No. 307.
Mr. Bassett to Mr. Fish.

No. 353.]

Sir: On Friday, the 5th instant, the National Constitutional Assembly, which is still sitting in extra session, took steps to place under accusation General Larnotheon charges of unfaithfulness in the discharge of his functions as minister of interior and foreign affairs, under President Saget’s administration.

Immediately thereupon General Lamothe sought and obtained refuge in the British legation. At first the government contented itself by stating to my colleague, Her Britannic Majesty’s chargé d’affaires, that there were no charges of a political character against the general, intimating that he consequently had no claim to the protection which he had sought in the British legation. To this my colleague responded in effect, that as in this country it was not always easy to distinguish between administrative acts and those of a political character in such cases, and as the right of asylum had always been conceded to foreign legations, he could not consent that Generai Lamothe should be invited to leave the legation against his own will.

The authorities then brought forward the extradition treaty alluded to in my No. 232, of July, 1873, which treaty has not, however, been yet duly ratified and proclaimed, and intimated a desire for General La-mothe’s rendition under its provisions. My colleague, in reply, asked reference to his first communication on the subject, and again refusing to accede to the intimated desire, said he should refer to Her Majesty’s government the entire case, together with the correspondence thus far had in reference thereto, which he has, I understand, accordingly done. I think it not altogether improbable that this government may also instruct its chargé d’affaires in London to make representations to the foreign office on the same subject.

The vexed question as to the so called right of asylum is thus to be brought again freshly to the attention of Her Majesty’s government; and while that government has formally withdrawn the exercise of that right from its purely consular officers in this island, I scarcely think it will be disposed, under existing circumstances, to make a similar withdrawal from its diplomatic representative here.

I have, &c.,