No. 538.
Mr. Cushing to Mr. Fish.

No. 431.]

Sir: We are, according to all appearances, on the eve of interesting events, military and political, of which report will be transmitted in due time.

A decree of this date, ordering the retaliatory confiscation of the property of Carlists, is annexed in copy and translation, as one of the indications of a new stage in the war between the government of Spain and its rebellious provinces.

I call attention to the circumstance that, in the prefatory exposition, the minister of gohernacion cites and relies upon the example of the United States.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure to No. 431.—Translation.]

Decree of June 29, 1875, enforcing retaliatory measures against Carlist sympathizers.

[From the “Gaceta de Madrid,” June 29, 1875]


Sire: In view of the evils of the civil war, impelled by the clamor of public opinion, and basing its act on a law of just defense, the government constituted in July of [Page 1129] last year decreed the embargo of the property of those who were found to be members of the factions, and of those who are aiding them with resources, news, and whatever other means they deem conducive to keep alive the flames of discord and to facilitate the impossible triumph of absolutism.

That measure, if it needed justification, would find it most fully in the example offered not many years ago by one of the nations which lead the van in civilization, and which at the time was victim of a civil war, which, like ours, disturbed its peace and menaced its existence.

It is a law of warfare, admitting of no argument, to deprive the enemy of whatever resources may strengthen his insistence; and it is an eternal law of justice, written in every code, and ever will be to exact indemnification for injuries caused by crime and violence, at the expense of the authors thereof.

For such just and evident considerations, the government of Your Majesty has maintained in force the decree of July 18, 1874.

It is necessary, however, to recognize that neither the government which framed it, nor that of Your Majesty, although for very different reasons, have carried it into effect with the rigor demanded by the character which the defenders of Carlism have impressed upon the war. The patriotic care not to exacerbate the war in the interest of the country, and in the hope that it would soon terminate, is no longer possible in view of the tenacity of the enemy and the barbarity of his acts. Within the limits which every well-ordered government finds set for its measures by the mere fact of its being such, it becomes needful, therefore, to display all the severity possible, and to proceed with inflexible resolution against all those upon whom rests any responsibility for such outrages.

Kidnaping of persons, conflagrations and shootings, perpetrated in their raids by those who style themselves soldiers of the religious faith of our ancestors; the system of extermination which they carry out against the persons and property of those who remain faithful to the legitimacy personified by Your Majesty and to representative institutions, confiscating and selling landed estates and publishing proclamations, in which they adjudicate to the provinces the property of the liberals, give their so-called authorities the right to cut down woods and plantations, and destine the proceeds of confiscations to the rebel troops, ignoring the principle of ownership as much as the most violent communists could do, all this forces the government to propose to Your Majesty several measures to yield resources to indemnify the villages and families, to render easier the administration of the estates embargoed under the decree of the 18th of last July, and more rapid the application of the proceeds of their revenues, and to put an end to the constant conspiracy maintained in the cities by those who, abusing the tolerance of the government and the noble purposes of Your Majesty, find in this impunity opportunity to favor and aid their armed coreligionaries.

Such are the ends which the government proposes to attain by means of the accompanying project of decree, which, in accord with the council of ministers, the undersigned minister has the honor to submit to the approval of Your Majesty.

Sire: At your majesty’s royal feet,


royal decree.

On the proposal of the minister of gobernacion, and in accord with the council of ministers, I hereby decree the following:

  • Article 1. Those who may acquire for themselves or for a third party, or who may authorize or intervene, directly or indirectly, in the sales of property made by the so-called Carlist authorities in the territory occupied by them, whether such estates belong to the towns or are those confiscated from private parties, shall be prosecuted and delivered up to the courts of justice in order to make effective the civil and criminal responsibilities determined in the code for the authors of crimes against property.
  • Art. 2. Shall be expelled from Spanish territory all those families whereof the head or any of its sons may be found serving in the factions, so soon as the authority of the respective province shall have cognizance of this fact; it being understood, for the effects of this article, that the family is composed of the persons legally subject to the control of its head. If it appear to the authority that, against the will of his parents, any one has taken up arms and joined himself to the rebels, all measures with respect to the parents shall be suspended, giving account thereof to the government.
  • Art. 3. All the individuals who have belonged to Carlist committees or juntas, and who shall not present themselves within the fixed term of fifteen days from the implication of this decree, before the nearest gubernatorial authority to make their submission and recognition of the King and his government, shall suffer the penalty prescribed in the preceding article.
  • Art. 4. For each person whom the Carlists cast into prison or hold as a hostage, the authorities shall proceed to detain, from among those known by their adhesion to or sympathy with the cause of the rebels, a number, which they shall fix according to the circumstances of each case, giving account thereof to the government Those detained for this reason shall remain in the public jail of the respective province until the government shall determine their ultimate destination.
  • Art. 5. The proceeds and revenues of property embargoed, and which shall be embargoed, in virtue of the decree of July 18, 1874, shall be destined in the first place to indemnify the injuries caused in the locality or in the province wherein they lie, and the remainder, if there be any, or the entire proceeds in other cases, shall be applied to the purposes prescribed in the decree of the 18th of July.
  • Art. 6. The administration of embargoed property shall, from the publication of this decree, cease to be in charge of the provincial sub treasurers, and shall be confided to administrators appointed by the minister of gobernacion, conformably with the needs of this service in each province.
  • Art. 7. These administrators shall be directly dependent upon the subsecretaryship of the ministry of gobernacion, to which they shall make monthly return of the proceeds of the estates placed in their charge, adding thereto a report of the state of the lands, the improvements necessary to be made therein, and all other details which they may consider opportune for the most exact and skillful fulfillment of this decree and of that of July 18, 1874.
  • Art. 8. The net proceeds of the embargoed estates shall be remitted by the administrators to the ministry of gobernacion, in order that the latter may determine their distribution to the corresponding uses. These funds, immediately on their receipt in the ministry, shall be deposited in special account-current in the bank of Spain, remaining at the order and charge of the subsecretary’s office, which shall organize a bureau for preparing the necessary expedientes for the administration and employment of these moneys. The resolutions relative to the definitive employment of these funds shall be drawn up by the minister of gohernacion, in accord with the council of ministers.
  • Art. 9. The accounts of the administrators shall be subject to the approbation of the subsecretary’s office of the ministry of gobernacion, and those which the latter office shall prepare quarterly of the employment of the funds it receives shall be submitted to the examination and approbation of the council, of ministers.
  • Art. 10. The administrators shall receive as sole salary a certain percentage of the revenues of the embargoed estates, which shall be fixed by the ministry in each case in view of the proceeds and of the amount of the lands placed in their charge, and all other expenses of administration shall likewise be deducted from said revenues.
  • Art. 11. By the minister of gobernacion, in accord with the minister of finance, shall be prepared the neccessary instruction for the delivery by the provincial subtreasurers to the special administrators of the property embargoed up to date.
  • Art. 12. The minister of gobernacion shall prepare the requisite instructions for fixing the powers, bonds, and responsibilities of the administrators and other requirements needful for the good management and employment of the revenues from embargoes.
  • Art. 13. By the ministry of war shall be addressed to the generals-in-chief and captains-general of the provinces in which rebel forces exist the orders conducive to the execution of this decree.


The minister of gobernacion—