Mr. Bigelow to Mr. Seward
Sir: In view of the pretexts assigned for the harsh decrees of the soi-disant emperor of Mexico against republican prisoners captured in war, I have the honor to invite your attention to the enclosed copy of a letter from Marshal Bazaine to General Riva Palacio, general in chief of the republican army of the centre, which appears in some of the Paris journals.
In this communication the marshal not only assents to an exchange of prisoners, with all its political and belligerent implications, but he speaks in the strongest terms of the humane treatment which the imperial prisoners had experienced at his hands. “I am unwilling to terminate this letter,” he says, “without thanking you for the excellent dispositions and benevolent sentiments which you have always shown towards our prisoners.”
This calls to mind the speech of Marshal Forey, delivered in the senate, of the 18th of March last, in which he justified the shooting of Porfirio Diaz, the defender of Oajaca, by Marshal Bazaine, declaring that he was the chief of brigands, and that all the Juarist generals ought to be treated in the same way.
The cause of Juarez seems to have gained in dignity since then, for now the imperial government treats its officers an belligerents and commends their humanity.
As the minister of foreign affairs p persists in denying that the republicans of Mexico merit the title of belligerents, [propose to send him a copy of this letter of Marshal Bazaine, with an inquiry as to its authenticity.
I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.