Mr. Bassett to Mr. Fish.
Port au Prince , April 17, 1875. (Received May 8.)
Sir: I have the honor to represent that in consequence of what has been considered an indignity offered by the police authorities at Port de Paix to the British vice-consul there, while my colleague, Her Britannic Majesty’s minister-resident, was in that harbor, on the man-of-war Wood-lark, on his tour around the island, as noted in my No. 357, the latter returned to Port au Prince yesterday, to make complaint to this government of the proceedings taken against the vice-consul, and to demand reparation for them.
It appears that while the vice-consul, Mr. Maunder, brother-in-law of the Madam Maunder referred to in my Nos. 352 and 356, was returning from a visit to my colleague, Major Stuart, on board the Woodlark, about half past 10o’clock one evening, the police authorities attempted to arrest [Page 686] the boatinan, a British subject, who rowed him ashore from the Woodlark, on the ground that thfe municipal regulations forbade him to be beyond his domicile at that hour. Mr. Maunder very properly protested against the attempted arrest of his boatman under the circumstances, but in the end both himself and the boatman were put under personal detention, being subjected mean while to unpleasant and disrespectful language from the police authorities. He at once appealed to the commander of the arrondissement, who readily ordered the release of both Mr. Maunder and the boatman.
On learning of these proceedings the following morning, my colleague, still on board the Woodlark, in the harbor, demanded of the superior authorities there a prompt disavowal of the officer’s act in offering an indignity to the vice-consul, the degradation of that officer from his command, and a salute to the British flag in presence of the officers and soldiery in that vicinity. These demands not being acceded to, my, colleague at once weighed anchor for Port au Prince, where, as already stated, he arrived yesterday morning, and, without delay, repeated his demands to the government through the minister of foreign affairs, first in conversation, then in an official dispatch. No answer has to this moment of writing been made to his dispatch. But I hardly think that that portion of his demand which exacted a salute to the British flag will be immediately or readily complied with. Indeed, I judge it not altogether improbable that it may be referred to Her Majesty’s government through the Hay tian legation in London. The other features of the demand ought to, and, I think, will, be conceded.
At all events, my colleague has thus unhappily found himself in the midst of difficulty at the very threshold of his entrance into diplomatic life, and I shall carefully advise you of any settlement that may be made of the case, which it may be remembered is the fourth one of disagreement that has occurred between the British legation here and the authorities of this government within three months.
I am, &c.,