Mr. Webb to Mr. Seward.

No. 57.]


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This country is greatly agitated in consequence of the continuance of the fruitless war against Paraguay, and I have, therefore, to-day addressed a note to the minister of foreign affairs, a copy of which you will find inclosed, marked A.

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I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


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

Mr. Webb to Senhor Paranaguà.

The undersigned, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary from the United States, has the honor to inform his excellency Joao Lustoza da Cunha Paranaguà, councillor to his Imperial Majesty the Emperor, minister and secretary of state for foreign affairs, that he is in receipt of a dispatch from the Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State of the United States, in relation to the war still pending between Brazil and her allies, against the republic of Paraguay, which declares that “the continuance of the war on the La Plata is a subject of deep concern in the United States.”

In conformity with instructions to that effect, the undersigned again tenders to the belligerents the good offices of his government, and renews the proposals for mediation which he had the honor to submit on a previous occasion. And he is instructed to add, that while renewing the proposals heretofore submitted by the government of the United States in the interest of peace, the United States is neither tenacious of its own views nor jealous of the good offices of others. It belongs to the belligerent sovereign powers not only to choose the terms of peace, but the forms which should be adopted to secure it.

The undersigned is exceedingly desirous of avoiding everything which might, by possibility, be construed into a desire on the part of his government to intervene in the affairs of the different governments on the American continent. But the people of the United States have declared, through their representatives in Congress, that the pending war in the La Plata “is destructive of commerce and injurious and prejudicial to republican institutions,” and the government of the United States, in obedience to instructions from Congress, renewed in February last, in the most formal manner, the tender of its good offices. When those good offices were declined, the undersigned was directed to “express to the imperial government the regret of the President and people of the United States, that the allies do not find it compatible with their rights and interests to avail themselves of the good offices of the United States, which were conceived in a spirit of entire respect and friendship for the several belligerents, and an earnest desire for the restoration of peace throughout the American continent.” And Mr. Seward added:

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“Not at all wedded to their own proposition, which has thus been disallowed, the United States will yet indulge a hope that the wisdom of the belligerent states will be competent to devise means, within a reasonable period, which may enable them to afford to their people the advantages and benefits of peace. Such measures being devised, any good offices that may be at any time required of the United States will be cheerfully rendered.”

Another year of war has elapsed without apparently bringing the contest any nearer to a termination, and again the undersigned is instructed to tender the good offices of his government, and to inform Brazil “that the continuance of the war on the La Plata is the subject of deep concern in the United States.

The undersigned perceives with great regret the injurious effects of the pending war upon the labor, the commerce, the finances, and the general resources of the Brazilian empire, and he would be neglectful of his duty if he did not keep the government of Washington advised of these matters, and of the tone of public sentiment in regard to the war; at the same time that he fully exonerates Brazil from all responsibility in its occurrence, and most earnestly sympathizes with her in its continued protraction and most disastrous consequences. Deeply impressed with the expediency, if not the necessity, of an early termination of the war to Brazil, the undersigned experiences great satisfaction in renewing to Brazil the offer of the good offices of the government of the United States and the personal services of the undersigned, whenever they “may be at any time required,” to bring to a successful issue any “measures devised” in the interest of peace, and calculated to benefit the people of the belligerents to this most disastrous war on the La Plata. The dangers to all parties from a continuance of the struggle are palpable, while the very serious consequences to the finances, commerce, labor, and future prosperity of Brazil are no longer matters of conjecture, but monstrous evils, absolutely present and brought home to the daily experience of all. That Brazil is, and has been, right from the beginning, no candid and intelligent man can for a moment doubt. But, whether right or wrong, the tax of this war upon the labor of Brazil, which is her one great want, cannot fail to check her prosperity for years to come; while its exhaustive strain upon her finances and future resources demands its termination at the earliest day compatible with the honor of the empire.

There are other considerations in favor of an early termination of the war, obvious to your excellency and the statesmen of Brazil, but to which it would be unbecoming in the undersigned to refer. It is manifest, however; that the people and the governments of the great commercial nations of the world are getting restive at the too probable continuance of a state of things in this region which promises no results. And while the government of the United States disclaims the remotest intentions of any, the slightest, interference with the purposes and actions of the belligerents, it may not shrink from conveying to Brazil the voice of its people, proclaimed through their Congress, that “the continuance of this war is a subject of deep concern,” and that it is absolutely “destructive to commerce, and injurious and prejudicial to republican institutions.”

The undersigned is happy to avail himself of this occasion to renew to your excellency the expression of his great personal esteem and most distinguished consideration.


His Excellency Joao Lustoza da Cunha Paranaguà, Councillor to his Imperial Majesty, Minister and Secretary of State for War, acting as Minister of Foreign Affairs.