Mr. Ten Eyck to Mr. Buchanan.

No. 55.]


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Having waited until the 1st of August last, and the Savannah not yet arriving, and a good opportunity offering to return, I left San Francisco at that time and reached this place on Saturday, the 25th ultimo, in time to witness the landing of an armed force from the French men-of-war in and off the harbor, who took possession of the fort and other public buildings and property belonging to the Sandwich Islands Government in consequence of the Government having refused compliance with certain demands made upon it by the French admiral and the resident French consul. I have in my letter to Commander Jones, of the 31st ultimo (copy of which is hereto annexed), given a brief history of the proceedings of the French.

Mr. Turrill, our consul (with whom this Government has held official correspondence since its resolutions of December last, suspending official intercourse with the U. S. Commissioner), has neglected to furnish me with any documents or correspondence received by him in relation to the difficulties between the French and the islands’ Government, although I have made a written request upon him therefor, “in order,” as I stated to him, “that I might be enabled to determine whether the dignity and honor of the Government I serve, her rights, or the rights [Page 71] and interests of her citizens required any, and if any what, official action at my hands, and also that I might be enabled understandingly to advise the State Department fully upon the matter.” In consequence 1 am unable to state to you the demands made by the French, the grounds upon which they are based, the reasons for noncompliance on the part of the islands’ authorities, or to give any opinion upon the merits of the controversy between the parties.

I am advised by Mr. Turrill that an expose of the whole difficulty will be published in a few days by the authorities here, in pamphlet form, when I will forward a copy. Mr. Turrill advises me, also, that he intends forwarding manuscript copies of all the correspondence to your Department.

I am waiting very anxiously the arrival of my successor, that I may be relieved and get finally away from all connection with this Government. If ever a foreign representative has been neglected and abused by the administration at Washington then have I been by Mr. Polk’s, and all simply because Mr. Buchanan had the manliness to sacrifice me by censuring my official conduct (in laboring to follow out his instructions) in the vain hope of advancing his own political interests with the American Board of Foreign Missions, and of securing himself from the just charge of neglect and inattention to his public duties in connection with this legation.

I hope, most certainly, to see Mr. Eames here in all this month. If he does not reach here by the 1st October I shall feel that I am under no obligation to remain longer, and shall leave the archives of the legation in the hands of some trusty American resident, to be delivered to my successor on his arrival.

During my absence from here nothing of any public interest had occurred up to the time of the arrival of the French admiral. Three or four of our whale fleet have returned here from their hunting grounds near the Japan and Northwest Coast. Those now here are bound home, having met with good success. Within the next six weeks 100 or 200 whaleships will have arrived at the different ports of these islands for recruits. The native population continues to disappear very rapidly. It is estimated that 16,000 or 18,000 have died within the last ten or eleven months, out of a population not exceeding 70,000.

I have the honor, etc.,

A. Ten Eyck.

P. S.—I was just on the point of closing this dispatch when I received a note from the French consul (copy of which is hereto annexed). Mr. Turril not having condescended to furnish me with a copy of his correspondence with the French admiral, to which allusion is made in the French consul’s note, I can do no more than simply acknowledge the receipt of the French consul’s note, with the assurance that a copy will be forwarded to the proper department of the Government of the United States.

A. T. E.