Mr. Sullivan to Mr. Seward.

No. 4.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that I arrived here on the 7th instant, by the most expeditious route from New York, and would have [Page 999] proceeded by the first conveyance on my mission to Bogota had not all communication between here and there been cut off by the calamities of the fratricidal war which prevails to an alarming extent in this once beautiful and happy, but now blighted, country.

On the day of my arrival here, General Rudecindo Lopez, the secretary of war of the United States of Colombia, was peremptorily refused permission either to pass into or through the State of Magdalena, by an armed force under command of the President (General Riasco) of that State. General Lopez then ordered the federal troops stationed at Santa Martha to meet him as soon as possible at Carthagena, and on the 17th instant he arrived here with about four hundred troops, where he still remains, totally cut off from all communication with Bogota by General Riasco, who has proclaimed himself President of the United States of Colombia.

General Lopez has imprisoned Señor Onofre Yeugoechea, a wealthy and respectable native of this place, for having disabled and refused to refit a steamboat which General Lopez required to enable him to pursue General Riasco, who is said to be stationed about two hundred miles above this place, on the most commanding point of the Magdalena River.

Inclosure No. 4 shows that on the 18th instant General Lopez had blockaded the port of Santa Martha with the old and almost useless steamer Colombia. This act is considered here as a farce. On the 20th he caused the people of Baranquilla, a city of about twelve thousand inhabitants, to be assessed in the sum of $4,600 for the support of his troops; and of this sum the foreigners had to pay $3,000. He will require a larger sum in a few days. He is conscripting all native men he can find here to fill up his army. The people are becoming panic-stricken, and are concealing themselves from the draft. And now comes the great event:

On the 29th of April last, General Mosquera, the duly elected President of the United States of Colombia, had forcibly dissolved congress; imprisoned the governor of Bogota, and others; decreed the whole country in a state of revolution; and thus bid defiance to his enemies, who, it seems, were resolving to impeach and destroy him, as will appear from his decree and messages, published in his official paper of the 30th of April and 1st of May. He is reported to have about three thousand troops under his command at Bogota, and to be in no better situation there than his secretary is in here.

General Mosquera, though seventy years old, is still possessed of great energy, insatiable ambition and love of power. He is one of the ablest men this country has produced, and is feared by all. He has served as an officer of great merit in the army of Bolivar, whose sad and cruel fate seems to await the new dictator.

Bolivar died amid squalid misery, receiving his last scanty subsistence, in a lonely hut a few miles back of Santa Martha, from the hands of a pitying stranger.

The State of Santioguia, the most powerful, wealthy, and best governed of all these nine States, has sent a well-appointed army of five thousand men to crush General Mosquera in his stronghold at Bogota.

The State of Santander, another powerful State, is organizing a similar force for the same purpose.

The State of Panama, isolated by sea and long distance from the other States, will, at the proper time, inevitably seek to throw off the [Page 1000] confederate yoke, and set up for herself an independent government conformable to her long-cherished wishes and friendly to ours.

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


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


Decree for public order, issued by T. C. Be Mosquera, grand general and President of the United States of Colombia.

Considering, first, that the house of representatives in secret session has adopted a series of resolutions hostile to the cause of the republic, and which, if carried out, will certainly endanger the national sovereignty; second, that the executive power cannot consent to this crime of high treason, committed by an allied majority of illegal deputies, leagued together in the house of representatives on the 14th of March last, although opposed in their parricidal measures by the liberals of said house, now subjected and oppressed by said coalition; third, that the executive power has information that said coalition has determined to continue the session of congress, which will expire to-morrow in accordance with the constitution; it is decreed:

Article 1. The republic is declared to be in a state of war, in conformity with article ninety-one of the national constitution.

Art. 2. The session of congress is closed for this year.


José Maria Rojas, Secretary of the Interior and Foreign Relations.

Vicente G. de Piñeres, Secretary of War and Marine.

Alejo Morales, Secretary of Finance and Industry.

Froilan Lagarcha, Secretary of the Treasury and National Credit.


Message of the President of the Union to the presidents and governors of the States.

I send you the decree of public order, issued on the 29th, declaring the republic to be in a state of war, according to the ninety-first article of the national constitution, and the session of congress closed for the present year.

Events of which you have official notice, and the preamble of the decree, explain the motives for its issue.

The desire of the general government, under these circumstances, is to keep peace at all hazard, and this ought to be the wish of all good citizens.

I hasten, therefore, to inform you that what has taken place will not affect the internal government of your State, and that the national executive power will keep the peace with each one of the States, and see that no cause of discontent arises.

As order was disturbed by the majority of the coalition in congress, it was found necessary to declare the republic in a state of war; but this declaration does not affect the States, under their constitutions and local laws.

