Today in History:

125 Series I Volume LIII- Serial 111 - Supplements


the guns seized by the police, if delivered up by the authorities, stating that the guns were then at the command of their owners, and asking me to release the ships. At the same time I received a dispatch from Mr. John Boston, the collector of the port of Savannah, stating that he had just been informed by Mr. Lamar that the guns had been delivered up. Repretting the necessity which compelled me to resort to a means of redress which, while natural and legal, might interrupt the commerce between the two States and expose to temporary hardship individual citizens of New York, whose property, under the law of nations, is subject to seizure for such outrages committed by the authorities of their own State, though they may disapprove and condemn them, I was determined not to occupy the position of an aggressor for a single hour. So soon, therefore, as I was informed that the authorities of New York had made reparation for the robbery I immediately ordered the release of the vessels.

Since that time I directed Mr. Lamar to have the guns shipped to Savannah, that they might be delivered to their owners. He now informs me that he demanded their shipment, and was informed by the superintendent of the police of New York that he had changed his mind, and that he would not now permit the guns to be shipped, but that he would order further seizure of what he pleased to call "contraband articles". Twelve days have passed since I mailed to the Governor of New York the communication above referred to, and I have received no response from him. He has not only refused, therefore, to order the restoration of the property of which his police and plundered our citizens within the limits of his own State, on a demand sent by telegraph, but he has neglected and refused to answer a written communication upon the subject sento to him through the regular medium of the mail. While I held possession of the vessels my agent was informed that the guns were at the command of their owners. Acting upon this assuranceelease of the vessels; and my agent is now informed that the officer in possession of the guns has changed his mind, and that he will not permit them to be returned to their owners. These facts show very clearly that it is the settled policy of the authorities of New York to subject our commerce to a surveillance which we cannot with honor submit to, and the seize upon our property and plunder our citizens at their pleasure.

Under these circumstances I feel that I, as the Executive of Georgia would prove recreant to the high trust reposed in me by my fellow-citizens were I to refuse to protect their rights against such unprovoked aggression by all the means which the law of nations or the constitution and laws of this State have placed at my command. It therefore becomes my duty again to direct you to call out such military force as may be necessary for that purpose, and the renew the reprisals by the seizure, as soon as practicable, of vessels in the harbor of Savannah, or other property in the city or elsewhere within your reach, belonging to the State or citizens of New York, at least equal in value to double the amount of the original seizures made by you. You will hold the property so seized subject to my order, and it will be released when the guns in question (together with any other property of our citizens which has been or may in the meantime be unlawfully seized by the authorities of New York) are actually shipped from the harbor and are beyond the reach or control of the police of the city of New York or the authorities of the State.

Respectfully, &c.,