Mr. Seward to Mr. Koerner.

No. 72.]

Sir:Your interesting despatch of the 14th of February, No. 76, has been received.

The war in St. Domingo is an affair which can be considered by this government only with reference to the duties and obligations of the United States as a member of the family of nations. The revolutionists in that island have, in various forms and through several channels, appealed to this government for recognition, for aid, and for sympathy. Pursuing the policy we have too ineffectually insisted upon at the hands of other nations, we have not received any agents of the revolution, even informally, nor have we in any way responded to them, while we have given instructions to ministerial officers to see that the neutrality laws of the United States are regularly maintained and enforced.

You must have already received instructions from this department to submit certain claims of American citizens against her Catholic Majesty’s government for redress for injuries and losses sustained by them, as they represent, in the military operations which have taken place on the island. Those instructions [Page 13] indicate with sufficient clearness, it is hoped, the manner in which the claims are to be presented. It is thought inexpedient to authorize any concert with the representatives of other powers in presenting or prosecuting the claims.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Gustavus Koerner, Esq., &c., &c., &c., Madrid.