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iate for the disposal of Cuba to the United States, if the terms could be made advantageous, and the Castilian pride should not be inopportunely aroused. There were some pourparlers on the subject, and it was finally determined to send Forbes to Madrid in such a way as not to commit the Government, but to sound the Premier further as to his views, General Sickles, the Minister to Spain, was informed of the plan, and was directed to assist in its execution, but to be careful that the relations oe affair with consummate delicacy. Forbes started for Europe, but was unable to restrain his elation at being intrusted with so important a business. When he arrived at Paris he had the indiscretion to reveal his errand, and before he reached Madrid the story of the proposed sale of Cuba was noised abroad. This at first almost balked the enterprise. Prim was frightened for his hold on power; he had not yet prepared the minds of his countrymen for the abandonment of the Faithful Isle. Stil
nted to General Grant they made him the same obeisance which they were accustomed to offer to their sovereign. The visit was short, as such ceremonies usually are among persons of exalted rank. Mrs. Grant was present and the King conversed with her as well as with the General. His Majesty speaks very good English, so that there was no difficulty about the language. Perhaps just here I may repeat a story that James Russell Lowell once told me about Mrs. Grant. When General Grant was at Madrid Mr. Lowell was Minister to Spain and made a dinner for the ex-President. Mrs. Grant was placed between two personages who like herself spoke only their own language, but Lowell described her ease and self-possession as quite inimitable. She appeared to converse continually, was bowing and smiling all the evening, and was apparently as much interested in her companions as any one at table—a bit of fine breeding worthy of a Queen,—or of the wife of an ex-President. But to return to Belgium
ster to Spain. In all this arrangement Grant took the liveliest interest. I have explained in earlier chapters the difference of opinion between Secretary Fish and General Rawlins in regard to the policy that Grant should pursue toward Spain. While Rawlins was for recognition of the independence of Cuba and the speedy acquisition of the Island by the United States, Fish thought the difficulties with England should have precedence. Nevertheless, a negotiation was begun under Sickles at Madrid that promised to accomplish the peaceful purchase of Cuba while Prim was Prime Minister of Spain. A document was forwarded by Sickles to the State Department—not as a part of the public archives, but for the confidential knowledge of the Government, in which Prim declared himself ready to treat for the sale of the Island to the Cubans, the United States to become security for the purchase bonds, and to take a mortgage on the Island in return. This, it was supposed by all concerned, would r
this season of the year on account of the insufficiency of the Harbor for large vessels, making it necessary to anchor outside. My route will probably be through Madrid to Cadiz, thence up the Mediterranean. I will write a letter soon to Gen. Sherman and will take pains to say a word in the direction you mention, and will also rThis of course did not prevent his making secret communications. Lisbon, Portugal, Oct. 27th, 1878. Dear Badeau,—Your letter of the 17th came to hand in Madrid where I was so busy that I did not get to write a letter to any one. I can give no explanation of the dispatches you speak of from Spottsylvania, of 10th & 11th would march to with[out] any reference to the original orders. We arrived here this A. M., at five o'clock having been in the cars two nights and one day from Madrid, without getting out once by the way for meals. Spain may contain much of interest to see, but the accommodations for travel are horrible. Yours as ever, U. S