No. 158.
Mr. Hunter to Mr. Noyes.

No. 163.]

Sir: I transmit herewith for your information, and with a view to the ascertainment of the facts therein reported, a copy of a dispatch recently received from the United States minister resident and consul-general at Monrovia, informing the Department that the French consul general at that place had offered to the Liberian government the protection of that of France. A recent dispatch from Commodore R. W. Shufeldt, who, with the Ticonderoga has lately visited the west coast of Africa on a special mission, gives the report in substantially the same dress.

When it is considered that this government founded and fostered the nucleus of native representative, government on the African shores, and that Liberia, so created, affords a field of emigration and enterprise for the lately emancipated Africans of this country, who have not been slow to avail themselves of the opportunity, it is evident that this government must feel a peculiar interest in any apparent movement to divert the independent political life of Liberia for the aggrandizement of a great continental power which already has a foothold of actual trading possession on the neighboring coast.

You are doubtless aware that the policy of the adjacent British settlement of Sierra Leone has of late years been one of encroachment, if not of positive unfriendliness, toward Liberia, and it may prove that the policy of France in this matter may be merely antagonistic to British encroachment, and designed rather to aid that feeble republic to maintain its independent status, with development of trade with France and French possessions, than to merge Liberia in the outlying system of that country. If so, it is desirable at least that the United States should be cognizant of the true tendency of the movement.

You are, therefore, instructed to make such judicious and confidential inquiries as shall, without communicating undue importance to the matter, put you in possession of the facts, Your report thereon is awaited with interest.

I am, &c.,

Acting Secretary.