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necessary orders to the authorities of the island of Cuba, to the end that no difficulty should be put in the way of permitting the consul of the United States to visit and confer with the American citizens who may have been found among the passengers and crew of the steamer Virginius, I have the honor to inform you that, immediately after becoming acquainted with the note to which I refer, the executive power hastened to send the proper orders to the aforesaid authorities of Cuba, enjoining them, besides, very particularly to be careful to extend to all the American citizens comprised among the passengers and crew of the Virginius such guarantees and means of defense as are allowed by our judicial procedure and are conceded by the treaty of 1795 to American citizens.

I improve this occasion, &c.,

J. DE CARVAJAL.

No. 843.]

No. 621.

General Sickles to Mr. Fish.

UNITED STATES LEGATION IN SPAIN,

Madrid, November 18, 1873. (Received December 11.) SIR: I have the honor to forward herewith a copy and a translation of a note dated yesterday, and received to-day, from the minister of state, in reply to the communication I addressed to his excellency on the 15th instant, in compliance with your instruction dated the day before, demanding reparation for the unjustifiable capture of the Virginius and the punishments illegally inflicted on her officers, crew, and passengers,

I send these under cover to Mr. Moran, with the request that he will without delay cable to you the translation in cipher, and, if so ordered by you, the Spanish text in the original.

I

I am, &c.,

D. E. SICKLES.

P. S.-I have appointed Lieutenant-Commander Kennett, of the Navy, a special bearer of dispatches for this purpose, deeming the occasion a proper one for the exercise of this discretion, and have advanced to him $100 in gold for his expenses, of which a due account will be rendered. D. E. S.

[Inclosure.-Translation.]

Mr. José de Carvajal to General Sickles.

MINISTRY OF STATE,

Madrid, November 17, 1873,

SIR: Your communication, dated yesterday, demanding satisfaction in favor of the United States, which you worthily represent, for the capture of the steamer Virginius and the executions which have taken place at Santiago de Cuba, contains certain deficient or erroneous preliminaries which it is proper to set right in all their integrity, so that due appreciation may be had of the attitude of the Spanish government from the time those occurrences came to its notice.

On the 6th instant the capture of the vessel was known in Madrid; and at once (en el acto) the government sent a telegram to his excellency the captain-general of Cuba, enjoining that no sentence of death should be carried into execution without the approval of the said government.

This order implied no doubt concerning the justice of the proceeding and the punishment; it was the expression of the desire which animated the executive power to examine whether in any of those extreme cases it was possible to harmonize with the action of the law and with public safety the exercise of clemency, which prerogative is usually delegated by our colonial legislation to the captain-general.

The spontaneousness of this step, anterior to any action, and even to any knowledge

of the matter as far as you were concerned, was recognized by the Government of the United States and by yourself, as I had the honor to hear from your own lips on the 8th instant, in the conference which you call official, and which was held after you and this government had received information of the shootings of the 4th, which unfortunately took place two days before the said telegram, and of which the news did not reach Madrid until the day succeeding the dispatch of the same.

You certainly declared in that conference that your Government did not take the initiative in any reclamation, and awaited until that of the Spanish Republic, animated by the cordiality of the relations which exist between the two nations and by elevated sentiments of justice, should come to a decision respecting any wrong which may have been committed against the citizens or the flag of the United States; and certainly I stated unreservedly, but without prejudice to any point of fact or of right, that the Spanish government, by its own dignity, by the estimation in which it holds the friendship of the American people, and by the respect it owes to special treaties and the rules universally admitted among cultured nations, would not await the presentation of any justified complaint, but rather, had those compacts or international laws been violated, it would declare the fact, loyally and frankly, for right and honor are never to be crushed down, nor is reason to be subordinate to dignity; but it is likewise certain that you agreed with me that the Spanish government, which only knew the facts generally, in order to appreciate the international question, the only one which might have authorized your intervention, needed to acquire a certitude as to the events and details both of the seizure and of the subsequent acts; an agreement which meant neither more nor less than that the Virginius might be seized and her crew and passengers condemned by Spanish tribunals (these being the facts then known) without any violation of international laws or treaties, and that, on the part of the American Government and on your own, there only existed a presumption that those occurrences were surrounded by circumstances capable of inflicting injury on the persons or on the dignity of your flag, by reason of not being in conformity with the proceedings of the said laws and treaties; an evident sign that you ought not to have cherished the confidence, to which you refer in the first paragraph of your note, that forthwith there would be given to the Government you represent complete reparation for the offense committed against its dignity and the inviolability of its flag.

You may have nursed this mental confidence, which was never expressed, because you had a conviction that the Spanish government did not, and does not yet, share therein; but I appeal to your loyalty to establish as the bases of these negotiations, that, in the name of the executive power on my part and in that of your Government on yours, we agree to postpone all discussion until we had a knowledge of the facts which might give rise to a debate, and until you were informed of the solution which would be spontaneously offered by the government of the Spanish Republic.

