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to my predecessors, when a similar tax was imposed by the former


Lord J. Russell.




Palais National, à Mexico, le 21 Août, 1861.

LE citoyen Juan José Baz, Gouverneur du District Fédéral, à ses habitants faisons savoir:

Qu'il m'à été adressé, par le Ministère des Finances et du Crédit Public, le Décret suivant:

Le citoyen Benito Juarez, Président Constitutionnel des EtatsUnis Mexicains, à leurs habitants faisons savoir:

Qu'en vertu des facultés que concède au Gouvernement le Décret du 4 Juin dernier, j'ai décrété ce qui suit:

Article unique. Il est établi, dans le district, une contribution de un pour cent. sur les capitaux qui excèdent 2,000 dollars; elle sera payable de la manière suivante, à la Direction Générale des Contributions Directes; un tiers le jour qui suivra la publication du présent Décret, un autre tiers dans les 8 jours, et le dernier tiers dans les 15 jours.

De ceux qui ne verseront pas leurs cotes dans les délais exprimés, on les exigera, au moyen de la faculté économico-coactive, avec les surcharges qui fixent les lois en vigueur.

Pourquoi j'ordonne, &c.

Donné au Palais National, à Mexico, le 21 Août, 1861. José H. Nuñez.


Mexico, le 21 Août, 1861.

Et je vous le transmets pour son accomplissement.
Dieu et Liberté !


Mexico, le 22 Août, 1861.

Et pour qu'il arrive à la connaissance de tous j'ordonne qu'on l'imprime, qu'on le publie, &c.



No. 43.-Sir C. Wyke to Lord J. Russell.—(Rec. September 29.) MY LORD, Mexico, August 26, 1861.

THE question of the British Convention has been brought under the consideration of Her Majesty's Government so frequently, and always, hitherto, as a cause of complaint on the part of those interested in it, that I regret excessively again to recur to the subject.

I am compelled, however, to do so on the present occasion, not only because the Mexican Government have of late publicly attacked the Convention, but because there are certain matters of importance. connected with it which require, I consider, some explanation on my part, in order to clear up the doubts which have been and still are entertained with respect to the origin and management of this fund.

Before I proceed to the discussion of this now complicated question, I would mention that, in order to avoid as much as possible a continued repetition of figures in the body of this despatch, I have had drawn up in the Mission the inclosed memorandum, which I trust may be found useful for purposes of reference, if, at any future period, the Mexican Government or private individuals carry their complaints and accusations directly before the Foreign Office.

I will now endeavour to trace the history of the Convention from its commencement. In 1842 Her Majesty's Minister at Mexico, Mr. Pakenham, concluded a diplomatic arrangement for the payment of certain recognized claims; and in 1851 it was evident that, so far from having carried out this arrangement, the Mexican Government had incurred additional liabilities, which they were equally unable to meet, and which rendered a fresh arrangement of some sort absolutely necessary.

Hence it was that Mr. Doyle, on the 4th of December, 1851, signed the Convention which has given rise to so many and such needless difficulties, and in which were included, as well the claims under the Pakenham Convention as other credits which had been severally recognized by the British and Mexican Governments.

The creditors met at the National Treasury, and, after the usual preliminaries on both sides, it was agreed that the claims, amounting to 4,984,914 dollars, should be treated as a consolidated fund, to be paid off upon the generally-received principles of debtor and creditor, that is to say, the Government obliged themselves to pay interest on this consolidated fund at the rate of 3 per cent. per annum, with a sinking fund of 5 per cent.; it being further stipulated that 5 years after the ratification of the Convention the interest was to be raised to 4 per cent., and the sinking fund to 6 per cent.

For this purpose the Mexican Government were supposed,—I say supposed, for reasons which will hereafter appear,―to mortgage to us 12 per cent. per annum of their entire Customs revenue, upon the condition that if this assignment of 12 per cent. more than sufficed for the interest and sinking fund, the Commissioner appointed by the creditors for receiving their money was to return to the Treasury any surplus, whereas in the contrary case, the Treasury was to meet any deficit by the first drafts they received from any of their maritime Custom-Houses.

The manner in which this 12 per cent. of import duties was mortgaged to us I will explain in its proper place, for it has seriously affected us, and, indeed, may be said to have been the origin of all subsequent troubles.

It so happened, to continue my narrative, that at the end of the first year, i. e., in December of 1852, the stipulated Custom-House assignments were not forthcoming; consequently it became necessary to call upon Government to fulfil their engagements upon this point; and on the 27th of November of the same year a Sub-Convention (copy of which is inclosed herewith as meriting your Lordship's attention), was signed by Mr. Doyle, whereby a further Custom-House assignment of 3 per cent. was set aside solely for paying this deficit, to cease SO soon as the deficit was made good.

To all intents and purposes, however, the original assignment of 12 per cent. now became 15 per cent. permanently, because, although this increase of 3 per cent. was originally only meant to cover a particular class of arrears, it never did so; on the contrary, arrears went on accumulating instead of diminishing, more assignments were asked for and granted, and ultimately we were supposed to have mortgaged to us 29 per cent. of import duties, wherewith to satisfy interest and sinking fund, the interest, by an arrangement made by Mr. Otway, having been increased from 4 to 6 per cent., while the sinking fund remained, as stipulated in Article V of the original Convention, at 6 per cent. per annum.

