Mr. Thompson to Mr. Gresham .

No. 335.]

Sir: Referring to my No. 326 of December 23, 1894, reporting that three sailors from the American schooner Isaiah K. Stetson had been assaulted by soldiers at Santa Catharina, I have to transmit an account of the occurrence forwarded by Consular Agent Grant.

It appears from Mr. Grant’s report that the men assaulted were Nils Johnson, Ingvald Ramstad, Charles Jonson, and Fred Jensen, regularly shipped seamen but not American citizens; that two died from the result of their wounds; that they were on shore contrary to the master’s orders, and that the perpetrators of the crime have been apprehended and will be brought to trial.

The minister for foreign affairs expresses regret at the occurrence; states that from the information he has received the crime was committed during a general street row, in a low part of the city, and that efforts are being made to apprehend the culprits.

I will send you as soon as received a report on the origin of the occurrence, which I have asked the consul to make, but will take no further action until instructed, for apparently every effort is being made to have the affair speedily adjusted.

I have, etc.,

Thos. L. Thompson
[Inclosure in No. 335.]

Mr. Grant to Mr. Thompson .

Sir: In explanation of my telegram of the 18th instant, I have to inform you of the following occurrence:

The American schooner Isaiah K. Stetson, Capt. Charles F. Trask, having been unloaded, was cleared on Saturday, the 15th instant, bound for Barbadoes.

Early on Monday morning, 17th, the captain came to me and reported that on the previous day, at about 1 o’clock p.m., he had given leave to four of his crew namely, Nils Johnson, Ingvald Ramstad, Charles Jonson, and Fred Jensen, to go on shore, but with injunctions to return on board before dark. He, the captain, went on shore at about 6 p.m., and meeting the men, ordered them to go on board, but they refused to go, saying that they would get on board later with the assistance of the crew of the Elcho, an English bark that lay moored at a wharf.

The captain returned on board without the men, and between 8 and 9 o’clock he was called for by the crew of the bark Elcho. He went on board the said bark and there found three of his crew—Ingvald Ramstad, Charles Jonson, and Fred Jensen—dangerously wounded and the other, Nils Johnson, slightly wounded, the wounds having been, according to [Page 55] the men’s declaration, inflicted by a group of soldiers armed with knives or other sharp instruments. He, the captain, stated that he had tried to obtain medical aid for the wounded men, but had been unsuccessful, as several doctors to whom he had applied refused to go with him to see the men. He afterwards, with the aid of the police, who appeared on the spot, had the three men who were dangerously wounded transferred to the hospital, where they arrived between 12 and 1 o’clock in the night, Nils Johnson, who was very slightly wounded, proceeding on board the ship.

On hearing this report I immediately applied to the chief of police and requested him to take the necessary measures for the capture and punishment of the soldiers who had committed the crime. The chief of police assured me that all the necessary steps would immediately be taken. I then, with the captain, procured a physician and proceeded to the hospital, where I found the three seamen mentioned, all stabbed in different places, and two of whom were in a very precarious condition, one, Charles Jonson, having part of the bowels protruding from a wound in the stomach.

They were all attended to by the physician I took with me in conjunction with the physician of the hospital, who arrived some time after we did. Charles Jonson died during the night of the 17th, and Ingvald Ramstad on the next morning, and both were buried in the afternoon of the 18th. The two men who died, Charles Jonson and Ingvald Ramstad, were Norwegians by birth. Fred Jensen is a Dane, and Nils Johnson a Swede; but as they were all regularly shipped at New York on board the vessel, which is American, they are of course all considered American seamen.

Considering the seriousness of the case, I thought it my duty to telegraph direct to you, informing you at once of the matter, and I beg you to advise me whether I have done rightly.

Several of the soldiers, in fact I believe all who perpetrated the crime, have been discovered and imprisoned, and will be duly tried and punished. The case is proceeding in due course, and if you wish it I will from time to time inform you directly how the affair goes on. If there is anything else that I ought to do, please to instruct me, for the case is new to me.

The Isaiah K. Stetson sails to-morrow, three seamen having arrived from Rio and shipped.

Fred Jensen, who was severely stabbed in the left arm and the back, being unable to proceed, although much better and completely out of danger, remains in the hospital discharged. Nils Johnson, quite well, proceeds with the ship.

Awaiting your instructions, I am, etc.,

Robert Grant,
United States Consular Agent