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lus, President, 1853-1857 (Presco
[HO. OF REPS.]
MARTIN KOSZTA-CORRESPONDENCE, &c.
THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES,
Copies of correspondence, 8c., growing out of the seizure and rescue of
April 14, 1854.–Ordered to be printed.
To the House of Representatives :
I transmit, herewith, a report from the Secretary of State, with accompanying documents, in compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 4th instant.
FRANKLIN PIERCE. WASHINGTON, April 12, 1854.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, April 12, 1854. The Secretary of State, to whom has been referred the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 4th instant, requesting the President, “if not inconsistent with the public interest, to transmit to the House of Representatives copies of the correspondence, not now communicated, of the United States legation at Constantinople and the United States consulate at Smyrna with Captain Ingraham, and with the
governnient of Austria, and with this government, together with the instructions from this government to their agents abroad, touching the seizure and rescue of Martin Koszta, and the terms and conditions on which he was liberated and sent to this country," has the honor to lay before the President a copy of the papers specified in the accompanying list, which, with those sent to the Senate on the 1st of March and the 5th of April, herewith enclosed, embrace all the correspondence on the subject not heretofore communicated to the House of Representatives. Respectfully submitted :
W. L. MARCY. To the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
LIST OF DOCUMENTS ACCOMPANYING THE REPORT OF THE SECRETARY
OF STATE TO THE PRESIDENT, OF THE 12TH APRIL, 1854.
Mr. Marcy to Mr. Dobbin, April 7, 1854.
Note.—For previous correspondence relating to the case of Martin Koszta, see House Ex. Doc. No. 1 and Senate Ex. Docs. Nos. 40 and 53.
Mr. Marcy to Mr. Dobbin.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, April 7, 1854. SIR: In order to enable the President to comply with the request contained in the resolution of the House of Representatives, adopted on the 4th instant, a copy of which is enclosed, I will thank you to send to this department any information in the possession of the Navy Department touching the seizure and rescue of Martin Koszta, and the terms and conditions on which he was liberated and sent to this country, together with any instructions from the Navy Department to Captain Ingraham, relating to this subject, which has not been heretofore communicated to the House of Representatives.
I have the honor to be, sir, with the highest respect, your obedient servant,
WM. L. MARCY. Hon. JAMES C. DOBBIN,
Secretary of the Navy.
Mr. Dobbin to Mr. Marcy.
April 10, 1854. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 7th instant, enclosing a copy of a resolution of the House of Representatives, adopted on the 4th instant, requesting of the President of the United States, if not inconsistent with the public interest, copies of the correspondence concerning the seizure and rescue of Martin Koszta, which have not heretofore been communicated to that body; and, in compliance with your request, I have the honor to transmit the correspondence which ensued between this department and Commodore Silas H. Stringham and Commodore Duncan N. Ingraham, in relation to the matters referred to. With very great respect, I am, sir, your obedient servant,
J. C. DOBBIN. Hon. Wm. L. MARCY,
Secretary of State.
UNITED STATES SHIP St. Louis,
Smyrna, July 3, 1853. SIR : It becomes my duty to report to you an affair at this place, in which I have taken upon myself to compromise the American flag.
I arrived here upon the 23d of June, and, soon after anchoring, was informed that an American had been kidnapped by the Austrian consul upon the Turkish soil, and sent on board an Austrian brig-of-war.
I sent for the American consul, and informed him of what I had heard. He told me the man was a Hungarian refugee, (named Martin Koszta,) who had a certificate of intention to become a citizen of the United States, and came here in an American vessel, but that he did not consider him under his protection, having, to his knowledge, no passport.
The consul and myself then went on board the brig and requested to see the commander, but were told he was not on board. We then went to the Austrian consul and demanded to see Koszta, which, after some demur, was granted. After a conversation with Koszta, I was afraid I had no right to demand him as a citizen of the United States, but determined neither to make a claim, nor acquiesce in his seizure, until I could hear from the legation at Constantinople. I was guided in this opinion by the consul, who seemed to think we could not use force without more evidence than the paper in his possession gave. I then requested the consul to write immediately to the legation, which he did. Before an answer could arrive, I received information that Koszta was to be sent to Trieste. I immediately wrote to the commander of the brig, protesting against this step, and received a verbal reply that he was ignorant of any such intention. Next morning, at daylight, I got under way and anchored within half-cable’s length of the brig, and loaded my guns; the steamer, in which it was said Koszta was to be sent, being very near. At 11 a. m. an answer came from Mr. Brown, stating that Koszta was an American citizen, and advising the consul to give him all aid and sympathy, but in an unofficial way. I then told the consul he must insist upon Koszta remaining until I again heard from the chargé. He did so, when the Austrian consul told him he had intended to send the man that day, but would wait until the next mail. On Saturday, the 2d of July, the capon oglan of the legation arrived with letters from the charge to the consul and myself to use stringent measures.
I immediately had an interview with Koszta, in which he claimed the protection of the American flag. I then addressed note “B” to the commander of the brig, demanding Koszta's release. I also directed the American consul to furnish the Austrian consul with a copy of the demand, which was done.
At this time the Austrian brig and a 10-gun schooner, that arrived the day before, prepared for action ; having three mail steamers to assist. I did the same, and awaited the hour of 4 p. m. At 12 our consul came off with a proposition that Koszta should be delivered into the hands of the consul general of France, to be held at the joint order of the American and Austrian consuls until his nationality should be determined. After some consideration, and the advice of the English and French consuls to ours, I agreed to the terms. The prisoner was