Mr. Stilwell to Mr. Seward.
Sir: By the constitution of Venezuela, the congress of the republic is to meet on the 20th day of February of each and every year.
This year, however, they failed in organizing the two houses until the 2d day of April, owing to the fact that they were unable to procure the constitutional number for a quorum, although a less number had met and adjourned from day to day, from the 20th of February till the date of their final organization.
On the 3d day of April, the day following the organization of the two houses of congress, a large number of soldiers, disguised in citizens’ dress, entered the lobby of the house of representatives, for the purpose, as it was thought, of intimidating those members who were supposed to be hostile to President Falcon and his administration, and thereby secure the election of a first designado, (an office similar to that of Vice-President of the United States,) who should be the friend and in the interest of President Falcon.
The president of the house of representatives, who had been elected the day previous, by a majority of one vote over the candidate brought forward by Falcon, as soon as he made the discovery that the president intended to control the action of congress by force and threats, declared the house adjourned.
President Falcon returned to Caracas on the 25th day of March from Puerto Cabello, but he did not in fact resume the duties of the presidency until the 7th day of April, when, by an arrangement with those in sympathy with the revolutionists, he agreed to reorganize his cabinet by the appointment of gentlemen less objectionable to the opponents of his administration.
In pursuance of this arrangement, on the 8th instant President Falcon announced the following-named gentlemen as composing his new cabinet, viz: Minister for the department of interior and justice, and of public works, citizen Rafael Arvelo; for foreign affairs, José G. Villafañe; minister of finance and public credit, citizen Antonio Varejo; minister of war and marine, General Francisco Mejia. These gentlemen apparently are men of more popularity, ability, and character than their predecessors, and their appointment and acceptance have led the people of Venezuela to hope for a better state of political affairs. I have no faith, however, that the change will lead to any good results.[Page 941]
From the 8th, the date of the organization of the new cabinet, till the 13th instant, when the two houses of congress reassembled, negotiations were constantly going on between President Falcon and his friends on the one side, and those who represent the revolutionary interest on the other. It is thought that some understanding has been reached that will lead to some kind of a compromise and settlement of the pending troubles and difficulties. This conclusion is only warranted, however, by the reassembling of congress, and the appointment of commissioners upon the part the government of Venezuela and the insurgents, to agree upon some general basis of settlement, by which the revolution shall cease, which commission is now in session at Valencia.
Congress has done no business as yet, waiting, as it is thought, for the commissioners to conclude their labors at Valencia. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.