to Mr. Evarts.
Mexico, October 16, 1880. (Received October 28.)
Sir: Referring to my dispatch No. 102, and in continuance thereof, I now have to report that on our return from Mr. Ruelas’ funeral, Mr. Mariscal informed me that he had been instructed by the President to state to me that he (the President), had determined to communicate the request which I had made on the part of the United States for the passage of our troops into Mexico in pursuit of Victoria and his band, to the Senate, with the recommendation that it be approved. As I understood Mr. Mariscal, the proposition of the President was that our troops should be permitted to cross the boundary in pursuit of Victoria; the consent to continue for ninety days, after I should be notified thereof, coupled with the condition that Mexican troops should be allowed the same privilege in case he escaped from the pursuit which was then being made of him, Mr. Mariscal saying that the period could be extended without any difficulty in case the time allowed should not be sufficient to effect his capture.
Accordingly, on the 21st ultimo, I received a note from Mr. Fernandez, [Page 742]a translation of which I inclose, from which you will observe that the President did as Mr. Mariscal assured me he would do.
I did not inform you of this by telegraph because I was in hopes, and I was led to believe, that the action of the Senate would be prompt and confirmatory. In this I was disappointed. Several things occurred to prevent the action of the Senate. In the first place that body meets at 3.30 o’clock p.m., and rarely remains in session more than an hour and a half; often there is no quorum, when, of course, nothing is done. Again, the death of Mr. Ruelas was the cause of their losing a day. Then they were occupied with the proceedings attending upon the renewal of diplomatic relations with France, and the nomination and confirmation of a minister to that country. Then the matter had to be discussed, and there were many objections made to it. A public sentiment was sought to be raised against it by assertions made in the prominent journals that I had been instructed to notify, and that I had notified the government that if they refused the request, our troops would cross the Rio Grande whether or no. A translation of one of these notices I inclose.
I left nothing undone which it was in my power to do to bring the question to a solution, nor did I fail, in my interviews with the officers of the government with whom I have come in contact, to press upon them, as I was instructed to do, the importance of the measure, and to warn them of the resposibility which the Mexican Government would incur if the request was refused.
The committee to whom the matter was referred reported upon it favorably. There was a decided opposition to the adoption of the report, arising, as I am informed, from the fact that, in the opinion of some members of the Senate, the President has the authority to grant the request without asking their sanction thereto. Others there are who consider it an imputation upon the valor of Mexican troops that they should require assistance from any quarter, and they are not influenced in their action by the fact that Victoria is now in Mexico, and, with his band, plundering and murdering with impunity. Others fancy it is a disgrace to the country that a foreign soldier should be allowed to put his foot upon Mexican territory. Others also fear that, once any portion of the United States Army gets into Mexico, they will not leave it voluntarily, and they have very little hope that they could be forced out.
The inclosed translations from the Monitor Republicano, will show you how the matter was treated by the press.
My telegram of this date has given you the result of the President’s recommendation, and the terms upon which our troops will be permitted to cross into Mexico. They are the best that could be obtained. I am informed that all the correspondence between this legation and the government, both with reference to this and my former request upon this subject, was called for, and I am convinced that if any threat had been found in either of them a refusal would have been prompt and decided.
I inclose translation of Mr. Fernandez’s note, with its accompanying documents, announcing the terms upon which his government is prepared to act. I also inclose copy and translation of cipher telegram sent to you by me under this date.
I am, &c.,