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time have succeeded, and now, without undertaking to say that ten millions would not, I may say that from all the conversations I have had with these gentlemen, officially and unofficially, it would not be accurate and well founded in me to express any decided hope or belief that the Danish Government will take any less than was officially indicated to me yesterday.

While I never believed they would insist on fifteen millions, I was not so confident they would accept ten.

You have heard from Mr. that he believes that ten will succeed and urges the offer of that sum. He very much regretted that your telegram to me, being of a later date than your confidential interview with him, seemed to modify the views held when he last saw you and received a note from you. Otherwise he thought a treaty might have been negotiated while he was here. I was not so confident as be on that point, but it has been to'erably plain all the while that the offer embraced in your telegram to me would not be accepted, and even if the price had been perfectly acceptable, I doubt whether the negotiations could have proceeded with safety and success on account of the relation of Santa Cruz to Fiance heretofore fully stated.

While acting under clear and positive instructions, I have not felt at liberty to give any opinion of my own, and have strictly limited myself to communicating what you have directed and giving you in turn all of consequence that was said to me of the matter. But now, in view of the possibility that the Government may at any future time again give the matter its consideration, I deem it my duty to say, in view of all I have seen and learned here, that if the Government deems the islands worth the sum indicated by Mr. I would deem the Government fortunate and successful in concluding a treaty on that basis; and that as to the offer now made by the Danish Government, were I acting under the full power and on my own judgment of the naval value of those islands and their harbors to the United States, I would not hesitate, if nothing less would succeed, to give the seven millions and a half for St. Thomas and St. John, and refer the offer touching Santa Cruz, concerning the value of which I have not so clear an opinion. Nor do I think there is any doubt as to the necessity for separate negotiations. Your inost obedient servant,


Secretary of State, Washington. P. S.-When I saw General Raasloff yesterday he requested to be most cordially and especially remembered to you, and says he would have written before but for his constant and pressing engagernents. He has asked me bow I receive and send dispatches in re ation to such important matters, and has been much surprised to learn that it was through the mails. He has no confidence of anything being safe from inspection, and has suggested that I should go in person or send a messenger to London to put them in the Government bags there. Of course I can not do this, not having any fund at the command of the legation, though I think he is quite correct as to the danger constantly incurred in the matter. He said he had heard you were coming to Paris and intended to meet you there.

I find the gentlemen of this Government a little sensitive upon all questions of dignity, prestige, and equality. This is natural. They feel weak, and, in some degree, abandoned by one or two allies, and no doubt are more exacting now in the formal part of diplomatic intercourse than they once would have been. I am impressed that a hearty, friendly, somewhat imposing visit of the navy in considerable force would make a good impression. They are in a condition to appreciate attention and sympathy. If General Sherman makes his trip tell him to call here and spend a while.

G. H. Y.

General Delafield to Mr. Seward.




From the most reliable information at command it appears that the three Danish islands, St. Thomas, St. John, and Santa Cruz, cover a surface of 127 square miles, inhabited by 39,623 persons, white and black. This surface is equal to 81,280 acres, and includes the entire surface of arable, marsh, rocky, and every other quality, occupied and unoccupied.

S. Doc. 231, pt 8-12

It may be valued (the fee) at $100 per acre, making the land of the three islands at this rate to be worth

$8, 128,000 To this let us add buildings constructed by the inhabitants, say at the

rate of $1,000 for every ten of the population, white and black 3,962,000 And the value of the national edifices, consisting of five forts and some hospitals, together with other public structures

1,500,000 Making a total of value of all the lands and buildings, public and private, to be about...

13,590,000 The revenue of the Danish Government derived from these three islands in 1860


From Santa Cruz..
From St. Thomas and St. John

$201, 817 173, 404


375, 221 The expenditure of the Danish Government during the same year exceeded the income by $33,496, the expenses for the year being $403,717. Thus it appears that these three colonies are a source of annual expense to the Danish Government of $33,496. They, however, yield a revenue of $375,221 that is supposed to be applied to support so much of the national army, navy, and other functionaries of the Government that would otherwise have to be paid from the annual resources of the Kingdom, which were, in 1861, $8,678,366.

