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Without entering into a question which is irrelevant, and confining himself to his note of the 12th instant, the Undersigned finds himself compelled to explain matters by observing, that in his said note of the 12th no doctrines were laid down, but facts were recalled; facts consigned in an agreement concluded between the Agent accredited by the English Government and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Mexican Government.
The Government of the Undersigned is disposed to treat questions of right on the ground of justice and reason, but will not prejudice them, nor allow them to be prejudiced, by introducing them incidentally and out of their place, or contrary to established forms. Thus then, and without its being understood that the doctrines noted down by his Excellency are accepted or rejected, the Undersigned has the honour to assure him that in the matter of the Legation robbery he will be strictly bound by the agreement entered into by the representatives of both Governments, without discussing whether it be good or bad, inasmuch as the opportunity of so doing has passed.
The Undersigned hopes that his Excellency will do him the justice to admit that he cannot occupy himself in this note with the other questions that his Excellency introduces into this note, because if, upon this principle, we were to go on mixing up questions indiscriminately, their solution would become more and more intricate, and eventually impossible. If, on the contrary, we give to each one the independent place its nature requires, its solution will be as easy as it will be prompt.
Sir C. Wyke.
The Undersigned, &c.
(Inclosure 8.)-Sir C. Wyke to Señor Guzman.
Mexico, June 18, 1861.
I HAVE the honour to acknowledge receipt of your Excellency's note of the 15th instant, a careful perusal of which leads me to infer that you think you have a right to complain of the tone of my communication of the 14th, to which it is a reply.
In that despatch I endeavoured, in terms as clear and concise as possible, to put the question which has given rise to the present correspondence in its proper light, and in doing so I conceive I was fulfilling a duty imperative on me to perform, as no possible misunderstanding as to the views of Her Majesty's Government with reference to this matter must arise, as far as it lies in my power to prevent it.
On the 17th of November last, an outrage was committed by the de facto Government of Mexico on the Legation of a friendly Power, which was not only a disgrace to its perpetrators, but a
direct act of felony on the subjects of that Power, and this crime up to the present moment remains unatoned for.
It is not by the vain promises of an agreement, never yet acted up to, that such a scandal can either be forgotten or forgiven, and therefore I should be deceiving you, were I not clearly to point out that Her Majesty's Government will hold the Republic of Mexico and its Government directly responsible for what is complained of.
In succeeding to the offices of your predecessors, you have inherited their responsibilities, and international law renders these as binding on you as if the last 3 years' civil war had never existed, and you had peaceably succeeded to the places of the former Administration. The continuance of the good relations now existing between our respective Governments renders the clear understanding of this principle absolutely necessary, and, therefore, no false delicacy shall prevent my insisting upon it, however ungracious it may appear on my part thus repeatedly urging it upon your Excellency's attention.
You inform me that no doctrine was laid down in your Excellency's note of the 12th, but that acts were therein recalled, “acts consigned in an agreement concluded between the accredited agents of our respective Governments."
I have looked in vain in that communication for the mention of any act of reparation, and have found only promises of redress to the effect that the personal property of the individuals who committed the outrages shall, if condemned by the legal authorities, be held liable to indemnify the losses sustained by British subjects on the occasion referred to.
Now, in the first place, the legal process which you mention, has, up to the present moment, resulted in absolutely nothing; and, in the second, had it even produced the full effects which you desired, the pecuniary resources thus obtained would have proved quite inadequate to cover the loss sustained, as it is notorious that the value of the united property of all the parties concerned in the Legation robbery would not exceed one-sixth part of the money stolen on that occasion.
Your Excellency informs me that your Government is disposed to treat questions of right on the grounds of justice and reason, but will not allow them to be prejudiced by being introduced incidentally and out of place, in violation of established form.
It is in complete accordance with the rule that you have thus laid down, that I now again call upon your Government to treat this grave question on the principles of justice and right, by adopting serious measures for repairing the wrong done, instead of repeating promises which have hitherto led to nothing, and which never can lead, as already pointed out, to anything but a partial
reparation of an insult and an injury to the nation which I have the honour to represent.
I see no use whatever in prolonging a correspondence on this subject, which must be treated according to the well-defined principles of international law, and not according to the partial wishes of one of the parties interested in it.
Having thus placed you in possession of the views of Her Majesty's Government with reference to this question, I avail, &c. Señor Guzman. C. LENNOX WYKE.
No. 11.-Sir C. Wyke to Lord J. Russell.—(Received July 29.) MY LORD, Mexico, June 24, 1861. On the recognition of the Jaurez Government by Mr. Mathew it was agreed on with them that the remainder of the money due from the robbery of the "Laguna Seca" conducta should be repaid within 4 months from the date of such recognition.
