No. 421.
Mr. Foster to Mr. Fish.

No. 255.]

Sir: In my dispatch No. 252, of February 26, in giving a review of the political condition of the country, in closing I referred to the rumors on that date of an intended pronunciamento within the federal forces I in this city which compromised their commander, General Rocha.

The first division of the Mexican army is stationed in this city, and is commanded by General Sostenes Rocha, who rendered signal service to the republic during and previous to the French intervention, and who commanded the successful assault upon the citadel in 1871 in behalf of President Juarez against the revolutionists. It is alleged that for some time past General Rocha has been surrounded in social life by many of the disaffected and most bitter of the liberal opponents of President Lerdo, who had weakened his attachment to the administration. He had recently been ordered by the President to the State of Michoacan to take command of the guerrilla bands, which had assumed somewhat formidable proportions in that locality. With the double purpose of preventing his departure from the city and of making a demonstration against the present government, more or less revolutionary, as success might justify, these malcontents induced General Rocha to agree to attempt a pronunciamento. The occasion determined upon was on the morning of the 26th ultimo, when a public review and division drill was to occur in the suburbs of this capital. A lunch had been prepared by General Rocha for the brigade aud regimental commanders, at which the plan was to be announced to them, and such of them as refused to go into the movement were to be immediately arrested and other persons assigned by General Rocha to their command, when the announcement was to be made to the troops and the pronunciamento to be at once carried into effect. The executive was fully advised of the plans of the conspirators, and General Mejia, the minister of war, at the opportune time, went to the parade-ground in his carriage, without escort, and alone, quietly directed the return of the troops to their quarters in the city, and invited General Rocha to a seat in his carriage, with whom he returned. No reference was made by General Mejia to the intended pronunciamento at that time; but on the next day General Rocha, being invited to the palace, voluntarily acknowledged his complicity, and alleged that he had unwittingly been made the dupe of the conspirators.

It is alleged that none of the brigade or regimental commanders had been consulted by the conspirators, and that not one of them could be counted upon to aid in any movement against the government; neither does it appear that there was any special organization or promise of support beyond General Rocha within the army.

General Rocha has been relieved of his command, and he, together with Generals Riva Palacio and Carrion, have been placed under arrest and ordered to quarters in towns distant from this capital. The two latter were generals with commissions, but without commands in the army. General Riva Palacio has been a prominent officer of the republican army, was a member of the last Congress, and has recently been distinguished in the press and political circles as a bitter opponent of President Lerdo. He has tendered his resignation from the army, which it is expected will be accepted and he be released from arrest.

Beyond these arrests the government will probably inflict no punishments, [Page 886] although many of the conspirators are known, confident of its ability to preserve public order and maintain its authority without the sanguinary measures which have so often followed revolutionary attempts in Mexico.

A “revolutionary plan” has appeared in this morning’s dailies, which it is supposed was edited by General Riva Palacio, and is alleged to have been sent to the revolutionary bands in Michoacan some weeks ago, and possibly was to have been the basis of the frustrated movement in this city.

I inclose a copy and translation thereof.

In a call which I made at the foreign office to day, I took occasion to congratulate Mr. Lafragua, and through him President Lerdo, upon the frustration of the “revolutionary plan,” and to say that the United States felt a deep interest in the success of his administration, as it gave promise of a substantial and permanent government.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 255.—Translation.]

Plan of political regeneration.

As every party which inaugurates a revolutionary movement ought, out of respect to society and to the country, to give an explanation of the motives which impel it, and of the reasons which it has for undertaking that enterprise, whatever may be the success which Providence may vouchsafe to it, we, the undersigned, in compliance with this sacred obligation, declare that—

Whereas the Mexican Republic is ruled by a government which has elevated abuse to the rank of a political system, by disregarding and violating all the principles of morality, all the sanctions of the fundamental pact, all the provisions of the laws in force, by corrupting society, dishonoring the institutions, and making impossible the remedy of so great evils in the pacific way which the laws mark out;

It being a democratic system .which governs us, the public suffrage has been converted into a farce, because the President of the republic, by means of force, of bribery, and corruption, has caused what, in our present corrupt political system is called official candidate,” irremissibly to triumph. In virtue of this criminal administration, the Congress and the supreme court of justice, chosen by order of the President, besides being illegitimate, are not, neither are they able to be, independent in the exercise of their official duties; but, on the contrary, they are the blind instruments of the caprice of the executive, thus converting into ridicule the fundamental principle of the independence of the powers;

Whereas the federative principle has disappeared, because the sovereignty of the states, wounded every instant, scarcely exists, and the sport, not only of the President of the republic,” but even of the little circle of men who form the coterie of the President;

