Despite its haphazard method of selecting diplomats during much of the nineteenth century, the United States sometimes enjoyed the services of surprisingly competent amateurs, brought into the Foreign Service from a great variety of backgrounds. A good example was Granville Stuart, whom Grover M. Cleveland appointed minister to Uruguay and Paraguay during his second administration. Stuart was a Montana Democrat, a former California gold miner in the 1850s and at various times merchant, rancher, dispenser of vigilante justice, and politician from 1857 to the date of his appointment.1

He had few ostensible qualifications and little experience fitting him for such an assignment; yet he served creditably and perhaps more successfully than many professional diplomats with benefit of more sophisticated training. His appointment resulted from patronage pressure exerted by a Montana silver Democrat, banker, and former territorial governor, Samuel T. Hauser. Stuart and Hauser had been friends and business associates since the 1860s when these two men, of Virginia and Kentucky birth respectively, had spent the Civil War years in Montana mining camps. In 1894 Stuart was sixty years old and deep in debt as a consequence of unfortunate mining and cattle dealings; he had a young wife to support and also had financial obligations to children from an earlier marriage to a Snake Indian woman. Bad luck had followed him for nearly twenty years, and in 1893 he sought a federal appointment as surveyor general for Montana. If that failed he wanted a diplomatic appointment to Bolivia or Ecuador where he hoped to find mining opportunities that would enable him to make a fortune.2 Although he did not receive his first three choices, Stuart accepted an appointment to Uruguay and Paraguay with high hopes that it might lead to a steady income in the cattle business.

A self-educated man for the most part, Stuart had some ability to use French and Spanish, but his appointment must be considered as the fulfillment of a patronage obligation by an administration that professed to oppose job rewards for political support.3 Stuart’s diplomatic service kept him in South America from May 1894 until January 1898, when the McKinley administration replaced him with a deserving Republican. He remained in Montevideo most of the time and made only a few visits to the Paraguayan capital in Asunción, because important developments in Uruguay demanded his constant attention. During his tenure Stuart closely observed the significant activities of Uruguay’s president, Juan Idiarte Borda, who had been inaugurated only two months before Stuart’s arrival. He reported incisively and carefully on the important developments of the administration which ended with the president’s assassination in August 1897.

Although Stuart was constantly on the lookout for money-making opportunities during his assignment, he met the challenges which arose during the course of his diplomatic tour with astuteness.4 The 1890s proved to be one of the most turbulent decades in Uruguayan history, and the United States minister dutifully reported his observations of stormy events and potential disasters. Though domestic problems outweighed those in foreign affairs, Uruguay’s position between Brazil and Argentina gave rise to apprehensions about its national integrity.

Shortly after Stuart’s arrival in 1894, threats of an Argentine-Chilean boundary war alarmed the Uruguayan government, which wanted to remain neutral and dreaded involvement in the struggle between the larger powers. Stuart credited the war rumor with some foundation. He reported to the State Department that Brazil had sought an alliance with Chile against Argentina, while the latter had sought an alliance with Uruguay. Because a similar contest for power in the Plata area thirty years earlier had led to the War of the Triple Alliance, the Uruguayan government feared that a Chilean expeditionary force might attempt to use the Banda Oriental as a base from which to attack Argentina. Chile’s naval strength seemed adequate for operations on the Atlantic coast. And Brazil’s fledgling republican government still clung to the old imperial dream of recovering Uruguay, its “lost province”; it could take advantage of a general war in the Platine region to fulfill that dream. Unofficial but creditable information sources in Montevideo held that President Idiarte Borda’s government wanted the United States to help preserve Uruguayan neutrality in case of war by declaring that it would consider any violation of Uruguay’s neutrality an unfriendly act. Foreign Minister Jaime Estranzulas confirmed this in an unofficial and confidential visit with Stuart early in 1895. He spoke of the rumors of wars, invasions, and alliances threatening his country’s security, and he asked for American reassurances in the event of attack. Stuart hoped that Uruguay’s progress toward stability would not be interrupted. He believed that the Uruguayan government would heed American advice if accompanied by support. In frequent conferences with Uruguayan officials, however, Stuart promised to ask for further instructions, but he made no commitment. Estranzulas seemed pleased with even these small reassurances. Although by May war rumors had diminished, both sides still kept some forces in readiness.5 The Cleveland administration’s preoccupation with the Venezuelan boundary dispute and possible war with Britain in the summer of 1895 left little time for concern with distant Platine problems.

