Mr. Hale to Mr. Seward.

No. 122.]

Sir: Your dispatch No. 96, dated December 30, 1867, was received in this legation on Friday the 17th instant, and I was somewhat embarrassed by the fact that on the same day there appeared in the official Gazette [Page 5]of Madrid a royal order of the 14th instant, materially altering the quarantine regulations of the Spanish government so far as relates to all the sea-coast of the United States from Charleston east, but leaving New Orleans and the Gulf ports still subject to the same interdict as before.

Under these circumstances, I have not for the present formally communicated the substance of your instructions to the Spanish minister of foreign affairs, but have unofficially given him notice that I had received instructions from you on the subject, which I had not for the present communicated to him, in the hope that as the Spanish government had shown a disposition to modify and relax the very stringent regulations heretofore enforced, they might be induced, in view of the statements of your said dispatch in regard to the disappearance of the yellow fever at New Orleans, be induced still further to modify or repeal the restrictions as to vessels coming from New Orleans and the Gulf ports generally.

With this view I have addressed to him a note, of which I herewith inclose you a copy, deeming it prudent to wait a few days after the Spanish government shall have received my communication to see if they are disposed to make still further modifications in their quarantine regulations complained of.

With sentiments of the highest respect, sir, your obedient servant,


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

P. S.—Please find inclosed part of the Gazette referred to, containing the royal order of the 14th instant.

J. P. H.


Sir: I have received from my government an instruction dated the 30th December, relative to the sanitary regulations injurious to the commerce of the United States, which the government of Spain has thought it necessary to enforce in spite of the observations heretofore addressed to your excellency on this subject.

But these instructions reach me at the same time with the official Gazette of the 17th. instant, which contains a royal order of the 14th instant greatly modifying the regulations heretofore enforced.

I notice, however, that these are maintained as regards New Orleans and other ports of the United States on the Gulf of Mexico.

The instruction from Washington before referred to contains the information that at New Orleans (and the statement may reasonably be regarded as covering all the Gulf ports of the United States) the epidemic disease which has been prevalent through the summer had ceased as usual with the first frost.

I therefore earnestly request your excellency to give this intelligence its full weight and effect, and cause the exception still maintained in the royal order of the 14th instant to the prejudice of vessels proceeding from the Gulf ports of the United States to be removed.

In view of such hoped-for action on the part of her Majesty’s government in entire conformity with the spirit manifested in the said royal order of the 14th instant, I will again refer this question to Mr. Seward, suspending the execution of the instruction written by him in ignorance of the recent action of her Majesty’s government, and trusting that I may speedily be able to communicate to him the additional relief now solicited.

I avail myself of this occasion to renew to your excellency the assurance of my most distinguished consideration.

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  1. His Excellency the Minister of State of her Catholic Majesty.
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