Mr. Seward to Mr. Salgar

General: Your note of the 16th instant, relative to the killing of George Holmes, at Aspinwall, on the 10th of November last, by a marine belonging to the United States war steamer James Adger, was duly received, and has been taken into consideration. The subject had been previously brought to the notice of this department by her Britannic Majesty’s minister here, Holmes being claimed as a British subject. Thereupon a naval court of inquiry in regard to the matter was convened at Aspinwall. The result of whose investigation is contained in the paper* herewith transmitted. From this it appears that Holmes attempted to trespass upon the pier, which the marine was posted to guard, stores for the use of the James Adger being there for shipment on board of her. In this attempt he was opposed by the marine, whom he attacked with a club, which struck and exploded the musket of the marine, resulting in the death of Holmes.

Though no doubtis entertained as to the substantial correctness of this finding, the killing having taken place on Colombian territory was also subject to investigation by the judicial tribunals of that republic, and this government does not sanction the omission to give up the marine for trial by those tribunals. It is to be regretted that he was not so given up, and if the facts of the case had seasonably been known here an order for his delivery would have been issued, if this could have been done properly under the circumstances. At the same time he remains subject to such trial whenever he may be found within the jurisdiction of the United States of Colombia.

I avail myself of this occasion, general, to offer to you a renewed assurance of my very high consideration.


General Eustorjio Salgar, &c., & c., & c.

N. B.—This report of the court of inquiry, herein referred to, has, as General Salgar will be pleased to remember, on a former occasion been furnished to him.

  1. For this enclosure see correspondence with the British legation.