Mr. Seward to Mr. Perry.

No. 5.]

Sir: I transmit a copy of a letter of the 31st ultimo, addressed to the department by Messrs. Thompson and Hunter, and of the letter to them, to which it refers, from Captain Upton, of their brig Machias, from Vigo, to which port that vessel was compelled to proceed to perform quarantine, though Cadiz was her destination.

According to Captain Upton’s statement he not only had no sickness on board when he reached Cadiz, but he carried thither from Madeira a clean bill of health from both the Spanish and Portuguese consuls.

The Spanish sanitary edict, pursuant to which the Machias was ordered to Vigo, may be regarded, under the circumstances, as tantamount to a refusal of entry of all vessels from the United States.

[Page 542]

It will certainly be the duty of this government to expect that of Spain to show probable cause for such a measure, and if no probable cause be shown the parties aggrieved will be entitled to reparation.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Horatio J. Perry, Esq., &c., &c., &c.

Messrs. Thompson and Hunter to Mr. Seward.

Dear Sir: Enclosed we send you an original letter that we received yesterday from Capt. Ryland Upton, of brig Machias, from Vigo, October 11, 1867. As agents for the owners of the brig Machias we on the 26th day of July last chartered her for a voyage from this port to Madeira to land there 18,000 staves and 20 barrels rosin; the balance of her cargo was to be landed at Cadiz. On the 8th of August we cleared the vessel from the custom-house, and on the 9th we got a clean bill of health from the Portuguese and Spanish consuls. On or about the 1st of September the Spanish government at Madrid issued an order declaring all ports in the United States foul, and ordering all vessels from here to Vigo or Port Mahon to ride out quarantine. We this morning called upon the Spanish consul here for a copy of that order, and he informs us that he has never received a copy of it. You will observe by Captain Upton’s letter he obtained another bill of health at Madeira.

The object of this inquiry is to know if we have no redress for time or expenses, and if the Spanish government had a right after we have been to an intermediate port, discharged cargo and got another bill of health, and after being about fifty days from the United States, to send us to Vigo to ride out quarantine.

We are, respectfully, your obedient servants,

THOMPSON & HUNTER, 50 South street .

Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State of the United States, Washington, D. C.

Mr. Upton to Messrs. Thompson and Hunter.

Gentlemen: On my arrival at Cadiz I was ordered to this place to perform 10 days’ quarantine; it is about 500 miles from there here, and I was two weeks getting here; had continued head winds, and one gale of two days’ duration; this will use up one month’s time, if not more, besides the expenses.

I feel terribly annoyed at this, and if only my own interest had been at stake I should have proceeded to New York direct; it completely spoils the voyage. I could not think it possible after landing part of my cargo at Madeira, having a clean bill of health from there, and one from New York, that I should be quarantined, (with all hands well onboard, and ordered so far off too.) I took my freight money from Madeira with me, thinking to remit it from Cadiz, therefore I have funds for my expenses. They have declared all American ports foul, in order, I suppose, to raise funds to put down their rebellion.

Great folks say our relations with Spain are amicable; in that case I am being amicably robbed.

Very respectfully, yours,


Messrs. Thompson & Hunter, New York.