I. Carlos Antonio, president of Paraguay, born in Asuncion, Nov. 4, 1790, died there, Sept. 10, 1862. He received the best education attainable in the ecclesiastical seminary of Asuncion, and escaped the persecution of Dr. Francia, the dictator, only by hiding himself for many years in a remote village. On the death of Francia in September, 1840, he returned to Asuncion, when, being the only native of Paraguay having any knowledge of theories of government, he became the secretary of the military junta then exercising supreme power. In 1841 he was one of the two consuls elected for three years, and in 1844 the congress elected him president for ten years. In 1854 he was reelected for three years, and again in 1857 for ten years, with power to appoint his temporary successor by will. His government was arbitrary, but in general not oppressive or sanguinary. He gradually opened Paraguay to foreign trade and immigration, made treaties with several powers, laid the foundations of a formidable army, with suitable fortifications, arsenal, and flotilla, constructed a railway, and provided for the education of numerous youths in European mechanical and scientific schools.
His extreme jealousy of all encroachments upon the independence of Paraguay brought him into conflict with the dictator Rosas of Buenos Ayres, and his dislike of foreigners in' volved him in diplomatic controversies with England, France, and Brazil, which in each case were carried to the verge of hostilities, from which he escaped by shrewd diplomacy. His treatment of the American consul, and the firing into the exploring steamer Water Witch, in 1855, led to a large American squadron being sent to enforce a demand for reparation, which was promised by a new treaty, but ultimately evaded. His long administration greatly advanced the material welfare of Paraguay, and the security of life and property was commensurate with the powers which he exercised, unlimited except by laws of his own enacting.
II. Francisco Solano, president of Paraguay, son of the preceding, born near Asuncion, July 24, 1827, killed in battle, March 1, 1870. From an early period of his father's administration Francisco was intended as his successor, and he was appointed to the posts of greatest honor. In 1845 he was named commander-in-chief of the Paraguayan army, and spent some time on the frontier of Cor-rientes, nominally but not actually engaged in warfare with the dictator Rosas of Buenos Ayres. In 1854 he was sent with a numerous corps of attaches to exchange treaty ratifications with several European powers, and passed 18 months in Europe. While there he met an Irish lady who called herself Mrs. Lynch, and who lived apart from her husband, a French officer. She followed Lopez to Paraguay, and became his mistress, a position not deemed discreditable in that country, where marriage had been almost abolished by Francia. By her talents she acquired popularity, and exercised a controlling influence over Lopez until near the end of his life.
On his return he became minister of war, and thenceforth exercised great influence in the government, which he used chiefly for putting the country in readiness for a foreign war, as he had early conceived the project of wresting from Brazil, Bolivia, and the Argentine Republic their adjacent provinces. On the death of his father in 1862 it was found that Gen. Lopez had been designated by will as vice president, and congress chose him president for ten years from Oct. 16. The efforts of the new president were now energetically directed to warlike preparations, and for two years he was constantly but secretly receiving arms from Europe. In 1864 he believed himself prepared to cope with the combined forces of the adjoining nations. Skilfully availing himself of a Brazilian intervention in a civil war in Uruguay, he declared himself the protector of the "equilibrium" of the Plata river, and summoned the Brazilian forces to retire. No attention being paid to his protests, he commenced hostilities in November, 1864, by seizing a Brazilian mail steamer; and in December he seized upon the defenceless Brazilian province of Matto Grosso, lying on the upper waters of the river Paraguay. Early in 1865 he despatched 8,000 troops across the Argentine territory into the Brazilian province of Rio Grande do Sul, when the protests of the Argentine government against this violation of its territory afforded a pretext for declaring war upon that republic.
A hastily summoned congress of his own selection ratified these acts, conferred the grade of marshal upon Lopez, gave him extraordinary war powers, and formally declared war against Brazil and the Argentine Republic. Before this declaration was known in Buenos Ayres, Lopez ordered the seizure of two Argentine men-of-war lying at anchor in Corrientes, and overran that province with his forces. The governments of Brazil, the Argentine Republic, and Uruguay thereupon concluded a secret treaty (May 1, 1865), forming an offensive and defensive alliance against Paraguay. In the course of this year the allies recovered the provinces occupied by Lopez, and in their turn invaded Paraguay early in 1866. For four years thenceforward a war of greater proportions than had hitherto been known in South America was waged with varying fortunes on the soil of Paraguay. On the part of Lopez all the able-bodied males between the ages of 12 and 70 were successively impressed into the service, and several lines of defence were gallantly maintained. In February, 1808, the Brazilian squadron forced its way above the fortresses, and bombarded Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay, which had however been evacuated by the government and all its inhabitants.
As a consequence of some vacillations on the part of the individuals composing this government as to their conduct toward the enemy in this unexpected emergency, Lopez suspected the vice president and cabinet ministers of disloyalty. He caused their imprisonment and removal to army headquarters, where they were tried before an improvised court consisting of three priests. By means of the most unrelenting tortures the prisoners were brought to confess themselves guilty and to implicate others, who were quickly seized and subjected to the same process. In the course of a few weeks confessions had been extorted which ultimately implicated all the civil employees left by Lopez in Asuncion, most of the foreign diplomatic and consular officers, and all the foreigners engaged in commerce, in sweeping charges of conspiracy against the rule or even the life of Lopez. More than 500 persons, embracing all that remained in Paraguay of intelligence, wealth, or official rank, were either executed or died by torture in the encampment of Lopez, during the second half of the year 1868. The American legation was involved in this charge. The minister escaped in September through the opportune arrival of an American gunboat, but two attaches were seized and subjected to the usual trial by torture.
Their lives were spared, however, and they were ultimately surrendered to an American squadron in December. By successive defeats Lopez was driven to the extreme northern limits of Paraguay. When about to cross the river Aquidaban, he was surprised by a detachment of Brazilian cavalry. While attempting to swim to the opposite bank, the Brazilian general, Camara, in vain summoned him to surrender; but his strength gave way, and while bleeding from his wounds he was killed by two Brazilian soldiers, his last words being: "I die for my country." Mrs. Lynch was overtaken in her flight. The eldest son, Pancho, in the uniform of a colonel, fired upon the Brazilian chief lieutenant, Martinez, who thereupon killed him, and he was buried by the side of his father. Mrs. Lynch was allowed to go to England. The forces of Lopez, reduced to about 1,500, at once laid down their arms. - See "Seven Eventful Years in Paraguay," by G. F. Masterman (London, 1869), and "History of Paraguay," by C. A. Washburn (2 vols., Boston, 1870).