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Mr. Perry to Mr. Seward. No. 69.]


Madrid, July 7, 1862. Sir: I bave the honor to report for your information that on the 4th instant I called on his excellency Mr. Calderon Collantes, by appointment, at his office of state, and after some other conversation said that I had lately received an instruction from Mr. Seward relative to Mexican affairs, the import of which I was glad to have an opportunity to communicate to her Catholic Majesty's minister of state. Mr. Seward, whilst he considered that the uncertainty still hanging over the course of events in Mexico counselled him to defer further discussion upon that subject, especially after the clear and full explanations of the views of the government of the United States which he had already given to the powers that signed the convention of London, nevertheless, had authorized me, on one point, to speak with all the strength that might be needful for the assurance of the government of Spain.

Mr. Calderon said that he was very desirous to hear from the government of the United States on this subject. Public attention has been strongly excited by the report that the United States had concluded a treaty with Mexico, in which various provinces had been pledged in security for the payment of an advance of money to Mexico by the United States.

i thereupon read your instructions No. 31, May 29, to Mr. Calderon, and remarked upon the last paragraph that notwithstanding the reports which had reached Madrid of a treaty by which the sovereignty and independence of Mexico were supposed to be put in jeopardy through the diplomatic action of the United States, he ought to feel assured that there was no such plan on the part of the government of Washington, either executed or intended to be executed.

Mr. Calderon was glad to have that assurance. The principle announced by Mr. Seward, that respect for the sovereignty and independence of nations was the most effectual security for peace and the progress of civilization, met his hearty approval. Spain had acted on this principle, and would continue to act. It was a neglect of this principle which alone could bring on serious complications.

Of the fact of the existence of a treaty pledging the sovereignty of certain Mexican provinces for the repayment of money to the United States, he believed there was little doubt. England had assigned this as the motive for not ratifying a treaty signed by Sir Charles Wyke and based on the existence of that treaty of the United States. Though there were other reasons why England did not ratify the Wyke treaty, this was the one assigned, and, indeed, he must say that the American treaty, if carried out, would, perhaps, furnish the only basis for a new diplomatic arrangement between the three European governments in regard to Mexico.

I said I had seen such a treaty mentioned in the newspapers, but had not received a word concerning it from my government. All I could say about it was exceedingly adventurous, and founded on no kind of knowledge, official or extra-official; but Mr. Calderon would remember the assurances heretofore expressed by me personally, and not contradicted by my government, that the United States were not ambitious to extend their territory upon the south, but, on the contrary, would welcome any arrangement made by the Mexicans themselves, in the free exercise of their national will, which should establish the prosperity, sovereignty, and independence of that nation upon a firm basis as quite as profitable to the United States as to any other foreign power; and Mr. Calderon would, at the same time, call to mind that an offer of money in aid of Mexico was made from the first by the United States, and announced to the allied powers. If the American minister had now concluded a treaty by which the United States should advance money to Mexico for the purpose of aiding that republic to traverse in safety the diffculties in which she was now engaged, that was no more than carrying out the original policy of the United States in this Mexican business. I could understand it very well thus far, and I could indeed imagine that the American minister at Mexico, in casting about for an adequate security for the proposed loan, should have found himself a good deal at a loss in the present state of Mexican affairs. He might, of his own accord, have determined in favor of a territorial guarantee, if so, it was probable he did it looking exclusively to the financial aspect of the question, and out of his natural anxiety to secure the loan by a guarantee which should not prove afterwards to be fallacious, without, perhaps, considering sufficiently the political bearings of such a stipulation at this moment. Such a stipulation, though intended to have a purely financial effect, I was forced to confess, in view of what Mr. Calderon had said, was unfortunately liable to be misinterpreted in another sense ; but he would observe that it was also said that President Lincoln had not thought proper to offer this treaty to the Senate for ratification. Perhaps the President had doubted the expediency of taking a pledge of this description from Mexico at this moment. We were speaking wholly without knowledge, but this circumstance, taken together with the strong language and evident meaning of the last instruction of Mr. Seward to myself, ought to have the effect to reassure the government of her Catholic Majesty upon this point.

