Mr. Bayard to Mr. Lewis.

No. 103.]

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 under protest.

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.,

T. F. Bayard.
[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.

Yours, etc.,

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.

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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.