Page images
PDF
EPUB

the Don. Judging from this appointment, it is not probable that there will be much change in the spirit which actuates this department. The governor-generalship at Wilna is to be given to Count Albedinsky, formerly governor-general of the Baltic provinces.

A few days ago Count Bobrinsky, the ininister of ways of communication, was removed. The removal of Count Bobrinsky had been long foreseen, as he had got into a bitter quarrel with the minister of finances, growing out of the new method of subscriptions for railway concessions, which was very detrimental to the financial interests of the empire. The new minister of ways of communication is Admiral Possiett, well known in America as having accompanied the Grand Duke Alexis thither. His appointment is very favorably regarded by the press and by the commercial world. It is expected that he will pay more attention than the late minister did to the question of water-communications, and especially to the enlargement of the Marie Canal, which connects the Volga with the Baltic, and gives facility to the grain-trade, and to the construction of a good commercial port at St. Petersburg, , which is very necessary, and has long engaged public attention. Two other questions will also occupy the new minister-the construction of a railroad from Nijvi-Novgorod through Kazan to Siberia, and the reg. ulation of the freight tariff on the railways. At present the tariff is so arranged that a great portion of Russian produce seeks an outlet at Königsberg and Memel rather than through Russian ports. I have, &c.,

EUGENE SCHUYLER.

No. 532.

Mr. Schuyler to Mr. Fish. No. 10.)

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, St. Petersburg, August 12, 1874. (Received August 31.) SIR: I have the honor to inclose to you two copies of an extract from the leading article of the Journal de St. Petersbourg, of to-day, with reference to a proposed or rumored cession of the northern provinces of Mexico to the United States. I am, &c.,

EUGENE SCHUYLER.

(Inclosure.-Translation.)

(Extract from the Journal de St. Petersbourg, August 12, 1874.) According to a number of foreign journals there is a plan on foot for the annexation of several provinces of Mexico to the United States. Overtures are said to have been made by the Mexican government to that of Washington for the cession of all the territory situated north of a line drawn directly from the mouth of the Rio Grande to the Pacific Ocean, and the proposition is to be submitted, with great probability of its being adopted, to Congress during its next session. A number of the heaviest capitalists and of the boldest speculators in California are said to have already commenced a search for mines in the territories which are to be ceded. Several mines in Lower California have already changed hands, and engineers have been sent to Sonora and Chihuahua.

This project has already been discussed by the San Francisco journals. " It is evident,” says the Commercial Herald," that this news has produced deep sensation here, and that it is generally credited. By this cession the United States would acquira possession of Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, Chihuahua, Sonora, Lower California, and of a part of the States of Sinaloa and Durango.

“It is probable that the postponement of the final decision of the Mexican-American commission was based upon this cession, and it is not impossible that the Mexican government has been influenced by the attitude of the Government of the United States in relation to Mexican incursions into our territory. Mexico wants money, the States in question are far from the capital, and are connected therewith neither by railway nor by any other convenient means of communication; these States, therefore, cannot be controlled by the federal authorities, and are almost constantly in open revolt. It is in these reasons that the cause of the present determination of the Mexican government must be sought.”

“It remains to be seen," says the Nord, in referring to this subject, “with what degree of favor these offers will be received at Washington, where several of the considerations which have induced the Mexican government to propose this cession-the distance, the lack of communication, &c.—may be brought up as grounds for their rejection. It is true that the immense resources of the United States would enable them to overcome these difficulties more easily than Mexico could.”

No. 533.

Mr. Schuyler to Mr. Fish. No. 16.)

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, St. Petersburg, August 20, 1874. (Received September 9.) SIR: During the last few days the chief object of political interest here has been the proposition from Germany for the recognition of the present government of Spain. It is understood that most of the European powers, including England, France, Italy, and Austria, have agreed with Germany as to the propriety of such recognition. The Russian government, however, has refused to change its present attitude, on the ground that the government of Marshal Serrano has no legal basis. It has even been said here that no recognition will be given until the government has been sanctioned by a Cortes.

The attitude of Russia does not, however, arise from sympathy with Don Carlos. An envoy from Don Carlos was lately in St. Petersburg, and was refused an audience with the Emperor, though the letters he brought were received. I have, &c.,

EUGENE SCHUYLER.

No. 534.

Mr. Schuyler to Mr. Fish. No. 19.]

