Mr. Tassara to Mr. Seward
The undersigned, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of her Catholic Majesty, regrets to find himself under the necessity of calling the attention of the honorable Secretary of State to the official communications published in the public prints, (the New York Herald of the 17th February,) of the admiral and officers of the squadron blockading the port of Charleston, in reference to the affair which recently occurred in the waters of that port between said naval forces and those commanded by the chiefs of the south.
With a precipitate haste and want of consideration, the example of which the undersigned will not imitate, the character and the good faith of the foreign consuls at that port are attacked in these communications, owing to the reference which the authorities of Charleston have made of their testimony in regard to that affair.
The undersigned could have at once protested against such a proceeding, positive as he was that the consul of Spain, in obedience to the instructions he has, could not have departed in the least degree from the strictest neutrality. He however, awaited the receipt of communications from Charleston, and those which he has received but the more confirm him in that conviction.
The undersigned, therefore, protests against the censures made by the said admiral and officers of the squadron blockading the port of Charleston, in so far as they relate to the consul of Spain, he being enabled to assert that the foreign consuls, especially the said consul of Spain, for whom it becomes him to answer, did nothing more than to obey a natural duty of their position, in the exceptional circumstances in which they find themselves, by simply stating what they had seen, and leaving every other question which may arise to whomsoever it may concern.
The undersigned, therefore, hopes that the honorable the Secretary of State, who himself knows the strictness with which the consul of Spain at Charleston has always complied with the laws of neutrality, will give in this connexion to the said censures but the weight that should attach to them, as he may rest assured that the Spanish consuls do comply and will comply, with loyalty and honesty, with the duties confided to their charge.
The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to reiterate to the honorable the Secretary of State the assurance of his high consideration.
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State of the United States, &c.