No. 37.
Mr. Pringle to Mr. Bayard.

No. 454.]

Sir: I beg to report that the elections passed off quietly, and General Manuel Barillas has been elected constitutional President, and Vicente Castaneda Vice-President of the Republic of Guatemala.

The official announcement does not take place until Congress meets next August.

I also inclose a decree of General Menendez, President of Salvador, relative to the dissolution of the Assembly, and also the decree in which he declares the country under martial law.

I have, &c.,

Chargé d’Affaires ad interim.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 454.—Translation.]

Decree of General Menendez, President of Salvador.

Francisco Menendez, general of division and provisional President of the Republic of Salvador, considering:

That ever since the first session of the constitutional Congress there has been noticed a spirit of division amongst the members composing it, a departing each day further and further from that patriotism with which it should be inspired, so as to establish the institutions which must consolidate that real liberty, peace, and public order to which all Salvadorians legitimately aspire.
That notwithstanding the notorious designs of leaving an inadequate constitution, and not only a palpable but aggressive resistance to the reforms indicated by the executive power, the latter has reached the extreme of its prudence and tolerating spirit, abstaining from having recourse to those violent measures demanded by the public sentiment, from the desire to evade for the Republic a scandal and the evils attendant upon an abnormal situation of the country, as well as from the hope that it would have succeeded in causing the opposition circle to relax in their mournful endeavors to provoke difficulties and disturbances.
That the moderation of this conduct is almost interpreted as weakness on the part of the Government, and that, far from diverging from their intentions, which are hostile towards it and which are tending to denaturalize the glorious programme of the revolution, it appears better to have given them more strength of mind and greater audacity to bring into play their machinations, an overestimating and abasing of the unlimited liberty and the guarantees which this same Government has vouchsafed them.
That from this cause the dissenters, against the actual dictates and against a good and liberal constitution, have engendered in the Republic an anomalous, unsustainable situation, the uneasiness sequential to a public lack of confidence and the intranquillity among the citizens, which is the unavoidable result of the endless expectation of a revolutionized state of politics.
That of late the spirit of discord has manifested itself by events which have taken place in the excited session of to-day, in which a considerable number of members of the assembly, not wishing to become the plaything nor the ridicule of the opposition party, violently abandoned their seats, with protests that they would never return to occupy them, this action causing Congress to be spontaneously dissolved.
That the first and principal duty of the Government is to maintain sacredly the principles of authority and of public order, and it would not be compatible to the fulfillment of this duty were it to forsake the great social and political interests which are intrusted to it by going so far as to countenance with criminal indifference, thereby compromising its own dignity, the disorder caused in the very body of Congress itself, which threatens the public peace and the free and republican practices of the people of Salvador, whose guardian and defender it is.


First and only article. It is hereby declared that in consequence of the spontaneous dissolution of the constitutive Congress without fulfilling its high mission, [Page 51] notwithstanding that it had been organized for two months, the dictatorship in which the provisory government is invested by the will of the people shall remain in vigor until such time as the passions shall have become calmed and the Republic shall be at peace, when appropriate measures will be taken.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 454—Translation.]

decree of general menendez, president of salvador.

Francisco Menendez, general of division and provisional President of the Republic of Salvador, considering—

That the scandalous dissolution of the constitutional Assembly might give rise to new disorders, which the Government must avoid in time and repress in a prompt and energetic manner;
That however painful, and even repugnant, it maybe to appeal to measures of a grave character, it is necessary to do so in extreme cases, in order to preserve public order and when the tenacity and obstinacy of those who try to destroy the principles of authority, without whose shelter liberty is an empty word;

By virtue of all the authority with which I am invested,


  • Article I declares to be re-established in full force the state of siege under which the Republic has been maintained already a situation which the same national Congress dissolved to-day of its own accord brought about and determined to maintain.
  • Art. 2. This decree shall take effect from this date.