Mr. Plumb to Mr. Seward.

No. 80.]

Sir: I have the honor to transmit to the department herewith copy and translations of two communications in Spanish, under date of the 5th and 9th ultimo, which reached me on the 17th instant, from the consul at Merida, Mr. R. Juanes y Patrullo, and with which he incloses copy of a decree of which he complains, issued by the governor of the State of Yucatan, closing the port of Sisal in consequence of the reactionary movement which occurred at Merida on the 11th of December last.

I also transmit herewith copy and translation of the said decree, and a copy of my reply to Mr. Patrullo, which I trust will meet with your approval.

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


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


hasten to address myself to you, informing you that by virtue of a political movement effected in this city on the 10th of December last, and which had for its result solely a personal change in the government of this State, the expelled governor has launched from the neighboring State of Campeche a decree which cannot but produce the gravest injury to the commerce and interests of the United States, if the supreme government of the republic does not speedily take the necessary measures to avert the evils which the tenor of the decree annexed hereto, already mentioned, is producing to foreign commerce.

The neighboring State of Campeche has taken part in favor of the expelled governor, and some days since there arrived in the waters of Sisal several small armed vessels of war to impede all mercantile movements.

The line of American steamers which for some time has been established between New York and Vera Cruz, touching at the port of Sisal, will be affected by this more sensibly than that of any other nation, as there is carried on by these vessels quite an active commerce between New York and Sisal.

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Until instructions are communicated to me, that have to govern the conduct that I should pursue in these cases, I believe it to be my duty to pass to the port of Sisal, as the American steamer by which this letter will be sent, is momentarily expected, and to protest in due form in case the flotilla does not permit the steamer to enter.

The governors of the Mexican States having no faculties to decree laws of the tenor of the decree referred to, it is desirable that the American nation should not allow such abuses of authority to pass unnoticed whenever, as in the present case, they operate to the prejudice of the interests of our nation.

In this unfortunate country, where there is no other law than that of force, there have been imposed, more than once, forced loans upon American citizens established in it, and as no governor has ever been admonished to faithfully comply with the tenor of the treaties existing between the two republics, all, without exception, follow the same example of disregarding said treaties, the only protection that foreigners resident in this country have.

I beg you will take what I have said into consideration, and at the same time excuse me that I write to you in my native language, in violation of the circular of the 1st of June, 1853, issued by the Department of State.

I protest to you my consideration and respect.

R. JUANES Y PATRULLO, United States Consul.

The Hon. Minister of the United States, Mexico.

[Translation of decree.]

Manuel Cepeda Peraza, general of brigade, governor and military commandant of the State of Yucatan, to the inhabitants of the same maketh known: that in use of the ample faculties with which I am invested, I have thought proper to decree, and do decree, the following:

Article 1. The port of Sisal is hereby closed to the foreign and coasting trade, until it returns to obedience to the supreme government from which it has separated by the act of seconding the anti-national movement, which took place in Merida, on the morning of the 11th instant.

Art. 2. Vessels which have been dispatched, or which in future may be dispatched, for said port, will proceed to the adjacent port of Campeche, where their discharge and other custom-house operations will take place.

Art. 3. The duties which are paid on the importation or exportation of effects made in violation of this decree shall be considered as unpaid, and the violators will remain subject to the payment again of the duties caused without prejudice to such other penalties as are imposed in this case by the general ordinance relating thereto.

Wherefore, I order this to be printed, published, and circulated for its due compliance.

Dated at Jalacho, the 14th of December, 1867.



Mr. Minister: The American steamer, which in my preceding communication I stated was to arrive from New York, reached the port of Sisal on the 6th instant. Before arriving at the anchorage the flotilla of the State of Campeche sent a boat on board, and without any doubt informed the captain that he could not enter, as the port was declared closed, and, without communicating with the shore, he continued on his voyage to Vera Cruz.

To avoid the necessity of this vessel taking back to New York the cargo brought for the port of Sisal, I beg you, if you can do so, to order that a war vessel of our nation come to these waters to prevent the flotilla from placing any impediment in the way of American vessels. Only in this manner can the injuries be averted, which not only the steamers of this line but also the commerce of New York will suffer, unless a speedy determination is taken.

I repeat to you my profound respect and consideration.


The Hon. Minister of the United States, Mexico.


Sir: Your two communications of the 5th and 9th of January reached me only on the 17th instant.

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As the rebellion in Yucatan has now happily been suppressed by the commendable vigor of this government, it is unnecessary for me to enter into the questions relating thereto, raised in your letters.

It is very clear the interests of our commerce with this country will be promoted, if this government shall be able, as I trust will be the case hereafter, promptly to crush all attempts that may be made to subvert the constitutional order.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


R. Juanes y Patrullo, Esq., United States Consul, Merida.