to Mr. Evarts.
Caracas , May 14, 1879. (Received June 2.)
Sir: Referring to my dispatches numbered 105, 120, and 124, I have to say that I hear that the congress of plenipotentiaries, which met on the 27th ultimo, adjourned on the 13th instant, although I have not been able to learn positively that this is so. Its full proceedings have not yet been published. I am advised that it has, among other things, reduced the twenty States of Venezuela to seven, revived the constitution of 1874, and elected General Guzman Blanco provisional president, with a view to his continuing in this character, as I hear, until February, 1882, which statement as to time of tenure, I hold subject to correction should it prove erroneous.
He was, as I am advised, diplomatically recognized, on the 12th instant, by the representatives of Spain, England, Germany, France, Brazil, and Italy; and I hear that he purposes leaving on Monday, the 19th instant, for France, by the way of the United States, with the view of bringing his wife, or family to Venezuela. So it maybe he will visit Washington. If so, I bespeak for him the due courtesy which our country knows so well how to extend in such case.
To give some idea of the manner in which the present form of the power of General Guzman Blanco (that of provisional president) has been evolved out of the successful revolution, it is only necessary to make a single remark: In view of the composition and warrant of this “congress of plenipotentiaries,” made up of one man from each of the twenty States, the president thereof or his substitute, and several of the presidents themselves having been appointed, as I understand, by Guzman since his return; called together, as it has been, simply by a decree of Guzman, with no formal delegated representative power whatever, that I am advised of, from the States or the people thereof, and yet invited to employ and actually employing the greatest political powers, even to the extinction of the very States which near two-thirds of the members purported to stand for; it is certainly moderate to say that the proceeding presents a singularly curious and instructive phase of abnormal politics.
I am, &c.,