Mr. Harvey to Mr. Seward.

No. 162.]

Sir: A letter from Mr. Sprague, United States consul at Gibraltar, informs me that the storeship Release, which recently came from Fayal to notify our naval commanders of the piratical expedition near Flores, has reached Algeciras, and is now lying opposite the Sumter, in the hope of detaining the latter until another and a better ship can discharge the duty of guarding the movements of that pirate.

As yet no intelligence has been received from the Constellation in the Mediterranean, and it is not known where she is cruising. I have requested Mr. Sprague to communicate with all our consuls in that sea, so that the desired information may reach her commander, who is doubtless engaged in the discharge of his duty. But the fact that there is a want of concert or system in the disposition of the ships which have been sent to Europe is made glaringly manifest, when we do not know where to address the senior officer on a most urgent occasion.

A simple plan might be easily adopted, whereby ministers and others would be informed of the movements of these few ships, and how to reach them in case of necessity. Without some such plan their efficiency and value will be materially impaired.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.