From Empire to Republic - Arthur H. Noll

Foreign Intervention, French Invasion, and the Second Empire

On the thirty-first of October, 1861, a treaty was signed in the city of London, on behalf of England, France, and Spain, which proved the beginning of what was at first known as the Foreign Intervention in the affairs of Mexico. Later it was transformed in its character, so as to be more properly known as a French Invasion of the territory; and from it was developed, as it was undoubtedly intended should be from the outset, the Second Mexican Empire.

By the terms of the treaty,—known as the Treaty of London,—the three nations that were parties to it were to send a sufficient naval and military force to Mexico to seize and occupy the several fortresses and military positions on the coast, for the purpose of sequestrating the customs revenues of the principal ports of entry; the treaty providing for the appointment of a commission to determine the just distribution of these revenues among the foreign creditors of Mexico. It was expressly stipulated that no territory should be appropriated by the Foreign Powers, nor should any influence be exerted to interfere with the rights of the Mexican people to arrange their own form of government.

It was deemed expedient that the government at Washington should be invited to acquiesce in the terms of this treaty. The treaty was, however, to be ratified within fifteen days by the respective governments concerned, and its provisions were to be carried into effect without waiting for an answer from the United States. That answer, when it came, was a positive declination by the United States to take any part in the transaction, on the ground that the Federal Government at Washington thought it right to pursue its usual policy of refraining from alliances with foreign powers.

The purpose of this extraordinary proceeding on the part of the three powerful European nations was, as stated in the preamble of the treaty, to demand more effective protection for the persons and property of their subjects in Mexico, and to secure the fulfillment of certain obligations contracted by the Mexican Government. But when this diplomatically worded treaty comes to be examined in the light of contemporaneous documents and subsequent events, it is found to conceal purposes of greater importance than any it expressed.

Upon the earliest suggestion of the advisability of pursuing the course prescribed by the treaty, the English Minister of Foreign Affairs asserted that England was opposed on principle to forcible interference in the internal affairs of independent nations. In every dispatch addressed by England to either Paris, Madrid, or Washington, it was declared over and over again that England would have nothing to do with the proposed expedition if it were not clearly laid down in the beginning that the expedition was not to interfere with the internal affairs of Mexico.

Subsequently it was sought to discover that Mexico furnished an exception to the general rule under which England claimed to be acting. Few cases of internal anarchy, bloodshed, and murder exceeded, according to the English idea, the atrocities perpetrated in Mexico. One instance alone of the many that were cited in this apology was held to be sufficient to place Mexico beyond the operations of the law of nations. That was the robbery of the English bondholders by Marquez, acting under Miramon's orders, on the seventeenth of November, 1860. Coin to the amount of about six hundred and sixty thousand dollars had been collected by Juarez, for the payment of certain English bondholders. The money was deposited, for safe keeping, at the British legation, and was supposed to be further secured by the seal of the British Minister. The robbery of it was indeed a gross violation of the law of nations, as well as of common morality; but it was a crime for which the Constitutional Government of Mexico was not responsible, having been powerless to prevent it.

It seemed to have been generally overlooked that, with scarcely an exception, the wrongs, to redress which the intervention was to take place, were committed by the pseudo-government, and not by the true government then existing. Some of the outrages for which reparation was sought were perpetrated by Marquez and his followers while Juarez and Ortega were trying to capture them. This might not furnish a claim for remission, though it ought certainly to have furnished a plea for indulgence.

England felt, however, that it was no longer possible to deal with Mexico as with an organized and established government. It was asserted, on behalf of the English Government, that the mere presence of a combined squadron in the Gulf of Mexico would serve as a wholesome menace,—would urge the Mexican Government to keep the peace, and convince malcontents that they must seek "some form of opposition more constitutional than brigandage." England's position from the first was apologetic, and was based upon a total misapprehension of the character of Benito Juarez, and of his efforts, and the efforts of his followers, to establish constitutional government. That position was never approved by the mass of the English people, and, as has been said, "nothing in the Mexican expedition so became the British Government as the giving of it up."