This income of $375,221 may, therefore, be a resource for liquidating debts that may still be a burden to the state without the islands, and hence the sovereignty of the islands may be worth to the Crown a capital that would yield this sum annually, or a debt of $8,174,310, bearing 5 per cent per annum, while the total value of the property belonging to the people and Crown we have estimated at $13,590,000.

If we consider this income of $375,221 to be derived from the population as an income tax of 10 per cent on the annual industry of the entire population, it would be equivalent to rating their annual productive industry and resources at $3,752,221, and dividing this among the number of inhabitants, would give the individual resources and industry of $95 per head to meet the taxes of the Government.

To raise the sum of $375,221 (now received by the Danish Government) from castoms and imports, and supposing the duties to be 30 per cent, the amount of imports would have to be $1,250,770. It is known, however, that the amount of imports into the island of St. Thomas alone was, in one year. $5,000,000; a duty on which, at 74 per cent, would suffice to yield an income equivalent to that now raised by the Danish Government.

In conclusion, then, I can only venture an opinion, based, as it will be seen, on very limited information, that the Danish islands are now a source of debt to that Government; a source of convenience and advantage to it in maintaining a port of their nationality; a source of private revenue to the King from estates said to belong to him personally, and a political influence over the commerce of the islands in the Caribbean sea so long as he is allowed to hold them; that they possess little or no strength to prevent maritime powers wresting them from his grasp, and that if he is given $3,000,000 in bonds bearing 5 per cent interest he will be well paid for his sovereignty; and if paid $5,000,000 therefor will realize more than his Government can in any way derive by holding a prize that can be taken from him at any moment he becomes at war with a strong maritime nation. All of which is respectfully submitted.

RICHARD DELAFIELD, Brevet Major-General and Chief Engineer, U. S. A. ENGINEER DEPARTMENT, July 9, 1866.

Mr. Yeaman to Mr. Seward.

No. 81.]


Copenhagen, July 12, 1867. SIR: On Saturday, the 6th instant, I received from Mr. Adams a note of the 3d, inclosing me without date your telegram, as follows: “Tell Yeaman close with Denmark's offer. St. John, St. Thomas, eight and a half millions; report brief, quick, by cable: send treaty ratified immediately."

Taking the word “eight” as a mistake occurring somewhere in the reduction,

transmission, or translation of the message, I immediately sought an interview with Count Frijs and General Raasloff to accept the offer of the islands at seven millions and a half, and communicated verbally with the general whom I found first and who was just going to see the count by appointment. I offered to negotiate the treaty as soon as possible, with the view of obtaining a ratification during the present session of the Rigsdag, which was then to adjourn in a few days, and I urged very earnestly that the vote in the islands should be dispensed with.

I was soon afterwards advised by the general that they were leaving town that evening to spend Sunday in the country and would return Monday evening; that the count desired a day or two to think of the matter, as there were several points in doubt and to be considered. I surmised at once what one of these was and determined the next day that whenever it appeared impracticable to obtain a ratification during the remnant of the present session I would venture to waive the demand for a ratification by the 4th of August as a basis of the negotiation which had been so much objected to here, and on Monday, the 8th, I received from Mr. Adams a note of the 5th conveying your telegram: "Tell Yeaman waive August ratification report."

Monday and Tuesday I was in bed with severe illness, and the same days Count Frijs and General Raasloff were both extremely occupied in the closing business of the Rigsdag where they sit, and where there was again, for the second or third time, a ministerial or cabinet question pending:

Wednesday morning, as soon as my physician would permit, I sought to see Count Frijs at the foreign office, but he was absent, engaged with the Rigsdag and the King. In the evening I was invited to meet him the next day (yesterday) at the foreign ministry, which I did at the hour fixed. In the meantime General Raasloff called at my house on Wednesday evening, and at these interviews the affair had been quite fully talked over; I constantly aiming at an immediate treaty until I saw it could not be done, and that further effort in that direction would be useless if not disadvantageous.