Such is the history of the British Convention; and it will now be my duty to explain, as far as may be, the complications and difficulties which have ensued, and which in many cases could, and most certainly should, have been avoided.

First in the list of complainants come the Government themselves, who were the other Contracting Party to the Doyle Convention, and they begin by attacking the very elements of the Convention, which they allege to be supposititious, and lay especial stress upon the introduction into the arrangement of what are commonly known as the "Tobacco Bonds."

To avoid entering here into a lengthy and unnecessary discussion upon a question which for many years occupied the attention of Her Majesty's Government, 1 will simply state, though for the sake of reference I beg to inclose a short account of this particular grievance, that Messrs. Martinez del Rio, who are naturalized British subjects, and the present agents of the Convention, became possessors, under a guarantee from the Supreme Government, of certain of these "Tobacco Bonds," to the amount of about 2,500,000 dollars their tenure thereof had been sanctioned by Her Majesty's Government, and when afterwar is the Mexican Government, in


spite of their guarantee, attempted to dispute the right of tenure, Mr. Doyle received positive instructions from home to support Messrs. Martinez, and to insist upon justice being done to them. A plan of settlement was proposed, but though partly initiated by the Mexican Government, never carried into effect.

This happened in 1849, and it seemed only natural that two years later, what had now assumed the character of a claim, and might almost be said to have formed a Convention of itself, should be admitted into the new compact concluded by Mr. Doyle in 1851. This is the first objection to the Convention, and I cannot help thinking that it must be looked upon as perfectly groundless.

Next in order follow the complaints raised by certain private individuals who, either after the fashion of a Mr. Grant, one of Convention bondholders, attack the Convention generally, or like Messrs. Bourdillon and Moran (the latter being in no way connected with the Convention of that name, to which I shall have occasion to refer), paid agents for claims not included in the Convention, persist in affirming that their clients' interests have been damaged by the illegitimate uses to which the Convention Custom-House assignments have been turned.

In 1852, as your Lordship will have observed, a special increase of 3 per cent. on the Customs revenue was allotted to pay off a particular deficit, with the proviso that it was to cease as soon as the deficit was made good. A Mr. Dalton, whose case has been before the Foreign Office since 1857, had, I believe, obtained from the Mexican Government the reversion of this 3 per cent. whenever it again became Government property, and in 1860, his agents, Messrs. Bourdillon and Moran, did their utmost to procure this reversion, upon the ground that the original object for which the 3 per cent. of import duties was assigned, had long ago been accomplished, and that the Convention had no further right to it.

The Mexican Government were only too glad to seize such an opportunity, and eagerly acquiesced in the assertion that the 3 per cent. had reverted to them; upon what plea I cannot say, for, so far from laying any claim to it, they had themselves sanctioned its running on as part and parcel of the Convention Custom-House assignments; had even of their own free-will added a something to it, as will be seen by Article II of Mr. Otway's Convention, which forms inclosure No. 4 of this despatch, and never thought of its reversion until Messrs. Bourdillon and Moran, Mr. Dalton's agents, appeared on the stage in 1860.

Be this, however, as it may, the inclosed document will, I feel assured, set the matter to rights; for thereby and subsequent, be it remarked, to the application of Mr. Dalton's agents, it becomes evident that this person could in no way interfere with the British

Convention, and, indeed, I know that he himself had proposed to the Mexican Government a new arrangement for the payment of what was owing to him.

At any rate, however, our priority of claim to this said 3 per cent. cannot be questioned, for it is proved (Memorandum, Paper D), that notwithstanding the gradual though in reality merely nominal increase of our Custom-House assignments from 12 to 29 per cent., not even the original assignment of 12 per cent. has ever yet been paid up.

If, then, we have never received in full the first assignment of all, it surely cannot be illogical to infer that we have not obtained anything over and above that first assignment, and consequently that, inasmuch as the above-mentioned additional assignment has never yet been paid, it cannot possibly have fulfilled the object for which it was granted.

There is one point which both the Mexican Government and these private individuals appear to have overlooked, when attacking the Convention; they do not remember that, be the elements of a Convention or compact what they may, they cannot suffer change for good or bad, when once that Convention or compact has been ratified, unless it be with the full consent of both Contracting Parties; and it ill becomes any Englishman, especially at the present moment, to attempt to overthrow a diplomatic arrangement which had obtained the sanction and support of his Government, and when the very stipulations thereof compensate him, as in the case of Mr. Grant, for losses which would never have been made good to him but for the intervention of Her Majesty's Legation.

I now come to the real and most serious difficulty connected with this Convention, and would that its solution were simpler; yet I am at a loss to conceive how the actual error which led to this difficulty escaped the observation of my predecessors, or was allowed to be perpetuated up to the present date by the very agents of the fund, whose duty it most certainly was to have had it rectified.

It so happened that two days after the ratification of Mr. Doyle's Convention, i. e., on the 6th of December, 1851, Señor Sayas, the Spanish Minister at Mexico, signed on behalf of some of his countrymen a Convention almost identical with our own: the interest on the debt thereby recognized was the same, the sinking fund the same, and it was equally stipulated in both Conventions that a certain Government order, which was to authorize the CustomHouse to set aside the proper proportion of Custom-House assignments for the payment of the said interest and sinking fund, "should be considered as having been inserted in and as forming part" of the Convention for which it was intended.

The Sayas, or, as it is generally called, the Padre Moran Conven

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