No. 475.

Mr. Hunter to Mr. Richmond.

No. 6.]

Sir: I inclose a copy of correspondence originating in a report made to the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions, Boston, that five missionaries of that board had been obliged to quit Bihé and Bailunda, some 300 miles from Benguela, West Africa, and seek refuge with their families at the last-named place. The cause of this retirement is not fully known.

There seems to be no present occasion for diplomatic official action to secure these missionaries in any rights or privileges, but you will meantime, exercise any personal good offices which may tend to give them protection. Any rights they may be entitled to should be reserved in the course of inquiry on the subject. On ascertaining the, cause of the retirement of these missionaries from the interior, you will please report [Page 632] it in the terms in which the information is received, unless you are aware that the Department has already been apprised of the fact.

I have to add that Mr. Smith, the secretary of the board, has been reminded that information as to the citizenship of the missionaries ought also to be transmitted.

I am, &c.,

Acting Secretary.
[Inclosure in No. 6.]

Mr. Smith to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

My Dear Sir: Permit me in the name of the American Board to solicit your favorable attention to a matter of public moment.

The missionaries of our board, five in number, together with their wives and children, who are stationed at Bihé and Bailunda, some 300 miles inland from Benguela, on the West African coast, for some cause not yet fully known to us, have been compelled to retire from their field, and are remaining at Benguela for safety. We desire to bespeak for them, while they remain there, the kindly offices of the Portuguese officials at Benguela, and we wish to lay the essential facts before you, in order that you may support and reinforce our suggestions to the Portuguese Government.

I take the liberty to inclose herewith a communication* addressed to the Portuguese minister at Washington, which I desire you, after having noted its contents, to transmit to his excellency with such expressions of interest as you shall be pleased to give.

The good will of the Portuguese at Benguela is important to the success of our enterprise, and we think the real interests of the Portuguese Government are involved in their maintaining friendly relations toward our brethren and fellow citizens there. The use of your personal and official influence in promoting these ends will be of great service, and, I assure you, will be most gratefully appreciated by all the officers and members of the American Board.

I have, &c.,

Secretary, &c.
  1. For this inclosure, see inclosure see page 649.