Mr. Romero to Mr. Hunter

Mr. Secretary ad interim: I have the honor to transmit to you, for the information of the government of the United States, the documents expressed in the following index, brought from Mexico by the last Vera Cruz steamer, which show the state of things in the eastern part of that republic in the middle of December 1865.

I embrace this occasion to renew the assurance of my most distinguished consideration.


Hon. William Hunter, &c., &c., &c.

List of documents sent by the Mexican legation in Washington to the State Department of the United States with the note of this date.

No. 1. December 3, 1865.—Letter of a merchant in Jalapa to his correspondent in Mexico, giving a detailed account of the battle of Tlapacoyam.

No. 2. December 7, 1865.—Several letters from Vera Cruz, with notices of the arrivals of French re-enforcements and munitions of war.

No. 3. December 14, 1865.—Letter from General Tapia to Mr. Romero, informing him that he has been exchanged by the French and returns to the national army.

No. 4. December 15, 1865.—Letter from a Mexican citizen in Puebla, who sends the preceding, and gives some account of General Tapia’s sufferings.

No. 5. December 17, 1865.—Letter from a commercial house on the financial situation of the usurper.

[Page 54]

No. 1.


My Esteemed Friend, Don Felipe: * * * * *

I did not write to you to tell you about the fight in the sierra, because I did not know the particulars; but now I can tell you something about it. We lost over 50 arrobas of tobacco on the way to Tezuitlan On the 22d the republicans repulsed the imperialists, but the latter soon returned with 2,000 men and eight rifled cannons to attack 600 with three mountain pieces. The latter fought like heroes till their ammunition was exhausted; their loss was 40 killed and as many wounded; three officers killed, one of them Colonel Manuel Ferrer, and two wounded, one of whom was Major Vicente Acuna, a very brave officer. They retired in good order, and the imperialists entered the town, sacked it, and burned a portion of it. The Spanish subjects have laid their claims before their consul, and so have those of Actopam; but the rest of us have to lose and say nothing.

Ferrer commanded a redoubt with sixteen soldiers and one officer. When their ammunition was exhausted the commandant ordered them to retire, as a column was marching upon them. Ferrer took a gun, with a few cartridges, and used them against the enemy. He then mounted the ruins of the redoubt, drew his revolver and made good use of its five loads. The enemy being now very near him, he threw his revolver away, crossed his arms, and waited for the final shot that killed him. The Austrians stripped him of everything—a man who had acted with so much valor—and their leader offered a handsome present for the dead man’s sword.

The republicans lost one of their three cannons, and the imperial loss was considerable. The church of Tlapacoyam is filled with their wounded, and there are many in the houses at Tezuitlan and Perote. They buried Ferrer with the honors of his rank, and two Austrian officers, one of whom, it is said, was a prince. The republicans withdrew to Istacuaco or Maria Latorre, where it seems they are fortifying themselves.

These particulars are furnished by merchants from Tlapacoyam and Tezuitlan recently arrived at this place.

* * * * * * *

No. 2.


Landing of another re-enforcement of French soldiers.

Yesterday, immediately after the departure of the American steamer Manhattan, one thousand two hundred French soldiers, who had arrived on the previous day, in the transport Amazone, direct from abroad, were landed at Vera Cruz. To-day this force was sent into the field.

Preparations for the protection of Vera Cruz.

Preparations are going on for the protection of Vera Cruz, especially on the land side. The earthworks thrown up by the liberals some time since are being repaired and strengthened. This is “odd,” in one sense. French engineers have been boasting that Mexican generals and engineers were of no account; but now it seems they can find no plan which is better for the defence of this place than the one recognized by the Mexicans, and so the French and other foreign engineers hero have adopted it.

Vera Cruz, December 9, 1865.

Significant preparations continued for an extensive war.

On close observation, and after careful consideration of the very significant preparations going on in the neighborhood of this city, and at other points within the control of the imperial commander of this department, it does seem as though the French did not intend to withdraw, but, on the contrary, were making every preparation to meet the United States in arms at an early date. This is not the mere opinion of a “newspaper correspondent,” but it is the belief of “solid men,” who stand high in society and reason with sound and accurate judgment.

Mysterious proceedings at Vera Cruz.

The fortifications (especially the earthworks) around the city of Vera Cruz are daily being strengthened. The best of guns are being mounted, and the work is generally performed at night, and an attempt made to do it in secrecy.

[Page 55]

More important military transactions.

On the 6th instant the French bark Minos, from Port de France, Martinique, arrived off Vera Cruz, loaded with munitions of war, while on the 3d instant a long train was sent to the city of Mexico, loaded principally with cases of arms. There were several pieces of artillery with the train.

Almost daily we hear and read of “important imperial victories,” in which the imperialists attacked strongly fortified towns, and carried the fortifications only after a long and hotly contested battle. The results are as follows, on an average: captured from the enemy, four of his horses and two men; killed two men and four wounded. Loss on the imperial side, one killed, three wounded, and sixty missing.

Vera Cruz, December 11, 1865.

The French accumulating ammunition.

All day to-day the French have been landing munitions of war, and conveying the same from the mole to the storehouses.

The Germans in Mexico

who voted for intervention are now very sorry for having done so, as trade was never so dull here as it is at the present time. On the occasion of the late visit of the empress to Vera Cruz it was the Germans who contributed most to make “the reception” as great an affair as possible, the royal party having remarked the hitherto cold behavior of the residents of Vera Cruz.

The fortifications of Vera Cruz.

The condition of Vera Cruz, in a military point of view, is becoming very interesting to the government of the United States, as the French are changing the guns upon the fortifications, and putting heavy and new ones in the places occupied until recently by light and old pieces.

