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This webpage reproduces an article in the
Mississippi Valley Historical Review
Vol. 6 No. 4 (Mar. 1920), pp503‑531

The text is in the public domain.

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and I believe it to be free of errors.
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This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

p503 Diplomacy of the United States and Mexico regarding the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, 1848‑18601

The decade preceding the civil war was marked by great efforts on the part of the United States for interoceanic communication. Not only was it proposed to reach the Pacific by some three or four lines across its own domain, but at least three routes through northern Mexico were considered, while the dream of transisthmian connection was never more vivid. For much of this time it was thought that a railroad across the mountains to the west of the Mississippi would be very difficult to construct, or, if constructed, would be even more difficult to operate. Accordingly, the isthmian routes — Panama, Nicaragua, and Tehuantepec — were considered all the more important. But here there had to be faced not only the problem of construction in a hostile climate, but a diplomatic barrier which proved almost insuperable.

In Central America, Great Britain had to be dealt with, as well as the republics of Nicaragua and New Granada; and the story of the resulting complications has been told with relative completeness.2 With reference to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and the hopes and prospects of diplomatic problems there, little has been written. Ostensibly, the question was more particularly one between the United States and Mexico, but it was perhaps in a measure modified by the possibility of European interference.3 How imminent this possibility was, or how much underhand dickering there may have been, has not been ascertained. p504In order to ferret out the truth in regard to the matter, recourse to British, French, and Spanish archives would be necessary. This discussion is therefore confined to the diplomacy of the United States and Mexico, mentioning the foreign factor only incidentally

The interest of the United States in the Tehuantepec route was awakened during the Mexican war when prospects of Pacific possessions loomed large. Vice-President Dallas seems to have considered the matter of sufficient importance to merit a publication setting forth its peculiar value.4 Polk's entire cabinet realized its worth, Robert J. Walker deeming it of more importance than Upper California and New Mexico and desiring to make its sale a sine qua non of peace, and all the cabinet members being willing to pay $5,000,000 in order to obtain it.5 Webster was apparently determined to go to war rather than give up American claims there, and Cass declared in 1857 that the "proximity of the isthmus" to the shores of the United States, "the salubrity of the climate, the adaptedness of the ground for the construction of a railroad, and the great diminution of distance in comparison with other more southern routes," all conspired to point it out as "far preferable to any other route outside" the domain of his government.6

The south became interested in the Tehuantepec route as early as 1849, the year of the Memphis commercial convention. In the course of the next two years citizens of New Orleans acquired, or thought they acquired, a cession for the construction of the communication; and thereafter the question seems to have become purely sectional. Webster, in explaining why he sent to the Mexican chargé a note which virtually amounted to a threat of war, said that he deemed the step called for by the critical state of the Tehuantepec situation and the "excited and anxious feelings" existing in the minds of people "especially at the south and west" in regard to the matter.7 The route was again given considerable attention at the convention p505of New Orleans in 1852; and it received a favorable hearing before at least three other southern conventions of the ante bellum period.8 It will be seen therefore that the Isthmus of Tehuantepec was, during the period under consideration, a respectable rival of Nicaragua and Panama, and, as such, deserves a place in the history of our isthmian enterprises.

Tehuantepec first entered the field of United States and Mexican diplomacy during the negotiations which terminated the Mexican war of 1846‑48. On April 15, 1847, Nicolas P. Trist, who had charge of those negotiations, was authorized to pay thirty instead of fifteen million dollars for Upper and Lower California and New Mexico, provided he could obtain also the right of passage and transit over the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The project for a treaty enclosed with these instructions provided for the grant and guarantee of such a right.9 But the Mexican commissioners refused the proposal outright, giving the following explanation with reference to the stand taken by their government:

In the eighth article of your excellency's draft, the grant of a free passage across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to the South Sea is sought in favor of North American citizens. We have orally explained to your excellency that some years since, the government of the republic granted to a private contractor a privilege, with reference to this object, which was soon transferred, with the sanction of the same government, to English subjects, of whose rights Mexico cannot dispose."10

The concession referred to by the Mexican commissioners has become rather widely known as the Garay grant. By a decree of March 1 and a contract made the following day, Santa Anna, who was at that time virtually a dictator, granted José de Garay the privilege of constructing a way of communication across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and gave him in fee simple all the unoccupied land for ten leagues on each side of the proposed route. An important provision of the decree required the making of surveys within eighteen months and the commencement of actual work by July 1, 1844. On February 9, 1843, Garay reported to the government that he had completed the first obligation and p506asked to be placed in possession of his lands. This request was complied with by a decree of the same day. On October 4 three hundred convicts were provided for the work, but the following December the time for the commencement of operations was extended another year. Owing to the numerous revolutions which disturbed Mexico at the time, however, Garay was forced to ask yet another extension. Two more years were accordingly granted by another dictator, Mariano Salas. A series of contracts running through 1847 and 1848 transferred all the privileges of Garay, "without any limitation whatever," to Messrs. Manning and Mackintosh, subjects of Great Britain. They, in turn, assigned the grant to the Hargous brothers of New York, in February, 1849. Three days after obtaining it, the United States transferees had read in the senate a petition inviting attention to the merits of the project.11

Thus affairs stood when, on June 20, 1849, Clifford, the United States minister, in obedience to instructions from the secretary of state, addressed a note to the Mexican minister of relations, informing him that some apprehension had arisen lest Mexico should annul the Garay grant largely because citizens of the United States had acquired an interest in it. "If such should be the fact," Clifford continued, "the measure could not fail to be regarded by the President of the United States as proof of a disposition wholly at variance with the existing pacific relations between the two countries, and with the spirit and even the letter" of the treaty of 1831.12

In reply, the Mexican minister assured Clifford that the privilege in question had not been annulled, and that the supreme authorities of Mexico would never be influenced in the matter by "any feeling of dislike to the national character of the citizens of the United States." At the same time, however, Clifford was politely informed that the question as to the validity of the grant, or its forfeiture for noncompliance with its conditions, was exclusively a Mexican affair, "to be disposed, decided, and determined, according to the laws and by the constitutionally p507competent authorities of Mexico, to the exclusion of those of any other power."13

On September 18 of the same year, Secretary of State Clayton instructed Robert P. Letcher, then United States minister to Mexico, to arrange a convention with that country providing for the protection of the rights and property of the parties who desired to construct the communication. This step was essential, Clayton maintained, in order that the capitalists who were then, or who might thereafter, become interested in the contract, should proceed in good faith with an enterprise so important to the United States, to Mexico, and to the world at large. He further stated that while his government had no desire to acquire Tehuantepec, it would not guarantee Mexico's sovereignty over the isthmus, and that such a guarantee in the course of New Granada was not to be cited as a precedent, for that treaty was concluded without instructions from the department, reluctantly submitted to the senate, and hastily approved at the close of the session of 1848.

