to Mr. Fish.
London, March 31, 1874. (Received April 20.)
Sir: With reference to your No. 524 to General Schenck, and to your No. 452, I have the honor to inclose herewith copies of a note which I addressed to Lord Derby on the 17th instant, in regard to the slave-trade which it is alleged has been, until recently at least, carried on between Tripoli and Constantinople via Malta, and of his reply dated the 26th instant.
It will be observed that his lordship has promptly communicated with the secretary of state for the colonies on the subject of this traffic with a view to the institution at an early day of searching inquiries into the matter at Malta, and that he promises so soon as the result of that investigation is known to communicate further with this legation about the alleged indifference of the authorities at that place in regard to this trade.
Lord Derby says that I have called his attention to the alleged neglect of the authorities at Malta to check the conveyance of slaves on board British vessels from Tripoli to Constantinople; but this is an error which I shall correct when I receive his lordship’s further communication on the subject. The depositions which I sent to him describe the steamers as Ottoman vessels., and my letter makes no reference to their nationality.
I contented myself by directing notice to the sanction which the trade had received at Malta, and did not touch upon the character of the ships engaged in it.
I have, &c.,