Mr. Washburn to Mr. Seward.

No. 98.]

Sir: On the evacuation of this city by order of the government on the 23d of February last, several Americans, here resident asked permission to remain with me in this legation. Two of them I took into my employ to assist me in any way that might be required. Their names, with the names of several others whom I had engaged as servants, I sent to the minister of foreign relations, that the subordinate officials might be advised that they were entitled to legation immunities. Among these names were those of James Manlove and Porter C. Bliss. The minister acknowledged the receipt of my note, and said as these two were not servants it would be expected of them that they would confine themselves to the premises of the legation, as they would be liable to arrest like other persons if they went about the streets. They both went into the streets, however, in the immediate neighborhood of my house, as did also the English who had taken refuge under my flag. Mr. Manlove, however, when going out to attend to some animals in his care, was stopped in the streets by the police, when he turned and went to the police office to ask permission from the chief to attend to his animals. The chief, however, did not grant it, and he returned home.

At the time of the evacuation, a Frenchman named Laserre, whose house is very near, and nearly opposite to mine on the same street, gave his keys to Mr. Manlove, requesting him to shut up his premises after he was gone, and giving him full liberty to enter his house and take out and use anything that he might need during his absence. Some days after that Mr. Manlove took the keys of Mr. Laserre’s house and went [Page 658] over, intending to enter; but before he had done so he was encountered by some policemen, who demanded of him by what right he was entering those premises. He replied, by authority of the owner. The police then said he should first go to the police office and report that he was thus authorized before entering the house. He asked if he was to be considered as under arrest. They said no. Accordingly he went to the police office, since when I have not seen him. Immediately after his arrest I went to Luque to confer with Señor Benitez, who at present, in the absence of Señor Berges, is acting minister for foreign relations, and I afterwards wrote him an official note, which he answered at great length. At first it was pretended that his arrest was for having entered without authority the house of a foreigner, but when it was found that the owner had given him full liberty not only to enter, but to take away anything he might need, they changed their ground and said it was for going into the street without permission; but as all the English under similar circumstances had, until then, been in the habit of doing the same thing daily, and without molestation, it is clear that it is for unavowed reasons he is kept a prisoner. Perhaps it is from apprehension that being a man of much military experience, he is a dangerous man to have at large at this time, and perhaps it is to show spite against me for not having removed from this city to follow the government to Luque, and to whatever other points may be selected as a temporary capital. To me it appears a great affront to this legation, if not a direct violation of its rights.

I send copies of all the correspondence, and ask instructions.

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


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


Señor Berges to Mr. Washburn.

I send you a copy of the proclamation issued this day by the Vice-President of the republic, declaring this city a military post, with the decrees necessary, which you will find in the text of the proclamation, which I also transmit for your consideration and observance.

With these observations, I have the honor to be, &c.,


Hon. Charles A. Washburn, &c., &c., &c.

Mr. Washburn to Señor Berges.

Sir: The present critical condition of affairs in and near this capital has rendered it necessary for me to take into my service several persons in addition to those hitherto connected with this legation.

The following is a list of those employed by me:

Carlos Meincke, German, private secretary; Porter C. Bliss, American; James Man-love, American; George Hamilton, English; Catherm Leahy, English; Anabella Casal, Paraguayan; Basilio Jarra, Paraguayan; Melchora Jarra, Paraguayan.

I avail myself of this occasion to tender to your excellency assurances of distinguished consideration.


His Excellency Hon. JosÉ Berges, Minister for Foreign Relations.

[Page 659]

Señor Berges to Mr. Washburn.

I have received yours of the 22d instant, where the names of Mr. Porter C. Bliss and James Manlove, American citizens, and Anabella Casal, a Paraguayan, appear on the list as servants of your legation.

You will find from the proclamation I sent you the same day that this city was declared to be a military post from that date, and consequently subject to the orders of its commander, who is responsible for the security of the post under his command.

