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I was required to act, jointly with others, in an attempted settlement of the conAlicting claims between Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
You bave kindly taken in charge this matter of so much personal interest to me, and I am in hopes that some favorable action may at once be bad upon the memorial. I am, very faithfully, yours,
JOHN B. KERR. Hon. J. A. PEARCE.
March 30, 1854.
[Senate Report No. 187.)
Mr. Clayton made the following report:
The Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom was referred the memorial of Catharine Crosby, as one of the heirs of Thomas D. Anderson, late consul of the United States at Tripoli, have had the same under consideration, and respectfully report:
That concurring fully in the views and conclusions embraced in the report on this case, made by the Committee on Foreign Relations on the 29th of March, 1852, this committee adopt the same, and report a bill in accordance therewith.
[See Senate Report No. 157, Thirty-second Congress, first session, p. 645.]
April 27, 1854.
(Senate Report No. 245.)
Mr. Everett made the following report:
The Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom was referred the memorial of Ilenry Cronchey, lately employed as a clerk in the office of the United States legation in London, have had the same under consideration, and submit the following report:
Mr. Cronchey was for several years employed as a clerk in the office of the United States legation at London at a very low rate of compensation. Early in 1853 the President authorized his allowance to be raised for the whole period of Mr. Lawrence's mission; but, even after this increase, it amounted to but about $500 per annum. In consequence of the greatly augmented business of the legation the Secretary of State, at the last session of Congress, recommended an appropriation of $800 as the salary of a permanent clerk at London; and owing to the great satisfaction which Mr. Cronchey had given to several successive ministers, by the assiduous and punctual performance of his duty, it was privately and unoflicially intimated to him that it was the wish of the Department that he should be employed on the permanent foundation. Mr. Cronchey represents that the confident expectation that he should be thus employed prevented his obtaining places under the British Government, for which he was well qualified and highly recommended.
The Department of State having, in the course of the last year, come to the resolution not to authorize the employment in the offices of our ministers and consuls abroad of any persons not citizens of the United States, Mr. Cronchey's comection with the legation at London necessarily ceased; and one object of his memorial is to solicit from Congress indemnification for the loss which he has sustained in consequence of having given up prospects of employment elsewhere in the expectation of remaining in the office of the legation at London. The committee regret that Mr. Cronchey should have been disappointed in his expectations; but they can not find in this circumstance any foundation for a claiin to be indemnified by the United States. All persons taking employment in the public service necessarily take it with the risks of discontinuance to which it is liable; and this risk must, of necessity, be more than usually great in cases of employment under a foreign government.
Mr. Cronchey furthur sets forth that he performed all the clerical duties of the office of secretary of legation at London from the 11th of December, 1852, the date of the resignation of Mr. Davis, to the 31st of January, 1853, when Mr. Trescot, the successor of Mr. Davis, arrived; and from the 1st of May, 1853, when Mr. Trescot resigned, to the close of Mr. Ingersoll's mission, on the 24th of August—in all one hundred and sixty-eight days. The committee are satisfied that this statement is correct, and that a great amount of extra labor devolved upon Mr. Cronchey at this time, which could only have been performed by him at extra hours, and which could not have been dispatched at all but for his familiarity with the business of the office. Mr. Ingersoll certifies to the satisfactory manner in which the laborious duties thus devolving upon Mr. Cronchey were performed by him, and that at a season of the year when the labors of the office, owing to the number of passports to be issued or countersigned, are the heaviest. Under these circumstances the committee are unanimously of opinion that it would be just to allow Mr. Cronchey the sum of $1,000 in addition to his pay as clerk in compensation for the extra services performed by him in the office of the legation, and they report a bill accordingly.
[See p. 673.]
May 15, 1854.
[Senate Report No. 266.)
Mr. Clayton made the following report:
The Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom was referred the memorial of Charles D. Arfwedson, consul of the United States at Stockholm, have had the same under consideration, and now report:
It appears from a letter of the Secretary of State, dated January 27, 1852, that upon the recall of Mr. Ellsworth, late chargé d'affaires of the United States to Sweden, he was directed by the Department of State to place the legation in the hands of the United States consul at Stockholm. In compliance with that direction Mr. Ellsworth transferred the legation to Mr. Arfwedson on the 24th of July, 1849. From that time until April 22, 1850, when Mr. Schroeder entered upon the functions of the office, Mr. Arfwedson, “in conformity with repeated instructions from the Department, corresponded with the Swedish Government and his own upon diplomatic subjects of a delicate nature, and in a manner entirely satisfactory to his Government," and that his services during that period were of great value to the interests of his own Government.
