Mr. Merrill to Mr. Blaine.

No. 241.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that the U. S. S. Alert departed for Apia on the 18th ultimo.

The only national vessel now in the harbor is Her British Majesty’s ship Cormorant, and evidently it is the intention of the British Government to retain a naval vessel in Hawaiian waters indefinitely.

Owing to the large American interests in Hawaii, and in the absence of cable communication, the comparatively isolated condition of the islands, and in view of an approaching political campaign, in which, no doubt, much animosity will be engendered, it is hoped it will be deemed advisable to so arrange that a United States ship will be able to remain in the waters of Hawaii.

While it is hoped that no occasion will offer for the employment of a naval force, yet I am convinced that the presence of passive power often prevents the maturing of turbulent schemes.

I have, etc.,

George W. Merrill.