One of the great advantages of the federal system which we have adopted is the power to save the country from a majority tending to misrule, not representing the people in congress, and wishing to plunge into civil war, as would happen in like cases under a central rule. Your State, therefore, will not consider itself attacked by the general government, but will continue its administration in accordance to the constitution and laws of the republic. To put an end to the present condition of things, I recommend you to call together the legislative assembly, state to it what has occurred; let it pass resolutions to confirm order, and then elect senators and representatives to a new congress, to be assembled by order of the executive power of the Union, to restore the former condition of the republic which has been disturbed by the recent events [Page 1001] mentioned, to give strength to the federal institutions, and to order an election of a president for the next constitutional term.

Acting with judgment, as it is hoped your State will, recent events will turn to the people’s benefit, by putting an end to the frequent changes in administrations, caused by the spirit of disorder and continual anarchy that never ceases to threaten the existence of the republic.

If, unfortunately, some of the States do not comprehend the views of the general government, and evil passions excite to hostility, those States may rely upon all lovers of order and civilization to put down any rebellion, however great it may be, and the insurgents may expect the severest retribution, for the time has come when peace, order, liberty, and progress must be established on indestructible bases, at every sacrifice.

The executive power has asked congress to pass a law to make arrangements with the Roman pontiff, chief of the Catholic church, to settle the church question, which has so long disturbed the consciences of true believers. Such a law was passed on the 29th instant, and the executive power will instantly order its execution, so that the people and ministers of the Catholic faith may rest assured that their spiritual interest will be properly cared for.

The government of the Union was pained on seeing itself obliged to issue the decree of the 29th; but the nation knows it is not his fault, and that he did it under the pressure of inevitable circumstances.

The fact that it was issued in accordance with the ninety-first article of the national constitution, does not mean that it is an attack upon peaceful persons, who support the government, and contend for the salvation of the republic.

The city of Bogota has been formed into a federal district by the vote of the legislative assembly of Cundinamarea, to the great gratification of its inhabitants, with the approval of Dr. Jesus Jimenes, president of the State, who was appointed by the legislature to govern the district.

Public confidence, so agitated during the session of the last congress, has been restored, and everthing now promises peace, order, liberty, security and progress.

Your government will be duly informed of every event of importance that may take place.


J. M. Rojas Garrido, Secretary of the Interior and Foreign Relations.

Vicente G. de Piñeres, Secretary of War and Marine.

Froilan Lagarcha, Secretary of the Treasury and National Credit

Alejo Morales, Secretary of Finance and Industry.


Address of T. C. de Mosquera, Grand General and President of the United States of Colombia to the inhabitants.

Peace was restored on the 16th of March, by an agreement between the executive power and the dissenting party in congress, and the nation is pleased to learn that citizens who once differed in political opinions are now reconciled.

Civil war has broken out in the State of Magdalena, in spite of all I did to prevent it. A faction in congress choose to call order tyranny, a faithful execution of the laws despotism, and virtue a crime. These men have been faithless to their promises of the 16th of March; they are busy in destruction; they have taken all power from the President, and wish to ruin the country to get rid of its ruler.

The names of these men are known to you; they are enemies to national prosperity, and glory in their work of destruction; they would pull down the President, his political friends, and all who sustain him.

And the conservatives of congress, laying aside their proclaimed principles of order and virtue, have joined the opposition in all decisive votes, and have thus contributed to increase social disorder.

Colombians! A message to the presidents of the States will inform them of what has occurred, and will instruct them how to maintain their sovereignty by appealing to the people, the true sovereigns, whose duty it is to correct the legislative power when it attempts to destroy the federal union and the executive government.

Inhabitants of Bogota and Cundinamarea! The government promises you perfect enjoyment of your rights; it promises you security in your persons, so long as you obey the laws and submit to the constitution.

[Page 1002]

As soon as elections have been held, the new congress will convene and will hasten to settle existing difficulties.

Fellow countrymen! I hope you will confide in my intentions to preserve peace among you, and in my acts to save the nation.



Decree closing the port of Santa Marta to imports and exports.

Rudecindo Lopez, commander general of marine and chief of the 2d division of the Colombian guards, considering, 1st. That the sovereign State of Magdalena, of which Joaquin Riascos is president, is declared by decree of this date to be in open rebellion against the national government; 2d. That the enemy must not be allowed to seize upon the national revenues, to be used against republican institutions; 3d. That the important port of Santa Marta is situated within the territory occupied by the rebels; by the power conferred upon him by the executive, and in obedience to instructions, decrees:

Article 1. The port of Santa Marta is hereby declared closed to import and export trade.

Art. 2. One of the national war steamers shall cruise along the Colombian coast in front of said port, to effect the blockade.

Art. 3. All goods and merchandise brought into the port of Santa Marta contrary to these provisions shall be considered contraband, to all intents and purposes. Goods intended for that port may be discharged in any other open port of the republic, without permits or certificates from the officials of the closed custom-house.

Let this be promulgated.


J. M. Pinzon Rico, Assistant Secretary.