That the secretary of state gave the American company an important place in his consideration is shown by the following suggestion: "It is deemed advisable, however, before any attempt shall be made to conclude the convention with the Mexican government, that, in the name and on behalf of this government, you should enter into a contract with the holders of the grant in favor of Don José de Garay, with a view to fix the amount of tolls to be levied by that company on citizens or officers of the United States who may be passengers, and on goods transported across the isthmus on the road, railroad or canal which the company may construct."14

Indeed, from the very outset the object of the United States government seems to have been not so much to insure the neutrality of the communication and its free use for all nations, as to furnish protection to its subjects who held the privilege. And the determination to protect its citizens and to accomplish the enterprise by their efforts mainly occasioned the difficulty which was to bring the two countries to the verge of war.

Along with the letter of September 18, Clayton sent a draft p508of such a convention as he desired Letcher to sign. As this served as a basis for the negotiations of the next three years, it will be necessary to summarize its main points:

Art. I. Individuals upon whom the Mexican government may have bestowed or may bestow the privilege of constructing a road, railroad or canal across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and those employed by them, shall be protected in their rights of person and property from the inception to the completion of the work.

Art. II. For this purpose either party shall be at liberty to employ such military or naval force as may be deemed necessary, which shall be hospitably received in the harbors of the isthmus, or allowed to occupy the line of the work and so much of the region adjacent thereto as may be indispensable.

Art. III. The same protection, by the same means, shall be extended to the work when it shall have been completed.

Art. IV. In entering into this compact, the United States hereby solemnly disavow any intention to acquire rights of sovereignty over the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.

Art. V. Decision as to noncompliance with the terms of the grant shall be left to an arbiter. In case the decision should result in forfeiture, the property of the grantees in the work shall be sold at auction to the highest bidder.

Art. VI. No foreign government or corporation shall be allowed to purchase the property mentioned in Article V. The right to purchase the same shall accrue to individuals only. . .

Art. VIII. No higher rates shall at any time be charged for the transportation of passengers, being citizens or officers of the United States, on the road, railroad or canal referred to in this convention, than may be charged on the transportation of Mexican citizens or officers of the Mexican government, or on the property belonging to them or to that government.15

Letcher seems not to have entered upon these negotiations until early in March, 1850, when after a long interview with the minister of relations he submitted a rough draft. During the conference, the Mexican official insisted upon a discrimination in favor of the vessels of his countrymen. Later, after having shown the draft confidentially to the British minister, he said he would insist upon the discrimination, in order to make the treaty popular with Mexico, but he would not make it a sine qua non. He also told Letcher that the British minister had intimated a p509desire to join in the guarantee, and that he felt sure France and Spain would like to do the same. With reference to this last remark, Letcher answered that he was afraid of "too many cooks over a small dish," and then applied to his government for instructions regarding the matter.16

Clayton authorized him, by letter of April 23, to allow and invite other nations to join in the treaty guaranteeing the neutrality of the proposed communication, but before the dispatch reached Mexico, Letcher had already promised to agree to a treaty, and he feared that a refusal to sign it might put an end to the negotiations, as the influence working in opposition were "quite formidable."17

This treaty, which on account of its negotiators may be called the Letcher-Padrazaº convention, was signed on June 22, 1850. Important additions and revisions were made in the original draft submitted by Clayton: 1. The United States was to lend assistance in the protection of the route only in case Mexico required it, and then only "in the manner and on the terms, and . . . for the period" which Mexico designated; and in no case was this assistance to be employed against the functionaries of the Mexican government. 2. The productions of the soil or industry of Mexico were to be charged one-fifth less toll than those of the same class belonging to the United States. 3. The United States was to join Mexico in maintaining the neutrality of the route and of the country for a distance of ten leagues on each side. 4. Other nations were to be granted the same privileges enjoyed by the United States in return for joining in the guarantee of the route. In transmitting the document to Clayton, Letcher said that it fell short of what he had desired in some particulars, but that it was the "best that could be obtained."18 Three weeks later, he declared that it was doubtful whether the Mexican congress would ratify the treaty as it stood, since some of the leading papers of the city "were violently opposed to it."19

While discussions of the convention were in progress, Peter A. Hargous was drawing nearer to the council chambers of the p510United States government and taking American business men into his project. On February 16, 1850, he requested that passports be obtained from Mexico for several engineers, who were about to be sent to make a survey of the route. By the early part of April, Letcher had procured these. Before the close of the month, Hargous wrote Clayton again, informing him that a company of citizens of the United States residing in New Orleans was about to be formed for the purpose of obtaining the Tehuantepec privileges. He expected that these citizens would prosecute the work with "intelligence and vigor," and he hoped, therefore, that he would be pardoned the suggestion that it would be advisable for Mr. Letcher to be "officially informed of these movements . . . and instructed to lose no time . . . in bringing his negotiations to a speedy and satisfactory close."20 The convention of June 22, moreover, contained the provision that the actual holder of the privilege gave his consent to it in writing. This document was accordingly submitted to Hargous for his perusal and criticism.

On August 12, Hargous wrote out a full statement of his objections. Article IV stipulated that in no case was the assistance of the United States to be employed against a functionary of the Mexican government. This stipulation would prevent the United States from repelling or restraining such functionaries even though they should be acting contrary to the wishes and orders of the Mexican government. The clause in the same article which provided that a Mexican commissioner should reside on the line of the work, should permit an American commissioner to reside there also. Article VII provided that no foreign government or corporation should acquire the privilege, but the citizens of New Orleans had in mind to apply to the legislature of Louisiana for incorporation. Finally, he desired that the United States have an equal voice with Mexico in fixing or altering the rates of transportation, and he reminded the secretary of state that the parties interested in the privilege had been at heavy expense, that they were preparing to make a thorough survey, and, consequently, they were desirous of obtaining "some assurance from their own government" that their property p511would be "protected from unjust confiscation and violence" whatever became of the proposed convention.21

The following day, Webster, who was now secretary of state, reassured the representative of the American interests in regard to the most important of his objections. The prohibition regarding the acquisition of the privilege by a foreign government or corporation was "applicable only to the case of sale after confiscation," and the word "foreign" meant "foreign to the parties of the treaty." If Hargous deemed these explanations satisfactory, it would be wise for him to accept the treaty as it stood. As for the United States citizens who held the grant, they could confidently rely upon their government to remonstrate against the invasion of their rights, and should this remonstrance prove insufficient, "any other means" necessary to their protection would be "authorized and employed."22

