No. 317.
Mr. Bassett to Mr. Fish.

No. 374.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch numbered 227, and dated June 4th instant, in which you convey to me an unfavorable judgment upon my conduct in receiving under our flag here political refugees, and authorize me to give them up if this government should apply to me for them in order that they may be tried, provided it gives me its assurance that no punishment shall result from the trial, bat that if convicted they shall be allowed without molestation to leave the country, and in which your further instruct me, that if [Page 707] the refugees themselves should offer to surrender to the authorities on the same condition, and it should be accepted, I shall dismiss them.

I thank you very sincerely for your statement to Mr. Preston in response to his official request for the setting at large of the refugees under the flag of this legation, to the effect that it was not deemed expedient to comply with his request. I thank you also for the considerate manner in which you have been pleased to dispose of the case, and I hardly need say that I shall of course be guided by your instructions relative thereto.

There is a wide spread popular feeling existing here on the subject of these refugees, and particularly in regard to the case of General Boisrond Canal. The refugee under the flag of my British colleague is, I learn, to be tried par contumace, with some sort of verbal understanding that he will very likely be condemned to capital punishment, and then will have his sentence commuted to perpetual banishment. But the case of this person and that of Canal jeune, at my house, are not the ones that make the question so difficult of solution.

The only difficulty is that which centers in the case of Boisrond Canal. The persons with me would not be willing to surrender to the authorities under any assurances from this government, as they have no confidence in its good faith. The government has not yet shown a disposition which would warrant me in surrendering the refugees upon the terms of the other feature of your instruction. The result is that this person is still at my house, and that my premises are still surrounded by hundreds of armed men, whose presence subjects me and my household to every inconvenience and anxiety, and 1 think to some danger also.

I shall not infringe upon or deviate from the terms or spirit of your instructions. 1 have, since the date of my last dispatch to you, some further communication and conference relative to the question; but having still hope that I may at last succeed by my personal good offices in securing the safe embarkation of the refugees according to the terms of your dispatch, in a satisfactory manner, I venture to delay, until the next opportunity of communicating with New York, the sending forward of a full record of my proceeding in this regard. I regret that my health will not allow me to prepare for this mail the statement of the political situation which is promised in my No. 372, of 4he 8th instant.

I am, &c.,