Sir Julian Pauncefote to Mr. Blaine.

Sir: With reference to my note of the 22d ultimo and to your reply of the same date on the subject of the detention of seven British subjects on board of the steamship Obdam, of the Netherlands line, I have the honor to inform you that Her Majesty’s consul-general in New York reports that the order for the landing of the men was issued too late by the collector’s department, and the ship left on the return voyage with the men still on board. It appears that the agent of the Netherlands line received from the deputy collector a letter, with a copy of the telegram which you had so courteously caused to be sent, too late on Wednesday for any action to be taken, but that the bond for the return of the men, which was required by the Treasury Department, [Page 474] was executed in good time on Thursday morning for the order to be issued for their landing.

This order was, however, not received until past 1 o’clock, and the ship, which-had been detained half an hour, had then left dock.

While regretting extremely this unfortunate circumstance, I should be very much obliged if you would be good enough to inform me whether, in the opinion of the United States Government, the case of these men comes within the terms of the acts of Congress prohibiting the importation of foreigners under contract. I venture to hope that it will be held not to come, at all events, within the spirit and intention of that legislation; but if the view of the deputy collector should be supported it will be my duty to report the case without delay to my Government, in order that proper steps be taken to obviate as far as possible a recurrence of so unfortunate an incident.

I have, etc.,

Julian Pauncefote.