to Mr. Evarts.
the United States,
Lisbon, May 19, 1879.
(Received June 4.)
Sir: Referring to instruction No. 141 from the
Department of State, signed by Mr. Seward, I have now the honor to report
that I addressed a note to Mr. Corvo in the sense thereof on the 5th
instant, in reply to the complaints made to me by the Marquis d’Avila on the
31st December, 1877, of alleged violation of Portuguese laws and regulations
by the masters of American whaling-ships visiting the Azores, and
encouraging the departure from those islands of Portuguese subjects liable
to conscription for military service, and especially the case of the captain
of the William A. Grozier; and I also replied in the same note to Mr.
Corvo’s letter to me of the 14th of March last, in which he says that
American whaling-vessels are in the habit of contracting with crews in
violation of the law in Fogo, one of the Cape de Verde Islands, and I now
forward a copy of my above note for the information of the Department. Mr.
Corvo has not yet replied, and probably will not do so soon.
I also add a copy of a letter from Mr. Terry of the 28th of April on the
subject of American whalers taking men from the island of Fogo without the
necessary papers from the authorities of the island, and a copy of a note
based on Mr. Terry’s letter which I addressed to Mr. Corvo on the 17th
It is clear, from Mr. Terry’s report, that no specific charges have been made
against American ship-masters for violation of the law at Fogo, and it is to
be hoped that the measures taken by Mr. Terry to warn American captains to
observe the regulations in regard to these alleged shipments will put an end
to further complaints.
I have, &c.,
[Inclosure 1 in No. 260.]
Mr. Moran to Mr.
Legation of the United States,
Lisbon, May 5,
Mr. Minister: Referring to the note which the
Marquis d’Avila addressed to me on the 31st December, 1877, in which his
excellency informed me that Capt. William Roberts, of the American
whaling-vessel Wm. A. Grozier, when his ship was about to sail from
Ponta Delgada, caused, it was alleged, a boat to be lowered and received
onboard his vessel four Portuguese subjects liable to military service,
and that the American consul, whose interference the administrador
solicited towards his forbidding” Captain Roberts in further prosecuting
his designs, wholly set at naught so just and reasonable a request.
Immediately on the receipt of the above note, I sent a copy of it to Mr.
Dabney, the consul of the United States at Fayal, with a request that he
would investigate the [Page 904] charge
against Mr. Ivens, the consular agent at St. Michael’s. Mr. Ivens, in
reply to inquiries, clearly showed that no communication had been made
to him hy the authorities on the subject, and that every application
made to him to assist the authorities in preventing the conscription
laws being evaded has always met with his immediate attention. Mr.
Dabney, therefore, acquitted Mr. Iyens of any knowledge of, or
complicity in, the transaction, and as no new information was gained in
relation to the matter, the United States Government naturally supposed
that the affair might have been one of those difficulties which
sometimes occur between ship-masters and customs authorities where the
fault is not altogether on one side. I fully reported the case to Mr.
Evarts at the time, and the above is the view he arrived at on the
Mr. Evarts, in a recent dispatch to me on the subject of the note which
your excellency addressed to me on the 14th of March last, incidentally
refers to the above case in the language I have used. It is stated in
your excellency’s above-named note that masters of American
whaling-vessels are in the habit of contracting with crews in the Cape
Verde Islands, “observing, however, the legal requirements for such
contracts, except in the island of Fogo,” where, as the complaint
alleges, it is the custom of such captains to evade fulfillment of
Portuguese regulations, adding that the governor-general of that
province has accordingly requested from the home government such
additional powers as will enable him to prevent such enlistments in
future, and that such orders are about to be issued.
To this Mr. Evarts, to whom I duly referred your excellency’s letter,
replies that the complaint is general in its character, and it will be
at once perceived that in order to the efficacy of such measures as His
Majesty’s Government may find it necessary to adopt with a view of
obviating any cause for any renewal of such complaint, it would have
been desirable to have had some specific case of the kind referred to as
being of frequency at the island of Fogo presented for its
consideration, and Mr. Evarts adds as illustrative of this view, that
“that very day, and just at the moment that the subject of Mr. Corvo’s
complaint is under consideration, the Department has received from his
excellency the governor of Massachusetts the complaint of a citizen of
the United States and of that commonwealth, who alleges that is son, a
citizen of the United States, has been called upon to perform compulsory
military duty by the Portuguese authorities at the island of Flores.”
