mJSAQRESS, > SENATE. C Ex. Doc,
1st Session. \ ) No. 10.
THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES,
In compliance with a resolution of the Senate, the correspondence be-
tween the Department of State and the Minister of Bremen, on the
subject of claims for losses alleged to have been sustained by subjects
of the Hanse Towns at the bombardment of Grey town.
JANUARY 4, 1858. Ordered to lie on the table and be printed.
To the Senate of the United States :
Herewith I transmit a report of the Secretary of State, with accom-
panying documents, in compliance with the resolution of the Senate
of the 18th instant.
WASHINGTON, December 29, 1857.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, December 29, 1857.
The Secretary of State, to whom was referred the resolution of the
Senate of the 18th instant, requesting the President, "if compatible
with the public interest, to communicate to the Senate copies of any
correspondence which may have taken place between the Department
of State and the Minister of Bremen on the subject of claims for losses
alleged to have been sustained by subjects of the Hanse Towns at the
bombardment of Greytown," has the honor to lay before the Presi-
dent a copy of the documents specified in the accompanying list.
The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
BOMBARDMENT OF GEEYTOWN.
List of Documents accompanying the Report of the Secretary of State to
the President, of December 29, 1857.
Mr. Schleiden to Mr. Marcy, with accompaniments, November 6,
Mr. Marcy to Mr. Schleiden, November 19, 1855.
Mr. Schleiden to Mr. Marcy, with accompaniments, November 23,
Mr. Marcy to Mr. Schleiden, November 24, 1855.
Mr. Schleiden to Mr. Marcy, with accompaniments, January 28,
Mr. Schleiden to Mr. Marcy.
WASHINGTON, D. C., November 6, 1855.
The undersigned, minister resident of the Hanseatic republic of
Bremen, begs leave to submit to the honorable Secretary of State the
accompanying documents in regard to claims of Bremen citizens for
indemnity for losses sustained by them at San Juan del Norte (Grey-
town) on the occasion of that town being destroyed by Commander
Hollins, of the United States sloop-of-war Cyane, in July, 1854.
The undersigned will not trust himself with any remark on the pe-
culiar features of those proceedings, in consequence of which the pro-
perty in question has been destroyed. The American press itself has
commented upon them in terms more severe than the undersigned
would wish to repeat. He will strictly confine himself within the
limits of those considerations, which, in an international point of
view, are conclusive in favor of the justice and equity of the claims
which he has received orders to present and support.
If ever confidence was warranted by the most unequivocal and ex-
plicit public acts, it was in the case of San Juan de Nicaragua, (Grey-
town,) when it was placed in a peculiar manner under the protection
of the law of nations, which, in fact, conferred to property of every
description all that security to which it would be entitled when in-
trusted to a " neutral bottom."
It is impossible to read the treaty of April 19, 1850, (commonly
called the Clayton-Bulwer treaty,) without arriving at the con-
clusion that it was the true intention of the contracting parties to
invest the interoceanic communication, to all intents and purposes,
with a neutral character. This neutrality is expressly adapted to
the eventuality of a war between the contracting parties them-
selves ; it is not limited to the line of the projected communication
and its extremities, the termini, as it were, of that line, (the establish-
ments of San Juan del Norte on the Atlantic, and of San Juan del
Sur on the Pacific;) but it is extended to a distance (which has since
been more precisely defined in the treaty of April 30, 1852) from the
coast of either ocean. The security and neutrality of the transit is
guarantied for general benefit to all mankind, all sharing the same
terms and enjoying the same protection. The mediation of two of
BOMBARDMENT OF GREYTOWN.
the most powerful governments of the world is held out for adjusting
all differences between the adjacent States, in order to remove any
cause of disturbance incompatible with the character of neutrality.
It was not the meaning that the maintenance of this character of neu-
trality should be made dependent upon the concurrence of the neigh-
boring States, inasmuch as the treaty of April 30, 1852, declares the
intention of the contracting parties, even in case of the non-accession
of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, to take measures for attaining the pur-
poses avowed in the treaty of April 19, 1850. It has been well ob-
served, that the establishments connected with the projected inter-
oceanic communication were, in the liberal spirit of the treaties,
endowed with a character and privileges not altogether dissimilar to
those which, from motives of general utility, have long been recog-
nized, by the common consent of mankind, as belonging to the
Hanseatic republics of Germany. As to the position of San Juan de Nica-
ragua, in particular, it is true that the United States government never
recognized the sovereignty of a king of Mosquito, nor the protectorate
of Great Britain over that locality. The late Secretary of State, the
honorable Daniel Webster, declared, however, in a letter directed on
the 13th of March, 1852, to Commodore Foxhall A. Parker, that "a
temporary recognition of the existing authority of the place, (San
Juan de Nicaragua, or Greytown,) sufficient to countenance any well-
intended endeavors on its part to preserve the public peace and punish
wrong-doers, would not be inconsistent with the policy and honor of
the United States;" and he accordingly directed the commodore, in
the name of the President of the United States, " to repair to Grey-
town, and, in conjunction with her Britannic Majesty's admiral on the
West India station, to see that all reasonable municipal and other
regulations in force there were respected by the vessels and citizens
of the United States resorting thither. " And the same distinguished
American statesman learning that, in an assemblage of persons styling
themselves citizens of San Juan de Nicaragua, or Greytown, held
there on the 28th of February, 1852, resolutions had been passed to
send a deputation to the capital of the republic of Nicaragua for the
purpose of soliciting a charter for San Juan, requested, on the 18th
of March following, the Secretary of the Navy, the Hon. Wm. A.
