No. 583.
Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. Baker.

No. 208.]

Sir: I desire again to call attention to the claim of Mr. John E. Wheelock against the Government of Venezuela, and to inclose to you copy of a letter of the 14th instant, addressed by him to the Hon. William E. Robinson, of the House of Representatives, who has caused its reference hither.

The merits of Mr. Wheelock’s claim have long since commended themselves to the Department, and have repeatedly been made the subject of positive instructions to you. It is unnecessary, therefore, to dwell upon the points of his case in the present instance; but it is sufficient to say that you should vigorously and earnestly press the matter to a satisfactory and equitable conclusion. The delay which has marked the treatment of this case seems almost unaccountable 5 and when its justice and the character of the outrage perpetrated upon Mr. Wheelock are considered, the excuse of the Yenezuelan Government, after all the facts have been so fully presented to it, as they have in this matter, in not promptly awarding simple justice to an American citizen whom those authorities grossly outraged, appears all the more inexplicable, and amounts in effect, if not in fact, to little less than an absolute denial of justice. This Government is loath to believe that the traditional justice [Page 901] of that of Venezuela in according fair and honorable treatment of wrongs committed by its citizens upon foreigners would be lightly cast aside, and that the reparation due alike to Mr. Wheelock and to Venezuela’s sense of international obligation should not be readily granted in the present meritorious case.

Without, therefore, waiting for a suitable or convenient opportunity to speak of Mr. Wheelock’s outrage, you will at once upon the receipt of this instruction again present the subject to the minister for foreign affairs, strongly urging the desire of the President that this claim receive a prompt hearing and a speedy adjustment.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 208.]

Mr. Wheelock to Mr. Robinson.

(Referred to Department of State February 20.)

Sir: For more than three years I have sought in vain to have my Government procure some justice done me for the horrible outrage perpetrated upon me by a civil officer of the Venezuelan Government, which is fully set forth in the volume of Foreign Relations, 1880, pages 1028 and 1042. For two years the State Department has been demanding satisfaction for the outrage, and for the same length of time the Venezuelan Government has ignored the demand.

I most respectfully and earnestly request that you will take such measures in Congress as will secure me some compensation for a life that has been causelessly and wantonly ruined, both physically and morally. The “Foreign Relations “for the year 1880 contains the whole matter.

Very respectfully,


Hon. Wm. E. Robinson, Washington, D. C.