In order to avoid unpleasant incidents, the Americans, Bliss and Manlove, may remain in your dwelling, but not as servants, and not be allowed to go out, lest they be arrested by the guards, who have orders not to let any persons but public officials go about; and the Paraguayan woman, Anabella Casal, may remain with you under the same circumstances.

I must repeat what I communicated to you orally, namely, that the seat of government is transferred to Luque for the present.

I have the honor to be, &c.,


Hon. C. A. Washburn, &c., &c., &c.

Mr. Washburn to Señor Berges.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of yesterday, and take this occasion to thank you very sincerely for your prompt attention to mine of the day before at a time when your excellency must have been occupied with so many more important matters. At such a time as this I would not trespass on your attention again on the same subject had I not by an oversight omitted the name of Mr. G. F. Masterman as one of the persons attached to this legation. I will add, however, that the evacuation of the capital has rendered it necessary to receive into the legation such other persons as are required by the circumstance that nothing is to be obtained in the markets of the town, and that every service or labor required by my family must be performed within my own premises.

The correct list of persons connected with this legation as secretaries, attaches, companions and assistants to Mrs. Washburn, or as servants, is as follows:

Charles Meincke, German; Porter C. Bliss and James Manlove, Americans; George F. Masterman and George Hamilton, Englishmen; Concepcion Casal, Anabella Casal, Dolores Cavallero, Melchora Jarra, Basilio Jarra, and two washerwomen, Paraguayans.

In the same note of yesterday your excellency informed me that the, government is removed temporarily to Luque. I presumfi, however, there will be frequent daily communication between that place and Asuncion, and shall avail myself of the various means existing for correspondence with your excellency, either by telegraph, railroad, or by courier, whenever the exigencies of the case may require it.

I take this occasion to offer assurances of high esteem and distinguished consideration.


His Excellency JosÉ Berges, Minister for Foreign Relations.


Señor Fernandez to Mr. Washburn.

The undersigned, sergeant-major at the department of war and marine, in the absence of the minister of foreign relations, has the honor to send you an authentic copy of the supreme decree issued by the President on the 25th instant, declaring the whole republic in a state of siege.

[Page 660]

Said decree confirms that of the Vice-President, making the city of Asuncion a military post, ordering its evacuation, and transferring the seat of government to Luque, which I now advise you of; and, while I regret your persistency in the resolution not to follow the government to its new site, I hope that all persons in your house will obey the orders that have been issued, or may be issued, by the competent authorities.

I remain yours, &c.,


Hon. Charles A. Washburn, &c., &c., &c.


Señor Fernandez to Mr. Washburn.

The undersigned, sergeant-major at the department of war and marine, in the absence of the minister of foreign relations, communicates to you the order of the Vice-President of the republic.

You received an official communication from the police department of Asuncion giving an account of the unpleasant incident of yesterday in. that quarter, namely, the arrest of James Manlove, an American citizen living at the American legation, and his rescue by you in person, by violence and without explanation with the arresting officers.

The Vice-President has heard of this in wonder, inasmuch as you had been notified of the proclamation necessary in this mortal war against our unprovoked aggressors, and were expected to lend your valuable influence in the preservation of public order and obedience to law by everybody, without distinction of class or persons.

The government of the republic, ever desirous to retain the friendship of foreign nations, and to avoid all occasions of dispute, made known its decrees to the agents of friendly nations residing here. This was the spirit of the note of the 23d ultimo which was addressed to you, in answer to yours of the 22d. The government, to please you, did not specify the individuals sheltered by your legation, but requested that Mr. Porter C. Bliss and James Manlove, and Anabella Casal, might be kept within the walls of the legation, to save them from arrest by the police.

The government was therefore justly surprised, after these orders, at the incidents of yesterday, and regrets to be compelled to ask an explanation of acts so insulting to the officers and offensive to the dignity of the republic.

