These Negroes are Bozals and not Libenoes —
Here is the point — the point upon which this great controversy must turn!
To show that it is so, I shall be obliged to view, the laws of Spain, as the same are here proved, because these laws make a part of the case itself. They are to be proved in the Courts of the U.S. as matters of fact are proven. This has been done on this inquiry, and this court is just as competent to judge the effect of a foreign law, when this proved, as of a law of the U.S.
I find then as a matter of fact, that in the month of June 1839 the laws of Spain did prohibit under sever penalty, the importation into Cuba of negroes from Africa. These negroes were imported in violation of that law, and be it remembered that by the same law of Spain, such imported negroes are declared to be free in Spain. This accounts for the declaration of the Spanish Consul, "that if these negroes should be returned to Cuba, some of the leaders might be punished, but none of these could be made slaves." This declaration is in exact conformity with the law of Spain so far as the matter of slavery is concerned. They could not be slaves there, because the law declares them free. They were Bozals and not slaves. This declaration is from a high government functionary of Spain. Why then should the law be doubted by me! I do not doubt it. I do expressly find it to be such. If there had been any doubt, as to what the law of Spain is, I ask, would not the Spanish Minister resident at Washington, have communicated that law to this government, so that it might have been sent here?