Mr. Calderon made some observations not repelling but rather following up the same train of reasoning, and I again repeated, in different form, many of the considerations heretofore urged by me to show that the policy of annexation in Mexico and Cuba had been the policy of the statesmen of the South of the United States, opposed and counteracted by the statesmen of the North, and that the only possible wish of the present administration would be that Mexico should be able to maintain her sovereignty and independence throughout her present difficulties.

Mr. Calderon said that he was disposed to accept this view of the case, and remarked that it was evidently adapted to the actual state of things in the United States, where, undoubtedly, we were exposed to a recognition of the independence of the Confederate States in case a contrary policy should guide our policy in Mexico.

I replied that I did not suppose the Emperor of the French would allow himself to be led into such additional error in America. The time had passed when a European recognition could be of service to the rebels themselves. Probably its immediate effect would be only to precipitate a blow at the root of the rebellion, which the government had not yet thought it necessary for the preservation of the republic to deliver, and had therefore withheld; but, if any serious complication should threaten us from abroad, Mr. Calderon would remember that the institution of slavery, with all the complications depending from it, could be abolished at a stroke; and standing on that platform, the United States would meet the nations of Europe who came to sustain that institution or our soil with little apprehension as to the ultimate result.

Thus terminated the conversation on the subject of Mexico. It will not fail to arrest your attention, and I have to say that Mr. Calderon's espres. sions in regard to the supposed treaty by which Mexico pledges territory in security for money to the United States are not stronger than was warranted by the tone of public feeling here.

This news has given immense aid to the French party at this court, and tells hard against the rising influence of the United States.

Mr. Calderon's hint that this treaty might be a basis for a new alliance between the three powers will probably be confirmed to you by our ministers at London and Paris.

French diplomacy has been laboring hard for this result, and will not fail to improve this circumstance to the utmost, at least, in Spain, where the rooted apprehension of our extension on the south comes well in aid of their purpose.

I do not think it politic to mention the case of St. Domingo as an instance of Spain's respect for the sovereignty and independence of nations last year, and accepted with pleasure Mr. Calderon's present assurances in this respect, so honorably illustrated by the recent action of General Prim in Mexico. With sentiments of the bighest respect, sir, your obedient servant,


Secretary of State, Washington.

Mr. Perry to Mr. Seward.

No. 69.]


Madrid, July 11, 1862. Sir: At a recent interview with Mr. Calderon Collantes, that minister inquired if I had received a copy of the treaty recently concluded between the United States and England, concerning the mutual right of search, for the suppression of the African slave trade. He was much surprised that, after combatting that principle so long, the United States should have yielded now a right so exceedingly liable to be abused in practice, and he was very curious to know what provisions had been stipulated to guard the exercise of the right from such abuse.

I replied, regretting I could give no information other than what Mr. Calderon had himself seen in the newspapers. I understood, however, that the stoppage of the use of the American flag in the slave trade was an object which would naturally commend itself to the favor of the present government of the United States, and I inquired if Spain had not herself conceded the same right.

Mr. Calderon said that she had, at a period in her history which could not be recalled with pleasure, but that ever since he himself had held the portfolio of foreign affairs he had been desirous of an opportunity to revise that whole treaty in which the right of search was thus granted to Great Britain. The exercise of this right was vexatious, and, besides, the English were always talking, in Parliament and out, of their having purchased this right of Spain for £40,000 sterling money, always putting their money forward, and he (Mr. Calderon) would be exceedingly glad of an opportunity to give them their £40,000 and have the treaty back again.

Mr. Calderon asked me if I supposed the recent treaty would be ratified by the American Senate. I replied I had no reasonable doubt that it would be, and remarked that I supposed that England was now taking steps to obtain the same concession from the government of France.

Mr. Calderon said he had little doubt of it, but he wished to see the American treaty, as it might afford a basis for demanding a revision of the Spanish treaty as to the manner in which this right was to be exercised.

Though, perhaps, this conversation was not intended by Mr. Calderon to

be reported to you, I have thought it interesting; and have the honor to remain, sir, your obedient servant,


Secretary of State.

Mr. Perry to Mr. Seward.

[Extracts.] No. 70.]


