Mr. Corwin to Mr. Seward.

No. 22.]

Sir: On the 18th of this month I sent a special despatch and a treaty by Colonel A. 0. Allen. Being in some doubt as to their safety, I send herewith a duplicate of my despatch. Should the treaty be lost it can be easily duplicated here, as an exact copy, already ratified, is in the archives of the state department in this city. Nothing has occurred which changes materially the state of affairs here from that presented in my letter to the department under date of the 16th of this month.

I send, with these, translated copies of the correspondence between the three foreign powers, respectively, and this government, which has recently been published here. This presents a strange and certainly unexpected state of relations between Mexico and those states which united in the intervention treaty at London.

When these powers came here, with their respective contingents of land and naval forces, they held out the olive branch to Mexico, and it was at once accepted. They entered into the preliminary treaty, a copy of which I forwarded to the department. They jointly acknowledged the existing government of Mexico, and agreed to meet its diplomatic agents on the 15th of this month at Orizaba, to treat of their respective claims against Mexico. About the 8th of this month, the allies differed as to the proper construction of a clause in the treaty of London, and agreed that each party should act without reference to that treaty.

At this moment the English and Spanish commissioners are in conference at Puebla with General Doblado, the present minister of foreign relations, while the French, who so lately with the other two powers recognized the present as the legitimate government of Mexico, now seem willing to give some aid to Almonte, who, as the papers which accompany this will show, proposes himself as the only hope of good government left to the republic.

I believe I but give utterance to the general opinion of those best informed when I say that Almonte has no such popularity as to warrant the belief that any considerable force can be rallied under his auspices. It is the general opinion that the invitation of the French to rally under him will not bring into the field any force beyond the robber bands under Marquez and Zuloaga, numbering all together not more than four thousand ill-appointed troops. There are now mustered under the orders of the government, in the States of San Luis Potosi, Guanajuato, and Jalisco, about twenty thousand men, in three divisions, under the commands, respectively, of Ortega, Ogazon, and Comonfort, while the republican forces under Zaragosa, on the road from this city to Vera Cruz, amount to about ten thousand men; so that, unless France determines [Page 740]to engage actively to overthrow the very government with which it treated a month ago, there is no prospect of speedy change in the form or personnel of the Juarez government.

Very respectfully,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State of the United States, Washington, D. G.

P. S.—The state of affairs is such as to render the treaty ratified here on the 6th an imperative necessity to Mexico. It will also insure the United States against incalculable future danger.


Hon. W. H. Seward, Washington City.

[Enclosures with despatch No. 22.]

No. 1.

Despatch from Talavera to the commander-in-chief of the army of the east.


Cosmocatepec, April 17, 1862.

On the 14th of the present month I received a communication from the collector of rents at Cordoba, to the intent that he had received orders to procure resources for the forces stationed at that district. On the same day I started for those places, with the object of organizing them; some have already united, and if I do not give you an exact account of them it is because this place has been invaded by the French, which was the cause why said forces were obliged to leave immediately for different points, and up to this moment I have not any reports. The French have returned to Cordoba, giving orders to the magistrate not to give any aid to the forces of the supreme, government, as any one that should so do would be held personally responsible. I beg you will do me the favor to say to what point I must apply for arms, as the prefect (gefe politico) of Cordoba has written to me in a private letter that they are to arrive at Huatusco.

Liberty and independence.


The general-in-chief of the army of the east, Ixtapa.

This is a copy.
No. 2.