As the external threat to Uruguayan security diminished it was replaced by growing internal unrest which proved to be a genuine obstacle to progress and governmental stability. Uruguayan politics throughout the nineteenth century reflected a groping search for economic solidarity and political stability. The two major political factions, the Colorados and the Blancos, had quarreled since the republic’s birth in 1828 about the direction the nation should take. Imbued with a spirit of cosmopolitan liberalism which represented the aspirations of the Uruguayan middle class, the Colorados advocated progressive reform. The Blancos, or National Party, were intensely patriotic and were conservative and ecclesiastic. They reflected the interests of the well-born, the rich, and the rural population. The more forward looking Colorados led the nation from the nineteenth into the twentieth century.6 Stuart’s arrival in Uruguay coincided with Colorado efforts to modernize and to attune the country to the Industrial Revolution; during this period President Idiarte Borda frequently set aside personal liberties and political democracy in what he alleged to be the interests of material progress.

The Idiarte Borda regime had been launched during a political storm. The Uruguayan General Assembly had spent the first twenty-one days of March 1894 choosing a president by constitutional means, while army leaders sat patiently on the sidelines in full expectation that whoever won would reward them well. Juan Idiarte Borda, a Colorado politician dedicated to his predecessor’s principles and known to be interested in material progress, finally emerged as a compromise choice, and the political crisis ended. By appointing men from both political factions, Idiarte Borda appeared to make possible a more peaceful political situation.7

Stuart was impressed by the Idiarte Borda government’s apparent stability. Within two months after his arrival—and about four months after Idiarte Borda’s election—he denied an erroneous report in the New York Herald that a revolution had forced the president to shake up his cabinet.8 Stuart’s initial optimism, however, proved to be unfounded. In the course of the next two years Uruguayan politics took on the characteristics of a free-for-all. The opposition National (Blanco) Party repeatedly charged Idiarte Borda with tyranny, declaring that his government’s actions had thwarted its participation in the nation’s political life.

In the last months of 1896 the Idiarte Borda regime grew more repressive. At the beginning of the November legislative sessions three of Montevideo’s most important Colorado clubs declared that since the president had violated the constitution, they would not take part in his government. Almost concurrently, a Blanco military revolt flared up in the north under the leadership of Aparicio Saravia, one of the last of the old-style caudillos and a man who appealed to the masses by demagogic exhortations. Saravia’s movement, at first appearing to be only a minor disturbance, soon threatened to engulf the entire nation. In the midst of the crisis some Colorados held a political meeting on January 30, 1897 to oppose the Blanco revolt. There were some inflammatory speeches, not all of which were directed against the revolutionaries. José Batlle y Ordóñez, a young Colorado deputy and editor destined to lead his country to democracy in the twentieth century, condemned both parties. He criticized the president severely for curtailing personal freedoms.9

Stuart reported to the State Department that Saravia’s revolt was being used by the Colorado government as a “pretext for all sorts of outrages in defiance of the constitution . . .”—a document which he felt was honored in name only. Blanco opposition newspapers unhesitatingly denounced the government, and the president reacted by imposing press censorship. Stuart, who had by now lost his early enchantment with Idiarte Borda, adjudged the Colorado government an arbitrary military oligarchy.10