Replying to this note Hargous gave his reluctant consent to the treaty as it stood, but at the same time entreated Webster to have a communication sent to the Mexican government to the effect that United States relied upon it to give security to the property of those engaged in the enterprise, and that if this just expectation should be disappointed, the United States government would deem itself bound to "take the protection thereof in its own hands."23

Before the reply of Hargous came, Webster had instructed Letcher to endeavor to obtain certain modifications in the conception. With these instructions he forwarded a draft drawn in accordance with Hargous' suggestion and expressly mentioned citizens of the United States in connection with the construction of the communication. He went on, moreover, to make certain vigorous statements indicating that in case Mexico rejected the overtures, the United States would take the affair into its own hands; and remarked, in conclusion, that a hint to the effect that the money still due Mexico by the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo might under the circumstances be withheld would serve to facilitate matters.24

p512 Upon receiving the draft, Letcher immediately called the attention of the minister of relations to the desired alterations, but this official persistently refused to accept the most important of them. Thereupon Letcher, at his own request, was given an interview with the president and cabinet. They likewise remained steadfast, maintaining that the proposed amendments infringed upon "the sovereignty, the honor, the dignity and the national pride" of Mexico; that to "adopt them would be at once to paralyze, to disgrace, and in short to overthrow the present administration"; that a treaty embodying these provisions would be unanimously rejected beauty Mexican congress. When although Letcher suggested that the United States was determined to take the affair into its own hands in case a satisfactory treaty was not arranged, substantially the following reply was made: "Your government is strong; ours is weak. You have the power to take the whole or any portion of our territory you may think fit; we have not the faculty to resist. We have done all we could to satisfy your country and to gratify you personally. We can do no more."25

When he received news of the vigorous Mexican opposition to his proposed draft, Webster instructed the United States minister to effect a compromise as favorable to his government as possible, and Letcher, following out his orders, succeeded in completing the negotiations for a new treaty by January 25, 1851.26

Very little had been accomplished by the efforts of Letcher, for the treaty was virtually the same as that of June 22, 1850. The United States was permitted to furnish protection to the work only in case Mexico invited her, while she had been forced to yield in regard to permission for a commissioner to reside on the line of the work, in regard to participation in fixing the rate of tolls, and with reference to the express designation of American citizens as holders of the privilege.27 This treaty, unsatisfactory as it was, received the approval of Hargous and the ratification of the United States senate. By this time, however, it had become evident that the Mexican congress was not likely to p513approve any treaty which would make it possible for Americans to carry out the stipulations of the Garay grant.

As early as January 17, 1851, Letcher had reported that opposition to the treaty was "violent from almost every quarter." The clergy, the interests connected with rival routes, prominent men of state, foreign influence, all were hostile. Only the new president, Arista, manifested a friendliness toward it, and he was accused of desiring to cede a portion of the country to the United States.28 During the following month, Buckingham Smith, United States chargé ad interim, reported that the people of Mexico had become no more favorably inclined toward the convention, while on April 1 he said that, according to current opinion, the treaty could in no way or shape receive the ratification of the Mexican congress. There was not a member of the cabinet who favored it, and all agreed that "the experiment with Texas should be enough." If their neighbors were given "a foothold in Tehuantepec" they would seize one-half of the remaining territory of the republic."29

It is not surprising, therefore, that when Webster transmitted Hargous' letter of approval to the Mexican legation at Washington, De la Rosa, the Mexican minister, declared he had no instructions regarding the matter, and, consequently, would probably not communicate the letter to his government. Pursuant to advices he received later, however, De la Rosa addressed to the United States secretary a rather lengthy note in which he sought to draw a clear line of demarcation between what he considered two entirely different and independent subjects: "the treaty concluded with the government of the United States for the purpose of facilitating an inter-oceanic communication through the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and the grants . . . in favor of Don José de Garay . . . Whether the aforesaid contractor still preserves any right to profit by the grants which the Mexican government has made in his favor . . . or whether he has forfeited such rights, is a point which will have to be decided by the supreme government of Mexico, to which tribunal . . . this matter has been referred." As for the communication itself, De la Rosa was anxious to see the enterprise p514brought to a successful conclusion, and he hoped no question concerning private interests would frustrate or delay "one of the most magnificent undertakings that ever was devised on the face of the earth."30

This stand on the part of the Mexican minister seemed to arouse the ire of Webster and he responded with a long and vigorous note. He began by expressing surprise at the attitude of the Mexican government, and then launched into an argument in favor of the American holders of the grant. "Citizens of the United States have embarked their fortunes upon their reliance on the good faith of both governments. They have trusted to the decrees and plighted faith of Mexico. . . They have already expended great sums of money in commencing the undertaking. More than fifty surveyors and attendants are now on the route of survey, who went thither with the express sanction of the Mexican government. More than a hundred thousand dollars have already been advanced by the company associated with the holders of the grant."

The grounds of Webster's contention were: 1. The several decrees of Mexico making and extending the grant and the contract between Garay and the Mexican government. 2. The note of the Mexican commissioners to Trist in which they informed him that a privilege in regard to the matter had been conferred upon a Mexican citizen who, with the consent of the Mexican government, had transferred it to English subjects whose rights must be respected. 3. The letter of Clifford to Lacunza, the Mexican minister of relations, giving him notice that American citizens had acquired the Garay privilege and that any infringement of their rights would be regarded with dissatisfaction on the part of the United States government. 4. The letter of Manning and Mackintosh to Lacunza (July 25, 1849) notifying him that their rights had been transferred to United States citizens. 5. The dispatch of Lacunza to Letcher (April 5, 1850) showing that the Mexican government had given orders for the hospitable reception of the American engineers appointed to survey the route. 6. Certain articles (I, V, XI, XII) of the two treaties which the Mexican agent had been willing to negotiate and which showed that Mexico recognized the validity and assignability p515of the Garay grant. In conclusion, Webster called the attention of De la Rosa to the "serious embarrassments" which failure to ratify the treaty might cause, and expressed the hope that the "calamity" of its rejection might be avoided.31

The affair was further complicated and Mexican opposition further augmented by the activities of the American holders of the Garay privilege. During the year 1850, Hargous had succeeded in interesting the people of New Orleans, who had chosen a "permanent committee" to take the enterprise in hand. This body agreed to form a company with a capital of $9,000,000, one-third of which was to be issued to Hargous in payment for his privileges. They appealed to the governor of Louisiana to call a special session of the legislature to incorporate the concern, but he declined to assist them. Undaunted, however, they formed a temporary organization, opened an office for the issuance of stock, dispatched a company of engineers to the isthmus, and prepared to finance the enterprise in part by the sale of lands in the ten league strip adjacent to the proposed communication.32

