No. 203.

Mr. Becerra to Mr. Bayard.


Sir: Last night and to-day I have received from Panama and Colon several cablegrams whereby the Colombian authorities inform me of their fear that the agents of the rebels at New York may succeed in [Page 263] purchasing and fitting out or at least freighting a vessel capable of cooperating with their military operations against the city of Cartagena, and perhaps carrying hostilities to the Isthmus of Panama, anew, where the security of the interoceanic transit has only just been barely restored. In their expression of these fears, they go so far as to include the name of the vessel which is sought to be dispatched armed as for war, and this is no other than the Claribel, or this is at least the name transmitted by the telegraph.

Any violation of the laws of neutrality which may be successfully executed by the agents of the rebels at New York would be now the more grave and the more serious and disastrous when it is known that the bandit Prestan, who burned Colon, succeeded in escaping with his forces, and is now in the waters of Cartagena with two or three vessels violently taken by him at Portobello. The re enforcement which such an enemy might receive would assuredly put that man in a position to repeat, perhaps, the same events at the important city of Cartagena, or at the neighboring city of Barranquilla, and renew the scenes of savage destruction which he has already enacted at the Isthmus.

I appeal, therefore, to the high spirit of justice of the Government of the United States, and I ask through the medium of the honorable Secretary of State, that it will issue new orders to exercise vigilance, and, in the appropriate case, of repression, to the end of thereby preserving the neutrality rules of the country, and at the same time preserving the threatened interests of civilization upon the Atlantic coast of Colombia.

I repeat, &c.,