Mr. Cushing to Mr. Fish.
Sir: I arrived here on the 29th ultimo, and have remained watching the Progress of the war in Biscay, in order to decide at what time to proceed to Madrid.
Everything which has occurred since the date of my dispatch No. 6, of April 10, has tended to justify the conclusion then reached of not landing at Santander.
Intelligence has now arrived here of the success of the efforts of President Serrano to raise the siege of Bilbao. This result has been obtained, [Page 885] avowedly, in imitating the strategic movements adopted by General Grant before Richmond. A large force under General Concha was detached to turn the lines of the Carlists on their left, while General Serano operated on their right, and by means of a feint upon their center and the consequent accumulation of their forces at that point, he made sure the success of General Concha.
The effect of these operations was to compel the Carlists to abandon all their positions before Bilbao. It appears, however, that they retreated in order, and that thus, although defeated in their attempt to gain possession of Bilbao, they still continue in force, both in the Basque Provinces and in Navarre and Catalonia. But the campaign on the part of the government has been so far triumphant as to strengthen and confirm the power of President Serrano.
Meanwhile, however, there is extreme political agitation at Madrid, with many indications of the approaching dissolution of the present cabinet, and the formation of a new one of more homogeneous elements, but still under the presidency of General Serrano. For, although the enemies of President Serrano—and he has many—have the opportunity now of crying up General Concha at his expense, yet, on the whole, he seems to continue to have greater strength for the moment than any-other person in Spain.
Numerous reasons have presented themselves to forbid my appearing at Madrid prior to the determination of the military and political issue at Bilbao, and before the return of the President to the capital, invested with the prestige of victory; without which, indeed, it would have been impossible for me to present my credentials, or to enter into any official relations with the government.
I shall now proceed by way of Badajos to Madrid.
I have, &c.,
P. S.—I desire to express my obligations to Mr. Lewis, minister resident of the United States in Portugal; also to Mr. Diman, the consul here, for many acts of voluntary aid and courtesy, received from them during my detention at Lisbon.