Mr. Jay to
Vienna, December 24, 1873. (Received January 12, 1874.)
Sir: I have to acknowledge your circular of the 3d December, marked “confidential,” transmitting the President’s message and the accompanying protocol touching the Virginius.
As I have before remarked, the attention which the text of the message would otherwise claim at Vienna, is in great part forestalled by the summary by cable given in the London Times, and reproduced by the continental press.
The New Free Press had a leading article this morning on the new phase of the Virginius question presented by the announcement that the United States had recognized the soundness of the view presented by Spain that she was not entitled to carry the American flag.[Page 16]
The article, while attributing the decision of the Government on this point not to the Attorney-General, but to the House of Representatives, and exhibiting, perhaps, in one or two other particulars, the carelessness and inexactness of statement to which you adverted in your No. 282, as marking a letter I had sent you from the columns of the same journal, exhibits a spirit of appreciation of the moderation and justice shown by us toward a sister republic in this matter, which I think deserving of notice, despite a few inaccuracies of form and an apparent ignorance of the terms of the protocol.
I append a translation of some brief extracts, which will show the spirit of the article on this point, as well as the appeal to Mr. Castelar, at the close, to extend to the Spanish prisoners in Cuba the rights of belligerents.
I have, &c.,