Mr. Williams to Mr. Seward.

No. 37.]

Sir: I have the honor to, acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch No. 15, of date December 27, 1867.

The regular session of the legislative chambers was opened with the customary ceremonies on the 22d ultimo. The President read his message to the joint convention of the chambers. I inclose herewith pretty copious extracts, both from the message, (marked A,) and from the report of the minister of foreign relations and of public instruction, (marked B,) which may serve to exhibit the progressive condition of the republic, and the earnest disposition of the present administration to improve the material, moral, and educational status of the people. The endeavors made to extend primary education is particularly noticeable and commendable. Hitherto but little has been done in that regard, and the [Page 919]great mass of the rural population, and of the villagers, have been living in profound ignorance of books, and with not a few of the peculiar traits, habits, and modes of life of the aboriginal people of America. Such a population, as bigoted and superstitious as ignorant, furnish ready materials, as the history of these republics shows, for the operations of discontented, revengeful, or interested ambition, and for the evil exercise of venturesome talents, or unscrupulous shrewdness, whether of church or state.

That the present government has been able to awaken a general interest in education, and to do so much to set in motion any liberal system, and that its disposition is so earnest for universal instruction, even to the extent of inforcing attendance upon schools, furnish the most gratifying signs for the future peace and prosperity of the republic, and especially so if we add to these favorable indications the important influences of an increasing demand for labor, and steady employment, consequent upon the many new agricultural enterprises that now engage the attention and enlist the peaceful sympathies and efforts of intelligence and capital.

It is understood that the legislative chambers are almost unanimously in sympathy with the executive government. There would seem, therefore, no probability at present of any serious opposition to the administration of President Dueñas, nor any violent interruption to the admirable progress the public is making in the development of its agricultural riches.

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


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



Extracts from the message of President Dueñas to the legislative chambers of the republic of Salvador, January 22, 1868.

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Peace, the indispensable basis of the progress and well-being of nations, has suffered no change nor molestation with us during the year, and I have reason to believe will not be disturbed for time to come, for it is founded on the justice and equity with which public affairs are administered, and on our convictions and experiences of past misfortunes.

The political institutions are respected and faithfully observed by the executive and other public functionaries, to which circumstance we owe the regularity with which the national powers move in their proper spheres without conflicts; a point of difficulty with all governments which, like ours, are divided into absolute independent perogative and duties undisturbed by grave political questions, we have been permitted to give our attention to other interests of no less importance—to the regulation of the finances, public instruction, important internal improvements, and to an impulse of all those matters which produce positive benefits to the people. To these topics I shall confine myself in this brief discourse.

The friendly relations which the republic maintains with all the powers of Europe and America have been cultivated with the greatest assiduity, and it is with much satisfaction I have to inform you that no misunderstanding has occurred with any, but, on the contrary, the government has received constant proofs of sympathy and consideration. We have extended our political and commercial relations by the appointment of additional ministers and consuls, which represent us now in almost all foreign countries.

With the adjacent republics the greatest cordiality has been preserved. The compacts which unite us, and the obligations of national vicinage, have been religiously observed.

[Page 920]

The ecclesiastical authority has worked in harmony with the civil power, and has contributed with the means it possesses, by its high social position and by its ministry, to preserve order and morality among the people.

The supreme tribunal of justice, and the inferior courts, have labored during your recess with a regularity and independence which have contributed to the conservation of good order.

Higher instruction has made greater progress than in the preceding year. The national college and university are supplied with good teachers, excellent instruments and books, and with whatever is necessary for the better education of the youth. The revenues assigned to this branch have increased, and are now sufficient for the payment of the employes, for repairs of the buildings, and for the purchase of useful objects.

The academies of drawing and painting make additional progress daily.

A considerable expansion has been given to primary education, so that there is now no village, however small, that does not possess its public school regularly provided.

Equal care has been taken for the education of the female sex, and the progress made in the schools for girls is very marked.


* * * * * * * * * * *

The total product of the revenues for the fiscal year was $832,150 79, the expenditures, including payments of unconsolidated debt, $745,375, leaving an existing balance of $86,775 15 in the treasury. A comparison of these figures with those of last year show an increased revenue of $48,437 26. There is no foreign debt. The interior debt, which consists of circulating bills at six per cent, interest, reaches the sum of $694,380, having undergone a considerable reduction during the year last past. During the present season the harvests have had a regular augmentation, and commerce a rapid extension. Increased wealth and increased revenues may be expected during the current year. An arrangement has been entered into for the establishment of a bank, which will give much impulse to commercial transactions. Our money currency possesses defects in depreciation from long use, which render its circulation difficult, and the kind known as “clipped money” (Macuquina) should be wholly retired.

The government, through the proper department, will submit the project of a law to provide a remedy.

At the same time will be presented a new tariff-bill to correct the many errors and inaccuracies, and to supply the deficiencies of the existing law.

The public works have been carried forward with activity. The most important roads are kept in good condition, and new wagon roads have been opened, productive of great benefits to commerce and to the people. The work on the national palace continues without interruption. It is of considerable magnitude, and cannot be pressed forward as rapidly as might be desired.

* * * * * * * * * * *

In the department of war many reforms have taken place, and arms and materials have been purchased, which will be detailed in the report of the minister. The storehouses are well provided, and care is taken that they shall be kept prepared at all times for such emergencies as may arise.

The work of recompilation of the laws has been concluded, though not yet inserted into our codes. It will be presented to you for your approbation by the minister of the interior.

The laws, decrees, and orders enacted by the last legislature have been carried into effect.

The respective ministers will submit for your information certain projects for supplying defects in existing legislation, and for other objects of known utility. Your accredited patriotism, and your enlightened intelligence will best instruct you in the line of your high commission, and I invoke the Omnipotent to grant you the requisite success.



Extracts from the report of Don Gregorio Arbizir, minister of foreign relations and of public instruction of the republic of Salvador, made to the legislative chambers, January 29, 1868.

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During the past year no question has arisen to interrupt tranquillity and good relations with any of the countries of Europe or America.

[Page 921]

With the republics of Central America we preserve perfect harmony, and especially with Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, boundary states of Salvador, our relations have been most cordial and friendly. Our government has endeavored to pursue a line of conduct that could give no cause of complaint to our neighbors, and there has been a corresponding reciprocity on their part.

Under the shelter of this pacific and friendly condition, our commerce with these countries has greatly enlarged, and with intimate commercial relations unimpeded, harmony and fraternity among the respective people have been more and more cemented, local feeling removed, and a community of interests created, all of which is leading to a possible realization of a unification, not in the mode formerly attempted by the unjust, inefficacious, and destructive force of arms, but by those pacific means which are in consonance with justice, humanity, progress, and civilization. With some of the other republics of Spanish origin we maintain friendly relations, and the government has watched with anxiety the progress of deplorable occurrences in several of those states. We cannot be indifferent to the fortunes of these countries, with which we have a community of origin, of religion, of language, and of customs.

The great republic of the north, whose political institutions have served as a model for ours, has always given us proofs of sympathy and friendship. Our legation near the government of Washington continues established, and furnishes to the country important services. It has always been well received by that government.

At the beginning of the past year the President of the United States was pleased to accredit near this government, in the capacity of minister resident, Mr. Alpheus S. Williams, who was received by the President of the republic with all the consideration due to his official character. He continues in this country, discharging his functions in the most perfect accord and good intelligence with the government.

The government of the United States has also established consulates in various commercial places of the republic, to the incumbents of which corresponding exequaturs have been given.

With the powers of Europe with which we have treaties no occasion of disagreement has occurred. These treaties have been faithfully observed by both parties.

This government takes care that strangers shall enjoy every class of guaranty to their persons and property, even those with whose respective governments we have no express compacts.

The Italian government has been pleased to accredit to this government a chargé d’affaires, giving the appointment to the Duke of Licignano, with whom the undersigned, under the authority of the President, is about to conclude a treaty of extradition, which will be. submitted in due time for your consideration.

The government of her Britannic Majesty, with which our relations are perfectly frank and friendly, has accredited Mr. Edwin Corbett in the quality of consul general and chargé d’affaires.

Both Mr. Corbett and the Duke of Licignano have presented their credentials to the department in my charge, and were cordially received by his excellency the President of the republic.

Our legations in France, England, and Rome continue to the satisfaction of the government, and our relations with those countries remain on a footing of cordiality and good understanding. The government has thought advisable to appoint chargés d’affaires in Italy, Belgium, and Prussia, and has named for those posts Señores Julio Thirion, D’José Maria Torres Caicedo, and D’Adolpho Lindemann, citizens who under all aspects have merited the entire confidence of the government. For the purpose of better attending to the exterior interest of our international affairs, the government has thought it advisable to establish consulates in several commercial places of Europe and America, where the want of this class of employés has made apparent. A separate list of the ministers and consuls will be transmitted.