Graham, to give to the American citizens, believed to have formed a
majority of the said assemblage, timely warning " that they would not
be countenanced by his government in any attempt, forcibly, or other-
wise, to subvert the acting authorities." Subsequently, after the
election of new municipal authorities at San Juan, in conformity with
a constitution adopted thereon the 29th of March, 1852, and after the
conclusion of the treaty between the United States and Great Britain,
signed on the 30th of April of the same year, Lord Clarendon states,
in a despatch to the British minister at Washington, dated July 22,
1853, that both the British and American governments had ordered
their naval commanders in Central America to support the govern-
ment de facto of San Juan ; and the Hon. Wm. L. Marcy himself, in
a despatch to Mr. Ingersoll, the American minister at London, dated
June 9, 1853, referring to the said joint order, says that its pur-
pose was to preserve the public peace at San Juan, and to punish
4 BOMBAEDMENT OF GREY TOWN.
wrong-doers. In consequence thereof, there was an United States
commercial agent resident at San Juan, and the Hanse Towns, like
England and France, maintained there a consul for the protection of
their citizens and subjects engaged in the commerce of Central
It is, however, not essential to insist on the neutral character vouch-
safed by the treaties of 1850 and 1852, and supported by the quoted
facts. If, in the meantime, circumstances have occurred by which the
government of the United States has considered itself justified to treat
San Juan de Nicaragua (Greytown) as a hostile city, it is not for the
undersigned to inquire into the nature of those unfortunate circum-
stances, nor to balance the degree of offence given by the municipal
authorities and the severity of the consequent infliction. But if San
Juan del Norte was to be considered as a hostile city, and to be treated
as such, the undersigned cannot be debarred from invoking an unalter-
able maxim of international law, which has been maintained in unin-
terrupted succession from the father of the modern law of nations
down to Hautefeuille, one of the most recent text writers on the sub-
ject of neutrality. It is the maxim of Grotius : " quae res apud hostes
quidem sunt, sed quarum domini nee hostium sunt subditi, nee hostilis
animi, ex bello acquiri non possunt," or, in the simple and expressive
language of Chancellor Kent, "war gives no right to capture the
goods of a friend." From this maxim it is a sell-evident deduction
that, upon the capture of San Juan, the property of unoffending resi-
dents, subjects or citizens of a neutral or friendly State, could not
have been involved in a sweeping measure of retribution that it could
not have been amenable to capture or destruction. Upon the strength
of the same maxim a well known principle has been established, which
has also been embodied in several treaties of the United States, (treaty
with Great Britain, 1794, Art. XVIII ; treaty with Spain, 1795, Art.
XVI,) to wit : that vessels or goods that may have entered into a port
or place before the same was besieged or invested, and be found therein
after the reduction or surrender of the same, shall not be liable to
confiscation, but shall be restored to the proprietors. Indeed, there is
no country on the face of the earth in which the adherence to the
above principle has been more decidedly expressed, and to the gov-
ernment of which the undersigned would more confidently appeal,
than the United States. The courts of the United States, to their in-
finite credit be it said, have been the first to deduce from that prin-
ciple a liberal and beneficent corollary. The Supreme Court of the
United States has given it as its decided opinion that the exemption
of neutral property from capture has no other exceptions than those
arising from the carrying of contraband goods, breach of blockade,
and other analogous causes, where the conduct of the neutral gives to
the belligerent a right to treat his property as enemy's property ; that
the belligerent flag does not communicate a hostile character to neu-
tral property ; and that even though another State might confiscate in
such a case, the court was bound by the general law of nations until
the American legislation should determine to retaliate. ( The Nereide,
9 Crancli, 388.)
BOMBARDMENT OF GREYTOWN.
Nay, more ; had San Juan been a fortress, armed to the teeth, in-
stead of being an open and a defenceless place ; had it fallen after a des-
perate resistance, the undersigned would still, with no less confidence,
entrench himself within the principle proclaimed by the same authori-
tative tribunal in the same memorable case. It is well known that
the Supreme Court of the United States carried the principle of immu-
nity of neutral property on board an enemy's vessel to the extent of
allowing it to be laden on board an armed belligerent cruiser, and it
was held that the goods did not lose their neutral character, not even
in consequence of resistance made by the armed vessel, provided the
neutral did not aid in such armament or resistance, notwithstanding
he had chartered the whole vessel and was on board at the time of the
resistance. ^ Well might Chancellor Kent describe it as a proceeding
the most liberal and honorable tc the jurisprudence of his country,
when, in spite of a decision of an opposite character by the English
Court of Admiralty, the above principle was maintained by the' Su-
preme Court of the United States in a similar case. (The Atalanta, 3
So far as the probable presumption of &u animus hostilis (the only point
at issue) is concerned, the undersigned need not advert to the immense
difference between putting goods on board an armed belligerent
cruiser and a residence for commercial purposes in a place of which
nothing could have been more contrary to all reasonable expectation
than that it should on any occasion come to be treated as a hostile
city by the^government of the United States.
These principles, thus solemnly avowed, will, by powerful and con-
clusive implication, warrant the undersigned in his confident appeal
to the justice of the government of the United States in behalf of his
fellow-citizens of the Hanseatic republic of Bremen who have been
sufferers by the destruction of San Juan de Nicaragua (Grey town).
