Mr. Schurz to Mr. Seward.

No. 35.]

Sir: Your despatch No. 30, together with accompanying documents, has at last arrived. I had already instituted inquiries in every possible manner in order to ascertain where and by whom it might have been intercepted, for it was impossible for me to conjecture that an important despatch addressed to the American legation at Madrid could have been detained in the State Department until the 4th of October, after having been communicated to the Spanish legation at Washington on the 18th of September. I must therefore beg your pardon for the reflections offered in former despatches on the carrying service, although the latter is not quite incapable of improvement.

Immediately upon receipt of the despatch I called upon Mr. Calderon for the purpose of laying the information it contained before him, with most of which he was already familiar. I directed his attention to several points in General Serrano’s order, which seemed to me objectionable. Mr. Calderon [Page 477] replied that he had received from Mr. Tassara a report of an official conversation that had occurred between yourself and that gentleman, and which enabled him to inform me that my government considered but one point objectionable, the apparent recognition of the confederate flag in the first paragraph of the order. As I had received no report of that conversation, I was obliged tacitly to acknowledge that Mr. Calderon was better informed of the views of my government than myself.

In order to render the third paragraph of General Serrano’s order quite clear, Mr. Calderon observed that the placing of the merchant vessels of the so-called Confederate States upon the footing of the vessels of nations having no consuls at the ports of Spain and her dependencies was a mere form of expression, and that if such consuls were sent to Spanish ports by the Confederate States they would not be permitted to exercise any authority, for they would not receive the royal exequatur.

Mr. Calderon added that he had already written a despatch to Mr. Tassara, and one to the captain general of Cuba, which would be satisfactory to the government of the United States.

I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,


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