Mr. Washburn to Mr. Seward.

No. 103.]

Sir: The inclosed* dispatches which were written and forwarded by me about a year ago, to the care of our late minister here, Mr. Asboth, were handed to me yesterday by Mr. Worthington, who found them among a lot of loose papers left by his predecessor. It would seem that the state of Mr. Asboth’s health for several months before he died was such that he was unable to attend to any business.

I am now awaiting the arrival of Admiral Davis and Mr. McMahon. From the former I received a letter some two weeks ago, in which he informed me that he should leave for the Rio de la Plata as soon as Mr. McMahon should arrive at Rio, and as he said it would be of great advantage to them both to confer with me on the situation of affairs in Paraguay before my departure for the United States, I have awaited their arrival. I hope they will soon be here, as I am impatient to be away. The state of Mrs. Washburn’s health, however, has not been such since her arrival here that it would be safe for her to venture upon the sea. I am in hopes, however, she will so far improve that we shall be able to leave in time to take the American steamer of the 26th November from Rio.

I observe that there is not entire harmony of opinion between our minister at Rio and the admiral. I regret this extremely, as the difference has arisen in regard to the proper course to be pursued respecting my difficulties in Paraguay. Both of them have written to me in the [Page 685] kindest terms, and have expressed a desire to do anything in their power to assist me. Mr. Webb has already done much; for I fully believe that if the Wasp had gone up the river a month later, it would have returned without me. The admiral has written that to vindicate me and my conduct from the aspersions of the press, both here and in Rio, he is disposed to send me as far as Rio in a vessel of the squadron, in case one can be spared for that service. From this I am led to suppose that he was not fully decided whether or not to send a part of the squadron to Paraguay to demand satisfaction from Lopez.

I have nothing later from Paraguay since my last dispatch. The allies seem to be moving on in their old sluggish way, but what has become of the unhappy wretches still left in the power of Lopez no one here knows anything later than I have already written in previous dispatches. Mr. Gould, the English secretary of legation, went up in a gunboat to try and get away some of the English, but he was unsuccessful. He refused to trust himself in Lopez’s power, as, having been in Paraguay before, he knew the danger.

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


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

  1. The dispatches above referred to are the following from Mr. Washburn: No. 94, December 13, 1867; No. 97, April 7, 1868; No. 98, April 7, 1868; No. 99, April 7, 1868. They will be found in their proper chronological order.