The facts as laid down in, and proved by, the accompanying docu-
ments, show that those principles are in all and every point applicable
to the claims in question, and they will, no doubt, be confirmed by
the reports of the United States minister in Central America, as well
as by the late and the present United States commercial agent at San
Juan^and^such officers of the Nicaragua Transit Company, whose de-
clarations^in regard to this matter may be honored with the confidence
of the United States government. The undersigned would only beg
leave to call the attention of the honorable Secretary of State to a few
of these facts, and especially to the circumstance that the property,
for the loss of which the claimants expect indemnity, was not destroyed
by the bombardment of the town 'from on board the United States
sloop-of-war Cyane, but by the subsequent burning down of the houses
and stores of the claimants by a party of marines sent on shore by
Commander Hollins when he had not succeeded in setting the town
on fire by shells. Even the Hamburg flag, displayed on the house of
the Hanseatic consul, Mr. H. Wiedemann, was "not respected, and the
house with the flag was burned down, though the then United States
commercial agent, Mr. Fabens, had assured Mr. George Wiedemann,
acting consul of the free Hanse Towns, during a temporary absence of
his brother, consul Henry Wiedemann, that he had taken measures to
6 BOMBARDMENT OF GREYTOWN.
preserve the consulate. The undersigned begs leave to state, further,
that neither of the claimants has ever taken any part in the politics and
disorders of the place. Mr. Frederick Liipking, claiming indemnity for
several houses and for merchandise destroyed, together to the amount of
$12,222 59, has even never personally been in Central America, but
was represented there by the highly respectable commercial house of
Wassaman & Co., in Granada, (Nicaragua,) and their agent at
Greytown, Mr. A. Knipping, who have both furnished the undersigned
with statements which he has the honor to enclose. The other claim-
ant, Mr. Henry Wiedemann, consul of the Hanseatic republics, and
partner of the well known firm of Wiedemann & Beschor, who claims
indemnity for losses to the amount of $35,140, has resided for several
years in San Juan and in Granada, (Nicaragua,) respectively, and
gained general confidence and respect wherever he was known. He
happened to be on board the steamer " H. L. Routh," together with
the American minister, honorable S. Borland, in May, 1854, on the
occasion of the fatal occurrence between Captain Smith, of said
steamer, and the native owner of a Nicaraguan bungo, which subse-
quently led to the shameful affront offered at San Juan (Greytown)
to the dignity of the American minister, and to the severe punishment
of that unfortunate city by Commander Hollins. Mr. Wiedemann, on
that occasion, endeavored in vain to prevent Captain Smith from
shooting the poor native, and offered afterwards, as soon as he learned
the insult given to the honorable S. Borland, a reward of $50 for the
capture of the villain who had committed the deed ; and Mr. Wass-
mann, the agent of the other claimant, Mr. Frederick Lupking, joined
Mr. Wiedemann in this effort, by doubling the offered reward. These
facts prove the sincere desire of the claimants to maintain peace and
good order in the community where, under the protection of neutral-
ity, they carried on their business, and which subsequently has been
so much abused, as being a resort of pirates and robbers.
The undersigned has to add, that the amount of damages, as stated
above, and to the correctness of which both claimants are ready to
make oath, does not include the great indirect losses sustained by the
claimants in consequence of the derangement in their business caused
by the destruction of San Juan, the extra pay for their clerks and
other employes during that time, loss of interest on investments, &c.
He is confident that the sense of justice and equity which at all times
has animated the United States government will secure to his fellow-
citizens who have suffered so much full indemnity also for these their
If, however, contrary to expectation, the United States government
should hesitate to recognize the justice of the claims here presented
and their obligation to pay the asked for indemnity, the undersigned
would, in the name of his government, suggest the propriety of
having this matter submitted to the arbitration of a foreign govern-
ment not interested in the same in behalf of their own subjects, or of
commissioners to be appointed for that purpose by the governments of
Bremen and the United States.
The undersigned would feel under obligations for an early con-
sideration of this note, and he avails himself of this occasion to offer
BOMBARDMENT OF GREYTOWN. 7
to the Hon. Secretary of State the renewed assurance of his highest
Hon. W. L. MARCY,
Secretary of State , Washington, D. C.
List of documents in regard to claims of Bremen citizens for indemnity
for losses sustained "by them at San Juan del Norte, (Greytown,) on
the occasion of that town being destroyed by Commander Hollins
of the United States sloop-of-war Cyane, in July, 1854, accompany-
ing the note of the Bremen minister near the government of the
United States, to the honorable Secretary of State, dated Washing-
ton, District of Columbia, the 6th November,, 1855.
I. Letter of Mr. Henry Wiedemann, consul of the Hanseatic repub-
lics at San Juan del Norte, (Greytown,) to the Bremen minister at
Washington, District of Columbia, dated January 20, 1855, enclosing :
1. Certificate of the Nicaraguan minister of foreign affairs, dated
Granada, December 27, 1854.
2. Letter of the United States commercial agent at San Juan del
Norte, Mr. J. W. Fabens, to Mr. George Wiedemann, acting Hanse-
atic consul at San Juan, dated July 12, 1854.
3. Certificate of James Giddes and others, at San Juan del Norte,
dated January 19, 1855.
4. Statement of losses incurred by Messrs. Wiedemann & Beschor
by the destruction of San Juan del Norte, dated January 1, 1855.
II. Letter of Mr. Consul H. Wiedemann at San Juan del Norte, to
the Bremen minister at Washington, District of Columbia, dated
Greytown, January 20, 1855.
III. Letter of the same to the same, dated New York, February 13,
IV. Statement of loss of property, &c., sustained by Mr. Frederick
Liipking, a Bremen citizen, through the destruction of San Juan del
Norte, dated San Juan, December 20, 1854.
Y. Letter of Messrs. Wassmann & Co., at Granada, (Nicaragua,)
to the Bremen minister at Washington, District of Columbia, dated
April 17, 1855.
VI. Letter of Mr. Aug. Knipping, at San Juan del Norte^ (Grey-
town,) to the Bremen minister at Washington, D. C., dated May 21,
BOMBARDMENT OF GREYTOWN.
Consulate of the free and Hanseatic cities of Hamburg and Bremen, at
Greytoivn, or San Juan del Norte.
GREYTOWN, OR SAN JUAN DEL NORTE,
January 20, 1855.
Your excellency's intercession is solicited by the undersigned in be-
half of a claim for damages sustained by him as partner of the
firms of Wiedemann & Beschor, at Leipzig, Granada, and San Juan,
in consequence of the bombardment and burning down of the last
named place, on the 13th of July, 1854, by the United States ship-
of-war Cyane, Commander Hollins.
I beg leave, first, to recur to certain facts which occurred some
months prior to that date, and which will convince your excellency
that the losses sustained by me are the more deplorable, insomuch as
I have not taken the least part in any act which could have induced
the United States to proceed, in so summary a manner, against Grey-
town. Your excellency is also well aware that this could not be com-
patible with my position as consul of the Hanse Towns of Bremen and
About the middle of May, 1854, when the United States minister
for Central America, Mr. Borland, was leaving this country, I found
myself in his company on board of one of the San Juan river steamers.
As far as I can recollect, nothing particular occurred during the pass-
age down, till within six or nine miles from San Juan del Norte ;
here the following incident took place :
Captain Smith, of the steamer " Kouth," in turning a bend of the
river, as I think, ran against a bun go freighted with merchandise
which was lying near the shore, and damaged her by the collision,
whether designedly or otherwise I am. unable to say. The patron or
master of the bun go thereupon commenced to abuse Captain Smith
in Spanish, to which the latter retorted fully in English. After
a little while the steamer, which had become entangled in some
brushwood, got clear again and proceeded on her passage. At
the time of leaving, the said patron, whose name was Albino Paladino,
had an ordinary fowling piece in his hands, but not pointed as if for
use. After the steamer had separated a short distance from the bungo,
the former was turned round again up stream, towards the latter
craft, after two ineffectual attempts, frustrated by the strong current.
