No. 315.
Mr. Bassett to Mr. Fish.

No. 370.]

Sir: Referring to my No. 355 of the 9th of April last, and to my No. 362 of the 8th ultimo, both of which touch upon the asylum given in the British legation to Ex-Minister Lamothe, I have the honor to state that, notwithstanding the guarantee given to my colleague of Great Britain, for the security of General Lamothe against irregular proceedings in his regard, and notwithstanding the fact that, according to the constitution, he can be tried and judged only by the senate, he received a summons to appear before a criminal tribunal on the 28th ultimo, and immediately thereafter again betook himself to the British legation, where refuge was again extended to him.

On the 31st ultimo my colleague went to President Domingue and represented the case to His Excellency in view of the guarantee that had been given for the general’s security. The President said he knew nothing of the attempted irregular and illegal proceedings against the general, and he would renew the guarantee in his behalf. After waiting for several days for the promised guarantee, my colleague sent a note about it to the minister of foreign affairs, and to-day received another assurance that General Lamothe could resume his liberty.

There is something in this case which may not be readily understood abroad. General Lamothe was one of sixteen ministers of state under the Saget administration. No one of the fifteen others has, as I am well informed, rendered his accounts or been asked to do so. Lamothe was not minister of finance, and had no direct access to public funds. The moneys for the service of his department were all duly voted by the cabinet from the budget passed by the Corps Législatif. One of his colleagues was a nephew of President Domingue, and a brother of the present minister, Rameau. Of course ex-Minister Rameau has never been called in question, while Lamothe is sought after. The real reason for pursuing Lamothe is, as I am most reluctantly led to believe, that he is a black man of great experience in the public affairs of his country, and of decidedly superior intelligence, and that there is a possibility [Page 703] in his case, as there was in the cases of Generals Pierre, Brice, and Boisrond Canal, that he may some day loom up at the call of his countrymen as Domingue’s successor.

I am, &c.,