No. 217.
Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. Lowell.

No. 475.]

Sir: I transmit herewith a copy of a letter addressed to me by Mr. W. W. Corcoran, a resident of this city, in which he acquaints me with his wish to provide for the disinterment of the remains of John Howard Payne, author of “Home, Sweet Home,” and their removal to the United States for sepulture among his countrymen.

Mr. Corcoran’s proposal has my approbation. In carrying it out, however, some difficulty is found in the want of a representative of the United States in Tunis.

I will therefore thank you to bring the matter to the attention of Earl Granville, by communicating to him a copy of Mr. Corcoran’s letter, and asking that Her Majesty’s consul at Tunis may be requested to apply to the proper authorities there for permission to exhume Mr. Payne’s remains, and to make arrangements for their transportation to this country. This Department will take charge of the necessary reimbursement when informed of the amount.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 475.]

Mr. Corcoran to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

Dear Sir: I respectfully ask permission of the State Department to disinter the remains of our countryman, John Howard Payne, which now rest in a grave near Tunis, in Africa, that they may receive more appropriate sepulture in the bosom of his native land.

Mr. Payne died, as is well known, in the service of the State Department on the 9th of April, 1852, while acting as consul of the United States at Tunis, and I understand [Page 408] that, a marble slab, erected by order of the Department, still marks the spot where his body was laid.

It has seemed to me that the precious dust of an American citizen who sang so sweetly in praise of Home, Sweet Home” should not be left to mingle with any soil less dear to him than that of the land which gave him birth, and which, by the beauty of its home life, gave to him his best poetical inspiration.

If you concur with me in this sent intent, I beg leave to say that I will, when favored with your official permission, charge myself with the duty of providing for the , removal of his remains to this country, and, on their arrival here, will give to them a new and suitable resting place in Oak Hill Cemetery, taking care, of course, to mark the spot with a monument which shall perpetuate in the eyes of his countrymen the name of the poet already embalmed in their hearts by his immortal lyric.

I ought to add that I make this application to you because, as the honored head of the State Department, you seem to be the natural custodian of Mr. Payne’s grave in Tunis. I am further induced to make this appeal to you because, after careful inquiry, I am led to believe that Mr. Payne has now no descendant or collateral kindred to whom I could address a communication on the subject.

I have, &c.,