During the interval Captain Smith had fetched his rifle from the
cabin, and repeatedly vociferated, " I must shoot the fellow ; he has-
used threatening language that shall cost him his life ;" and other
expressions of that nature, which had better be passed in silence. The
boat was now going under full steam toward the bungo. (Said Pal-
adino arose from his place near the rudder, carrying the fowling piece
still in his hand, and appeared in the act of stepping on shore over
the rowing benches ; the gun was not carried in a menacing position;
when he reached the second or third rowing bench he was shot down
by Captain Smith from the upper deck of the steamer, and the latter
then proceeded on her passage down the river. Mr. Borland wit-
BOMBARDMENT OF GREYTOWN. 9
nessed, if not the beginning, yet the greater part of this last act, from
the upper deck, and, during the whole time, I have not heard him
make any remarks in relation to it. So much on this subject.
The same evening I learned, while at home, that a bottle had been
thrown by an unknown hand against the person of the said minister
in the house of the United States commercial agent, Mr. Fabens.
Several respectable gentlemen present, including Messrs. Wassmann,
Sigand, and others, joined by myself, took pains to ferret out the per-
petrator, and each of us promised to contribute fifty dollars towards a
reward for his detection and apprehension, but our exertions proved
Fearing that evil consequences might result to the inhabitants
of San Juan by this act of rudeness, I took the liberty of calling
towards ten o'clock at night on Mr. Borland, to see whether the affair
could not be adjusted. To my proposition whether he would be satis-
fied with an address signed by all the respectable inhabitants of the
place, expressing their indignation at the insult, I received the reply,
" It is not I who has been insulted, but the government of the United
States in my person," which naturally cut off all further endeavors to
redress the matter.
My business at Granada (Nicaragua) required my immediate pres-
ence, and thus I left Grey town by the end of May. Once arrived
at Granada, the revolution which had commenced there on the 26th of
May cut off all communication with San Juan, even by letter, till the
end of December last. I subjoin a certificate, (No. 1,) signed by the
minister of the government at Granada, in justification of the delay
in making my claim for damages.
I had left my brother at San Juan in charge of my business, and
also of the consulates, so that he was authorized to represent me on
On the 12 tli of July, 1854, my brother, J. George Wiedemann,
received the accompanying letter from the United States commercial
agent, Mr. Fabens, (No. *2,) giving him notice that San Juan del
Norte would be bombarded the following morning, at nine o'clock, by
the United States sloop-of-war Cyane.
Mr. G. Wiedemann repaired immediately to Mr. J. W. Fabens, and
inquired whether ourselves and the consulates of the Hanse Towns,
Hamburg, and Bremen would be included in the bombardment,
whereupon the latter gave him the assurance unfortunately only ver-
bally that measures had been taken already to exempt them.
My brother, in virtue of the authority given to him, hoisted now
the flag of the free city of Hamburg, left all goods and furniture un-
touched, and packed only the books, letters, and other valuable papers,
gold and silver plates, in five trunks, designing to convey the same
on board of the English man-of-war " Bermuda," Lieutenant Jolley,
and to repair there also with his wife during the bombardment.
At break of day on the 13th of July, 1854, the clay of the destruc-
tion of Grey town, a boat of the Bermuda came on shore with a mes-
sage, that all persons Avishing to repair on board the man-of-war
must leave immediately, as no other boat would be sent on shore.
The boat was small and filled by the persons wishing to embark, so
10 BOMBARDMENT OF GREYTOWN.
that the five trunks were necessarily left behind on the ground floor
of the consular building, which at the time gave but little concern
to my brother, inasmuch as he depended on the promise of Mr. J.
W. Fabens, quoted already. He then locked up the houses and re-
paired on board the ship-of-war.
Your excellency will notice by the subjoined further certificate (No.
3) that my houses had suffered but trifling damage when the bom-
bardment had terminated, almost amounting to nothing. Their
peculiar construction, or rather the position of the several tenements,
was adapted to a place in which there were no associations for insur-
ing against fire, and thus there was an open space of about fifty feet
between each of the buildings and the houses adjoining our property.
It was observed from on board the Bermuda that the door of the
house over which the consular flag was then waving was beaten in
forcibly, and that it was only after a long interval that the party who
had forced an entry left again, whereupon the flames burst forth and
the house was finally consumed.
In the letter of Mr. J. W. Fabens a bombardment of the place was
announced, but not that fire would be set to the houses. I must
also add that my heavy iron chest was found broken after the fire a
chest which would probably have resisted the fire alone.
The English man-of-war Bermuda weighed her anchor on the ar-
rival of the English steamer the same day ; she was taken in tow by
the latter ; and the passengers, including my family, were carried to
Corn island. It was no subject of choice to them, and in fact nothing
but starvation would have awaited them by remaining at San Juan
after its destruction.
The actual loss of my house under the firm of Wiedernann and
Bescher, taking the original invoice cost of merchandise with charges
thereon, at Greytown, also the dwelling, furniture, &c., amount to
$35,140, of which I subjoin also a specified statement, (No. 4.)
My business has suffered from this occurrence incalculable injury.
Obligations of outstanding debts which were in my possession have
been destroyed, my credit has been impaired, and I may be ruined
entirely if not speedily extricated from this difficulty by opportune
measures of relief.
As regards the claim for damages, comprising a moderate advance
on goods based on the usages in unhealthy regions, heavy expenses in
consequence of the destruction of Greytown, clerk hire, lost time, in-
terruption in business, I will leave the same to a proper consideration
of your excellency.
On my late passage through San Juan del Norte I have had the
pleasure of making the acquaintance of Mr. Wheeler, minister of the
United States to Central America, and I have had frequent opportu-
nities of conversing with him on the affairs of the country. I am
convinced that his report regarding me would prove favorable, and
corroborate my above statements. I am also personally known to Mr.
J. W. Fabens, United States commercial agent, and to Mr. Scott, and
both these gentlemen, when asked, will not hesitate to give all requi-
site information regarding my position in a political and commercial
point of view.
BOMBARDMENT OF GREYTOWN. 11
Finally, I beg leave to add the humble prayer that your excellency
may., in consideration of the incalculable importance to me in my bu-
siness of a speedy decision in this matter, be pleased to give it your
cordial support. For your expenses you may refund yourself by
drawing on my correspondent, Mr. Fr. Schwendler, 39 Beaver street,
New York, and in offering you in advance my thanks for all your
I remain, &c., &c.
