Mr. Plumb to Mr. Seward.

No. 49.]

Sir: Upon the return of the national government to this capital, in July last, it was understood, though not officially announced, that it would decline to hold any intercourse with the agents of the powers who had recognized the so-called government of Maximilian.

On the part of the diplomatic representatives of course no intercourse was attempted. Some of the consuls, however, held their exequaturs from a period dating very far back. This was the case with the British consul, Mr. Glennie, who was appointed on the 2d of November, 1853, and whose exequatur was issued by Santa Anna, who was then in power, on the 4th of February, 1854. Under this exequatur he had continued to exercise his functions as consul during all the different changes of government that had occurred.

In August last, however, the question being raised, in the case of an intestate estate in his charge, which was in court, as to whether he was now recognized as in the exercise of such functions, he addressed a note to Mr. Lerdo de Tejada, who replied that he was not so recognized, as this government had decided not to recognize any representatives of any power that had been in relations with the so-called government of Maximilian.

This correspondence was sent to England in September, and instructions have now been returned, which reached here on the 7th instant, for the withdrawal of the members of the late legation and the consul, together with the archives of the legation and the consulate.

[Page 392]

When Mr. Scarlett, who was accredited as British minister to Maximilian, left this country in November of last year, Mr. Middleton, secretary of the legation, remained as charge d’affaires.

In April of the present year, in common with the other members of the diplomatic corps accredited to Maximilian, he terminated relations with that so-called government. Since then he has remained here with the members of his legation, while all the other European representatives have left the country; and it seemed to be the expectation that at no distant period relations might be reopened between England and the government of the republic.

I am enabled to transmit to you, herewith, the correspondence that has taken place on this occasion between Mr. Middleton and Mr. Lerdo de Tejada, as also that between Mr. Grlennie and Mr. Lerdo de Tejada, in August last.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

Mr. Middleton to Señor Lerdo de Tejada.

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that I was last night placed in possession of the instructions of her Majesty’s government to request you to have the goodness to furnish with passports myself and all such persons as are engaged in the service of her Majesty’s late legation here, and also for her Majesty’s consul and his family, for the purpose of leaving this republic by the port of Vera Cruz.

I have also the honor to inclose herewith a list of the names of the persons for whom this favor is solicited.

With respect to the motives which have induced her Majesty’s government to remove the several members of her Majesty’s late legation, as well as those employed in her Majesty’s late consulate in this capital, as well as all archives and government property appertaining to the same, from this country, I have the honor to inform you, sir, that I have been ordered to make the present application for passports for myself, as well as the persons referred to, in consequence of the decision of the Mexican government to hold no intercourse with the agents of powers who recognized the government of the Emperor Maximilian. I am, at the same time, desired, upon my departure, formally to place under the protection of the Mexican government the persons and properties of British subjects, and to call upon the Mexican government, in fulfillment of the duty for which all states are responsible, to secure from injury at the hands of the public authorities all British subjects residing in or passing through their country, and to extend to them, as long as They are within the country, and to their properties, full justice in all their dealings.

So soon as I am able to complete the arrangements for my departure, and for the transport of the archives of her Majesty’s legation, it will be my duty, in conformity with my instructions, to apply to you, sir, for the necessary escort for enabling me to reach Vera Cruz in safety.

I have the honor to be, sir, with the highest consideration, your most obedient, humble servant,


Señor Don Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada, &c., &c., &c.


Señor Lerdo de Tejada to Mr. Middleton.

Sir: I have the honor to send you the passports requested for yourself and company, in your note of the 8th instant. You say the reasons for such instructions from the government of her Britannic Majesty are because of the resolutions of the Mexican [Page 393]government not to have any communication with the agents of the powers that recognized the so-called government of the Archduke Maximilian.

The position of the government of Mexico, in relation to those powers, has been caused by no voluntary act of its chief; those powers decided to put an end to the friendly relations with the Mexican republic, by expelling it from the society of nations. The republic exisists by the will of the Mexican people, and its government is ready to renew relations with all foreign powers, so soon as they will make proposals in just and proper terms.

The government will see that English subjects residing in Mexico are protected by the laws of the country. During the war there was no complaint in any part of the country subject to the authorities of the republic; and since the close of the foreign intervention the government has heard of no cause of complaint anywhere.

As it has always done, the government of the republic will comply with the precepts of the law of nations, and will see that its own laws are properly executed.

The escort you ask for will be furnished when you are ready to start.

With the greatest consideration, I have the honor to be your obedient servant,


Mr. R. T. C. Middleton, &c., &c., &c.

Mr. Glennie to Señor Lerdo de Tejada.

Mr. Minister: By virtue of the commission granted me on the 2d of November, 1853, and its relative exequatur of the 4th of February, 1854, I have performed the duties of British consul since that time.

My son, Charles F. Glennie, was acting in my name when he was called by the courts of the country to take charge of the estate of Mr. Alexander Lafontaine, a British subject, deceased.

Again he was summoned in the same case by the judge of the sixth district, when I learned that the President of the republic refused to acknowledge me as British consul.

As it is my duty to protect my countrymen and attend to the estates of deceased and absent British subjects, in conformity with the laws of the republic, you will please inform me who is to discharge the duties of British consul in this city.

Your very obedient servant,


Mr. S. Lerdo de Tejada, Minister of Foreign Relations, &c., &c., &c.


Señor Lerdo de Tejada to Mr. Glennie.

Sir: In your communication of the 27th instant, relating to the property of an intestate British subject, you ask if the government of the republic refuses to recognize you as British consul.

You are hereby informed that the judge in the case mentioned was ordered by the department of justice not to allow you to intervene as consul.

This was done because the government of the republic had determined to have no official intercourse with any agent of the governments abroad that had acknowledged the usurper of foreign intervention.

I am, respectfully, your very obedient servant,


Mr. F. Glennie, &c., &c., &c., Mexico.