No. 511.
Mr. Bell to Mr. Bayard.

No. 169.]

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith, for the information and such action as the Department may deem proper, a copy of a correspondence recently exchanged between this legation and Mrs. Catherine G. Lay, of Brooklyn, N. Y., concerning a supposed estate which Mr. E. B. Humphreys, of 38 East 12th street, New York, is said to be representing the heirs of one Du Boise as awaiting them in the hands of the Dutch Government.

I have, of course, no means of knowing or determining whether a fraud is being perpetrated in this case.

It is apparent, however, from Mrs. Lay’s letters, that she suspects that an imposition is about to be practiced upon the heirs of Du Boise.

As my experience in the investigation of such cases at this post convinces me that it would be wise for the Du Boise heirs to save the money they are about to expend, I have thought it might prove useful to furnish you with a copy of the correspondence relating to this particular case.

I have endeavored to send full and special answers to all inquiries addressed to this legation about such claims, but the letters, as in this case, are usually so vague and indefinite, that they seldom furnish any clew upon which to base an investigation.

In case a fraud is being attempted in this case, I trust the Department may find the means to prevent it.

I have, etc.,

Isaao Bell, Jr.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 169.]

Mrs. Lay to Mr. Bell.

Sir: I write you if you could give me any information in reference to a claim under the name of Du Boise, which is held by the Government of Netherlands awaiting claimant.

The reason why is that a party in New York is representing to the decedent’s heirs that such is the case, and I would like to know if there is any thing in it.

By doing so I shall esteem it a great favor.

I remain, etc.,

Catherine W. Lay.
[Page 884]
[Inclosure 2 in No. 169.]

Mr. Bell to Mrs. Lay.

Madam: In your letter of July 20, 1886, you represent that a party in New York has represented to the heirs of one Du Boise that an estate is awaiting them in Holland.

In order that I may fully investigate the matter I desire to be furnished with a statement in writing from the party to whom you refer, giving the details of the inheritance so far as they may be known,

In case you can not furnish me with such a statement, kindly give me the name and address of the party to whom you refer.

The records of this legation afford ample proof that impositions have been practiced by d esigning persons in the United States in connection with the circulation of rumors about the existence of unclaimed estates in Holland.

I have, therefore, to suggest that if you can obtain a written statement from the party circulating the rumor in the Du Boise case, I may be able to give the heirs authoritative data which will set the matter at rest.

I am, etc.,

Isaac Bell, Jr.
[Inclosure 3 in No. 169.]

Mrs. Lay to Mr. Bell.

Dear Sir: Thanking you for your kind letter, I feel very much obliged to you for the trouble you have taken in my case. In reference to the Du Boise claim, I will state all that I know about it:

Mr. E. B. Humphreys, of 38 East 12th street, New York City, is the agent through whom this claim is being pushed, and that he had had papers made out that are supposed to be citation papers, for which he charges $7.30, for the purpose of having them certified.

The Du Boise claim, as he tells me, was money left by one Du Boise, about the year 1630 as far as I can remember, to his heirs in New Netherlands at that time, and amounted to 1,600 pounds.

This is as far as I have gone in this matter, and if I could get a written statement from him I would do so, but I think if I asked him he might not like it, and perhaps it is just as well for him not to know it yet.

He tells me he is going to Europe in a week or so. I have not paid any assessment yet, as he has not proposed one, and will not until I hear from you.

This is all the information that I can give you now, and if I hear anything more will let you know.

I am, etc.,

Catharine W. Lay.