Mr. Hall to Mr. Davis .
No. 107.]

Sir: I have the honor to submit to the Department a copy of a letter just received from Mr. Felix Govin y Pinto, resident in New York, inclosing a document drawn up and signed by him before Mr. Thomas Bitter, a notary public of said city, by which the said Govin manumits five negresses, and which he desires me to present to a notary public of this place to be recorded.

I have returned to Mr. Govin the inclosure referred to, in a letter under date of yesterday, a copy of which I also accompany herewith.

My reasons for declining to act in the premises are the following: That by a decree of the captain-general of the island, which was published in the Aurora del Zumuri, a newspaper of this city, on the 3d instant, the property of said gentleman was laid under embargo.

The document alluded to bears date the 7th instant, at which time Mr. Govin had lost the power of alienating his property, either by sale or emancipation. Mr. Govin justifies his application to this consulate on the ground of his being an American citizen. There is no evidence here of his being such citizen, and even if he be one, his residence in the United States and the peculiar and international character of the case would seem to require his communicating first with the Department rather than with one of its foreign agencies.

Another and strong reason why I have declined to take any action whatever is that I suspect the whole matter was intended to create complications between the government of Spain and that of the United States, and I am unwilling to allow this consulate to be made use of for sinister purposes.

I trust that my course will be approved.

I have, &c.,

[Page 1318]

Sir: Mr. Felix Govin y Pinto, up to within a few months, has been a practicing lawyer at Matamoras, of which place he is a native, and where he has his permanent residence. When and how he became a citizen of the United States is not known to me or to the authorities of the island.

The course pursued by the vice-consul at Matamoras is by my direction. If not approved, the Department will please return the inclosed letter, addressed to Mr. Govin, with such instructions as it may deem proper.


Dear Sir: Although I have not the honor of your personal acquaintance, I am aware of your characteristic courtesy, and therefore trust that you will be pleased to deliver the inclosed document to a notary public, in order that it may he duly recorded (pioto colizado.) For expenses incurred, be pleased to draw at sight upon me at No. 109 Water street.

I pray that you will pardon the trouble which, in virtue of his being an American citizen, is caused by your obedient humble servant,


The United States Vice-Consul, Matamoras.