General Sickles to Mr. Fish.
Madrid , November 12, 1873. (Received December 8.)
Sir: Night before last I called at the executive mansion, and was received by President Castelar with his usual amiability. His excellency had scarcely welcomed me when he exclaimed “How deeply I deplore the execution of the four prisioners at Santiago de Cuba! What a misfortune that my order was not received in time to prevent such an act! It was against the law, and the only excuse offered is that a sentence of death had already been pronounced against these men.”
Interrupted for a moment, the President continued: “Such scandals must cease. A conservative deputation was here this morning, and I told them frankly that we must put an end to slavery in Cuba; it brutalizes all it touches!”
I replied that so grave an offense against civilization should indeed have a great atonement, and in the abolition of slavery the cause of these barbarities would disappear.
His excellency proceeded to state, in reply to a reference to my interview with Mr. Carvajal, that, in conformity with our understanding, a series of interrogatories had been put by cable to the captain-general, the replies to which would afford the information necessary to a just appreciation of the case in any international aspect it might have. The government of the republic had every disposition to treat the matter dispassionately, and to come to & resolution in harmony with the of the nations and the friendly relations it desired to preserve with the United States.
In reply to my request for early intelligence of the action proposed to be taken, Mr. Castelar assured me that I would receive a communication from himself, or Mr. Carvajal, as soon as the answer of the captain-general could be considered by the council of ministers.
I am, &c,