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however, be entertained, and General Prim is a man who, setting aside his dissent with France, and whatever may be the feelings entertained of his conduct, must not be suspected. [Noise.] It is my desire, as well as the will of the Emperor, whatever may be our temporary disaccord with two great powers, to observe every courtesy in my remarks. (Hear, hear.] I shall, therefore, refrain from making any insinuations, but let facts speak for themselves. France demanded an energetic reparation, and would not have been sorry to place Mexico in a position to declare herself on the form of government she wished. The allies were all agreed on that point, and everyone co-operated more or less for that accepted object. When we arrived at the practical means, England drew back; and when France persevered in the plan concerted in common, Spain in her turn withdrew. General Almonte is said to be the motive of that retirement. I am astonished at such preoccupation on the part of General Prim, particularly after a previous fact. A general who had performed a much more decided part than General Almonte-Miramon-presented himself on the coast of Mexico. England arrested him, and, without consulting the other powers, sent him back to the Antilles. General Prim complained of such conduct, and his government approved of his having done so, and recommended him to use his efforts to prevent anything of the kind taking place in future. How was it that General Almonte did not meet with similar feelings on the part of General Prim? Why did the latter forget the principle proclaimed by his govern. ment? The French troops arrived in Mexico in January; the Spaniards had preceded them, and every one in Europe expected that in the following month the affair would be settled, and that the French flag would float at Mexico. No one ever calculated on diplomatic negotiations of three months' duration. General Almonte arrived at Vera Cruz on the 1st March, with the conviction that he should find his country opened to him, and the Mexican nation restored to liberty. Let it not be said, therefore, that he had been sent from France for the purpose of exciting civil war. There was no occasion for such a war. What France desired was that every Mexican citizen might express his sentiments freely as to the government wished for by the country. So long as General Almonte was under the shelter of the French flag he only issued one proclamation, and that was after the rupture of the negotiations. France only protected him against the decree of the 25th January, which entailed the penalty of death on those who returned to their country. General Almonte was not a proscribed man i he had quitted the country of his own free will Not considering himself safe at Vera Cruz, he followed one of the French battalions into the interior. At Cordova, the commander of that force was called on to give him up, but that officer indignantly refused. General Robli, whose character is entitled to general respect, having been suspected of having had a conversation with the French general during the kind of armistice which followed the convention of La Soledad, was taken with a lasso like a wild beast, and immediately shot. Who after that will say that France ought to deliver up General Almonte ? [Numerous marks of assent.)
M. Jules Favre. We demand that he should not follow our army, and that he should be sent back to Europe.
M. Billault. The men with whom you sympathize asked to have him given up to them, and that was consigning him to death. This sympathy seems to me very strange. Is, then, the name of republican powerful enough to excuse all that is wrong as well as all that is right; and is it enough for a man to bave republican printed in his hat to enable him to oppress his country?
M. Jules Favre. We abhor all tyrannies, even those that disguise themselves. [Exclamations.]
M. Billault. Tyrannies that disguise themselves are those which recognize the national sovereignty, but only respect it when it obeys them. [Lively applause.) There is no French soldier that would not have thought himself dishonored if Almonte had been given up. (Hear, hear.) No statesman could have recommended it. We were importing into Mexico ideas of civilization and public rights, and could not act in contradiction to them. When the French flag shall float on the walls of Mexico, the generosity of the government will not be in default. An appeal will be made to all opinions, and liberty will be made to triumph. Liberty loves such operations ; so does France, and she has protected them with her arms in Italy. (Great applause.) Do not, therefore, give undue prominence to what has been done relative to Prince Maximilian. The main object is to obtain just reparation ; the main object is to bring every Mexican citizen to the poll to give his opinion on the tyranny of Juarez. [Applause.) Let the Mexicans pronounce, and if Juarez suits them, so let it be. (Laughter and applause.] To sum up, gentlemen, we have broken the convention of Soledad because it was contrary to instructions ; because the government of Juarez, during two months, far from preventing vexations and affronts, has itself authorized them; because, in demanding the delivery of Almonte, it has sought to dishonor our flag. When the convention was broken, the Spaniards retired. But I forgot to say a few words on another motive assigned to the rupture, namely: the pecuniary claims and the ultimatum of our representative. I shall not dwell on these points, gentlemen; but there is a subject that is profoundly painful for the ministers of a loyal government. Calumny is fertile in resources, and employs strange weapons. You say that we have stopped the Times newspaper; it has not been stopped.
A voice. But other papers have been stopped.