In communicating this order of the Vice-President of the republic, the undersigned has the honor to be, yours, &c.,


Hon. Charles A. Washburn, &c., &c., &c.

Mr. Washburn to Señor Fernandez.

Sir: I have had the honor to receive your note of yesterday, and hasten to reply to it at the earliest possible moment. The unpleasant incident of the previous day to which you call my attention has been, I venture to say, much more disagreeable and unpleasant to me than to any other person in Paraguay. After a residence of more than six years in this country, in which I have always experienced the greatest kindness and courtesy from both government and people, it is a cause of deep regret to me that anything of this kind should take place, and especially at a time like this, when it is the duty of all, natives and strangers alike, to do nothing that can in any way embarrass the officers of government in the heroic defense that they and the whole people are making for the national existence.

Your honor remarks in reference to the unpleasant circumstances in question, that James Manlove, an American citizen attached to this legation, was arrested by the police of this city, and that when he was at the police office he was violently and without respect or consideration, or without consultation with any of the constituted authorities, taken away by me.

The facts of the case as I have been informed, and as I believe, were the following: Last evening a little before sunset Mr. Manlove and Mr. Watts, an Englishman, went out on horseback to attend to some cows that they had been in the habit of attending to for several days before, and to which no remonstrance had been made. As the town had been evacuated, and nobody was to be seen in the streets, they galloped their [Page 661] horses, until, turning a corner, they met some policemen, who stopped them, and told them they were violating the law by galloping their horses. One of them replied that it could do no harm, as there were no people in the streets to be injured, and said they were only going a few squares to take care of their cows. The police officer in command then told them to go on, but said they must report themselves the next day at the police office. Mr. Watts, who understands Spanish, did not go on, however, but returned home, and Mr. Manlove, whose knowledge of Spanish is very limited, had understood the police to say that they could not go to take care of the cows, and he then said he would go and see the chief of police and ask permission to attend to them. To obtain this permission he went to the police office, and he did so of his own accord. He was not arrested, and, like Mr. Watts, was at full liberty to go on or return to this legation. But as he did not return for some two hours, I thought it my duty to go and look for him. I went to the police office, and knowing he had not been arrested, I advised him to mount his horse and come home. I was informed at the same time that the chief of police was not in his office, and as that official is doubtless at this time much occupied, so much so that my servant who brings provisions for my family from beyond the city limits has been frequently obliged to wait several hours before he could get a passport to do so, I did not see any reason why Mr. Manlove might not return home then and ask permission to look after his cows, at such time when the chief should be in his office.

The above I believe to be a true statement of the facts of this unfortunate incident. Certain it is, neither Mr. Manlove nor myself had any idea he had been arrested; and if so, his leaving the police was not intended, and could not show any intentional disrespect to the laws or authorities of Paraguay.

In regard to what your honor says respecting the immunities and privileges enjoyed by persons attached to this legation, I have only this to say, and I trust it may be completely satisfactory: This legation is not and will not be a place of refuge or protection for persons who violate the laws of the country. For my own convenience, as well as for the convenience of some English families, I have allowed some persons to take up a temporary habitation within my premises. But it is not that they may have immunity in the violation of any of the local laws, and I beg to assure you that, on being informed that any person connected with this legation has done anything in that time against the laws or police regulations of this city, he will be at once disowned and denied all the legation privileges.

I take this occasion to offer to your honor assurances of distinguished consideration.


His Honor Hon. Francisco Fernandez, Acting Minister of Foreign Relations.

Señor Benitez to Mr. Washburn.


The undersigned, chief clerk of the department of foreign affairs, by order of the Vice-President, acknowledges the reception of your note of the 5th instant, in reply to one from the minister of war and marine, in relation to certain police disturbances, and returns this answer.

