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as agent; fourth, two or more tin boxes, the property of the Hope Insurance Company of the city of New Orleans, which occupied a portion of the premises in which the consulate was located. The extracts from Mr. Johnson's report will show you that, under his direction, all this property would have been delivered to Mr. Conturié if he had not declined to accept it for reasons specified by him in a letter to Mr. Johnson. Upon his thus declining, the eighteen bonds were delivered by Major General Butler, under Mr. Johnson's direction, to Mr. Forstall, as agent for Messrs. Hope & Co. A copy of his receipt for the same is herewith transmitted to you, and the original will be handed to you or given to whomsoever you may
indicate. The other articles named in said statement No. 2 will be delivered by Major General Butler, or other officer commanding at New Orleans, to Mr. Conturié, unless you shall designate some other person to receive them.
In your note of the 28th of July last you informed me that your govern. ment shared the satisfaction which you had expressed when, on a previous occasion, I announced to you that the President and government of the United States viewed the conduct of the military authorities at New Orleans, in regard to the transaction in which Mr. Conturié, the consul of the Netherlands, was concerned, as a violation of the law of nations, and that they disapproved of it, and disapproved the sanction which had been given to it by Major General Butler. You added, however, that your government flattered itself that the United States would go further, and that, in the view of the government of the Netherlands, the gravity and publicity of the outrage (as you are pleased to call the transaction) demand that the government of the United States give public evidence of its regret, for example, by manifesting, by some public act, its dissatisfaction with Major General Butler. You further add that the gove ernment of the Netherlands, conceiving, until proof is made to the contrary, that Mr. Conturié, its consul, has acted in good faith, expects that the government of the United States will not refuse to do likewise, and that it will please, consequently, to invite the consul, who, on the avowal of the American government itself, has been ill used, to resume his consular functions. I cannot avoid thinking that these requests are made by your government under a mistaken idea that the United States, for some reason, desire in some way to cover or conceal from the world the proceedings which they have taken in regard to these questions. If this be true, your government has fallen into a serious error. The whole of the proceedings have been direct, frank, and unreserved. The United States, as you are aware, did not only express their regret for the transaction, and their dissatisfaction with General Butler in the premises, in the language you have quoted, but they also sent an agent to ascertain the extent of injuries which were complained of, to the end that they might promptly be redressed, and that restitution might be made. That redress has been made, and the restitution ordered, immediately upon the facts on which it depended having been established. Moreover, you were advised in my former communication that simultaneously with the appointment of Mr. Johnson as commissioner, Major General Butler was relieved of his functions as military governor of New Orleans, and Brigadier General Shepley was appointed military governor of that city; the military authorities were at the same time directed to invite Mr. Conturié to resume his consular functions. These proceedings fully appear in the official correspondence which has taken place between yourself and this department. This correspondence is not a private but a public one, which your government is at entire liberty to promulgate without reserve whenever it shall please to do so, and whether your government shall think proper to so promulgate it or not, it will, according to our national habit, be communicated without any reservation to Congress, on their assembling here, on the first Monday of December next. Nor is it all a matter of reserve on the part of this government that the dissatisfaction with Major General Butler's precipitancy and harshness, in the transaction concerned, were among the causes for transferring the administration of public affairs at New Orleans to General Shepley. It is very true, sir, as you remark, that Mr. Conturié has been very ill used, and upon that ground General Shepley will be directed to invite him at New Orleans to resume his consular functions, if, indeed, he has not done so already under previous instructions. But I must nevertheless accompany this instruction with the declaration that, in the judgment of this government, Mr. Conturié has acted throughout the transaction, which has been reviewed, and even throughout the investigation, after what has taken place, in a manner that was very indiscreet, and calculated, though I presume not intended, to embarrass the relations between your country and our own; and that unless his conduct hereafter shall exhibit more of consideration for the authority of the United States, it must not be expected that the President will be content with his remaining in the consulate at New Orleans. I trust, sir, that your government will be satisfied that the United States have resolved the questions which have been discussed between us in a spirit not only of good faith, but also of friendship and good will towards their ancient and esteemed friend the Netherlands.
I avail myself of this opportunity to renew to you, sir, the assurance of my very high consideration.
WILLIAM H. SEWARD.
Mr. Van Limburg to Mr. Seward.
