No. 7.
Mr. Bayard to Sir L. S. Sackville West.

Sir: Your note of the 9th instant was received by me on the next day, and I regret exceedingly that, although my efforts have been diligently made to procure from Alaska the authenticated copies of the judicial proceedings in the cases of the British vessels Carolena, Onward, and Thornton, to which you refer, I should not have been able to obtain them in time to have made the urgent and renewed application of the Earl of Iddesleigh superfluous.

The pressing nature of your note constrains me to inform you that on September 27 last, when I received my first intimation from you that any question was possible as to the validity of the judicial proceedings referred to, I lost no time in requesting my colleague, the Attorney-General, in whose Department the case is, to procure for me such authentic information as would enable me to make full response to your application.

From week to week I have been awaiting the arrival of the papers, and to-day, at my request, the Attorney-General has telegraphed to Portland, Oregon, the nearest telegraph station to Sitka, in Alaska, in order to expedite the furnishing of the desired papers.

You will understand that my wish to meet the questions involved in the instructions you have received from your Government is averred, and that the delay has been enforced by the absence of requisite information as to the facts.

The distance of the vessels from any land or the circumstances attendant upon their seizure are unknown to me save by the statements in your last note, and it is essential that such facts should be devoid of all uncertainty.

Of whatever information may be in the possession of Her Majesty’s Government I have, of course, no knowledge or means of knowledge, but this Department of the Government of the United States has not yet been placed in possession of that accurate information which would justify its decision in a question which you are certainly warranted in considering to be of grave importance.

I shall diligently endeavor to procure the best evidence possible of the matters inquired of, and will make due response thereupon when the opportunity of decision is afforded to me.

You require no assurance that no avoidance of our international obligations need be apprehended.

I have etc.,

T. F. Bayard.