No. 220.
Mr. Richardson to Mr. Fish.

No. 441.]

Sir: Since the date of Mr. Foster’s last dispatch on current events, July 15, there has been very little occurring to attract public attention. With the exception of unimportant skirmishes here and there, in which the government troops have generally had the advantage, and the pronunciamiento of Governor Canales, of Tamaulipas, which occurred on the 25th of July, there has been a total suspension of active operations on both sides.

Diaz is at the present time in Oaxaca, where he is said to have about two thousand men ready for service as soon as the rainy season is over. [Page 409] Whether he will take the field again before the meeting of the electoral college next month is doubtful. The friends of the revolution maintain that his policy is to remain quiet until Congress has counted the electoral votes and the result of the presidential election is officially declared.

Congress meets on the 16th of next month, and this matter will probably engage its earliest attention. As it is a well-known fact that the majority of this body are supporters of Mr. Lerdo, there can be no doubt that he will be declared re-elected.

The revolutionists understand this, but their hopes are turned in another direction. For a long time there has been a want of harmony between the executive and the supreme court. This conflict has been so severe on several occasions as to threaten a resort to arms. Claiming, as the opposition do, that the recent election was fraudulent, they are founding their hopes on the probability that it will be declared such by the supreme court. In this case they claim that the army will be turned over by Gen. Ignacio Mejia, the present minister of war, to the support of the court and the revolutionary party. General Mejia, as has been stated in previous dispatches, was one of the candidates before the country in the recent elections for President. He is a man who stands high with all parties, and has always been a supporter of the legitimate authorities of the government. It is presumed that his action either way will decide the fate of the administration.

I inclose an article from the Revolucion Economica, with a translation of the same, which gives an excellent idea of the state of the public mind in this capital at the present time. The Revolucion Economica, although an opposition paper, is one of the most fair-spoken and dignified journals in the city.

I am, &c.


The President of the Supreme Court, the Minister of War, and the re-election.

The nearer the conclusion of the present presidential term approaches the more public attention is fixed on the elements, long since studied by us, and already well-defined, of the new situation. The supreme eourt and the minister of war are the two objects toward which all eyes are directed, as much by the partisans of the re-election as by those who sigh for a change in this distressing condition of the country. The former watch, fearful that the Nemesis of the Lerdist party may be announced in a severe decision of the supreme tribunal; the latter hope the true regeneration of the republic may spring from that decision, the adhesion to which will guarantee the support of the army, always faithful to the legal authorities.

We were, if our memory serves us, the first to define the attitude of the court and of the minister of war with respect to the re-election, and subsequent events have come to prove that our conjectures, authorized by the antecedents of the high functionaries to whom we referred, were correct. The Bianchi case demonstrated the disposition of the court, and the minister of war has declared, through the columns of the official organ of the government of the republic, that, being independent of parties, his acts will always be directed, as they have been directed up to the present, to the defense of constitutional order and the legal authorities, not only against armed revolution, but also against any political intrigue whatever calculated to alter the former or overthrow the latter.

Can we ask, can we desire facts more efficacious against any doubts that might be entertained in this respect? Neither the supreme court nor General Mejia has said that opposition will be made to the re-election; nor have they said that they will support it; what both have said in the most explicit and conclusive manner is, that, in obedience to the law, they are under no obligations neither for nor against the said reelection; consequently, being independent of all political interests, they will support [Page 410] the re-election if it he effected under legal conditions; or they will oppose it if in its consummation the liberty of suffrage conceded by law be violated; in a word, the supreme court and the minister of war, throwing aside all personal feelings and political interests, will sustain legal order, the legally constituted authorities. In the antecedents of the court and the minister of war may be seen a constant and deliberate effort directed to an identical end, the preservation of legitimate authority. The constitutional theory that the court has constantly sustained with regard to the faculty of judging, incidentally, the competency of the origin of the authorities and the noble conduct of General Mejia on the death of President Juarez, which he has continued to observe up to the present time, sustaining with loyal energy the man who was at one time his political adversary, are acts which, proving the observation made in the beginning of this paragraph, do not permit a doubt as to the attitude that may be taken after the re-election by the President of the court and the present minister of war. To think, to doubt even, that one or the other would oppose the re-election if it is legally effected, or that it would be sustained, if illegal, would be to gratuitously offend reputations that, in our eyes, appear without stain.

Is it really the conscientious opinion of the public that the election has been a farce? Hence it cannot be doubted that, when the proofs of the fact are given, the situation that has been announced to ensue after the 30th of November will shape itself in the manner that has been foreseen and with the elements that have been observed.

