Mr. White to Mr. Foster.

No. 885.]

Sir: Referring to your instruction, No. 988, of 7th ultimo, I have the honor to inclose herewith copies of a further note which I addressed to the Earl of Rosebery with respect to the conduct of Capt. Davis, of Her Majesty’s ship Royalist, and of his lordship’s reply.

I have, etc.,

Henry White.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 885.]

Lord Rosebery to Mr. White.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 22d instant complaining of the conduct of Capt. Davis, of Her Majesty’s ship Royalist, towards Mr. Kustel, an American citizen, in the Gilbert Islands, and I hasten to assure you that the matter will receive attention.

At the same time I think it right to state that the report already received from Capt. Davis of the incident in question gives reason for grave doubt whether Mr. Kustel’s account is accurate or whether he is a witness worthy of credit.

I have, etc.,

[Inclosure 2 in No. 885.]

Mr. White to Lord Rosebery.

My Lord: I have the honor to acquaint your lordship that the Secretary of State has read with much satisfaction your note to me of the 24th ultimo, in reply to mine of the 21st, relative to the action of Capt. Davis, of Her Majesty’s ship Royalist, in respect to the U. S. Commercial Agent at Butaritari, and to the recognition and protection of the rights and interests of United States citizens in the Gilbert Islands; and I beg to add that your lordship’s frank assurances that these rights and interests will be fully recognized and respected by the British Government is, in the opinion of my Government, as gratifying as it was confidently to be expected from the friendly sense of justice and regard for international prerogatives which animate Her Majesty’s Government.

With regard to Capt. Davis, I am informed that many details have reached the Department of State, supported by trustworthy testimony, which suggest that his language and conduct ill reflect that temperate, impartial, and commendable exercise of authority which it must necessarily be the design of Her Majesty’s Government to observe in assuming a protectorate over the Gilbert Islands; and Mr. Secretary Foster, while averse to giving to the correspondence on the subject a tone of mere complaint of that officer’s deportment, feels nevertheless that it is due to submit, in a friendly spirit, to your lordship, for the information of Her Majesty’s Government, a report which he has received recently, and which I have the honor to [Page 308] inclose herewith, showing the arbitrary conduct and intemperate manners of Capt. Davis and his remarkable assumption of power and authority to condemn, ex parte and without a hearing, a citizen of the United States for an offense alleged to have been committed in one of the islands of the Gilbert Group half a year before the announcement of Her Majesty’s protectorate was made.

The Secretary of State, feeling assured that your lordship shares his view that the manifestations of authority under such a protectorate should claim cordial acquiescence and command respect, as well by their intrinsic merits as by the high character and dignified temperance of the agencies by which they are carried out, is convinced that your lordship’s feelings of regret and chagrin upon reading the graphic statement, transmitted herewith, of Capt. Davis’s unseemly profanity and overbearing demeanor will be closely akin to those which he has himself experienced, and that doubts similar to those felt by him will arise in the mind of your lordship as to the appropriateness of such an instrumentality as Capt. Davis for carrying out the friendly assurances which your note so unhesitatingly gives, of recognition and respect for American rights and interests in the Gilbert Islands.

I have, etc.,

Henry White.