Mr. Sullivan to Mr. Seward.

No. 20.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose copies (A and B) of correspondence just had between myself and Rear-Admiral James S. Palmer, United States navy, commanding the North Atlantic squadron, on the subject of affairs in this country, &c., &c.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


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


Rear-Admiral Palmer to Mr. Sullivan.

Sir: I wish to apprise you of my arrival in the flag-ship Susquehanna on the coast of Colombia, but fear, as you are so far in the interior, that I shall not be fortunate enough to obtain an interview; but from all that I can learn, and can observe, this republic appears to be again quiet, and our railroad people have nothing to apprehend. I shall be glad, however, to learn from you the state of affairs, and shall be at Carthegena by about the 20th or 22d of this month. Hoping you will receive this communication in time to send a reply to Carthegena before I leave that for Santa Martha and La Guayra, I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAS. S. PALMER, Rear-Admiral, Commanding North Atlantic Squadron.

Hon. Peter J. Sullivan, United States Minister, Bogota, United States of Colombia.


Mr. Sullivan to Rear-Admiral Palmer.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your very polite and intelligent letter of the 8th instant, informing me of your arrival in the flag-ship Susquehanna on the coast of Colombia, and desiring to learn from me the the state of affairs here by the 22d instant, which reached me but last night.

Peace prevails here at present; Congress is in session; General Mosquera is still in prison impatiently awaiting his trial for treason and malappropriation of some $45,000 of government funds, while minister to England.

On the 9th instant I addressed a communication to “Any of our naval commanders in the waters of Colombia,” of which the following is an abstract:

Sir: The Colombiau government haviug refused to receive or acknowledge the steamer R. R. Cuyler, alias the war steamer Rayo, and is desirous to return her to the [Page 1031] port of New York, there to be delivered up to the proper owner, as the United State’s may direct, but having no means at its disposal, the government of Colombia asks, as a favor, that the United States authorities will take her to New York for the purpose indicated; and lest that I should involve my government in so serious a matter before knowing its views on the subject, I assured the Colombian government that I would lay the case before the State Department and await its decision.

“Until further instructions you will repair forthwith to, and keep strict secret surveillance over, the said steamer Rayo, her armament and other property, so far as to prevent her from being used for piratical or other unlawful purposes, detrimental to the rights and dignity of our government.

* * * * * * *

“You will report to me from time to time your action and the course of events in this case.”

From the general report which I have had of your sound discretion and great ability as a naval commander, I trust that said communication has reached you ere this time.

An admiral of the Peruvian navy has just arrived in this city, for the purpose, as I have been informed, of inducing this government to permit him to take this steamer to his country, she having been bought privately by Peru to be used against Spain.

I have obtained and forwarded to Washington a copy of the secret treaty entered into by General Mosquera and the Peruvian government, on the subject of the war between Spain, Peru, and Chili. The purchase of this war steamer, and knowing that fraud has been perpetrated upon our government in the fitting out, manning in, and bringing this steamer from the United States, caused me to issue the said order.

Those southern republics, now at war with Spain, are endeavoring to force Venezuela into their scheme of one grand southern confederacy, which, if successful in its scheme of annexing Cuba—perhaps Mexico—would undoubtedly tend to check the most vital interests and prosperity of our country. But having now discovered their unfriendly feeling towards us, we are, at last, in a favorable position to take care of ourselves, yet we must not forget that these republics are struggling to uphold republican governments against the organized efforts of their powerful foes.

It is our “manifest destiny” to give vitality to, as also to preserve the existence of these republics; but they must be given to understand that, while we are able and willing to protect them from the grasping power of monarchists, they must not snub us with impunity, as in the case of this secret treaty, and its ultimate objects.

We are now all right with this government.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Jas. S. Palmer, Rear-Admiral United States Navy, Commanding North American Squadron, &c., &c., &c.