No. 183.

Mr. Bayard to Mr. Becerra.

Sir: With reference to previous correspondence on the subject, I have now the honor to inform you that I have received a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury, dated the 24th instant, transmitting a copy of a report from the collector of customs at New York, relative to the clearance from that port of the schooner George W. Whitford and the steamer Albano, charged with the unlawful shipping of arms and munitions of war to be used against the Colombian Government.

It appears from the collector’s report that on the 9th instant, upon his attention being called to this subject, he took immediate steps for the exercise of the utmost vigilance to prevent any violation of the neutrality laws. It was ascertained upon inquiry that the steamship Acapulco had sailed for Aspinwall before the special instructions in this matter were received, and that the Albano left soon after, but an examination [Page 239] of the manifests of these vessels failed to discover any arms or ammunition among the cargo of either. A supplemental manifest of cargo of the Albano was, however, filed at the customhouse after the clearance of that vessel, showing the following articles, and the ports or places of destination: One case shells, value $32, Kingston; 32 kegs powder, value $40, Wianita; 1 case caps, cartridge 90, value $32, Wianita; 1 case military accoutermen ts, value $15, Kingston; 1 case rifles, value $45, Kingston; 1 case cartridges, value $12, Kingston; rifle at $8, Boca del Toro; 1 case cartridges, 4½, at $29, $37, Boca del Toro; 1 case cartridges, $17, Kingston.

It has not as yet been possible to ascertain whether these articles are intended to be used in expeditions hostile to the Colombian Government, but even should this prove to be the case, this Government, however much it may regret the encouragement in any manner from this country of the revolt against the constitutional authorities of its sister Republic, must maintain the right of its citizens to carry on without a violation of the neutrality laws the ordinary traffic in arms with the rebellious or other parts of that Republic, as more particularly set forth in my note to you of the 25th instant.

The report of the collector of customs further shows that inquiries were made as to Santiago Perez Tuana and a Mr. Gaitan, which disclosed the fact that the former is engaged in business as a commission merchant for ports or places in Central America, and that no information could be obtained as to the latter.

It further appears that the schooner George W. Whitford cleared from New York on the 7th instant, and that her manifest records no arms or munitions of war of any kind.

Accept, &c.,