M. Billault. That is true, and requires explanation. There exists in Paris, gentlemen, about a score of men, chiefly French, whose business it is to transmit to foreign journals the most odious calumnies against the Em. peror's ministers. What can we do? We do not know either the calumniators or the sources of their information. Sach matter could not be published in France; it would be speedily and severely repressed; but it is sent abroad, and thence returns to France. And thus does calumny make the tour of Europe. This organization of calumny is odious and abominable, [True, true !) and renders the situation of an honest man well nigh intolerable. Gentlemen, the memorandum of M. de Saligny was in two parts. There was, first, an estimate of twelve millions of piastres to repair wrongs done to our countrymen. Those were very numerous; at Vera Cruz alone there were 300 applications. But you have called this sum excessive. Admitting it for the moment, I may observe that all the claims are to be verified by a committee, that is to say, by a French committee. There is also something else, the Jecker contract. This last has been
the object of all sorts of insinuations, based on the despatches of Sir C. Wyke. I do not speak of these despatches, because I do not wish to discuss the English claims. Spain in this matter has been clear and precise. England less so, but she has made no opposition. Let us see what this Jecker affair is. Miramon was still in power. He was at Mexico at the beginning of 1860, whilst Juarez called himself president at Vera Cruz. Miramon, who is not better than Juarez, coined money, laid his hands on all he could, and made a loan with the house of Jecker. He said to Jecker: I will give you fifteen million piastres (75 millions of francs) in bills, chargeable by fifth parts on the customs. Every trader who shall have 100 francs to pay in customs duties shall pay 20 francs in these bills, and you will negotiate them as well as you can. Jecker accepts the 75 millions of francs in bills, and he says that he has paid back three millions of piastres. [Interruption on the bench where M. Jules Favre was sitting.) I shall be glad to reply to the interruption. Jecker issued the bills; traders, some of them French, took them;
it was possible to get them at a discount, and to pay 20 francs with what had been bought for five francs or six francs. You will see, gentlemen, that we had an interest in this situation. A negotiation with the minister of Juarez had been opened before the rupture, and that minister had shown some complaisance. He said he would adhere to the negotiation, begging only that it might be conducted with caution, as not likely to put the congress in good humor.
M. Jules Favre. Read the document which proves it.
M. Billault. I affirm it, and that is sufficient. [Hear, hear.] I affirm that the Mexican minister has admitted the principle of the debt, and said that it should be settled. The honorable minister then read a despatch from M. Thou venel to M. de Saligny on the subject of the indemnities claimed. Everything, continued the honorable minister, has been clear and precise, It is not the financial affair which has led to a rupture, and cannot furnish any grounds for the calumnies which have been propagated. The financial question will be settled according to justice. A complete difference of opinion existed between the plenipotentiaries as to the policy to be followed. Hopes were entertained between Juarez and Spain of a treaty, which have not been realized As to Sir Charles Wyke, he made a treaty. He obtained all the pecuniary reparations he desired. Knowing, however, the value of such promises, he required guarantees, and there were given to him those of a loan of money promised to Mexico by the United States in exchange for certain Mexican provinces; but will the treaty entered into between the United States and Mexico be confirmed at Washington ? We have reason to hope that it will not. The English government refused its sanction to the treaty signed by its representative-[approbation]—as it would be sanctioning the sale of the Mexican territory to the United States. [Hear, hear.) of the three powers which arrived in Mexico two have left, the English in the first place without any violation of their engagements, and next the Spaniards. We have nothing to say as to the conduct of Spain ; you are now able to judge of it. France remains alone with a handful of men, because the flag of France does not willingly draw back, notwithstanding the advice given to do so. In the instructions sent to the representatives of France in Mexico as to their conduct in this new situation, it is declared that is not from the French camp but from the country itself that the political regeneration of Mexico must proceed. A last instruction has been sent to Mexico; the character of which deeply affects the chamber, the country, and Europe. It was given directly by the Emperor when, in accepting that isolated situation, he wished to give confidence and resolution to the soldiers engaged. The Emperor wrote to General de Lorencez: "It is against my interest, my origin, and my principles to impose any kind of government on Mexico ; let the Mexican nation give itself any form of government that will suit it. We only ask for sincerity in its relations, and only desire the happiness of that fine country under a regular and stable government.” (General marks of approbation.] It is not without astonishment that I heard an honorable gentleman propose his programme-treat, and then retire. What treaty can be obtained from Mexico. Promises might be had, but what reliance can be placed on them? When the honor of France is engaged, every French heart would recoil from such cowardice. [Movement.] What a chame! (Yes, yes.) What I shall the flag of France, which has triumphed over the illustrious, retire without honor from Mexico! I am sure that the patriotism of the learned gentleman did not suggest the advice he gave in the heat of his speech, [Ă laugh.] You say that we have no enemies, only debtors, in Mexico; but when nations are debtors, and refuse to satisfy their creditors, there are no other judges but God and force. You forget that our patience has been tried for five and twenty years, that all the people of America have their eyes upon us, and that if we withdraw without attaining our object, every Frenchman in the New World must also abandon his interests, and follow in the train of our flag. Hear, hear.] No! Our honor is engaged, and justice we must have. Let this Mexican government disappear before the face of France, or let it take a more serious form, which may offer some security for the future. We do not wish to establish there one of those governments which only live by foreign breath ; we want pecuniary satisfaction for our plundered countrymen-military satisfaction for the honor of our soldiers—diplomatic satisfaction for the dignity of France. If we do not obtain them, if the nation is so worn out that it cannot revive to honesty and order, then we will do ourselves justice, and leave it to its evil fate. But let us have no doubts as to the justness of this war. Let us say that it is just, necessary, legitimate, and let our soldiers be assured that you, as well as the Emperor, give them all your sympathies ; that the whole country is at their backs, and that the flag of France will never cease to be the flag of right, justice, civilization, and liberty. [Loud cheers.)
