State of South Carolina
In the House of Representatives,
December 13, 1839
The Committee on Federal Relations, to whom was referred so much of the Governnor's Message, as relates to the controversy between
the States of Georgia and Maine, with the accompanying Documents have had the same under consideration, and beg leave to submit the
In May, 1837, a slave, named Atticus, the property of James Sagurs and Henry Sagurs, citizens of the city of Savannah, in Chatham
county, in the State of Georgia, was conveyed from that State to the State of Maine, by Daniel Philbrook and Edward Killeran, citizens of the
latter State: the former of whom was the Master, and the latter the mate of the schooner Boston, which had recently entered the port of Savannah.
On the 16th of June, of the same year, information on oath was made before a Magistrate of Chatham county, by James Sagurs, one of the owners
of the slave, that Daniel Philbrook and Edward Killeran "did, on or about the fourth day of May last, feloniously inveigle, steal, take and carry
away without limits of the State of Georgia," the slave Atticus; "that the said Daniel Philbrook and Edward Killeran have been guilty as the
deponent is informed and believes, of a felony under the laws of this State," and that since the commission of said felony, the said Philbrook and
Killeran have fled from this State, and are as he believes, at this time, within the limits of the State of Maine, in the United States."
A warrant for the arrest of Philbrook and Killeran, was issued by the Magistrate before whom the information was made, on the same day,
to which, the officer charged with its execution, returned that they were not to be found in the county of Chatham.
On the 21st of the same month, His Excellency, William Schley, Governor of the State of Georgia, mad a demand upon His Excellency,
Robert P. Dunlap, Governor of the Sstate of Maine, of Philbrook and Killeran, as fugitives from the justice of Georgia, charged of feloniously
inveigling, stealing, taking and carrying away, a slave, and transmitted with his demand, a copy of the affidavit and warrant, and the return, duly
authenticated. On the 16th of August, of the same year, Governor Dunlap addressed to Governor Schley, a communication, in which he declined
to cause the arrest of Philbrook and Killeran.
In December, 1837, the Legislature of Georgia, adopted resolutions, declaring the refusal of the Executive of Maine to surrender Philbrook
and Killeran, dangerous to the rights of the people of Georgia, and directly and clearly in violation of the plain letter of the Constitution of the
United States: that the State of Georgia became a party to the Federal Constitution no less for the better protection of her own, than the common
rights and interests of all, and that when these ends are defeated, she is released from the obligations of that compact, and it has become her right
and her duty, to provide protection for her people in her own way; that when an indictment should be found against Philbrook and Killeran, the
Executive be requested to renew the demand for their arrest, and if the demand be again refused by the Executive of Maine, that a copy of its
resolutions be transmitted to the Executive of each State in the Union, to be laid before their respective Legislatures; that a copy be transmitted to
the President of the United States, and to the Senators and Representatives of Georgia, in Congress, to be submitted to that body; and if the
Legislature of Maine, at its next Session, after those resolutions should have been forwarded by the Executive of that State, neglect to redress the
consideration the state of the commonwealth of Georgia, and to devise the course of her future policy, and to provide all necessary safeguards for
the protection of the rights of her people.
On the 7th of February, 1838, an indictment, charging Philbrook and Killeran with larceny, in feloniously inveigling, stealing, taking
and carrying away the slave Atticus was found by the Grand Jury of Chatham county, and on the 27th of April, His Excellency, Governor Gilmer,
the successor of Goveror Schley, made upon Governor Kent, the successor of Governor Dunlap, the demand requestd by the Legislature of
Georgia, and accompanied that demand with the copy of the indictment found, and the proceedings on which it was founded, duly authenticated.
On the 25th of June, Governor Kent declined to order the arrest and surrender required by the authorities of Georgia.
On the 19th of August, 1839, Governor Gilmer addressed a communication to Governor Fairfield, the Successor of Governor Kent,
desiring to be informed of the action of the Legislature of Maine on the subject of the resolutions of the Legislature of Georgia, and received for
answer, the proceedings of the Legislature of Maine, declaring it inexpedient to legislate on the subject, as it is exclusively within the province of
the Executive Department.
The second clause of the second section of the fourth article of the Constitution of the United States, provides "that a person charged
in any State with treason, felony or other crime, who shall flee from justice, and be found in another State, shall, on demand of the Executive
authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up to be removed to the State having jurisdiction of the crime."
The act of Congress of 1793, declares, "that whenever the Executive authority of any State in the Union or of either of the Territories
North-west or South of the River Ohio, shall demand any person as a fugitive from justice, of the Executive authority of any such State or Territory
to which such person shall have fled, and shall moreover produce the copy of an indictment found, or an affidavit made before a Magistrate of any
State or Territory as aforesaid, charging the person so demanded with having committed treason, felony, or other crime, certified as authentic by
the Governor or Chief Magistrate of the State or Territory, from which the person so charged fled, it shall be the duty of the Executive authority
of the State or Territory to which such person shall have fled, to cause him or her to be arrested and surrendered, and notice of the arrest to be
given to the Executive authority making such demand, or tothe agent of such authority appointed to receive the fugitive, and to cause the fugitive
to be delivered to such agent when he shall appear."
By the code of Georgia, "simple larceny is the felonious taking and carrying away the personal goods of another," and the same code
provides, that "any person or persons who shall feloniously take and carry away a slave, shall be punished by imprisonment at hard labor in the
Penitentiary, for any time not less than three years and not longer than seven years."
In reply to the demand of Governor Schley, His Excellency, Governor Dunlap, suggests that Philbrook and Killeran visited the city of
Savannah, in the course of their business as Mariners, and returned to their domicil in Maine, by the customary route, and in the usual time; that
they abided at their residence without concealment, and demeaned themselves as unsuspecting and innocent citizens, and insists that it may well
be called a question whether such a course of conduct can be regarded as a fleeing from
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