Mr. Salgar to Mr. Seward.
Sir: The undersigned, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, has the honor to submit to the honorable William H. Seward, Secretary of State, the following facts.
On or about the 17th day of December, 1866, the undersigned, through his agent Vernon H. Brown, of New York, made an agreement with Bussell Sturges and others, of the city of New York, for the purchase from them of the steamship R. R. Cuyler, to be fitted, under the directions of the said agent, as a ship of war, and when so fitted to receive on board armament, ordnance stores, and such other cargo as might be required, and to be delivered with such armament, ordnance stores, and cargo, to the government of the undersigned at one of its Atlantic ports, when and where the purchase price of said steamship would be payable. The said vessel has been fitted up by the sellers, and the cargo has been purchased and put on board by the said agent for the account of, and is owned by, the government of the undersigned, and the vessel was ready to proceed on her voyage, to be delivered according to agreement, on the 2d day of February instant.
Mr. Sturges, on the day last named, presented at the New York customhouse a manifest of the cargo of the vessel, and demanded a clearance thereof to the port of Aspinwall, a port of Colombia. The clearance was granted and the vessel was about to proceed to sea, when the customs officers of the port of New York went on board, took possession, and claimed the vessel and cargo as forfeited to the United States, and they still hold and detain the vessel and her cargo.
The undersigned is not informed of any facts or reasons which can justify the seizure or detention of the vessel or cargo. The vessel was purchased in good faith by the undersigned for his government and her destination is a port of Colombia for the purpose of delivery to that government. The undersigned claims that the purchase and the voyage are lawful; and he respectfully requests that the vessel may be released, and that she be allowed to proceed with her cargo to the port of destination.
The undersigned renews to the honorable William H. Seward assurances of the high consideration with which he remains his obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, &c., &c., &c.[Page 1080]