There will be no lack of papers to say that our conjectures are unauthorized, basing their statements on the fact that we did not consult the views of Mr. Iglesias and Mr. Mejia before saying what we believe with reference to their future conduct. The objection would have some weight if, instead of referring to citizens who like them are well known as men consistent with principles which all the world know they profess, it should refer to political shysters, capable of professing all theories and all political and social opinions as the latter become conformable to selfish party views or petty personal interests. When men of principles, men who do not mold their convictions to suit circumstances, are discussed, it is sufficient to bear in mind the antecedents of their convictions in order to know, more or less, the manner in which it is logically probable they will conduct themselves under determined circumstances. Thus, it is enough for us to know that Messrs. Iglesias and Mejia have been, in principle, decided supporters of constitutional legality, in order to be able to assert, as though they themselves had informed us, that they will sustain legal authority, even if it be represented by Mr. Lerdo, and that they will oppose usurpation, although it should elevate to the highest post the same citizen.

If the president of the supreme court and the minister of war were, as Mr. Sanchez Mármal would say, a pair of political weather-cocks, we would feel doubtful, in truth, as to their future conduct; being, as they are, men of principles and honorable antecedents, to doubt the rectitude of their future acts would be to inflict upon them a gratuitous offense.

Our conjectures are, then, authorized, perfectly authorized, by the past career of the two citizens to whom we have referred, and it can, consequently, be affirmed, that if it should be demonstrated that re-election is aimed at without deference to the will of the country, both the president of the supreme court and the minister of war, within the sphere of their obligations and rights as functionaries and citizens, will oppose it in defense of the institutions and constitutional order.

Nobody—absolutely nobody—can contradict us on this point, unless by doing a gratuitous injury to the functionaries of whom we have spoken. Thus, then, the affirmations of the Diario against what has been remarked by Mr. Emilio Velasco with respect to the minister of war, far from destroying what has been said by that writer, confirm his observations upon the basis of a declaration almost official. The minister of war would oppose, with all the elements at his disposition, any armed revolution and any intrigue against the legal authorities; he will defend, in every case, constitutional order. Then, if it should result that the re-election is a fraud, if it should turn out that it is an intrigue against legality, the minister of war will oppose it, at the proper time, with the elements at his disposal.

It is not, then, possible to entertain a doubt as to what will happen with reference to Messrs. Iglesias and Mejia after the 30th of November. What power, what decisive influence, can the Lerdist faction oppose to the great political and social elements that would rally around the banner of legality, if this legality should not be represented by Mr. Lerdo?

The Lerdist faction, as a party, has no organization, no programme that would gain for it the support of social interests; its programme would be the policy it has followed till now, and that policy has given no results other than corruption, poverty, and the most profound wretchedness among all classes of society. Politically, we have had nothing but misgovernment; economically, ruinous monopolies. We have no credit; we have no finance; and the country, being disorganized, needs a strong government—strong not only with bayonets, but with credit, through its resources, through the integrity of its material and moral power. We need work, and we cannot obtain it so [Page 411] long as the government does not give absolute guarantees for the investment of capital lying idle here, and induce in that manner the return of that which, on account of insecurity, has been sent abroad. We need easy and cheap means of communication, and consequently, money at a low rate; and illy can this be secured when, instead of procuring an influx of capital, an erroneous, heedless policy obliges it to flee the country. We need to regenerate ourselves by labor, which is the main-spring of all the forces of civilization, and this is not possible—absolutely impossible—when elements of wretchedness are systematically preserved for the simple reason that they are favorable to a policy, and the germs of well-being are pursued and annihilated if they do not assist to satisfy the exigencies of the same policy.

This is erroneous, absurd; nevertheless, such is the programme with which the herdist faction has presented itself to defend its candidate. We have had four years of profound errors and continual blunders, and it is proposed to give us four more of the same regimen, or, better said, of equal disorder. Is this possible? Is it possible that after the results the herdist policy has had, that after this fiasco in the contemplated work of reconstruction which we were promised, that herdist faction still presents itself as a political party with a title to influence and power in the public administration? We do not doubt, we cannot doubt, we are not permitted to doubt, the good faith, the patriotism, of the greater part of the men who compose that faction, but we do believe that the latter, as a political party, no longer exists; in the first place, because its own chief destroyed it; in the second, because the platform, the programme, it might now present, has been what is called a fiasco—the most complete as well as the most lamentable of fiascos.

There is not, then, a party, good or bad, that will sustain the re-election in case this should not be legitimate; consequently it may be presumed, with all the elements of truth with which it is possible to judge under the circumstances, that under the said supposition, after the 30th of November the so-long-desired union of the liberal party may be expected against the small group that sustains the re-election. It is unnecessary to inquire on whose side will be the probabilities of triumph in the indicated hypothesis. The re-election party in such a case would be even more feeble than the reactionary party after the victory of Calpulalpam, or the monarchical party after the capture of Queretaro.