Thus the close of 1896 saw the old Colorado-Blanco feud revived. With this turn of events political liberties and constitutional guarantees almost ceased to exist. Meanwhile the government grasped at any means to retain its power. Rumors that revolutionary armies had been formed in Brazil and Argentina worried government and citizen alike, since most Uruguayans dreaded the prospect of civil war. To put down the threatened rebellion Idiarte Borda increased the national armed forces to 25,000 men. Press gangs roamed the countryside seizing hapless Uruguayans for the army, while the nation’s economy labored under the burden of increased military expenditures. Throughout this difficult period the president remained aloof, protected by a personal guard of one hundred men. In spite of evidence to the contrary he occasionally denied reports that the government had impressed citizens into military service against their will. These unfortunate events stymied the government’s efforts to obtain bids for new port facilities in the Montevideo harbor. At the same time Uruguay’s market for meat exports to Cuba declined because of an insurrection there. The nation’s future seemed bleak indeed as 1897 began.11

The revolution passed into an active military stage on March 17, 1897, when Diego Lamas, a Blanco caudillo and a subordinate of Saravia, decisively defeated government forces led by General José Villar at Tres Arboles. More battles followed at Arbolitos (March 28), Cerros Blancos (May 14), and Acegua (June 8) with minor raids and forays interspersed between them. The government forces won at Arbolitos, but other engagements cost hundreds of casualties and achieved only minor results.12

The government took stringent measures against the rebels and continued to censor local newspapers because they carried war news. Business and commerce were disrupted, threatening to collapse the already strained national economy. Press gangs seized all available manpower for the army. Many foreigners and Uruguayans quickly left the country to avoid this ruthless conscription, even though the government had already issued an order requiring both nationals and aliens to apply for permits before emigrating.

The civil war presented a variety of problems to the inexperienced diplomat. Stuart protested unsuccessfully to the foreign minister about the seizure of horses from an American consul and the censoring of American naval communications.13 Difficulties facing foreigners without recourse to their government’s protection prompted his issuance of passports to several United States citizens who had been abroad for several years. The question of citizenship and passport entitlement had arisen before the war when he received applications from Americans who had resided outside the country for more than two years and, because they had set no date for a return home, technically did not qualify. At that time Stuart had recommended relaxation of rules inasmuch as the few Americans residing abroad constituted an aid to overseas trade which existing regulations impeded. Although there were no serious problems in normal times, during a war foreigners without passports were in a bad position. In event of death, settling an estate would be awkward, for example. Americans, like Europeans, he suggested, should receive positive governmental encouragement to engage in overseas trade and needed passport protection.14

The problem worsened after the civil war began in April 1897. Stuart reported that he had issued passports to several Americans in Uruguay who had been abroad more than two years. The usual conscripting practice was to seize men secretly at night and to send them directly to the front with poor equipment and little training. Since the government maintained no military rosters, foreign conscripts would never be heard of again if killed in action. Moreover, Stuart told the State Department, military medical facilities in the government forces were woefully inadequate. There was not a single army surgeon, and at Tres Arboles wounded men lay on the battlefield for forty-one hours before some hastily organized Red Cross societies came to aid the wounded and bury the dead. Similar circumstances prevailed after the battle at Arbolitos. For humanitarian and other reasons Stuart felt justified in applying a broadened interpretation of passport rules.15

Conditions in Uruguay steadily deteriorated during the first six months of 1897, but the government attempted to hide its weaknesses and defeats. Business came to a standstill altogether while fighting continued to ruin farms and to deplete livestock herds. The regime in power had lost all claim to prestige, Stuart told the secretary of state, and chaos prevailed in the capital.16 These crisis conditions reached a climax in April and May with two attempts on the life of the president. On April 22 a seventeen-year-old youth, with no known political motivations and of questionable intelligence, attempted to assassinate President Idiarte Borda. The young man had paid a pawnbroker ninety cents for an old revolver that apparently would not fire, declaring at the time that he intended to kill the president. The pawnbroker may have thought that he was joking, but for a potential assassin to come within two feet of the president spoke poorly for security precautions.17 In the next month Idiarte Borda received a homemade bomb sent to him from Buenos Aires, but again he escaped harm.18 As the conflict dragged on through May, the situation seemed even blacker. Censorship continued, the government appeared to lack the resources to prosecute the conflict competently, and there was no evidence in Montevideo Of any intention to settle with the rebels.19

