Mr. Plumb to Mr. Seward.

No. 64]

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith copy and translation of a manifesto, addressed under date of the 8th instant, by the congress of Mexico to the Mexican people.

[Page 397]

It will be observed that this manifesto reiterates, on the part of congress, the position taken by the Executive of the republic, in his address to that body at the formal opening of the session on the 8th of December, that all treaties are at an end between Mexico and those powers who recognized the so-called government of Maximilian.

I am reliably informed that in the discussion and adoption of the manifesto, which took place in secret session, and proceeded by paragraphs, an amendment was proposed more especially recognizing the aid Mexico has received, during her recent struggle, from the United States.

This amendment was strongly supported, I am told, by Mr. Montes, formerly minister for foreign affairs under President Comonfort, Mr. Mata, formerly minister to the United States, and Mr. CaƱedo, a talented deputy from the state of Jalisco, but it failed to be carried.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


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


Manifesto of the Mexican Congress.

The Congress to the Nation:

The congress of the union on finding itself again in session, after the tremendous crisis which threatened the existence of the republic, feels the necessity of addressing itself to the Mexican people in order to unite its congratulations with theirs upon the salvation of the country, and to felicitate them upon the glorious result that has been achieved by the heroic efforts of a generation that has shown itself worthy of the legacy, which, at the cost of their blood, was bequeathed to it by the illustrious martyrs of the independence.

Joined together, the efforts and the elements of war of three powerful nations, in order to invade our territory; the convention of London ruptured; the treaties of Soledad violated by the French commissioners, and undertaken by France alone; the enterprise of extinguishing our nationality in order to convert our country into a French colony as miserably oppressed as those established in Africa while giving it the pompous title of an empire; brought among the baggage of the invading army the ill-advised prince who assumed an imperial diadem, and was, notwithstanding, the first vassal of the Emperor of the French; established and supported by foreign bayonets a shadow of monarchical government destitute of an independent existence and of all national element; the invasion extended to a great part of the republic, and employing sometimes seduction and a so-called clemency, at others corruption and prodigality, and, still more, terror, devastation, and extermination, the intervention always and everywhere encountered the most determined resistance on the part of the Mexican people, who, abandoned to their fate, and without foreign aid, combatted without cessation and without rest, and regained with their blood the whole of the national territory. Each faction of our army, every guerilla who fought the invader, was the representative of a nationality that could not be extinguished; that struggled without measuring the forces of its adversaries, and that energetically protested against the iniquity and against the injustice of the most baseless usurpation.

This heroic resistance of the people who longed for independence and liberty convinced the Emperor of the French that it was impossible for him to realize his plans, and obliged him to withdraw in the most ignominious manner. Of no use to him were his victories, due to the superiority of his elements of war; of no avail were the atrocities with which his banner was stained; and, in the end, he utterly failed before the impotency of force to extinguish justice and right.

When the throne that France pretended to erect remained without the aid of France it disappeared without leaving a footprint before the simple breath of the popular indignation, and the pitiful prince, abandoned by his protector, met the fate of the lowest leader of fillibusters; for this act of justice was demanded by the outraged dignity of the republic, and was also indispensable to assure by the means of a statutory warning the independence and the tranquillity not only of Mexico but of all America, constantly menaced by insensate ambitions and by the delirium of reconquest to which [Page 398]the despots of the old continent have been delivered up without knowing the progress, the vitality, and the force which at it sindependence was possessed by the New World.

Mexico has now completely restored its independence, and, as during the struggle, this was identified with its political liberty; it has restored also the constitutional order which assures this liberty and guarantees all rights.

The triumph of Mexico is not obscured by any compromise; the disasters of the war have not lessened its dignity; misfortune has not caused it to sacrifice any principle; and it has not purchased peace at the cost of shameful compromises or humiliating concessions.

For such brilliant results the representatives of the people lack words fittingly to express their felicitations. This result is the work of the people, who could not be seduced or intimidated by the foreigner.

To this result the eminent citizen charged with the executive power most efficaciously contributed. Always the faithful representative of the republic, he never for a moment thought of compromising with the invader, nor did he despair for an instant of the salvation of his country. Congress does no more than do homage to the truth in saying that this citizen fulfilled his duty. Such has been, without doubt, the judgment of the people in re-electing him to the chief magistracy.

To the congress it belongs to constitute itself the interpreter of the national gratitude, honoring and recompensing the services that so many good Mexicans have rendered to their country, and attending to the widows and orphans of those who sacrificed their lives upon the scaffold, or on the field of battle, for the independence of the republic.

There is a duty that is not grateful to congress, but that is imperiously necessary, and it consists in not conceding impunity to the greater criminals. Congress, in complying with this duty, will endeavor to conciliate clemency with justice, will fix its eyes upon the future, and will seek to re-establish public morality; but it will not be actuated by any spirit of rancor or of vengeance, nor will it be false to the magnanimity of which the generous Mexican people have given so many proofs.

The situation of the republic upon the completion of its triumph over its foreign and interior enemies is highly satisfactory, and reanimates the hopes of all those who desire the prosperity, the well-being, and the aggrandizement of our country. Upon the wisdom, the good sense, the patriotism and the civic virtues of the Mexicans it depends that these alluring expectations shall not be frustrated. They are the masters of their own destiny; and upon the practical application of the liberty they have defended with so much courage, and the strict observance of the fundamental law so much desired, depends peace and public order, which are the first necessities of the country, as also the subsistence and the perfecting of the institutions, the credit, and the respectability of the republic before the world. The first duty of Mexicans consists to-day in respect and submission to the laws and the authorities that emanate from them, and in making full use of all the liberty authorized by the constitution, without compromising the public ease or inciting to new revolutions.

For public evils, for abuses by the authorities, for the misconduct of the government, there are legal remedies established by the constitution itself, and no others should be adopted, for there is no greater peril than in the interruption of the legal order.

With the observance of the law peace will reign, and peace will engender concord and conciliation, and will shortly lead to an intimate, close, and sincere union of all Mexicans willing to sacrifice their private interests for the good and honor of the country.

The congress earnestly excites all citizens, and particularly those invested by the people with public authority, to the faithful and scrupulous observance of the constitution. Congress, on its part, has already laid down this invariable rule for its conduct, and has resolved on no consideration to overstep the constitutional limits, bearing in mind that if salutary reforms are desired, it is also to be desired that they should have all the prestige and all the force of legality.

It has consequently abstained from counting the votes under the convocatoria of the 14th of August, upon constitutional reforms.

Congress, on commencing the work of reorganization which the country demands, in seeking to repair the grave evils left by the intervention, and in exercising all the attributes assigned to it by the fundamental charter, will have for its sole aim the public good, and it will be the vigilant custodian of the constitutional order.

It sees with satisfaction the reorganization which is being effected in the States, and it will take care that they shall be respected in their sovereignty and interior rule, trusting that the States on their part will take care not to place any embarrassments in the way of the legitimate action of the federal power.

Congress has occupied itself preferentially with the reorganization of the other federal powers. It is for the interest and decorum of the country that these powers shall be sustained and respected by all, while at the same time not depriving them of the light that results from free discussion. The congress, in celebrating the national triumph, in congratulating itself upon the restoration of institutions which combine order with liberty, and in exhorting their constituents to peace and to respect to the [Page 399]law, cannot omit to express, in the name of the nation, a sentiment of profound gratitude towards the enlightened republics of America, for the moral support that they have lent to it during the struggle, in not recognizing the work of the usurpation and in not despairing that in Mexico the holy cause of right and of democracy would triumph. It is the desire of congress that in the interest of civilization and of humanity a close alliance of the American republics may be realized.

With reference to the European powers who, in recognizing the so-called empire, interrupted their friendly relations with the republic and broke the old treaties, congress does not entertain any malevolence or resentment; it will keep open the ports of the country to commerce, to the industry and to the emigration of the whole world, and it will not oppose the renewal of diplomatic relations with the nations that take measures to that end, whenever such relations have for their basis strict justice, mutual interest, and due reciprocity.

Meanwhile it is honorable for our people who have been so atrociously calumniated, that the world is seeing that in Mexico foreigners, in order to enjoy every guarantee, require no other protection than that of the laws and the Mexican authorities.

Congress is confident that the people who have been constant and intrepid in the combat will continue showing themselves magnanimous and generous in the enjoyment and benefits of victory.

Mexico, January 8, 1868.

(Signed by Mariano Yanez, deputy for the State of Tlascala, president; Francisco de P. Cendejas, deputy for the State of Guanajuato, vice-president; and by one hundred and thirteen deputies from twenty-one States, the federal district, and the Territory of Lower California.)