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have naturally given cause to doubt whether her majesty's subjects who were robbed of their property in New Orleans, will obtain from the local authorities of that place, the just compensation which they claim. The government of her Catholic Majesty has considered the principle laid down by the honorable Secretary of State in his note of the 13th of November last, that foreigners must subject themselves to the laws which are in force. in the country which they have selected for carrying on business in, and it does not pretend to controvert them, seeing that the application of those laws must be reciprocal. There is, however, with due deference be it said, a striking difference between the occurrences in question and ordinary individual wrongs. The only origin and exclusive cause of all the disasters that the subjects of her Catholic Majesty experienced in New Orleans in the month of August last, was the invasion of the island of Cuba by American citizens, organized, equipped and armed for that purpose in the territory of the United States, in spite of the warnings of the upright supreme magistrate of the republic, and of the laws of the land, and in defiance of moral precepts and the laws of nations.

The personal outrages and plunder of houses and business establishments belonging to the subjects of her Catholic Majesty were not the effect of a riotous attack on the part of the inhabitants of New Orleans; they were not individual acts perpetrated without cause upon individuals. The most active abettors and actors in those lamentable scenes were citizens of the United States who had assembled in that city from various parts of the Union, with arms in hand, and who were watching for an opportunity to embark and follow those who had preceded them, for the purpose of seizing the island of Cuba, where, with this object in view, they had in a perfidious manner introduced war, and spilled the blood of those who had performed the sacred duty of defending their soil. In short, the plundering of the property of Spaniards in New Orleans was an episode. It was one of the consequences of the bloody and illegal invasion of a friendly territory in the midst of peace. Those who took part in the drama dispersed -they cannot be reached-and even if they were, and these persons should be identified after long litigations and consequent expenses on the part of the claimants, the latter have no means of obtaining redress for the damages sustained. Not wishing to weary the attention of the Secretary, because he thinks it unnecessary, the undersigned will not quote what Vattel (Book II.) and other more modern writers on common law have written in favor of the claimants. For the same reason he will likewise abstain from alluding to the spirit of the treaty of 1795, and will only refer to the thirteenth article of the same, which reads as follows:

"For the better promoting of commerce on both sides it is agreed that if a war should break out between the said two nations, one year after the proclamation of war shall be allowed to the merchants, in the cities and towns where they shall live, for collecting and transporting their goods and merchandize, and if any thing be taken from them, or any injury be done them, within that term by either party, or the people or subjects of either, full satisfaction shall be made for the same by the government."

If, then, it is agreed that the government is the party which must make redress for injuries occasioned, even one year after a formal declaration of war, it appears to the undersigned that a fortiori this obligation loses none of its force, but, on the contrary, when the damages have been occasioned

by the people and the citizens of the United States, in time of profound peace, not against this or that individual, but against a whole class of men; not in consequence of private wrongs, which are within the pale of the jurisdiction of ordinary tribunals, but from deadly hatred against the nationality of the parties aggrieved.

If these reflections should succeed in inducing the honorable Secretary of State to look upon the question in this light, and in doing so he should further take into consideration the friendly relations which happily exist between the two countries, the undersigned does not hesitate in flattering himself that the Hon. Daniel Webster will find, in his equity and wisdom, the generous remedy that the condition to which several peaceful, industrious, and honorable Spaniards have been reduced by violence in New Orleans requires. The undersigned cherishes a hope that his Excellency the President will be pleased to give his assistance by recommending to Congress the appropriation of the necessary funds for this purpose, as he recominended in the instance of the promised indemnity to the consul, Don Ignacio Laborde. From the magnanimous sense of justice of the representatives of the Union, one cannot but confidently hope that such recommendation will be attended to. In the meanwhile the undersigned avails himself of this opportunity to renew to the Hon. Daniel Webster the assurances of his most distinguished consideration.


Secretary of State of the United States.

1st Session.








JULY 7, 1852.

Referred to the Committee on Commerce, and ordered to be printed.

No. 114.


SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith a communication from the Light-house board, dated 7th instant, in reference to the matters which, under the law, it was contemplated should come under their supervision. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Acting Secretary of the Treasury.

Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Washington, May 7, 1852.

SIR: The very grave errors contained in the communication of the Fifth Auditor, entitled "A reply to the report of the Light-house board," being calculated, unless exposed, to be injurious to the public service, we feel bound in duty to present the following report, and to request that it may be transmitted to the House of Representatives, to which the reply of the Fifth Auditor has been already communicated.

Passing over the attacks upon the action of the Treasury Department under former administrations, upon respectable citizens and officers of the government, as wholly irrelevant to the subject, the board take issue with the Fifth Auditor, distinctly, upon the conclusions of his report.

They have proved in their report of January, 1852, and contrary to the specific allegations of the Fifth Auditor's reply

1. That the lights on our coast are not satisfactory to our captains of ships and pilots generally, but on the contrary that ship masters who have been able to compare foreign lights with our own, naval officers and pilots are dissatisfied with them.

Nor are they satisfactory to the board, who, under the law, made their inspection of them.

But even if they were satisfactory to navigators, they should not be so to the government or to Congress, since a greater amount of light can be had for less than one half of the expenditure now incurred.


2. That the cost of the American lights of the same nominal class is but little less than that of Great Britain, while the quality is quite inferior.

In fact, if all matters relating to maintenance were fairly compared in both systems, the American lights would prove the most expensive.

In making his comparison, the Fifth Auditor has erroneously brought into the average cost of the American lights, all the beacons and harbor lights, lights with one lamp, two lamps, &c., and has compared these with the British seacoast lights of the first class.

He has reckoned the pound sterling erroneously, swelling the cost of the English lights; and has included the cost of construction and repairs of some of the English light-houses and light-boats in the cost of maintenance, which greatly increases the previous erroneous estimate.

An estimate thus radically erroneous is plainly entitled to no credit. The board have in their report of January, 1852, (p. 95 et seq.) given as accurate a comparative estimate of the cost of American and foreign lights as it is possible to obtain, stating the different circumstances in the two


3. That our light-boats are inferior to the British in all essential qualities and especially in the lighting apparatus, which is antiquated and wasteful in the extreme.

4. That the inspection of oil is inadequate.

5. That the French lenses consuming but one-fourth of the oil used in our Argand lamps and reflectors, for the same amount of light, are more economical in the proportion of nearly four to one, and that the Trinity board and the Scotch and Irish commissioners are now replacing their old reflectors by lenses in consequence of their greater efficiency and economy.

That in fact a sum of from $110,000 to $115,000 per annum would be saved in supplies alone, with the existing number of lights in the United States, if the lens system were substituted for that now in use.

They have established the following important points, not noticed in the "reply of the Fifth Auditor."

6. That there is a general want of system in every part of the light-house establishment of the United States, except that of the accounts; just such as must arise from a want of practical scientific knowledge in the director of it. It is plainly impossible to direct from a bureau at Washington the light-house construction and illumination of an extended coast, no part of which is visited by the directing officer, who has besides no knowledge of the principles of optics, of chemistry, or of engineering.

7. That this defective organization leads to a waste in construction, in supply and in illumination, and that therefore, under a well organized system, the lights, beacons, buoys, &c., might be greatly increased in number and efficiency at a large saving upon the present annual cost.

8. That the system of inspection and superintendence is insufficient; the illuminating apparatus nearly obsolete; the seacoast lights defective in range and power; unclassified; without proper distinctions and without regula


9. That the coast is unequally lighted in different points, and there is no

arrangement proposed by the Auditor by which this defect is to be remedied. The light-vessels are not kept in their places during seasons of the year especially dangerous to the navigator. There is no efficient system for giving notices of changes in lights, beacons, buoys, &c., and that in fact the Fifth Auditor himself is not made acquainted with these changes.

10. That the buoys are defective in size, shape, materials and mode of mooring, and that there is no general list of them, with their positions, characters, &c., &c.

That reform is needed in a system containing so many and such radical defects, is obvious.

Besides establishing in their report, the direct converse of the five conclusions of the reply of the Fifth Auditor, the board prove in detail the five other general propositions which have just been enumerated. Of this proof, they invite the closest scrutiny by the department and by Congress; and to render it as easy as possible, propose, in the second section of this report, to give a statement of the ten general propositions which they establish, to refer as succinctly as possible to the detailed propositions on which these rest, giving their numbers with reference to the order in which they occur in the printed report of the Light-house board, of January, 1852, and references to the pages of the report and appendix, where the facts and reasonings from which they are deduced appear.

The board propose as a remedy for the defects thus found to exist in the present organization and system, a plan which offers:

1. An efficient organization without additional cost.

2. Economy and efficiency in selecting sites, constructing light-houses, light-boats and selecting illuminating apparatus, and in supplies.

3. A great saving in the cost of superintendence, with a certainty that it will be efficient, because professional.

4. A very great saving in the cost of illumination, repairs, &c., &c.



1. That the lights on our coast are not satisfactory to captains of ships and pilots generally, as asserted by the Fifth Auditor. (Pp. 20, 28, 29, 206 to 261, public documents in appendix to Light-house board report, and in appendix B to this report.

2. That the cost of the lights of the United States, of the same class, is but little, if any, less than those of Great Britain, while their quality is greatly inferior.

$2, p. 8. That the light-house establishment of the United States does not compare favorably in economy with those of Great Britain and France.

3, p. 8. The difference for maintenance per lamp is very small and that not invariably in favor of the lights of this country.

§1, p. 8. That the lights, &c., of the United States are not as effective as the interests of commerce, navigation and humanity demand, and do not compare favorably with similar aids to navigation in Europe in general.

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