Mr. Blaine to Mr. Palmer.

No. 72.]

Sir: With further reference to your No. 50, of the 3d ultimo, relative to the case of Mr. Doane in the Caroline Islands, I have to inclose herewith a copy of a letter of the 7th instant, from the Rev. Judson Smith, foreign secretary of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, in reply to a letter of the Department with which was inclosed a copy of the note of the Marquis de la Vega de Armijo. In this note it was held that, as it had not been shown that Mr. Doane had suffered any loss in his property interests during his imprisonment on board the Spanish man-of-war at Ponapé and his temporary removal thence to Manila, the Spanish Government was under no obligation to grant any pecuniary indemnity.

When the case of Mr. Doane was presented to the Spanish Government two grounds of claim were set forth: First, that of injury to property, and, second, that of unjust imprisonment and deportation. The report of the Spanish authorities, so far as it has been carried, leads the minister of state to the conclusion that nothing is due to Mr. Doane on account of losses to property, since none was suffered. In regard to the second ground, he says: “As to moral injuries which Mr. Doane may have suffered, your excellency will agree with me that his dignity ought to be completely satisfied with the disapprobation of the conduct of the governor of the Caroline Islands, with his free restoration to his place of residence, with the attentions of which he was constantly the object, and with the declarations made by Mr. Elduanya and Mr. Moret, and the confirmation by the latter of the assurances given by the authorities of the Archipelago, both to Mr. Doane and the American consul, that the mission could freely continue its labors in behalf of the propagation of the gospel, and all the property legally acquired in the Carolines by the American mission would be respected.”

In reply to these observations it is proper to state that Mr. Doane’s imprisonment involved not merely a question of personal dignity, but a deprivation of a substantial right, viz, that of personal liberty. It is admitted that the imprisonment and deportation of Mr. Doane were wholly unjustifiable. This being so, it necessarily follows that he was subjected to a wrong for which substantial reparation should be made. The disapprobation by the Spanish Government of the conduct of the governor and the subsequent restoration of Mr. Doane to his place of residence were acts due by that Government to its own sense of justice; but they afforded no compensation to Mr. Doane for his loss of liberty as the consequence of his unjust imprisonment. In respect to the losses of property, the Department for the present suspends judgment.

You are instructed to bring these views to the attention of the Spanish Government.

I am, etc.,

James G. Blaine.
[Inclosure in No. 72.]

Mr. Smith to Mr. Blaine.

Dear Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge your favor of the 1st instant, in closing a translation of a note from the Marquis de la Vega de Armijo to the United States minister at Madrid, and inclosing a report in the case of the Rev. Mr. Doane. [Page 434] I have read this report with care and observe its scope. I understand it to touch simply upon the question whether Mr. Doane suffered in his property interests during his temporary imprisonment on board the Spanish man-of-war at Ponapé and his temporary removal thence to Manila.

The further question whether indemnity for a wrong thus done Mr. Doane, an American citizen, is justly claimed, I do not understand these communications from Spanish authorities to have any bearing upon; and I infer from your own letter that the scope of these communications is understood by the Department of State at Washington to be strictly limited to the question of any material injury to Mr. Doane’s property interests. It would be astonishing and quite beyond belief that for such an act as the arrest and imprisonment and deportation of Mr. Doane upon charges that have never been sustained, and which have been virtually dismissed as without cause by Mr. Doane’s return to his residence and work on Ponapé, should go without some definite act of reparation on the part of the Government so offending. I feel assured that our Government will not suffer the matter in hand to rest at the present stage, but will insist with dignity and firmness upon the reparation which is so obviously due to our Government itself and to Mr. Doane personally for this outrage upon personal liberty and national rights. The relations of the Spanish Government in the Caroline Islands to Mr. Doane and the other Americans resident in these islands can never be one of just security if this act of the past shall be suffered to go without proper and ample atonement. Upon this point I do not feel that I need to enlarge. I am very well assured that our Government is too sensible of what is due to itself and to its subjects, in whatever part of the world they dwell, to permit this serious violation of right and national comity to go unredressed.

There is a further question of no little interest as connected with all our missionary interests in the Caroline Islands, which needs attention. I refer to the titles to missionary lands which the Spanish Government seems disposed to ignore. In view of the high probability that the United States will presently be represented on Ponape by a consul, under whose care these matters may be more satisfactorily adjusted, it may not be needful that more should be attempted at present. I mention the matter because it has been mentioned in previous correspondence, and I am unwilling that it should pass out of thought as though previous complaints and suggestions had been without sufficient ground.

I am pleased to say that for the most part the relations between the American missionaries of this Board in the Caroline Islands and the Spanish authorities there have of late been friendly and without friction. The presence of the Spanish troops is demoralizing in a high degree; but this is inevitable, and is probably something which the Spanish Government, however well intentioned, could not easily control.

Renewing former expressions of confidence in the purpose of our Government to retain its own dignity and the rights of its citizens in every part of the globe, and calling your attention again specially to the situation as described above,

I remain, etc.,

Judson Smith,
Foreign Secretary American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.