No. 595.
General Sickles to Mr. Fish.

No. 815.]

Sir: I have the honor to forward a copy of a note passed to the minister [Page 930] of state yesterday, requesting that any American citizens in custody of the authorities at Santiago de Cuba be allowed all the privileges guaranteed to them by the seventh article of the treaty of 1795, and that the consul of the United States at that place be permitted to have free communication with the accused. This suggestion seemed to me proper, in view of what happened in March last in the case of the sailors of the bark Union, and your instructions in that case.

I am, &c,


General Sickles to Mr. José de Carvajal.

The undersigned presents his compliments to his excellency the minister of state, and has the honor to request that orders be sent to the authorities at Santiago de Cuba to allow the consul of the United States at that place to see and freely confer with any American citizens among the officers, passengers, and crew of the Virginius who may be now in custody, and that they may have accorded to them the rights and privileges stipulated and guaranteed by the seventh article of the treaty of 1795.

The undersigned finds an additional motive for this suggestion in the fact that in March last, in the case of three American sailors of the bark Union, the governor of Santiago de Cuba refused the same reasonable request when made by the United States consul, and alleged, as the ground of such refusal, that war existed in the island, and no rules could be recognized except such as prevailed in an ordinary Spanish court-martial. The undersigned, in obedience to the instructions of his Government, remonstrated against such action, and was assured by Mr. Casteiar, then minister of state, that the conduct of the governor was disapproved; that, moreover, Spain did not regard the insurrection in Cuba as a war, and would not claim for herself, or desire to see accorded to either party in the contest, the rights of belligerents; and that, in conformity with these views, the government of the republic would send instructions to the captain-general of Cuba for the guidance of himself and the subordinate authorities of the island.

The undersigned avails himself, &c,