No. 21.
Mr. Hall to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 56.]

Sir: President Barrios returned from his visit to the United States and Europe early in November last, but he did not resume his official duties until the 6th instant, General Orautes continuing, in the mean time, to act as chief Executive.

Long before his return it was currently reported and understood that his principal object would be to resign the Presidency. * * *

On the 29th ultimo President Barrios sent a message to the National Assembly of Guatemala, then in extra session, tendering his resignation. He states that he is impelled to take this step on account of his impaired health and the impossibility of a restoration, while dedicating himself unceasingly, as in past years, to the wearisome labors of its Presidency. He expresses his belief that the time is opportune for his resignation, the internal peace of the country being assured, its foreign relations in every respect satisfactory, the boundary question with Mexico settled, and with no other country is there cause for disagreement 5 as from abroad there is nothing to fear, so at home there is much to hope for. Under these circumstances he asks the Assembly to accept his resignation.

The Assembly, in response to the message, while appreciating the President’s motives, declines to accept his resignation; it refers to the alarm the news has created among the people, that the towns (pueblos) have appealed to the Assembly not to accept it, and evidently not concurring with him as to the assurance of internal peace, manifests apprehension in regard to the reactionary party, and that the progress of the past few years may be arrested by the rude hand of anarchy. * * * General Barrios has, beyond all question, a strong hold upon the affections of certain classes of his own people who do not belong to the so-called reactionary party, and even among the latter he would be preferred to any one who would be likely to succeed him in the Presidency. The gist of the document, however, appears to be embraced in the following paragraph:

Although the Assembly has deemed it a duty not to accept the resignation, it promises to find some medium which may conciliate the demands of your health with the necessity for your services. This measure may he adopted in the coming ordinary session, when, perhaps, events may have transpired in relation to the Central. American union which shall have made it possible for you to select a favorable expedient for obtaining the conciliation desired by this legislative body.

It is understood, I am informed, that in the event that the project of a union of these states should not be carried out, the measure suggested by the Assembly will be to offer the President a leave of absence. This will be decided in the ordinary sessions of the Assembly in March next.

General Barrios accepts the decision of the Assembly, and on the 6th instant he issued an address to his people, announcing the fact and [Page 33] his resumption of the Presidency, although for a short time; he incites them to labor for the development of the country, gives a glowing statement of its natural resources, requiring only the will and effort to yield abundant treasures in return; he believes his country may become prosperous, wealthy and happy if all will unite to that end, each with his labor, his intelligence or capital.

In the mean time the subject of a union of the Central American states has been revived, and a member of General Barrios’s cabinet has been sent, I am informed, on a mission to the other states with the object of inducing their Governments to enter into a compact for the promotion of the project. It is known that the Presidents of Honduras and Salvador are already pledged to its support; there is doubt, however, in regard to Nicaragua and Costa Rica. * * * President Zaldivar, of Salvador, visited General Barrios in November last, and, it was then understood, with reference to this project of a union of the states; but, if reports can be credited, it finds no favor with the people that state of which he has received, since his return, unmistakable proofs.* * *

Very respectfully, &c.