His Excellency MR. R. SCHLEIDEN,
Minister of the Free and Hanseatic City of
Bremen, in Washington.
(Stamped paper of the third class for the years 1853 and 1854,
worth two reales.)
To his excellency the Minister of the Republic of Nicaragua :
The undersigned, merchants of this city, obliged to prove that they
have not been able to undertake in due time to claim the value of their
property burned at San Juan delNorte, in July last, by the " Cyane,"
a man-of-war of the republic of the United States of North America,
request that your honor may be pleased to certify beneath whether
the regular mail between San Juan del Norte and this city has not
been interrupted since the month of June last, in consequence of the
transit road having been in the power of the revolutionary forces which
tried to cut off all communication with this place.
With respectful consideration for the honorable minister, his atten-
tive and faithful servants. G-od, Union, and Liberty,
WIEDEMANN & BESCHOR.
GRANADA, the 21th of December, 1854.
By supreme order I certify, in solemn form, and in a manner which
deserves credit, that the communications from San Juan del Norte to
this city have permanently been obstructed from the month of June
last, inclusive, to the 16th of this month, in consequence of the inter-
mediate points having been occupied by revolutionary forces.
And in virtue of the preceding memorial 1 have caused this certifi-
cate to be drawn up and signed with my own hand in Granada, the
27th of December, 1854.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs :
NICACIO DEL CASTILLO.
12 BOMBARDMENT OF GREYTOWN.
GREYTOWN, January 20, 1855.
DEAR SIR : In order to complete the letter I wrote to your excel-
lency this morning, on account of my claims to receive a proper in-
demnification for damages sustained by the bombardment and the
entire destruction of this place, I take the liberty to add the fol-
With regard to Captain Smith's affair, I did everything in my
power to persuade him not to carry out his design. I went even so
far as twice to prevent him from firing ; the third time he exclaimed,
"I am captain of this boat, and I will not permit even my best friend
to interfere." After having committed the deed, he made to me the
following remark : "I am sorry for this, but I could not help it."
On the day following this occurrence, and in consequence of the
refusal to surrender the captain, the then existing government of
San Juan handed in their resignation of authority to the English
consul, and was thus dissolved.
Most respectfully, &c., &c.
Consul for Hamburg and Bremen.
His Excellency Mr. R. SCHLEIDEN,
Minister of the Free and Hanseatic City of
Bremen in Washington.
UNITED STATES COMMERCIAL AGENCY,
San Juan del Norte, July 12, 1854.
DEAR SIR : I have to inform you that in the event of the town re-
fusing or neglecting to comply with the demands made in my letter
dated yesterday, llth instant, the United States sloop-of-war Cyane
will proceed to bombard the place at 9 a. m. to-morrow, 13th inst.
Should you desire to proceed yourself, or to remove any valuable
effects from the place, you may repair with your property on board
of the steam-scow J. N. Scott.
Very respectfully, yours,
JOSEPH W. FABENS,
United States Commercial Agent.
NEW YORK, February 13, 1855.
In reply to your excellency's valuable lines of llth inst., I beg
leave to add :
"That I am prepared to swear at any time to the correctness of the
statement handed to you of my losses incurred by the destruction of
BOMBARDMENT OF GREYTOWN. 13
I have to leave this city within an hour ; your excellency will there-
fore pardon the shortness of this communication.
I remain, &c., &c.
Consul of Hamburg and Bremen.
GREYTOWN, OR SAN JUAN DEL NORTE, January 19, 1855.
We, the undersigned, residents of this town, by the request of Mr.
Henry Wiedemann, Hanseatic consul here, hereby certify that the consu-
late house of Hamburg and Bremen stood separate from other houses,
and that during the bombardment of this town by the United States
sloop-of-war "Cyane," commander Hollins, the Hamburg "flag" was
hoisted on said house ; and further, that after the said bombardment,
little or no damage was done to it until the said house was burned by
the forces from on board the above mentioned United States sloop-of-
war Cyane, commander Hollins, the said flag yet flying above it.
J. JEE. VIZGUECY,
T. J. MARTIN,
Original statement of losses incurred by Messrs. Wiedemann &
Beschor by the bombardment and subsequent destruction by fire
of the city of Grey town, or San Juan del Norte, by the United
States sloop-of-war "Cyane," Commander Hollins, on the 13th of
July last, as follows :
1. One wooden frame house, consulate office, and kitchen, &c. $2,000
Fixtures and counters in the above house 8*70
Clothing, linen, &c 1,265
Silver spoons, knives, plates, &c
Crockery, &c, pictures 800
Cooking and kitchen utensils 290
Double barreled gun, pistols, revolver and its appurtenances 245
2. Merchandise contained in the above and two other stores:
Planes, iron pots, shot, muskets, guns, pistols, &c., and tin-
Crockery and glassware , 1,090
Silk goods, as shawls, mantillas, handkerchiefs, laces, stock-
ings, galloons, cravats, waistcoat stuff, sewing silk, &c ... 6,635
14 BOMBARDMENT OF GREYTOWN.
Cloth, doeskins, cassimers, and casinets $2,800
Cotton stockings and half-hose 320
Grey domestics and twills, white shirtings, &c 1,770
Linen sail-cloth 480
Linen drills 710
Irish and German fine linen and cambric 1,630
Keady-made shirts 395
Under shirts, drawers, &c., cotton and woolen 525
Table cloths, napkins, &c., linen and cotton , 215
English prints, ginghams, &c 1,170
Cotton muslins, jaconets, &c 625
Muslin dresses 220
Artistical Parisian flowers 215
Embroidered chemisetts and cotton laces 320
Men's straw and felt hats ,. 210
Gold fringe 300
Playthings for children 150
Woolen blankets and horse coverings 455
Olive oil, ebo oil, and castor oil 1,420
Wines, ale, and liquors 1,850
Working utensils and empty trunks 300
[L. s.] Consul for the Free Towns Hamburg and Bremen.
Partner of the firm of
WIEDEMANN & BESCHOR,
[L. s.] Leipzig, Greytown, and Granada.
GREYTOWN, January 1, 1855.
BRITISH CONSULATE, GREYTOWN,
January 19, 1855.
This is to certify that Henry Wiedemann, esq., consul for Ham-
burg and Bremen at this place, who signs the foregoing document for
the house of Wiedemann & Beschor, is personally known to me ;
that he is a partner of said house, doing business in this place and in
JAMES GEDDES, [L. s.]
