Mr. Seward to Mr. Washburn.

No. 78.]

Sir: Your dispatch from Buenos Ayres of the 26th of September last, giving an account of events at the close of your mission in Paraguay, has been received. The letter of this department to the Secretary of the Navy, a copy of which is inclosed, has been approved by the President. Any further measures which may be adopted will await developments.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Charles A. Washburn, Esq., &c., &c., &c.

Mr. Seward to Mr. Welles.

Sir: A dispatch was received yesterday from Charles A. Washburn, esq., late United States minister to Paraguay, which was written at Buenos Ayres on the 26th of September last. The dispatch shows that a controversy has been carried on for some time between him and the President of Paraguay. The merits of the controversy cannot be fully understood until a copy of the correspondence itself shall have been received, which is daily expected. Meantime Mr. Washburn’s dispatch conclusively shows that the situation of all foreigners, including United States citizens at Asuncion, is greatly imperilled, and that especially Porter C. Bliss and George F. Masterman, United States citizens, lately in some way connected with the United States legation, have suffered personel violence, and have perhaps been murdered. A dispatch has been received from Mr. Webb, United States minister at Rio, in which he states that he has requested Rear-Admiral Davis, commanding the South Atlantic squadron, to send or to proceed with an adequate naval force to Asuncion, to protect American citizens. Mr. Webb is unable to inform the department whether Admiral Davis would assume the responsibility of complying with this request without special instructions from this government.

The situation thus presented seems to me so critical that I have thought it my duty to advise the President that the rear-admiral should be instructed to proceed with an adequate force at once to Paraguay, and take such measures as may be found necessary to prevent violence to the lives and property of American citizens there, and, in the exercise of a sound discretion, to demand any other prompt redress for any extreme insult or violence that may have been arbitrarily committed against the flag of the United States or their citizens.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy.