Mr. Morris to Mr. Seward.

No 246.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that in co-operation with my colleagues of the diplomatic corps, I have addressed the Porte a note soliciting permission for sailing-vessels to pass through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles during the night. Although steamers are permitted to pass the forts at the entrance of these straits after night, the same liberty is not allowed to sailing-vessels. This is the cause of frequent disasters, as the anchorage outside is bad, and in case of storms it is almost impossible to find good shelter, or to escape shipwreck or serious damage. The interests of commerce, in the opinion of shipmasters, require the abrogation of this ancient regulation. Often, also, in consequence of a change of wind at nightfall, vessels are driven back from the Dardanelles, and are unable to reach the straits again for months afterwards.

I am happy to be able to state that in consequence of the action of my colleagues and myself, first made some two years since, a proper system of life-saving apparatus and of precautions against shipwreck are to be adopted in a short time at the entrance of the Bosphorus from the Black sea. That locality is the scene of many shipwrecks and much loss of life during the stormy months, owing to the difficulty of distinguishing the true mouth of the Bosphorus.

I am sir, very respectfullv, your obedient servant,


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