No. 81.
Mr. Hall to Mr. Bayard.

No. 753.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of a letter, dated the 23d ultimo, from the consul of the United States at San Juan del [Page 99] Norte, Nicaragua, reporting the seizure, on the 20th of the same month, near the borderes of the Mosquito Rewervation, by Nicaraguan officials, of two small vessels, carrying the flag of the United States, called the Schooner Merida and a steam-tug called the W. S. Moore.

The Merida appears in the ninth annual report (1876–’77) of the merchant vessels of the United States under the name of the John H. Patteson, of Red Bank, N. J., 43.60 tons. The consul states that the vessel came to Nicaragua in 1876; was sold in 1882 to Nicaraguans and remained under that flag until August, 1886, when it was sold to the present owner, a citizen of the United States, and has since displayed the American flag in virtue of the general regulations of the Treasury, as set forth in Article XX of the Consular Manual.

As the facts reported in the consul’s letter have appeared in some of the newspapers of the United States, I have no doubt the case has been brought already to the Department’s notice. I shall communicate them to the Nicaraguan Government and ask for an investigation. I have no doubt, however, that the Nicaraguan commissioner, now in the reservation, will order these vessels to be restored to the owners, if the facts should prove to be as they have been represented to the consul.

I have, etc.,

Henry C. Hall.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 753.]

Mr. Brown to Mr. Hall.


Sir: I transmit a copy of a letter from the consular agency at Bluefields, Mosquito Reserve, relating to alleged unlawful acts by Nicaraguans upon Americans.

What is recited in the inclosure is all the information I have at this date, but Mr. N. P. Allen and the agents of the W. S. Moore have been requested to present themselves at the Bluefields agency, that the necessary declarations and affidavits substantiating the charges in Captain Allen’s letter may be taken.

The alleged acts took place near the mouth of the Rama branch of the Bluefields, where it empties into the former, and about the line running north and south that is supposed to be the line of disputed boundary between Nicaragua and the municipal authority of the Mosquito Reserve.

Opposite each other at that point, on the Rama, the Government of Nicaragua and that of the Mosquitia authorities have established officials, that of Nicaragua being a police governor, a collector of revenue, a sergeant, a corporal, and thirty soldiers as the customs guard. The Mosquitia have located magistrates and a small force of police.

The schooner came to this part of the country in 1876 as a regularly registered American vessel, under the name of the J. H. Patterson. In 1882, by a regular sale, she was transferred to citizens of Nicaragua. Being at this port, her name was changed to that of Merida, and from that date until August 20, 1886, she displayed the flag of Nicaragua. On the 6th of August 1886, she was sold and transferred by her alien owner to Mr. Nathaniel P. Allen, a native of Portland, Me. On the 20th of August, above cited, the due certificate (Form No. 35), pursuant to the Treasury regulations in cases of purchase by citizens of the United States of American or foreign built vessels in foreign ports, was issued by the agency at Bluefields, and since that date she has displayed the flag of the United States, and she has for more than one year been used by Captain Allen, her owner, as a store-house, being anchored in the Rama River near its mouth, Captain Allen, as I believe, having permission or license to do that from the Mosquito Government, and it was at that point she was seized by the Nicaraguan authorities, located at the mouth of the Rama, both Nicaragua and the municipal authority for the reserve claiming to have rightful jurisdiction of that place.

The W. S. Moore is a small steam-launch said to be owned by Henry Brothers, of Baltimore, and by them sent to be used as a tender to the larger sea-going fruit vessels [Page 100] which they have running between Baltimore and Philadelphia and the banana plantations of Bluefields River and its branches, Rama and Siguia.

On what ground the seizure was made as to either of these vessels I am not advised; it may be an alleged violation of revenue regulations the authorities at the Rama are seeking to enforce, though I have not been able to get a sight of such regulations, but it is more than probable that it is one of the steps adopted by Nicaragua to recover her great interests in that region.

The long-delayed commissioner of Nicaragua in the Mosquitia passed through there to his post of duty on the 14th instant. I hear that Mr. Climie, after completing the work of his mission to Washington, is to go to the Mosquitia to survey and mark the boundary.

I am, etc.,

William A. Brown,
[Inclosure 2 in No. 753.]

Mr. N. P. Allen to Mr. Augustine.

Dear Sir: This morning an armed force wearing the uniform of the Nicaraguan Government boarded my vessel, the Merida, and took forcible possession. They also boarded the W. S. Moore. I have abandoned everything to them. Both vessels had the American flag flying at the time, and it is all an outrage.

I showed them my license from the Mosquito Government. I asked for their authority; they showed me their rifles. I claim American protection and damages for the interruption of my business.

Yours, respectfully,

N. P. Allen,
An American citizen and owner of schooner Merida.

I hereby certify that the above is a true copy of the original letter of Capt. N. P. Allen, on file in this office.

John S. Augustine,
United States Consular Agent.