Mr. Bigelow to Mr. Seward

No. 52.]

Sir: In consequence of a paragraph which I noticed in the Paris correspondence of a London journal, I asked the minister of foreign affairs yesterday whether he had any information of a circular issued by the minister of foreign affairs of the Archduke Maximilian to the maritime prefects of Mexico, in reference to consuls acting irregularly and without exequaturs from the imperial government, provoked, as was stated, by two recent appointments made by the government of the United States. His excellency replies that he had not heard of anything of the kind, but, if I desired, he would procure me a copy, if any had been issued. I said that as the circular purported, according to the newspaper reports, to have been provoked by the action of my government, I presumed it would interest them to know what it was, and said I would thank him to procure me a copy if he could conveniently. His excellency took a memorandum of my request, and said it should not be neglected.

This morning I received the first copy of a new journal, entitled the Epoque, established and conducted by M. Ernest Feydeau, in which the circular in [Page 377] question is given at length. Though I presume a copy has already reached you, there is a chance that it has not; I therefore enclose a translation, with the editorial paragraph which followed it.

In this connexion, I invite your attention to an article in the Constitutionnel of the 7th instant, signed Boniface, relating to the reciprocal relations of France, Mexico, and the United States, which is chiefly deserving of attention for the paragraph with which it closes, and which may he translated as follows:

“The work which France has undertaken in Mexico, and which she will not leave unfinished, moves, then, towards a happy and rapid accomplishment.”

This article appeared nearly simultaneously, I am told, upon what I deem credible authority, with the declaration of the Emperor to his council that the honor of France was involved in the support of the new empire in Mexico. This declaration was followed by the issue of orders for the transport of 8,000 men—that is, eight regiments from Algeria—to the support of General Bazaine, who, as I have already advised you, lacks confidence in the mercenaries with whom the Emperor has attempted to replace the French soldiers in the archduke’s service. Should this information prove correct, it will give to the approaching debates on the address, in the corps legislatif, unusual importance.

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


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, &c., &c., &c.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs in Mexico to the Political Prefects of the Empire.

It has come to the knowledge of this department that there are persons exercising the functions of consular agents in the territory of the empire without having received the usual exequatur either from the government of his Majesty or from that of the old republic, thus contravening established usage and the law governing this matter.

You will be pleased to invite, with all necessary managements, the persons exercising the above functions within your cireonscription to present to you their brevet or their license. You shall give to understand to such as shall not be able to present such that they must henceforth abstain from the exercise of consular functions.

You shall see that these prescriptions be strictly carried out, and shall give an account to this department of the irregularities you may have discovered, or may discover hereafter, in these matters.

RAMIREZ, Minister, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

The circular derives a particular interest from the recent appointment of a new United States consul at Matamoras, and from the valueless exequatur delivered by Corona to the consular agent of the same country, residing at Mazatlan.