No. 213.
Mr. Foster to Mr. Fish.

No. 403.]

Sir: The revolution has steadily increased since the date of my last dispatch on current events, and is to-day stronger than at any time since its commencement. The principle proclaimed by the plans of the [Page 397] various chiefs is “no re-election to the presidency,” and they allege as the reason for the revolution in advance of the election that President Lerdo designs to secure his re-election by force, intimidation and fraud, and that by the use of the army and his influence with the governors of States all opposition would be useless and the free choice of the country stifled.

Public expectation as to the activity and energy to be displayed by the national army has been greatly disappointed. Only in the State of Jalisco has it been able to make successful head against any serious attempt at revolt. In this State, which at the outset promised to be the chief center of the revolution, the federal government has been able to scatter or drive into the mountains all bands of pronunciados. General Allatorre, who had been sent by the government to restore the State of Oaxaca to the national authority, and of whose repulse I gave an account in my previous dispatch, after having been twice re-enforced, has been compelled to fall back to Tehuacan, in the State of Puebla, and is now at Orizaba, in the State of Vera Cruz.

Over two thousand troops, detached from General Escobedo’s command in Michoacan, Guanajuato, and Queretaro, (which States are comparatively quiet,) passed through this city at the beginning of this month to re-enforce the army in the State of Puebla, where is at present the greatest concentration of government forces.

A large portion of the State of Vera Cruz is in the possession of the revolutionists, including the capital, Jalapa; and several light encounters have occurred, but without decided results. The garrison in the castle of San Juan de Ulloa, in the harbor of Vera Cruz, “pronounced” on the night of the 17th instant, overpowered their superior officers, released the prisoners, near three hundred in number, and many of the worst class, and abandoned the fort. In passing to the shore they were fired upon by the troops of the city, quite a number killed, wounded, and captured, but the majority escaped. It is reported that a number of both soldiers and prisoners captured were shot by order of the commanding officer.

The States of Oaxaca, Jalisco, Sonora, Tlascala, Nuevo Leon, and Vera Cruz, owing to the revolution, have been declared under martial law, or “in state of siege,” by the President. The States of Puebla, Morelos, Guerrero, Mexico, Hidalgo, and Tamaulipas are also much disturbed.

Gen. Porfirio Diaz, the chief leader of the revolution, crossed over from Texas into Mexico the latter part of March, and issued a new or modified “plan,” in which it is proposed that after the deposition of President Lerdo by the success of the revolution, the chief-justice of the supreme court and ex-officio Vice-President shall act as President ad interim until a new election is held, provided the chief justice shall, within a specified time, signify his assent to this plan. Mr. Iglesias, the chief-justice, immediately after the publication of the plan in the newspapers of this city, wrote a letter to the official journal rejecting this and all other revolutionary projects, declaring his determination to observe strictly the constitution.

On the 2d instant General Diaz captured Matamoras, on the Rio Grande, almost without a struggle, the greater portion of the garrison accepting his cause. This is the most important success yet gained by the revolutionists, as it gives them the key to the frontier, and also enables them to obtain arms and military supplies from abroad. The presence of General Diaz in the country and this success have greatly encouraged the pronunciados elsewhere. The government is as rapidly [Page 398] as possible concentrating its forces of the northern and central States at Monterey, under General Escobedo, commanding that department, to resist the advance of General Diaz; and a decisive struggle is anticipated in that quarter at no distant day. General Rocha, whose disappearance from his quarters under arrest was noticed in my last dispatch, after being joined by a few personal followers and closely pursued by the government forces, finally surrendered himself, and has been brought to this city. His friends deny that he had any intention to take up arms against the government.

The extraordinary tax of one per cent. declared by the President, as stated in my No. 390, of March 11, is being quietly paid in this city and elsewhere in the republic still under the federal control.

The lower house of congress, after an animated discussion, voted on the 18th instant, by 136 against 35 votes, to extend the exercise by the President of “extraordinary faculties” in war and finance until the next session of congress. The small opposition to this measure on the final vote was a general surprise, as it had been claimed that the President had greatly lost ground in congress during the past few months; but it must be confessed that this vote does not indicate it.

The railroad between this city and Vera Cruz has been destroyed at different points by the revolutionists, and traffic has been practically suspended for more than one month past. Mail communication between these cities is uncertain and difficult, as also with a great portion of the country. The diligences are detained and robbed in all directions, and travel throughout the country is greatly interrupted and dangerous.

The work on the Central Railroad to the interior has been suspended on account of the political troubles ) the commerce and all industries are greatly embarrassed.

The President has recently issued a decree modifying the present tariff of imposts, especially with a view to a greater protection of certain articles of home manufacture; the details of which will be communicated to the Department by the consul-general.

I am, &c.,