No. 790.
Mr. Beardsley to Mr. Fish.

No. 155]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your instructions numbered 87 and 88.

Referring to your instruction, No. 87, of the 30th ultimo, in relation to the liberation of slaves in Egypt through the interposition of foreign consuls and consular agents, I have the honor to state that the consular representatives of the United States appear to have exercised their authority in favor of the liberation of slaves on various isolated occasions in the past, but, as a rule, have been careful not to make themselves conspicuous in this respect, owing to the fact that such action on their part is liable to subject them to the ill will of the local authorities. Moreover, they have never, as far as I can learn, had any instructions on this subject, and they have been well content to see the role of emancipators played by the English representatives, who are supposed to act in accordance with instructions from the English government, certainly at least with its support and approval.

I believe that our agents never refuse to assist slaves to obtain their freedom when applied to for that purpose, but they are rarely applied to, for the reason that it is the general belief among the slaves that the English consular agents are especially empowered to effect their release from bondage.

No progress seems to have been made of late toward consummating the treaty referred to in my dispatches numbered 128 and 137, and it is to be feared that the incident of the wholesale liberation of slaves at Mansourah will only tend to render the status of slavery in Egypt less satisfactory than before. I am, &c,