my countrymen have engaged passage on that vessel, some sold their furniture to get the means for the expenses, some shipping freight, which is now on board, and have bills of lading delivered by ten custom-house.
Now, in refusing passes, or refusing to acknowledge those already given, those Frenchmen suffer considerable loss. Outside of these considerations, I have, general, the honor to observe that no international law justifies the measure taken. It is even contrary to the principles of the United States. In fact, it is more than a year, and at a time when this port was strictly blockaded, His Excellency Mr. Seward, by agreement with Mr. Mercier, minister of the Emporor in Washington, permitted the coming to New Orleans, under protection of a ship of war of the imperial navy, of a neutral vessel, which, engaging herself to do no business operation whatever, was authorized to carry to any point about 300 Frenchmen, who had addressed a petition to me for the purpose of obtaining the means to leave a city where they could not make their living.
This arrangement, with which Admiral Farragut was acquainted, had no result on account of circumstances which to relative would be too long, but it shows that the Government of the United States was disposed to put no restraint on the departure of those Frenchmen who wished to leave. Acting thus, in full war and when the port was blockaded, I doubt not that it would act in the same manner now, when freedom is accorded to ships and passengers.
I can not admit that this prohibition to leave can be caused by the present state of war between France and Mexico; the ports of the latter country are open to the commerce of all nations. There is even this morning a public advertisement in the papers of a semimonthly line of packets to start in a few days with freight and passengers, and, from what I hear, appears to be authorized and receives a postal subvention from the Government of the United States. Can such an enterprise have any success if the profit made on passengers is taken away? I do not wish to see in the measure detaining those Frenchmen who wish to go to Vera Cruz a sign of bad intention against France. Considering to question well, it does more harmalways desired the European immigration, and I cannot think that the United States, who have had so much benefit from it, will put any restraint on it. I take the liberty, general, to lay these considerations before you, and suppose that the equity and kindness which you have shown since your arrival in New Orleans will induce you to admit their justice. I must, however, in behalf of those who are under my protection, declare that, in case the measure of refusing the passes should be sustained, I have to protest against it and reserve all the rights of those who suffer by it. I would be obliged, general, for an early answer, desired by those who wish to depart on the Ellen Stewart, and because some of them are almost, in the street, having given up their houses and sold their furniture, expecting to leave soon.
Accept, general, the assurance of my high consideration.
The consul of France,
News has been brought here this morning by and American vessel from Vera Cruz that that port was filled with American ships, and even some had arrived there from New York, loaded with 800 mules, after sixteen day's voyage.