No. 13.
Mr. Phelps to Mr. Bayard.

No. 858.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith for your information an extract from the Times newspaper of 27th ultimo, containing a question asked by Mr. Gourley in the House of Commons and answered by Sir James Fergusson, under secretary of state for foreign affairs, with respect to the appointment of a new minister to the United States. I also inclose a leader from the Daily News on the subject.

I have, etc.,

E. J. Phelps.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 858.—Extract from the London Times, Tuesday, November 27, 1888.]

a new minister at washington.

Mr. Gourley asked the first lord of the treasury whether Her Majesty’s Government intended appointing a new minister to the Government of the United States at Washington on the departure of Lord Sackville, or not until the President-elect entered upon the duties of his office.

Mr. W. H. Smith. The Government are unable at present to make any statement as to the appointment of a new minister to the United States.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 858.— Editorial from the London Daily News, Tuesday, November 27, 1888.]

london and washington.

The first lord of the treasury informed Mr. Gourley, in the House of Commons yesterday, that her Majesty’s Government did not intend to take any step at present towards tilling up the vacant post of British minister at Washington. Lord Salisbury’s determination is much to be regretted, and we venture to hope that suitable pressure may induce him to reconsider it. Lord Sackville, now on his way home, was guilty of an unpardonable indiscretion. The letter might have been forgiven, But the subsequent interview went beyond all bounds, and would have been tolerated by no European Government. Lord Sackville, though he probably meant no harm, behaved in a manner which would have excited the keenest resentment in this country against any American minister so conducting himself. His recall was a matter of course, and ought not to have been resented. National dignity, as well as common sense, forbids the exhibition of a childish sulkiness, although the Conservatives who [Page 1705] cheered Mr. Smith’s answer seemed to be of a different opinion. Lord Salisbury may provoke President Cleveland to withdraw Mr. Phelps from London, and may suggest to vigilant economists that England could contrive to get on without any representative at Washington at all. But we fail to see what other object he proposes to himself by the unusual course he has seen fit to adopt. He can not put Lord Sackville in the right, because Lord Sackville is hopelessly in the wrong. He cannot wish to make himself responsible for an inexcusable blunder, and then annoy the American people. He can not wish to curry favor with General Harrison by insulting the general’s predecessor and unsuccessful rival. Yet, unless he is waiting for the opportunity of a job, these suggestions seem to exhaust the possibilities of accounting for a most unwise and unfortunate delay in doing the right thing.