Mr. Seward to Sir F. Bruce

Sir: I have the honor to state that on the 10th of May, 1862, Lord Lyons addressed a note to this department, remonstrating against the multiplication of consular officers in the British North American provinces, on the part of the United States.

This was followed by a series of obstacles interposed to such appointments by the provincial and imperial governments; objections to confirming such officers [Page 214] were made sometimes on special, sometimes on general considerations, until on the 12th of May, 1864, Mr. Adams, in returning the commissions of seven consular agents of the United States, to reside in Canada, informed this department that the British government had definitively declined to recognize them.

In the mean time, to meet the general spirit of the reluctance of the British government to receive such officers, an appropriation was made by Congress on the 20th of June, 1864, for salaries to them as full consuls, thus making them personally and directly responsible as such, and requiring of them bonds not to enter into trade or commercial business, in which, as subordinate consular agents, they otherwise might have engaged.

In consequence also of the decision of her Majesty’s government to decline the recognition of these consular agents, they were directed to cease at once from the further exercise of their official duties. Of this action of the government of the United States Mr. Adams was instructed to convey to Earl Russell the intelligence, and to solicit the favorable consideration of her Majesty’s government.

To this arrangement Earl Russell acquiesced in his note to Mr. Adams, dated September 13, 1864.

The United States consul at Toronto, by a despatch of the 25th of May last, No. 35, a copy of which is enclosed, urges the creation of a consular agency at Hamilton, and submits the question of its practicability under existing relations between the United States and Great Britain upon this subject.

In view of the evident need of such an agent of this government at that point, and of the benefits which may be expected to flow there from to the commercial transactions of the United States and Canada, I beg that you will submit the matter to her Majesty’s government, and ask for an expression of their views thereupon.

I have the honor to be, with high consideration, sir, your obedient servant,


The Hon. Sir Frederick W. A. Bruce, &c., &c., &c.