vessel, seems proper; the sums so obtained to constitute a part of the Fund for the relief and protection of disabled Seamen. The forfeited wages may be accounted for, on Oath, by the Master of a Vessel to the Collector of the Customs, (to whom he is already bound by Law to account for the absence of any of his Crew) at the Port at which he may return to The United States; or, on failure to do so, a power night be vested in the Collector to recover the same by Action of debt, in a Court of competent jurisdiction.
2. There is no penalty provided for the refusal or neglect of a Master of a Vessel, on the discharge of his Men Abroad, to pay to the Cousul the 3 months' extra wages, required by the Act of the 28th February, 1803. Hence the extra wages, one month of which was to be retained and accounted for hy the Consul, and which was relied upon as a principal source of relief for sick and disabled Seamen, are seldom paid. An adequate penalty for such refusal or neglect on the part of the Master, would probably correct the evil.
3. The next thing to be considered is, the means by which the Consuls can be held accountable for the extra wages they may receive on account of discharged Seamen. The Act of February, 1803, has prescribed no mode by which this can be done. It attaches no penalty to the Consul for neglectiog to pay over the money to the Treasury, nor does it require the Master of the Vessel, on paying the money to the Consul, to exact and transmit his Receipt to the Treasury Department, whereby he could be held accountable. This defect should now be supplied, and being so, seems to afford the only check of which the case is susceptible.
It is, however, respectfully submitted to the consideration of the Coinmittee, whether a better course would not be to make the Collectors of the Customs the medium through which the month's wages, accruing on the discharge of Seamen, should be accounted for with the Treasury ; leaving the 2 month's wages only to be paid to the Consul for the benefit of the particular Seamen dischargeil.
I have the honor to be, &c. The Hon. John Forsyth, Chairman of
JAMES MONROE. the Committee of Foreign Relations.
(Enclosure.)– The American Consul at Canton to the Secrelary of
Canton, in China, 3rd February, 1815. The Undersigned, Consul for the United States of America, at the Port of Canton, in China, &c., begs leave respectsully to submit to the consideration of the Honorable James Monroe, Secretary of State for the United States of America, the propriety of the following Amend. ments of the 5th Section of the Act of Congress, passed the 4th day of January, 1790, “ For the government and regulation of Seamen in the Merchant Service;" and the 3rd Section of the “ Act, Supplementary to the Act concerning Consuls and Vice-Consuls, and for the further protection of American Seamen," passed the 28th day of February, 1803.
It is provided by the 5th Section of the Act of the 4th of January, 1790, that, “ If any Seaman or Mariner shall absent himself for more than 48 hours at one time, he shall forfeit all the wages due to him, and all his goods and chattels which were on board of the said Ship or Vessel, or in any Store where they may have been lodge.) at the time of desertion, to the use of the Owners of the said Ship or Vessel,” &c.
It is proposed to forfeit the wages due to the Seamen, at the time of desertion, to The United States, or that it be paid into some fund for the support of disabled Seamen, and not to the Owners of the Vessel; for the following reason:
It has often occurred, that Commanders of Vessels, which have been on long, tedious, and laborious voyages, sometimes of 2 or 3 years, particularly on the north-west Coast of America and the Pacific Ocean, ill-treat and unnecessarily punish their Seamen, for the sole purpose of driving them to desert from their Vessels, that they may forfeit to
the Owners all claim to their wages; through which means they are driven to the necessity of entering into Foreign Service, and thus The United States are deprived of the use of many able and valuable Seamen. This takes place more particularly about the time of the Ship’s arrival at this Port, from which period, as many Seamen are not wanted, to navigate the Vessel to The United States, or Europe, (their usual destination from bence,) as were necessarily employed on the previous and more lucrative part of the Voyage.
It is respectfully submitted, if the forseiture was made to The United States, and not to the Owners of the Vessel from which the Seaman deserts, the motive for the abuse of the Mariner will no longer exist; at the same time his punishment will not be lessened in case he wantonly or wickedly deserts his Vessel.
As a security to the Owners of Vessels against any expense which may arise from the increased wages they are obliged to pay, to other Seamen or Mariners bired in the place of those who may desert, it may be provided that the United States, or the Fund deriving benefit from the forfeiture, shall make good to the Owners of the Vessel that difference in wages.
It is provided, by the 3rd Section of the Act of the 28th day of February, 1803, “ That whenever a Ship or Vessel belonging to a Citizen of The United States, shall be sold in a Foreign Country, avd her Company discharged, or wben a Seaman or Mariner, a Citizen of The United States, shall, with his own consent, be discharged in a Foreign Country, it shall be the duty of the Master or Commander to produce to the Consul, Vice-Consul, Comercial Agent, or ViceCommercial Agent, the List of his Ship’s Company, certified as aforesaid, and to pay to such Consul, &c., for every Seaman or Mariner so discharged, being designated on such List as a Citizen of The United States, 3 months pay over and above the wages which may then be due to such Mariner or Seaman,” &c.
American Vessels, which have been trading on the north-west Coast of America and the Pacific Ocean, have, of late, been sold at Ports on the north-west Coast, and Islands in the Pacific Ocean, where there are no Consuls or Vice-Consuls of The United States residing, and their Crews discharged. In some instances, they have been paid to the time of discharge, by an Order on the Owners of the Vessel in America; in other instances, they have been paid in articles composing the Cargo of the Vessel, such as seal skins, valued at 24 and often 3 dollars each. These they are under the necessity of disposing of on the spot, for 1 dollar, sometimes 75 cents, each. The sacrifice the Seamen make on their Orders, is not less than that on the skins; often 1 half or 3.fourths of the nominal amount. There are always Persons ready to take advantage of their necessities. [1816-17.)