No. 666.
Mr. Caldwell to Mr. Fish.

No. 12.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that since my last dispatch a revolution has occurred here which has resulted in an entire change of the executive of this government.

The recent government having been elected in constitutional form, as a result of compromise between the two parties, “whites” and “reds,” which have from time immemorial divided this country, and having ruled with great moderation, it was hoped that the era of revolutions had passed, and that the country had entered upon a career of prosperity, [Page 1353] for which its situation and natural resources so admirably fit it. But it seems that the fires of party hatred, which, it was thought were extinguished, were only smouldering, ready to break out on the slightest excitement.

To understand recent events, it is necessary to recur to the attitude of parties at the time of the election of the recent President. Of the two parties, the whites and the reds, the latter were the stronger in the chambers, and would, if united, have elected their candidate. But there was a minority of the reds, composed of the wealthier and more intelligent of the party, who were unwilling to vote for the candidate of the majority of their party, (the present provisional governor,) and who put up as their candidate the late President, Dr. Ellauri, a lawyer of wealth and character and of very moderate views. The ultra reds, finding they could not elect their candidate, united with the moderate reds, and thus elected Dr. Ellauri against the candidate of the whites. Dr. Ellauri selected as his cabinet men from both political parties, and ignored the lower more radical and more dangerous men of his own party, the reds. The country, exhausted by constant revolutions, rallied enthusiastically to the support of the new government, and hoped that party feuds were buried, and that the era of peace and prosperity had come. It seems, however, that the ultra reds were merely waiting for a favorable opportunity to overthrow the government of their own creation.

The pretext was given by a bloody riot, which occurred on Sunday, January 10, on occasion of the election of alcalde in this city. While the voting was going on, on the steps of the church, in the public square, the lower reds commenced firing with revolvers upon the dense mass in the square, and the fighting continued until about sixteen were killed and some fifty wounded. The military were called out, and the riot was eventually quelled. The city was thrown into the most intense excitement, and the papers, the next morning, were filled with inflammatory articles denouncing, by name, those most prominent in the riot. Although these men were well known, being, many of them, notorious party leaders, the government made no arrests. The members of the cabinet urged the President to take prompt measures to bring the guilty parties to justice. The President refused to take any action $ whereupon the cabinet resigned en masse. The ultra reds, who have a majority in the lower house, but are in a minority in the senate, sent a deputation to the President, promising to sustain him if he would select his advisers from their ranks. The President refused to do so, and nominated, last Thursday, two cabinet officers from the moderate men; thereupon, the ultras proceeded to make a revolution.

At 1 o’clock, on the morning of Friday, the 15th instant, all the troops of the capital, (four small battalions of infantry and one of artillery,) under their officers, who were all, save one, in the conspiracy, marched from their barracks to the principal public square, where they stationed troops and planted artillery. The officers in conjunction with the ultras, pronounced the deposition of President Ellauri, and named as provisional governor Don Pedro Varela. No resistance was made, whatever. No arrests were made, not a drop of blood shed, nor a gun fired. President Ellauri fled from his house, and took refuge in the consulate of Brazil, and the next day went on board a Brazilian iron-clad lying in the bay, where he has since remained.

The provisional government has removed but few officers, and has preserved, hitherto, the most perfect order. They have acted with great vigor, and have already changed the arms of the infantry for Remingtons. There is no organized military force in the country capable [Page 1354] of resisting them, and it is reported, semi-officially, that the principal chief of the opposite party—the whites—has given in his adhesion to the provisional government.

President Ellauri has not resigned, and has issued no proclamation, and, it is said, has refused to go into the interior and organize an opposition to the revolution. It is quite possible that the revolutionary party, comprising but a small part of the nation, may be suffered to retain power. It is quite certain that they have complete mastery of the capital.

* * * * * * * *

Provisional Governor Varela has nominated as cabinet officers the following:

Minister of state, Don Isaac de Tezanos; minister of war and marine, Colonel Lorenzo Latorre; minister of treasury and foreign relations, Don José C. Bustamente.

I inclose a translation of an address of the Provisional Governor, Varela, in which it appears that the only charge made against President Ellauri is that he has failed to give offices to the ultra reds.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 12 —Translation.]

