General Sickles to Mr. Fish.
Madrid, December 3, 1872. (Received December 23.)
Sir: Day before yesterday, in the afternoon, the president of the council of ministers called to see me and took occasion to speak of the action of the cabinet the night before. He confirmed the statements made to me at an early hour of the morning by Mr. Martos, and assured me of his firm purpose to proceed without unnecessary delay in the execution of the measures resolved upon in council with reference to Porto Rico. He regarded the resignations of the war and finance ministers as inevitable, and as soon as he could safely accept them, in view of the state of business in their departments, the emancipation law would be presented to Congress. He said he saw no reason that could hinder action beyond the 23d instant, the day when the conscription should be completed.
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I am, &c.,