to Mr. Evarts.
Madrid, April 18, 1878. (Received May 9.)
Sir: On the reception of your instruction No. 57, authorizing Mr. Lowell to accept the sum of $10,000 offered by the Spanish Government as compensation for injuries inflicted by Spanish guarda costas on the American whaling schooners Ellen Rizpah and Rising Sun, he at once addressed a note to that effect to the minister of state. I have the honor to inclose a copy of the note, from which you will perceive that Mr. Lowell suggested that payment be made in a draft on London, as in the case of the Cuban claims award. It seems, however, from the interviews which he afterward had with Mr. Silvela, that it was not convenient for the Spanish Government to comply with his suggestion, but preferred to give a draft on Barcelona for the amount. Mr. Lowell answered that this arrangement would be perfectly satisfactory to him, provided such draft would insure $10,000 in London. For some reason not known to the legation this proposition was not carried out, and on Mr. Lowell again inviting Mr. Silvela’s attention to the matter, he was informed that it had been decided in the council of ministers to pay the indemnity in gold, out of the central treasury of the island of Cuba, through Mr. Mantilla, at Washington, in a draft payable to your order.
Accordingly, last evening I received a note from Mr. Silvela, a copy and translation of which is hereto annexed, furnishing me with the text of a communication addressed by the minister of ultramar, under date of the 13th instant, to the governor-general of the island of Cuba, giving the necessary order to carry out the directions of the council of ministers above referred to. A copy of my note in reply is also hereto annexed.
I beg to add that the delay which has occurred in the arranging for payment of the indemnity has not been the fault of the legation. On the contrary, Mr. Lowell never failed to mention in his interviews with Mr. Silvela the conditions on which the United States accepted the offer of Spain. But taking into consideration the present crippled state of the Spanish finances, and the fact that both Mr. Silvela and the minister of ultramar have been in daily attendance upon the sessions of the Còrtes—thus in a great measure preventing them from attending to other matters in connection with their respective departments—I think I am justified in saying that the matter has been arranged in as short a time as could reasonably be expected.
I have, &c.,