Mr. Bayard to Sir L. S. Sackville
Washington, October 31, 1887.
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.,