Ohio History Journal

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The British Government abolished slavery in its West Indies

possessions as early as 1833. The nearness of the slave states

of the American Union to those islands made this a question of

great concern and caused much confusion in the diplomatic re-

lations of the two countries. When ships from the Southern

States with slaves on board were driven by stress of weather into

these ports the slaves claimed their freedom on the theory that

slavery could not exist in England. Out of the effort of the

National Government to regulate slavery on the high seas grew

the Giddings Resolutions. It developed over the brig, Creole,

a ship which sailed from Hampton Roads for the city of New

Orleans on October 27, 1841. On board were many slaves, the

exact number of which is not clear. There were probably as

many as one hundred and thirty.1

On November 7, a part of the slaves revolted and as a

result a slave-dealer named Hewell, Captain Ensor, the mate, and

several of the crew    were wounded.      The slaves took over the

vessel and sailed into the harbor of Nassau, thinking they would

be protected by the English who did not permit slavery. The

British authorities arrested the mutinous slaves and charged them

with murder and other crimes. A demand for them by the Amer-

ican Consul was refused by the British authorities.2


1 "Letters from Webster to Edward Everett, Ambassador to England, January

29, 1842," in Niles' National Register (Philadelphia, 1811-1849), LXI (1811-42), 403.

Daniel Webster in a letter to Edward Everett, and John Bassett Moore in his History

and Digest of the International Arbitration to Which the United States Has Been a

Party (Washington, D. C., 1898), IV, 4375, stated that there were one hundred thirty-

five, while Hermann Eduard von Hoist gives about one hundred. In the official cor-

respondence from Webster to the Earl of Aberdeen (George Hamilton Gordon) and

Lord Ashburton (Alexander Baring) the number is not given. Therefore it may be

assumed that one hundred or more slaves were on the ship.

2 Moore, Digest of International Arbitration, IV, 4375.