Mr. Bayard to Mr.
Sir: I inclose a copy of a letter from Messrs. A.
Mudgett & Co., of 39 South street, New York, and of its inclosures, by
which it appears that on the 9th May, 1888, the American bark Carrie Heckle (Capt. M. E Colcord, master) parted her
chain at Tort Natal, and, losing one anchor, was forced by stress of weather
to “bear away to Delagoa Bay,” where she arrived on the 17th of May, with
all her papers except a bill of health from the Portuguese consul at Port
Natal; and it further appears that, notwithstanding the captain procured
such a bill by telegraph, under the direction of the authorities at Dalegoa
Bay, he was fined in the sum of about £15 sterling, and paid the amount
The above facts are admitted in the record of the imposition of the fine; and
the statement is made that vis major and distress
could not exempt from the fine, since no provision for such contingency was
contained in the regulations.
Notwithstanding the absence of such a provision from the regulations, it is a
principle universally accepted and founded in the strictest justice, that a
vessel can not be held liable for a penal violation of port laws by being
driven into port by stress of weather, a rule so clear and necessary that
argument can not add any force to it.
It is hoped the Portuguese Government will remit the fine.
I am, etc.,
[Inclosure in No. 103.]
Messrs. Mudgett & Co.
to Mr. Bayard.
Sir: Herewith we beg to hand yon an extract
from a letter received from Capt; M. E. Colcord, of American bark Carrie Heckle, which will explain itself. We also
inclose the vouchers in the case and respectfully ask you to urge the
Portuguese Government to return the money exacted from the captain.
A. Mudgett & Co.
Extract from letter of Capt. M. E. Colcord, of
American bark Carrie Heckle.
On the 9th day of May, 1888, we parted our chain at Port Natal, losing
about 40 fathoms and the anchor, and, having only one anchor left, were
obliged to bear away for Delagoa Bav.
We arrived at that place on the 17th, with all my papers except a bill of
health from the Portuguese consul at Port Natal, which of course, under
the circumstances, was impossible to obtain. All of which the American
consul and myself explained to the Portuguese authorities at Delagoa
Bay; whereupon they requested us to send to the Portuguese consul at
Port Natal and get a bill of health by telegraph, which we did. When
that arrived they let us go ahead and discharge our cargo.
On the day we went to clear, however, they told me, for
the first time, that I must pay a fine,
which amounts altogether to about £15 sterling. I protested, but it did
no good, and they obliged me to pay it.
Now, I want to send these facts, with all the documents, to the State
Department at Washington, and ask them to request the Portuguese
Government to return the money so unjustly taken from me.