Mr. Wetter to Mr. Strobel.

No. 25.]

Sir: I have the honor to call your attention to the inclosures herein marked l1 and 2.

Inclosure No. 1 has so far not elicited a reply from Mr. Geldart. My stand in this case is on the assumption that if a consular court has probate [Page 390] jurisdiction it must also have probate powers, and that wherever possible the forms of procedure most general in the United States should govern same, and that the same restrictions and safeguards should hedge about an estate here as would be operative in America.

The absolute lack of any records for this estate, except the bare bond of Geldart for an extremely long time, gives grave cause for the conclusion that it needs a careful auditing.

Inclosure No. 2 left here on Saturday last for Tananarivoo via British consular mail. It has consequently not had time to reach Mr. Waller. This letter was the result of a most careful reconsideration of the matter. It is, in my opinion, the only way of legally getting the Crockett money out of Waller’s hands, as it gives this consulate the absolute jurisdiction over him in his administrative, etc., quality, and yet does not touch upon any of his consular acts, the power to adjudicate which I am not as yet able, because I am not adequately versed in the law touching thereon, to form a positive opinion upon. It seems to me so far that if the Department desires to proceed against him in any way in his consular capacity he would have to be sent back to the United States for trial, etc.

I have, etc.,

Edw. Telfair Wetter
[Inclosure 2 in No. 25.]

Mr. Wetter to Mr. Waller.

Sir: The records of this office show that you appointed yourself administrator and guardian upon the estate and children of W. F. Crockett, deceased, on the application of a certain native woman, Renarovelo, dated October 25, 1892, at Antalaka, said application maintaining that said woman was Crockett’s widow and the mother of his children.

Further than this fact there are no records here either as to your administration of said estate and guardianship or of the required semiannual returns thereof and thereon having been made to the State Department at any time since your assumption, under probate jurisdiction, of said administratorship in your consular capacity, or since your above-mentioned “judiciary appointment,” and this notwithstanding the fact that paragraph 634 of Consular Regulations is most explicit, and even mandatory, in its requirement thereof.

I shall not here attempt to consider or discuss any of the legal issues, etc., that a close scrutiny of your anomalous position toward this estate would readily disclose, but since you have for the time being withdrawn this estate from under the more distant supervision of the Department of State to the direct one of this consulate, sitting in probate jurisdiction, I find myself forced, after a careful consideration of all the premises of the case, to request of you an immediate and complete return to this consulate of said estate and of your administration thereof in your dual capacities; and not only this, but also a complete surrender and payment into this consular court, sitting in probate, of any and all assets now in your hands, or that may hereafter, or have at any time, come into your hands, or into the hands of anyone else for you, belonging unto said estate, together with all interest, profits due thereon, or received therefrom.

Said return should embrace: The amount of the decedent’s estate, both personal and real; the names of the parties interested; the exact amount of money that has come into your hands in either of your capacities, and how and whence derived; the amount of all court and other fees paid; and if there has been any distribution, your authority for such distribution, the amount thereof, and to whom made.

Said return must be accompanied by the original vouchers, executed in duplicate, for all moneys paid out, and by an accurate copy of all receipts given for moneys by you received. All receipts for moneys paid out ought, under the circumstances of the case, to be witnessed by at least one person not a native of this country.

Your past knowledge of the procedure in these matters must accentuate to you the absolute necessity of your immediate compliance in this matter, as also the fact that no appointee of a consular court, sitting in probate jurisdiction, can be relieved of the aforementioned requirement of paragraph 634, Consular Regulations, [Page 391] and that a failure to make such returns, without taking into consideration any other issue whatsoever, is in itself sufficient grounds for the removal of any administrator, guardian, or both.

I am, etc.,

Edw. Telfair Wetter

N. B.—You will please note that under the law no distribution of an estate can be made, whereof the heirs are any of them in minority, without a due compliance with certain legal forms and procedure.

  1. Inclosure 1 relates to another matter, and is omitted.