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the general style of their official correspondence, anything but courteous, and it therefore called forth a reply from me couched in even stronger terms than my note of the 14th inst. I have the honour to inclose copies of this despatch, which has remained unanswered up to the present moment, owing, I suppose, to the resignation of the Guzman Administration.
In order to avoid all confusion, I will treat of the "Laguna Seca" claim in a separate despatch, inclosing therein the correspondence which has taken place with reference to it between the Mexican Government and Her Majesty's Legation. Lord J. Russell.
C. LENNOX WYKE.
(Inclosure 1.)-Sir C. Wyke to Señor Guzman.
Mexico, June 3, 1861.
IN Article II of a Decree bearing the President's signature, and dated the 29th ultimo, but which was only brought to my notice this morning, I perceive that the payment of all claims against the National Treasury, except those guaranteed by Diplomatic Conventions, and the one commonly known as that of the "Laguna Seca," is to be suspended for the period of 12 calendar months.
Without entering into the grave questions that may arise out of the practical operation of this Decree, I will simply call your attention on the present occasion to the omission of all mention in it of the claim caused by robbery from Her Majesty's Legation of the sum of 660,000 dollars belonging to the English bondholders.
The settlement of this claim, which so nearly affects the honour and credit of the Mexican Government, cannot surely be intended to be postponed until after the expiration of the term, mentioned. in said Decree for the suspension of payment.
Your Excellency will greatly oblige me by clearing up all doubt on this subject, for the question involved is one of the greatest importance as nearly affecting those good relations between our respective Governments which it is our duty, as well also, I am sure, and mutual desire, to maintain.
I avail, &c.
C. LENNOX WYKE.
(Inclosure 2.)-Señor Guzman to Sir C. Wyke.
(Translation.) Mexico, June 6, 1861. THE Undersigned, &c. has the honour of replying to the note of his Excellency the British Minister, under date of the 3rd instant, in which his Fxcellency is pleased to ask for an explanation of the omission to include among the exceptions to the Decree of the 29th of May last, upon the subject of a general suspension of Treasury payments, the 660,000 dollars belonging to the London bond
holders, and stolen by the rebels from Her Britannic Majesty's Legation.
In doing so, the Undersigned has the honour to inform Sir Charles Wyke that the suspension of payments does not, and could not, include the 660,000 dollars in question, and, consequently, there was no necessity to make any exception in this case.
By the arrangement made in the matter of the 660,000 dollars, the Mexican Government has assigned for their payment the property of the responsible parties, and only in the event of such property proving insufficient for the purpose, did it engage itself to treat of and settle amicably the reimbursement of the whole sum. Inasmuch, then, as the money is not being paid by the National Treasury, the suspension of payments referred to does not, and cannot affect it.
Were, indeed, the Treasury eventually called upon to make good any deficiency, the suspension of payments could never prove an obstacle in the way of its carrying out such an arrangement.
In offering these explanations, which he doubts not will appear satisfactory to Sir C. L. Wyke, the Undersigned, &c. Sir C. Wyke.
Mexico, le 29 Mai, 1861.
LE citoyen Benito Juarez, Président Intérimaire Constitutionnel des Etats-Unis Mexicains, à tous leurs habitants faisons savoir, Que le Congrès Souverain de la nation a bien voulu décréter ce qui suit:
ART. I. L'Exécutif est autorisé à mettre en cours forcé des titres ("escrituras") de capitaux nationaux imposés sur immeubles ruraux et urbains, en quantité suffisante pour lui procurer le 1,000,000 piastres auquel se réfère le Décret du 20 du courant, avec un escompte pouvant s'élever jusqu'au deux pour cent mensuel.
II. Sont suspendus, pour une année, les paiements aux créanciers du Trésor National, à l'exception de celui de la conduite de Laguna Seca, et des Conventions Diplomatiques; pendant ce temps, le Congrès de l'Union rendra les lois de crédit public, de suppression des Douanes intérieures et "alcabalas," de réforme de tarif et d'établissement de la contribution directe.
III. L'Exécutif présentera une initiative d'arrangement pour la suspension des Conventions Diplomatiques, en rendant compte du résultat au Congrès pour son approbation.
IV. En dehors des exceptions qu'établit l'Article II, l'exécutif ne pourra faire d'autres paiements que ceux d'administration.
Donné dans la Salle des Séances du Congrès de l'Union, le 29
JOSE MARIA AGUIRRE, Député Président.
Pourquoi j'ordonne, &c.
Palais du Gouvernement Fédéral à Mexico, le 29 Mai, 1861. José Maria Castaños. BENITO JUAREZ.
(Inclosure 4.)-Sir C. Wyke to Señor Guzman.
Mexico, June 7, 1861.
I HAVE the honour to acknowledge receipt of your Excellency's communication bearing yesterday's date, in reply to my despatch of the 3rd instant, in which I requested you to inform me why all mention of the Legation robbery had been omitted from that Article of the Decree of the 29th ultimo which specifies the exceptions that are to be made to the suspension of payment of all claims against the National Treasury for the space of 12 calendar months.
