Mr. Campbell to Mr. Seward
Sir: I have the honor to report my arrival at this anchorage on the 29th ultimo, having left Havana on the afternoon of the 25th.
Mr. Lane, our consul at this port, was on board with me here during the day, yesterday. From him, and from other sources, I have gained the following information as to the state of affairs at this point, and, so far as is known here, with regard to the interior.[Page 13]
Maximilian is still at Orizaba. His ministers, it is stated, are now there with him. He has not been in the city of Mexico since his departure from that place the last of October. It is generally understood that the functions of government in the city of Mexico are in the hands of Marshal Bazaine.
At Orizaba, and at this port, the civil power appears, however, still to be exercised by so-called Maximilian authorities. Between these and the French there is evidently some disagreement, particularly with reference to the possession of the custom-house of this port.
No French troops, so far as I can learn, were embarked at this port during the month of November, nor for some time previous. There are but one or two transport vessels now here, and nothing transpiring that is obvious here that indicates any preparation for the immediate withdrawal of any part of the French forces. It is said that they are being withdrawn from the interior, and concentrated on the line from the city of Mexico to this port. From a French source, I learn that the number of their troops now in this country is twenty-eight thousand.
It is reported that Miramon and Marquez are with Maximilian at Orizaba, and that the government may be turned over to them as the representatives of the reactionary party.
I am unable to obtain here any definite information as to the movements of President Juarez, but it seems to be the general impression that he is now in the neighborhood of the city of San Luis Potosi. The French forces have been withdrawn from that point, and there remained in that vicinity but a small Maximilian force, which, it is believed, can interpose but little obstacle to the occupation of that place by the forces of President Juarez.
The harbor of Vera Cruz being in full and complete possession of the enemies of the republic of Mexico, I did not deem it proper, acting under your instructions, to land here.
The French expeditionary forces having been concentrated on the line from the city to Mexico, it appears to me that this route is the very last that I should adopt in seeking to establish communication with President Juarez. I should not feel authorized to accept, even if tendered to me, the good offices of those who are and have been for years in the attitude of enemies of the republic, in seeking to reach its President.
I expect to receive positive information from our consul at Tampico, Mr. Chase, as to the situation at that point, by the English steamer, which will be due from that port to-morrow. From all the information I can gather here, that port and the line thence to San Luis Potosi are in the undisturbed possession of the liberals.
From my present information, therefore, it appears that there is no other point on the coast from whence I can more speedily open communication with President Juarez than Tampico, and unless some important fact is developed here within a delay of a few days, changing the aspect of affairs, I shall proceed at once to that port and make an effort to reach the government of the republic at San Luis Potosi, or some other point in the interior in that direction.
My anxiety to open communication with President Juarez as speedily as possible is enhanced by the fact that the condition of affairs may be such as may require some action on the part of Congress during its short session, and early and reliable information, therefore, cannot but be regarded as important by the department.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.