Mr. Campbell to Mr. Seward

No. 3.]

Sir: The haste of my departure from New York rendered it impossible for me to confer, as it seemed necessary I should, with our consuls to Vera Cruz and the city of Mexico, with reference to the arrangement of some plan by which they could promptly and reliably communicate to me such information as it will be necessary for me to have on arriving upon the coast of Mexico, as to the situation of affairs in the interior.

On reaching here, and finding that the steamer Manhattan, upon which these gentlemen had embarked at New York, had not yet arrived at this port, I thought it proper and desirable to delay here at least until their arrival, in order to confer more fully with them.

The Manhattan reached here on the afternoon of the 19th, and on the 20th I had a full conversation with both Mr. Lane and Mr. Otterbourg, and arranged a system by which they will collect and transmit to me such information as may tend to expedite my efforts to communicate speedily with President Juarez. On the morning of the 21st these gentlemen proceeded to their destination and will probably reach Vera Cruz on the 25th instant.

The steamer on which they go will carry to Vera Cruz the first information of the departure of the mission from the United States, and the lapse of a few days will therefore enable its effect to be felt and information to be collected prior to our arrival, and also to enable Mr. Otterbourg to reach the city of Mexico and communicate with me from there.

From information already communicated to you in my despatch of the 21st, and as derived from other sources, it appears probable that Maximilian will have left the country on or about the 23d instant. On the 22d, also, a steamer will leave Vera Cruz for this port, reaching here about the 27th, and thus bringing information to a very late date. I have therefore thought that a delay here of a few days might be of advantage in throwing light upon the proper course to be pursued, and also, perhaps, in enabling action to be taken on arriving at Vera Cruz without unnecessary delay, which otherwise might be experienced in waiting information from Mr. Otterbourg after his arrival at his post. This course [Page 12] seems to me the more necessary for the reason that under the discretion thrown upon me by your instructions I desire to act with great caution in every step that I may take. As at present advised, the so-called imperial authorities still hold possession of the port of Vera Cruz.

Your instructions do not authorize me to proceed to any place in Mexico “held or occupied at the time of your (my) arrival by enemies of the republic of Mexico.”

My present impression is that at the proper time we will decide to sail for Vera Cruz, but to anchor at Green island or Sacrificios, outside the harbor proper, for the purpose of receiving from our consul, Mr. Lane, any information he may have to communicate or that may be received through him from Mr. Otterbourg, or from other sources. This may also afford an opportunity to confer with “the republican government and its agents,” if there be such there, and also to “confer informally with any other parties or agents,” should it become necessary to do so.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


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