No. 352.
Mr. Bayard to Sir L. S. Sackville West.

Sir: On the 19th of July last I had the honor to receive from you a letter, dated the day previous, inclosing a printed copy of a declaration made by Medeo Rose, formerly master of the schooner Laura Sayward, [Page 553] of Gloucester, Mass., in which he controverts certain statements theretofore made by him under oath, in relation to his treatment by Mr. Atwood, collector of customs at Shelburne, Nova Scotia, on the 13th of October.

Upon receiving your letter I at once communicated its contents to the collector of the port of Gloucester, Mass., through whom the original complaint had been forwarded to this Department.

To-day, for the first time, I was informed that on the 5th of August last a reply and sworn statement, by way of explanation of this variance between his affidavit of October 13, 1886, and his subsequent declaration at Sandy Point, Nova Scotia, dated April 20, 1887, had been in my absence received at this Department, and by inadvertence not laid before me until to-day.

I therefore now inclose a copy of the affidavits of Captain Rose and Augustus Rogers, made at Gloucester, Mass., on August 3 last, before a notary public, by which it appears that his declaration of April 20, 1887, was not voluntary, but was obtained from him by the collector, Atwood through fear and intimidation, under circumstances fully stated.

I should transmit the documents without further comment, but that, in closing your note to me of July 18 last, you stated that you were further “instructed to ask whether the United States Government have any observations to make thereupon.”

In my reply to you on the 19th of July, I promised to comply with your request, and for that reason I now remark that the incident which has been the subject of this correspondence affords but another illustration and additional evidence, if any were needed, of the unwisdom of imperiling the friendly relations of two kindred and neighboring countries by intrusting the interpretation and execution of a treaty between them to the discretion of local and petty officials, and vesting in them powers of administration wholly unwarranted and naturally prolific of the irritations which wise and responsible rulers will always seek to avoid.

On the eve of a negotiation touching closely the honor and interests of two great nations, I venture to express the hope that the anticipated result of our joint endeavors to harmonize all differences may render it hereafter impossible to create a necessity for those representing our respective Governments to be called upon to consider such questions as are presented in the case of the Laura Sayward.

I have, etc.,

T. F. Bayard.

Affidavits of Capt. Medeo Rose and Augustas Rogers.

I, Medeo Rose, of Gloucester, being under oath, do depose and say, that I was master of the schooner Laura Sayward during the year 1886, and that I am now master of the schooner Gleaner of Gloucester.

On April 18, 1887, I went into the lower harbor of Shelburne, Nova Scotia, in said schooner Gleaner for shelter and water.

On the morning of April 19, Mr. Atwood, the collector of customs, with two men wearing badges, which I supposed were Government badges, came on board. Their appearance filled me with fear, for I felt some trouble must be in store for me when Collector Atwood would leave his office and come so far (about 4 miles) to board my vessel. I invited him into the cabin, where he showed me a copy of my statement of October 13, 1886, in regard to the treatment I received from him when in schooner Laura Sayward (October 5, 1886), and asked me if I made that statement. I told him I did. Well, said he, everything in that statement is false. I told him my statement was true. He then produced a prepared written statement, which he read to me, which [Page 554] stated that my statement of October 13 was untrue, and told me I must go on shore and sign it. Being nervous and frightened, and fearing trouble if I refused, I went on shore with him, to the store of Mr. Purney, and before Mr. Purney signed and swore to the statement.

On the afternoon of the same day, realizing the wrong I had done, I hired a team and, with one of my crew (Augustus Rogers), went to the custom-house and asked Collector Atwood to read to me the statement I had signed. He did so, and I again told him it was wrong and that my first statement was true.

He said I did not ask for all the articles mentioned in my first statement; that he did not refuse me my paper, and also that that statement might be the cause of his removal from his office. I told him I did not want to injure him, and I did not want to make myself out a liar at Washington.

About the 3d day of June last I went into Shelburne again solely to get a copy of the last statement. I went to the custom-house, taking the same man (Augustus Rogers) with me, and asked Collector Atwood for a copy of the statement.

He refused to give it to me, and said my lawyers had been advising me what to do and that I need never expect a favor from him.

The above is a true statement of the case. The statement obtained from me by Collector Atwood was obtained through my fear of seizure if I refused.

Medeo Rose.

I, Augustus Rogers, one of the crew of schooner Gleaner, being duly sworn, do depose and say, that I went with Capt. Medeo Rose to the custom-house at Shelburne, Nova Scotia, on the 19th day of April last, and also on the 3d day of June. I heard his conversation with Collector Atwood on both occasions, and hereby certify that the statements of those interviews, as made above, are correct and true.

Augustus Rogers.

Mass., Essex, ss:

Personally appeared Medeo Rose and Augustus Rogers, and made oath to the truth of the above statements before me.

Aaron Parsons,
Notary Public.