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entitled “Papers of the Tyrant of Paraguay, taken by the Allies in the Assault of December 27th, 1868.” Besides these papers, it contains the testimony of numerous Paraguayan officers, prisoners of war, as well as introductory and closing portions by the Argentine authorities.
Of the stern discipline of the Paraguayan armies an illustration is given in a decree taken from an order-book of Lopez, that whenever a soldier deserted, his two immediate comrades, (costados) should receive each twenty-five blows, the corporal forty, and the sergeant fifty. It is supposed that now the punishment is still heavier; for a deserter lately exclaimed with a sigh, “ My two poor comrades! they have shot them by this time!"
The first Paraguayan document published is a letter to Lopez from the former Vice-President, Sanchez, in which the latter, at eighty years of age, endeavors to exculpate himself from the charge of having been under the influence of Don Benigno Lopez, who was suspected of conspiring against his brother. The exculpation was vain. The body of the aged statesman was found in the ditch where it had been thrown, riddled with balls and disfigured by torture.
Colonel Martinez, who formerly commanded the outworks of Humaitá, testifies that, having capitulated to the allied army, and thus become a prisoner of war, he has heard since, from other prisoners, of the cruel treatment, and finally of the execution, of his wife, by order of Lopez, although she was nearly related to the tyrant. Colonel Martinez gives instances of the execution of soldiers by Lopez without trial. This was the fate of Lieutenant Ybañez, a brave officer, for saying that the enemy were strongly intrenched, which Lopez interpreted as cowardice. This account of his severe treatment of his own soldiers is confirmed by many of the papers which are published. A system of espionage prevailed throughout the army, and the malicious accusation of a superior by an inferior might subject the person accused to degrading if not to capital punishment. Other papers show the absolute command of the government over the families of its people. Nine hundred women, and afterwards eight hundred more, are ordered to be sent beyond the mountains and employed in agriculture.
The most remarkable of these captured documents, however, is the Diary of General Resquin, a journal of the disposition made of prisoners under his charge at the camp of San Fernando, from May 31st to December 14th, 1868. Of these “ tables of blood” the result is that four hundred and thirtytwo were shot (pasados por las armas), five bayoneted, one lanced ; one hundred and sixty-seven died in prison ; two hundred and sixteen were taken out to work in the trenches; two (Bliss and Masterman) sent beyond the territory ; one sent up to the capital; and ten released. Of the victims, most are spoken of as traitors, but many are named as prisoners of
Of those shot, two hundred and eighty-nine were Paraguayans, one hundred and seventeen foreigners from various countries, and twenty-six without local designation. In this list appears the name of Gumesindo Benitez, the Minister through whom the charge of conspiracy was made against Mr. Washburn; and on the same day was executed Dr. Carreras, whose testimony, procured by torture, Benitez had used in that correspondence. Among the few released is the name of Venancio Lopez, one of the brothers of the President. The remaining brother, Benigno, was less fortunate. According to the testimony of many witnesses, he was put to death, as were the two brothers-in-law of the despot, General Barrios and the Treasurer, Saturnino Bedoya, and the Minister Berges, who preceded Benitez in the office of Foreign Affairs.
But we must hasten on. Passing over the accounts of many other witnesses, we find the most complete development of the systematic barbarity of Lopez in that of Captain Matias Goiburú, himself an agent in the cruelties he describes. If this fact should create suspicion, his evidence is confirmed by that of Don Bartolomé Quintanilla, Don Teodoro Sanchez, and other witnesses. Goiburú declares that in the combat of November 3, at Tuyuti, there were taken from two to three hundred prisoners, of whom more than one hundred were tied up and whipped with the doubled lasso, and forty or fifty shot,” under pretence of an attempt to communicate with the Brazilian General, Porto Alegre.
“ He knew these things because he, the same affirmant, had been charged with the custody of these unfortunates, and more than once
with heavy grief of his heart he had to witness and even to order punishments which humanity and civilization condemn."
“ That the treatment received by the prisoners in the times later than that which has been mentioned has become continually more cruel and barbarous, and that in proportion as the position of Lopez has become more difficult, he has multiplied the punishments and diminished the food of the prisoners and of those in charge of them. That when Lopez abandoned Humaitá, the officers who guarded the prisoners had orders to shoot any who should yield to exhaustion during the march, and that it was certain that upon the marches made from San Fernando to Lomas there were shot or lanced various persons who had the misfortune not to be able to keep up, oppressed with misery by sufferings, and by illness."
He gives a long list of persons of various countries who were put to death or who died of their sufferings. He says that there were many others whose names he did not know, and. that thus have perished all the prisoners of war from the allied
He knows all this because he has himself been fiscal (accuser or examiner) in various causes, and he declares that the fiscals worked under the iron pressure of Lopez, having always at their side especial inspectors who directed them what they were to do. Of those executed, he asserts, the property was confiscated by Lopez.