I have been thus minute in stating to you every step, and how each day was consumed, because it will explain what might otherwise appear unnecessary delay, and because I have myself been very greatly disappointed in not being able to conclude and ratify the treaty at the present session of the Rigsdag, which adjourns to-morrow. Moreover, to say the truth, one can not easily hasten affairs of any sort in Denmark. In everything, from cobbler to King, they are the most deliberate and leisurely people in the world.

The result of these interviews is that the two ministers propose to enter upon definite work of negotiating and reducing the treaty to form next week, they deeming it entirely impracticable to conclude it, arrange its provisions, and get it through the Rigsdag in the little time now remaining, and that they can not ask the members to remain another week or two after a session of nine months, and when the time has been fixed that they could go home to their private affairs. They seem to think the affair practically settled: at least that all difficulties are out of the way except the vote of the people of the islands. Upon this subject I have lost no opportunity to impress upon them, in the most earnest and explicit manner, the very great preference of myself and my Government that the cession shall be absolute, and not subject to any further conditions; and that it can not be in accordance with the interests or the feelings of either Government that the matter should fail after a treaty has been signed, and that nothing should be done that would invite or present an opportunity for the interference and counter influence in the islands of those three great powers which would much rather see the matter fail than succeed; and I have indicated that I am not instructed or authorized to agree to such a proposal, and that for me to venture to do so might jeopard the treaty at Washington as well as in the islands.

To this it is replied that there is no real danger of failure; that but little time or opportunity will be allowed for foreign interference or influence upon the elec. tion; that ratification by the Rigsdag will be much more sure and easy if the treaty is first voted for by the islands; and the effect of a contrary course, upon the Schleswig question, as heretofore urged, and as stated in my dispatch No. 75, of 17th June, is now repeated with increased earnestness and emphasis.

My opinion is, that this latter consideration is the only real difficulty in the way, and I have to admit to you my appreciation of its force from the Danish standpoint.

They speak very frankly about the matter, and have indicated that it is possible that the cabinet may be brought to waive the vote, but have not given me any substantial reason to hope that it will be, and my opinion is it will not be given up.

This leaves me in great embarrassment. I have telegraphed you through Mr. Adams for instructions, because I deem it probable, from present appearances, that the negotiation will be delayed long enough for me to get an answer.

But I have resolved that if, without further instructions, it comes to be a question of taking the treaty with a vote or not at all, I will yield, it being the only chance left for present success, and the influence of future European complications upon the matter can neither be foreseen nor trusted. I will press my objections as far as can well be done this side the point of breaking the negotiation.

As a matter of construction, your direction to waive the August ratification, being sent, as I take it, after the reception of my dispatch of the 17th June, instead of excluding this, by mentioning one waiver and omitting others, might be held as an instruction upon what was deemed the only matter then left open and in the way, seeing from that dispatch that Denmark refused to negotiate except on the basis of a vote. Especially would this view be correct, taking a waiver of immediate ratification, which would, if adhered to, make a vote impossible in connection with your former consent, that Denmark might take the vote before, not after, ratification.

But I have constantly preferred to avoid the vote altogether, if it could be done, and if it can not, I prefer directions as to construction and responsibility,

If the point has to be yielded in order to get a treaty, and if Denmark intends to make her ultimate ratification or exchange depend on the result of the vote, which seems probable, then it would appear immaterial whether the vote were stipulated for in the treaty or not. But I shall insist on keeping it out, and leaving it a thing to be done by Denmark of her own option, which might be better in view of ulterior questions that might arise between the two governments, or with Denmark, as to her real power over the cession in the event of irregularity, improper conduct, or a doubtful result, and as being also more in harmony with your first telegraphic instructions of the 21st May, received here on the 28th.

I shall also insist that in determining the capacity for voting upon the question, all foreigners domiciled in the island merely for business purposes shall be excluded, and that all native-born subjects of Denmark shall vote. I would do this, because the votes of the colored freed people would probably make the result more certain in our favor, and because it would better comport with the position that class of men would occupy as citizens of the United States after annexation.

I understand, but am not quite sure, that they predominate in numbers, and have not heretofore voted in the local and municipal government of the island.

