No. 326.
Mr. Hunter to Mr. Bassett.

No. 236.]

Sir: Your dispatches to No. 389 have been received. They convey the unwelcome information that the question in regard to Boisrond Canal and the other refugees at your residence was still unadjusted. The hope was entertained that the conditions upon which, by the instruction No. 227 of the 4th of June last, you were authorized to termij riate the asylum which had been granted to those persons, would have been complied with. Those conditions were that if the Haytian government should apply to yon for them in order that they might be tried, you would be authorized to give them up, provided that government would engage that no punishment should result from the trial, but that if convicted they should leave the country. Or if those persons should themselves, or through you, offer to surrender to the authorities on the same conditions, you were to dismiss them. It does not appear from your dispatches that that government had made such an application, [Page 727] or that it had been made by you. This leaves the subject in a very unsatisfactory state, and one by no means tending to strengthen those friendly relations between the two governments which it is desirable to maintain. The irritation of the Haytian government in regard to the matter is shown in the recent notes of Mr. Preston, a copy of which (and of the answers of the Department) is inclosed. It is obviously the purpose of that government, probably actuated by the impression that the right of asylum in the abstract is not favored by this Government, to endeavor to have you directed to surrender the refugees unconditionally. This purpose has not been and will not be accomplished. Still the impression here is strong that in receiving Mr. Boisrond Canal, especially under the circumstances, you allowed your partialities for that individual, as well as your general feelings of humanity, to overcome that discretion which, pursuant to the instruction to you, No. 32, of the 4th of February, 1870, you were expected to exercise in every case where an asylum might be granted to political refugees. The Department will not take into consideration the antecedents of Mr. Boisrond Canal. It is also bound to disregard the complaints of the existing Haytian administration against him, or the reasons therefor. If, however, as is understood to be the case, that person had actually been tried and sentenced for conspiracy before he sought refuge in your abode, he must have gone thither to escape punishment and arrest, It is also understood that he and his companions, while on their way thither, resisted arrest by force of arms. These circumstances certainly present a case in which it would be unreasonable to expect that government to acquiesce in the privilege of sanctuary granted by you to Boisrond Canal. Consequently that step on your part cannot be approved. Still there is no disposition to change the conditions upon which you have been authorized to surrender the refugees, except so far as this may be made necessary by the fact that Boisrond Canal had actually been tried and sentenced before he sought an asylum. It is presumed that if he were at large he would not be tried again, though the sentence already passed might be carried into effect. If therefore that government should allow him and the others to be embarked for a foreign port, under your supervision, the case might thereby be settled.

It is presumed that the embarkation might take place by the connivance of the government without any change of the sentence, or that, if necessary, the sentence might be repealed or so modified that the embarkation might be carried into effect without hazard or injury to the interests of the government. That a proper disposition to this end should be entertained is much to be desired.

I am, &c.,

Acting Secretary.