Mr. Sanford to Mr. Seward.
Sir: When in Paris, on the 1st instant, news was received that Queretaro had been taken by the Liberal troops, that Maximilian was a prisoner, and, according to the statement of a Mexican journal, would be executed by order of Juarez.
The King sent to me his chef de cabinet, M. Devaux, with the request that I would telegraph to you to ask, in his behalf, that you would intercede with the Mexican authorities in favor of his brother-in-law, and aid to save his life and secure him the treatment due to a prisoner of war.
I said to M. Devaux that I would cheerfully do so, but that similar intervention had already been asked by the Austrian legation at Washington; and a messenger had accordingly been sent by your orders to President Juarez, bearer of a recommendation in favor of humane treatment of that unfortunate prince, and that he had returned, the public journals announced, with a favorable reply; I had no other information on the subject; it was now, doubtless, too late to take any further steps which could be efficacious; I would, however, [Page 637] telegraph to you if, with the knowledge of these facts, his Majesty still desired it.
M. Devaux thought that under these circumstances it would be unnecessary, and left with the understanding that, unless further word should come from the King, I should not send his request by telegraph, but communicate it to you through the usual channel. No further communication has been received on the subject.
The feeling manifested on all sides touching the capture and possible fate of Maximilian is very strong—something like consternation, especially on the part of those who advised and aided this unhappy adventure, and upon whose conscience the fatal termination, now generally feared, would naturally weigh heavily.
Their Majesties returned here on the 4th from their three weeks’ visit to Paris.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your most obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.