No. 454.
Mr. Foster to Mr. Fish.

No. 70.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch No. 40, conveying your congratulations to the Mexican government upon the adoption of the amendments to its constitution, incorporating therein the laws of reform. Immediately upon the receipt of this dispatch I communicated its contents to Mr. Lafragua, minister of foreign affairs, [Page 717] in a note of the 15th instant. (Inclosure 1.) On the 17th instant, Mr. Lafragua took occasion to express to me, in a personal interview, the high gratification with which President Lerdo had received your congratulations upon this event, so important in the history of Mexico, and in a note of the same date he acknowledged the receipt of my note of the 15th instant, in which he conveyed to me the sincere thanks of the President for the cordial congratulations which you had thought proper to address to him, and for the friendly sentiments which animate the people and Government of the United States with regard to the people and government of Mexico, a translation of which note I inclose, (2.)

This correspondence was yesterday read in the National Congress by the minister of foreign affairs, by direction of the President of the republic, and after its reading, the president of Congress, in the name of that body, expressed the gratification with which the assembly had received the intelligence, and by a vote of Congress the correspondence was entered upon its journal/The minister of foreign affairs has also caused its publication in the official newspaper, and it has appeared in all the periodicals of this capital.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 70.]

Mr. Foster to Mr. Lafragua.

Sir: On the 30th of September last I had the pleasure of forwarding to my Government a copy of the amendments to the constitution of the United Mexican States, by which the laws of reform were incorporated into that instrument. In making this transmission I took occasion to characterize the event as the crowning act of triumph of the liberal government in its long contest with the conservative party.

I am gratified to inform your excellency that the Secretary of State, in acknowledging the receipt of my dispatch, states that “the Mexican government deserves congratulation upon the adoption of these amendments to its constitution, and that they may be regarded as a great step in advance, especially for a republic in name. We have had ample experience of the advantage of similar measures, an experience, too, which has fully shown that while they have materially contributed to enlarge and secure freedom and prosperity, they have by no means tended to weaken the just interests of religion or the due influence of clergymen in the body politic.”

It is especially pleasing to me to thus convey to your excellency the congratulations of my Government on the great triumph of the Mexican people under the administration of President Lerdo, and to assure you of the deep interest and sympathy of the people and Government of the United States in all the efforts of Mexico to establish and perpetuate its republican institutions upon the basis of enlightened progress, and that they earnestly desire its peace, prosperity, and material development.

I avail, &c.,

[Inclosure 2 in No. 70.—Translation.]

Mr. Lafragua to Mr. Foster.

Sir: I have had the honor to receive your excellency’s communication, dated the 15th instant, in which your excellency is pleased to state to me the following: that having forwarded to your government the decree which declares constitutional the [Page 718] laws of reform, giving to this act the character of a triumph of the liberal government in its long struggle with the conservative party, it is gratifying to you to inform me that the Secretary of State of the American Government congratulates the government of Mexico on the adoption of those laws as constitutional amendments, which may be considered as a grand step taken in the path of progress, and that, though they will contribute to increase and strengthen liberty and prosperity, they do not tend to prejudice the just interests of religion. Your excellency adds that it is especially gratifying to you to transmit the congratulations of the Government of the United States on this great triumph of the Mexican people under the administration of President Lerdo, and to assure me of the deep interest and sympathy of the people and Government of the United States in all the efforts Mexico makes in order to establish and perpetuate republican institutions.

The President of the republic has received with special gratification the expression of the kind sentiments which animate the people and Government of the United States respecting the people and government of Mexico, which sentiments could not have been interpreted by a more estimable person than your excellency. The President is sincerely thankful, as well for the cordial congratulation which his excellency the Secretary of State has had the kindness to address to you on account of the proclamation of the amendments to the federal constitution, as for the ardent wishes which your excellency manifests for the consolidation of the republican institutions and of peace, and for the prosperity and material development of the United Mexican States.

Long and terrible, it is true, has been the struggle between the society of the past, which had its being from the remnants of the colonial system, and modern society, which desires to live practicing democratic principles; for it was not easy to alter, in a short time, certain deeply rooted customs, nor destroy, without overcoming an obstinate resistance, the interests and properties profusely disseminated, and which were the most efficacious elements that could be offered against the establishment of any reform and of the consolidation of the principles which it has proclaimed. Bat reform triumphed, and its principles, clothed with the sacred constitutional character, form now an integral part of our political institutions. Rightfully, therefore, your excellency has called a great triumph that which the Mexican people have this time achieved. The people who, at the cost of so many sacrifices, have known how to conquer and defend their independence and liberty, have, succeeded in establishing reform, and will no doubt know how to defend it, making all the sacrifices that may be necessary in order to preserve those inestimable blessings.

I avail, &c.,