Mr. Seward to Mr. Hale.
Sir : Mr. Perry’s despatch No. 14, of the 13th ultimo, upon the subject of the quarantine in Spain of vessels from the United States, has been received.
It is noticed with regret that the remonstrance, which by the instructions from this department, Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5, he was directed to address to that government, has proved unavailing.
The reasons which he represents as having been assigned by the minister of the interior for justifying the quarantine are founded upon obvious misconceptions of fact in regard to the existence of contagious disease, especially yellow fever, in this country.[Page 544]
That epidemic was restricted to a few ports only of the southern States. If vessels from those ports had been subjected to the quarantine, there would have been no ground of complaint.
The rule has, however, been applied without discrimination to vessels from all ports of the United States, even when bearing a health certificate, attested by the Spanish consul at the port whence they may have cleared.
This seems to be unreasonable and unjust. It has given rise to numerous complaints which have from time to time been made known to your legation.
The letter of Mr. Alpheus Hardy, of Boston, a copy of which is enclosed, relates to the case of his bark “Young Turk,” which has been subjected to the quarantine without apparent necessity and to the great loss of her owner.
It is hoped that the Spanish minister of the interior may see cause to rescind his order, and that, seeing the serious mistake which he has committed, the government of Spain will make good the damages which United States citizens have sustained. If the Spanish secretary of the interior persists in maintaining the quarantine, we must protest with energy, and will expect indemnification.
I telegraphed to you to day on this important subject.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
John P. Hale, Esq., &c., &c., &c.