Mr. Batcheller to Mr. Blaine.
Lisbon, May 27, 1892. (Received June 13.)
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that during my recent visit to the Island of Fayal (in conformity with your instruction No. 47, bearing date Washington, December 11, 1891) I received through the agency of a commission of military officers, duly appointed for that purpose by his excellency Sehnor José Ignacio da Silva, military commander of the Western Azores, formal possession of the cannon for many years mounted in the Castle of Santa Cruz (heretofore erroneously mentioned as San Joao), and forming part of the armament of the private armed brig General Armstrong, destroyed by the British fleet in the harbor of Horta (Fayal) in September 1814, and commonly known as Long Tom.
After the formal delivery of the gun it was dismounted and placed upon a sledge prepared by Consul Dexter, at my request, for that purpose, and transported from the esplanade of the castle through the inner sally port to the premises of the United States consulate, where it is now stored awaiting the arrival of a war vessel, as suggested in your dispatch No. 63, dated Washington, April 1, 1892, for its transportation to the United States.
There were urgent causes why the gun should be placed at once in the possession of the United States authorities, and the Portuguese officials were desirous that this should take place during my presence at Fayal, in order that I might witness the act (auto) of transfer, which was duly drawn up, and signed immediately thereafter, to be deposited in the Portuguese military archives at Lisbon, a copy of which, with translation, I herewith inclose marked respectively Nos. 1 and 2.
In a letter received from Lewis Dexter, esq., United States consul at Fayal, written after my departure for Lisbon, I take the liberty of quoting the following: “There is such an evident good feeling existing in regard to the transfer of ‘Long Tom,’ and pleasure so generally expressed that it is going to the United States, that I must congratulate you on the manner in which it was effected. The impression is left upon the minds of the people that they have been honored by your presence, as they have been made happy in the consideration shown them.”
There has been considerable comment in Lisbon, and elsewhere in Portugal, concerning this event, and my visit to the islands (which is the first by any foreign diplomatic representative to this court) that I am convinced the same will be conducive of improved amical and material relations between the two countries.
I have, etc.,