My government would have been pleased to find a satisfactory explanation of the incidents in question; but your account is incorrect, owing doubtless to false information. You will, therefore, allow me to give the correct version of the affair. The statement of the chief of police is as follows:

“On the 3d instant, a squad of police, under Edward Canteras, was patrolling the city, when at 51/2 p. m., on the corner of Atajo and Pilcomayo streets, they saw the American, James Manlove, and the Englishman, John Watts, come galloping towards them on horseback. The police called to them to halt; Watts stopped, but Manlove rode on. The police then seized his horse, and ordered him to the guard-house. He at first refused, but finally consented to go after outrageous abuse of the police that stopped him. While the police were engaged with Manlove, Watts escaped, and went back to the legation as you state.

“When Manlove arrived at the station the chief asked him why he rode through the streets against orders. It seems he did not understand, and an interpreter was sent for. While waiting, Manlove said in Spanish that he was going for the milk woman. In a short time you came to the station, and the events occurred, of which complaint was made.”

This plain statement will show you that what Manlove and Watts said was not true

[Page 662]

I will not now remind you of the surreptitious manner in which Manlove got into the country; hut I must say that his appearance in the streets was imprudent, knowing the contents of the note of the 23d from this department.

The government of the republic, in due appreciation of your apologies for the unpleasant circumstance, and regretting that it occurred at a time when the nation is struggling for its life, is astonished that you will shelter in your legation persons who have no right to seek refuge there.

In offering you an additional testimony of the friendly policy of our government towards yours, we hope you will not allow a repetition of such scenes, particularly as they are liable to occur frequently while the legation is so far from the seat of government, and in a military place, with such a large number of persons within its enclosure, admitted at the time of the evacuation of the city.

Thus having obeyed orders, I remain yours, &c.,


Hon. Charles A. Washburn, &c., &c., &c.

Mr. Washburn to Señor Benitez.

Sir: Since the interview which I had the honor to hold with your honor yesterday? when I took occasion to call your attention to the case of James Manlove, an American citizen, now under arrest on the charge of having attempted to enter the house of Mr. Lasserre, a French subject, I have learned some additional facts in relation to the matter, which I hasten to communicate to your honor. In the before-mentioned interview, your honor informed me that before making a decision of the case the testimony of Mr. Lasserre would be taken, in order to ascertain if he had given his permission to Mr. Manlove to enter his house during his absence. Fortunately I have a witness, Mr. G. F. Masterman, now, and for the last six months, living in this legation, who can testify to the following facts, a part of which I am able to corroborate on my own personal knowledge:

On the 24th ultimo, Mr. Lasserre, previous to leaving the capital, gave the keys of his house to Mr. Masterman in the presence of Mr. Manlove, and told them both to enter the house whenever they liked, and take and use anything they found which they might need. This was at about 11 a. m., and took place in Mr. Lasserre’s own house, which was then open, and when several people were in it on the azotea, of whom I was one, watching the shots from the iron-clads of the enemy, which had arrived and commenced firing that morning at the Paraguay fortress that was plainly in sight from the top of that house. Mr. Lasserre being obliged to leave town at that hour, bid me and the others good-bye, leaving his house open, not only the front door, but, as I remember well, the door of his main parlor. On giving the keys to Mr. Masterman, he requested him and Manlove to lock everything up safe after the other people should leave. Mr. Masterman returned home to this legation and gave the keys of the house to Mr. Manlove, who, at a later hour, locked up the house and also returned home.

Under this statement of facts, your honor will perceive that if there was any fault in entering the house of Mr. Lasserre, it was participated in by several others, including myself. Several persons were in it after the owner had left, among whom was Mr. Cuber-ville, a French citizen, having charge, at present, of the French consulate, as must have been well known to the police, since we were in full view at the top of the house from the time the firing commenced till the iron-clads run away. No objection, however, was ever made to the entrance at that time.

