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Special Message

July 12, 1832


SIR: In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives passed this day, requesting the President of the United States "to lay before the House copies of the instructions given to the commander of the frigate Potomac previous to and since the departure of that ship from the island of Sumatra, and copies of such letters as may have been received from said commander after his arrival at Quallah Battoo, except such parts as may in his judgment require secrecy," I forward copies of the two letters of instructions to Captain Downes in relation to the piratical plunder and murder of our citizens at Quallah Battoo, on the coast of Sumatra, detailing his proceedings.

The instructions, with the papers annexed, are all that have been given bearing on this subject, and although parts of them do not relate materially to the supposed object of the resolution, yet it has been deemed expedient to omit nothing contained in the originals.

The letter and report from Captain Downes which are herewith furnished are all yet received from him bearing upon his proceedings at Quallah Battoo; but as further intelligence may hereafter be communicated by him, I send them for the information of the House, submitting, however, in justice to that officer, that their contents should not be published until he can enjoy a further opportunity of giving more full explanations of all the circumstances under which he conducted.


Andrew Jackson, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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