Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/364

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Minister to Washington, Lord Sackville-West, received in September, from Pomona, Cal., a letter signed " Charles F. Murchison," which purported to be the inquiry of a naturalized British-American, asking the representative of the Government which he, the writer, had sworn to abjure, for instruction as to how he should vote in .the pending election. The letter was a forgery, but it achieved its end by entrapping the stupid Minister into replying as follows:

Beverly, Mass., September 13, 1888.


I am in receipt of your letter of the 4th inst. and beg to say that I fully appreciate the difficulty in which you find yourself in casting your vote. You are probably aware that any political party which openly favored the mother country at the present moment would lose popularity, and that the party in power is fully aware of this fact. The party, however, is, I believe, still desirous of maintaining friendly relations with Great Britain, and is still as desirous of settling all questions with Canada which have been unfortunately reopened since the rejection of the Treaty by the Republican majority in the Senate and by the President's message to which you allude. All allowances must, therefore, be made for the political situation as regards the Presidential election thus created. It is, however, impossible to predict the course which President Cleveland may pursue in the matter of retaliation should he be elected, but there is every reason to believe that, while upholding the position he has taken, he will manifest a spirit of conciliation in dealing with the question involved in his message. I inclose an article from the New York Times of August 22, and remain,

Yours faithfully,

L. S. Sackville-West.

So astounding a breach of diplomatic courtesy could not be passed over. President Cleveland recognized at once the fatal importance of such an indorsement from the national enemy of America, and demanded the immediate recall of the indiscreet envoy. As the British Government delayed and temporized, Secretary Bayard, by direction of the President, wrote to Minister West notifying him:

Your present official situation near this Government is no longer acceptable, and would consequently be detrimental to the good relations between the two powers. I have the further honor, by the direction of the President, to inclose you a letter of safe conduct through the Territories of the United States.