Mr. Curry to Mr. Bayard.

No. 280.]

Sir: The interest which attaches to the case of the missionary, Mr. Doane, and the importance of the principles involved, induce me to send, without delay, the inclosed letter from the acting minister of state. With a clear admission of the improper action in the Philippine Islands against Mr. Doane, is coupled a plea for delay on the question of indemnity until a decision has been reached by the local tribunals. The declaration that the property of the mission shall be respected and the work of propagating the gospel may be freely continued, will be received with satisfaction by a government one of whose basal principles is absolute liberty of worship.

I have, etc.,

J. S. M. Curry.

Dear Sir: The minister of ultramar has sent me all the data referring to the incident of the Caroline Islands, which originated your note of 17th September, containing a claim for indemnity in favor of the American missionary, Mr. Doane, for losses suffered in consequence of his imprisonment and voyage to Manila.

From the information received by the Spanish Government it results that on the occurrences which gave rise to the suit instituted against Mr. Doane, no decision has been given, the superior governor of the Philippine Islands having confined himself to replace things in the situation which he believed they should be according [Page 411] to right before the imprisonment of said gentleman, because he considered that, owing to the antecedents of the question, they had unduly acted against said missionary.

Such being the state of the case, the Government do not believe that it can yet proceed to the examination of the question about indemnity, because if the final decision of the tribunals were averse to Mr. Doane the claim for damages put forward to-day would not be well-grounded; as it would be based upon facts and actions upon which no sentence has been passed.

But if upon this point I have to postpone an answer, I will certainly not do it respecting the assurances given by General Terreros to the United States consul in Manila and to Mr. Doane, assurances which the Spanish Government indorses by affirming again that all property lawfully acquired by the North American mission in the Caroline Islands shall be respected, and likewise affirming that it may freely continue its work of propaganda of the Gospel, with the understanding that on its turn the mission will not only respect the Spanish laws, but that it will oppose no difficulty to the Catholic mission with which the Government wishes it may live in the best harmony.

The Government of the Regency, which wishes to maintain the feelings of cordial friendship with the United States, hopes that the North American Government will help it in that civilizing mission.

I avail myself, etc.,

T. G. Aguera.

By authority.

The Chargé d’Affaires of the United States.