The engineers of the company arrived at the isthmus in December, 1850, and disposal of the land adjacent to the route probably began as early as March of the following year. On the seventh of that month De la Rosa spoke of men who were "projecting enterprises in Tehuantepec" when they had no right whatever to dispose of the lands on the isthmus, or its rivers, or its forests; and gave notice that any individuals or families who should go, or who had already gone, to settle there as colonists or proprietors of lands, would be treated as "trespassers upon the national domain."33 On July 3, he declared that those who pretended to have succeeded Garay in his rights had contemptuously and almost derisively disposed of the lands, rivers, and woods on the isthmus. Moreover, "some of the Newspapers in New Orleans, and from other points in the United States . . . dwelt continuously on this undertaking, and almost invariably spoke of it, not as a legal enterprise, undertaken with the consent of the Mexican government, but rather as an p516acquisition which ought to be made of a portion of Mexican territory."34

De la Rosa asserted that the conduct of the so‑called American grantees led the chambers to a resolution to consider the matter thoroughly, and to adopt means for preventing a repetition of the Texas event. This is perhaps an exaggeration. Reference has already been made to the note of Letcher (July 13, 1850) stating that there was opposition to the first Letcher-Pedrazaº convention. Even before this date, and before the Garay privilege had fallen into the hands of Hargous, a prominent Mexican statesman had expressed fear lest the United States should acquire the grant, while in February and March, 1851, steps had been taken which would interfere with the operation of the vessels of the New Orleans company.35

As a matter of fact, Mexico watched with great uneasiness every action of the United States government and citizens. In the recent war it had lost half of its territory, and yet its despoiler seemed unsatisfied. It therefore interpreted every movement which could be considered at all aggressive on the part of its neighbors as the beginning of the last act in the drama of its absorption. It was unfortunate for the New Orleans company that it moved in an atmosphere thus charged with suspicion.

In the early spring of 1851, the United States chargé, Smith, had been informed that the Mexican government would not allow foreign vessels to enter the ports of the isthmus "under any circumstances," and the Mexican vice-consul at New Orleans had been directed to deny the American company all communication with the isthmus. But the company insisted on its right to proceed with the operations. Accordingly, the steamer Gold Hunter was dispatched from San Francisco for Ventosa in the state of Oaxaca. When it arrived there, April 6, the cargo and passengers, after being detained several days, were eventually forbidden a landing. In consequence, the captain declared that he had been subjected to heavy and unnecessary expenses and demanded damages from the Mexican government.36

p517 Soon afterwards, the schooner Sears proceeded without clearance papers from New Orleans. Touching at Vera Cruz on May 2, it asked permission to continue the voyage to the Coatzacoalcos river with supplies for the surveying party. "After several denials" it was at length "allowed to proceed, paying duties on her articles; but it was not until after some delay" and much trouble to the United States chargé.37

The Mexican senate had by this time reviewed the entire Tehuantepec affair and had reported in favor of declaring null and void the Salas decree of November 5, 1846, which had allowed Garay an additional two years for beginning operations, on the ground that the provisional government at that time did not have the power to dictate it. The action of the company served to precipitate matters, so that the report was almost unanimously acted upon and the decree in question was nullified May 22, 1851.38

On the same day, the minister of relations instructed the governor of Oaxaca to suspend the survey of the isthmus and to expel, if necessary, the laborers of the company. Notice of these orders was served on the surveyors and steps were immediately taken to stop the progress of operations. When news of the affair reached Webster, he protested against the action of the Mexican congress as unconstitutional, and expressed his hope that Mexico would reconsider and reverse this law which it had passed with haste and under "an entire misapprehension" of the consequences which might result. The New Orleans company, insisting likewise upon its rights, continued to dispatch vessels to the isthmus, and rumors spread abroad to the effect that five hundred laborers were being collected for the purpose of taking possession by force.39

The Mexican press then took up the affair, quoting from the United States expansionists, writing editorials on the "threatened absorption of the Spanish race by the Anglo-American," and keeping the Mexican people in general alarm while exhorting them to unity in order to resist the onslaught of the colossus p518of the north, which recognized no law except that of the most powerful.40

The Mexican government, thus backed by popular feeling, remained firm. When news of the threats of the New Orleans company reached President Arista, he sent to the American chargé asking for a conference. The desired interview took place on August 1, and, on the following day, Smith reported the result to his government: "I found him [Arista] quite calm, and he said directly that things appeared to be very threatening in the North . . . I told him that I had received no dispatches from Washington, and that I had in no way understood that the United States had any part in these movements to which he referred. . . During the interview I asked him if the bill for the military colonies at Tehuantepec had been signed, and he said that it had. . . The president added that he must obey the law and the judgment of Congress on the Garay grant. I asked if there were troops at the Coatzacoalcos river, and he said there were twelve hundred under orders to march to that point."41

Besides the establishment of military colony, other preparations were made. "The headquarters of the comandencia general of Vera Cruz were moved to Acayucan . . . the national guard of the adjoining states was enlisted and ordered to be in readiness; arms were distributed and four vessels stationed off the Goazacoalco."42 Furthermore, in order that there should be left no pretense for Americans to visit the isthmus, the exequaturs of the United States consuls at Ventosa and Minatitlan were taken away.43

The Carbajal revolt44 on the Rio Grande frontier, attributed as it was to citizens of the United States, of course added fuel to the flame of Mexican suspicion and indignation; and Letcher, who had now returned to his post, yielded to the request of the Mexican minister of relations for the negotiation of a new treaty, while he, at the same time, signed a protocol proroguing the date p519for the ratification of the treaty of January 25, until April 8, 1852.45

It soon became apparent, however, that nothing would come of these new attempts. At first Ramírez, the Mexican minister of relations, showed a disposition to recognize the New Orleans company to the extent of giving it a preference in the bids for the enterprise, and submitted a draft embracing this proposal;46 but he soon suffered a change of mind. On February 14, 1852, Letcher reported that he was satisfied he could neither negotiate an acceptable new treaty, nor obtain satisfactory changes in the old; that it was the "deliberate aim of the government and of Congress to reject the treaty"; but that he was determined Mexico should "have a full view of the dangerous precipice over which" it stood.47

President Fillmore then attempted to pour oil on the troubled waters, waiving, as he said, "the ceremony of diplomatic intercourse" in order to address to the Mexican president an unofficial note regarding the difficulties between the two countries. In this dispatch Fillmore called attention to the importance of the Tehuantepec communication to the United States, and to Mexico especially, but he laid most weight upon the rights of the holders of the Garay grant:

