Mr. Corwin to Mr. Seward.
Sir: Since the date of my despatch No. 31, Mr. Doblado has resigned his position of secretary for foreign affairs, and taken command of a detachment of troops to unite with the corps commanded by the late President Common fort. Doblado, I learn, is to be commander in chief of this army. This force is to first drive a band of freebooters out of the mountains near Guadalajara, and then hold itself ready to protect the government officials should they be driven out of this city by the defeat of Zaragoza’s army, which is to meet the French should they advance on this city.[Page 769]
The French forces, about seven thousand in number, are occupied and fortified at Orizaba, about ninety miles from Vera Cruz, and one hundred and eighty miles from this city. There are various accounts as to the number of re-enforcements to come from France. One account sets them down at 10,000, the other at 20,000. Adopting either number, they will have much difficulty in reaching this city without defeat or great loss. Zaragoza has now under him full fifteen thousand men, most of them inured to war, especially guerilla war, for which the Mexicans, in general, are well qualified. And this is the very kind of war most useful in harassing an army on a long march through such a country as the French must pass through on their march to Orizaba to this city. If the government should be driven from this place by the failure of Zaragoza to check or repulse the French, then it will fly to the nearest safe position in one of the States, most probably to Morelia, a distance of about two hundred miles from Mexico. Then I am satisfied it is the policy of France to set up some government in the capital, call it the government de facto, treat with it and retire. This, I think, is the most likely to be the end of “intervention,” especially should the French force their way to this capital. If they should not, it is certain, judging from the temper and known characteristics of the French people, that large armies will be sent here, and an idefinite expenditure of money will be required to carry on successively a war of one year or more, to achieve the complete conquest of this country.
If, however, in the meantime the northern forces in the United States shall succeed in gaining a decisive victory over the south, so as to forbid all hope of a division of our Union, I agree with the universal opinion of discerning minds here, both native and foreign, that France will find some honorable way of ridding herself at once from her Mexican troubles. In short, there are satisfactory reasons for believing that the fate of Mexican interests involved in the present contest will be determined favorably, or otherwise, as the tide of conflict in the United States shall set one way or the other. For these reasons all classes here wait with intense anxiety the result of a general battle at Richmond. We have heard nothing from that quarter since General McClellan changed the position of his besieging force, and hope with tremulous uncertainty of mind to get some good news by the forthcoming mail of the British packet, which was due at Vera Cruz yesterday, and will probably reach this city by the 30th instant.
Mr. Fuerute, late minister to France, who was so unceremoniously treated lately by the imperial government at Paris, succeeds Mr. Doblado in the department of foreign affairs here. He is a gentleman of good education, great probity, and fine talent. We here, after reading the British “blue book,” are at a loss to know how the British and Spanish governments can permit the French to give a turn to the objects of the joint intervention at war with the joint treaty agreed to at London; yet they both look on and see the French attempt with arms to overthrow the established government of Mexico, which they both assert is a plain infraction of the treaty agreed to by France with them, upon which basis joint intervention was moved.
If the Mexican government had money to maintain and arms to equip troops, it could easily bring into the field fifty thousand effective men. But they have neither money nor arms ; and hence, in a contest with a rich and warlike nation, they must be regarded as dependent on the justice of a possible conqueror.
I have been asked to send home a supplemental treaty extending the time of ratification agreed on by the treaty of the 6th of April last. This is urged on the ground that a great and favorable change in our situation may take place after the 6th of October next, when the ratification of our treaty (now on the table of the Senate) expires. And, secondly, if it is not likely that the treaty will ever be ratified, while it is pending and not rejected, Mexico will seem to [Page 770]have one friend, and they be left to hope; whereas, if it be rejected, she will be reduced to despair of either friendly feelings or aid from any quarter.
Your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State of the United States, Washington, D. C.