Mr. Evarts says inquiry will be made, and the matter will constitute the
subject of a future instruction. And he adds that this incident is
introduced now only as illustrative of the suggestion that complaints on
either side, arising from any conflict between the Portuguese
authorities and citizens of the United States, should in each case be
made the subject of careful and specific inquiry.
Finally, Mr. Evarts instructs me to take the earliest opportunity of
conveying to your excellency the views and disposition of the United
States Government on the general question that has given rise to these
complaints. He says so far from giving countenance to any proceedings on
the part of ship-masters, or other citizens of the United States, who
may find it necessary to visit or sojourn in the colonial possessions of
His Majesty the King of Portugal, the President desires that all
citizens of the United States under such circumstances shall observe
strictly and in good faith the local laws and regulations of Portugal,
and of the colonial possessions of that kingdom.
Instructions will be at once transmitted to the consul of the United
States at Fayal to take the necessary steps to bring to the notice of
American ship-masters, and other citizens of the United States visiting
the islands in question the desire of the Government of the United
States that they shall observe the local laws and regulations of
Portugal with the same fidelity and respect with which they feel bound
to observe and obey the laws of the United States; and I am at the same
time to express the hope entertained by the President, that these
preventive and precautionary measures on the part of the United States
Government will obviate the necessity of any extraordinary measures or
regulations by that of Portugal.
I avail myself of this occasion to renew, &c.,
[Inclosure 2 in No. 260.]
Mr. Terry to Mr.
Consulate of the United States of America,
Santiago, Cape Verde Islands,
April 28, 1879.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the
receipt of your dispatch bearing date 19th March, 1879, in reference to
American whalers taking men from these islands, especially Fogo, without
the necessary papers in such case required to be obtained from the
authorities of the islands.
My attention was called to the subject by the secretary of the
governor-general about the 1st of February last, and he only complained
as to the island of Fogo. I asked [Page 905] him why the police did not interfere, and he
informed me that they, the police, would run also!
I have had a conversation with the governor-general, and he told me the
same. No complaint is made, so far as I know, in reference to this
island. I asked the governor what I could do, and he seemed to think I
could only inform the masters of American vessels to not infringe upon
the laws in reference to taking men from the islands of this
Archipelago. Of course I will do everything in my power to prevent the
taking of men as charged in the complaint.
As to the grounds of complaint, I have no personal knowledge more than
what I have already informed you.
As you request, I will inform captains of the intended new regulations. I
trust there will be no cause for further trouble or complaint.
I have, &c.,
[Inclosure 3 in No. 260.]
Mr. Moran to Mr.
Legation of the United States,
Lisbon, May 17,
Mr. Minister: Referring to your excellency’s
letter of the 14th of March last, and to my note to you of the 5th
instant, respecting the alleged violation of the laws by the masters of
American whaling-vessels in taking men from the island of Fogo without?
the necessary papers, I have now to state that I have received a report
upon the subject from Mr. Terry, consul of the United States at
Santiago, Cape de Verdes, who says that his attention was called to the
allegation by the secretary of his excellency the governor-general,
about the 1st of February last, and that subsequently he had a
conversation with his excellency on the subject. When he asked the
governor-general what he was to do, his excellency seemed to think that
Mr. Terry could only instruct the masters of American vessels not to
infringe the laws of the island in reference to taking men from them.
But neither the governor-general nor his secretary brought any specific
charges to Mr. Terry’s notice, their complaints being only general.
Nevertheless, Mr. Terry has notified masters of American vessels always
to observe Portuguese laws in reference to the enlistment of men in any
of the Cape de Verde Islands. He knows of no such cases as those
complained of, but will do everything in his power to assist the
authorities in preventing the clandestine departure of Portuguese
subjects on board American vessels. And in pursuing this course he but
fulfills the desire of the Government of the United States, as expressed
by Mr. Evarts, that all American citizens shall observe the local laws
and regulations of Portugal with the same fidelity and respect with
which they feel bound to observe and obey the laws of the United
I avail myself of this occasion to renew to your excellency the
assurances of my distinguished consideration.