The memorialist acted as chargé d'affaires for a period of eight months and twenty-nine days, for which his compensation, at the usual rate of $4,500 per annum, would amount to the sum of $3,362.50. In the general civil and diplomatic appropriation act of August 31, 1852, provision was made for the payment of half that sum to the memorialist, leaving $1,681.25 still due, for which he now appeals to Congress.
When this application was before this committee during the last Congress it was believed that the consul fees, together with the amount then allowed, would be equivalent to the full compensation of a chargé, and hence the whole was not then allowed. But it now appears from a certificate of the memorialist, filed with the present application, that the whole amount of consular fees received by him from the 1st of April, 1849, to the 1st of April, 1850, was but $39.75— a sum believed to be barely adequate to cover the expenses of the consular office itself.
Under these circumstances the committee see no reason why a discrimination should be made against this particular claimant, while it has been usual to allow full compensation for such services in other similar cases. They therefore report a bill for the amount of the balance above stated, and recommend its passage.
[See p. 681.] May 29, 1854.
(Senate Report No. 292.) Mr. Mason made the following report:
The Committee on Foreign Affairs, to whom was referred the memorial of Mr. John Randolph Clay, minister of the United States to Peru, setting forth the expediency of making provisions by law for the relief of distressed citizens of the United States, other than seamen, in foreign countries, have had the same under consideration, and submit the following report:
The subject of the memorial is one of daily increasing importance. Since the acquisition of our Territories and States on the Pacific Ocean and the discovery of gold in Australia, the commercial intercourse of the United States with these regions has greatly increased, and the number of citizens who are led by the spirit of lawful adventure to undertake distant voyages has proportionately multiplied. A very large part of the whale fishery is carried on in seas remote from home; the voyages are long, and the risk of shipwreck and other disasters great. These causes have led to a great increase of late years in the nuinber of American citizens who find themselves in a destitute condition on the Pacific coasts of South America. Provision is made by law for the relief of seamen. Our consuls are allowed to provide them, when they are in want, with the necessaries of life, and to send them home in American vessels. But it must often happen that citizens not seamen are in a state of destitution in foreign countries, calling aloud for relief. A large number of emigrants, carrying with them no means of support in case of sickness or loss of the vessel in which they are embarked, are constantly on their way to the new fields of industry above indicated, and when cast on shore have no resource from actual starvation but the private charity of the agents of the Government abroad and the compassion of strangers, who, from want of national sympathy—often want of community of language and religion-are neither able nor willing to extend prompt relief.
Although this state of things exist to a greater extent on the Pacifio coasts of this continent than elsewhere, it prevails more or less in many other parts of the world, since there is no part of the globe within reach of commercial intercourse that is not visited by American vessels.
The Committee on Foreign Relations have now before them an application in favor of the commercial agent of the United States for the Mauritius, who felt himself obliged to extend relief to a large number of American citizens not seamen, who were left on shore at Port Louis, in that island, on their way to Australia, in a state of entire destitution.
The memorial of Mr. Clay, our minister to Peru, contains the result of his experience and observation in that quarter, and throws much light on the extent of suffering that often exists from the causes above mentioned, and the necessity of effective measures of relief. The committee have appended his memorial to this report, as presenting a satisfactory discussion of the subject.
Other commercial and maritime States have found the necessity of making provision for the relief of their destitute citizens, other than seamen, abroad, though there is no other country probably which sends forth to foreign parts so large a number of its inhabitants in proportion to its population in the pursuit of commercial adventure of all kinds as the United States.
The committee are sensible there is some danger of abuse in making provision of this kind for the relief of citizens in distress in foreign countries, but the same danger exists in the case of seamen. The agents of the Government abroad will no doubt in a few cases be imposed upon; but as the relief afforded can never be large, and as the recipient must, to entitle himself to it, be manifestly in a suffering condition, the committee do not apprehend that frauds of a serious nature can be practiced. The loss of a dollar or two occasionally bestowed upon an undeserving object is not to be weighed against the duty of furnishing food and clothing to a distressed countryman in absolute want of the necessaries of life.
