Mr. Partridge to Mr. Seward.
Sir: * * * * * * * *
Although I have not yet received any despatches whatever from the United States, yet judging, from what I read in the papers, that it might become desirable for the government to know at least the views of this government in relation to the colonization of free blacks from the United States in Honduras, I had a conversation with the president upon that subject.
“This government is anxious for an immigration of industrious whites” he said, “especially of German emigrants, who have, by their establishment in Costa Rica, done so much to develop the resources and add to the wealth of that country; and we will do everything in our power to induce such an immigration ; but an immigration of enfranchised slaves from the United States is not at all desirable. We have had a great deal of trouble on our northern coast, and especially in the bay islands, from the free negro population, which has come there from Jamaica and from Belize, who do not obey the orders of the government, and engage in contraband trade constantly.”
I replied to him that the only population on the northern coast which I had seen, that had any industry, or activity, or enterprise, were those known as “Caribs,” but who, in fact, are of African descent, being the descendants of those negroes who were cast away in a slaver on that coast, some sixty years ago, and of those aborigines of St. Vincent’s, transferred by the English from that island, about that period. To this the president said that it might be true, but such was not the emigration they desired or could permit, while they would gladly receive a European immigration, or one from the north, as they here call the United States, notwithstanding the prejudices against all immigrants since Walker’s raid into Nicaragua.
This is undoubtedly the feeling of the country; and I noticed a few weeks since in one of the numbers of the Gazette a paragraph headed “Attention Central Americans,” in which the people of this country were warned against the projects, said to be entertained in the United States, of colonizing the emancipated blacks of the District of Columbia in Central America. This I have since found, and annex, marked C.
In this connexion, also, I would call the attention of the department to the fact that Mr. John P. Heiss, formerly residing in Washington, as the editor of the Union newspaper there, but now carrying on a manufactory of some sort at Chinandega, near Leon, in Nicaragua, addressed a letter to the president of the republic on the 9th June last, and which was published in the “Boletin de Nicaragua” of the 21st June, warning the president that it was the intention of the present government of the United States to send the slaves, when emancipated, into Central America, and advising the governments of these republics to refuse them admission. A copy of this letter of Heiss’s, to which I suppose the American minister resident in Nicaragua has called the attention of the department, [Page 892]will be found marked on the 6th and 7th pages of the enclosed number (58) of the Official Gazette of Honduras.
Your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington.