Papers Relating to Foreign Affairs, Accompanying the Annual Message of the President to the Third Session Thirty-seventh Congress
Mr. Corwin to Mr. Seward.
Sir: Nothing has occurred since my last despatches to change in any important particular the aspect of affairs in Mexico. The French still occupy their place at Orizaba. The guerillas cut off their communications from Vera Cruz as far as Puebla.
I enclose copies of a correspondence between the captain of a rebel regiment on the frontier of Texas and the Mexican authorities.
I am, sir, your obedient servant.
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State of the United States, Washington, D. C.
Sir: By the annexed copies which I have the honor to transfer to the hands of your excellency you will be made acquainted with the complaints which our principal authority of the State of Tamaulipas has received from the military [Page 751]commander of the sub-district of Rio Grande, on account of the course pursued at Matamoras by the consul of the United States of America in committing hostilities thence on the authorities of the southern States; and, in order to prevent complications that may cause serious damage to Mexico, I doubt not that your excellency will hasten to address positive orders to said consul to the end that he may not compromit the neutrality which Mexico has to observe in the contest unfortunately existing in the United States of America.
I avail myself of this opportunity to renew to your excellency the assurances of my very distinguished consideration.
Mr. Thomas Corwin, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America.
Military commander, chief post of Tamaulipus, makes report in regord to complaints of the authorities of Texas on account of the course of the consul of the United States at Matamoras.
Citizen Minister: Under date of the 12th instant I stated to the military commander of the line at Matamoras what follows: “The commander of the military sub-district of Rio Grande has addressed this commandancy, representing that he knows beyond doubt that the consul of the United States at that place protects American citizens who are enemies of the government of the confederated States of the south in North America, and this with the consent of your command. This is contrary to the neutrality which the Mexican government has proposed to itself to observe in the differences that exist between the two bodies of people of the neighboring republic. And even if the authorities of the south were not setting us an example in not allowing enemies of Mexico to abide in their territory, any act on the part of the Mexican authorities not in strict consonance with that purpose justly deserves to be regarded as offensive and as subversive of the friendly relations which they cherish with us. The commandancy in my charge, not wishing in any way to expose the nation to new complaints, and, on the other hand, seeing how justly the commander of Texas complains, has replied to that officer that it will apply the due remedy for such an abuse; and therefore I warn you to abstain from protecting, and to prevent their being protected, in that place and other towns included in your command, the enemies of the government of said States, and to watch most particularly the consul of the United States, until the supreme government of the republic, which has been notified of this matter, shall determine what is proper respecting it. I trust that your commandancy, impressed with the great evils which might result to this frontier, and even to the whole nation, from not observing strictly the neutrality which is due in the contentions of the neighboring States, will take the greatest care and be most zealous in complying with my instructions, giving timely notice of what may happen in this respect; and, in case the American consul should continue to protect in any way the party opposed to the government of the Confederate States, that it will notify him to refrain therefrom or else to leave the Mexican territory, the authorities of which must not permit the neutrality to be violated by anybody.”
And I transcribe the same for you, annexing a copy of the note which said commander of the sub-district of Rio Grande sent to this commandancy, and [Page 752]which gave rise to my communication herein inserted, the contents of which you will be pleased to report to the citizen president, and I hope it may meet with his superior approval; and you will also tell me what is to be done in this delicate matter, which, owing to its nature and the character of the persons who are parties to it, may be of grave importance to the republic, it being exclusively for the general government to determine what is proper.
I reiterate to you on this occasion the assurances of my high consideration and esteem.
The Citizen Minister of Foreign Relations and of the Interior, Mexico.
Secretary’s Office of the Military Commandancy, chief post of Tamaulipas.
San Antonio, Texas, April 17, 1862.
Since writing to you yesterday I have been officially informed that the soldiers are deserting from our forces on this side of the Rio Grande, and that, taking refuge in Matamoras, they are subsisted by the consul of the United States, with the knowledge of the military commander of Matamoras, and that there are many Americans, some of them armed, assembled in that place who are declared enemies of the Confederate States, who are doing everything which is possible to poison the minds of the officers and citizens against us, and to stimulate them to commit bad acts against our country and its citizens.
It is a positive fact that the consul of the United States at Matamoras has been constantly inducing our soldiers to desert, and that he has been doing everything which was possible to render our officers uneasy, and thus disturbing the good relations which exist between the two countries. I did not wish to take notice of this so long as I had not precise information; but I have obtained that, and in such abundance that they will have to be watched by the officers of your government, if they have a disposition to do so. And I must call your attention to this act, and ask you to prevent this infraction of the laws of neutrality by persons who are residing in Matamoras or on the left bank of the Rio Grande; and you will permit me to assure you that I have the greatest confidence in your intentions to keep up with us relations of friendship, and that you will take this affair into consideration.
I again assure you of my high consideration, and of the warmest wishes of my country and of myself to cultivate more closely relations with you, your government, and your people.
I have the honor to subscribe myself your excellency’s most obedient servant,
H. E. McCulloch, Colonel of 1st Reg’t T. M. R., C. S. of A., Commanding the Military Sub-district of Rio Grande.
General Don Santiago Vidaurri, Gov. of the Free and Sovereign State of New Leon and Coahuila.
Monterey, May 18, 1862.
A copy of the translation from the original.
MANUEL G. REJON.
Mexico, June 2, 1862.
Sir: The undersigned has the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your excellency’s note of the 2d instant, covering a correspondence between one of be officers of a rebel regiment in arms against the United States and General fidaurri. The undersigned will transmit to the consul at Matamoras proper instructions as to his duty in any case affecting the relations between Mexico and the United States which may arise out of the present disturbed condition of our frontier adjoining the Mexican territory.
The undersigned will transmit to your excellency a copy of his instructions to the American consul at Matamoras, and will lose no time in forwarding to the State Department at Washington copies of your excellency’s note of the 2d instant.
The undersigned renews to your excellency the assurance of his distinguished consideration.