Washington: 1858-1859. Sheets of stationery folded once to approximately 8" x 12 3/4" Near fine condition overall, with original fold creases and some minor toning to paper.
Three letters from Lord Napier to American attorney James Mandeville Carlisle while Napier was British Minister to the United States in Washington, DC. Two of the letters seek the advice of Carlisle on behalf of Her Majesty's Government regarding individual maritime incidents:
(1) The letter dated 20 July 1858 at Washington concerns the seizure of the American brig "Panchita" by Her Britannic Majesty's ship "Sappho," on suspicion of the former being engaged in the African slave trade. The "Panchita" was seized some 50 miles up the Congo River, searched, and then returned to New York where she was handed over to authorities. The owners of the "Panchita" firmly denied the slave-trading charges and demanded the arrest of two British officers on board.
Napier's letter asks Carlisle for help navigating the American legal system to best advantage, including asking "whether there are any means by which proceedings could be arrested by the intervention of the Federal Government, or removed to another court which would offer some advantage to Her Majesty's Government, or whether the suit against two British officers must unavoidably follow the usual course of the law before the present tribunal."
From research it appears that U. S. Government did get involved, with the British Government reprimanding the commander of their own ship, the "Sappho."
(2) The letter dated January 9th, 1858 has Napier asking Carlisle's legal advice regarding a case "relative to a brutal assault committed on two British Seamen on board the American vessel "John Brookman" lying off the Port of Sunderland on the 30th of October last." Napier expresses the desire of the British Government to "bring the master and mates of the American ship to justice in the United States."
The third letter, dated September 7, 1858, requests Carlisle to provide "as full and accurate a view as possible of the modifications to which the ancient English laws of Jury Trial in criminal cases have been subjected in the various portions of this Confederation." As travel would no doubt be required for Carlisle to obtain such information, Napier promises that "expenses, to a reasonable amount, will be defrayed by Her Majesty's Legation."
All three letters are signed by Napier, though appear to have been written out by secretaries. In addition to the three signed letters there is slip of paper dated Washington, March 22nd 1857, and signed by Napier.
Lord Napier was head of the British Embassy in Washington as British Minister to the United States from 1857-1859.
James Mandeville Carlisle (1814-1877) was a prominent attorney in Washington, DC, who at this time had just become a partner of George Edmund Badger (1795-1866), a former U. S. Senator and Secretary of the Navy under Presidents William Henry Harrison and John Tyler.