The committee, however, do not recommend at present a system of relief for all destitute citizens of the United States in foreign countries, but to those classes only whose case is peculiar and nearly assimilated to that of seamen, viz, to those who, in any part of the world, are reduced to want by shipwreck or the abandonment of the vessel in which they had embarked, and to those who, being on their way from one part of the United States to another, have become destitute in foreign countries in consequence of shipwreck, disease, or any other casualty. This last class would include our fellow-citizens passing from the Atlantic States round Cape Horn, or across the different routes of Central America, toward the States and Territories on the Pacific, and this is supposed by the committee to be the most numerous class, and that whose distresses call loudest for relief.
With these explanations the committee report a bill.
To the honorable Senate of the United States,
the memorial of John Randolph Clay respectfully showeth: That having had the honor of serving the United States in different diplomatic capacities for many years past, and consequently having been in constant intercourse abroad with citizens of the United States of various conditions and circum
S. Doc. 231, pt 3—42
stances, he is convinced of the necessity that some provision should be made by law to aid those who may be destitute in foreign countries.
It is doubtless well known to your honorable body that business, the search of occupation, the idea that their condition might be bettered by a change, a desire to see foreign countries, and other causes, induce numbers of our enterprising citizens to go abroad. Many of them succeed in their views, but others are disappointed, their plans are frustrated, and instead of acquiring the means of living, they find themselves far away from their native land, and often in want of even the necessaries of life. Shipwreck, accident, and disease increase the number of these unfortunates, who thus become objects of public charity.
Were such indigent citizens at home, they could apply for assistance, when every other resource failed them, to the charitable institutions, supported by public or private donations, existing in almost every State of the Union. And though the individual were to find himself in distress in a State of which he were not a native, the fact of his being a citizen of the United States would suffice to excite a certain sympathy and disposition to aid through which his wants would be relieved.
But the case is far different when the scene is changed to a foreign land. There little sympathy is felt for the destitute stranger. Unknown and unfriended, he is often looked upon as an impostor from the very fact of asking for assistance. His difficulties are increased in these countries of Spanish origin, where there is generally a lamentable indifference to human suffering, and where a Protestant is considered as without the pale of the church. “Go to your minister or your consul," is the usual answer to the foreigner's application; and neither is authorized by the laws of the United States to assist his countrymen unless they be mariners.
It has happened in two or three instances that vessels bound for California with passengers have been wrecked in the Straits of Magellan, and the crew and passengers brought to Callao in another ship. Having lost everything, clothes and money included, the crew and passengers on their arrival look around them for relief. The first person applied to is the consul. He turns to his instructions and sees that by the act of February 28, 1803, it is made the duty of consuls “to provide for the mariners of the United States who may be found destitute within their districts sufficient subsistence and passages to the United States.” Consequently he takes the crew of the lost vessel under his protection and provides for them at the public expense, but as the act does not justify him in relieving destitute passengers, he is compelled either to tell them he can do nothing for their relief or to assist them out of his own purse. Failing the consul, the next person applied to is the diplomatic agent, who is placed in an equal dilemma.
Your memorialist would respectfully represent that this is not as it should be. It is disagreeable to refuse charity under any circumstances to a fellow-creature, but it is painful indeed to the feelings to put back the outstretched hand of a fellow-countryman that asks for bread in a foreign land! And yet the diplomatic and consular agents of the United States are frequently subjected to this trial, for the salaries of the one and the fees of the other are usually insufficient for their own maintenance: besides, being removable at pleasure, there is often little inclination to give relief, as the public agent may look forward to a time when all the means he can command might be required for his own support.
The act of February 28, 1803, is a wise and humane law, justly providing for a class of citizens that every civilized government is careful to protect. But is not the nation bound to provide for, as well as protect, under certain circumstances, other classes of citizens when abroad, in return for the allegiance which they owe it?
At present, should a citizen of the United States be injured in his person or property by the acts of a foreign power, he can claim the protection of his Government, and the appeal will be listened to and justice rendered him, either through peaceable negotiation or compulsion. But should the same citizen, not being a mariner, become destitute from sickness or other cause in a foreign country, the public agents of the United States are not authorized by law to aid him! The Government takes care that his person and property shall be protected from foreign wrong, yet he may starve unless succored by private charity!
This inconsistent state of things might be easily remedied were an act passed by Congress to afford relief to citizens of the United States who are absolutely destitute in foreign countries and to provide for their return to the United States at a rate not exceeding — dollars. Under the act the diplomatic and consular agents of the United States might be authorized to expend a certain sum annually for the relief of such citizens, leaving it to the agents to decide upon the merits of each case; the agents to render an account quarterly of the sums so expended. This is the course sanctioned by Great Britain, and the amount spent for such purposes by the consul-general in Lima is usually $500 per quarter. The appropriation in