No. 351.
Mr. Foster to Mr. Evarts.

No. 933.]

Sir: In my No. 929, of the 10th instant, I communicated the resignation of the new minister of finance. His letter of resignation has been published by the Diario Oficial.

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I have thought it of sufficient interest to send you a translation of the same.

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I am, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 933.—Translation.]

Resignation of Minister of Finance.

department of government.

When, a few days ago, I was called to take charge of the department of finance, I stated to the President the inconveniences, personal as well as public, which interposed for the administration as well as for myself in accepting such a difficult post, to the discharge of whose duties I could bring neither the great knowledge which is indispensable, nor the political influence, separated as I am from the parties which have unfortunately divided our country, although I do not think that in order to serve the country it is necessary to belong to a faction, the opposition which it was presumed my appointment would meet in Congress, figuring very especially among the motives of my excuses. With all due frankness I stated to him that although I did not feel capable of changing the actual situation of the treasury, I did think adopting strict economy, and procuring order and honesty in the collection and disbursement of the taxes, might save the nation from the crisis through which it is passing. I particularly called the attention of the President to the inconveniences which, in my judgment, are presented by the initiative sent to the chamber asking authorization to hold a universal exposition, endeavoring, as far as was possible, to enforce my arguments, in order to convince him that neither the state of the public treasury nor the foreign relations, nor the condition of the country which is threatened by new disturbances, would permit of our inviting the other nations to a competition in which we could present nothing but our poverty and our ill-concealed discord. As the President did not oppose to my objections any other consideration than the obligation contracted, and [Page 804] recognized the weight of my observations, I had a right to think that they had effected the conviction in his mind that it was necessary to desist from the idea, and I accepted the post to which I was called.

Upon informing myself of the condition of the federal treasury, I found that it was much worse than could have been imagined, my resolutions took new force, to the extent of convincing me that no amount whatever should be spent, no matter what the object to which it might be destined, except to meet the necessities and obligations of the nation.

The idea which I previously had of the inconvenience of defraying the large expenses demanded by a universal exposition became more and more strengthened, and for this reason as well as because I found the appropriations of the estimate covered by the demands that were made on them, my first act upon entering the department, was to order the suspension of the daily payment of $500 which the tax office was delivering for the works, which, inasmuch as they were not to be completed, were wholly unnecessary.

The situation of the public treasury at present may be judged, if not with all exactness, at least with considerable precision, by having in sight a few data. The probable receipts relied on for meeting the demands on the treasury amount to $557,724.12, while the expenditures reach $867,812, producing a monthly deficit of $308,078, which obliges the administration to live on the resources of the future.* This explains the large debt which exists in favor of the officers of the administration, which corresponding to the civil list alone, already amounts to $442,815.75, while that of the military exceeds a million dollars.

In the presence of this situation, which could not be more precarious, I do not think that it is either my duty, or that I would act conscientiously, to accept the responsibility of the situation which will have to be brought on the treasury by the burden of $500,000 which has been estimated for the exposition. With this conviction, and when, as I have indicated, the suspension of the payments made by the tax office had been ordered, you will understand the disagreeable impression caused on me upon learning that the President had ordered the continuance of said payments, and insisted upon carrying out the exposition. If to this is added the wholly gratuitous opposition excited against me in the Chamber of Deputies, impelled by bastard interests, when I had relied on having its support in carrying out the work of reforming the public treasury, it will be understood that it is not possible for me to continue in a post in which I would have remained notwithstanding finding myself attacked from the very commencement by calumny and defamation; solely animated by the conviction which I have always entertained that order and economy constitute the best financial plan that can be adopted, and that it does not consist in imposing on society new sacrifices which it cannot support, hoping that the day of justice and reason, which I did not consider very distant, would vindicate me.

To-day being deficient in the faith which impelled me to confront a difficult situation, I should abandon the post in order to remove the obstacle which my presence might offer to the following of the course which the administration propose to pursue.

I beg you, upon bringing this resignation to the knowledge of the President, to be pleased to reiterate to him my gratitude, and accept for yourself the assurances of my consideration.


  1. A slight inaccuracy.↩