Proclamation of La Graviere and Saligny

To the Nation:

Mexicans ! We have not come here with the object of taking any part in your dissensions; we have come to put a stop to them. What we wish is to call upon all honest men to aid us in consolidating good order, and in regenerating [Page 741]your beautiful country. In proof of the sincere spirit of conciliation with which we are animated, we have, in the first place, directed ourselves to that same government against which we have motives of the most serious complaints. We have asked it to accept our aid in establishing in Mexico a state of things that might in future avoid us the necessity of these long expeditions, the greatest inconvenience of which is the suspension of commerce, and the cessation of those relations which are as advantageous to Europe as to your own country. The Mexican government has answered to the moderation of our conduct by taking measures to which we never would have given our approval, and which the civilized world would reproach us for sanctioning by our presence. Between it and ourselves war is now declared. But we do not confound the Mexican people with an oppressive and violent minority. The Mexicans have ever had a right to our warmest sympathies ; it remains to them to show themselves worthy of them. We appeal to all those who may have confidence in our intervention, no matter to what party they may have belonged. No enlightened man can ever believe that a government, born from the suffrage of one of the most liberal nations of Europe, could for a moment have had the intention of restoring in a foreign country ancient abuses and institutions, which no longer appertain to the age. We wish equal justice for all, and we wish that this justice should not be imposed by the force of our arms. The Mexican people must be the first instrument of their own salvation. Our only aim is to inspire the honorable and pacific portion of the country—that is to say, to the nine-tenths of the population—with the courage to declare their free will.

If the Mexican nation remains inert, if she does not comprehend that we offer her an unexpected occasion to escape from an abyss, if she does not lend by her efforts a sentiment and a practical morality to our support, it is evident that nothing is now left for us to do but to occupy ourselves with the necessary interests, in view of which the convention of London was concluded. Let all men so long divided by quarrels without an object hasten to unite with us ; they hold in their hands the destinies of Mexico. The French flag has been planted upon Mexican soil, and that flag shall not retrocede. Let all upright men hail it as a friendly banner; let the insensate dare to attack it!

E. JURIEN, A. DE SALIGNY, Plenipotentiaries of his Majesty the Emperor of the French, in Mexico.

No. 3.

General Prim to General Zaragoza.


Excellent Sir : I have just received your excellency’s communication of yesterday, in which you inform me of your arrival at Ingenio, and in which you ask me upon what day the forces under my command will evacuate this city ; and therefore I have to inform your excellency that on the afternoon of the 19th this place will be entirely evacuated by our troops and materiel. God preserve your excellency many years.


His Excellency Señor Don J. Zaragoza.
This is a true copy.
[Page 742]
No. 4.

General Zaragoza to the French commander-in-chief.


Although the French commissioners have been the first to break the preliminaries of peace agreed to at La Soledad on the 19th of February last, as a mere duty of humanity I allow the sick of the army of that power to remain in the hospital; but they are safe under the protection and loyalty of the Mexican army; therefore there is no need they should be guarded by any forces of their own nation. I hope, then, that his excellency the general-in-chief of the French troops residing in Cordoba will order the escort to which I refer to retire, protesting to him the assurances of my personal consideration. Liberty and reform.


His Excellency the General-in-chief of the French Army, Cordoba.

This is a true copy.
No. 5.

La Graviere to the commander-in-chief of the army of the east.

The undersigned, plenipotentiary of his Majesty the Emperor of the French, has the honor to inform the general-in-chief of the eastern army that in virtue of orders received from his Majesty the Emperor he has given up the command of the expeditionary body to General Count de Lorencez, who remains in the exclusive charge of the military operations. Consequently, the note that was brought last night by a messenger from the general-in-chief of the eastern army has been transmitted to that general officer.

I avail myself of this present occasion to renew to the general-in-chief of the eastern army the assurances of my distinguished consideration.


The General-in-chief of the Army of the East.

This is a copy.
[Page 743]
No. 6.

General Lorencez to General Zaragoza.


In answer to the letter that Mr. Zaragoza has written to the French plenipotentiaries, under date of April 18, the general-in-chief of the expeditionary body to Mexico affirms that no guards have been left with the sick in Orizaba, nor any man in good health, (valide,) unless it be some few nurses to take care of them. The general-in-chief of the French expeditionary body begs General Zaragoza to accept the assurances of his distinguished consideration.


This is a copy.
No. 7.

Proclamation of General Almonte.