H. B. M. Vice Consul.
BOMBARDMENT OF GREYTOWN. 15
IV. Statement of loss of property, &c., sustained by Mr. Frederick
Liipking, citizen and merchant of the free city of Bremen, through
the bombardment and subsequent firing of San Juan del Norte, or
Greytown, by the United States sloop-of-war "Cyane," Commander
Hollins, on the 13th of July, 1854; such property, &c., being in
charge of us, the undersigned, Wassrnann & Co., merchants, of
Granada, and through us in that of our agent, Mr. Augustus
Knipping, of this town.
One wooden frame house, 25 by 25 feet, situated on the
corner of Shepherd and Walker streets, with counters,
and all necessary fixtures for a shop, &c., covered with
zinc; out houses and fences $2,500 00
One two-story frame house, 20 feet by 25, fronting St.
George's square 2,500 00
One kitchen, with appurtenances 400 00
Other out-houses on same lot 150 00
One wooden store house, 30 feet by 80, on the same lot.... 2,500 00
Contained in said storehouse : one box of spangles, as per
invoice of 2d May 338 OT
Lost profit, at least 25 per cent 84 52
Six demijohns spirits of turpentine, at $10 60 00
One demijohn boiled linseed oil 10 00
One dozen large India rubber blankets, for covering
goods, at $15 180 00
Furniture, comprising several valuable pictures, &c. 3 con-
tained in house No. 2 .. 500 00
Interests, losses of rent and storage, and other damages
arisen to our constituent or ourselves, &c 3,000 000
The above we declare to be a true and correct statement of the
losses sustained by Mr. Frederick Liipking, of Bremen, by the bom-
bardment and fire of Greytown, or San Juan del Norte, by the United
States sloop-of-war "Cyane," Commander Hollins, on the 13th of
WASSMANN & CO. <
DEL NORTE, OK GREYTOWN,
December 20, 1854.
I, the undersigned, Augustus Knipping, merchant and resident of
Greytown, do hereby declare that the said houses, stores, merchan-
dise, &c., Avere destroyed as above set forth, and that the value thereof
is correct ; and further, that the said houses, stores, merchandise,
16 BOMBARDMENT OF GREYTOWN.
&c., was given in my charge by Messrs. Wassmann & Co., of Gra-
nada, for whom I am agent.
GEBYTOWN, OR SAN JUAN, December 20, 1854.
Know all men by this instrument, that I, C. Ch. Wassmann, being
partner of the firm of Wassmann & Co., of Granada, for and in be-
half of Mr. Frederick Ltipking, of Bremen, have this day entered this
my public protest before her British Majesty's consul, the Hanseatic
consul being absent, against the act of Commander Hollins, of the
United States sloop-of-war " Cyane/' on the 13th of July last past,
whereby the property as above set forth was destroyed; and, further-
more, against all parties, government or governments, through whose
instrumentality such act was committed.
C. CH. WASSMANN.
SAN JUAN DEL NORTE, OR GREYTOWN, December 20, 1854.
BRITISH CONSULATE, GREYTOWN.
December 21, 1854.
This is to certify that Messrs. C. Ch. Wassmann and Aug. Knip-
ping, who sign the foregoing document, are personally known to me ;
that they are persons of respectability, and worthy of credit.
[SEAL.] JAMES GEDDES, H. B. M. Vice-Consul.
Translation of Document No. IV.
GRANADA, April 17, 1855.
We received through Mr. Augustus Knipping your communication
to that gentleman of the 8th of March, and shall proceed now to an-
swer the same as fully as possible.
Mr. F. Ltipking has never been personally at Greytown, but the
writer, C. Ch. Wassmann, arrived therein February, 1851. In June ;
of that year he received on consignment a cargo of merchandise for
account of Mr. F. Lupking, of Bremen. This cargo included the J
dwelling-house No. 1, which was erected in Greytown on a leased lot,
together with the out-houses appertaining thereto, and for account of
Mr. F. Lupking. Since the beginning of 1852 the firm has been j
Wassmann & Co. In February, 1852, we received a second cargo of j
merchandise from Mr. F. Lupking, the larger portion for account of ;
the firm. This cargo included the dwelling house No. 2 and a large ;
warehouse, which were likewise erected at Greytown, it is true, for
the use of the firm, but, de facto, as property of Mr. F. Lupking, of '
Bremen, who had furnished the requisite capital. The trifling objects <
which were burnt, besides the houses, were partly merchandise con- J
BOMBARDMENT OF GREYTOWN. 17
signed to us by Mr. Liipking, partly goods ordered by us but paid for
by Mr. Liipking. Inasmuch as, since September, 1853, we have had
no longer a branch established at Grey town, but had appointed an
agent there in the person of Mr. Augustus Knipping, it was Mr. F.
Liipking' s and our own desire that our claims should be made direct
from Bremen, because the communication between this place of Gran-
ada and the United States has been almost entirely cut off, particu-
larly last year. During a considerable period it has even been im-
possible for us to visit Grey town, and it was only on the 20th of
December that we were enabled to transmit to Mr. F. Liipking the
document in question.
From this statement you will already have inferred that Mr. Liip-
king was not in a situation to take a personal part in the unfortunate
political affairs of Grey town if he had even been so inclined. But,
far from entertaining such a disposition, he has frequently expressed
himself to the contrary,, and he has especially cautioned his partner
in charge of the branch house at Greytown always to keep clear
of such business and to avoid it. You may also well suppose that
we had no leisure time to attend simultaneously to our business and
to take part in the foolish political disputes between the Nicaragua
Company and a petty municipal government of an insignificant
place like Greytown. Nor has any one of the partners in our house
ever been willing to accept an office under said government, though
repeatedly offered, and they have always abstained from participating
in any manner in affairs not their own. Here we must also remark
that if the said company had undertaken to avenge itself for imaginary
insults received at the hands of the city government, or from other
causes, and if it had proceeded to execute its threats repeatedly made
to burn the houses over our heads, we should have been the first to
defend Mr. Liipking's and our own property and interest, even by
force of arms. Lastly, Mr. Aug. Knipping has once, for the term of
one year, from the 1st of May, 1853, to the 1st of May, 1854, been
treasurer of the municipality ; but further than that, to the best of
Our knowledge, he has not meddled in politics. None of our firm at
Granada, which place was then invested and surrounded by a hostile
force, was in Greytown at the time of the bombardment and subse-
quent burning of that city. Our agent, however, Mr. Aug. Knip-
ping, was there, and we requested him to inform you why it had not
been possible to save the houses or the goods contained therein. The
matter appears perfectly clear to us.