A respite in the conflict finally came on July 16 when both sides signed a twenty-day truce providing for mutual concessions. The government promised to appoint eight National Party members to provincial governorships and to form a new administration in March of the next year with a president acceptable to both sides. Electoral reforms and personal guarantees would be re-established, while the rebels were to receive $200,000 to defray their military expenses. Both parties quickly defaulted on their commitments. The president appointed only four of the promised eight governorships, and fighting continued while each side jockeyed for advantageous positions. Nevertheless, the war had long ceased to be popular, and on August 5 a crowd of about 20,000 people gathered on the streets of Montevideo to clamor for an end to hostilities. With discontent evident on every hand, on August 25—Uruguay’s Independence Day—the usually cautious editor of La Razón, a leading Montevideo newspaper, denounced the president. On the same day a young assassin, Avelino Arredondo, killed Idiarte Borda during a public procession.20

For the official Independence Day celebration the regime had scheduled a public display of rejoicing beginning with a Te Deum at 1:30 P.M. in the cathedral, attended by the president, high-ranking officials, and the diplomatic corps. Afterwards the entire assemblage was to march behind the president’s carriage to the governmental palace where, from a balcony, the president would review the eight-thousand-man city garrison of cavalry, artillery, and infantry units. As a grand finale the president had reserved a section of the opera house for the entertainment of the cabinet and diplomatic corps by a visiting Italian company. In ordinary times a public display of this magnitude might have met with popular approval, but a battle had been fought only two days before and many dead and wounded were still lying unattended on the field. To many Uruguayans, including some of the government’s supporters, this spectacle seemed either flagrantly insulting or at best inopportune.

After Mass President Idiarte Borda shook hands with diplomats and other officials at the cathedral door. Although he had come in a cavalry-escorted carriage, as a prudent man might under the circumstances, at the last minute he decided to follow a traditional practice and walk the six blocks to the palace as a show of his confidence in the people. With the archbishop on one side and the ministers of war and government on the other, the president led the diplomatic corps toward the palace. Stuart, as dean of the diplomatic corps, followed immediately behind him.

No personal security precautions had been taken for the occasion. Spectators watched from housetops, windows, balconies, and sidewalks; the cumbersome presence of an artillery group on the narrow street aggravated the congestion and left the procession with only a narrow passageway. The president had walked about one hundred yards when a man sprang from the crowded sidewalk and fired a revolver at pointblank range. The wounded president dropped his cane, clutched his chest with his right hand and staggered behind some persons who had rushed from the sidewalk. The bullet punctured the aorta and death was certain. Stuart, as close as anyone to the victim, at first thought the bullet had missed, since the president stood upright momentarily and focused his attention on the assassin, who was struggling with some men who seized him. When Idiarte Borda began to fall, his companions caught and gently lowered him to the pavement. The archbishop knelt beside the dying man and granted him absolution.

During the ensuing confusion a mounted lancer slightly wounded the assailant. Several angry officers drew sabers and attempted to run him through, but the density of the crowd saved the killer.21 One police squad managed to drag the assassin through the mob into the nearby cabildo, while others carried the dying president to a sofa in the same building. Stuart stood at the president’s head until he died about eight minutes after the single shot had been fired.

