Mr. Seward to Mr. Romero
Sir: I have had the honor to receive your communication of December 1, 1865, with which you transmit to me a copy of the despatch No. 365, of October 28, ultimo, addressed to you by Señor Lerdo de Tejada, the minister for foreign affairs of the Mexican republic, in relation to the import duties collected in December, 1864, of certain American citizens at the port of Acapulco, by order of the governor of the State of Guerrero, Don Diego Alvarez.
In reply thereto, I have to state, that the erroneous impression entertained by Señor Lerdo de Tejada, that this government was satisfied with the explanations [Page 67] of the governor of Guerrero, (communicated to this department with your note of May 26, 1865,) has doubtless been since corrected by your communication to that minister of my note of November 3, 1865, in which I expressed the confident expectation that the duties exacted under the circumstances set forth in my previous correspondence upon this subject would in due season be refunded by the constitutional authorities of the port of Acapulco.
I will thank you to communicate to me, as soon as possible, the final determination at which the Mexican government shall have arrived on a consideration of all the facts of the case; for you will bear in mind that the governor of Guerrero himself states that he was restrained, by the peculiar condition of public affairs, from revealing “the principal one of the grounds” on which he collected said duties, and of which, it is presumed, he must by this time have fully informed his government.
Governor Alvarez intimates that it was a mild way of punishing certain American residents for aiding the French by bringing supplies from San Francisco to Acapulco—by sea, it is inferred. It does not appear, however, that there was any blockade on the approach to that port by water, though he intimates that supplies by land were shut out.
Upon a reconsideration of the points of this case, I have to inform you that this government cannot accept an exceptional administration of the revenue laws of Mexico by General Alvarez as a proper mode of punishing supposed offences for which its citizens, domiciled in Acapulco, do not appear to have been subjected to any kind of trial or even to an open accusation.
The United States having already expressed its dissatisfaction, and asked for restitution to the parties interested, entertain the hope that the executive of Mexico will cause the same to be refunded to them so soon as may be compatible with the public interests and condition of that republic.
I avail myself of this occasion to reproduce to you, sir, the assurance of my most distinguished consideration.
Señor Matias Romero, &c., &c., &c.