Such, Señores Representatives, is the actual condition of our foreign relations, which the government has striven to preserve in a satisfactory state by every endeavor compatible with the honor, the interests, and the dignity of the nation, and which policy we see now no reason to change.

A small state is constantly exposed to find itself involved in unpleasant and grave questions with other countries, but this government recognizes as a fact that its very weakness may serve as a condition of guaranty and security when it does all in its power to mark its policy with the stamp of good faith and of integrity.


Public instruction, necessary and useful to all countries and in all times, is indispensable in a state which, like ours, calls through its institutions all citizens to take part in the direction of its public affairs. A people exercising an act of sovereignty of the highest importance, that of choosing its agents selected from among all classes of society, without other essential conditions than knowledge and virtue, can never properly [Page 922]discharge that duty without the qualifications obtained through the instrumentality of public instruction.

From this conviction in the government springs its earnest endeavors to improve and extend the education of the youth.

The university, an institution which already does honor to the country, and which is especially charged with the direction of the professional courses, furnishes daily evidences of improvement and better results. In the capacity of its immediate chief, I have been able to observe and know the progress made. During the last year several studious and moral youth have concluded their respective terms, giving proofs of valuable acquirements (elementary though they may be) in many branches of the sciences.

* * * * * * * *

As to the professional studies, professorships have been established in conformity to the university statutes, with the single addition of a professorship of land-surveying.

The studies of the faculty of sciences and letters are arranged according to the requirements of the ordinances, but especial attention has been given to make more effective and advantageous the study of living languages as well as those of natural history and chemistry, so necessary to the practical uses of life, especially in our epoch. With this object, several apparatus, instruments, and other useful articles have been provided, without abandoning the purpose of making still further important additions and improvements in this regard for the university.

The national college, as I had the honor to say in my report of last year, was in a deplorable condition. The government, comprehending that this decline proceeded essentially from the organization of the establishment, gave it a new form, from which the most beneficial results have followed. A significant proof of its improved condition is found in the increased number of students. At the end of 1866 there were not more than from twenty-five to thirty collegiates. In the past year, in which commenced the new system, there were nearly one hundred, and it is believed with confidence that in the present year that number will be greatly increased.

* * * * * * * *

In conformity with the provisions of the university statutes the council of public instruction has permitted the establishment of departmental academies, where could be pursued the studies which correspond to the faculty of sciences and letters, and with conditions that the students should be subjected to an examination in the university as to the validity of their course of studies.

* * * * * * * *

As to the primary instruction, the purpose has been to extend it to every village. This education, gratuitous, as is that of the higher schools, can never produce its full benefits until it is made obligatory. In that way we may succeed in generalizing among the most ignorant class a knowledge of reading and writing, of the elements of morals, of arithmetic, and of the grammar of our language.

The education of the female sex has not been neglected. Several schools for girls have been established, and to others pecuniary aid has been given. For the purpose or giving the female youth an education superior to what hitherto could be given in this country, the government has arranged to bring from Europe instructors to found a female college.

We have encountered many difficulties in our endeavors to sustain the primary instruction, at least in the form and extension in which it actually is. The funds destined to this branch are deficient in some of the departments. To meet the most urgent of these necessities the government found itself obliged to make provision from the fund for extraordinary expenses.

The inspection and superintendence of the schools for drawing and painting having been put under the control of the secretaryship in my charge, it is my duty to inform you that both establishments have made great progress in both branches. The natural talent of our youth to comprehend the delicate harmonies of the fine arts is so remarkable that we may well indulge the hope of possessing in a short time artists who will do honor to the country, and who will demonstrate that the solicitude of the government to furnish this artistic institution has not been fruitless.

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If this brief relation gives you no notice of diplomatic labors on the part of the government to adjust difficult and disagreeable questions, nor that new systems of public instruction (which, perhaps, might soon prove inadequate) have been introduced, it will at least demonstrate that the government has endeavored faithfully to fulfill its obligations, has executed the laws with religious solicitude, and has striven to maintain intact the good name of the republic, and that it strives constantly to establish a system of public instruction as perfect in its extent and character as the peculiar circumstances of the country will permit.

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  1. San Salvador, January 29, 1868.