“ With very rare exceptions, Lopez has sacrificed the best and most respectable part of the population of Paraguay. Sometimes he went through the forms of a trial, from which resulted what he desired; but he almost always scourged or shot eminent persons without form of judgment. Of his own family he shot his brother Benigno and his two brothers-in-law Barrios and Bedoya, and, in fine, this monster would have exterminated all the inhabitants of Paraguay, if time had been given him to effect it.”
He testifies that Doña Juliana Isfran de Martinez was taken to the capital and tried before Captain José Falcon and Manuel Maciel. She was told that Padré Barrios and Dr. Cespedes had testified against her, and was asked what her husband had said to her respecting the conspiracy. She replied that he had said nothing on the subject; that her husband was incapable of treason, and of doing anything contrary to the laws of honor. Lopez, who interfered personally in all such cases, commanded her to be scourged to make her confess. As this
barbarity did not subdue her, he repeated it, and then ordered the torture of the cepo colombiano. The poor lady exclaimed that she was innocent, and begged them to put her to death ; but Lopez ordered her to be told that, if she did not confess, she should die under the torture, and that this was the chastisement to which her obstinacy was entitled. The witness declares that he received orders from Lopez to treat her with the most revolting cruelty, - orders which he was obliged to fulfil in part, yet softened as much as possible, with great danger to himself; but that Lopez removed the lady to the charge of another person, before whose cruelty he supposed that her firmness at length gave way, and she confessed all that was required, for she was soon after executed, and her last tormentor was rewarded with promotion.
Two other names are given of women who were put to death; of one of whom the following is related :
Leite Pereira, Vice-Consul of Portugal,- the same who had been for a time protected by Mr. Washburn, - was compelled by torture to accuse Doña Dolores Recalde of having aided in conducting the correspondence among the revolutionists. Afterwards, his death approaching, he was compelled by conscience to recant, and ask her pardon for the wrong he had done her. “This girl, whose sufferings and bravery had moved all who knew her situation, refused to pardon what she called the infamous cowardice of Leite Pereira, and, borne down by the declarations he had made, she was executed without pity.”
Mr. Washburn himself, it may readily be supposed, speaks in no measured language of the despot from whose power he escaped with difficulty. The following are extracts from his letter to Mr. Seward, dated at Buenos Ayres, September 26, 1868:
“ I have been completely run down by people who have come to inquire of me in regard to their friends in Paraguay. I regret that I have but one answer for them all : * Lopez has killed your friends, or holds them in prison, loaded with fetters.' I fear, too, that none of them will escape with their lives.”
“I am confident there has never been any conspiracy, for I do not believe that under the system of espionage that prevails in Paraguay, and the universal distrust that everybody has for everybody else, there are three men in the country so foolhardy as to engage in anything of
the kind. Lopez, however, in his policy of extermination, and of leaving no one to testify against him, has declared that there is, and seems to imagine that confessions extorted by torture will justify him before the world in executing those who have made them ; or, rather, those whom he declares to have made them.”
In the “Correspondencia Diplomatica ” we have, at greater length than in our Congressional documents, Mr. Washburn's letter to Mr. Stewart, the British Minister at Buenos Ayres. It contains the following passage referring to Lopez:
“ He succeeds entirely by means of fear; and, with the exception of a few who lend themselves to be voluntarily the agents of his cruelties, such as his mistress, his bishop, Luis Caminos, Sanabria, and a few others, who have shown great ardor in executing his sanguinary projects, there is not a man, woman, or child, not even excepting his mother, sister, or brothers, who would not give thanks to God if he would take him to another world, where his actions would receive a more adequate recompense.
Mr. Washburn goes on to account for the readiness of the Paraguayans to face death in battle by their fear of their tyrant. The second line, he says, have orders to shoot down every soldier that attempts flight or desertion; and if they neglect this duty a similar fate awaits themselves.
According to Dr. Stewart, an English physician, and surgeon in the army of Lopez, the names given in the order-book do not by any means cover the numbers who have perished by the cruelty of that despot. Of the 600,000 inhabitants of Paraguay, he says only about 80,000 are left, of whom 40,000 are women and children; and that 180,000 males have perished.
President Sarmiento writes :
" Lopez bas killed all his prisoners, either by execution, starvation, or torture; among these were his own Cabinet Ministers, the bishop of Assumption (tortured and then murdered), the wives of all whom he could not capture; foreign, native, and Argentine merchants, and the husbands of two of his sisters. The details of these acts and the manner of execution make one shudder with horror. He sent for his sisters to come to his camp, and after having instructed them what to say, their husbands were called in. • Do you know this man?' asked Lopez of one of his sisters. “No, I do not know him. The drama concluded by the husbands being shot in the presence of their wives !”