No. 481.

Mr. Bayard to Mr. Lewis .

No. 4.]

Sir: I inclose a copy of a letter from Mr. Judson Smith, secretary of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, in farther reference to the subject of Instruction No. 17 of January 27 last to your predecessor.

That instruction directed Mr. Richmond to use all proper good offices in the direction of furthering the legitimate efforts, of certain American missionaries under the immediate control of the local Mozambique Government, but with a due regard to the established faith in that quarter.

Mr. Richmond’s No. 18 of the 16th February reported action, and his letter on the subject to Mr. Smith was forwarded to that gentleman.

You will please continue the good offices of the legation in the sense of the instruction of January 27 last, if necessary.

I am, &c.,

[Page 640]
[Inclosure in No. 4.]

Mr. Smith to Mr. Bayard .

Dear Sir: The American Board has three missionaries stationed on Inhambane Bay, on the east coast of Africa. All of these gentlemen are American citizens and bear with them the passports of our Government. They are within the limits of the Portuguese jurisdiction on that coast, and have received permission of the authorities at Mozambique to take up a tract of 2,500 acres wherever they may choose to locate. This permission is accompanied with a positive restriction, forbidding them to engage in religious teaching or preaching beyond the limits of the above concession. Our missionaries find that this restriction interferes directly and seriously with their work, and they earnestly desire to have it withdrawn. Their work is wholly religious and educational, and they are forbidden by the terms of the commission they receive from us to engage in trade of any kind or to interfere in any way with the politics or government of the nations where they are stationed, and I am not aware of any instance in which any one in our service has overstepped these limits.

Some months since I had the honor to communicate with the authorities at Lisbon, through the Department of State, on this subject, and I have received word from Mr. Richmond, United States minister at Lisbon at the time, to the effect that the Portuguese Government were in communication with the governor-general of Mozambique, and that I should soon learn what disposition had been made of the matter.

As no further communication has reached me, and as the restrictions still bear heavily upon our men and their work, I desire to learn what further information may be in the hands of the Department of State as to the determination of the court at Lisbon in the case. I beg leave to suggest the great value I should place upon any re-enforcement of the request with which you are pleased to accompany the inquiry. The thing asked for is so just and proper in itself, is so much in harmony with the courtesy our missionaries in other countries are wont to receive, and, above all, is so precisely in keeping with the provisions of the Berlin conference to which the great powers, Portugal included, have subscribed, that it would seem only reasonable to expect that a favorable answer to our request would soon be returned.

I know how heartily your judgment will support the request, and I trust that your official representations will soon secure the desired result.

Hoping for an early response according to your convenience, I am, &c.,

Foreign Secretary American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.