U.S. Brig PERRY Captures the Slaver MARTHA, June 1850
On 7 June 1850, the U.S. brig USS PERRY overhauled the American ship MARTHA of New York, suspected to be a slaver, between Ambriz and Loanda. She was a big ship and, as the cruiser came near, hoisted the American flag and hove to. Captain Andrew Hull Foote sent his first lieutenant to examine her. As soon as the MARTHA recognized the uniform of the U.S. Navy, they hauled down the American flag and hoisted that of Brazil. Meantime, the captain threw overboard his writing desk containing his papers which, failing to sink, showed he was an American citizen and that 3/5 of the ship belonged to an American merchant in Rio. In searching her, they found 176 water casks and 50 barrels of farina. A slave deck was laid with irons for securing the slaves. The captain then admitted that, but for the arrival of the PERRY, he would have, that night, got away with 1,800 slaves. MARTHA, with her crew in irons, was sent to New York and condemned.