By reason of this loss of the sovereignty of the federative entities, the President and even his favorites depose governors at their will, intrusting the power to whomsoever it pleases them, as it has happened in Coahuila, Oaxaca, San Lujs, Puebla, and Yucatan;

Under this system, the governors of the States have no alternative but blindly to obey the central executive or to abandon the post to which the vote of their fellow-citizens has called them, which makes impossible a good administration;

Whereas in order to bring about this result, the President and his favorites have not been deterred in the use of measures, however much to be reprobated these may have been, including that of the promotion of dissensions in the bosom of the legislatures and local pronunciamentos in the States. And in order to legalize this they have extorted from Congress decrees which authorize the intervention of the federal forces in the local questions of the States:

Whereas in disregard of the rights of humanity and civilization, there has been kept back from the frontier States the petty subvention destined for the war which those suffering and heroic States are waging against savages, thus leaving them exposed [Page 887] to the depredations of their natural enemies while, on the other hand, the money of the nation is wasted in useless repairs upon the palaces of Mexico and Chapultepec, in feasts and in commissions of real luxury, like that which was sent to observe in Asia the transit of Venus across the disk of the sun;

The political party dominant to-day has sown the seeds of division in Mexican society, making illusory the amnesties granted to political mistakes, obliging the, employés and functionaries to make unnecessary protests, and causing tolerance and concord to be regarded as incompatible with the spirit and principles of our democratic institutions;

Whereas the public treasury is plundered in all branches at the caprice of favorites, without, up to the present time, the accounts of the expenditures of the government having been examined by the national representatives, as if all the funds which those in authority manage were their own property and not that of the people, of those who are servants only, and not masters;

The President and his cabinet hold the dispatch of public affairs in the most complete disregard, without attending to it further than their personal pleasures dictate to the scandal of honest men and to the scoff of society;

Whereas the administration of justice is thoroughly corrupt; the supreme court itself, to the shame of the nation, pronounces contradictory judgments in similar matters, and district judges have been constituted into agents of the central government for the purpose of destroying the sovereignty of the States;

The public instruction is a chaos, above all in that part which pertains to the federation, and the professorships are the sinecures of favorites;

The municipal power has disappeared completely, and the ayuntamientos, (city councils,) officers of a superior order, have been converted into humble dependents upon the governors and prefects;

Whereas the abuse, already elevated to a regular system, of each one of the protégés of the President or of his friends, having three and even four positions, and receiving three and four salaries, corrupts good administrations;

And whereas, finally, by means of none of the ways which the constitution and the laws mark out is it possible to obtain the remedy for so great an evil, so great an abuse, and so great a crime:

In the name of God, of outraged society, and of the reviled Mexican people, we raise the standard of war, and proclaim the following plan:

  • Art. 1. The President of the republic, Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada, and all his functionaries and employés are not recognized.
  • Art. 2. Likewise, on account of the complete illegality of its origin, the so-called supreme court of justice and the so-called Seventh Constitutional Congress are not recognized.
  • Art. 3. Ail the governments of the States which may give their adherence to the present plan will be recognized as such until the complete triumph of the revolution.
  • Art. 4. In the State in which the governor does not adhere to this plan, the chief shall be recognized as such governor, who, proclaiming, this plan, shall first occupy in a permanent, manner the capital of the State.
  • Art. 5. The commanding general-in-chief of the regenerating army, upon occupying the capitol of the republic, shall issue an edict for the election of a President of the republic, which office can, under no circumstance, devolve upon the general-in-chief who may be in power at the time of the election, and for the election of president and magistrates of the supreme court of justice.
  • Art. 6. Until the day on which the President elected by the popular vote may receive the government, the general-in-chief of the army shall maintain the powers of war and the command of the republic, under the title of the depositary of the executive power.
  • Art. 7. The States shall be recognized by the same terms being observed as those designated for the reorganization of the republic, the depositary of the executive power having the right to dictate all the measures which he may think necessary to assure the fulfillment of the promises of this plan.
  • Art. 8. The depositary of executive power is vested with ample authority to make effective, in the most vigorous manner, the responsibility, civil and criminal, of Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada and his accomplices, applying to them the corresponding punishment.
  • Art. 9. Upon the triumph of this plan in any State whatsoever of the republic, the odious burden of internal customs duties shall by this fact be there abolished, the chief who may occupy that State being personally responsible for the fulfillment of this article.
  • Art. 10. The Eighth Congress having assembled, which shall have a constituent character, its first business shall be the constitutional reform which guarantees municipal independence, and the law of the political organization of the federal district and of the territory of Lower California. Liberty and regeneration, &c.