The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956 Page: 44
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
free persons of color in Texas courts, Mrs. Watson, on Novem-
ber 4, "libeled the British schooner Commerce for damages
alleged to have been caused by the latter during a severe gale."
The claim was filed in the federal court in Galveston.
Since the only testimony which could have been produced in
favor of the Commerce was inadmissible as evidence, inasmuch
as the testimony would have been that given by free persons of
color, the case was decided in favor of Mrs. Watson, solely on the
basis of ex parte evidence. In accordance with the law, the
vessel (valued at $12oo) was sold to her to settle a $300 claim,
to which, under other circumstances, she would not have been
Lynn had secured the legal services of State Senator Henry
N. Potter to protect the interest of the owner of the Commerce,
but no legal redress to this miscarriage of justice was available
under the law. Lynn had the crew of free colored sent under his
protection by a British vessel to the care of British Consul Mure
in New Orleans, as the free Negroes could not be legally put
ashore long enough to permit their being assigned to a crew of
an outgoing British vessel.16
The feud between the "owner" of the camel-carrying slaver
and Consul Lynn attracted public notice when the Galveston
Civilian published a "telegraphic dispatch" from Washington
under the headline "The Camels With Their Backs Up." The
dispatch noted that "a complaint had been lodged in the State
Department against the British Consul at Galveston" alleging
that Lynn's course in regard to the Thomas Watson had been
actuated "by a feeling of petty malice." The owners of the vessel
had preferred a claim of $1o,ooo against the British government
on account of "damages sustained by this dereliction of duty on
the part of the Consul."
By the way of local comment, Hamilton Stuart, editor of the
Civilian, referred "once more" to "The Camels":
We think we are safe in assuring our readers that the friendly rela-
tions between Her Brittanic Majesty and the Sovereigns of America
15Lynn to Samuel Parsons, February 21, 1859, and Lynn to Consul Mure, New
Orleans, November 6, 1858, ibid. See also Lynn to Lord Lyons, March 23, 1859, and
Lynn to George Hammond, April 2o, 1859, ibid.
'oLynn to Samuel Parsons, ibid.; Lynn to Mure, ibid.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956, periodical, 1956; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101162/m1/56/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.