The military force that had been unable to prevent the assassination during the procession maintained order with precision and competence afterwards. The artillery unit pointed its pieces at the crowd to forestall a riot. Mounted soldiers cleared the crowd from the plaza before the cabildo and a few minutes later obeyed orders to return to their barracks. Within an hour after the crowd had dispersed a carriage took the corpse to the presidential residence. In a very orderly manner and in accordance with the constitution, Juan Lindolfo Cuestas, president of the Senate, assumed the reins of government in a tranquil capital.22

Idiarte Borda’s death led to a more peaceful state of affairs than might have been expected. The interim president dismissed all incumbent members of his cabinet except the minister of war and in general conducted affairs with a policy of moderation.23 Stuart called upon acting President Lindolfo Cuestas on August 28 to express the sympathy of President McKinley and the American people and the hope that permanent peace might return. He had good reason to believe that Idiarte Borda’s death had cleared the way for cessation of hostilities.24 And perhaps Idiarte Borda’s assassination did serve as a pressure outlet for a nation that had been hopelessly sunk in misery; in the minds of many Uruguayans his death removed one of the major obstacles to peace for a thoroughly exhausted nation. Forcibly conscripting men to fight against rebels who frequently were friends and relatives had lowered public morale. The nation suffered from total economic exhaustion, and the government faced fiscal chaos. Public employees had not been paid for nine months, yet the administration had subsidized the Italian opera company to perform fifteen nights for a reported $25,000 in gold, a financial extravagance pleasing few Uruguayans, opera lovers or otherwise. At least twice the revolutionists, who had held the government to a standoff, had offered to negotiate a settlement on what had popularly been considered reasonable terms. But the Idiarte Borda regime consistently rejected requests for restoration of its opponents’ political rights, and this intransigence had irritated friend and foe alike.

Peace negotiations between the contending armies began almost immediately. By September 10, in an agreement reached in the Blanco field headquarters, the revolutionary forces agreed to put down their arms. The negotiators immediately telegraphed the news to the capital. When the news became public knowledge on the next day, Montevideo’s streets took on a carnival aspect with parading bands, pealing church bells, firecrackers, sky rockets, and bonfires. Although the peace preliminaries had been concluded in the rebel camp, there could be little doubt that both sides eagerly wanted the war to end. The mutually conciliatory terms were publicized very soon and there was widespread belief that official acceptance would be a mere formality.25

The Cuestas regime ratified the peace with the rebel National Party on September 18 in a pact signed at Montevideo promising all citizens political rights and privileges. The revolutionary army went under control of the president, but it received the $200,000 that had been promised in July. This was the first occasion in Uruguay’s history that a civil war ended without vengeance and by mutual initiative, a good omen for the future. The peace terms were generally popular. When Idiarte Borda’s predecessor, Julio Herrera y Obes, announced his personal dissatisfaction with the terms crowds jeered him in the streets.26

Idiarte Borda’s assassination thus signalized a new era for Uruguay, and his death went almost unmourned. Though the revolutionaries had plotted the assassination at least six months in advance, the national court that tried the assassin ultimately absolved him from guilt by adjudging his deed a military action.27 Upon hearing of the acquittal and that the murder had been glorified by some public officials, the president’s widow left the country. She died in Buenos Aires in 1914. As for the assassin, Arredondo, President Batlie in 1902 named him to a minor customs office position, and his appointment could be construed as a reward for killing Idiarte Borda. The Montevideo city government proposed to name a street in his honor when he died a few years later. Strangely enough, this macabre suggestion had many supporters, but Idiarte Borda’s two daughters, who protested vigorously and publicly, prevented this glorification of political murder.28

In retrospect, the brief Idiarte Borda regime made several positive contributions. It initiated or completed many things important to Uruguay’s material development, including railways, a national bank, improvement of coastal and river port facilities, a first national population and resources census, and the nationalization of a languishing electric light company. These accomplishments furthered trade and commerce, as did the renegotiations of commercial treaties with several countries in both hemispheres. The government assiduously avoided external conflicts and eschewed involvement in neighboring nations’ affairs. These things collectively, however small they might be separately, promoted national welfare and laid foundations for additional material growth in the twentieth century. It cannot be denied that Idiarte Borda was often arbitrary, dogmatic, and too much inclined to tolerate graft and corruption. Like his contemporary, Mexico’s Porfirio Díaz, he set order as a primary requisite for progress and sometimes acted at the expense of liberty. Both men, however, undeniably assisted their nations’ economic and social progress.29 Idiarte Borda’s death signalized the beginning of the end for caudillismo and rural rebellion against the national government. It helped to bring about a truly modern Uruguay of orderly progress and political democracy.

