Mr. Seward to Mr. Hollister.

No. 7.]

Sir: I have received your dispatch of the 29th of June, No. 8, in which you have related the proceedings which you took on a recent occasion to relieve the consulate of an extraordinary and exceedingly inconvenient number of insurrectionary refugees, and of the communication which you held with President Salnave on that subject. * * *

I see no, reason to censure or disapprove of your proceedings mentioned, by which you obtained relief from the excessive encumbrance of refugees. The proceeding is in harmony with the instructions you have received from this department, and with the settled policy of the United States. The practice of opening asylum in consular offices to political refugees is exceptional. It is adopted only in intercourse with States imperfectly constituted and established, and it rests for its vindication [Page 361] not upon principles of international law, but only upon laudable sentiments of humanity.

In all cases the exercise of the right should be attended as far as possible with delicacy towards the State concerned, and with forbearance from all appearance of arrogance and dictation. The imperfect knowledge we have of the existing crisis in Hayti gives us no reason to suppose that you have either compromised the national honor, or done violence to the interests of liberty and humanity.

* * * * * * *

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Gideon H. Hollister, Esq., &c., &c., &c.