I beg leave most earnestly to call the attention of your Excellency to the probable difficulties that may grow up between the two nations, should Mexico break her plighted faith in the grant to Garay. Our citizens, relying upon her good faith, have become interested in that grant; they have advanced large sums of money for the purpose of carrying out its object; they have surveyed a route for a railroad, and demonstrated the practicability of constructing it; and it is not possible that they should now be deprived of privileges guaranteed by that grant, and sustain the heavy losses that must ensue, without appealing to their own government for the enforcement of their rights. My anxious desire is to avoid the too probable consequences that must result from such an appeal. We cannot, if we would, be indifferent to it . . . I have but a few months to remain at the head of this government, when my responsibility will cease, and this difficult and complicated matter will devolve upon some other agent. I can assure you that my love for my own country, p520as well as my sincere desire to promote the prosperity of yours, induces me most earnestly to urge upon your Excellency to leave nothing undone to adjust the controversy upon the subject.48

Fillmore's letter, however, arrived at the Mexican capital too late to influence the deliberations which were taking place. Ramírez's open declaration of his intention to oppose the ratification of the treaty and his publication of a memorial defending the action of Mexico in refusing to recognize the Garay grant so exasperated Letcher that he addressed a long and vigorous note to the minister censuring the publication and distribution of the memorial as unprecedented in the "annals of negotiation," reiterating the determination of the United States to stand by its citizens, and requesting that the treaty in question be submitted to congress.49 This request was thereupon complied with and, as was to be expected, congress almost unanimously rejected the convention.50

Fillmore's communication reached Arista on April 14; and — in order, as he said, to forestall so far as possible the disagreeable impressions which the news of the rejection of the treaty might produce — the Mexican president replied immediately. He assured Fillmore that the question of a communication through Tehuantepec certainly could not produce any difficulty between the two countries, since Mexico had always desired to see the enterprise consummated. The real difficulty, as it appeared to him, lay in the obstinacy with which the New Orleans company insisted upon the validity of the Garay grant. It had been proposed to Letcher that these pretensions be abandoned, and that the company apply directly to Mexico for another concession. At first the United States minister seemed disposed to accept this method of settlement, but soon afterwards, "to the astonishment and regret of all," he demanded that the treaty of January 25 be submitted to the approval of the Mexican congress as it stood. Such a course of action seemed to warrant the conclusion that the "object particularly aimed at was an occasion to bring the two countries into conflict." More recently, Mr. Letcher had given offense to the minister of relations, p521and therefore it had been determined to refer the matter to the government of the United States. With a view to this, Señor Don Manuel Larrainzar had been dispatched to Washington with a full history of recent occurrences. In order, moreover, that Fillmore might know the "true history of this affair, traced from the fountain head and supported by authentic documents," a copy of the memorial of Ramírez was enclosed, with the hope that he might give it a careful perusal, bearing in mind that he was "accountable to God and to the world" for the use of the "power entrusted to his hands."51

Before tracing the further progress of the affair, it will be necessary to consider for a moment the reasons Mexico gave for the attitude it assumed. The strongest exposé of its viewpoint is set forth in the publication of Ramírez to which reference has been made. All other arguments in its defense, whether by Mexicans or by Americans, are, for the most part, based upon it.

Briefly, the main contentions of this document were as follows: 1. The Salas decree of prorogation (November 5, 1846) was invalid on account of not having been submitted to congress for its approval. 2. The privilege which the Mexican commissioners mentioned in 1847 had reference only to colonization, for English subjects had not yet obtained the concession for constructing the communication. 3. As soon as the Mexican government received information that Manning and Mackenzie had procured the privilege of opening the line of communication, it informed them (by note of March 8, 1849) that they would not be recognized as the transferees because the privilege in question had already been forfeited for noncompliance with its terms. 4. The same information was sent through the Mexican minister at Washington to Garay, who was at that time in New York. 5. Permission to survey the isthmus was granted to the citizens of the United States as a matter of courtesy to a scientific commission and could therefore not be taken as a proof that Mexico recognized the holders of the Garay grant. 6. Even if the New Orleans company did have a legal right to the grant, they would be forced under its terms to become Mexican citizens, p522and as such would have no right to appeal to the United States government.52

All these arguments were answered in some detail by champions of the United States holders of the grant: 1. It seemed strange to them that of all the decrees of Salas only that of November 5, 1846, was nullified. 2. The United States did not ask any rights of colonization but only a grant of free passage, and it was this point that Mexican commissioners said they could not concede on account of the rights of British subjects. 3. Documentary evidence showed that the conditions of the Garay grant had been complied with. 4. The Mexican government knew that the persons to whom it gave passports for the survey of the proposed route were the actual holders of the privileges of constructing the communication. 5. The denationalizing clause referred only to those who settled upon the lands adjacent to the line of communication.53

It is unnecessary to enter into the merits of the respective contentions. The important fact for the historian is that the president and state department of the United States, apparently thinking they had a just cause against Mexico, were, at the time, prepared to support the claims of the American citizens by force if necessary, while the Mexican government was as determined to resist what it considered an encroachment upon its territory.54 With reference to the outcome, there was still but almost another year of suspense.

Notwithstanding the refusal of the Mexican congress to ratify the convention of January 25, 1851, the United States still clung to the opinion that Mexico, influenced by fear of the consequences, would yet agree to a satisfactory settlement. It was reported that Larrainzar came from Mexico with instructions to take up the matter anew, but his letter written to Webster on p523July 10 showed that these hopes were unfounded, and negotiations accordingly ceased.55

It now became congress' turn to take up the matter. On July 19, 1852, Mason of Virginia brought forward a resolution calling upon the president for the correspondence relating to the Tehuantepec negotiations, and it was unanimously approved. On July 27, the president responded, and the correspondence was submitted immediately to the committee on foreign affairs. On August 30, this committee submitted along with their report three resolutions declaring: 1. That it was not "compatible with the dignity" of the United States government to "prosecute the subject further by negotiation." 2. That any renewal of negotiations should only be acceded to in case the proposition from Mexico was not inconsistent with the demands of the United States in regard to the Garay grant. 3. That the United States stood committed to the protection of the rights of her citizens, and should Mexico "within a reasonable time, fail to reconsider her position concerning said grant" it would become necessary for the United States to take remedial action.56

Senator Brooke of Mississippi introduced at the same time an informal resolution proposing that Mexico be given only until March 1 to put the American holders in possession of their property and franchises.57

As this session of congress closed on August 31, no action was taken except to table the resolution, but the matter was given considerable attention during the early part of the next session, Seward of New York and Hale of Connecticut opposing the resolutions, while Mason of Virginia, Downs of Louisiana, and Brooke of Mississippi spoke in their favor. These discussions revealed the fact that war with Mexico was by no means as imminent as it had seemed. Not only were those who favored rival routes jealous of the Tehuantepec interests, but even the supporters of the resolutions, having no idea that war would result, apparently urged the matter as a sort of bluff. In the event it failed to work, they were of the opinion that the American company p524could yet be put in possession of their rights without causing an actual rupture.58

