Mr. Perry, United States chargé d’affaires, to Mr. Benavides, minister of foreign affairs.


Sir: I have just learned that yesterday and to-day, after two attempts which the vessel Stonewall has made to leave the bay, finding [Page 100] that her sea-going qualities do not permit her to sustain the movement of a heavy sea, she has returned again to the port of Ferrol, and will seek to obtain from Her Majesty’s authorities permission to make the repairs which she needs.

[474] Your excellency will call to mind the note which I had the honor to address you on the 18th of last month, and that in which your excellency was pleased to reply, dated the 21st of the same month, as well as the verbal confirmation you gave me, saying that the Stonewall would not be permitted todo any more work or repairs in the Spanish ship-yards than those repairs which she had already *terminated. I had the satisfaction to transmit these assurances immediately to the Government at Washington, thus attenuating the importance of the conflict marked by my protest of the 9th of February, which made the government of Her Catholic Majesty responsible for the consequences which might follow from the grant of repairs of this vessel. I now come to inform your excellency that, in effect, the constructor of the Stonewall came from Bordeaux to Ferrol, and after an examination of the vessel indicated the work which was to be done, for which he said that the ship ought to apply to enter any dock. I had also the resolution arrived at, relative to this work by the so-called Commander Barron, commanding this naval department of the Confederate States of America, whose headquarters are at Paris, where Captain Page, of the Stonewall, repaired to consult upon this business.

[475] The movements of the Stonewall recently, to show that she cannot keep the sea in the state in which she now is, are clearly connected with these antecedents, and we ought to expect immediately her demand to Her Majesty’s authorities to be permitted to begin the work. But I rely in complete security upon the good faith of Her Majesty’s government, and since the assurances which your excellency has been pleased to give me by word and writing, I know that *no work of repairs whatever will be permitted to this vessel, within this jurisdiction, besides the repairs she already received in February, and that if her seagoing qualities will not permit her to keep the sea with heavy weather, she will have no resource but to wait for better weather and a sea more adapted to her bad condition.

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