Page:The Fall of Maximilan's Empire.djvu/51

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made, through him, he would venture to suggest the eminent propriety of complying with it. "This French commander," he added, "is very friendly with us, and more friendly to you than you possibly know."

The answer received was such as might be expected from an officer whose country had received such desperate injury from the nation represented by the commander of the "Phlégéton"; but it was such as could only have been dictated by a kind-hearted man who could not wish to see innocent people suffer from the fault of their emperor. While refusing to permit the French flag to approach the shore, he was willing that the "Tacony's" boats should come for the French refugees and deliver them to the care of their consul in Vera Cruz. This, Roe did not feel called upon to do. In his position there, under orders to protect United States citizens, he might perhaps have been willing to enter thus largely into a matter purely of philanthropy, but for the very presence of a war vessel belonging to the nation interested; that modified the situation. Moreover, the great labor that would have been imposed upon his officers and men by acceding to the proposition was more than he felt justified in assuming. Incidentally, however, many subjects of the hated country were befriended and helped away by both Americans and English, inquiries into nationality being, perhaps purposely, none too rigid