The provisional governor to the citizens and inhabitants of the republic.

The recent events of the 14th of January, which produced the fall of the government of Dr. José E. Ellauri and the will of the people and army of the capital have imposed upon me the duty of accepting the provisional government of the republic, to save the country from the evils of anarchy and civil war, which are the consequences of political overthrows produced by the blunders of bad governors who have been unwilling or unable to comprehend the duties of the high mission which has been confided to them.

On accepting, in circumstances so extraordinary, the charge, as honorable as weighty, of provisional governor of the republic, I consider it my duty to address myself to all my fellow-citizens, and all foreigners residing here, informing them of the patriotic motives which animate me in assuming the responsibility of the government in so critical a situation for our country.

It is not the ambition of ruling, nor the necessity of a distinguished position, which has determined me to occupy a post as difficult as laborious, but the desire of shunning greater evils to our country, so tortured by civil discords which do not proceed from the character of our people, but from the errors and blunders of its rulers.

The recent events which have produced the actual situation demonstrate this in the most eloquent and painful manner. When, two years ago, Dr. José E. Ellauri began his government, he found the republic pacified by the effort of all good citizens, who offered him the most sincere assistance in guiding it In the path of progress and prosperity, if, with a policy less narrow and petty, he had desired to avoid delivering the destinies of the country to a determined circle, and had known how to utilize the good disposition of a portion of citizens who were excluded by his administration. By design, by tenacity of character in not accepting any other mode of seeing than his own, or by not knowing how to comprehend the exigencies of public opinion, he has made useless the best intentions of citizens in favor of the public good, and, perhaps, without desiring it, has conducted the country to return to the errors of the times in which blind party spirit does not restrain itself even before the seat of the magistracy, errors which Dr. Ellauri condemns in his manifesto of the 12th of January. And recognizing this, the Ex-President did not understand that public opinion could not accept as truth his pretended political impartiality, since all his acts tended to favor one of the fractions of our parties, excluding from participation in the administration all others.

In accordance with this was the decree of the 14th of January, nominating two ministers who represented only the petty personal policy which public opinion condemned, and which produced the fall of the government of Dr. Ellauri.

In noticing lightly these acts as causes of the fall of the previous government, and which gave motive for my being called to the provisional government, I have no other [Page 1355] object than recalling them as a profitable lesson, and as a guarantee that the country ought to expect that, while I exercise my elevated trust, I will have no other policy than what the interests of the country demand, calling to serve them all worthy citizens, without making odious and unjust exclusions.

Although the initiative of the events which have created the necessity of a provisional government, while it assures public order and guarantees internal peace, proceeds from one of our parties, as governor, I recognize that the government of the republic is, and ought to be, the government of the country and for the country, without odious distinctions between citizens, for, to all, the government ought to accord protection in their political and civil rights, and the most complete equality before the law.

The pacification of April, 1872, is an internal compact confided to the loyalty of the nation, and the government, which represents the interests of the nation, will make it a duty to comply therewith.

The persons and the property of the numerous foreign population which reside in the republic merit also the most efficacious protection, and one of the principal attentions of my government will be the preservation of internal peace, that the persons and interests of resident foreigners may enjoy all the guarantees which our laws concede them.

As soon as peace and the situation become consolidated, the first duty of the government will be to cause the republic to establish in all its plenitude the constitutional order of its institutions, accidentally disturbed by the separation in fact of the person of Dr. Ellauri from the functions of President of the republic.

For the attainment of these patriotic objects, I hope that all well-disposed and patriotic citizens, whatever may be their political opinions or the party to which they belong, will not fail to lend their assistance to the provisional government, which has no part in the acts of the government of Dr. Ellauri, and which produced his fall, which was inevitable.

The question is of the good of the country which belongs to all, of repairing the evils already caused, and of shunning others still greater, which civil strife, always ruinous, produces; and to this work of reparation and common good all ought to lend their assistance. As governor, I shall esteem it an honor to accept that of all my fellow-citizens without distinction.

My only satisfaction and my greatest glory will be to see, as soon as possible, peace and concord established between my fellow-citizens, and the republic entering on the normal rule of its constitutional institutions.