In the second paragraph of your above-named despatch, your Excellency informs me that the Decree of the 29th could not affect the case of the Legation robbery, and that consequently there was no necessity to mention the claim arising therefrom in the list or exceptions to the general rule of a suspension of payments; and yet, in the concluding sentence of the third paragraph, you inform me that if the means adopted for the liquidation of this claim should prove insufficient, that then the National Treasury would make up the deficit.
Seeing that this must eventually be the case, your Excellency will easily understand why I was anxious to obtain the assurance which you have now given me, that the payment shall be made out of the National Treasury, for the means you have hitherto adopted repay the money stolen have not produced the desired result.
As I had the honour of stating to you in our recent conversation with reference to this matter, the prompt settlement of this claim equally affects the honour of both Governments, an opinion in which you fully concurred, at the same time assuring me that before the departure of the next European mail you would be able to prove to me the honourable intentions of your Government in doing all in their power to satify the just demands of that of Her Majesty.
Fully trusting in that assurance, I will no longer dwell upon a subject the importance of which is well known to your Excellency; indeed, I should not again have alluded to it, were it not for my
desire to prevent the possibility of any misunderstanding arising with reference to it.
I avail, &c.
C. LENNOX WYKE.
(Inclosure 5.)-Señor Guzman to Sir C. Wyke.
(Translation.) Mexico, June 12, 1861. WITH your Excellency's note of the 3rd instant, which the Undersigned had the honour of receiving on the 4th, the question raised by your Excellency about no exception having been made in the Decree of the 29th for the robbery committed by the rebels at the British Legation should have terminated. But, like your Excellency, the Undersigned is desirous of preventing any misunderstanding upon this point, and considers himself, therefore, under the necessity of explaining matters.
Now there is a palpable difference between asserting, as did the Undersigned, that, in the event of the Legation robbery not being covered by the property of the perpetrators thereof, the Mexican Government were under an obligation to treat about and arrange the reimbursement of the moneys taken, and positively affirming that under similar circumstances the deficiency would have to be covered by the National Treasury.
The Undersigned hinted, indeed, at the possibility of such a contingency, but he never did, nor could he say that it was a certainty; such a statement was out of the question, inasmuch as it is not possible to give a positive assurance about any matter which has to be treated of and settled, before the treatment and settlement shall have taken place.
With regard to the loyal intentions of the Mexican Government, of which the Undersigned has assured your Excellency-your Excellency at the same time being pleased to acknowledge them-the Undersigned can state that stringent orders have been given for expediting the judicial inquiries which have been instituted, so as to permit of the money stolen from the Legation being repaid by whatever property of the responsible parties has been or may be embargoed. The Undersigned, &c. Sir C. Wyke.
(Inclosure 6.)-Sir C. Wyke to Señor Guzman.
Mexico, June 14, 1861.
UNWILLING as I am to prolong a correspondence which I fear will lead to no practical result for some time to come, yet I cannot pass over in silence your Excellency's note of the 12th instant, written in reply to mine of the 7th, without at once protesting against the doctrine therein attempted to be established by inference, to the effect that the actual perpetrators of the Legation
outrage are alone responsible, in their persons and property. for the wrong done on the 17th of November last.
Now, according to every principle of international law having reference to cases in any way similar to the one in point, Her Majesty's Government is perfectly justified in holding the State of Mexico (I use the word in its largest sense) responsible for the insult done to their Legation, and the robbery of British property committed on that occasion, without in any way occupying themselves with the 'mere individuals who acquired so unfortunate a notoriety by a crime which it should have been the first duty of the present Government to punish and atone for.
It was an express stipulation on the part of Her Majesty's Government, before recognizing that of President Juarez, that this obligation should be complied with, and Mr. Mathew, late Her Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires, was so fully convinced of the sincerity of his Excellency's then Cabinet in this matter, that he at once proffered the recognition he had to offer, without waiting to see the accomplishment of a duty which was binding, in honour as well as justice, on the parties who had inherited the advantages as well as the responsibilities of their predecessors.
If Mr. Mathew's confidence has been misplaced, that can in no way affect the rights of Her Majesty's Government in this matter, which, as represented by me, I now again insist on, as well for the principle involved, as for the interests of the parties concerned.
When I had the honour of communicating verbally with your Excellency on this subject, I had hoped that you had clearly understood the view taken of this question by Her Majesty's Government, and the more so as, according to those principles of international law now universally acknowledged, there is only one way of looking I avail, &c.
C. LENNOX WYKE.
(Inclosure 7.)—Señor Guzman to Sir C. Wyke.
(Translation.) National Palace, Mexico, June 15, 1861. THE Undersigned, &c., has the honour to address himself to his Excellency Sir Charles Lennox Wyke, &c., and to inform him, that, without insisting upon continuing the correspondence that his Excellency was pleased to commence, and which according to the declaration in his note of the 14th instant he does not desire to prolong, the Undersigned must take notice of the protest that his Excellency makes "against the doctrine which is attempted to be established by inference, to the effect that the actual perpetrators of the Legation outrage are alone responsible in their persons and property for the wrong done on the 17th of November last."