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United States Department of State / Index to the executive documents of the House of Representatives for the second session of the fiftieth Congress, 1888-'90
(1888-1889)

Liberia,   pp. 1081-1086 PDF (2.7 MB)


Page 1081


                             LIBERIA.
                             No. 741.
                      Mr. Bayard to Mr. Smith.
                               [Extract.]
No. 4.]                              DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
                                          Washington, June 4, 1888.
   SIR: I transmit herewith, for preservation on the files of your lega-
tion,'copy of a communication addressed directly to me, under date of
February 14 last, by the Hon. E. J. Barclay, secretary of state of Li-
beria, claiming the intervention of the Government of the United States
pursuant to article 8 of their treaty of 1862 with Liberia, to punish the
indigenous African tribes which lately attacked certain American mis-
sionaries at or near Half Cavalla. A copy of my reply to Mr. Barclay,
of even date herewith, is also transmitted for your files.
  The original of my letter to Mr. Barclay, sealed and duly addressed,
is herewith inclosed, and you will deliver the same to Mr. Barclay with-
out comment, simply explaining that it has been received with your mail
from the Department of State.
   As it is probable that Mr. Barclay will take an early occasion to
 speak to you on the subject, it will be proper for you to familiarize your-
 self with the whole matter, both by perusal of the correspondence here-.
.with sent you and by careful study of the papers on file in your lega-
tion relative'to the pending claims of France in the Half Cavalla region.
   You will not fail to be impressed by the circumstance, which appears
 both in Mr. Barclay's letter and my reply, that, notwithstanding the
 notorious insubordination, or perhaps, to speak more precisely, denial
 of Liberian jurisdiction and authority on the part of the Half Cavalla
 tribe and the admitted inability of the Government of the Republic to
 constrain these aborigines to subjection or control, the Liberian Gov-
 ernment took upon itself to give express permission to Bishop Taylor
 and his coadjutors to the end that they might ascend the Cavalla
 River, in order to open up mission stations in the interior. This cir-
 cumstance is significant- even apart from the uncertainty which seems
 to cloud the Liberian claim to territorial jurisdiction in the interior
 region back of the coast' between Cape Palmas and the San Pedro
 River. Even if (as Mr. Barclay appears to have assumed) the Govern-
 ment of Liberia were the judge of the emergency requiring the inter-  *
 vention of the Government of the United States to protect its own citi-
 zens under article 8 of the treaty of 1862, an assumption which my reply
 shows to be erroneous, it could hardly be deemed within the legitimate
 bounds of Liberian'discretion to provoke the issue by sending our citi-
 zens, or encouraging them to go, into regions inhabited by aborigines
 over whom no effective control is or has been exercised.
   On general grounds of policy it is preferable that the consideration
 and discussion of the points involved should be conducted from Wash-
                                                             1081


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