Mr. Romero to Mr. Seward

Mr. Secretary: To give a slight idea of the events which characterize the present contest of the Mexican republic against its invaders, I have the honor to enclose with this note three documents that have been delivered to me by a special commissioner. They relate to events that happened in December last, in Huasteca and Sierra, States of Mexico and Tamaulipas.

The first of these documents is a manifest of Colonel Joaquin Martinez, military commander of the second district of the State of Mexico, and chief of the division of the same, addressed to the President of the republic. You will see from it the immense sacrifices the patriots of that part of the country have been making for a long time to maintain the struggle in defence of the independence and institutions of Mexico; and you will also see that the people have endured all sorts of sufferings, have abandoned their fields and their interests, stopping at nothing, to resist the foreign enemy and its partisans. In many encounters they had to fight with little ammunition; yet, thanks to their courage, they have often obtained signal advantages over their enemies, who had all the elements of war in abundance. This unequal situation could not be continued long; and it was for want of ammunition that Colonel Martinez found himself obliged to surrender with the forces under his command, and to sign the treaty made with Don Vicente Rosas, chief of the intervention forces, on the 9th of December last.

The second document is a circular from Colonel Martinez, addressed to the principal chiefs of the republican forces, explaining his conduct in the same terms used to the President.

The third document is the treaty signed by Colonel Martinez with the interventionist chief, Rosas, on the date mentioned. In its articles it is to be seen that, notwithstanding the so-called decree of the usurper of the 3d of October last, not only have they been obliged to accord belligerent rights to these forces [Page 93] of the republic, but also to render justice to the valor and merit of Colonel Martinez and the subordinate officers of his command, by permitting them to retire to their homes without giving any pledge not to take up arms again in defence of the republic.

It is also to be observed that the people of the district who had been fighting against the so-called empire were allowed to retain the arms they had used on that occasion.

These circumstances led Colonel Martinez to state in his communication to the President that, if he could count upon a supply of ammunition, these same people, led by the officers who had thus submitted without compromising themselves for the future, would again rise; and, provided as they are with arms, would renew the struggle against the invader, and would gain greater advantages than ever in favor of the national cause.

Before concluding, I wish to call the attention of the government of the United States to the fact that the recent capitulations or surrenders of the national forces in Mexico were caused by want of resources in general, and especially of arms, ammunition, and the other elements of warfare.

Such was the cause of the capitulation of the forces at Huasteca, referred to in the annexed documents, of the evacuation of Tlapacoyan, and of the surrender of Papantla, mentioned in my note of the 23d of February last to your department.

Other similar occurrences have happened, and it is feared more may occur in future from like causes.

I avail myself of the occasion to renew to you, Mr. Secretary, the assurances of my most distinguished consideration.


Hon. William H. Seward, &c., &c., &c.

No. 1.


Citizen Constitutional President of the Mexican Republic:

I, Citizen Colonel Joaquin Martinez, by the vote of the people mid armed force military commander of the second district of the State of Mexico, and chief of that division in the republican army, appear before you, as in duty bound, and with due respect, through the commissioners for that purpose, Captain Sisto Lopez and Lieutenant Francisco Plaza, and declare that—

Since the evacuation of the capital by the government of the republic, I have used all means and made every sacrifice to provide for the defence of my country, and make war on its enemies in this important section of the republic, which I have governed since April last, when Don Ignacio Ugalde gave up Huejutla by virtue of a wicked treaty concluded with the enemy.

Since that time, citizen President, I bare worked incessantly to annoy the enemy; and if my efforts have not corresponded to my hopes, it is because I have acted alone without help. My division, formed of the forces of the second district, amounts to two thousand men, well armed. The positions they hold cannot be taken, though there is not more than one round of cartridges per man in this division.

When the enemy thought seriously of taking Sierra and Huasteca in September last, my situation was dreadful, because I could not think of opposing such a storm as threatened me; yet, at a great sacrifice, I procured some ammunition, and on the 29th of October, with the hope of defeating the enemy’s plans and obtaining the necessary elements of war, I attacked Huatla and took it, after a stout resistance from the enemy.

This combat gained great glory for the arms of the republic; but I did not get the munitions I expected, finding only two boxes of provisions, which circumstance made our situation worse.

The enemy, seeing their plans frustrated by this defeat, formed others, and sent over 5,000 men upon us at Sierra. The representatives of the towns remaining faithful to our cause made known to me that the inhabitants desired peace, so I was forced to sign the treaty of the 9th of December, a certified copy of which will be presented to the Chief Magistrate by my commissioners, who will inform you of all the causes that compelled me to take the step, and of the sentiments of the people.

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You will see from the copy of the agreements, citizen President, that I was only waiting for a more favorable occasion to utilize the services of the loyal people to better advantage, without any regard to myself, for I wanted no guarantee; and if I did not present myself to the supreme government of the republic, and submit myself to its judgment, it was because my absence would cause immense injury by the loss of arms, and the complete dispersion of the forces under my command; for the enemy would leave nothing undone to gain the sympathies of the people, using gold, cunning, and flattery to gain their ends.