The term having expired on the 11th instant, I then addressed a note to Señor Guzman on the subject, copy of which I have herewith the honour to inclose, together with the translation of his Excellency's reply, by which your Lordship will perceive that the difficulty of the situation and the penury of the Treasury are urged as excuses for not fulfilling their engagement by the payment in specie of the debt owing. Such being the case he offers compensation in the shape of convents, farms recently belonging to the Church, or even the National Palace itself; and if these should not suffice, his Excellency proposes that each individual claim shall be admitted to the full amount in payment of duties on any future importations made by any of the parties having such claims. Nothing can apparently be fairer than such a proposal, but to anybody actually on the spot its unsatisfactory nature is at once apparent for the following reasons:
Were this Government to be upset and the Church party to return to power, any such grants as those above-named would at once be repudiated; and the remission of duties, which is the most plausible of the proposals made, might at any moment be set aside by a Decree founded on the urgent necessities of the Government, for ready money to carry on their current expenses.
On my communicating a copy of Señor Guzman's note of the 12th, through Consul Glennie, to the parties interested, they after due consideration refused the offer made on these grounds; at the same time saying that what they wanted was ready money to meet the engagements which had devolved on them in consequence of the robbery of the "Laguna Seca" conducta, which refusal I conveyed to Señor Guzman in a note dated the 22nd instant, copy of which I have now the honour to inclose.
Knowing the utter impossibility of obtaining ready money from a Government which is actually penniless, I recommended the parties interested not to refuse listening to any further proposals that the Mexican Commissioners might have to make them, and they in compliance with my recommendation have accordingly named two members of their body to represent them in the Conferences now about to take place with reference to this matter. Thus stands the case at present, and I fear that in this instance also the interests of British subjects will again be sacrificed to the reckless folly and bad faith of this Government.
Lord J. Russell.
I have, &c.
C. LENNOX WYKE.
(Inclosure 1.)-Sir C. Wyke to Señor Guzman.
Mexico, June 11, 1861.
A FEW days ago I had the honour of explaining to your Excellency the present position of what is generally known as the "Laguna Seca" conducta claim, and as on that occasion I gathered from your Excellency's remarks that the Mexican Government considered itself bound to carry out in all sincerity the arrangements for repayment laid down in Señor Zarco's note to Mr. Mathew of the 12th of February last, I request your Excellency to inform me, at your earliest convenience, to whom the sufferers by the above named robbery are to apply, at the ports of Vera Cruz and Tampico, for the sum of money forcibly taken from them by Señor Degollado at Laguna Seca.
This sum, as I believe your Excellency is aware, amounts with interest to 285,569 dollars 38 cents, and I may further add that every British subject interested in the question is furnished with, and ready to produce, the documents necessary to prove the legitimacy of his particular reclamation. I avail, &c.
C. LENNOX WYKE.
(Inclosure 2.)-Señor Guzman to Sir C. Wyke.
Mexico, June 12, 1861. THE Undersigned, &c., has the honour to reply to the note of his Excellency Sir C. Lennox Wyke, &c., under date of yesterday, and to inform him that the Government of Mexico always has been and ever will be ready to fulfil its engagements with British subjects. This is more especially the case with respect to the funds seized by General Degollado at Laguna Seca, so much so that even when the Government was compelled to make a general suspension of payments care was taken not to include therein the funds in question.
The Government has spared no effort to get together sufficient moneys for meeting the debt, the payment of which, with the fullest intention of acting up to their engagements, they had fixed for the 11th instant. The difficulties, however, of the moment, combined with the penury of the Treasury-facts which are now publicly notorious, and have doubtless come to the knowledge of your Excellency-have rendered of no avail the efforts of Government, and frustrated their best intentions; stili good security has been given, and no small portion of the Laguna Seca credits taken as cashpayments.
Thus, then, the Undersigned is under the painful necessity of informing your Excellency that it will be quite impossible for the Government to fulfil at the specified time their engagements in the matter of Laguna Seca, and they are consequently placed in the painful position of having to enter into some fresh arrangement with the parties interested therein.
If the financial crisis was of less import-if the Government could count upon their actual resources being sufficient to cover even a portion of their most pressing liabilities, they would assign part of those resources for the settlement of the above preferential claim. Owing, however, to the extreme scarcity of money, and to the certainty that for the moment cash payments are quite out of the question, they prefer avowing honestly their actual position to hazarding some new promise, which they would find themselves under the painful necessity of breaking.
The Government recognizes the just rights of the creditors, and are resolved upon making every possible sacrifice in order to satisfy them. Government can dispose of convents and other valuable property. These, and even the National Palace, are at the creditors' disposal; they may take their choice, and whatever they select shall at once be consigned to them at an equitable and conventional price.
These same creditors, moreover, can count upon their credits being admitted as cash in any transactions, whether on account of duties or otherwise, which they have with Government.
In order satisfactorily to arrange their business Mr. Deputy Mata and Señor Zarco have been appointed Commissioners to treat with the parties interested, who on their part may likewise talk over the matter with those gentlemen, and make whatever propositions they may deem suitable, always remembering that the Government will leave nothing undone to bring the question at issue to an amicable and successful termination.
Sir C. Wyke.
The Undersigned, &c.