No. 539.
Mr. Cushing to Mr. Fish.

No. 435.]

Sir: I think you may desire to be fully informed regarding the proposed general sequestration of the property of Carlists in arms, or actively aiding their fellows in arms, seeing that it bears on a question so much discussed by us in the matter of Cuba, and seeing also that it [Page 1131] professes to be in imitation of the policy of our Government during the secession war.

For this reason copy and translation of a circular on the subject in to day’s “Gaceta” are herewith transmitted.

It is understood that, in aid of these instructions of the minister of gobernacion, the minister of war has issued instructions to the generals in the field and to those in command of military districts to effect the expulsion or deportation of the families of all active Carlists, the destruction of all crops susceptible of being utilized by the enemy, and the sequestration of the property of all persons who directly or indirectly favor the rebels, whether by seditious propagandism or with material supplies, the proceeds to be applied preferentially to the indemnification of loyal persons who may have been prejudiced in person or property by acts of the Carlists.

These measures are warmly applauded by most of the journals of Madrid, which, indeed, tor some time past have been complaining of the gentleness and complaisance of the government in this respect, and exhorting to imitation of the greater energy of action displayed by our , Government in like circumstances.

Announcement is made to-day of the actual application of these meassures of rigor to the property and families of the Duque de la Union de Cuba, the Conde de Bornos, and other persons of distinction in Madrid.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosnre in No. 435.—Translation.]

Circular in reference to the execution of the decree of June 29 against the Carlists, dated July 1, 1875.

[From the Gaceta de Madrid,” July 2, 1875.]


The punctual execution of the decree published in the “Gaceta” of the 29th of June last demands as much activity as energy on the part of the authorities at the head of the respective provinces. The government is resolved that its enactments shall not be a dead letter nor a mere menace of severities continually postponed. These measures, which the conduct of the rebels imposes as necessary, must be applied with inflexible rigor, and it is indispensable that, setting aside all manner of personal considerations, you become imbued with the determination of the government, and, without vacillations or condescensions, give it your aid by the means you may have within your reach to realize that determination. The ends of self-defense, which justify legislative embargoes, ought to be a practical truth, because if they are not to produce positive benefits, whether in the indemnification of loyal citizens or in the chastisement and breaking up of the enemy, it would be better to forego them, and not add loss of prestige on the part of the authorities to the humiliation of impassively looking on and beholding proceedings by means of which the right of property is abolished for the liberals throughout the kingdom and the complete realization of its value is attempted in the territory occupied by the rebellion.

The government, far from this, if it with pain finds itself obliged to accept such exceptional measures, understands that the unavoidable consequence thereof is to make its effects speedily felt, and in all parts the existing decrees, not being mere theoretical declarations but positive enactments, which must be fulfilled with the most persistent rigor to all their extremes.

It will not be hidden from your good judgment that embargoes of property are not solely chastisements, repressions of individual offenses; they are, before all and above all, a war measure; and that even as their justification and foundation can alone be found in the cruel necessities of warfare, so also they should reach, if they are to be [Page 1132] efficacious, all those who may he considered as enemies in the civil war which is destroying us, even though the place wherein they may chance to be, the circumstances which surround them, or other causes foreign to their desires, may prevent them from taking up arms or displaying the Carlist standard with their own hands.

There is now no truce for the hopes that, out of respect for the principles of humanity in the relations of the combat, the sectaries of absolutism will moderate the traditional ferocity of their proclamations and their conduct; and it is impossible for the government to renounce its superiority and fail to search out the enemies of the nation wheresoever they may be found, while the rebels are legislating for all its territory, and are executing their exactions upon the liberals to the utmost limits to which their roving bands attain.

So, then, although in the province administered by you, the Carlist party may not be actually in arms and may not appear to be perilous in this conception, it is needful that you apply to its individuals the provisions of the decree in question, so that as many as may result as being in any way identified with the rebels, whether by maintaining correspondence with them, or by receiving and propagating journals, or performing analogous acts which constitute party and political ties, shall be considered as declared enemies, and for all effects of the embargoes shall be treated as such.

The government holds a conviction that as many as may be found in this case are in nowise grateful for the benignity or tenderness with which they have hitherto been treated, since the effects of their hostility are alone limited by their-impotence; and it judges that it may better to its own profit the conditions of the struggle by depriving those persons of their means of action, and no longer tolerating their hostile, thankless, and underhanded course.

Acting on these principles, the government has accepted and developed a system of legislative embargoes, and you must perforce put it into practice in your province with inflexibility and at the same time with impartiality, without affording pretext for the suspicion, even, that so melancholy a necessity of war be mixed in any case with any other ends, taking especial care that in no instance shall it be made the instrument of private vengeance or local jealousies, and punishing with extreme severity whatever abuses may chance to be committed in this matter, which unfortunately affords such scope for abuses.

To this end you are to compare and seek your information from different sources, and to incite the zeal of all the authorities and dependents of your administration, so that one and all may second you m your course of investigation into the resources of the enemy, relying upon the firmest support of the government in whatever steps you propose or adopt, founded in equity and in the real necessities of this service, whatever may be the nature of the difficulties which offer themselves in its realization.

The administration of embargoed property, now confided to functionaries dependent upon this ministry on account of the difficulties presented in giving similar functions to the officers of the treasury, demands also your especial attention, since, as the representative of the government in the province under your command, the duty is incumbent upon you of causing to be obeyed the instructions which are given you in this behalf, and to watch that all legitimate exigencies of public opinion be satisfied. In a word, these measures, by their own nature, are essentially political; and, obeying rather the procedure of circumstances than absolute principles, you should give to their execution the energy and activity which I reiteratedly recommend to you, for only thus will you respond to the design of the government, which is no other save that of abbreviating the duration of the struggle, and causing it to bear less heavily on those who adhere to the cause of order and of liberty.

By royal order I say this to you for your information and the consequent effects. May God guard you many years.


To the governor of the province of —.