From what I have said, the citizen President will see how necessary it is to deign to notice these people, and furnish them with munitions of war, for the want of which they were compelled to capitulate. I am certain that, with sufficient provisions, some pecuniary resources, and the aid of a thousand or fifteen hundred men, three or four thousand men more could be recruited in a short space of time, and all that we have lost be recovered. Moreover, we could get nearer the capital and open the communications with Vera Cruz, Tabasco, Guerrero, Michoacan, and Tamaulipas, and thus the general government could get information from those distant States, and learn how to direct its operations. This is my humble opinion, and what I think ought to be done.

I am sure the government will take my arguments into consideration, and will soon give effective aid to the loyal servants of the country, who have never lost faith in its cause, and are still disposed to fight for the maintenance of their republican institutions and the autonomy of the nation.

No. 2.



I enclose to you, for your information, a certified copy of the treaty or agreement made on the 9th instant by the commissioners of these headquarters and those of the chief of operations in the Sierra and Huasteca. This document secures peace to the people and honor to our arms; for it allows officers and men to retain their arms, and the former to go where they please, and engage in any service.

I have no intention to declare that I have done a good act; but I must say I have done honor to our arms in a struggle in which the people have shed their blood profusely, and sacrificed their domestic interests with singular unselfishness.

Although my duty as governor and a public man prompted me to continue the contest, another internal voice counselled me not to make vain sacrifices. In looking at the people on the line who were faithful to our institutions, I saw suffering depicted in their countenances, and misery was visible in the faces of all the inhabitants. The mother prayed for her son; the old man, decrepit with age, expressed his longing for peace in his face; the wife asked for her husband, who was on guard, or in some other urgent service, and could not provide for his family at home. In looking through the ranks of the division I saw joy depicted in every countenance, a laurel crown of victory, glory, and content on every brow; but on examining the munitions their scarcity was astonishing—there was scarcely a ration apiece for our men, and we hardly knew where to find food for the next day. As a contrast to this, honorable terms were offered. I accepted them, and my conscience is quiet.

Large forces were now approaching our lines; the liberals prepare to meet them; a conflict takes place, and the enemy are vanquished at Huatla. Here we obtain a few supplies. But the storm returns with greater violence: the public authorities of the circumjacent towns hear it, and beg me to move away from them, to quit a country already impoverished by war, and the people in almost a starving condition. A conference takes place on the 30th of November; a council of war is held on the 4th and 5th of December at Acapa; the terms are arranged and the treaty is signed.

If our provisions had not given out, if our ammunition had not failed, we would have shown the world that we could die like the Spartans at Thermopylae; but our position was desperate, and reason and common sense told me it was wrong to make more useless sacrifices.

This is a faithful account of my acts; history will judge of them, and the public, that sees and observes everything, will declare that I have done my duty.

Therefore I hope the forces under your command will see things as they are, and not attribute any blame to me, and I promise to do what I can to quell any disturbances that may arise.

That the work may be resumed with more vigor, it will be necessary to give the forces a little rest. During this interval, I advise all and every armed citizen to observe the greatest circumspection; and let there be subordination, discipline, and respect to morality. Let the world see that the defenders of independence are good citizens, compelled to war by duty. Let the world know that there are yet worthy imitators of Escamilla and Rizo.

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Death is certainly preferable to subjugation; but at present the common mother of Mexicans, the land of Hidalgo and Morelos, requires our preservation, that our services may be made use of at another time.

I tell you of all this that you may know what has taken place, and that it was done by a council of war. No single person is responsible: I gave my reasons, and will accomplish what I promised, in accordance with a vote of the majority.

Independence and the republic! Molungo, December, 1865.


A certified copy:

A. TORRES, Secretary.
No. 3.


Treaty of the 9th of December, 1865.

In the town of Nonvaleo, on the 9th of December, 1865, assembled Don Juan Ortiz Monasterio, military commander of Zacualtipan, and Don Jesus Ruiz, chief of the garrison, commissioned by the general-in-chief of the first territorial division, Don Vicente Rosas; and Don José Felix Lubian, and Don Jesus Martinez, commissioned by Colonel Joaquin Martinez, chief of the forces and militia of Sierra and Huasteca, according to an agreement made in the conference of the 30th of the previous month, to settle the terms of a treaty to put an end to the war in these districts, who have agreed upon the following articles, to wit:

Article 1. The inhabitants of the towns of Sierra and Huasteca, acknowledging the authority of C. Colonel Joaquin Martinez, lay down their arms and submit to the government established in Mexico.

Art. 2. In consequence of the preceding article, Colonel Joaquin Martinez and all his subordinates, as well as the civil authorities, shall have passports to return to the bosom of their families; and they shall not be molested on account of political opinions, nor for acts they have been obliged to commit in defending the cause they had embraced.

Art. 3. The people shall retain their arms, ammunition, and other implements of war, in order to enable them to organize a civil guard, in conformity to a relative decree.

Art. 4. The authorities of Sierra and Huasteca shall be chosen from among those who profess principles of independence, liberty, and reform, so there may be no conflict with the political sentiments of the inhabitants, no exercise of revenge, persecution, nor other excesses so common after struggles like that which has just taken place.

This present agreement shall be signed by the commissioners of both parties, and be ratified by Señors Rosas, Landa, and Martinez, to be observed and consequent peace established.





Using the power vested in me, I ratify and approve this treaty.

VICENTE ROSAS, Commanding General of the First Territorial Division.

Colonel-in-chief of the forces of Sierra and Huasteca, with due power, I ratify and approve this treaty.


I certify to this copy: