Mr. Plumb to Mr. Seward.

No. 56.]

Sir: On the 19th instant the special committee of the Mexican congress, appointed to examine the votes of the electoral colleges for President of the republic and president of the supreme court, made their report, which was adopted.

Of the 10,380 votes cast by 180 electoral colleges for President, it is stated that 7,422 were given for Benito Juarez, 2,709 for Porfirio Diaz, 57 for Gonzalez Ortega, and the remainder (192) scattering.

A decree was, therefore, passed by congress declaring Benito Juarez constitutional President of the United Mexican States for the period terminating on the 30th of November, 1871, by reason of his having received an absolute majority of all the votes cast.

Of the 10,421 votes cast for president of the supreme court, (the Vice-President of the republic,) it is stated that 3,874 were cast for Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada, 2,541 for Porfirio Diaz, and the remainder (3,970) divided among a large number of other candidates. No candidate having an absolute majority of all the votes cast, the election fell to congress, and rested between the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes. The election then proceeded by states, twenty-three states voting by their delegations. Of these seventeen voted for Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada, and six for Porfirio Diaz.

A decree was thereupon passed by congress declaring Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada constitutional president of the supreme court of justice, by reason of his having obtained an absolute majority of the votes cast by the deputations of the states.

On the following day congress fixed the 25th instant as the day on which the president of the republic should take possession of his office under the new term of which he had been now declared to be elected.

Having received a formal invitation from the minister for foreign affairs, I was present at the ceremony of the inauguration, which took place yesterday in the hall of the national congress.

I have now the honor of inclosing herewith a copy of the Diario Oficial,[Page 395]containing the address of President Jaurez, and the reply of the presiding officer of congress, delivered on that occasion.

It will be observed that in neither of the above addresses is any allusion made to foreign affairs. The tone of the addresses is moderate and practical, and inspires hope for the preservation of constitutional order in the future.

Mexico has now conquered the establishment of a republican form of government. The constitution of 1857, subject to such changes as may be made, in the manner it prescribes, it is settled is to be the supreme law of the land. The separation of state and church has been effected. The vast property of the latter has been nationalized and passed into private ownership.

All the power of France and the pledges and obligations of Maximilian have proved insufficient to reverse this action.

The three years’ rebellion of 1858 to 1861 having been put down, defeated faction appealed to its last resort, foreign intervention. That has succumbed to an eternal verdict, so far as Europe is concerned.”

Permanent peace, therefore, appears now to be within Mexieo’s reach, if she will be just to her national obligations abroad, and the government at home will resolutely and promptly repress any local attempts that may be made to disturb the public order.

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


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


Address of President Juarez.

Citizen Deputies: The confidence of the people who have deigned to honor me with their votes imposes upon me new and sacred duties. With a loyal and patriotic determination to fulfill them, I have come to make before you the solemn protest prescribed by our fundamental code.

Scarcely had the conflict passed in which war had involved the republic, when it presented before the world the example of returning to enter upon the regular administration of its institutions. In order to proceed in conformity to those institutions, as well in the union as in the states, the people have freely made the election of all their public functionaries.

When the nation was in peril the national representatives decreed that the executive should be the depository of the most ample faculties. Then, as a necessary consequence of the circumstances, the observance of various precepts of the constitution was interrupted. Nevertheless, I endeavored always to act according to its spirit, in so far as was permitted by the inevitable exigencies of the war. Now that the happy triumph of the republic has permitted the full regimen of the constitution to be again established, I shall take care faithfully to guard it, and to cause it to be regarded, both from the duty imposed upon me by the confidence of the people and in conformity with my own convictions.

The faithful observance of the fundamental fact by the federal functionaries, and those of the states, will be the most efficacious means of consummating the reorganization of the republic. That important object will be attained, if always in conformity with the constitution the federal power respects the rights of the states, and the states respect the rights of the union. Without this, the primary basis for the consolidation of peace, which should be the chief aim of all our aspirations, will be wanting. All private rights, and all the interests of society depending upon the preservation of peace, the government should omit nothing for the jealous protection of the liberty and the guarantees of citizens faithful in their obedience to the laws, and for the energetic restraint of those who rebel against them, disturbing the public order.

During the years that I have been at the head of the government, in prosperous situations, as well as in those that have been adverse, it has been the sole object of all [Page 396]my acts to guard the interests of the people, and to procure the well being of my country.

I feel that all my gratitude is due to it, as I recognize that to be elected again I have had no other merit than the loyalty of my intentions.

It is one of the fundamental principles laid down in the constitution that all public power emanates from the people and is instituted for their benefit. As a son of the people I can never forget that my sole title is their will, and that my sole object should always be their highest good and prosperity.

In my administration, citizen deputies, your intelligence will be my guide, and my duty will be fulfilled in carrying out your decisions, in sustaining the dignity and the independence of the nation, and in making effective the principles of liberty and of progress which the Mexican people have conquered with their blood.


Address of the Vice-President, D. Manuel Saavedra.

Citizen President: For many nations of the earth one sole independence has been sufficient to give birth to a full and free existence, and to enter upon the high road of progress towards well-being and prosperity.

Mexico has required the renewal thrice of her independence, in order to place herself securely in the road to that end: the independence from Spain, the independence from the clergy and the former army, and the independence from Europe.

With the efforts and blood of her faithful sons, Mexico has now consummated this triple independence, and has thus given incontestable proofs of a vigorous life, and that she has now placed herself on the road to a rapid prosperity. To reach this point she has had to tread a path of blood and of tears; she has passed through more than fifty years of sacrifices, of disenchantments, and of hard experience, but she will know how to improve these severe lessons of the past, and by the aid of her noble sons will assure a happy future.

You, citizen President, elected by the people, have been at their head and have acted an important part in two of these epochs, prominent in the life of the nation. They confided to you their liberties in 1857, and you saved them, securing their emancipation from the clergy, the army, and from retrogression.

They confided to you their banner in 1862, and you maintained it untarnished and aloft, presenting it to-day proud and triumphant.

The national representation complies now with a just and grateful duty in saluting you as the worthy standard-bearer of Mexico.

The Mexican people, in the full exercise now of their sovereignty, have again elected you their President, and intrust to you the final work of their happiness, the consolidation of public peace. Grave and difficult the task certainly is, but your constancy and patriotism, and the good sense of the nation, of which recent proofs have been given, give assurance that you will not despond in the undertaking, and that it will be realized. In this result the sovereign congress of the union will have a very important part. It realizes the magnitude of the work, and although it distrusts its capacity to properly fulfill its mission, it is at the same time animated by a feeling of patriotism, that noble sentiment which is the source of public good and of worthy actions, and it will not cease in its labors nor vacillate in the accomplishment of the object that it will hold constantly in view.

The installation of the federal powers proves that Mexico enters upon a constitutional regimen, and the situation in which the country now is shows that the sole problem to be solved in order to assure the public peace is that of a good administration.

The chief means to realize that end will be a respect for the law, and its most faithful and exact fulfillment. Let us direct all our efforts to that end, and if we attain that happy result we shall correspond to the great confidence that has been placed in us, will fulfill the high mission that has been intrusted to us, and will realize the hopes that are centered in us by our beloved country.