No. 810.
Mr. Russell to Mr. Fish.

No. 28.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a proclamation of the President to the people, 1, with translation; also his proclamation of a blockade and closing of the ports of the State of Falcon, 2, with translation.

The only important port In this State is Vela de Coro, which is rarely, if ever, visited by United States vessels.

The proclamation of blockade was published October 31, and an official notice thereof was given to me November 4. No notice has been officially given that any ports, except those of Falcon, are closed, and it is understood that all others are practically open except for suspected vessels sailing for Curaçoa, which is said to be now, as heretofore, the headquarters of those who planned the insurrection, and the base of its supplies.

Every day confirms my opinion, expressed in Nos. 23 and 25, that the rebellion will be promptly and entirely crushed. The newspapers are filled with loyal addresses. Enlistments are prompt. General Pulido, who tried to incite the east to revolt, failed, and is believed to be a fugitive. It is also reported, but not credited, that General Colin a has been defeated by General Marquez. It is said that President Guzman will take the field on November 9, marching for Falcon. It is to be regretted that the military operations are likely to interfere with the harvesting of the coffee-crop.

I am, &c,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 28.—Translation.]

Antonio Guzman Blanco, constitutional President of the United States of Venezuela:

To the Venezuelans;

Fellow-citizens: Performing one of the severe duties that the country demands in its days of affliction, I have to give you the sad news that General Leon Colina, preferring his personal ambition, as blind as it is impatient, to his duties toward the country and the liberal cause, has raised the flag of rebellion against the constitutional government of the republic.

It belongs to the people to come forward in the defense of their destinies, so impiously threatened, and for me it is the duty of offering my services with the same loyalty as in 1870.

The revolution is not against me, because I do not seek power, and because I exercise it against my will, against my private interests, and even to the injury of my health, yielding to the vote of the people, of the States, and of Congress, solemnly proclaimed and inexorably imposed. It is against the triumph of the revolution of April; against its conquests and advances, political, civil, and religious; against the liberty which the republic enjoys; against the established order; against the organized treasury; against our newborn credit; against the railroads commenced and to begin; against the roads undertaken; against the canals and aqueducts; the postal routes by land and the steam-lines that we have; against the people’s schools, which I have created; against the universities and colleges, which I have revived; against the immigration, which already permeates [our country] with varied and infinite germs of prosperity, to hasten a future of greatness and civilization.

It is a revolution of the ambitious and rapacious against liberty, order, the credit, and progress of the republic, which is realizing the revolution of April. There is no body, no lawful interest, not one honorable citizen, who does not feel threatened by it, and who does not hurl against it the protest of his indignation.

But with the sad news I can at the same time inform the country that I shall concentrate [Page 1220] an army of ten to twelve thousand men, posted even today from Barquesimeto to Caracas, because the people from State to State, from village to village, feel their sovereignty wounded by the bold attempts of the rebellion, and even before I had denounced the odious crime, have flown to take arms with the universality and enthusiasm which have always made decisive the triumph of popular causes. With this great army, which only represents the spontaneity of opinion, with 14,000 muskets which I have in the arsenal, and munitions and explosives for four campaigns, with a million of hard dollars to satisfy the cost of war, with four steamers, two of war and two for transport, it is impossible that in the end the rebels shall not be subdued, peace be reestablished, and the titles of my government be strengthened.

This ambitious attempt must cause evils to the country; but perhaps it has entered into the mind of the Eternal to give a lesson to agitators, to assure the future stability of Venezuela.

As chief of the revolution of April, I count now upon the visible protection of Providence. Never have I thought of myself, but of the success and honor of the cause of which I have been the leader. During the war I neither omitted efforts nor sacrifices till the enemy remained conquered and in submission. And during the two past years of peace I have realized such a change, moral and material, and so palpable are the results, that this period may be called, without arrogance, the period of the regeneration of Venezuela.

I have done more to conjure down the war. When I asked, when, as I may say, I demanded my retirement on the 20th of February, 1873, it was not because I did not have the noble aspiration to complete the work of my mission, nor was it for the selfish pleasure of reposing in Europe; I was not seeking the theatrical glory of inopportune disinterestedness, nor was it because I felt worn out and would take care that the future should not expose me. It was solely and exclusively an act which my patriotism desired to offer to the ambition of the generals, Colina and Pulido.

I knew that neither of them could wait the constitutional end of a period of four years, and that they would make attempts against the public repose to possess themselves more speedily of a power that makes them insane, because they do not know how much they are inferior to the duties which it imposes, nor how it martyrizes those who have ideas in their heads and virtues in their hearts to perform those duties worthily.

The country has done justice to my patriotism; it believes in my disinterestedness; and it is a witness, it is more than a witness, it is an actor, in its own regeneration. It will defend this with all its power, and I will serve it with my inflexible loyalty.

Long live the federation! Long live the revolution of April! Long live the peace of the republic!


[Inclosure 2 in No. 28.—Translation.]

I Antonio Guzman Blanco, president of United States of Venezuela, &c.:

In the exercise of the powers with which I am invested, and having in view what has taken place in the state of Falcon, viz, an armed rebellion against the political institutions of the country and against the general government, decree:

  • Article 1. The coasts of the state of Falcon are declared to be closed and in a state of blockade, from the mouth of the river Tocuyo to that of the river Oribono.
  • Art. 2. To make this blockade effective, the necessary naval force is stationed, (or “directed.”)
  • Art. 3. The vessels of war of friendly and neutral nations can enter, leave, and remain in the port of Vela de Coro, provided they do not in any way aid the enemies of the republic.
  • Art. 4. The commanders of the blockading vessels shall proceed in accordance with the ordinance, as to cruisers, of 1822 and subsequent amendments.
    Vessels leaving Europe, which have left their ports within two months from the date of this decree; those leaving the United States of North America within one month from said date; those leaving the West Indies, except Curaçoa and Trinidad, within fifteen days from said date; and those leaving Curaçoa, Trinidad, and Demerara after the day on which this blockade is notified to their respective authorities, on entering the waters whose coasts are blockaded, shall be notified by the commander of the blockading ship of war there present that she cannot pass the line of blockade; and only when she insists on the claim to continue in said waters shall it be considered as a case of violation of the blockade.
    The vessels referred to in the above shall be told, in the act of the first notification, that they may enter and discharge at any of the other ports of the republic not occupied by the rebels.
    When the times fixed are passed, every vessel entering the waters of the blockaded coast will be held to have been notified, and will be sent in proper custody to Porto Cabello for judgment by the admiralty court of said station.
  • Art. 5. The minister of state in the department of war and marine is charged with the execution of this decree, and with communicating it to those to whom it is proper.



Minister of War and Marine,

M. Gil.