Mr. Taylor to Mr. Olney.

No. 377.]

Sir: In my No. 370, of the 12th instant, I had the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your cablegram of the day before informing me in advance of the contents of your No. 341, of the 6th instant, which arrived here on the 18th instant. Upon its arrival I at once asked an audience with the minister of state, which took place yesterday at 6 o’clock. Confident as I was that your demand would be made the subject of a cabinet council, I deemed it advisable to formulate it in writing, so that its true import might not be mistaken. A copy of the note thus prepared and presented by me in person to the minister of state is inclosed herein for your consideration. I sincerely hope that you will find embodied in its terms the true intent of your instructions as drawn from your No. 341, which I read in the light of your subsequent cablegram of the 11th instant. After the contents of my note had been translated in my presence for the minister of state, he assured me that a response would be made so soon as the subject can receive consideration equal to its importance. At the close of the interview I made to you the following report1 by cable as instructed:

* * * * * * *

In the event the matter takes a favorable turn I fear that the demand for interest will prove a serious obstacle in the way of a settlement. Please give me explicit instructions upon that point. Shall I insist upon the payment of interest without qualification? If so, at what rate? The legal rate in Spain is 6 per cent. If there is a disposition shown to make a payment on account, what is the smallest sum I may demand in that way, and what terms shall I propose for the payment of the balance? I ask these questions in advance because it will be all important to arrange everything speedily, in the event that the matter can be arranged at all without previous action upon the part of the Cortes.

I am, etc.,

Hannis Taylor.
[Page 1165]
[Inclosure in No. 377.]

Mr. Taylor to the Duke of Tetuan.

Excellency: I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of a joint resolution lately passed after the most careful consideration by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States, instructing the President, by whom such resolution was approved, “to take such measures as he may deem necessary to consummate the agreement between the Governments of Spain and the United States for the relief of Antonio Maximo Mora, a naturalized citizen of the United States Under the authority of that resolution I am now instructed by my Government to call upon that of His Majesty to fulfill its voluntary promise for the payment of the stipulated indemnity to Mora with interest from the time when the principal should have been paid under the agreement of December, 1886. In the event His Majesty’s Government shall find it impossible to pay the whole amount at once, I am directed to insist upon an immediate payment on account, for the present relief of the individual claimant who is now and has been for nearly a quarter of a century deprived of his property, with a definite stipulation for the early payment of the residue.

In order that the nature and urgency of the demand as now made by my Government may be the more clearly understood, I desire to call your excellency’s attention, with the greatest respect, to the following considerations:

After ten years of active negotiation the Government of His Majesty, on the 29th of November, 1886, made an unconditional offer to pay the sum of $1,500,000 as a fair indemnity in this matter, provided “that the Messrs. Mora and the Government of the United States, in their name, shall renounce all further claim for the embargo of their property and everything connected therewith.” By the immediate and unconditional acceptance of that offer in the exact terms in which it was made a liquidated debt was acknowledged by Spain to the United States, upon which interest is justly due from the date in December, 1886, upon which said agreement was concluded.

For nearly nine years the Government of the United States has sought in vain at the hands of the Government of His Majesty the performance of that agreement. The only reason ever urged during that long period of time why the accepted offer to pay Mora a stipulated sum should not be carried out has consisted of the suggestion that such payment shall await the settlement of the unliquidated and contested claims of other individuals, Spaniards and Americans, in regard to which he has no possible interest or responsibility.

While the Government of the United States has firmly and persistently refused to consent that the liquidated debt solemnly assumed to Mora by the Government of His Majesty shall await the settlement of unliquidated claims set up by other persons, I had the honor, in a spirit of fairness and conciliation, to present to your predecessor by the President’s direction on the both day of March, 1891, the draft of a convention in which my Government offered to provide by arbitration for the prompt disposal of all outstanding claims between the two countries, except the Mora claim. The making of that convention was proposed on the express condition that payment of the Mora debt should not wait its conclusion, or depend upon its result. While my Government [Page 1166] is not disposed to complain of any fulness of examination which the Government of His Majesty may wish to give to such convention before its adoption, it can not agree that such examination shall be made the occasion of further delay in the payment of the Mora indemnity. As fifteen months have now elapsed without the approval, modification, or rejection of the terms of such proposed convention by His Majesty’s Government, I am instructed to proceed in this matter irrespective of action on the proposed claims’ convention.” The demand which I have now the honor to present is therefore made without reference to that matter in any form whatever.

The fact that the admitted wrongs which this citizen of the United States has suffered have endured for nearly a quarter of a century, the fact that nearly nine years have been permitted to pass by since the offer of compromise proposed by the Government of His Majesty as a final settlement of this controversy was accepted in expectation of an immediate payment, prove beyond all question that the spirit of patience and conciliation of my Government toward that of His Majesty has in this case rather outweighed the consideration due to one who, burdened with years and broken in health and in fortune, is fast sinking to the grave. And yet in spite of these painful facts my Government is still patient. As I have already stated, it does not even now demand the payment of the whole sum due to Mora at one time. But it does solemnly demand that the time and manner of payment be now fixed, once and for all, without reference to any consideration whatever, and that a substantial sum be immediately paid on account of such settlement. Such is the demand of the President, acting under the authority and by the direction of the Congress of the United States, which I am now directed to press upon your attention and to cable the result.

I avail, etc.,

Hannis Taylor.
  1. See ante.