Mr. Seward to Mr. Pruyn.

No. 4.]

Sir: I acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch of the 1st of July, No. 5, which paper gives us very full information of the success of the revolution at Caracas, and of the establishment there of a provisional but military government. The forbearance which you have practiced in your correspondence with the provisional authorities was judicious and proper. You will for the present refrain from any formal recognition of the revolutionary authorities and on that subject will await directions from this department. This instruction, however, must not be understood as preventing you from holding informal communication with the de facto public authorities upon any matters which concern this government or affect the rights or interests of any citizens of the United States. If an explanation of this policy shall become necessary, it will be sufficient to say that, on the one hand, the United States do not deny the right of a people to change the forms of their republican government, even by revolutionary means if they find it necessary; nor, on the other hand, do they prematurely commit themselves to any new revolutionary government before it is manifest that the new government has been deliberately and fully acknowledged and accepted by the people.

What the United States always most earnestly desire, in regard to the [Page 963] South American republics, is, that they may acquire settled habits of law, order, internal peace, and tranquillity.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Erastus C. Pruyn, Esq., &c., &c., &c.