The minister of state to the plenipotentiary, commander-in-chief of the Spanish expeditionary troops for Mexico.
Excellent Sir : Her Majesty the Queen, our Lady, has made herself acquainted with all the interest the nature of the subject inspires, with your excellency’s communication of February 20, and with the documents accompanying it; and as your excellency will already have received royal orders which were conveyed to you by last mail, you will have easily understood the impression your tidings have produced upon the royal mind.
If the government of her Majesty desired to observe, with that of the Mexican republic, a system of moderation as ample and unrestrained as would permit the nature of the facts produced by the combined action of the three powers and the conditions of that same government, it did not consider it necessary to carry them so far as might create a doubt in the Mexicans themselves respecting the determination with which the claims, once established, would be prosecuted.
The government of her Majesty give their full value to the considerations expressed by your excellency, demonstrating the necessity of all the steps taken before the 20th of February last, and of the preliminaries adjusted with the minister of foreign relations of Juarez, but it still thinks that some of these may give rise, in the country itself, to interpretations productive of a more obstinate resistance than it would have opposed if the claims had been presented at first.
Examining attentively the preliminaries, it is seen, that by the first clause, the government of D. Benito Juarez acquires a moral force it did not possess, since, giving faith to his word that it has all the elements of strength and opinion necessary to its preservation, it enters at once into the ground of treaties or negotiations.
This might have been done, omitting the manifestation, and it would not have borne with it the inconveniences which present themselves at the first sight.
The second clause indicates an idea which is not well understood, or cannot be realized, because the plenipotentiaries of the three governments cannot delegate the attributes they have received from the same. They alone hold the right and power to exercise them.
The fourth clause has excited the liveliest disapprobation on the part of the imperial cabinet, and the government of her Majesty would not approve it if the reflections of your excellency to justify it had no weight in her mind. In fact, that which is obtained by an arrangement is not. to be maintained by force. The loyalty and valor of the allied forces, and the point of honor of the chiefs who command them, will be shocked at such an idea; but the Mexican government should have left to the noble decision of those the adoption of the measure necessary in case the negotiations had not succeeded, or rather, in that of not accepting the claims of the three allied governments.[Page 761]
This demonstration of good correspondence would not have been proper, when so many proofs of moderation and generosity were given by the allies. It will be, besides, extremely sensible, that, in case of having to withdraw the troops, the hospitals remain in the power of the enemy, even after having contracted the solemn promise to respect them, and when means have not been wanting to punish whatever action may be committed against them.
The last clause or condition of the preliminaries is that which it is most difficult to explain. The city of Vera Cruz and the castle of San Juan d’Ulua were occupied by the Spanish troops in the name of the three nations, not only as a basis and principle of operations, but also as a pledge and sure guarantee to oblige the Mexican government to satisfy the claims presented to it.
As long as this is not realized; as long as any idea or danger of breach existed, Vera Cruz and San Juan de Ulua, abandoned by the Mexican troops, cannot recognize, are under no other authority or power than that of the forces of the three allied nations; planting the Mexican flag by the side of the banners of these, it will be understood, supposing the fact to be realized that they have one sitnation in common, the same interests and identical rights; and as the signification of the event can be no other, it does not appear to be in agreement with the reality of matters.
Thus it is that the government of his Imperial Majesty has considered it of such importance that, united with the others, it has caused him to dictate the resolution of separating Admiral Julian de Lagraviere from the command of his forces.
The English cabinet has not viewed with the same eye all the actions and resolutions of the plenipotentiaries ; but between those two governments and that of her Majesty an agreement must of force be made which may determine the ulterior course of the combined expedition. In the meanwhile the government of her Majesty assured that when your excellency receives this communication the negociations commenced will have come to an end; and, wishing to avoid the least want of concert or harmony in the resolutions of the three governments, has resolved, in the short space of time elapsed since yesterday when the mail was received until the hour when it is about to leave, to say to your excellency that, well penetrated with the spirit of the instructions which with her approval I formerly conveyed to you, you may proceed with the greatest promptness and energy, and in conformity with the plenipotentiaries and chiefs of the troops of the other nations, in case the conferences of Orizaba have not had a result entirely satisfactory.
Your excellency recognizes, with reason, that all imaginable means of conciliation being exhausted, the necessity of hostilities, whatever may be their consequences, will be demonstrated in the face of the world, and before the Mexican people themselves, that its confidence and support cannot be preserved, seeing that they cannot actually consent that a government deaf to the voice of justice should be animated and directed in all their actions, in the same manner as a civilized government. This extremity having arrived, your excellency can count without doubt upon the active co-operation of all honorable men, and the three allied nations not only will obtain the satisfaction due to their numerous grievances, but also that of having contributed by the presence of their troops, and without injuring, favoring, on the contrary, the independence of the Mexican people, to give to it a government which may put a stop to its prolonged sufferings, and give pledges of security to all the natives’ and foreigners’ interests.
By royal order and by the approval of the council of ministers, I say this to your excellency, for your knowledge and consequent proceedings.
S. CALDERON COLLANTES.
By royal order a copy was given to the representatives of her Majesty in Paris, London, and Washington.[Page 762]