No. 159.
Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. West.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 23d of November, in relation to the capture in April last, by the King of Johanna, of a slave dhow with a large number of slaves on board, which the master of the vessel was in the act of delivering to one Dr. Wilson, the owner of an estate called “Patsy” in Zanzibar, and which the master of the dhow stated had been bought for Dr. Wilson, who is alleged to be a citizen of the United States.

From whatever standpoint the matter may be viewed, the conduct of the King of Johanna appears to have been praiseworthy and humane.

It is the settled policy of this Government to discountenance in every way that it properly can any connection of citizens of the United States with the holding of slaves or the traffic in them. When, however, American citizens place themselves outside of the jurisdiction of their country and its laws a difficulty arises in attempting to deal with them.

I have instructed the United States consul at Zanzibar to institute inquiries in relation to Dr. Wilson’s American citizenship, and also as to his connection with the traffic in slaves or with the system of slavery in any of its forms. When the consul’s report shall have been received I [Page 238] will lay it before the President, who will no doubt direct such action to be taken as the facts may warrant.

I return the printed statement inclosed in your note, in pursuance of your request.

I have, &c.,