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, St. Petersburg, August 29, 1874. (Received September 17.) SIR: I have the honor to inform you that yesterday, in the Winter Palace, the marriage was solemnized, according both to the Russian orthodox and Lutheran rites, of His Imperial Highness the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovitch, the second son of the Emperor, with the Duchess Marie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, eldest daughter of the reigning grand duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The diplomatic body was present at the ceremony, by ukase of the Emperor. The bride will take the title of Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna. The Grand Duchess will retain the Lutheran religion. This is worthy of note, as hitherto the Russian laws have required the wives of all grand dukes to adopt the orthodox Russian faith. I have, &c.,

EUGENE SCHUYLER.

SPAIN.

No. 535.

General Sickles to Mr. Fish.

No. 782.

UNITED STATES LEGATION IN SPAIN,

Madrid, October 27, 1873. (Received November 14.) SIR: The official gazette of this date publishes the decree, a copy and translation of which are inclosed herewith, announcing the visit of the minister of ultramar to Cuba and Porto Rico. The preamble contains an interesting statement of the motives and objects of the mission, to which I beg to invite your attention. I am, &c.,

D. E. SICKLES.

(Inclosure.-Translation.] Decree of October 14, 1873, directing the colonial secretary to visit Cuba and Porto Rico. Published in La Gaceta de Madrid," October 27,

1873. PRESIDENCY OF THE EXECUTIVE POWER OF THE REPUBLIC.

Decree.

The firm resolution of the government of the republic to re-establish public order and peace in the peninsula is even more strongly held in so far as concerns those provinces whose remoteness from the mother-country calls for her greater solicitude and her first care.

The island of Cuba is perturbed by an insensate rebellion which seeks to menace the integrity of our territory, and which finds means of self-prolongation in the rigor of the climate and the nature of the country; and the action of the govertiment toward it must needs be vigorous and decisive, in order to put an end at all costs to a struggle the continuance of which deprives the island of the blessings of peace, renders impossible the development of its resources, and is a constant obstacle to the inauguration of the reforms demanded alike by humanity and civilization.

Its financial situation is, moreover, grave; and the exhaustion of public credit and the increasing want of confidence, joined to the needs the treasury is in, to realize every possible source of income in order to put an end to such a state of things, make it indispensable that the finance department promptly present an organized plan which will yield the government resources whereby to pacify the island and at the same time give it the means whereby the charges imposed on the province may redound to its prosperity and good.

The problem of slavery no less urgently demands a speedy solution. The government hopes that this grave matter, so intimately related to the social and financial tranquillity of the island, will be settled by means of the concourse and agreement of all; for the fact must not be forgotten that public opinion awaits with growing anxiety the day of abolition.

T'he republic, faithful to its principles, has given the widest latitude to the reforms which carried to Porto Rico the spirit of the revolution of September. Slavery there has disappeared; the first title of the constitution recognizes that the sons of that province enjoy the same rights as their brethren of the peninsula, and the government which aspires to the completion of its work needs due knowledge of the resnlts of such transcendental innovations.

But for the realization of its purpose the executive power needs to form an accurate judgment without contining its attention to the diverse opinions of the enlightened consultative corporations and of the most worthy authorities of the Antilles; and therefore it has decided that the colonial minister shall visit those provinces, shall inform himself as to their necessities, and shall decide upon or prepare the proper measures to assure their peace and prosperity.

The government looks for such great results from this determination, that it has not

hesitated to accept the generous offer of one of its own members, resting assured that all those who love the name of Spain will see that, while progress demands certain reforms and public opinion exacts the fulfillment of certain promises, the republic holds nothing, absolutely nothing, superior to the integrity of the nation.

In view of these considerations, the government of the republic decrees as follows:

ARTICLE I. The colonial minister shall visit the island of Cuba with the object of studying the means of putting an end to the present insurrection therein, of bettering its tinancial situation, of preparing for the abolition of slavery, and of establishing the reforms needed in the government and administration of the province, adopting immediately, in so far as lies within his powers, the measures he may deem expedient for the attainment of those ends.

He shall also visit the island of Porto Rico, with the object of examining the results of the reforms introduced there, and also of deciding, conformably to the powers belonging to him, upon whatever he may judge proper for its administration and government.

ARTICLE II. The colonial minister shall be accompanied by those employés of his department whoin he may designate, who shall receive such compensation as may be determined upon, conformably to existing regulations.

ARTICLE III. The expenses occasioned by compliance with the preceding articles shall be paid by and charged to the extraordinary war credit in Cuba.

ARTICLE IV. The colonial minister is hereby charged with the execution of this decree.

