Mr. Perry to Mr. Seward.
Sir: You will have learned by the public press that the marquis of the Havana, General D. José de la Concha, late captain general of Cuba, has been appointed embassador of Spain to Paris, and that he left Madrid last evening for his post.
I have not enjoyed a personal interview with General Concha, nor do I pretend to know the tenor of his instructions. I have, however, conversed personally with General Prim, immediately after an interview betwen these two generals, in which I acquired the certain confirmation of my knowledge from other sources that the ideas of General Concha in regard to Spanish policy in America and as to what ought to be the action of Spain in the question of Mexico, are wholly distinct from and opposed to those of General Prim.
General Concha belongs to the party in Spain which believes that the only salvation for Spanish interests in America is in a close alliance with France. He will certainly re-establish that alliance if it can be done, and goes to Paris for that purpose.
The vacillation of the O’Donnell government has been great. It was for many days doubtful whether General Concha would receive this appoinment. The apprehension of danger from France has, however, overcome all reasonable arguments for firmness in the policy indicated by the retirement of the Spanish troops from Mexico, under General Prim.
The triumph of French policy in the Italian question, as shown by the recognition of Italy by the Czar of Russia and the King of Prussia, has had its effect. The Spanish government has begun to entertain some apprehensions from the isolation in which it is left on that, question by Europe, and will not long withhold its recognition of Victor Emanuel as King of Italy.
Our own reverses before Richmond, at Charleston, and in the west, have been studiously and atrociously exaggerated in the English and French presses, from which Spanish ideas of foreign affairs are principally gathered. I have labored strenuously to counteract the effect of these representations, by such translations and republications as I could make from our own newspapers. But the news is bad at best, and the governing classes here, always desirous of the separation of the republic, always secretly and avowedly in sympathy with the rebels, by whom they hope such a separation will be rendered possible, have seized with avidity these indications of what they imagine to be the declining power of the north.
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As I have before informed you, the palace at Madrid is possessed with a vague sense of danger, looks with mistrust upon the marriage of the King of Portugal with a princess of Savoy under the patronage of Napoleon III., and at last has, as it seems, determined to flatter this personage, and will accede to his demands in the matter of Mexico.[Page 511]
In aid of this resolution comes also the abandonment by the Emperor of his candidate, Maximilian, for a Mexican throne, and his dissatisfaction with Almonte and the Mexican personages whom his representatives in Mexico seemed disposed to sustain at all hazards.
With these concessions on the part of the Emperor, I feel it my duty to report that the co-operation of the Spanish government in his measures as regards Mexico is, for the present, virtually secured. What form this will take hereafter is yet to be seen.
With sentiments of highest respect, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.