Mr. Merry to Mr. Hay.

No. 347.]

Sir: I have the honor to forward herewith (inclosure No. 1) excerpt from a dispatch just received from Consular Agent Clancy at Bluefields, relating to the trust fund now in possession of the British consul at San Juan del Norte, Nicaragua. I had instructed Mr. Clancy that under no circumstances must he appear at court or furnish any evidence in connection with the case. But he has gone beyond instructions and has advised our citizens interested therein to refuse doing so. Respectfully referring to my No. 343, dated November 11, it will be noted that Mr. Sanson, late secretary of foreign affairs of Nicaragua, writes me confidentially that Judge Roman intends to acquit the Bluefields merchants of complicity in the Reyes revolt, thus securing prompt repayment to them of the trust fund. The assertion of Judge Roman to Mr. Weil clearly indicates the same idea, and it appears to me that Mr. Weil should, under the circumstances, have accepted the summons of the court. Even if the promise of Judge Roman made to him were violated (which appears improbable) it would not detrimentally affect the interests of the merchants, as they could decline to accept [Page 813] the adverse verdict of the court, and the matter would still, under the agreement, be finally referred to the two Governments for decision. I do not see that we can justly complain if Nicaragua deems it proper to investigate the matter through Judge Roman’s court, and in so doing cites our citizens to give evidence in their own behalf, especially with their acquittal already privately promised by the judge in charge of the inquiry. I am uncertain as to the result of the refusal from Mr. Weil, but regret that an easy way out of the difficulty may have been thwarted by the action of the consular agent, who appears not to have recognized the difference between his official attendance and evidence in court and that of a private citizen in his own behalf.

With assurances, etc.,

William Lawrence Merry,
United States Minister.

Mr. Clancy to Mr. Merry.

Sir: On Thursday (November 9) afternoon last the secretary and official interpreter of district, Judge Roman, called on Mr. Samuel Weil, the resident manager and partner of the firm of Samuel Weil & Co., and read to him the contents of a suit brought by T. Infante, treasurer of the department of Zelaya, against S. Weil & Co., The New Orleans and Central American Trading Company, J. A. Peterson, Allen & Caldwell (now Allen & Barberot), Sam. D. Spellman, and Orr & Laubenheimer, jointly, for the recovery of the duties paid by the said parties from February 3 to 26, inclusive, of this year, to General Reyes’s revolutionary government, and asking that Mr. Weil accept service for the other parties as well as to act as their attorney in the case, at the same time informing him that unless immediate attention was given the case he and the other defendants would be liable to all the penalties mentioned in S. 1112, Pv. N. E., and they would have nine days’ time to answer jointly, otherwise they must suffer the consequences.

Mr. Weil asked time for consideration before giving a definite answer, and at once notified me of the condition of affairs. I advised him to pay no attention to the summons; not to appear either in person or by attorney, and if Judge Roman insisted on his defending the present suit to deny the jurisdiction of the court in this case, as the question of settlement was in the hands of the Government of the United States for adjudication.

Nothing further, to my knowledge, has been done by Judge Roman up to the time of this writing, 3 p.m.

In private conversation on the subject between Judge Roman and Mr. Weil, the former said that the voluntary appearance of Mr. Weil would be certain to result in the merchants’ favor, and that by the article of agreement between Minister Sanson and yourself the Nicaraguan Government was not precluded from having the question determined judicially, and he reminded Mr. Weil that more than four months have elapsed since the agreement was entered into without any definite action on the part of the United States Government.

I am, etc.,

M. J. Clancy, Consular Agent.