General Juan N. Almonte to all Mexicans:

Fellow-citizens : I have desired for some days to address myself to you, in order to inform you of the object of my coming to the republic; but the fact of the existence of an armistice, and that of finding myself under the protection of French arms, did not permit me to speak, and I have been waiting for an opportunity to do so, Now that the representatives of France, taking upon themselves the whole charge of the situation, manifest the true wishes of the allied governments, I think it my duty to break the silence which, against my will, I had preserved, and which gave a pretext to the enemies of order to take advantage of it by publishing apocryphal proclamations. Upon returning, then, to the bosom of my country, I tell you that I come animated by no other sentiment than that of contributing to the pacification of the republic, and that of cooperating in the establishment of a national government—one of true morality and order—that may put a stop forever to anarchy, and that may give sufficient guarantees for life and property as well to foreigners as to those of the nation.

A stranger to the bloody struggle which for so many years has lacerated our beautiful country, scandalizing the whole world to that degree as to call forth the serious attention of the great eastern powers of Europe, my efforts will always be to procure the reconciliation of our brothers and to banish from among them hatred and discord. Fortunately, in order to attain so noble an object I have neither personal revenge to gratify nor rewards to demand.

Having been sufficiently repaid by the nation for the services which it was my duty to lend it before and after its independence, my sole desire at present is to offer it the last and most important one before descending into the sepulchre, and that is to secure to it that peace which it has been so long in want of.

On the other hand, having reason to know, as I do know, the wishes of the allied powers, and especially those of his Majesty the Emperor of the French, which are no others than to see the establishment in our unfortunate country (and by our own selves) of a firm government of order and morality, in order that the pillage and vandalism which now reign in every part of the republic may disappear, [Page 744]and that the mercantile world may profit by the immense advantages which our most fruitful country offers it, by the native riches she possesses, and by her geographical situation, I have thought it necessary to hasten to it to explain to you these good intentions, which also embrace the philanthropic idea of establishing forever the independence, nationality, and integrity of the Mexican territory !

For the assuring, then, of a new order of things, you should confide in the efficacious co-operation of France, whose illustrious sovereign makes his beneficial influence felt in every place where a just and civilizing cause is required.

Mexicans! If my honorable antecedents—if my services rendered to my country, as well in the glorious struggle of our independence as in the direction of her policy in the epochs in which I have formed part of her cabinet and represented the nation in foreign lands—if all this, I repeat, make me worthy of your confidence, unite your efforts to mine, and be assured that very soon we will see the establishment of a government such as suits our character, necessities, and religious belief.

This is the assurance of your best friend and fellow-citizen,


The French commissioners to the minister of foreign relations.

The undersigned, plenipotentiaries of his Majesty the Emperor of the French, have the honor to acknowledge to the minister of foreign relations receipt of the collective note, without date, which has been delivered to them by their colleagues, the representatives of her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and of her Catholic Majesty, as well as of the note, also without date, which has been addressed to them particularly and directly by Mr. Doblado.

If the undersigned did not wish to avoid useless recriminations, without dignity, nothing would be easier than to establish, by means of facts, that it is not the representatives of the Emperor who have endeavored, under a puerile pretext, to elude the negotiations, nor that they have come to Mexico to combat the ideas of reform, liberty, or national independence, but that the government is the one who has destroyed with its own hands the preliminaries of La Soledad, persisting, since the day following that upon which the convention was signed, and with double violence, in abandoning itself every day to the same culpable acts against the properties and persons of the subjects of his Imperial Majesty, and against the most sacred principles of the rights of men, that they had ended by obliging the allied powers to exact reparation by force.

The undersigned are sorry to add that other facts, entirely recent—such as the assassination of various French soldiers on the road to Vera Cruz, and even in the environs of Cordoba—furnish a new proof that the Mexican government has neither the will nor the power to comply with the obligations imposed upon all civilized governments. In such a state of things the undersigned, convinced of the inutility of recurring for a longer time to means of negotiations, can only refer to their note of the 9th of April; and they avail themselves of this occasion to renew to the minister of foreign relations the assurances of their distinguished consideration.


