No. 478.

Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. Richmond.

No. 15.]

Sir: Acknowledging the receipt of your No. 12 (and inclosure), I transmit a copy of a letter from the secretary of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, in further reference to the expulsion of certain of the missionaries of that Board from Bihé and Bailunda, Africa, and a copy of a note* from the minister of Portugal here on the subject. It is evident from these that the Government of Portugal will use its best endeavors to protect the said missionaries.

Approving your action in the matter,

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 15.]

Mr. Smith to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

Dear Sir: Permit me to call your attention to one or two facts brought to my knowledge by a recent mail from Benguela, West Africa.

You will recall from former letters of mine that the American missionaries recently expelled from Bailunda and Bihé went to those regions under the protection of the Portuguese authorities, both in Lisbon and in Africa. The governor of Benguela saw and approved their passports and took them under his protection. When the native King of Bailunda, instigated by a Portuguese slave-trader, drove them out and plundered them, the governor of Benguela promised them restitution of property and redress of wrongs. This governor has since consulted his superior, the governor-general at Loanda, and now informs these Americans at Benguela that he has no authority in Bailunda, that he sustains no official relations to the King of Bailunda, and that he can do nothing in their case, except in so far as he receives authority from the governor-general at Loanda. Accordingly, our missionaries have carried their whole case to the governor-general, have recited the full details of their coming to the country and of their expulsion, and have asked justice and reparation at his hands in the name of their country, of humanity, and of the treaty relations between the United States and Portugal. Mr. R. S. Newton, United States vice-consul at Loanda, is acting in behalf of the missionaries.

[Page 637]

In their letters to me, our men do not seem to feel much confidence that any real justice will he done or any satisfactory reparation be made by the Portuguese officials. They think that when her own interests are concerned, Portugal has complete authority on that western coast of Africa, but when she has no interest her authority is very meager and very limited. I do not know that anything more can be done in behalf of these Americans in Benguela than your excellency has already caused to be done. It is of so much importance to the security of the work our mission board is attempting there that the active friendliness of Portugal should be secured; it is so needful to all enterprise, commercial and geographical, that the native princes should be made to respect the citizens of civilized nations, peaceably pursuing legitimate business among them, that I am sure you will take any further steps in the case which your own judgment shall decide to be wise and needful.

Hoping that the claims of Portugal to exclusive authority in those parts may be made to prove a reality for the benefit of these our fellow-citizens, or that they may be definitely withdrawn, so that something really effective from some other source may take their place, and submitting the whole matter with most cheerful confidence to the wisdom and decision of your excellency,

I am, &c.,

Secretary American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.
  1. For this inclosure see document No. 491, page 650.