Though a portion of the Mexican press continued to utter forebodings of an Anglo-American invasion, it is probable that the government itself, being well informed regarding the state of public mind in the United States, still hoped for a peaceful issue. United States private interests had been largely responsible for the strained relations; might they not also be made to furnish a way of escape? As early as August, 1851, the editor of El Universal had seen a "ray of hope" in the fact that such an expansionist organ as the New York Herald had begun to champion the Vanderbilt projects in Nicaragua.59 Soon afterwards, letters from "kind-hearted gentlemen" of New York, Washington, and other places began to come in, advising the Arista administration to reject the Tehuantepec treaty by all means and leading them to think that such a step might, after all, not be attended by serious consequences.60 Even before the rejection took place, A. G. Sloo of New York had been introduced to prominent Mexican men of state.61 Articles, written by one B. E. Green to the New York Herald in the fall of 1852 and violently opposing the New Orleans company, had found their way into the Mexican archives, as had also a letter arcaded by Thomas Benton to his constituents.62 Mexico, therefore, seems to have decided to give further impulse to this rivalry by bestowing a privilege regarding Tehuantepec upon Sloo.63

The Mexican government was determined, however, to avoid if possible the dangers to which the Garay grant had given rise. Accordingly, no lands for colonization were included, rigorous provisions regarding the introduction of armed force were made, the holders were forbidden recourse except to Mexican courts, and one-third of the company's stock was held for six months at the disposal of Mexican purchasers, while the Mexican government p525was also to be a shareholder. Another item which must have been of some importance to Mexico at the time was the agreement that the company should pay $600,000 for the cession.64 Finally, there seemed to be a secret provision stipulating that the new company should stand between the Mexican government and the New Orleans company.65

The death of Webster, moreover, seemed to remove another difficulty. His term as secretary of state had been characterized by vigor, and the New Orleans company had found in him a faithful and able champion; but no sooner than Conrad — who succeeded to Webster's duties during his last illness — taken up the pen, than he addressed a letter to Conkling, who had been appointed to take Letcher's place as Mexican minister, showing a disposition to give in to Mexico. Conkling was told not to reopen negotiations, but to ascertain if possible what were the objections of Mexico to the Garay grant and to persuade the New Orleans company to dispense with or modify the obnoxious clauses. If Mexico's pride should not permit her to recognize the Garay privilege in any form, he was cautiously to sound the government upon the question of ceding the right of way to the United States.66 These instructions clearly indicated a moderation of feeling, and Conkling, upon arriving in Mexico, manifested a friendly disposition. The attitude which the democratic administration would assume when it entered upon its duties in March, 1853, now became an important consideration.

Although the Mexican press had seen in the Sloo grant what was termed a way of escape, there was still considerable uneasiness in regard to the "loco-focos." It was quite the fashion of this party while parading under the name of "Young America" to denounce the policy of the whigs as lacking in force and decision and to declare the absorption of the entire continent the destiny of their nation. Of such a tenor were articles contained in the Democratic review for January and June, 1852. The first of these ridiculed the whig administration's foreign policy in general, censuring it, among other things, for allowing American citizens in "defiance of public and private purchase" to be driven from Tehuantepec. The other, in commenting upon p526the expansionist plank in the democratic platform, declared that it meant full expansion and a vigorous policy both in regard to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and Panama.67 Other opponents of this expansionist sentiment were the Washington Republic and the New York Herald, and it was often given vigorous expression in the halls of congress and at banquets given in honor of democratic statesmen.

El Universal, the leading Mexican conservative paper of the time, took upon itself the special task of keeping watch over the movements of the democrats. On November 26, 1852, the editor of this sheet declared that the dangers from the north had increased since the "demagogical party" had come into power and expressed the fear that Pierce, like Polk, would take advantage of Mexico's dissensions to rob it of its territory. On March 30, 1853, it quoted a letter from the New Orleans Picayune asserting that the Tehuantepec affair would be one of the first considerations of the new administration.68 These and similar articles must have served to keep up a state of considerable uneasiness in Mexico.

The democratic administration, however, showed surprising indifference regarding the Tehuantepec affair. On March 21, Conkling had concluded a convention in regard to the Sloo grant, but when it was transmitted to Pierce, he did not see fit to submit it to congress.69 Neither did the resolutions of the committee on foreign relations ever come up again for consideration. Marcy's instructions to Gadsden, the successor of Conkling, mentioned the matter only to tell him not to enter into any negotiations for the time being.70 This attitude is probably explained by the increasing and overshadowing popularity of routes proposed to be constructed entirely within United States territory.71

p527 The Gadsden treaty, however, "originally contained two articles protecting claimants against Mexico and specifically naming the Garay grant," but the senate threw out these provisions.72 The eighth article of that treaty as finally ratified referred to the Sloo grant and provided for the transportation across the isthmus free of duty of United States mail and merchandise in bonds; likewise for the unobstructed passage of United States troops and munitions, and for the extension of United States' protection at the latter's discretion.73

For the next three years the matter did not again enter the fields of diplomacy, but the actual work on the route made very little progress. The Sloo, or "Mixed company" as it was some called, had no funds, and was forced to borrow the $600,000 to make the necessary payments to the Mexican government. The loan was obtained from a British subject and secured by a lien on the grant. Peter A. Hargous, still game in spite of his former difficulties, managed to obtain this lien. The Sloo interests, on the other hand, proceeded to have themselves incorporated as the Louisiana Tehuantepec company and, ignoring the lien as well as the secret clause providing for the indemnification of the former company, set to work on the plank road stipulated in the Sloo contract with Mexico. Moreover, the Savannah convention which met in December, 1856, indorsed their proposition after a favorable report had been made by a special investigating committee.74

Hargous, however, soon began to give them trouble. On March 31, 1856, his attorney addressed a letter to Gadsden informing him that on Novemberº of the preceding year Hargous had entered into an agreement with Falconnet, the British subject who had advanced Sloo the loan, whereby he had acquired all the rights of the former; that these rights, according to the agreement under which the loan was made, embraced the entire control of the privilege; that the Mexican government had recognized Falconnet as the sole owner of the privilege in question; p528and finally, that, contrary to the express agreement which authorized Falconnet, in case the loan was not repaid, to dispose of it without the intervention of judiciary authority, the Mexican government had refused to recognize the transfer to Hargous. The attorney, therefore, respectfully requested that Gadsden take measures effectively to protect the rights of Hargous, and to "insure his acknowledgement by the Mexican government as owner of the privilege."75

