The Amistad, Charleston Courier,24 Sept. 1839.
[Correspondence of the N. Y. Com. Adv.]
THE AMISTAD HARTFORD, Tuesday Evening, Sept. 17.
Nothing of any interest has been done to-day in the matter of the African captives. All of them except Jingua, or Shinaguaw, and one other, were brought to this place on Saturday, and Jingua came on yesterday. The other was too unwell to be removed. One died, I understand, on Saturday--perhaps the one whose illness prevented his removal.
This morning the Circuit Court was opened by Judge Judson--Judge Thompson not having arrived. The grand jury was sworn and charged--but I understood the Judge to intimate, in his charge, that the case of the Africans, would not, probably, be submitted to them until after they should have received another special charge from Judge Thompson.
At twelve o'clock, no business being ready, the Court was adjourned until 2 P. M.; and at that hour, none of the counsel being prepared with any cases, the petit jury was discharged for the day. Soon after, Judge Thompson made his appearance, and almost immediately proceeded to the Court Room--but, as it turned out, only to adjourn until to-morrow morning at 9.
Very considerable doubts are entertained, I find, whether the grand jury will bring in a bill for any crime against the Africans; in which case the whole discussion will be on the various civil claims set up--namely, by the Spaniards to the Africans as slaves, and by the officers and crew of the Washington to salvage on the schooner and cargo. But we shall know more about it in a day or two.
The Spanish gentlemen have arrived this evening. Mr. Staples came in the morning line. I am not informed whether any other of the counsel are here. It is supposed that Mr. Ingersoll will act with the district attorney; and it is presumable that the Spaniards have counsel employed also.
I went, with some hundreds of others, this morning, to see the captives--paying my York shilling, like an honest man, for the privilege. The nonsense that has been written about them is awful. The sober truth is that they are just what in the south would be called a likely lot of young Negroes--very few of them seeming to be much if any thing over twenty.
They are small, not averaging, I should think, more than five feet and two or three inches. The "cannibal," or "man with the tusks," is a good-tempered looking fellow, and I venture to say never ate a morsel of man's flesh in his life. His"tusks" are just slightly projecting front teeth, such as I have seen , scores of times, in the mouths of white people. Joseph, or Jinqua, or Shinquaw, or Cinquez, is of superior appearance to the rest; indeed he may be called a handsome negro--with well-formed head, symmetrical features, and an expression both intelligent and agreeable. When conversing with his fellows, or trying to converse with the white folks, by signs, his look is extremely animated and cheerful and he gesticulates with great rapidity and variety.
When not so occupied, his expression is serious--even melancholy--which, I suppose, is not to be wondered at. When he was brought into the jail, yesterday, the others, who had been separated from him twenty-four hours, set up a great shouting, and crowded about him with vehement rejoicings.
I will let you know by the next post what happens tomorrow.
We learn from Hartford, this morning, that there was nothing done in the case of the Africans yesterday. The attention of the court was directed to other business.