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Forsyth, John (1780-1841) to William S. Holabird

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC05636.18 Author/Creator: Forsyth, John (1780-1841) Place Written: Washington, D.C. Type: Letter signed Date: 6 January 1840 Pagination: 3 p. ; 32.1 x 19.5 cm.

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC05636.18 Author/Creator: Forsyth, John (1780-1841) Place Written: Washington, D.C. Type: Letter signed Date: 6 January 1840 Pagination: 3 p. ; 32.1 x 19.5 cm.

Summary of Content: Forsyth discusses the Amistad case, revealing the administration's assumptions regarding the verdict of the trial. States that the Spanish minister had applied to the State Department for the "use of a vessel of the United States in the event of the decision of the Circuit Court in the case of the Amistad being favorable to his former application, to convey the negroes to Cuba, for the purpose of being delivered over to the authorities of that Island." States that President Van Buren has agreed, and "ordered a vessel to be in readiness to receive the negroes from the Custody of the Marshal, as soon as their delivery shall have been ordered by the Court. As the request of the Spanish Minister for the delivery of the Negroes to the Authorities of Cuba, has for one of its objects that those people should have an opportunity of proving before the Tribunals of the Island the truth of the allegation made in their behalf, in the course of the proceedings before the Circuit Court, that they are not slaves..." Requires that Lieutenants Thomas R. Gedney and Richard W. Meade of the USS Washington (who first encountered the Amistad in the water near Culloden Point, New York) give their testimony in Cuba if the trial is moved there. (In January of 1840, the case was before the District, not the Circuit Court, as Forsyth stated).

Background Information: Forsyth was Secretary of State 1834-1841. Holabird was District Attorney for the State of Connecticut during the Amistad trial.

People: Forsyth, John, 1780-1841
Holabird, William S., 1794-1855
Gedney, Thomas R., d. 1857
Van Buren, Martin, 1782-1862

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Subjects: AmistadAfrican American HistorySlaverySlave TradeSlave RebellionAfricaMutinyMaritimeLawPresidentGlobal History and CivicsForeign AffairsPrisonerJudiciaryLatin and South AmericaCaribbeanNavy

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