Madrid, August 1, 1862 Sir : You will have learned by the public press that the marquis of the Havana, General D. José de la Concha, late captain general of Cuba, has been appointed embassador of Spain to Paris, and that he left Madrid last evening for his post.

I have not enjoyed a personal interview with General Concha, nor do I pretend to know the tenor of his instructions. I have, however, conversed personally with General Prim, immediately after an interview betwen these two generals, in which I acquired the certain confirmation of my knowledge from other sources that the ideas of General Concha in regard to Spanish policy in America and as to what ought to be the action of Spain in the question of Mexico, are wholly distinct from and opposed to those of General Prim.

General Concha belongs to the party in Spain which believes that the only salvation for Spanish interests in America is in a close alliance with France. He will certainly re-establish that alliance if it can be done, and goes to Paris for that purpose.

The vacillation of the O'Donnell government has been great. It was for many days doubtful whether General Concha would receive this appoinment. The apprehension of danger from France has, however, overcome all reasonable arguments for firmness in the policy indicated by the retirement of the Spanish troops from Mexico, under General Prim.

The triumph of French policy in the Italian question, as shown by the recognition of Italy by the Czar of Russia and the King of Prussia, has had its effect. The Spanish government has begun to entertain some apprehensions from the isolation in which it is left on that question by Europe, and will not long withhold its recognition of Victor Emanuel as King of Italy.

Our own reverses before Richmond, at Charleston, and in the west, have been studiously and atrociously exaggerated in the English and French presses, from which Spanish ideas of foreign affairs are principally gathered. I have labored strenuously to counteract the effect of these representations, by such translations and republications as I could make from our own newspapers. But the news is bad at best, and the governing classes here, always desirous of the separation of the republic, always secretly and avowedly in sympathy with the rebels, by whom they hope such a separation will be rendered possible, have seized with avidity these indications of what they imagine to be the declining power of the north.

* As I have before informed you, the palace at Madrid is possessed with a vague sense of danger, looks with mistrust upon the marriage of the King of Portugal with a princess of Savoy under the patronage of Napoleon III., and at last has, as it seems, determined to flatter this personage, and will accede to his demands in the matter of Mexico.

In aid of this resolution comes also the abandonment by the Emperor of his candidate, Maximilian, for a Mexican throne, and his dissatisfaction with Almonte and the Mexican personages whom his representatives in Mexico seemed disposed to sustain at all hazards.

With these concessions on the part of the Emperor, I feel it my duty to report that the co-operation of the Spanish government in his measures as regards Mexico is, for the present, virtually secured. What form this will take hereafter is yet to be seen. With sentiments of highest respect, sir, your obedient servant,


Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

Mr. Perry to Mr. Seward.

[Extract.] No. 73.]


Madrid, August 16, 1862. Sir: I have the honor to enclose two papers referring to the case of the Mary Scaife, rebel brig, which has recently sailed from Barcelona, loaded with a valuable cargo, ostensibly for Vera Cruz, but really, as is supposed, for running the blockade of our southern coast. I formerly informed you that this vessel had succeeded in running the blockade outward from Charleston, and had arrived safely at Barcelona, with a cargo of cotton, which she there discharged.

The correspondence of our able and efficient consul (Mr. J. P. Little) at that port will have kept you informed of what happened at Barcelona, and the manner in which this vessel was transformed into the Good Luck, and placed under the British flag. I do not, therefore, burden the mail with documents which will have reached you directly from Barcelona. My reply to Mr. Little of August 12, approving his temperate, business-like, and effective action at Barcelona, will be found marked B.

Our consul at Gibraltar (Mr. Sprague) has been active, under my direction, as our consular agent for Algeciras; and Captain Pickering, with the Kearsage, (steamer,) has been incessantly cruising to the eastward of the straits, for the purpose of intercepting this vessel, but with no result up to my last advices.

Your instruction (No. 37) of the 21st of July, in reference to the projected coal depot at Cadiz, has been immediately put in course of execution; and I shall probably be able to send you the full and minute report desired by the Navy Department by next mail steamer from Liverpool.

Your No. 38, of July 28, has also just reached me; and for the flattering expressions it contains I beg to return my thanks.

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With the highest respect, sir, your obedient servant,


Secretary of State.

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