The McKinley administration’s new minister, William R. Finch, a Wisconsin newspaper publisher, arrived in Montevideo in January 1898, and Stuart’s brief but exciting diplomatic career ended. The retiring minister’s arrival at home went almost unnoticed by his fellow Montanans who were fascinated by the electrifying news of the war with Spain. Yet in a decade when the United States was trying to offset European influence in Latin America by fostering the Pan American Union and by vigorously reasserting the Monroe Doctrine in Venezuela, Stuart’s attentive and forceful activity during periods of crisis in Uruguay made substantial contributions to American diplomacy.


Paul C. Phillips, ed., Forty Years on the Frontier, as Seen in the Journals and Reminiscenses of Granville Stuart, Gold-Miner, Trader, Merchant, Rancher, and Politician (two volumes: Cleveland, 1925 and Glendale, 1957), II, 13-17. Stuart’s certificate of appointment signed by Secretary of State Walter Q. Gresham is item #2566 in the Stuart collection of the Montana Historical Society Library of Helena, Montana.


Stuart’s letters to Samuel T. Hauser have been preserved in the Hauser Collection of manuscript papers in the Montana Historical Society Library at Helena. Through 1893 and early 1894 Stuart wrote several letters pleading for Hauser’s assistance. See Stuart to Hauser, Helena, Montana, April 26, 1893; September 5, 1893; September 10, 1893; December 26, 1893; Montana Historical Society (Helena), Hauser Collection, hereinafter cited as MHS/HC.


Assistant Secretary of State Josiah Quincy held up Cleveland’s ministerial appointments until 1894 while he attempted to screen applications for language ability in the country of assignment. Allen Nevins, Grover Cleveland, A Study in Courage (New York, 1934), 517-518. Stuart’s second wife, Allis Isabelle Stuart, wrote a twenty-eight page “Memoir” in 1946 in which she asserts that her husband was fluent in both French and Spanish. In Forty Years, I, 149-150, Stuart stated that he began to study French in 1859 while he was a frontier trader.


See Stuart to Hauser, San Bernardino, Paraguay, September 25, 1896; October 17, 1896; October 18, 1896; Montevideo, January 17, 1897, MHS/HC.


Stuart to Walter Q. Gresham, Secretary of State, Montevideo, Confidential, No. 43, January 14, 1895; No. 45, January 25, 1895, and No. 53, May 16, 1895, NA, M128, 8. Gresham to Stuart, Washington, No. 37, April 19, 1895. File Microcopies of Records in the National Archives: No. 77, Roll 128, Diplomatic Instructions of the Department of State, Paraguay and Uruguay; hereafter only the numbers will be given.


Alberto Zum Felde, Evolución Histórica del Uruguay y Esquema de su Sociología (Montevideo, 3rd ed., 1945), 224.


Juan E. Pivel Devoto and Alcira Ranieri de Pivel Devoto, Historia de la República Oriental del Uruguay 1830-1930 (Montevideo, 1945), 421-422; and Eduardo Acevedo, Manual de Historia Uruguaya después de Artigas (Montevideo, 1942, 3rd ed.), 231-235.


Stuart to Gresham, Montevideo, No. 11, July 16, 1894, NA, M128, 8.


Pivel Devoto, Historia, 423-424; Acevedo, Manual, 235-236, 245, 249.


Stuart to Richard Olney, Montevideo, Confidential, No. 103, January 13, 1897, NA, M128, 9. Stuart evaluated the Paraguayan government in similar terms.