You omit to mention the second conversation we had on the 13th, and to which I have to refer, without being aware whether you consider it official or no, because I am endeavoring to re-establish the truth of the preliminaries, and the Government of the republic neither objects to giving that character to all the antecedents of this matter, nor will it permit outside judgment to exercise the right of conceding or denying it. In this fresh conference you know what public opinion had already proclaimed-the act of justice performed on other prisoners of the steamer Virginius on the 7th and th. and the assurance possessed by the executive power, in the midst of the regret which is ever occasioned by the action of the law in this degree, even though justified by melancholy social exigencies, that its telegram of the 6th had not arrived in time to prevent the fulfillment of the sentences, and that it would suspend the execution of any other that might be pronounced. You neither added to nor took away from your declaration of the 8th, and I reiterated mine, and we parted in the same assurances. continuing the question on the same bases established in the preceding conference. In this situation of affairs, twenty-four hours afterward, I received from you the communication to which I now reply, in which, in the name of the President of the United States, you demand the restoration of the Virginius, the release and delivery of the surviving prisoners, and the salute, at the same time, of the American flag in the port of Santiago de Cuba, and an exemplary punishment of the authorities concerned in the capture and in the executions.

This demand is not in accordance with the antecedents and the attitude which we had agreed in establishing, and which were ratified (confirmed) the previons day. As the mere seizure of the Virginius, and the subjection of her crew and passengers to the Spanish tribunals, did not constitute an offense against the Government of the United States, this offense must be sought in the procedure and accessory circumstances, of which the executive power is yet ignorant.

This change of conduct and the demand of the Government of the United States cannot be interpreted in any other sense than that, for its part, it has acquired this knowledge, and considers that the capture and the subsequent occurrences are vitiated by reason of having failed to conform to the stipulations (of the treaty) or to inter national law.

The Government of the United States knew the disposition of the Spanish government at that time, and the sentiments by which it was animated. It appeared natural that, on the first of the governments deciding to hasten the solution and to terminate the period of delay agreed upon, it should have pointed out to the second these vitiations and informalities, under the faith of which the violation, being proven, would have been condemned; and this procedure seemed more proper, in view of the bonds which unite the two republics, than to demand, without ground of right and in an imperious manner, a reparation whose harsh and even humiliating terms could only have been justified by great wrongs and a continued repugnance to satisfy them. The national decorum cannot tolerate the supposition that any other nation, and least of all the United States, linked since their origin by such happy ties with Spain, should confound us with the nations who submit to this kind of compulsion.

Prudence counsels both governments to suspend judgment. That the United States do not possess at the present time a legal competency to peremptorily demand a reparation, is evident in many ways; but it is sufficient to say that another power has presented, in a suitable manner, analogous reclamations, arising from the same affair, the grounds of which remain to be investigated; and if it were necessary to show the confusion which still reigns upon the essential facts of the seizure, we could take as an example that, while you take it for granted (patent) that the Virginius was a regularly-documented American ship, his excellency the captain-general of the island of Cuba asserts the contrary.

You will observe, moreover, that only ten days have elapsed since we knew of the capture of the Virginius, and three since the executions of the 7th and 8th came to our knowledge and we held our last interview.

The great distance, the scanty (or difficult) telegraphic communication, and the necessity of obtaining clear and precise data upon an affair complex and minute in itself, combine to prevent the government of Spain from being to-day in condition to say a word on the merits of this question, it being remarkable that the United States should so suddenly overstep the bounds marked out, and, in spite of its previous assent, now demand an arbitrary reparation, arbitrary, at least, at the present moment. Spain, in reply, limits herself to repeating her former declarations:

1st. She will decide upon nothing to relieve the flag of the United States from an offense till she is certain that the offense exists.

2d. As the offense cannot exist except in the violation of the treaties and of international law, she again declares, as much for the sake of quieting foreign dignity as for the relief of her own conscience, that if such a violation exists by reason of the seizure of the Virginius, or by reason of the subsequent acts, whether her conviction of such violation be acquired by her own initiative or by a specific statement made by the Government of the United States, she will be glad to repair the wrong according to its just importance, thus proving that the reign of law, be its judgments favorable or adverse, is the first essential to national honor, and that the observance of the law, and not the obstinacy born of a false idea of pride, gives the right to assume a place in the senate of cultured nations.

I avail myself, &c.,

No. 622.

General Sickles to Mr. Fish.

J. DE CARVAJAL.

No. 844.]

Madrid, November 18, 1873.

