Mr. Perry to Mr. Seward

No. 77.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that all the arrangements for the departure of the Bey’s envoy, with the portrait for the President, seem to be completed. The chief of this mission is General Otman Hashem, who belongs to one of the most respectable families of Tunis, and has had considerable experience as a diplomatist. He has been the chief personage sent to Madrid and to Constantinople. He is to be accompanied by two aides-de-camp and by an interpreter. One aide-de-camp has the rank of colonel and the other of lieutenant. The general and one aide-de-camp speak only Arabic. The interpereter and one aide-de-camp speak French, Italian, and Arabic.

September 3, 1865.—The mission is thus far on its way to America. The Bey’s portrait is a cumbrous article, and has to be sent first to Marseilles, and then by grand speed to Havre. We are to pass over Mount Cenis. As soon as I know by what steamer and what day we sail from Havre or Liverpool, I shall write.

The Bey, in his last interview with me, expressed the desire that we should return to Tunis as speedily as possible. On our arrival at New York or Boston we shall have to rest three or four days before proceeding to Washington. If we go by way of Halifax I will telegraph from there; if not, I hope I may find some expression of your wishes at New York. This will be the first time that any member of the Tunisian government has ever crossed the ocean; the visit is purely complimentary and diplomatic; the stay in America will be short. A [Page 348] pleasant welcome on the part of our government and people will do us no harm. On the contrary, there are diplomatic and commercial considerations, as well as those which pertain to civilization, that seem to me to favor a very cordial reception on our part. The red caps of these Tunisians will attract attention, and they have sufficient dignity and intelligence to command respect. I shall telegraph the department on my arrival.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.