Montevideo Times, December 29, 1896; January 3; January 5; January 6; January 9; January 10; and January 13, 1897.


Pivel Devoto, Historia, 424-425; Acevedo, Manual, 235-236; Buenos Aires Herald, March 20; March 21; March 25; March 27, and March 28, 1897; The Times of Argentina (Buenos Aires), March 24, 1897. Stuart distrusted the muzzled Montevideo press and forwarded clippings from the English-language newspapers in Buenos Aires that described internal conditions in Uruguay. These newspapers took the Blanco side in castigating Idiarte Borda’s regime as a corrupt tyranny.


Stuart to John Sherman, Secretary of State, telegram, Montevideo, March 7, 1897; No. 9, March 10, 1897; Confidential No. 114, March 22, 1897, NA, M128, 9. Sherman to Stuart, No. 98, April 19, 1897, NA, 77, 128.


Stuart to Olney, Montevideo, No. 67, October 3, 1895, NA, M128, 8; No. 95, June 24, 1896; Asunción, No. 100, October 31, 1896, NA, M128, 9. See Olney to Stuart, No. 54, November 6, 1895, and Alvey A. Adee, Acting Secretary of State, to Stuart, No. 76, August 21, 1896, NA, 77, 128, for the United States government’s official position and explanation.


Stuart to Sherman, Montevideo, No. 114, March 22, 1897, NA, M128, 9.


Stuart to Sherman, Montevideo, No. 114, March 22, 1897, and No. 121, April 23, 1897, NA, M128, 9; Sherman to Stuart, No. 108, May 27, 1897, NA, 77, 128.


Stuart to Sherman, Montevideo, No. 122, April 25, 1897, and No. 129, July 21, 1897, NA, M128, 9; Sherman to Stuart, No. 107, May 26, 1897, NA, 77, 128.


Buenos Aires Herald, May 21, 1897.


Stuart to Sherman, Montevideo, No. 117, March 28, 1897; No. 118, March 29, 1897, and No. 123, May 20, 1897, NA, M128, 9; Buenos Aires Herald, May 12; May 18; May 21, 1897.


Stuart to Sherman, telegram, August 25, 1897; No. 131, August 26, 1897. Also see Celia Idiarte Borda and María Ester Idiarte Borda, Juan Idiarte Borda, Su Vida, Su Obra (Buenos Aires, 1939), 457-464. The authors, daughters of President Idiarte Borda, compiled a biographical account of their father’s life through publishing letters taken from their father’s personal archives. From over forty years’ perspective the Idiarte Borda sisters attempted to present a justification of their father’s life and work, which they felt that truth and justice demanded.


According to Celia and María Idiarte Borda (p. 463), spectators restrained their uncle and brother of the president, Colonel Pedro Idiarte Borda, when he attempted to kill the assassin on the spot. Stuart does not mention this.


Stuart to Sherman, No. 131, August 26, 1897, NA, M128, 9. This dispatch reviews the civil war, assassination, and beginning of the Cuestas administration.


Buenos Aires Herald, August 28, 1897.


Stuart to Sherman, Montevideo, No. 132, August 28, 1897, NA, M128, 9.


Montevideo Times, September 12; September 14; September 16, 1897.


Pivel Devoto, Historia, 427; Montevideo Times, September 21, 1897.


William R. Finch to Day, Montevideo, No. 102, December 3, 1898, NA, M128, 9.


Celia and María E. Idiarte Borda, Juan Idiarte Borda, 469-478; Finch to Day, Montevideo, No. 102, December 3, 1898, NA, M128, 9.


Pivel Devoto, Historia, 427-432; Simon G. Hanson, Utopia in Uruguay, Chapters in the Economic History of Uruguay (New York, 1938), 3-18, 40-42; Celia and María E. Idiarte Borda, Juan Idiarte Borda, 215-413.

Author notes


The author is Associate Professor of History at Portland State College.