It is probable I will have your instructions before the matter is brought to a turning point, but in the event I should not, I desired that you should, as soon as possible, have the whole negotiation before you, as far as I am at present able to see it; and I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Secretary of State, Washington.

Mr. Yeaman to Mr. Seward.

No. 84.]


Copenhagen, July 22, 1867. SIR: On the 20th instant I received from the legation at London a note of the 17th, inclosing me your last telegram, as follows:

“Do not agree to submit question; Congress soon adjourns," and I have taken steps to obtain another interview with Count Frijs and General Raasloff, who are at present out of town.

Since my dispatch, No. 81, of the 12th instant, by appointment of the minister of foreign affairs, I met him and the general on Wednesday, the 17th. At that conference I communicated my readiness to waive the demand for a ratification in August, and it was then verbally agreed that all the material differences and questions were disposed of, except that of a vote in the islands.

This matter was discussed at length and in detail, as to whether it should be done at all: if so, whether it shou d be provided for in the treaty, and what classes of men should vote. I insisted upon all the views affecting this subject expressed in my dispatch No. 81, and in addition some others touching the general merits of such a proceeding and its effects upon the attitude of Denmark in the negotiation, her ultimate power over the subject, and the temptations to outside intrigue and interference. I do not think I am mistaken in the opinion that these observations had some good effect; still the position was not abandoned.

The meeting was adjourned with the understanding that we should have another

interview this week, and that in the meantime they should consider whether the Danish cabinet could find it possible to dispense with this condition, and if not, that they should submit to me the definite form in which they would propose to put it, with the view of enabling me to determine whether I could in any event accept it, which I did not intimate would ever be done. I was distinctly assured that they would not insist upon it except for the supposed bad effect of a contrary course upon the Schleswig negotiation and question.

They seemed to appreciate the observation I urged, outside of its relations to that question, against putting such a clause in the treaty, but observed that on the other hand the Government would hesitate, if the vote must be taken, to put itself in the attitude of negotiating a treaty positively and then making its ratification depend upon a condition or event not provided for in the treaty.

This is a point that certainly demands their careful consideration; and its suggestion leads me to hope that if they will now treat with the vote excluded, they may abandon the idea of taking it independently of the treaty.

I conclude that the course now before me is to propose at the next interview to negotiate the treaty unconditionally. This will leave it for them to consider whether the Danish Government shall take the vote of its own motion and for its own information. I very earnestly hope, and have good reason to think, that this will not break the negotiation: yet it is possible that it may, or at least suspend it until the Schleswig question takes a more definite and hopeful form.

There is a delay in the progress of the negotiation which I had not expected, and which does not seem to me to be entirely necessary; but I do not think it is induced by any uncandid design or intention. I have supposed it possible that they would delay it as much as could be made to appear legitimate, with the hope that in the meantime their other foreign relations would take such a turn as would enable them promptly to abandon the idea of a vote. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Secretary of State, Washington.

Mr. Seward to Mr. Yeaman.

No. 48.)


Washington, August 7, 1867. SIR: Your dispatches of the 12th of July, No. 81, and the 22d of July, No. 84, have been received.

You have correctly understood the telegraphic instructions to which you refer. The course of proceeding you have indicated in your dispatch No. 84 is approved.

You are authorized to say that, in the opinion of this Department, promptness in the pending negotiation is essential to its success and the acceptance of its results. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, GEORGE H. YEAMAN, Esq., etc., Copenhagen.

Mr. Yeaman to Mr. Seward.

No. 88.]


Copenhagen, August 8, 1867. SIR: Referring to the negotiations pending here, I have the honor to inform you that on the 24th of last month, in pursuance of the course indicated in my dispatch No. 84, I communicated to General Raasloff, Count Frijs not being in town, the fact that under your last instructions I could not agree to submit the question of cession to the islands, and proposed and announced myself in constant readiness to negotiate a treaty without that clause.

On the 28th July I received from him, General Raasloff, a private unofficial note, written from his country residence, from which I make the following extract: "The negotiation is being looked after, although the information that the session of Congress would be a very short one renders haste less necessary. Allow me, however, to suggest to you that you try to find out your Government's intentions in regard to the third place-intentions which it is important to us to know."

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