But Gadsden, as Hargous thought, assumed an attitude of "lukewarmness, if indeed not of actual hostility." He therefore appealed to Secretary of State Marcy, summing up the situation in the following paragraph:

It will, of course, be obvious to you that as all the rights of the citizens of the United States in the Sloo grant were extinguished by its transfer to Mr. Falconnet, who is a British subject, it must remain in the possession of the latter until his transfer to me shall be approved by the Mexican government. It is unquestionably, I should suppose, the policy and interest of our government that citizens of the United States and not British subjects should have exclusive control of the privilege referred to. If, therefore, the Mexican government shall be countenanced in much longer delaying my request, the danger to [which] the policy and interests to which I have adverted will be subjected is submitted to your wise consideration."76

In the late summer of 1856, Gadsden was succeeded by John Forsyth. He was instructed to call the attention of Mexico to the deep interest felt by the government and people of the United States in the completion of the communication across Tehuantepec and to request that the Mexican government use all its power to remove the obstacles which lay "in the way of giving effect to" the disputed grant.77 Forsyth went to Mexico with the determination that the legation while under his charge should not be made an attorney's office for either of the rival American claimants and that he should not take sides with either in the dispute,78 but he was later to find that this attitude of neutrality was to cause him no little trouble.

At length the president and directors of the Sloo company (since 1853 the Louisiana Tehuantepec company) managed to p529patch up an agreement with Hargous whereby a new Louisiana Tehuantepec company was formed with Judah P. Benjamin as attorney and Emile la Sère as president. Benjamin succeeded in getting an interview with Buchanan through their common friend Slidell, and on August 2, the Louisiana senator and the president of the new company set sail for Mexico, bearing lengthy instructions from the state department to Forsyth. Pierre Soulé, who had been chosen as representative of a "rebellious faction of the extinct Sloo company," managed to secure passage on the same steamer.

These instructions, which gossip declared to have been written not by the "superannuated old fogy" Cass but by the president himself, authorized Forsyth to enter into a treaty for the purpose of confirming, extending, and rendering more specific the provisions of the eighth article of the treaty of December 30, 1853. The United States minister was further requested to make known to the Mexican government the mission of La Sère and Benjamin and to assist them in obtaining the modifications which they desired in the Sloo grant, provided such modifications were not contrary to the draft of a treaty which was being forwarded.

When the agents of the new company reached Mexico, they apparently labored to magnify their mission, Benjamin boasting that he carried the Buchanan administration in his pocket and that he had secret and ample powers which made him and not Forsyth the true representative of the United States government in regard to the Tehuantepec question. Forsyth accordingly declined to coöperate with La Sère and Benjamin. Soulé, moreover, seem to have caused them some trouble; but, in spite of opposition, they succeeded in procuring a contract from President Comonfort on September 7, 1857. To this contract Forsyth interposed his objections on the ground that it jeopardized American interests on the isthmus, violated the instructions of the secretary of state, and secured to his government no benefit. At the same time, he attempted to negotiate a treaty with respect to the transit more favorable than the eighth article of the Gadsden treaty. Failing in this as well as other important matters, he soon returned to the United States.79

p530 The Washington government, now probably convinced that it could expect nothing from the conservative faction of Mexico, sent William M. Churchill as confidential agent to the Juárez government. He soon reported that Juárez was favorably inclined, and thereupon it was decided to send an envoy clothed with full powers. For this duty Robert M. Lane of Maryland was chosen. He was instruct to procure, among other things, perpetual rights of way not only across Tehuantepec, but over two other routes as well. Soon after his arrival at Vera Cruz he concluded to recognize the constitutionalists, citing as one of the factors influencing his decision the readiness of that government to protect "the very large interests . . . involved in the right of ways over Tehuantepec."80

Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.McLane had received his appointment on March 7, 1858, and before the close of the following year he had negotiated what was called the McLane-Ocampo treaty, by the terms of which the United States obtained right of ways and valuable transit privileges not only across Tehuantepec, but from the lower Rio Grande to Mazatlan, and from Rancho de Nogales to Guaymas. The gathering war cloud prevented this treaty from being ratified by the senate of the United States, however, and the matter passed, so far as this paper is concerned, from the field of diplomacy.81

The Louisiana Tehuantepec company, with its cession of September, 1857, from the Comonfort government, experienced "a brief season of apparent prosperity. . . Benjamin raised funds and actually got built a practicable road for vehicles across the Isthmus. He coaxed a reluctant Postmaster-General into granting a contract to carry the California mails via Tehuantepec, for one year, commencing November 1, 1858. The company provided the steamship Quaker City, and she started on her maiden trip from New Orleans to Minatitlan, October 27, 1858. There was great jollification and congratulation. And there were more trips of the Quaker City, and the mail came through from California in twelve days less than by any other route. Then suddenly followed the evil days — Hargous Brothers p531floundering in financial bogs; the company well-nigh ruined; Mr. Benjamin, armed with personal letters to the Barings and others from Slidell and from the Chief Executive himself, wasting his summer vacation (1859) in the effort to get financial aid in Europe."82 It became necessary, too, to obtain an extension of time from Mexico. This the company succeeded in doing on March 28, 1859, and again in October, 1860. Even then, however, it was unable to meet the conditions of its contract and the grant was eventually nullified on October 15, 1866.83

J. Fred Rippy

University of California
Berkeley, California


The Author's Notes:

1 For assistance in the preparation of this paper writer wishes to make grateful acknowledgement to Mr. Herbert E. Bolton and Mr. Herbert I. Priestley.

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2 Mary Wilhelmine Williams, Anglo-American Isthmian diplomacy, 1815‑1915 (Washington, 1916); or any standard history of the United States.

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3 For suspicion of foreign interference in regard to Mexico consult Senate executive documents, 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, pp110, 114; New York Herald, September 7, 1852, quoted in El Universal, October 12, 1852; another quotation from the same paper in El Universal, January 8, 1852; Congressional globe, 32 congress, 2 session, 158, appendix 91 ff.

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4 De Bow's review, old series, 7:11.

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5 Diary of James K. Polk during his presidency, 1845 to 1849, now first printed from the original manuscript in the collections of the Chicago historical society, edited by Milo M. Quaife (Chicago, 1910), 2:471 ff.

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6 Senate executive documents, 35 congress, 1 session, no. 72, p40.

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7 Ibid., 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p127.

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8 Transactions of the Alabama historical society, 1904, p153 ff.

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9 Senate executive documents, 30 congress, 1 session, no. 52, p82 ff.

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10 Ibid., 30 congress, 1 session, no. 52, p337.

