Mr. Thurston to Mr. Seward
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that in obedience to your instructions contained in despatch No. 21, in relation to the appointment of a consular agent at Hamilton, I have visited that city, and have had an interview with Mr. Swinyard and the leading merchants doing business there. That there is great inconvenience and expense resulting from the necessity of sending to other places for consular certificates there can be no doubt. The wholesale trade of Hamilton is really greater than at Toronto, and the fact that there is no consular officer at that port is our reason why shipments of goods are frequently made to the United States without certificates, and are permitted entry because the cost of procuring them and detention would add so much to their original value. The merchants and business men of Hamilton are all very desirous that an agent should be appointed.
Mr. Swinyard assured me that the Great Western railroad, of which he is the manager, suffered much inconvenience and trouble for the want of one at that port. But acting in accordance with my own views of the necessity of the case, I would have nominated Mr. John D. Irwin, an American citizen, a gentleman almost unanimously recommended by the merchants of Hamilton, were it not that the provincial government have, in one or two instances, declined to recognize the appointment of the consul general, even at a port where he had removed an officer and appointed another in his place. As the imperial government have definitively declined also to recognize a consular officer at Hamilton, and as I was directed by the department to revoke the commission of the consular officer there when vice-consul general at Montreal, I apprehend that the provincial government will decline to give an agent permission to act at Hamilton. I would, therefore, ask further instructions in this matter.
With great respect, I am, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. W. Hunter, Acting Secretary of State, Washington.