Mr. Bigelow to Mr. Seward

No. 44]

Sir: I send you some journals by this mail which may be worth your looking over; among others the last number of the Memorial Diplomatic, which is understood to be under the special inspiration of the ministry of foreign affairs.

You will find on page 157 confirmation of what I sent you by last mail about commissioners sent from Mexico to negotiate a concordat with the Pope.

A translation of part of this article is enclosed. You will not fail to remark that the commission is charged to treat directly with the Pope, and that Maximilian has sent Velasquez, his minister of foreign affairs, as president of the commission.

The promulgation in Mexico of a decree from Maximilian imposing restrictions upon the publication of papal bulls, &c., simultaneously with the departure of this commission, leads me to suspect that the tone to be taken by the commissioners when they reach Borne will be quite as decided as represented in my private note of the 3d instant.

You will observe, by a paragraph on page 158 of the Memorial Diplomatique, that the government has found it convenient to attribute the delay to our government, in naming a minister to this court in place of the late Mr. Dayton, to another motive than a disposition on the part of the President to resent the long vacancy in the French mission at Washington, to which the delay is generally ascribed. It is one of many signs, becoming daily more common, that public opinion here begins to require of the government a conciliatory manner towards the United States.

* * * * * * * * *

I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.

[Page 375]

[Enclosure No. 44.—Translation.]

From the Memorial Diplomatique, March 5, 1865.

Our correspondent from Mexico informs us that, in accordance with the desire expressed by the Holy Father, and justified by the constant usage of the Roman court, negotiations for the definitive arrangement of the ecclesiastical questions in Mexico are about to be concentrated at Rome. With this view his Mexican Majesty has charged a special mission to go and treat directly with his Holiness; and as it was of importance to invest with this mission, as full of sharp points as it is delicate, men calculated to inspire a just confidence at the Holy See, the emperor Maximilian has designated his minister of state, Mr. Velasquez de Leon, as president of the commission, and first plenipotentiary of Mexico.

Mr. Velasquez de Leon is very favorably known at Rome for his devotion to the church.

He will be aided by two councillors of state, charged more particularly to arrange the details of the execution of the concordat to be entered into between Rome and Mexico.

Mr. Velasquez de Leon and the two councillors of state who accompany him were to embark upon the French packet-boat which is expected about the 15th of March at Saint Nazaire.