Mr. Smythe to Mr. Gresham.

No. 51.]

Sir: Yesterday morning the steam yacht Natalie was brought into this port under convoy of the two Haitian cruisers Capois la Mort and the Dessalines. In the afternoon I received a communication from the foreign office requesting that a representative of this legation accompany the foreign secretary and other members on board the vessel to witness the investigation of the engineer and another of the crew of the yacht who, as I learn, have been retained in the service of the Haitian Government. They detailed the course of the vessel from Port Jefferson, N. Y., thence to Delaware, where coal was taken, thence to Norfolk for coal, and from thence to Savannah, Ga., where the yacht lay for three weeks.

Nearly at the end of this period the captain, Salini, gave all hands leave to go on shore for three days and when they returned it was found that a number of heavy cases had been shipped and which proved to be munitions of war. Some of these were thrown overboard when the vessel went ashore on one of the Bahama reefs. The yacht anchored in the harbor of Fortune Island, and almost immediately afterward one of the Haitian war ships dropped anchor outside. It seems then that the captain of the Natalie began negotiations for the sale of the vessel to the Haitian Government, which sale was concluded on the date mentioned in the agreement, a copy of which I herewith transmit. The parties interrogated professed to know much more than they told, but withheld it for a suitable “consideration,” and the inference was that the testimony withheld would implicate American citizens “presumably in New York.” Admiral Killeck, of the Haitian navy, brought me the protocol of agreement and asked that it be vised or indorsed at the consulate-general. Inasmuch as there appears to have been no American citizen concerned in the transaction I declined to make any indorsement other than that of its presentation with the request. I can not see that the fact of the vessel carrying the flag of the United States will give me any right to appear officially in the matter, since all the circumstances point to the conclusion that the flag was opened in violation of our laws for the purpose of levying war on a power with which we are at peace, and have treaty relations.

An inventory yesterday disclosed that there were on board two guns of recent make and good caliber, several boxes of ammunition, and several cases of rifles, all of American manufacture.

[Page 341]

I write this dispatch hurriedly in order to mail by the Spanish steamer now in port. It you deem any special instructions necessary please send by first mail (or if urgent by cable).

I have, etc.,

Henry M. Smythe.

P. S.—Since writing this dispatch I learn that Salini, who sold the boat to Farrington, has papers showing him to be an American citizen, and that H. H. Farrington is consular agent of the United States at Albert Town, Bahama Islands.

Very respectfully, etc.,

H. M. S.
[Inclosure in No. 51.]

Bill of sale, registered vessel.

To all whom these presents shall come, greeting:

Know ye, that I, H. H. Farrington, of Albert Town, Fortune Island, one of the Bahamas, sole owner of the steam yacht, or vessel, called the Natalie, late of Greenwich, Conn., of the burthen of fourteen 53/100 tons or thereabouts, for and in consideration of the sum of five thousand two hundred and eight pounds, six shilling, and eight pence (£5,208 6 8), lawful money of these islands, to me in hand paid before the sealing and delivery of these presents by Admiral H. Killeck, of the Republic of Haiti, the receipt whereof I do hereby acknowledge, and am therewith fully satisfied, contented, and paid, have bargained and sold, and by these presents do bargain and sell unto the said Admiral H. Killeck, his executors, administrators, and assigns, the whole of the said steam yacht, or vessel, together with the whole of the engine, tackle, furniture as she stands, the mast, bowsprit, sails, boats, anchors, cables, and all other necessaries thereunto appertaining; the certificate of the registry of which steam yacht, or vessel, is as follows, to wit:

To have and to hold the said whole of said steam yacht Natalie and appurtenances thereunto belonging unto him the said Admiral H. Killeck, his executors, administrators, and assigns, to the sole and only proper use, benefit, and behoof to him, the said Admiral H. Killeck, his executors, administrators, and assigns forever; and I, the said H. H. Farrington, have and by these presents do promise, covenant, and agree for myself, my heirs, executors, and administrators, to and with the said Admiral H. Killeck, his heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns, to warrant and defend the said whole of steam yacht Natalie and all the other before-mentioned appurtenances against all and every person and persons whomsoever.

H. H. Farrington,
U. S. Consular Agent and Acting Resident Justice.

Sealed and delivered in the presence of—

Joshua E. Duncombe,
Custom-House Officer.
A. E. Farquharson.
——— Whkbouf.
T. Stephens.