Mr. Lincoln to Mr. Blaine.

No. 387.]

Sir: Referring to your instruction numbered 350, of September 2 last, I have the honor to inclose herewith copies of a note which I addressed to the foreign office relative to the claim of Mr. Webster against the authorities of New Zealand, and of a communication in reply thereto which I have just received from Her Majesty’s Government.

I have, etc.,

Robert T. Lincoln.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 387.]

Mr. Lincoln to Lord Salisbury.

My Lord: Referring to your lordship’s note of the 7th of December, 1887, to mypredecessor, Mr. Phelps, transmitting copies of a memorandum of Sir Robert Stout, the governor of New Zealand, on the subject of certain American land claims in that colony, I have the honor to recall to your lordship that in that memorandum Sir Robert Stout reviews the history of the claims and makes an extended reply to a report of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate of the United States, who have for some time had the subject under consideration. The committee were furnished with a copy of that reply and gave it careful consideration. The result of that consideration is that on the 11th of June last the chairman of the committee, by their direction, advised the President of the adoption by the committee of the following resolution:

“Resolved, That the papers in the case of William Webster be transmitted to the President with the statement that the committee respectfully recommend this matter to his attention, with the accompanying papers, as a claim that is worthy of [Page 539] consideration, and with the request that it he made the subject of further negotiation with the Government of Great Britain.”

I am therefore instructed to acquaint your lordship that my Government has made the matter the subject of careful examination, with a desire to arrive at a just determination, and finds itself unable, for the reasons which are set forth in a memorandum, of which I have the honor to inclose copies in duplicate* for the consideration of Her Majesty’s Government, to accept the conclusions stated in Sir Robert Stout’s memorandum.

It is believed by my Government that Her Majesty’s Government, upon the perusal of the document inclosed, will find that the above-mentioned conclusions of the governor of New Zealand, and the arguments and allegations, some of them injurious to the claimant, by which those conclusions are reached, are not justified by the facts as disclosed in the documents furnished by the governor; and it is hoped that a way may be found by friendly consultation between the two Governments to afford Mr. Webster the fair and impartial disposition of his claim to which it is thought he is entitled.

I have, etc.,

Robert T. Lincoln.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 387.]

Mr. Sanderson to Mr. White.

Sir: In his note of the 11th of October last Mr. Lincoln forwarded, for the consideration of Her Majesty’s Government, a memorandum in regard to the claim of Mr. William Webster for further compensation on account of certain lands purchased by him from native chiefs, in New Zealand before the annexation of that country by Great Britain.

I have now the honor to state that, in pursuance of the assurance given in my reply of the 21st of the same month, this memorandum and all the previous papers and circumstances of the case have been most carefully examined in consultation with the law officers of the Crown.

The result of that examination has, however, been unfavorable to the claim, as it is clearly shown that Mr. Webster in the first instance, when bringing his case before the commissioners under the colonial land claims act of 1856, waived his right to be treated as an alien, and so debarred himself from the right to claim anything beyond what was awarded to him by those commissioners.

Under these circumstances Her Majesty’s Government regret that they are unable to reopen the case or to entertain Mr. Webster’s claim for further compensation.

I have, etc.,

T. H. Sanderson,
For the Marquis of Salisbury.
  1. For this inclosure see Foreign Relations, 1890, p. 345.