Mr. Perry to Mr. Seward.
Sir: On the 12th instant I received from our consul at Teneriffe two communications, dated September 26th and October 1st, which came by the same mail steamer, and covered various documents relating to the dismissal from that port of the American whaling vessels Albert Clarence, Mattapoisett, and Minnesota. It will be borne in mind that, by the Spanish sanitary system, only two full quarantine stations are established—one at Vigo, on the Atlantic coast, and another at Mahon, in the Mediterranean.
Thus vessels proceeding from ports declared foul by Spain, although they bear clean bills of health are immediately dismissed from all other Spanish ports to the lazaretto of Vigo or Mahon.
The three vessels above mentioned were but the forerunners of a much larger fleet of whalers, accustomed to touch at the Canaries at this season to leave their oil, refresh their crews, and lay in provisions for their winter’s cruise. The merits of their case will be found succinctly stated in the memorandum sent by me to the Spanish minister of state, to which I beg leave to refer you.
On receiving the consul’s letters I immediately took the papers to the state department; and finding the minister engaged in cabinet council, saw and explained verbally to the sub-secretary of state and to the chief of the commercial bureau the condition of things at Teneriffe, translating verbally the [Page 536] documents and urging upon them the necessity of prompt action. I then returned and addressed to the minister, in Spanish, the official note and memorandum, of which I enclose copies translated. Yesterday was Sunday; nevertheless I found means to again see the sub-secretary of state and two of the chief officers of the department of state on this business. Not finding the minister, however, I addressed him the official request for an interview, of which I enclose a copy.
To-day, Monday, I have been early into the office of the bureau of public health, and found that an officer from the state department, Count Nava de Tajo, had already been sent in person to request the immediate action of that bureau on the statement contained in the memorandum I had furnished. I had, therefore, the satisfaction to see the orders prepared to be transmitted by telegraph to Cadiz immediately, to go out by the mail steamer which starts tomorrow, it being already too late to reach her by post from Madrid.
The result is satisfactory. I have addressed a telegram to our consul at Teneriffe announcing it, which, translated, you will find enclosed.
I have as yet received no official answer to my note, nor will it be likely to reach me before the departure of the mail which takes this despatch.
With sentiments of the highest respect, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.