[Inclosure Numbers 1.] U. S. CONSULATE-GENERAL, Havana, January 16, 1862.
Honorable F. W. SEWARD,
Assistant Secretary of State:
MY DEAR SIR: Your letter of 16th ultimo only reached me by this mail. In any future movements which the Government may intend toward Mexico I shall esteem it a great favor to be considered as a volunteer for the service. I am deeply interested in the problem now solving itself in that country, and believe that if left to itself it will eventually take rank as a civilized and enlightened republic.
The process of regeneration is slow. I am also firm in the conviction that Spain intends to restore her rule over that country, and that the three powers intend their show of force in the Gulf of Mexico not more to threaten repubicanism in Mexico than in our own territories. Our cause seems to me, therefore, identical with that of Mexico. Will you permit me to suggest that it is possible that the allied powers will occupy Matamoras? Would it not be policy on our part to anticipate them. It is needless, of course, to point out to you the great importance of this point as the key to Western Texas, and, in fact, at this moment the only port through which commerce passes unrestricted with the Southern Confederacy.
At Matamoras a revolution is now in progress, owing to rival candidates for governor of the city. I therefore make no doubt that the Government of Mexico would cheerfully consent to such occupation. We have many refugees from Western Texas here, and they all affirm that the Union feeling exists there to a very great extent. In one of my dispatches of this date I refer to Brazos Santiago and the apprehension cuased there by the mere appearance of a man-of-war off that port. I am quite satisfied that 200 or 300 men could hold the Rio Grande without difficulty.
I refer you to may letter of November 21 on "Tehuantepec," and would call your attention again to that point in connection with President Lincoln's ideas about colonization upon purchased territory. Should the Government determine to make a movement in Mexico, it might be done secretly, to avoid complications with foreign powers; or if this is not politic, Brazos is in our own territory and could be made the point of operations. I submit these views to you and through you to the Honorable Secretary of State with a firm belief that the aid of the United States, even in a limited degree, would enable Mexico to drive these invaders from her soil. In this cause I am willing to sacrifice my life or create my fame.
The authorities of Cuba are manifesting much more friendliness, and, in fact, showing every disposition to conform with their obligations toward us as a nation. I am on the most pleasant terms with them all. They are beginning to repent the hasty action of Spain, stimulated by England, in the recognition of belligerent rights in the South.
Mr. Crawford, the British consul, is also showing less partisanship, so that altogether my relations are getting to be of a more satisfactory character.
Please convey to Mr. Seward my sincere appreciation of his able letter on the Trent affair. It has satisfied everybody here, both American and foreign, whose opinions and good wishes are of any value to us.
I am, sir, in haste, most truly, yours,
R. W. SHUFELDT,