(The honorable minister resumed his seat in the midst of a double salvo of applause.)
The five sections of the war department were then successive agreed to; and the ensemble of the bill relative to the supplementary credits of 1862 was adopted unanimously by 256 votes. The sitting then terminated.
Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward.
Paris, July 9, 1862. Sir: On Friday last three despatches from Mexico to the Emperor are said to have arrived—one from Monsieur Saligny, the others from Generals Almonte and Miranda.
The despatch from the first is said to be an able exposé of the condition of things in Mexico, and the necessity of energetic action on the part of France. Under its influence it was resolved on Saturday to send out twentyfive thousand men, with a large fleet, made up of four cuirassed frigates, and a large number of ships. The fleet, indeed, it is said, will be out of proportion to the size and numerical strength of the armament, although that be a large one, and hence it is inferred it is intended to look at us.
* The constant advance in the market price of that article [cotton] in the United States tends to induce the belief here that our own people, even, have no confidence in the early suppression of the rebellion. The proffer of mediation, it is said, will be the opening, and will be followed up by such course of action as circumstances may render necessary. Our friends here are, therefore, again in excitement as to the future policy of the Emperor. These alarms in Paris and London are, as you know, periodical. Although I sometimes report them to your department, I have not myself been much moved by them heretofore, nor am I now. A proper respect for this government seems to require that we abide its policy as indicated through its official agents. In looking over the ground, I cannot see how any policy hostile to us can be adopted which would not be injurious to France and irreconcilable with the uniform professions of this government made from the beginning. If any change is to be inaugurated, fair dealing
would seem to require that it be announced to us in advance. I cannot, however, shut my eyes to one fact; and that is, that those French journals which are looked upon as representing the views of this government have, within the last few weeks, changed their tone and spirit in connexion with the affairs of our country. A number of them are now almost as unjust and unfair in their representations as the London Times itself. This, you may rely upon it, would not be if such course were not, for some reason, agreeable to the French government, or to the leading officials of the government. The European press, and more especially the French, is not irre-_sponsible like our own, and its movements, or the movements of portions of it, are under the constant direction of the ministry of the interior.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
WM. L. DAYTON.
His Excellency WILLIAM H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State, $c., $c., 8c.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, July 10, 1862. Sir: Your despatch of June 12 (No. 160) has been submitted to the President.
The treasury regulations concerning imports at New Orleans do not exclude wines, but only ardent spirits, and this temporarily, for military reasons.
The increased activity of European politicians directed towards effecting some intervention in our affairs, which you have described, has not passed unobserved here. It is to be regretted, because it produces unprofitable resentments among our people, and embarrasses the action of all the governments concerned. The excuses which it employs abroad are not enter. tained here, because they are unjust in principle, and without ground in fact. If we happen to fail in one of several combined military enterprises, as every belligerent power subject to the chances of war must occasionally fail, it is pronounced abroad to be conclusive against the success of the whole war. If, on the other hand, we gain victory upon victory, with a rapidity and upon a scale such as only the campaigns of the first Emperor of France exhibited, the refusal of the insurgents to render instant and universal submission to the federal authority renders these successes in foreign eyes ineffectual and valueless.
There can be no harm in asking foreign governments and statesmen, under these circumstances, to consider our position, our interests, our purposes, and our character, as well as their own.
We are rightfully here, a nation lawfully existing, widely extended, and firmly established, with peculiarly beneficent institutions, upon a continent separate and remote from that occupied by the nations whose interference with us is so vehemently and perseveringly urged. In maintaining our own integrity, we are defending the interests and the cause not merely of popular government, but of the very institution of civil government itself We have no hostile or interested designs against any other state or nation whatever, and, on the contrary, we seek peace, harmony, and commerce with them all, and, consequently, in desiring to remain undisturbed by them, we are defending the peace of the world.