No. 291.
Mr. Nelson to Mr. Fish.

No. 733.]

Sir: At the request of six American Protestant missionaries now in this city, I yesterday presented them to President Lerdo. One of their number having made an address asking for an assurance of his disposition to protect Protestants in the exercise of their religion, the President made an earnest and energetic reply, which was completely satisfactory to the gentlemen in question. I inclose a memorandum of this reply of President Lerdo.

I have, &c.,



In reply to the address of Dr. Cooper, asking for an assurance of his disposition to protect Protestants in Mexico, President Lerdo said:

“That the constitution of Mexico guarantees in the most absolute and unreserved manner the tolerance and protection of all religious opinions. That although the fanaticism of other forms of religion might sometimes excite popular disturbances against Protestants, he was sure that the opinion of all the enlightened classes of society is ardently in favor of complete toleration, and that he will answer for the conduct of all the authorities depending directly upon the Federal Government. That in addition to the constitutional obligation to protect religious liberty, the government takes pleasure in stating that the teachers of the Protestant doctrine in Mexico have [Page 668] distinguished themselves by their deportment as law-abiding citizens, without a single instance of the contrary having come to his knowledge. That their labors have uniformly tended to the enlightenment of the public, discarding sectarian disputes and limiting themselves to the propagation of doctrines of sound morality and practical religion. That the government will not only use its utmost diligence to punish all infractions of religious liberty, but is earnestly desirous that the Protestant teachers should enable it to take efficient measures for the prevention of such abuses whenever there may be ground to apprehend their occurrence. That he is pleased to make the acquaintance of the gentlemen who have conscientiously and laboriously devoted themselves to an object of great public utility.”