Mr. Tassara to Mr. Seward.
The undersigned, minister plenipotentiary of her Catholic Majesty, had the honor to receive yesterday evening the note which, under date [Page 27] of 14th, the honorable Secretary of State pleased to address to him, answering his of the 11th, about the detention of the Cuyler, and would have nothing to reply to it if the case were simply that of a neutral power like the United States of Colombia, which might treat of buying ships of war in these States.
The honorable Secretary of State knows, nevertheless, how much and how essentially the affair is complicated by the undoubted existence of a plan, the object of which was to cause the Cuyler to pass into the power of the republics of the Pacific; and although the Attorney General may be of opinion that the evidence is not sufficient to inculpate the good faith of the transaction, the fact alone is sufficient to excite the gravest suspicions and to engage the government of the United States to cause its neutrality to be respected.
The undersigned is far from believing that a neutral government, and friendly to Spain, as that of Colombia, would avail of her neutrality to cover the contraband of vessels of war against others belligerent.
He must rather suppose and does suppose that the Colombian government is entirely a stranger to the project which has been attempted to be carried out under its auspices and beneath its flag. This reserve made, however, I hold that the government of the United States, in obedience to the principles it has so highly proclaimed in the matter, ought to have allowed an investigation to have proceeded which would have brought to light the true nature of such transaction, because, as the honorable Secretary of State could do no less than admit, the bond, however ample and effective it might be, would only require the Cuyler to enter a Colombian port for a moment, without thereby impeding the realization of any project such as that which has been the cause of her detention.
While writing this note the undersigned receives news that the bond for the Cuyler has been fixed at $200,000, a sum which it is supposed not only does not come up to double the value of the vessel and her cargo, but does not even equal that amount.
Repeating, therefore, his reservations, he thinks it his duty to protest, trusting yet that the government of the United States will do what is in its reach to prevent that through any indirect means neutrality shall be violated.
The undersigned avails of the occasion to reiterate to the honorable Secretary of State of the United States the assurance of his highest consideration.
Hon. William H. Seward, &c., &c., &c.