No. 434.
Mr. Smyth to Mr. Blaine.

No. 116.]

Sir: Your No. 63, diplomatic series, dated February 28, 1881, relative to the conference had with the German minister at the capital, as to the German steamer Carlos, and the course therein indicated which I should pursue in a certain contingency, has been received at this legation.

In reply I have to state that I anticipated your instructions, and on the arrival of the Victoria, the German consul being absent from Monrovia I tendered my good offices to Commander Von Valois, of the Victoria, and conferred with him at some length upon the matter; and subsequently, on an informal meeting with the secretary of state of Liberia, when being by him advised of the matter, at his solicitation I gave my views upon the legal and commercial bearings of the matter, with which the secretary concurred.

To a conference of the President and cabinet, with some distinguished citizens, I was invited, and in the progress of the interview I stated, as I was reminded by the secretary, almost in the language of your instructions, at least substantially, the attitude the United States would assume “had the case affected an American vessel and crew.”

I would further add that the timely and correct opinions held and expressed by me tended to soften the asperities created among Liberians on the bringing of the culprits to Monrovia and their incarceration. The recollection of past oppression borne in the United States and the West Indies by negroes, inflicted by Caucasians, had the effect of awakening sentiments and feelings of revenge toward the Germans when they [Page 737] returned to Monrovia with the offenders and hostages; this was principally among the ignorant, although some otherwise intelligent persons shared in the contagion, where the preservation of the reputation of the country for doing right and justice and respecting treaty stipulations should have characterized the sentiments of the people.

The hostages have determined to have their people use every means to meet the indemnity, and a bond has been given for the King of Nanna-Kroo and Will Town, and two of them returned to secure the value of the indemnity. Happily better thoughts have succeeded to unnecessary and unreasonable heart-burnings, and the community seems content.

In connection with the foregoing, I beg to call attention to my Nos. 107 and 112, diplomatic series, dated respectively March 3 and March 16, 1881.

I have, &c.,