Mr. Harvey to Mr. Seward.
Sir: I enclose herewith a translation of an official notice modifying the quarantine imposed upon ships coming from American ports, and making it retroactive to the first of November. This change is quite important to the whaling trade of New England, which is just about starting out on its annual voyage, and which this year is expected to be unusually large. It is, therefore, desirable that immediate publicity should be given to the fact.
The rendezvous of the whaling fleet is at Fayal, and our consul there made [Page 687] an urgent representation to me in regard to the then existing quarantine, which would hare compelled our ships to come here, as there is no lazaretto at the islands, and thus have practically broken up the enterprise.
I had repeated conferences with the minister of foreign affairs on the s abject, and a lengthy and somewhat animated correspondence, which cannot be communicated with this despatch for the want of time to prepare it. The council of health, which regulates all such matters, is an independent organization, clothed with extraordinary powers, very tenacious of its authority, and sensitive about any form of interference. After much difficulty I was enabled to get the desired modification, which will prove of very material advantage to a large interest.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.