No. 186.

Mr. Becerra to Mr. Bayard.


Sir: With regretful surprise and with a feeling of indignation, which I am sure the honorable Mr. Bayard, to whom I have the honor to address myself, will appreciate and respect, I have read in the morning papers the following cablegram, which, it is said, has been sent to the Department of the Navy, in Washington, by the commander of the war vessel Galena, now stationed in the waters of the port of Colon:

I hold two of the most prominent insurgents who assisted in firing Aspinwall. I do not think it is safe to deliver them to the Colombian authorities, who would permit their escape.

There is no need for me to measure the intensity and the scope of this brutal (sangriento) insult, which would seem to be leveled at the people and Government of Colombia by the commander of an American war vessel; an insult which at the same time would seem to have been accepted by this Government, and given, with its sanction, to the publicity of the world.

I very respectfully call the attention of the honorable Secretary of State to this unqualifiable incident, and entertaining well-founded-confidence in the spirit of good judgment and perfect decorum of which he has given so many proofs, I suggest to him the adoption of the best among the many methods which may be available to redress the insult inflicted upon a friendly nation, which is the more worthy of consideration the greater is the state of perturbation in which it now is by reason of accidents connected with the incipiency of its political life.

The undersigned renews, &c.,