Your honor, I think, will also admit that if Mr. Manlove was authorized to lock up the house, he must necessarily have had authority to enter it and to unlock it. That the house was left open by Mr. Lasserre, I know of my own knowledge, and that Mr. Manlove locked it up is equally certain. It is also certain that he supposed he had a perfect right to enter that house, and had no idea that he was infringing any law of the country. I have been informed that he was told by the policemen who arrested him, that before entering the house he should have advised the police that he had been authorized by the owner to do so; but as there was no law to that effect, how could he know that such a thing was required? Mr. Lasserre, like every other foreigner, had an undoubted right to leave his house or other property in charge of any person in whom he had confidence. There is no law of France, or law of Paraguay, or law of any other civilized country that requires a man to intrust his private property, in which no third party has a claim, to any other person than such as he may himself elect. I am, therefore, unable to see how there has been any violation of law on the part of Mr. Manlove in accepting the care of Mr. Lasserre’s house, locking it up, and afterwards unlocking and entering it, as he had been authorized to do.

In giving the above statement, your honor will observe that every part of it [Page 663] harmonizes perfectly with what I give on my own personal knowledge; in fact, I have no doubt that it is exact and correct in every part, and being fully convinced of that fact, your honor will allow me to express the hope that Mr. Manlove may be immediately. set at liberty.

I take this occasion to tender to your honor assurances of distinguished consideration.


His Honor Gumesindo Benttez, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs.


Señor Benites to Mr. Washburn.

Your note of the 24th, dated in Asuncion, has been received. In it you state that after your interview with me on the 23d, calling my attention to the case of James Man-love, an American citizen who was arrested by the police, you had obtained further particulars, which you hastened to communicate, and that I had told you Mr. Lasserre’s testimony would have to be taken before the case could be decided; and that you had Mr. G. F. Masterman, who had lived in your house for six months, who could testify to the facts, a portion of which you yourself knew to be true. And you continue to say, that on the 24th, before Mr. Lasserre left the capital, he gave the keys of his house to Mr. Masterman, in Mr. Manlove’s presence, and told them to enter the house and take what they pleased. This was about 11, you say, in Mr. Lasserre’s own house, while several persons were on the azotea, looking at the enemy’s iron-clads firing on a fortress. Mr. Lasserre being obliged to quit the city, left all the doors of his house open, and requested Mr. Masterman and Manlove to lock them when they left. Mr. Masterman went to the legation and gave the keys of the house to Mr. Manlove, who locked up the house and came away. And you conclude, under this statement of facts, we could perceive there was no wrong in entering Mr. Lassere’s house. Several persons were in it after the owner had left, among whom was Mr. Cuberville, of the French consulate, who must have been known to the police, and that no objection was made to enter the house at that time. You will also admit, you say, that if Mr. Manlove was authorized to lock up the house, he must necessarily have had authority to enter it and unlock it. That the house was left open by Mr. Lasserre you know yourself, and that Mr. Manlove locked it. It is certain that he supposed he had a right to enter that house, and had no idea that he was infringing any law of the country. He was told by the policeman that he should have informed the authorities that he had a right to enter that house; and finally you express the hope that Mr. Manlove may be set at liberty without delay.

Before I reply to your note, you will permit me to give a summary of our interview which took place on the 23d of this month.

On the morning of that day you came to the department with your lady, and in her presence said you would like to settle the matter with me in a friendly way; that you regretted the incident; that after your return from Limpio, Mr. Bliss told you that Mr. Manlove had gone to Lasserre’s house for provisions, as he was authorized to do, and some policemen attempted to arrest him, but he returned to the legation followed by the chief of police, who told Mr. Bliss that Mr. Manlove must go to the station with him. Then Mr. Bliss went with Mr. Manlove to the station, to act as interpreter for him. This is the statement you made, and begged me to settle it amicably, as it had occurred in your absence.

