Acting Consul Cridland to Earl Russell.—(Received August 30.)
My Lord: I had the honor to report to your lordship that I had arrived in this city, and, after getting possession of the seals and archives of this consulate, had entered on my duties as acting consul.
On the 2d of June, according to the desire of Lord Lyons, M. Portz, French vice-consul, introduced me to the naval and military authorities here, having jurisdiction in this department, and exhibited to those officers a despatch from Lord Lyons, dated April 30, which I had presented to M. Portz on my arrival, informing that gentleman of my acting appointment, and asking him to deliver to me the archives and seals of office, and to introduce me to the authorities.
The general commanding informed me that he would issue orders in regard to my official acts at Mobile. Her Majesty’s consulate remained open from the 29th of May to the 7th instant, and my official acts were evidently respected. On the 7th of June, however, a letter was left at this office from the military headquarters of this district, dated that day, informing me that the orders issued on the 2d June, recognizing me as acting British consul, had been revoked, and requesting me to suspend the exercise of all consular functions.
I have the honor to enclose a copy of that letter, dated June 7, and of my answer thereto, dated June 8.
On Saturday, the 13th instant, Colonel Garner, chief of the staff of the major general commanding in Alabama, delivered to me a letter dated June 7, addressed to me by Mr. Benjamin, secretary of state at Richmond, a copy of which I beg to enclose for your lordship’s inspection, and also a copy of my answer to Mr. Benjamin, dated June 13.
In that despatch your lordship will see that I was not only informed by Mr. Benjamin that I could not be permitted to exercise consular functions at Mobile, but that I was further requested to remove from the State of Alabama.
I beg to inform your lordship that at the unofficial interview with Mr. Benjamin on the 18th of May he remarked to me, alter what I stated to him, and which I have recapitulated in my reply to his letter, that he was perfectly aware that as acting consul to Mobile I did not require a commission, and consequently could have no exequatur, all of which he seems to have since forgotten, and desires to convey the idea that he was not aware of my appointment as acting consul.
I felt that I had no authority to show Mr. Benjamin Lord Lyons’s letter addressed to M. Portz.
In a private note to Mr. Benjamin I have asked permission to remain at Mobile till I can hear from Lord Lyons in regard to the disposal of the seals and archives of the office, and I am now awaiting a reply.
I have the honor to state that I have reported the entire case to Lord Lyons, and enclosed copies of the correspondence.
Requesting instructions from your lordship.
I have, &c.,