Mr. Worthington to Mr. Seward.
Sir: * * * * * * *
General McMahon, minister to Paraguay, having visited me here on the 8th of November and presented to me the instructions contained in the dispatch to him, to wit, “That I ascertain from the government of the Argentine Republic if all military obstacles to his passage up the river to his post of duty had been removed,” I addressed a letter on the 9th of the same month to Mr. Mariano Varela, minister of foreign affairs, desiring said information, a copy of which letter is hereto attached, marked A. On the 10th instant an answer, desiring time to consider and consult, a copy of which is also herewith attached, marked B, with translation corresponding to letter. Immediately following the reception of letter marked B, the President of the republic, Mr. Sarmiento, communicated to me his desire to have me call on him. I accordingly did so on the 11th instant, and found him in a condition of high excitement arising from the report that was in circulation that the United States squadron, Rear-Admiral Davis commanding, intended to accompany General McMahon up the river, and if necessary force their way through the lines of the allied armies. Up to the time of this interview I was not informed of the purposes of Admiral Davis nor General McMahon, [Page 258]except of his intention to proceed to his post of duty. I was therefore unable and unauthorized to make any explanation to his excellency, otherwise than to remind him of the established policy of non-intervention which has been invariably pursued by our government. The President then remarked that “he was satisfied the United States would do nothing to embarrass the interests of the Argentine Republie,” and that “my note of the 9th should receive an answer that should be satisfactory, but to do that he would be obliged to consult the special envoy of Brazil, Mr. Almaral;” to which I replied that “My instructions only required me to obtain the information desired from the government to which I was accredited.”
Our interview closed with the most perfect good feeling, and I parted with his excellency more than ever impressed with the assurance of his kind and friendly disposition towards the United States.
On the 13th I received from the minister of foreign affairs the answer promised in his note of the 10th instant, a copy of which in Spanish, and a translation of the same, being hereto annexed, marked C.
General McMahon being in this city, making his arrangements for his journey up the river, I addressed him the letter, a copy of which I attach, marked D. I deemed it proper he should be prepared with all the information and correspondence in the event of any attempted delays or interference on the part of the Brazilian commanders.
On the 19th Rear-Admiral Davis arrived here on the Wasp, on his way up the river, followed by the Kansas, Pawnee, and Quinnebaug. His presence, and the presence of our vessels, had already excited much remark. The allies and their friends were highly delighted at the supposed hostile status of the United States towards Paraguay, in consequence of the conduct of President Lopez towards Mr. Washburn and the rights of his legation; while, on the other hand, those here anxious for peace, and in favor of anything that will effect that result, were equally elated, because they believed the presence of an American minister and the admiral might develop something that would facilitate a speedy termination of the war.
Directly upon the admiral’s arrival, he, accompanied by myself and his staff, paid the usual visit of courtesy to the President, and we were all received by him with every mark of respect and consideration.
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On the 21st of November I addressed the note, a copy of which is hereto annexed, marked E, which was answered on the 23d, a copy of which, with translation corresponding to letter, is hereto attached, marked F.
Directly after the reception by me of the note of minister of foreign affairs, dated the 13th, and marked C, Mr. Afmaral, the special envoy from Brazil to the alliance, called on me and said, “He called especially to assure me of the pleasure it afforded him to unite and concur in the purposes indicated in that note; that no communication whatever had been submitted to Brazil on the question; by uniting his assent to that of the other allies, he hoped the United States would regard it as evidence of the justice and good disposition of the Brazilian government, it not having been consulted concerning it.” I thanked him for this expression, and said I would communicate his friendly assurances to my government. Since then this minister has been recalled by his government for purposes of consultation.
On the 21st of November General McMahon and Admiral Davis left here on the Wasp, and (by steamboat arrived here last night) I hear had reached Paraguay and were in communication with President Lopez. I [Page 259]attach here an extract from the paper of to-day, which is the latest information from that quarter:
General McMahon, the American minister accredited to Paraguay, has gone up the river in company with the American admiral. His excellency General McMahon has reached Angostura, and has held an interview with Marshal Lopez. It is not thought probable that the difficulties created by Mr. Washburn will lead to anything very important. On the contrary, the general belief is that the arrest of Messrs. Bliss and Masterman will be fully and satisfactorily explained, and that General McMahon will use his best exertions to mediate, and thus bring this protracted war to a conclusion.
The allied army have at last made a movement, the difficult character and results of which we have yet no authentic information. They have, however, crossed into the Chaeo, and a portion of the army recrossed so as to be in the rear of Villeta. Thus far, however, Lopez still remains at Villeta, showing no disposition to abandon that point. Even if the entire army should succeed in reaching the point desired, it would only compel Lopez to abandon the river and retire to the interior, and still prolong the war. The allies have demanded twenty thousand new troops.
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Mr. Minister Washburn left here on the packet of the 12th of November, en route for Washington.
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The state of affairs in the frontier provinces is in an extremely unsettled condition. While everything remains quiet in Entre Rios and Corrientes, serious revolts and disturbances have occurred in the province of Saltos. I have every confidence, however, in the capacity of the existing administration, which I am confident will not only restore order in Saltos, but afford more protection to the frontiers than they ever before received.
Don Manuel R. Garcia, at present secretary of the Argentine legation at Paris, has been appointed minister plenipotentiary to the United States. He is represented as a. gentleman of fine cultivation, and, as assured me by the President, to employ his own language, “eminently worthy to represent the Argentine government in the greatest liberty-loving republic in the world.”
It is with great satisfaction I can testify to the healthy condition of this country at present. This time one year ago the cholera was raging here with fatal fury. Thus far we have had none of it, nor do I hear of its existence in the armies. The sanitary arrangements are such, taught by last year’s terrible lesson, that we may reasonably hope to be free from this most unwelcome visitor.
With great respect, I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.