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11 Senate executive documents, 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p132; Manuel Dublan José María Lozano, Legislación Mexicana (Mexico, 1876 ff.), 4:120 ff., 705, 5:187; Senate miscellaneous documents, 30 congress, 2 session, no. 50.

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12 Senate executive documents, 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p7. Reference is made to the most favored nation clause.

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13 Senate executive documents, 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p9.

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14 Ibid., 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p11 ff.

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15 Senate executive documents, 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p13. Article VII has been omitted as having no particular bearing on the subject in hand.

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16 Senate executive documents, 31 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p16.

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17 Ibid., 31 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p20 ff.

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18 Ibid., 31 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p16.

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19 Ibid., 31 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p23.

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20 Senate executive documents, 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p18.

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21 Senate executive documents, 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p26 ff.

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22 Ibid., 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p26.

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23 Ibid., 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p28.

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24 Ibid., 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, pp27, 29 ff.

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25 Senate executive documents, 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p36 ff.

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26 Ibid., 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, pp41, 44.

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27 Ibid., 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, pp43, 47 ff.

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28 Senate executive documents, 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p41.

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29 Ibid., 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, pp43, 45.

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30 Senate executive documents, 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, pp44, 54 ff.

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31 Senate executive documents, 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p60 ff.

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32 De Bow's review, old series, 10:94 ff.; Pierce Butler, Judah P. Benjamin (Philadelphia, 1907), 125.

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33 Senate executive documents, 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p57.

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34 Senate executive documents, 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p81.

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35 Dictamen de la comisión especial de Tehuantepec del senado, March 22, 1851 (Mexico, 1852), 22, 31.

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36 Ibid., 22; Senate executive documents, 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p68 ff.

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37 Senate executive documents, 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, pp52 ff., 75.

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38 Ibid., 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p85; Dictamen de la comisión especial de Tehuantepec del senado, March 22, 1851, p51.

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39 Senate executive documents, 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p80 ff.; El Universal, July 30, 31, 1851.

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40 El Universal, July 9, August 16, 1851; El Siglo XIX, October 6, 1851; El Omnibus, July 17, 1852.

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41 Senate executive documents, 32 congress, 1, no. 97, p89.

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42 Hubert H. Bancroft, History of Mexico (San Francisco, 1883‑1887), 5:590.

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43 Senate reports, 32 congress, 1 session, no. 355, p11; Senate executive documents, 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p95.

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44 Ibid., 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, pp101, 110, 125.

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45 Senate executive documents, 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p112.

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46 Ibid., 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p121.

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47 Ibid., 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p112 ff.

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48 Senate executive documents, 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p157.

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49 Ibid., 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p129 ff.

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50 Ibid., 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p128.

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51 Senate executive documents, 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p159 ff. For the somewhat undignified correspondence between Ramírez and Letcher, see Senate reports, 32 congress, 1 session, no. 355, p14 ff.

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52 Memoria instructiva de los derechos y justas causas que tiene el gobierno de los Estados-Unidos Mexicanos para no reconocer ni la subsistencia del privilegio concedido a Don José Garay . . . ni la legitimidad de la cesion que aquel hizo del mismo privilegio a ciudadanos de los Estados-Unidos de la America del Norte (Mexico, 1852). For other defenses see Senate executive documents, 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, pp81 ff., 141 ff., passim.

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53 A review of the Tehuantepec controversy (Georgetown, D. C., 1853).

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54 The claims filed by Hargous in the name of the Tehuantepec company were disallowed by the joint claims commission created in 1868. Senate executive documents, 44 congress, 2 session, no. 31, p18 ff.

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55 Senate executive documents, 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p129; ibid., 35 congress, 1 session, no. 72, p2.

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56 Senate reports, 32 congress, 2 session, no. 355, p6.

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57 Congressional globe, 32 congress, 1 session, 1833, 2465.

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58 Congressional globe, 32 congress, 2 session, 365, 468, 469, 537, 628, appendix 134 ff., 160 ff.

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59 El Universal, August 23, 24, 1851.

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60 Senate executive documents, 32 congress, 1 session, no. 97, p104.

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61 El Siglo XIX, January 13, 1853. El Universal, April 24, 1842, contained an article advocating a mixed company.

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62 Archivo-Mexicano. Actos de las sesiones de las camaras, 1852 (Mexico, 1852), 1:109 ff., 275 ff.

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63 Consult El Universal, November 29, 1852, January 13, 14, February 7, 1853; El Siglo XIX, January 11, 1853.

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64 Senate executive documents, 35 congress, 1 session, no. 72, p21 ff.

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65 Ibid., 35 congress, 1 session, no. 72, pp5, 39.

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66 Ibid., 35 congress, 1 session, no. 72, p12 ff.

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67 Democratic review, 31:2, 492.

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68 For further quotations and comment upon this expansion sentiment, see almost any issue of El Universal during 1852 and 1853; Eco de España, October 15, 19, 1853 El Siglo XIX, April to December, 1853.

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69 Senate executive journal, 9:240 ff.

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70 Senate executive documents, 35 congress, 1 session, no. 72, p32.

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71 Lewis H. Haney, Congressional history of railways in the United States to 1850 (University of Wisconsin bulletin, no. 211 — Madison, 1908), 147. In his annual message of 1853, Pierce expressed the opinion that the routes within the United States would prove more practicable than any of those across the isthmus. James D. Richardson, Compilation of the messages and papers of the presidents, 1789‑1897 (Washington, 1896‑1898), 5:221 ff.

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72 Butler, Judah P. Benjamin, 133; Senate executive journal, 9:291, 299.

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73 William M. Malloy, Treaties, conventions, international acts, protocols and agreements between the United States of America and other powers, 1776‑1909 (Washington, 1910), 1:1124, article VIII.

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74 De Bow's review, old series, 22:99, 193 ff.

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75 Senate executive documents, 35 congress, 1 session, no. 72, p33 ff.

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76 Ibid., 35 congress, 1 session, no. 72, p35.

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77 Ibid., 35 congress, 1 session, no. 72, p36.

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78 Ibid.

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79 Senate executive documents, 35 congress, 1 session, no. 72, pp50, 138, 142; ibid., 35 congress, 2 session, no. 1, p41 ff.

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80 James M. Callahan, "The Mexican policy of southern leaders under Buchanan's administration," in American historical association, Annual report, 1910, p142.

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81 Ibid.; John Musser, The establishment of Maximilian's empire in Mexico (Menasha, Wisconsin, 1918), 25.

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82 Butler, Judah P. Benjamin, 189; Senate executive documents, 35 congress, 1 session, no. 72, p69.

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83 Dublan y Lozano, Legislación Mexicana, 8:666, 756; 9:734.


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