Madrid, October fourteenth, one thousand eight hundred and seventy-three.
The President of the executive power,

EMILIO CASTELAR.

No. 536.

General Sickles to Mr. Fish.

No. 784.)

UNITED STATES LEGATION IN SPAIN,

Madrid, October 27, 1873. (Received November 14.) SIR : : Among the noticeable features of the situation the condition of the Spanish finances is a circumstance not to be overlooked. The 3 per cent. consols of the foreign debt are quoted at twenty for a hundred. “ Inscriptions in the great book of the consolidated debt," or interior rent, are sold at sixteen, or less. No interest on these funded obligations has been paid since December last. The conpons which matured in July, of this year, are only worth 43 per cent. Those of December, 1872, are at a discount of 49 per cent.

The last loan put on the market at twenty-eight, shortly before the abdication of Amadeo, was only in part taken up by public subscription. At preseut any further loans are deemed impossible. A negotiation has been for some time pending in London to raise twenty mil. lions of dollars, at a high rate of interest, on the pledge of various securities, including scrip for a hundred and twenty-five millions of exterior cousols, but so far it has not been successful.

A mass of liabilities, constituting what is called the “floating debt," and announting to more than a hundred millions of dollars, consists in part of bills payable at fixed dates, secured by the hypothecation of valuables; these bills having matured and gone to protest, the Cortes compelled their removal and forbid the sale of the collaterals which were deposited in the Bank of Spain. This measure has compelled the government to go abroad for money, where special securities may be available in default of payment.

In truth, the public credit of this country is now lower than that of any other nation. It is nevertheless proposed to assume the payment of some fifty millions of dollars of the notes of the Bank of Havana, issued to the authorities in Cuba and disbursed by them during the past

five years, in addition to the enormous revenue raised from the island. You will remember that last year an atteinpt was made to fund this amount in 8 per cent. bonds issued on account of the Cuban treasury, A small sum was taken in Havana only, and the scheme was abandoned. Much alarm is felt here lest the financial crisis- in Cuba, of which this large sum of irredeemable paper is the immediate cause, may get more seriously hinder the government in its efforts to put down the insurrection. This, perhaps, is the real object of the journey of the colonial minister, who is preceded by a newly-appointed intendant of the treas. ury, Mr. Cancio Vilaamil, a former incumbent of the office, and said to be a competent person.

In order to raise the means for the prosecution of the wars in Spain, and to carry on the government, extraordinary imposts are levied, and the principal contributors in the provinces are compelled to subscribe to a loan reimbursable in taxes; or, in other words, to pay three or four years' taxes in advance. This measure naturally provokes complaint; yet if it has become impossible to borrow money elsewhere, and Spanish civil wars must be supported by cash drawn annually from the people, a remedy might be sooner found for the chronic disorders that afflict the country. I am, &c.,

D. E. SICKLES.

No. 537.

General Sickles to Mr. Fish.

No. 789.]

UNITED STATES LEGATION IN SPAIN,

Madrid, October 30, 1873. (Received November 18.) SIR: The colonial minister left Madrid last night to embark from Cadiz, day after to-morrow, for Cuba. The day before his departure he seni me à note, saying he would be glad to see me at the depart: ment. Availing myself of his polite invitation, I called ou hiin at 4 in the afternoon of the 28th. His excellency said he had received from President Castelar a list of the pending embargo cases, and that this matter should have his careful attention immediately on bis arrival at Havana. In reply to an inquiry from the minister, I stated concisely the history of the negotiations on this subject. I remarked that up to this time neither the plain provisions of the treaty of 1795, nor the repeated orders of his predecessors, nor even the decree of July 12, 1873, had been respected or obeyed by the authorities in Cuba. And I added that my last hope of a satisfactory adjustment of this very important question rested on the action he might now take on the spot.

Mr. Soler inquired whether I was informed of the very positive instructions he had sent to the captain-general some three weeks ago by order of the council of ministers. I answered that both President Castelar and Mr. Carvajal had kindly communicated to me the purport of them. Unfortunately, however, such orders had been given before without result, and I was not sanguine of any change for the better until his excellency's arrival should impress upon the various officials concerned a graver sense of responsibility to the home government. Mr. Soler said he was confident the instructions he had lately sent had not been disregarded. I intimated an apprehension, founded on a statement in the decree of the 15th instant, revoking the royal order of 1925, that the laws of the Indies" might enable the captain-general to

« PreviousContinue »