Sir F. Bruce to Mr. Seward

Sir: The attention of her Majesty’ s principal secretary of state for foreign affairs has recently been directed to the question of the payment of the expenses of the maintenance of lunatic British subjects in asylums abroad, in connection with the custom observed in Great Britain with reference to the maintenance of foreign lunatics.

Her Majesty’s government consider it very advisable that a distinct understanding should exist between them and foreign governments upon this subject.

In the case of foreigners becoming insane, and being maintained in a lunatic asylum in Great Britain, no claim for their maintenance in that country is made on the government of the country whose subjects they are; and her Majesty’s government accordingly propose henceforward to pay the actual cost only of removal to Great Britain of any pauper British subject becoming lunatic while in another country, the expense of the lunatic’s maintenance to be defrayed by the country where he has been in confinement, unless under very special and exceptional circumstances.

I am instructed by the Earl of Clarendon to communicate the above statement to the government of the United States, and to invite their concurrence in the proposed arrangement, which is intended to be one of a reciprocal nature.

I have the honor to be, with the highest consideration, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, &c., &c., &c.