Mr. Morris to Mr. Seward.

No. 267.]

Sir: I have the honor to report the arrival of Admiral Farragut at this capital, in the United States steamer Frolic. This vessel being [Page 115] within the dimensions allowed to enter the straits by the treaty of Paris of 1856, my application for the requisite firman was promptly granted. Some days after the arrival of the admiral at Constantinople, his flagship, the frigate Franklin, was reported at the Dardanelles, whither she had repaired under his orders to await him, on his departure from this place.

I thought it due to so distinguished an officer of our navy that exceptional honors should be awarded to him. With this object in view, I applied to the Turkish government to suspend in his favor that article in the treaty of Paris of 1856 by which vessels of war of the dimensions of the Franklin are excluded from the straits. On my first and informal application, I was informed that such exceptions were only made in favor of princes of the blood. To this I made answer that under such a construction and administration of the treaty, the United States would not enjoy the same privileges as the aristocratic states of Europe, and that this provision of the treaty was partial in its application, and to the derogation of our dignity. If Admiral Farragut were not a prince of the blood, he was at least a naval officer of such pre-eminent fame and achievements that the sovereigns of Europe had treated him with princely honors, and had received him with a distinction rarely granted to other than royal personages. Having discussed the question at various times in personal audiences with the grand vizier and minister of foreign affairs, I was pleased to know that his Majesty the Sultan desired the entrance of the Franklin. At the suggestion of the minister of foreign affairs, I at this stage of the discussion addressed him a formal note, asking the requisite permission for the passage of the Dardanelles by the franklin. On the receipt of this note, the Porte officially advised the representatives of the great powers of the wishes of the Sultan, and invited their assent to the provisional suspension of the exclusion article of the treaty of Paris, in favor of the flag-ship of Admiral Farragut. Having given their assent, I was advised by a note, of which the enclosed is a copy, that orders had been sent to the Dardanelles to allow the Franklin to pass up the straits.

In this instance the admiral has been treated with rare courtesy by the Turkish government, and in a manner altogether unexceptional. I have deemed it my duty to specially thank the proper authorities for the same.

Soon after his arrival I presented the admiral to the Sultan, by whom he was received with striking cordiality. His Highness Aali Pasha, grand vizier, subsequently gave him a grand dinner, at which all the ministers of the imperial cabinet, as well as other leading Turkish functionaries, were present. The Russian and English ambassadors also extended him the hospitalities of their tables. He was prevented from accepting an invitation of the French ambassador by illness. It is quite needless, I hope, to assure you that it has been a sincere pleasure to me to render the admiral all possible courtesy on my own part. His visit to Constantinople, accompanied as it has been by the arrival of his flag-ship, will, I am confident, prove a most auspicious one in every respect.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


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

[Page 116]


I have received the note which you were pleased to address me the 18th instant, and by which you express the wish that permission may be exceptionally given to the frigate Franklin, bearing the flag of Admiral Farragut, to pass the straits of the Dardanelles to Constantinople.

As you have been pleased to recognize in the said note, the existing treaties have established the principle of the closing of the straits. Although the dimensions of the vessel in question exceed the limits expressly fixed by the treaty of Paris, his Majesty the Sultan, my august sovereign, desirous nevertheless of giving proof of his deferential regard for a distinguished personage of the great American republic, has been pleased for this purpose, and in a manner altogether exceptional, to grant the permission asked for the passage of the frigate Franklin.

In informing you, sir, that instructions in this sense have been sent by telegraph to the Dardanelles, I beg you to take note of the exceptional character of the granted authorization.

Accept, Mr. Minister resident, the assurance of my perfect consideration.


Hon. E. Joy Morris, Minister resident of the United States of America.