Vera Cruz, December 13—midnight.

The French are now landing munitions of war very fast, and in large quantities. For the last two days they have been working night and day at this.

Still they come.

The last arrival of French troops was on Monday afternoon, when twelve French officers and two hundred and forty-one French soldiers of the foreign legion, and one hundred and thirty-four employés of the wagon-train corps, were landed.

A bearer of despatches is here, on his way to Washington, charged, it is reported, with the delivery of communications of great importance to the United States government.

No. 3.


Much Esteemed Fellow-citizen and Friend: The respects you sent me by Colonel ——, of Puebla, have been received, and it is with much pleasure I return the compliment.

I am also gratified to inform you that I was exchanged in Michoacan, on the 10th instant, and have been at full liberty ever since. I am now on the march, with a safe conduct, to rejoin the republican forces. At last, after sixteen months of the most horrid and cruel imprisonment, and forgotten by the world, I have come out uninjured, and go to fulfil my duty towards my country.

I beg of you to make this known to the President of the republic, and accept for yourself the esteem and attentive consideration of your affectionate friend and servant,


Citizen Matias Romero.

No. 4.


Very Dear and Respected Sir: * * * * *

Mr. Riva Palacio D. Vicente, who had left the country, as the papers said, because he was deserted by his men, has just effected an exchange of the Tacambaro prisoners for some [Page 56] Mexicans, and among them are General Santiago Tapia and General Juan Ramirez, who were here.

The former had been sixteen months in prison, and conducted himself with great magnanimity. When released, General Thun asked him where he wanted to go. Tapia replied, “A republican general always joins his own party to fight for his country.”

Although Tapia’s family is living in Matamoras in great distress, the good republican general did not think to visit it, but left on the 11th instant to find Riva Palacio, and offer him his services. Poor, miserably poor, he managed to reach Mexico, whence he wrote to me on the 14th, saying he intended to remain there to raise means, and mentioned the condition of his family to me, and I recommend them to you, that you may get the government to send them some assistance to Matamoras.

No. 5.

Extract from a letter written by a commercial house in the city of Mexico.


The three loans put upon the market since the establishment of the empire have burdened the nation with a new debt of nearly eighty millions of dollars. Of this sum only a small part, amounting to about eight millions of dollars, has been really used for the public service.

The rest has disappeared in the amount withheld for interest in advance on the loans, the difference between the nominal value of the loans and the price at which the bonds were sold, commissions to various bankers and others, expenses of operations on the Bourse, payment of the French army, return of sums advanced for the support of the Mexican forces, subvention to the line of steamers from St. Nazaire, payments on account of the civil list of the emperor, presents to various favorites, and remittances to Miramar.

In consquence, the finance commission in Paris has at the disposition of Maximilian only a small balance, which will be barely sufficient to cover expenses during the month of January.


Although not in round numbers, on account of the danger of intrusting the exact figures to a letter, I propose to give you some idea of the amount of the late loans, their distribution, and the sums that remain to be disposed of, reserving for some perfectly safe opportunity the transmission to you of the exact balances and the total amount of the foreign debt since the creation of the empire.

The acquisition of these important documents will reveal to the world the infamy that has been perpetrated in seeking to load Mexico with enormous sums that have only served to pay the war expenses of France, and to enrich our sovereign and other high personages connected with the present order of affairs.

Perhaps in this letter I may be able to enclose you a copy of the revista which is periodically sent to the United States, and in that you will find further details of the financial situation of the empire, but, as it may not be possible, I give you here some idea of it.

Total product of the loans, 360,000,000 francs. Of this—

The French army has received $12,500,000
Bankers’ commissins 5,000,000
Invested in the French rentes for the conversion of the first loan 4,000,000
Interest on the English debt 6,000,000
Difference between 100 francs and 63 francs, which was the selling price 26,500,000
Reserved for interest in advance on both loans, (discount less than 63 francs,) commissions, brokerages, and other expenses 7,500,000
Received in Mexico 8,000,000
Balance remaining to the government 2,500,000
Total 72,000,000

Equal to 360,000,000 francs.

From the above sum that remains, there has to be paid on the loth February, the stipulated time, the last payment that remains to be made on account of the famous claim of Jecker, which was settled at five millions of dollars, and of which three millions have already been paid. The remaining sum of $500,000 has already been drawn for to cover advances [Page 57] made by the French to the Mexican army in October and November, and two hundred thousand dollars on account of six hundred thousand due to Maximilian for salary up to the end of December.

The convention of Miramar, as it was signed on the 10th April, 1864, has been fully and duly carried out, there having been paid monthly to the expeditionary army $471,000, which is the sum monthly accruing, and which has been paid up to the 30th November of this year. In this way it is easy to see how it is that only the sum of $800,000 has remained to come to Mexico.

From the estimate of expenses for December, January, and February, 1865 and 1866, an idea can be formed of the sum expended by the government of Maximilian. It amounts to $10,000,000. The income from national revenues is estimated at $3,500,000. The balance of the loans is $2,500,000, thus leaving a deficiency of $4,000,000. But if, as I believe, the two millions to Jecker shall not be paid, and which are included in the above ten millions of expenses, nor the subvention to the railroad, or the $60,000 which are remitted monthly to Yucatan, nor the $15,000 monthly which are remitted to New York for the press and other purposes, as well as various other sums which are not vitally indispensable, I believe that without other sources of supply the existence of the government may be prolonged until the end of February. From that time forward, neither by the greatest extortions, nor by duplicating the exactions of to-day, can its existence be prolonged for six months more.