[Extract, with accompaniments.]

Mr. Perry to Mr. Seward.

No. 53.]

Sir: Your instructions up to April 14 (No. 27) have been received and properly numbered as you direct.

* * * * * * * * * *

Perhaps I have omitted to mention heretofore that Mr. Rost, styling himself a commissioner for the so-called Confederate States, has been residing at Madrid as a private gentlemen for some six weeks past. He applied to be received by this government in his pretended official capacity, but Mr. Calderon Collantes declined the honor of such an interview, and immediately sent me word of the application made to him by Mr. Rost, and of his reply.

Mr. Calderon told me he should have no difficulty in meeting Mr. Rost as a distinguished foreigner, but would have no intercourse with him, in his own capacity, as minister of state.

I have no reason to suppose that this resolution has been deviated from in practice.

* * * * * * * * *

You are already aware that the Sumter has been abandoned by her officers and that part of the crew which had not previously deserted.

[Page 495]

The subsequent incident of the shipwreck of part of the officers and crew of the pirate, aboard an English steamer, on the English coast, near Vigo, is related in the enclosed correspondence.

I may be permitted to congratulate you upon the ultimate success of my efforts, in the first instance, to prevent those repairs which were indispensable to the pirate’s efficiency as a war vessel, as also to provoke the desertion of her crew, (V. despatch No. 36, of February 22,) of whom I am informed she lost 43 men, as well as the successful efforts of Mr. Sprague to prevent her receiving coals at Gibraltar; all of which gave time for our vessels of war to arrive in the straits, and bring at last the career of this corsair to the inglorious conclusion just mentioned.

I have the honor to remain, with the highest respect, sir, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, &c., &c., Washington.



Consul Sprague to Mr. Perry.

Semmes, with nine others from the Sumter, started last night for Southampton, on an English steamer.




Consul Barcena to Mr. Perry.

Among the passengers saved from the wreck of the English steamer Euphrosyne, which happened yesterday, are seven of the crew and officers of the steamer Sumter, in a destitute condition. Be pleased to telegraph me your instructions.


The Minister of the United States, Madrid.



Mr. Perry to Consul Barcena.

Officially you cannot aid the shipwrecked Sumter’s men. From my private purse you may expend fifty dollars in aid of those unfortunate persons.

The letter of credit will go by the mail to-night.


Manuel Barcena y Franco, Consul of the United States at Vigo.

[Page 496]


Mr. Perry to Mr. Barcena.

Sir: Your telegram, announcing the shipwreck and safety of seven officers and crew of the steamer Sumter, is just received.

I have answered you by telegraph that, officially, you could not receive these men as destitute seamen of the United States.

If, however, any of them should be disposed to return to their allegiance to the government they have outraged, and will take the oath of fidelity, as prescribed by the Department of State, in good faith and with honest purpose, I hereby authorize you to treat them as any other destitute American seamen would be treated in the same circumstances.

Your obedient servant,


Manuel Barcena, Esq., Consul of the United States, Vigo.


Mr. Barcena to Mr. Perry.

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your despatch dated the 16th instant.

The officers of the rebel steamer Sumter have not applied to me for protection, and have left for Southampton, in the Peninsular and Oriental Company’s steamer Tagus, on the 18th instant.

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect, your most obedient, humble servant,


His Excellency the Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America, Madrid.



Mr. Perry to Mr. Barcena.

Dear Sir: Your telegram announcing the shipwreck and safety of seven of the late Sumter’s crew has just arrived.

Mr. Sprague informed me that the Peninsular and Oriental steamer Moolton had taken on board, at Gibraltar, Captain Semmes and eight others, belonging to the rebel steamer Sumter, as passengers for Southampton.

Are these the shipwrecked men? You mention seven officers and crew [Page 497] as saved. Were the other two lost? Was Captain Semmes among the saved?

I regret, in such a case of misfortune, that official duty will not, in my opinion, permit you to succor these men from the funds of the government for the relief of destitute seamen.

I send you enclosed fifty dollars from my private purse, to be applied by your kindness to the relief of these unfortunate Americans, and have no doubt your own heart will guide you right in its distribution.

You need not mention whence this money comes, as I have made war, in my official capacity, as hardly and as efficiently as I was able against Captain Semmes and his crew ever since their appearance at Cadiz, and it might not be agreeable to them to know that I have any part in relieving their misfortune.

Be so good as to inform me of the particulars of this shipwreck, and accept my thanks in advance for your trouble.

Why could you not prevail upon the English consul, or some third person of your confidence, to use this money and be kind to my erring countrymen in their distress, without having too much to do with them yourself?

As American consul, you must keep aloof unless they are repentant.

Truly yours, &c., &c.,


Manuel Barcena, Esq., United States Consul, Vigo.



Mr. Barcena to Mr. Perry,

Dear Sir: I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 15th instant, and to inform you, in reply, that the seven officers belonging to the rebel steamer “Sumter” left Gibraltar in the British steamer “Euphrosyne,” which vessel put into this port for coals, and was totally wrecked in consequence of having struck on a sunken rock on Conobedo Point, a few hours after having left this bay.

The captain of the “Sumter” was not among them I believe; besides the seven officers, there were also four Irish sailors belonging also to the crew of the “Sumter,” who were provided for by her Majesty’s consul.

Having been able to obtain a cheap passage to Southampton, the seven officers did not accept the money I had offered to them by a third person. I learnt, afterwards, that one of them had been the last to leave the sinking steamer, and had saved part of his money, say about $150.

I return the bill you enclosed in your letter, and remain your most obedient, humble servant,


Horatio J. Perry, Esq,