SHARON SPRINGS, August 22, 1862. Sir: I have the honor to bring to your knowledge that only this morning I have learned from Mr. Conturié, by letter dated at New Orleans the 8th of this month, that since the 10th of the month of May, on which the consulate of the Netherlands in said city was invaded by the military authorities of the United States, he had completely ceased from the exercise of his consular functions, and invariably referred individuals applying to the consul of France, who has acted as consul, ad interim, of the Netherlands. The Count of Mejan, to whom I had addressed the request, by letter dated at Washington the 10th of June, in the first instance, and then by duplicate dated July 26, answered me by letter dated at New Orleans the 8th of August, that he had assumed the mission offered to him provisionally, and had already, on occasion, lent his protection and good offices to Netherlanders.
I have therefore the honor to request you, sir, to be so good as to recognize, and cause to be recognized, the Count de Mejan, consul of France at New Orleans, as charged, ad interim, with the consulate of the Netherlands, in virtue of instructions from the King's government.
If I have not been able before to-day to make this communication and request to you, it is because of the loss of my enclosures addressed from Washington the 10th of June last to the Count Mejan, and sent by me to the minister of France, who was pleased to take upon him the delivery to the consul of his country at New Orleans. Mr. Mercier sent the enclosure to the Marquis de Montholon at New York, who mailed it, but the enclosure never reached its address. I have therefore sent to the Count de Mejan and Mr. Conturié duplicates, dated July 26, and the answer which I have received to-day has at length enabled me, sir, to write to you, which I now have the honor to do. Please to accept, sir, the fresh assurance of my high consideration.
ROEST VAN LIMBURG. Hon. Mr. SEWARD,
Secretary of State of the United States of America.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Van Limburg.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE.
Washington, August 25, 1862. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 22d instant, in relation to the suspension of the consular functions of Mr. Conturié, and the provisional appointment of the Count Mejan, the consul of France at New Orleans, to take charge of the Netherlands consulate.
It is inferred that you had not, at the date of your note, received my communication of the 20th instant, in which, it is hoped, the subject of the controversy between General Butler and Mr. Conturié has been disposed of to the satisfaction of the government of the Netherlands. In accordance with your request, the Count Mejan will be recognized as temporary consul of his Majesty the King of the Netherlands. I avail myself of this opportunity to renew to you, sir,
the assurance of
my high consideration.
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. Mr. ROEST VAN LIMBURG, 8c., fr., .
SHARON SPRINGS, August 30, 1862. Sir: I have had the honor to receive your letter, dated Washington, 20th of this month, relative to the seizure made at the consulate of the Netherlands in New Orleans, and to the report on this subject which has been made by the honorable Reverdy Johnson. I have likewise had the honor to receive the extract from the report which was annexed to your letter. I shall hasten to transmit the two documents to his excellency the minister of foreign affairs of the King, with a request to furnish me with the necessary instructions, in order that I may fully answer the letter which you have just done me the honor to address to me. Meanwhile, I avail myself of the power which you have been pleased to confer on me of selecting the person to whom will be delivered the sum of eight hundred thousand dollars in silver, by indicating the person
under whose charge that sum was found, that is to say, Mr. Amédée Conturié.
As to what concerns the other articles seized, I have not been able to find, either in the report of the honorable Reverdy Johnson or in the correspondence exchanged between him and Mr. Conturié, the slightest trace of any refusal by the latter to receive back the various boxes seized. I have, however, perceived that there was a disagreement between them as to the opening of one of the boxes, and as to the delivery of the eighteen bonds of the cities of New Orleans and Mobile; but I have also perceived that, very far from refusing to receive all the boxes which are mentioned in the “Statement" of the consul dated the 13th of May, he asked them back in their entirety in his letter of the 24th of July addressed to Mr. Reverdy Johnson. I have, moreover, not found in all the correspondence which has been communicated to me any want of respect shown by Mr. Conturie towards the authorities of the United States, although he may have differed from them as to the way of understanding his duties. For instance, the honorable Reverdy Johnson seems to have thought that it was the consul's duty to go in quest of or to send for that which had been improperly seized at his house. I cannot, any more than the consul, share this opinion; in my judgment, the least that could be done, after an unwarranted seizure, was to have the articles which had been seized sent back to the place in which they had been found.
After receiving your letter of the 5th of June, and finding in it an allusion to a denial of the deposit, and to a refusal of information on the part of the consul at the time of the appearance of the military authority of the United States in the consulate of the Netherlands, I questioned Mr. Conturié in this regard by letter of the 9th June, which he only received in duplicate on the 26th of July. He answered me that he had not at all refused to give information, and he sent me a note supplementary to his "Statements of facts”-a note which I have the honor to transmit to you herewith. However, I must leave entirely to the King's government to judge of the conduct of the consul.
