Mr. Day to Mr. Woodford.

Personal and Confidential.]

Dear Mr. Woodford: I have your favor of the 21st ultimo, as also your note of the 19th ultimo. I have, furthermore read your personal letters to the President, which have kept him so thoroughly advised of the situation. As to De Lôme, I agree with you that that incident is, fortunately, closed. The publication of the letter created a good deal of feeling among Americans, and but for the fact that it was a private letter, surreptitiously if not criminally obtained, it might have raised considerable difficulty in dealing with it diplomatically. As soon as we learned of its authenticity the first cable was sent to you suggesting the recall of the minister. De Lôme had been advised the day before, and cabled his resignation before the letter was brought to the Department. Your prompt and efficient method of dealing with the matter after its serious import was known, and your firm, dignified [Page 681] action in the interview with the minister, no doubt led to the satisfactory termination of the incident. Everybody that I see seems well pleased with it, and no one wished trouble about a matter of this kind. If a rupture between the countries must come, it should not be upon any such personal and comparatively unimportant matter. We sent you day before yesterday full instruction covering the Cuban situation, as you will see it is bad enough.

The De Lôme incident, the destruction of the Maine, have added much to the popular feeling upon this subject, although the better sentiment seems to be to await the report of the facts, and to follow the action of the President after the naval board has made its report. Whatever that report may be, it by no means relieves the situation of its difficulties. The policy of starvation, the failure of Spain to take effective measures to suppress the insurrection, the loss of our commerce, the great expense of patrolling our coast—these things, intensified by the insulting and insincere character of the De Lôme letter, all combine to create a condition that is very grave, and which will require the highest wisdom and greatest prudence on both sides to avoid a crisis. Yesterday came your cipher telegram to the President as to Captain Crowninshield, etc. Captain Crowninshield’s mission had nothing whatever to do with Cuba. He was accompanied by his son, and not by young Garcia, disembarked from the Brooklyn, came back to Key West, and thence home by rail, after learning of the destruction of the Maine, as he wished to be at his post in the Department. The suggestion of the withdrawal of General Lee meets with no favor with the President. Like yourself, the General has been in the midst of surroundings often unfriendly, and has borne himself with dignity, patriotism, and courage, deserving the support, not the disapproval, of the Administration. As to the objectionable newspapers, their sensational and unfounded reports are the cause of as much embarrassment at home as they can be abroad. The only remedy seems to be the sober sense and judgment of the people. There are many things, my dear General, which can not be written, but we all appreciate how difficult your position is and with what sagacity and fidelity you have discharged its manifold duties. I wish I could have a full talk with you. It may be that things will take such shape that the President will conclude to send a special messenger to you with full information, which no amount of writing could make available to you. The President highly appreciates your good work, and often speaks of it in the warmest terms.

I beg to add my personal assurances of confidence and esteem, and remain,

Very sincerely, yours,

William R. Day.