Mr. Blaine to Mr. Lincoln.

No. 242.]

Sir: Referring to your dispatch No. 203 of the 28th ultimo, concerning the paper in the nature of a passport issued by the governor of Minnesota to Mr. Louis Wagner, I transmit to you herewith, for your information, a copy of a letter from the executive of Minnesota on the subject.

I am, etc.,

James G. Blaine.
[Inclosure in No. 242.]

Governor Merriam to Mr. Blaine .

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 10th instant, together with the inclosed letter from the Hon. Robert T. Lincoln, United States minister to England, relative to a paper issued by me to one Louis Wagner, recommending him as a worthy and respected citizen of this State.

As stated in a former communication to you on this subject, this form of letter was not intended in any sense as a passport, nor is it understood to be such. It has been the custom of this office for a great many years to issue these letters. The blank form used is one which was in vogue when I came into possession of this office.

I am at a loss to know how Mr. Wagner came to regard this letter other than one of recommendation, as the party who secured it for him was specifically informed that it was not in the nature of a passport.

I am fully aware that the executive has no power to issue passports. These letters were never intended as such, and I regret to learn that they have been the cause of great inconvenience to some of the parties to whom they have been issued.

As a safeguard against any further trouble of this character, I have the honor to inform you that no more of these letters of recommendation will be issued from this department.


W. R. Merriam,