UNITED STATES LEGATION IN SPAIN, (Received December 11.) SIR: I have the honor to forward herewith a copy and a translation of a note received to-day from the minister of state, in reply to mine of the 16th instant, in which I invited his attention to the reports published in the Havana papers of the 14th, from which it appears that more of the persons captured on board the Virginius had been shot, leaving only some eighteen survivors of the whole number taken. These statements receive, as you will observe, a vague denial, which is weakened by the consideration that such reports, in relation to a matter so conspicuous and of so much importance, if erroneous, could not have escaped the very rigid censorship of the press at Havana.

The remainder of the note seems to be an amplification of the minister's

reply to our demand for reparation, in which he assumes that the Government of the United States is as ignorant of the facts of the case as his excellency professes himself to be.

I am, &c.,

D. E. SICKLES.

[Inclosure.-Translation.]

Mr. José de Carvajal to General Sickles.

MINISTRY OF STATE,
Madrid, November 18, 1873.

SIR: I have received your communication, dated the 16th, which has for its principal object to state that, according to information received in Washington, having reference to the newspapers of Havana, of which the consul-general of the United States gives intelligence to his Government, fresh shootings had taken place on the 12th instant at Santiago de Cuba, the number of which ascended to forty-seven, there remaining alive only some eighteen of the persons captured on board of the Virginius.

I have the satisfaction to state to yon that this fact is not accurate, and that, on the contrary, the government of the Spanish Republic holds assurances that as soon as the captain-general of the island could compass the arrival at Santiago of the orders which were sent to him on the 6th, the execution of the sentences of death was suspended. This want of agreement between the information received by the Government of Washington and by that of Madrid will prove to you how fully our attitude is justified, and how high a confirmation the United States would give of their wisdom and prudence in awaiting a full clearing-up of the facts in order to know if an offense has been committed, the extent of its importance, upon which side it is found, which party should hasten to make reparation, and the nature of the reparation.

If in so grave and conspicuous a matter as the shooting of forty-five men such grave errors occur and such doubts arise, how can there not be grounds for feeling these doubts and dreading those errors in questions of greater delicacy, the investigation of which is more difficult, and which deinand a special knowledge of the circumstances? It cannot be said that the point has been sufficiently discussed, and that an undoubted conclusion has been attained, making an act of satisfaction to the American flag a palpable act of justice, whilst it is yet unknown if this flag waved rightfully above the captured vessel, or to a certainty the point where the chase began, the place where the seizure was effected, the authenticity of the vessel's papers, whether she was surprised in the act of disembarkation, and other circumstances indispensable, as general conditions, to determine the existence of the offense and to characterize it.

One fact alone is definitely known, and is admitted by all the world. The Virginins, which has already obtained a lamentable reputation in the Cuban struggles, had been equipped in order to aid the insurrection, in the territory of a friendly nation; she had been laden with arms and munitions, and the most prominent rebels were on board of her. I improve this opportunity, &c.,

No. 623.

J. DE CARVAJAL.

General Sickles to Mr. Fish.

[Telegram.]

MADRID, November 18, 1873.

Minister of state informs me, in note of this date, that the reports mentioned in your cable of 15th are not confirmed, and that, on the contrary, as soon as the captain-general could transmit to Santiago the orders sent by this government on the 6th, the executions were suspended.

SICKLES.

No. 624.

General Sickles to Mr. Fish.

'[Telegram.]

MADRID, November 18, 1873.

Correspondence with this government about Virginius forwarded by special messenger to Paris last Sunday night. Have ordered Stevens to turn over dispatches to London legation, for transmission in cipher. SICKLES.

No. 625.

General Sickles to Mr. Fish.

[Telegram.]

MADRID, November 18, 1873.

Minister of state replies to-day, under date of 17th, to my note of 15th, making demand in terms of your cable of 14th.

After an inaccurate statement of our negotiations, minister, in reply to the demand, declares

First. That Spain will take no resolution until she is satisfied an offense has been committed against the flag of the United States.

Second. If it shall hereafter appear that, in violation of treaties or of the law of nations, an injury has been done, Spain will cheerfully make due reparation.

Regarding this as a refusal within the sense of your instruction, I propose, unless otherwise ordered, to close this legation forthwith, and leave Madrid, embarking at Valencia for France, taking the secretary and archives with me.

No. 626.

General Sickles to Mr. Fish.

[Telegram.]

SICKLES.

MADRID, November 18, 1873.

Will send to-morrow to London legation translation of reply to demand for reparation, to be cabled in full. Will also send Spanish text, which will not be cabled without your orders.

The reply is an invitation to enter upon a discussion of the questions involved, for which this government will be prepared as soon as it obtains a knowledge of the facts. Complaint is made that our demand is not supported by proofs and argument. The demand is characterized as without foundation, imperious, arbitrary, compulsory, and humiliating. And it is contended that the United States are not, in the present condition of the case, legally competent to present a peremptory reclamation.

In my cable of this morning I gave you the substance of the two enu

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