No. 432.
Mr. Smyth to Mr. Evarts.

No. 107.]

Sir: On or about the 25th of October last, the German steamer Carlos, of Hamburg, bound for Lagos, struck on a rock near Sinou, on the Liberian coast. In a short time after she struck she sunk. Nothing, save a few nautical instruments, clothing, and some food, was taken from the ship into the two boats in which the captain and crew made their escape from the ship.

[Page 735]

Shortly after entering the boats, the natives, Bateau Kroo-men, surrounded the captain and crew with canoes and proceeded to rob and maltreat them. On reaching the shore all their clothing was taken from their bodies, and all else of value that was in the boats.

Fortunately these shipwecked men succeeded in reaching the civilized settlement of Sinou, whence they came to Monrovia and laid their grievances before the German consul. The consul presented these facts to the Liberian Government. No action was taken for redress because the place near which the wreck occurred was not a port of entry. The government made no effort to detect and punish the guilty parties, it is believed, not from any reluctance on its part to punish crime, but on account of its inability to do so.

The whole matter having been fully set out and forwarded to the foreign office at Berlin, the war ship Victoria arrived at Monrovia, Saturday, February 26, 1881. On the afternoon of February 28th, Commander Yon Valois and suite visited the legation and informed me that he had been instructed to confer with the Liberian Government as to the outrage committed upon the crew of the Carlos, and to request the government to take the initiative in the punishment of the natives for their piratical acts. He further stated that it was the purpose of his government to have the historically friendly relations between itself and Liberia remain unimpaired; and therefore he proposed to co-operate with Liberia in the matter, if possible. His instructions were, if necessary, to ask the aid of the United States Government, through its representative, in effecting his purpose.

On returning the commander’s visit, March 2, I was further advised that the government had acceded to his requests fully, and that the President and secretary of the interior would accompany him to the scene of the outrage for the end desired.

A memorandum was drawn up by the Liberian Government, and agreed to by the commander, the substance of which was, that it will seek to punish the offenders, and exact an indemnity from them; failing in this, the Liberian Government will pay an indemnity to Germany of $3,500.

The leniency of the German Government is very apparent, and clearly shows the desire to perpetuate the friendship that exists between it and Liberia, and Liberia’s action evidences a desire to carry out the duty of a civilized state.

On leaving the ship the usual salute was fired. The Victoria was built in France for the Confederate war service, and has near the wheel-house the stars of the Confederacy in brass.

I have, &c.,