I replied that the affair was certainly unpleasant, as my government was friendly to yours, and it was to the interest of the people of both countries to continue those friendly relations, but that Mr. Manlove was doubly guilty for going into the street, and for opening a house of another person after the city had been evacuated, and declared a military post by the government, and that the police were right in arresting him. Your answer was, that you knew Mr. Manlove was a respectable man, but of violent temper, and you would like him to go into the country or quit the legation, and asked me what would be done in the case. I then asked you if Mr. Manlove knew of the proclamation of February 23, and you said yes. I then told you the case would have to be tried, and I would report the result to you. I must add, that in that interview you told me Mr. Bliss slept in his own house and only came to the legation to eat.

Having thus stated the facts of the case, I will give you my answer.

I must confess, Mr. Minister, that I am surprised at your note; but I am compelled to believe that it was with the best intentions that you made the statement that Mr. Lasserre had given Mr. Manlove permission to enter his house during Ms absence, caused by the evacuation of the city by supreme command.

[Page 664]

There are so many subjects in your note I cannot reply to them all, but I must say that your reasoning is not logical when you say it was not wrong to enter Mr. Lasserre’s house because many persons did so, yourself among the number; and Mr. Man-love’s case is very different, for he went into the house after, till he was caught by the police on the 21st in the very act, and this was before the expiration of the forty-eight hours, in which the evacuation of the city was to be completed. Neither can I agree with you that if Mr. Manlove was authorized to close the house he was also authorized to open it at any time. The assertion that he thought he had the right to enter the house, without infringing any law of the country, is also false, because the note of the 23d, from this department, forbade Mr. Manlove and Mr. Bliss from going out of the house, and you made that order known to them. In alluding to the remark of the chief of police, that even if Mr. Manlove was authorized to enter Mr. Lasserre’s house, he should have asked permission of the authorities to do so, you say: “But as there is no law to that effect, how could he know that such a thing was required?” Now though there may not have been a law on the subject, it is evident if a man is not allowed to enter the city, he cannot enter a house in it without permission of the authorities, for the proclamation ordered the evacuation of the city, and forbade any one to enter it, after forty-eight hours had expired, without a special permit. So Mr. Manlove is doubly guilty, as he left the legation without permission, and entered a house against an express order, and there is no extenuating circumstance in his case. To admit your principle would be to destroy all authority for order in civilized countries.

Everybody will admit that Mr. Lasserre had a right to leave his house in the care of any man he pleased, under ordinary circumstances; but when there is an express law against such an act, he has not that right. To enter a house after the proclamation of the 22d, is equivalent to sacking an unpeopled city, and it is an aggravating circumstance in Mr. Manlove’s case, as he was forbidden to leave the legation. You say there is no law of France or Paraguay, or any civilized country, that requires a man to intrust his property to any other than he may elect, and I agree with you on the general principle: but I cannot see how Mr. Manlove violated no law by opening and closing Mr. Lasserre’s houses, after the expiration of the forty-eight hours, and under the circumstances mentioned.

When I received your note about Mr. Manlove and the police, after our verbal conference, I expected the thing settled, but I was sadly disappointed to find in it only assertions that no law had been violated by Mr. Manlove, and that he had acted rightly. But you must certainly admit that Mr. Manlove did violate laws by entering houses in the city of Asuncion, that was under martial law, and by leaving the legation after having been expressly forbidden to do so.

I will now remind you of my note of the 20th, when I thought the affair at an end, and advised you not to let it happen again, as it might while the legation was so far from the seat of government, and in a city which was under martial law.

I regret to have to make these details, but circumstances compel me to it.

You will allow me to mention that when military necessity demanded the evacuation of the capital, to make it a military post, the proclamation was sent to you with the note of 22d February, and on the 23d of the same month you were informed that the capital was a military post; and Mr. Beiges told you that Bliss and Manlove might stay in your house, but could not leave it, and you were informed that the seat of government was temporarily transferred to Luque. An answer to this communication was naturally expected from you, but none has been received, and you did not deign to give your reasons for not moving with the government, and choosing to remain in a military station, being the only one of the foreign agents who did so; nor did you give any reason for sheltering so many people in your house, and among them two whose names you refused to give to the minister.

