No. 625.
Mr. Merrill to Mr. Bayard.

No. 213.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that H. B. M. S. Hyacinth, Captain Bourke commanding, left this harbor on the 3d instant on a cruise in the south.

While the impression prevails here that the captain has departed for Samoa, yet, in fact, I am reliably informed, he goes direct to Raratonga, one of the group of “Cook’s Islands”. or “Harvey Archipelago,” situated about 20 degrees south latitude, and 157 degrees west longitude.

The cruise is for the purpose of taking possession of, or establishing a protectorate over, the group on behalf of Great Britain.

This action is alleged to be in response to a request of the authorities at Raratonga, who, it is claimed, fear occupation by the French.

I have, etc.,

Geo. W. Merrill.