Mr. Osborn to Mr. Evarts.
Santiago, Chili, September 7, 1877. (Received October 13.)
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your instruction of date July 16, 1877, marked “separate,” and in reply to inform you that I have been unable to find in the legation any documents of a late date which would give information upon the subject of your communication.
It is cause for serious regret that the vast commerce which has heretofore existed between the United States and South America has been permitted to sink into comparative insignificance, and the means by which it is to be revived is a subject demanding the most thoughtful consideration. I need not assure you that the Department of State, in its efforts in this direction, shall have my most cordial co-operation.
Prior to 1861, I am informed, a majority of the merchant-vessels usually in the harbor of Valparaiso carried the American flag. Not so now. In fact, it is but seldom that the Stars and Stripes are seen floating over a vessel in the South American ports. I am pleased to be able to say, however, that they are much more frequently seen now than they were a year ago, and I am confident that by proper effort the commerce of our country with this may be vastly improved. To this end I am engaged in the collection of some statistics, which I hope to be able, in forwarding to the Department of State, to accompany with a few suggestions not entirely void of interest or merit. Time, study, and labor, however, are necessary to enable me to present the subject in a manner satisfactory to myself, and I must ask the Department of State to indulge me with a reasonable degree of patience.
I am, &c.,
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary.