at any rate to have been subjected to a prompt investigation, the consequences of which if their innocencewere established ought necessarily to fall upon the Government.
The Sieur de Bebian was engaged on a voyage of business; was deprived of his freedom for the space of five weeks; the papers of which he was the bearer and whichwere indispensable to him for procuring the resourceswhich he neded and for his business enterprise not having been returned to him he finds that he has suffered considerable demages, and you will no doubt deem it proper that he should be indemnified. As to the manner in which this indemnity should be fixed upon I will request you, sir, to be so good as to letme know what shall appear to you to offer the bestguaranty of perfect equity.
I embrace this occasion, sir, to renew to you the assurance of my high consideration.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, January 23, 1862.
M. HENRI MERCIER, &c.
SIR: Your note of the 19th of January relating to a claim of Louis de Bebian for damages for his detention under suspicion of designs hostile to the United States has been received. I lose not ime in informing you that an investigation of the subject has been directed to be made, and I shall communicate to you the result as soon as shall be practicable.
I avail myself of this opportunity to renew to you, sir, the assurance of my high consideration.
WILLIAM H. SEWARD.
WASHINGTON, February 11, 1862.
Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
SIR: Having heard of the arrest and imprisoment of M. L. de Bebian, merchant of Wilmington, N. C., from on board of a vessel bound to some neutral port I would inform the Department that as has been stated M. de Bebian is a French subject only according to French jurisprudence which recognizes no alienation of native-born citizens even if such persons shall be naturalized citizens of another nation and therefor eunder their special protection. As to whether M. de Bebian is a naturalized citizen of the United States I am unable to state, but I am under the impression that he is. He was born in the Island of Guadeloupe, and has resided in Wilmington for ten or twelve years, and is connected with parties in the shipment of lumber, naval stores, &c., to French ports.
My acquaintance with him was formed while I had the honor to represent this Government at the Island of Guadeloupe at the several times he visited that port on business.
M. de Bebian having made certain demands against this Government for his losses and imprisonment I consider it my duty to inform the Department of my knowledge and opinions concernig him, formed while in conversation at the time he was last in this city. I consider him part owner or interested in the cargo of the vessel on board of which he was taken. He informed me that he had delivered a large cargo of lumber at Martinique as late as May last; that at this time he has two or three contracts for cargoes of lumber to be delivered as
29 R R-SERIES II, VOL II