After the note of the 23d, my government hoped that Bliss and Manlove would obey instructions through your advice, as they were staying with you contrary to law, but subsequent events have shown that they did not obey the decree, as Mr. Manlove’s row with the police demonstrates, as well as his forcible entry into Mr. Lasserre’s house. Mr. Bliss also violated the decree by living in his own house, and not at the legation, where he only came to get his meals.

This occurrence of circumstances, Mr. Minister, has attracted the serious attention of my government, and was the reason for asking an explanation of you, which we hope you will make, with a promise of no more violations of the law by persons in your legation. We also hope you will consider the justice of satisfying public honor and the dignity of the government by apologizing for Mr. James Manlove’s conduct. However well disposed this government may be towards the representative of the United States and its citizens, that have been always treated with consideration, it cannot comply with your request that Mr. Manlove be immediately set at liberty.

I embrace the occasion to repeat the assurances of my most distinguished consideration.


Hon. Charles A. Washburn, &c., &c., &c.

[Page 665]

Mr. Washburn. to Señor Benitez.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, on the 31st ultimo, of your note hearing date of the 29th, in answer to mine of the 24th, on the question of the arrest and detention of the American citizen Mr. James Manlove. This note of your honor has occasioned me both surprise and regret. In my previous note on the same matter I had given my reasons, founded in part on my own personal knowledge, for believing that Mr. Manlove had not intentionally violated any law or police regulation of Paraguay, and I cannot but be surprised at the different conclusions to which your honor has come on the same evidence. That it should cause me regret your honor can understand, as you will do me the justice to admit it has always been my wish and practice to avoid all unpleasant differences, and to arrange amicably, and withont insisting on technicalities or formalities, any question that might arise; and I am equally willing to concede that the government of Paraguay has shown a like disposition, and ever evinced a Willingness to waive forms and technicalities, going so far in some instances as to grant requests from courtesy that I could not claim as rights. For these reasons I deeply regret an occurrence like this of Mr. Manlove, in which I am compelled to take a view of the affair so different from that of your honor. My views of the case were expressed in my note of the 24th ultimo, and as they differ so entirely from yours, on which the government has formed its resolution to still detain Mr. Manlove as a prisoner, I do not see as any good purpose can be subserved by my reiterating my opinions, or alleging anything in addition. I have now only to report the case to my government and await its instructions; and, unless something now unforeseen should occur, the correspondence on the question, for my part, will close for the present with this letter.

In the note of your honor to which this is an answer, allusion is made to a circumstance that I am very glad to have this opportunity to explain, as I think it will appear that there was neither discourtesy nor neglect, as is intimated in your note, in my not answering at the time the letter of Señor Berges of the 23d, in which he officially advised me of the removal of the government to Luque. I wrote an answer to that note on the following day and sent my secretary three times to the different government offices to deliver it to some person who would forward it to Luque. After two unsuccessful efforts to find some person who would forward it, he went to the chief of police, who refused to receive it, and before I found an opportunity to send it I learned that Señor Berges had gone to Paso-Pucu. I therefore withheld it for his return, but as he did not return I did not send it until I was advised verbally by your honor that you had been named as acting minister of foreign relations during his absence, During this time circumstances had so changed as to seem to render it unnecessary to trespass any further on the attention of the government in regard to the personal affairs of this legation; and as in the meanwhile other events had transpired in which the removal of the government to Luque was treated as an accomplished fact, it did not occur to me after so long a delay that any formal answer on that point was expected or required by courtesy or official etiquette. The identical letter which I wrote on the 24th and endeavored to send to his excellency Señor Berges, I have the honor to inclose herewith. I can now only regret I did not send my secretary to Luque to deliver it at the time, but attaching little importance to it save as a matter of form, and not anticipating the departure of Señor Berges, I did not suppose that a delay of a few days more or less could make any difference. Another point to which your honor alludes seems to call for a reply from me; it is that I have not given formally the reasons that have led me to fix my residence far from the government and in a part purely military, making myself the only exception among the foreign agents, and admitting an increased number of persons into my premises without giving information of the fact as requested by his excellency Señor Berges.