The inhabitants of Greytown received notice the evening before, that
unless a certain amount of money was paid, the city would be bom-
barded the following morning at 9 o'clock. Without venturing an
opinion regarding the merits of this demand, we cannot omit saying
that there was scarcely time for securing the most important papers
and other valuables; moreover, none of the inhabitants supposed that
there would be anything beyond a regular bombardment, and all
believed that at its termination possession of their houses could again
be taken, though they might be found in a damaged state. They
knew the difficulty of setting on fire by projectiles the houses of Grey-
town, all standing apart from each other. Mr. Knipping, who witnessed
Ex. Doc. 10 2
18 BOMBARDMENT OF GREYTOWN.
the whole affair from on board the English man-of-war, can tell you
more ahout it. No doubt Mr. Liipking's houses were not set on fire
by the bombardment, because the dwelling No. 1, and warehouse,
were standing isolated, and dwelling No. 2 was covered with a zinc
roof. It would, therefore, be inferred already almost to a certainty,
even if we had not learnt it from eye-witnesses, that Mr. Liipking's
houses were burnt down by the marines sent on shore by Commander
Dwelling No. 1 was occupied by Mr. Aug. Knipping, who made
use also of the warehouse for us and for himself. The latter was
mainly used for storing hides and other produce ; also for imported
goods. At present, after the re-opening of the channels of communi-
cation, it will cost us a large sum of money to find storage at Greytown
for our accumulated stock of produce, and it is even doubtful whether
the necessary accommodation can be obtained. These are all conse-
quences of the unfortunate occurrence at San Juan, which have fallen
heavily on us, though we are innocent parties.
Dwelling No. 2 was inhabited up to the last moment by a French-
man, who used part as a store. We have forgotten the man's name,
but Mr. Knipping will communicate it to you.
(NOTE. His name is L. Perrin.)
We had a report here about the middle of August that Greytown
had been bombarded, but we did not give it credit, and it was only
in October following, when we had occasion to visit Greytown, that
we became cognizant of the truth of the matter. Mr. F. Liipking
must have received the first tidings through the New York papers, all
those letters from him reached us only when we were at San Juan.
At that time, in October, we were in want of some papers requisite
for this statement, and we had to return into the interior in order to
procure the same, so that we were only enabled, on the 20th of De-
cember, to send the document in question to Mr. F. Liipking, at Bre-
We are prepared and willing to make oath to the correctness of our
statement dated December 20th, that the houses and merchandise
enumerated in the same were worth to Mr. F. Liipking and to us the
amounts stated, and further, that at the time when wanted by us they
could not have been replaced at the prices they were valued.
Mr. Wheeler has been here for some time, and will make this his
place of residence. We have had several interviews with him on the
subject of our claims, and we may flatter ourselves that when asked
he will report nothing to our prejudice in this business.
We request Mr. Aug. Knipping to give you information from Grey-
town on any points not fully explained by us.
Very respectfullv, &c., &c.,
WASSMANN & CO.
Honorable K. SCHLEIDEN,
Minister Resident of the Hanseatic City of Bremen,
near the Government of the United States of N. America.
BOMBARDMENT OF GREYTOWN. 19
VI> GKEYTOWN, OR SAN JUAN DE NICARAGUA,
May 21, 1855.
feiR : Messrs. Wassmann and Co. inform me, by their letter of 1st
May from Granada, that, in answer to your esteemed favor of 8th
March, they have given you all the information in their power con-
cerning the losses they, or Mr. Ltipking, of Bremen, have sustained
by the bombardment and subsequent fire of this place by the United
btates sloop-of-war Cyane, Captain Hollins, and request me to com-
plete their report by adding those points which I, as their ao-ent and
an eye-witness of the whole catastrophe, am in an apter position to
therefore have the honor to state the folio wino-
I.I have never taken any active part in the political affairs of
Greytown, for though, in 1853, I was elected by the people of this
town treasurer and public administrator, and served as such from 1st
May 1853, to the end of March, 1854, when I resigned. This is
hardly taking an active part in the political affairs of the place
2. None of the partners of Messrs. Wassmann & Co. were, at the
time of the bombardment, in Greytown, and I have reason to believe
that the first information they had of it they received from my letter
to them of 4th August.
3. As the time between the publication of Captain Holiins' procla-
mation, which was the first intimation we had of the bombardment
the time the bombardment began, was a very short one, from
our o clock in the afternoon to nine o'clock in the morning next it
was impossible to save property to any extent, more, as at that
moment no labor was to be hired. The only persons that saved any-
thing were the American consul and some of his favorites, who had
all their property removed by the troops of the Cyane. Of savino-
the houses there was no possibility, for the soldiers that set fire to
them stood guard while they were burning, and threatened, with
their loaded muskets in hand, anybody that drew near. They are
even said to have fired on different individuals who tried to approach
their burning dwellings.
4. Neither Messrs. Wassman & Co., say Mr. Lupking's houses, nor
any others in town were fired by bombs or other missiles from on
board the Cyane. Every house that was burned was deliberately set
lire to by the marines that were landed more than an hour after the
bombardment had finished. From on board her British Majesty's
brig of war Bermuda, where I had taken refuge, we had a fair sight
of almost every house in town, and in all the time which elapsed
between the end of the bombardment and the landing of the marines,
not a single vestige of smoke or fire was to be seen. It was only after
the marines were landed the fire broke out, and then it spread quick
enough. The greater part of the houses were standing isolated one
from another ; so were Mr. Lupking's principal buildings distant
Irom all other houses, and they could never have taken fire from the
others ; but it was distinctly observed how the marines broke open
door after door, and entered house after house to set them on fire.
One of my storehouses I observed was entered three times and set fire
to before it finally became a prey to the flames.
20 BOMBARDMENT OF GREYTOWN.
I hope the above may be sufficient for your ends ; if not, and I can
give you any more information in my power, I beg you will command,
Your most obedient servant,
R. SCHLEIDEN, Esq.,
Minister Resident of the Free and Hanseatic city of Bremen.
