Mr. Harvey to Mr. Seward.

No. 176.]

Sir: I had an interview with the Duke de Soulé on Saturday, the 8th instant, the day after the usual stated receptions, in reference to the recent events and outrages at the Azores. In order to emphasize the purpose of my visit, I carried with me the telegram from our legation at London, stating that supplies and despatches had been sent to Semmes, from England, by the Bahama, which transported those received by the Alabama, at Angra, in August, and informed the duke that such proceedings, if not checked at once, would lead to serious complications, and that the parties concerned had doubtless been encouraged to this renewal of their criminal purposes by the reprehensible conduct and bad faith of the local officials on the former occasion. I also stated, immediately, that in view of the violation and disregard of the royal proclamation, and the arming and equipping of the cruiser Alabama in a Portuguese port, a question of reclamation for the whaling ships which were destroyed near Flores might arise, though I did not then prefer such a claim. My object was to impress him with the necessity of positive action by the government, and to insure better protection in the future, as well as to indicate the possible consequences of neglect to take the suggested precautions.

He said that my note had been received at the foreign office during his absence in Italy, and that a reply had been delayed by the King’s marriage and the consequent pressure upon him, but that he would address himself immediately to the subject.

The proverbial procrastination of public men here induced me to prepare the note to the Duke of Soulé (of which a copy is enclosed) so that his preoccupied memory might not alone be relied on in a matter of so much importance to us.

The accompanying copies of telegrams from Mr. Consul Sprague and Commander Bryson, of the Chippewa, are in answer to one which was addressed to the former on the 6th instant, requesting the Kearsarge or Chippewa to proceed forthwith to the Azores. Upon receiving them, and learning that the Kearsarge was at Cadiz, I sent the following despatch:

[Page 1295]

“Lisbon, November 8, 1862.

“It is highly important that the Kearsarge or Chippewa should proceed with all speed to Fayal and other islands, with the information I telegraphed to Sprague on Thursday, so as to intercept the Tuscarora there, which otherwise will go to Newfoundland.


“Captain Pickering, “War Steamer Kearsarge, Cadiz.

No reply has yet reached me, and therefore I am unable to say whether either of the vessels has gone to the Azores.

I am informed that the Kearsarge has been ordered to the Gulf of Mexico, and that the Chippewa has been sent out to take her place. The latter is not fitted for the service which our exposed interests require to be performed on this side of the Atlantic.

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


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.


“Will leave Algeciras this afternoon for Cadiz to communicate with Captain Pickering.

“A. BRYSON, “United States Steamer Chippewa.

“Mr. Harvey, “United States Minister, Lisbon.


“Your telegram received. Chippewa left at once for Cadiz to communicate with Kearsarge as to future movements. Release remains off Algeciras.

“SPRAGUE, Consul.

“Mr. Harvey, “American Minister, Lisbon.”

Mr. Harvey to the Duke de Soulé.

Sir: In order that his Majesty’s government may be fully informed of the movements and intentions of the piratical cruisers which recently entered, armed and equipped, at the Azores, in defiance of his Majesty’s proclamation, as well as in flagrant violation of the revenue laws and regulations of this kingdom, and subsequently destroyed ten American whaling ships off the island of Flores, I deem it proper to communicate to your excellency a copy of a telegraphic despatch addressed to Commander Craven, of the United States steamer Tuscarora, by the assistant secretary of the United States legation at London, as follows:

[Page 1296]

“London, November 5, 1862.

“Steamer Bahama, with men and munitions of war, is going to meet Semmes, of the Alabama, at the Western islands. Turkish steamer Shageshead has taken despatches there for Semmes.


“Commander Craven, “United States Steamer Tuscarora, Lisbon.”

The steamer Bahama, mentioned in the telegram, is the same vessel which carried the arms and munitions that were transferred to the piratical cruiser Alabama, at Angra, in August last, and by means of which the depredations upon American commerce were committed near Flores. The attention of his Majesty’s government was invited to these hostile proceedings and purposes in a note from this legation to his excellency the Viscount Sa da Bandeira, on the 2d of October; and other information besides that now transmitted authorizes the belief that the same parties design to use the islands of Azores as a rendezvous for their cruisers to fit out armed expeditions against the commerce of the United States.

It is proper to observe that such practices, militating as they do against the rights and interests of the United States, if sanctioned by the supineness or encouraged by the infidelity or connivance of local officials on the islands, may lead to complications inconsistent with the good relations that have so long subsisted between Portugal and the United States, and which it is the earnest and sincere desire of my government to continue and cement in every way.

With a view to avoid the happening of such difficulties by timely precautions, and to prevent a recurrence of the injuries and outrages which have lately been witnessed, I have considered it due to candor and to friendly intercourse to lay these additional facts before his Majesty’s government, with a full conviction that the motive will be understood, and that measures will be adopted to defeat the criminal designs of those who seek by such acts to disturb the peace and amity of the two nations whose interests, aims, and policy should mutually incline them to good will and to the closer ties of a firm and faithful friendship.

I avail myself of this opportunity to renew the assurances of my most distinguished consideration.


His Excellency the Duke de Soulé, Minister of Foreign Affairs.