No. 209.
Mr. Bassett to Mr. Fish.

No. 182.]

Sir: Permit me to record my very great satisfaction at a recommendation made by the President in his last annual message to Congress, as I find it on page 10 of the printed copy of that sterling document. I refer to the recommendation to Congress for an appropriation and authority to use it for the relief of our citizens, other than seamen, who may find themselves in distress abroad. I have often felt, as every one else in our foreign service must have felt, the propriety and wisdom of some such action on the part of Congress as is recommended by His Excellency.

I wish simply to add my testimony on the point, when I state that during my now nearly four years’ residence abroad in the foreign service I have been really obliged, from motives of patriotism and humanity, to afford, from my own very limited private means, assistance to our countrymen who have found themselves here comparatively destitute, and for whom no public funds were provided, to the extent of considerable sums of money annually.

Persons who find themselves in these sorrowful circumstances abroad naturally address themselves to the representatives of our Government for some sort of charitable relief. It is not within the heart of patriotism and good will to turn a deaf ear to their appeals, at least I have the humble satisfaction of knowing that I have never refused to listen to and aid them as best I could.

In expressing the sincere hope that the patriotic and considerate recommendation of the President may receive the attention of Congress, I am sure that I do but express the view and wish of every person who now is, or has ever been for any length of time, in our foreign service.

I am, &c.,