Mr. Marcy to Mr. Schleiden.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, November 19, 1855.
The undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, has the
honor to acknowledge the receipt of the note which the minister resi-
dent of the Free Hanseatic city of Bremen addressed to him on the 6th
instant, submitting the claims of persons claiming to be citizens of
Bremen, together with the documents in favor of the claims, for losses
incurred in the destruction of Greytown by Commander Hollins, of
the United States ship Cyane, in July of last year, and expressing the
hope that if the government of the United States should hesitate to
recognize the justice of these reclamations, it will agree to refer them
to arbitration, or to a commission.
The undersigned, in reply, has the honor to inform Mr. Schleiden
that the subject of his note has been taken into respectful considera-
The undersigned avails himself of the occasion to offer to Mr.
Schleiden a renewed assurance of his high consideration.
W. L. MARCY.
RUDOLPH SCHLEIDEN, Esq., &c.
Mr. Schleiden to Mr. Marcy.
Washington D. C., November 23, 1855.
SIR : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of
the 19th instant, informing me that my note of the 6th instant in re-
gard to the claims of Mr. F Ltipking, of Bremen, and of Mr. Henry
Wiedemann, consul of the Free Hanse Towns at San Juan del Norte, or
Greytown, who have been suiferers by the destruction of that city,
has been taken into consideration.
This early investigation of the subject is a source of sincere satisfac-
tion to me, as it gives me the assurance that a decision, and I trust a
favorable one, may be expected at no distant period.
In order to meet any question as to the propriety of the said claim-
ants making application for my intercession, and of my obligation, as
well as of my right and authority to give them my official support, I
shall cause the transmission of proper certificates proving Mr. Ltip-
BOMBARDMENT OF GREYTOWN. 21
king's citizenship, and that Mr. Wiedemann was and is charged with
the consulates of Bremen and Hamburg at San Juan del Norte.
Meanwhile I beg leave to enclose the accompanying report of Mr.
GeorgeWiedemann, acting consul of the Free HanseTowns at San Juan,
at the time of the destruction of that city, together with a certificate
given on the 23d ultimo by Mr. J. W. Fabens, late United States
commercial agent of that place. These documents, which come now
to hand, will furnish further proof of the correctness of the statements
made in my said note of the sixth instant, that the claimants were in
no way compromised with the people of Greytown; that Mr. Fabens
had, on the day preceding the bombardment, given an unequivocal
assurance to Mr. Weidemann that the Hanseatic consulate should be
preserved if it could be done; but that notwithstanding this assurance
the house and property of the Hanseatic consul, over which the con-
sulate flag was displayed, were set on fire and burned down by the
marines who were sent on shore from the United States sloop-of-war
" Cyane" after the bombardment had proved ineffectual.
Without entering into further explanations as to the merits of the
claims in question, I have only to request you to take also the accompa-
nying documents into favorable consideration; and I avail myself of
this occasion to renew to you the assurance of my highest regard.
Hon. WM. L. MARCY,
Secretary of State of the United States,
Washington, D. C.
REPUBLIC OF NICARAGUA,
Granada, October 23, 1855.
I, Joseph W. Fabens, late commercial agent of the United States
at San Juan del Norte, hereby certify that on the 12th of July, 1854,
the day preceding the bombardment of Greytown, I wrote a note to
Mr. Wiedemann, informing him of Captain Hollins' intentions. Mr.
Wiedmann called upon me, and stated that he was in no way compro-
mised with the people of Greytown ; that he was consul for the Han-
seatic Towns, and that his house and property should be spared. I
replied that I would use my influence with Captain Hollins, and have
his effects spared, if it could be done, as I was satisfied of the truth
of his statement.
J. W. FABENS.
GRANADA, October 24, 1855.
Your excellency will please favorably to receive the following report
in regard to the circumstances attending the bombardment and total
destruction of San Juan del Norte, or Greytown, on July 13, 1854,
of all of which the undersigned was an eye-witness, and now will
give an account in strict accordance with the truth.
On the 12th of July I received the letter handed to your excellency
22 BOMBARDMENT OF GREYTOWN.
in person by my brother, Consul Henry Wiedemann, in which the
United States commercial agent, Mr. J. W. Fabens, informs me of
the bombardment resolved upon for the following day.
I called instantly on Mr. Fabens, for the purpose of coming to an
understanding with him in regard to the protection of those parties
who had not been concerned, and always remained neutral, in the fre-
quent former disputes, and to express, at the same time, the expecta-
tion that we, who had never been compromised in any way, would be
spared, and that I, in my quality of acting consul during the absence
of my brother, as well as the consular flag, would be respected.
In the evening of the 12th of July Captain Jolly, commander of
the British schoonei -of-war "Bermuda," promised me to send the
next day his boat on shore, which was done. The danger was immi-
nent. The boat, however, proved too small, and I was, therefore,
only able to take a small trunk along with me on board the " Ber-
muda," and had to leave behind my valuable papers, trunks, gold
and silver plate, which I had already packed up.
Thus I left the town, after having well locked up the houses of the
firm of Wiedemann & Beschor, and of the late consul, Andre Louis
Beschor, partner of the firm of Andre Louis Beschor & Co., and after
having hoisted the large Hanseatic flag, confiding in the verbal assu-
rance of Mr. J. W. Fabens that all our property should be spared if
it were possible. Some officers of the United States sloop " Cyane/'
to whom Mr. Fabens had introduced me, were of the same mind.
But the assurances were not realized; for scarcely had the bombard-
ment ceased, when a party of marines of the " Cyane" went on shore
and set fire to our houses, as well as to the others, without any dis-
At my request Mr. Fabens, who is now here, has given me the en-
Your excellency is fully acquainted with everything else which
has happened on the occasion referred to, and anything more I could
say would only be an addition of sad details. I, as well as my bro-
ther, am ready to make oath, whenever required, to the truth of the
statements here made.
With respectful consideration, I remain your excellency's most obe-
T. G. WIEDEMANN.
Mr. R. SCHLEIDEN,
Minister Eesident of the
Free Hanseatic city of Bremen, Washington.
Mr. Marcy to Mr. Schleiden.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington j November 24, 1855.
SIR : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of
yesterday, and to inform you, in reply, that the papers accompanying
it, relating to claims of Bremen citizens, which were the subject of