In my opinion, all questions between organs or agents of different governments ought to be discussed with the most perfect sincerity and greatest politeness, and every offensive expression carefully avoided. I therefore request you, sir, to be pleased to believe that the word “ outrage,” which appears to have displeased you in my letter of the 28th of July, was not applied, as you seem to have supposed, to all which had taken place—to “ these transactions," as you say. The word had not, in my pen, the sense which it might have had in English. It only regarded the grave offences committed against the consul, by calling him a “fellow,” searching his pockets, and writing to him that he had “prostituted bis flag to a base purpose.”. It is only these acts, sir-acts which the government of the United States, I am happy to acknowledge, has hastened to decline to be responsible for that I have taken the liberty of characterizing as outrage.” It was for such acts, sir, that the King's government (as I had the honor to represent to you in my letter of the 28th of July) flattered itself that a friendly government would not refuse to give it ultimate satisfaction. It is a general custom, as no person better knows than you, sir, that not only grave offences are censured, but that the authors of them are punished.
Now, when the President and government of the United States have made their decisions conformable to the conclusions of the excellent report of the Hon. Reverdy Johnson, according to which the $800,000, seized by order of Major General Butler, was an amount of silver legitimately delivered on deposit to the consul of the Netherlands; now, when the good faith of the consul is acknowledged; now, more than ever, is flagrant the insult offered, according to the orders, or with the approval, of Major General Butler, to the consul of the Netherlands, to whom, in answer to his just complaint, he wrote, or caused to be written, a letter, of which I find myself compelled to transmit to you here
It is with great regret that I come back to this letter, for you will do me the justice, sir, to believe that everything which can exasperate is as far from my sentiments as from my intentions. To conciliate is one of my most cherished duties, but I cannot sacrifice the dignity of international relations; and I respectfully request you to be pleased to consider again whether it is just that the author of such a letter should remain in official relations with foreign consuls.
In your letter of the 20th of this month you have been pleased to remark that the government of the United States does not conceal • that the dissatisfaction with Major General Butler's precipitancy and harshness in the transactions concerned was among the causes for transferring the administration of public affairs at New Orleans to General Shepley." You have been pleased to bring to mind that you had previously made known to me (in your letter of the 5th of June) that the President has also appointed a military governor of the State of Louisiana, who has been instructed to pay due respect to all consular rights and privileges; but as various newspapers in the United States have continued to make mention of new orders or new regulations of Major General
with a copy
Butler relative to the confiscations or penalties imposed on citizens of New Orleans, and as one, namely, the New York Times, a journal which, if I mistake not, is generally respected and valued, has published in its number of Tuesday, the 26th of this month, two letters of Major General Butler-the first, to the consul of France, in answer to an official letter that the latter had addressed to “the assistant military commandant of New Orleans;" the second, to the consul of Spain, concerning a quarantine imposed on a Spanish frigate, are dated on the 14th and the other on the 16th of this month, it would seem that Brigadier General Shepley has not accepted the appointment of which you have done me the honor to speak to me; that Major General Butler yet acts as military governor, and that foreign consuls are still in official connexion with him. If this supposition is erroncous, if the letters published in the New York Times are apocryphal, you will much oblige me, sir, by having the goodness to appriso me thereof, for it cannot, I think, be indifferent to the King's government to know whether the consul of the Netherlands (Mr. Conturié or another) would remain or not in case of having official connexions with Major General Butler.
In conclusion, sir, neither the King's government nor the royal legation have any motive for sustaining, beyond justice, either Mr. Conturié or any other Netherlandish consul; and whether it be a question of Mr. Conturié or of another functionary of the Netherlands whose conduct shall be censurable, no personal consideration will ever restrain the royal government from listening to the sentiments of its own dignity and from the consideration due to foreign governments. It will hasten, always, to remove from service any person who shall have seriously violated his duty or gratuitously offended an authority or functionary of a friendly government.
I have the honor, sir, to renew to you the assurances of my high consideration.
ROEST VAN LIMBURG. Mr. SEWARD,
Secretary of State of the United States, Sc., &c., fr.
Major General Butler to Mr. Conturié.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, May 14, 1862. SIR: Your communication of the 10th instant is received. The nature of the property found concealed beneath your consular flag—the specic, dies, and plates of the Citizens' Bank of New Orleans under a claim that it was your private property, which claim is now admitted to be groundless, shows you Írave merited, so far as I can judge, the treatment you have received, even if a little rough. Having prostituted your flag to a base purpose, you would not hope to have it respected so debased. I am, officially, your obedient servant,
BENJAMIN F. BUTLER,
Major General Commanding,
Per GEORGE BROWN. The CONSUL OF The NethERLANDS. [Erasure conformable to the original.)—AM. CONTURIÉ.