His Excellency the Minister of Foreign Relations.

[Page 745]

Answer of the minister of foreign relations to the despatch of the French commissioners.

The undersigned, charged ad interim with the ministry of foreign relations of the Mexican republic, has the honor to answer the note which, under date of the 16th of the present month, was directed to him from Cordoba by their excellencies the commissioners of the Emperor of the French.

The president, to whom I communicated the contents of said note, contradicts the imputation made therein of his having failed to comply with the preliminaries of La Soledad.

It is in every respect false that the property of any French subject has been attacked; and if by chance the assassinations said to be committed on the road from Vera Cruz to Cordoba—that is to say, in those points occupied by the allied forces—should be verified, the government has neither received notice of them, nor, consequently, has it been able to prosecute the criminals, as it would have done if their excellencies had made the matter known to him. Now that for the first time he hears of these crimes, he has given orders that the necessary investigations be made. As to the rest, a few days after the signing of the preliminaries the commissioners gave shelter to several criminals of the republic, of whom some came from Europe, others were in Vera Cruz, flying from their judges, and others had withdrawn from the rebel forces in which they were fighting, in order to concert together the overthrow of public order, as is proved by documents issued from this ministry.

The same criminals have repaired to different districts subject to the government, guarded by French forces, whose officers have prevented the local authorities from freely exercising their functions, as stipulated in the preliminaries. Other French officers have even gone so far as to imprison some of the Mexican authorities, threatening to have them shot under the most unjust and frivolous pretences.

If these facts, and the having failed in the stipulated conferences of the preliminaries, are or not an infraction of them, history will say, and the commissioners, officers, English and Spanish forces, before whose eyes it has taken place, will testify.

The undersigned has the honor to offer to the commissioners his distinguished consideration.


Their Excellencies the Commissioners of his Majesty the Emperor of the French, Cordoba.

Protest against the treaty.

The undersigned, plenipotentiaries of his Majesty the Emperor of the French, have been informed that the cabinet of Mexico has concluded, some days since, or is on the point of concluding, with a foreign government, a treaty, by which it will sell, yield, transfer, or hypothecate in favor of this, a considerable portion of lands, properties, or rents belonging to the state, in exchange for a loan or advance of a certain sum of money.

The undersigned, without examining the greater or less foundation which the rumors spread abroad upon this subject may have, think it their duty solemnly to protest, as they do, in the name of the government of the Emperor, and for the interest of their compatriots, against any treaty or convention whatever [Page 746]which may have for its object, on the part of Mexico, to sell, yield, transfer, or hypothecate, in favor of whomsoever it may be, all or any part of the lands, properties, or rents of the state, in order to form of these same lands, properties, and rents, the pledge upon which rest the claims held by France against Mexico.

The undersigned avail themselves of this occasion to renew to his excellency the minister of foreign relations the assurances of their distinguished consideration.


His Excellency the Minister of Foreign Relations, Mexico,

Answer to the protest.

The undersigned, charged ad interim with the ministry of foreign relations of the Mexican republic, has the honor to answer the note of their excellencies the commissioners of his Majesty the Emperor of the French, dated Cordoba, April 16.

As the government of the republic recognizes no right in the commissioners to oppose themselves to the treaties which it may celebrate with any power whatever respecting the engagements it may have contracted with its legitimate creditors, the undersigned confines himself to acknowledging the receipt of the protest which in said note is made against any treaty which Mexico may have concluded, or may conclude, with any foreign government whatever, selling, yielding, transferring, or hypothecating the whole or part of the lands, properties, or rents of the nation.

The undersigned will add only, by order of the president, that the protest of the commissioners will not prevent him from celebrating the treaties or conventions alluded to whenever he judges it to be convenient and it be in his power, availing himself in this of that inherent right which belongs to the sovereignty and independence of the nation.

The undersigned has the honor to offer to the commissioners his distinguished consideration.


Their Excellencies the Commissioners of his Majesty the Emperor of the French, Cordoba.