To the first clause of this allegation, that I have not given my reasons for staying in this city, is that I had never heard it alleged that it was the duty of a foreign minister to give his reasons officially to the government to which he is accredited for preferring one place of residence to another. Foreign ministers, so far as I know, select their own places of residence, generally for their own convenience near the seat of government, and in my limited experience I have never known that a duly accredited minister was ever before called on to give formal reasons to any government, except his own, for his choice of residence, and much less to give his reasons for not changing it. Therefore, while I consider it would be improper to give reasons for acts for which I am responsible only to my own government, I will state my opinion on the duties of ministers and consuls in cases more or less analogous to the one under consideration, and shall cite such precedents as occur to me, as apropos to the occasion.

When James II of England left London and established his court in Ireland, he was not followed or accompanied by any foreign minister of neutral or independent powers; and in later times, when the capital of France has been in the possession of foreign [Page 666] invaders, the ministers have always remained to look after and maintain the interests of their own countries. It is true, that in those cases there was no order for the evacuation of the different capitals. Such order, however, would not have applied to foreign ministers, as they are not subject to the laws of the country to which they are accredited, and their legations are considered as extra-territorial, and being for the time out of the limits and jurisdiction of the country where they reside.

Many instances might be adduced in the history of Spain, Naples, and during the wars of Napoleon, of the capitals of several other countries when they were vacated temporarily by the government. But in no instance was the status or official character of the foreign ministers near the court affected. They never accompanied the government in its removals, but they staid at their posts in the interests of their own governments, to guard and protect the rights of their own people. They acted on the principle that ministers and consuls are appointed to reside in foreign countries in order to watch over and protect the interests of their own country and countrymen, and not expected to desert their posts at the time when their presence is most needed. Such, also, is expected of them by my government, and if the agents of other nations here have seen fit to pursue a different course, it is no guide for me.

But I have another instance to cite much more to the point and of a very late date. At the time of the invasion of Mexico by the French troops in 1882, there was a minister of the United States there, duly accredited to reside near the capital of that republic. The post was filled by one of our most illustrious and experienced statesmen. The French troops advanced, as your honor is aware, till they finally took the city of Mexico and set up the unfortunate Maximilian as emperor. Our minister, however, acting under direct orders from his government, refused to recognize him, or to treat him in any other way than as a usurper and an invader, having no right there. The government of Juarez, however, was transferred to San Potosi, and the United States minister was invited to accompany it, but he declined, and his course was approved by President Lincoln. Since that time another minister to Mexico, in place of Mr. Corwin, who at his own solicitation was permitted to retire, has been appointed, but he never entered the country till the government was re-established in its ancient capital. Under all these circumstances, and with so many precedents, if at this time I were to leave my legation and abandon the old and time-honored capital of Paraguay, I know full well that the act would be repudiated by my government and be followed by my instant recall. Your honor will see, therefore, that for me there was but one course to pursue, and having taken that course which I know will be approved by my government, I have nothing further to say in the premises. On but one other point of your note will I remark at this time. It is that where your honor says you await for explanations in regard to matters referred to in your letter, and also security that a similar act to that of Mr. Manlove will not be repeated by any of the persons now residing in this legation. The explanations have been given above. As for the security, I know not what kind of security is expected. I have duly advised all persons who have not been accepted and recognized as attached to this legation, and therefore entitled to all its privileges and immunities, that if they go beyond the precincts of the legation, it will be at their own risk and peril, and if in doing so they should be arrested by the police, I shall not interfere in their behalf.

I avail myself of this occasion to tender assurances of distinguished consideration.


His Honor Gumesindo Benitez, Acting Minister of Foreign Relations.