Mr. Williamson to Mr. Fish.
San Salvador, October 20, 1873. (Received Nov. 18.)
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that the banquet yesterday was attended by a number of the representative men of this republic in addition to the President and his cabinet, and the toasts proposed and speeches made afforded me a good opportunity of witnessing the drift of the current public opinion. The first toast was offered by the minister of foreign affairs, as he said by direction of the President, to the United States, President Grant, and the United States minister present. It was accompanied by a handsome speech, in which the minister spoke of the ratification by the Congress of Salvador of the quadruplicate treaty, offensive and defensive, between the states of Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, as a sure pledge of pacification and of security against the disturbances created by reactionary factionists. He said it was a step in the direction of the happy and glorious union that existed in the United States, and for which Salvador had always been ready to make any sacrifices. I replied, and although I spoke in English, what I said seemed to be sufficiently understood to elicit applause and to be highly satisfactory to the President, whose health I proposed, with some complimentary remarks. Quite a number of speeches were then made, the tendency of all of which appeared to put boldly forward the idea of the unification of the five Central American States. Thinking the occasion appropriate, and after inquiring of the President and others whether it could be done without offense, I proposed, after some remarks upon his life, public services, devotion to the federal principle, and unhappy execution by a misguided people on the anniversary of Central American independence, the memory of the great leader of liberalism and federalism in Central America, Morazan. It was received with an enthusiasm that was a gratifying indication that the sentiments of the popular representatives were favorable to those ideas of Central American policy which under your instructions it is my duty to encourage. All the speeches contained very handsome compliments to our country, and I believe (not from these alone) that the United States are held in profound and affectionate reverence by the leading minds of Salvador.[Page 111]
To-day I called upon the President and minister of foreign affairs to bid them good-by, as I leave for Nicaragua to-morrow. They were both together at the President’s house. He told me the military operations of Salvador and Guatemala had been eminently successful in Honduras, with little loss of life on either side. He said his troops had defeated Barraona at La Paz, a town near but on this side of Comayagua, and had pursued them to the mountains north of Comayagua; that the factionists were few in number and completely demoralized, and he hoped General Solares, commanding the forces of Guatemala at San Pedro, would so move his troops as to prevent the factionists from reaching the seaboard near the mouth of the Uloa, off which the General Sherman was lying. He showed me a field-map of the theater of operations, and in my opinion if General Solares does not capture or disperse the defeated bands of Barraona and Palacios, it will be because he is deficient in military skill and promptitude, or because he is not well informed. I think that it is highly probable before this General Palacios and his party have found prayers * * * less efficacious than they had been persuaded to believe. The attempted revolution was not an unmitigated evil. It has resulted so far in consolidating the power of the presiding officers of Salvador and Guatemala in producing the ratification of the treaty between the four states, and will result in giving, I hope, to Honduras a constitutional President, who will be acceptable to the people, and, by his prestige as a military man, be enabled to suppress factious opposition. Various candidates’ names are mentioned, but my latest information is that probably General Lopez will be proclaimed and subsequently elected. Leiva, whom I mentioned in a previous dispatch, is said to have compromised himself or been compromised by his friends recently, in connection with the movement of Palacios. The President also spoke in animated terms of the bombardment of Omoa by the British ship Niobe.
* * * * * * *
To-morrow I expect to leave for Nicaragua.
I have, &c.,