Spain and France, on the other hand, had objects in view which were not expressed in the treaty and were not at once disclosed to the public. The hope of Spain was to found an Empire in Mexico, and to place upon the throne thereof a member of the same Bourbon family that had been called to the throne created by the Treaty of Cordoba in 1821. Events interfered to prevent this scheme from taking definite shape, although it transpired that it was with this purpose in view that Spain had been furnishing secret but strong aid to the Zuloaga and Miramon government in Mexico. The object of France was also to establish a monarchy, but it was to be in some way feudatory to France. The Emperor of the French had already offered the crown of the Mexican Empire, which he had in view, to the Archduke of Austria. Yet both Spain and France were all the while assuring England that neither of them had any intention of forcible interference in Mexican affairs. England, however, was suspicious of Spain, and would not have entered the convention at all, or have signed the treaty, but for the positive assurances of both Spain and France that there was no intention whatever of conquest, of reestablishing by foreign influence a monarchical form of government, or of otherwise meddling with the internal administration of the Government of Mexico. It was the scheme of France that was shortly afterwards developed to the serious inconvenience of Mexico.

Ostensibly, it was the purpose of the three nations to act as receivers of the property of their hopelessly bankrupt debtor, and to administer the estate for the payment of its debts. Of these debts, that of England was the largest and of the longest standing. It was based upon an alleged loan of three million two hundred thousand pounds, contracted by the agent of the Mexican Government with a London banking house in the first year of the Republic. It amounted, at the time of the Treaty of London, to nearly eighty million dollars in Mexican money. To Spain, Mexico was alleged to owe a little more than fifteen million dollars, and to France about two million five hundred thousand dollars, in Mexican money.

Each of these debts had a history so interesting that Mexican historians devote whole chapters to the subject, and some of them make it appear that of the sum upon which the enormous claim of England was based, only about a third had been actually received by Mexico, and that the sum actually due at the time of the treaty was seventy millions instead of eighty million dollars; that the debt to Spain grew out of indemnities incurred during the War for Independence, and amounted to a little less than ten millions instead of fifteen million dollars; while the debt to France included a most remarkable claim of the Swiss banking-house of Jecker and Company, for one million dollars and interest thereon at the rate of twelve per cent per annum from its date.

It was alleged by Mexico, and scarcely denied by the other party to the transaction, that less than half the money for which Jecker and Company had received bonds to the above amount had been paid by them to the Zuloaga and Miramon government at a time when the Liberal government was in existence and was contending against the self-constituted dictatorship of Zuloaga and Miramon. So that at the very time when France had acknowledged Miramon as President, and had aided his pretensions against the Constitutional Government, she was holding Juarez and the Constitutional Government responsible for the debts of the insurgents. Jecker, the head of the banking-house, had in some way become a French subject since this debt was contracted, and thus his exorbitant demands were included in the claim of France, and were made to play an important part in the plans of the Emperor of the French for the establishment of a monarchy in Mexico.

It is but just to say that the Mexican Expedition never obtained the slightest degree of popularity in France. It was looked upon with coldness, indifference, dislike, and contempt, by the people; and it was ably combated, in the Corps Legislatif in 1863, by leading Deputies, who were returned by overwhelming majorities in the subsequent election, thus showing that their constituents fully approved of their position.

But whether just or unjust, whether extortionate or legal, these debts were made the basis of operations under the Treaty of London. There were also allegations of attacks made from time to time on the persons and property of foreigners in Mexico, which had been the subject of much diplomatic correspondence for several years without prospect of satisfactory adjustment. Spain's chief injury was the failure of the Mon- Almonte Treaty.

Forty years of almost incessant civil war had wrought utter confusion to the finances of Mexico, as well as to her social conditions. Her government was entirely at the mercy of people of revolutionary spirit. It had not served to render affairs less complicated, that during the three years then past there had been two opposing governments in the country with which to treat, neither being responsible for the acts or promises of the other. It was therefore, viewed from the standpoint of the foreign powers, time for something to be done to obtain the payment of Mexico's obligations and to secure to foreigners in that country immunity from outrage.

The treaty was doubtless precipitated by the decree of the Mexican Government suspending the payment of foreign debts for two years. England and France, as we have seen, at once broke off diplomatic relations with Mexico until the decree of suspension should be revoked. The Spanish Minister had already been given his passports as a persona non grata  because of his too intimate connection with the Zuloaga-Miramon government, and of his part in the Mon-Almonte Treaty.

It is not to be overlooked that an opportunity for pursuing such a course as was now determined upon by France was afforded at that time by the Civil War then in progress in the United States. The foreign powers regarded that war between the States as likely to result in the independence of the Confederate States of the South. Such an opportunity as this afforded was especially appreciated by Louis Napoleon, Emperor of the French, who had long cherished dreams of establishing an Empire in Mexico, to be to some extent under his control. With the United States (as he supposed) likely to be divided, and with the Confederate States, when independent, as his allies, he need have no fear of any trouble with the Government at Washington over "the Monroe Doctrine."

Notwithstanding the stipulation in the Treaty of London that the allied forces should not seek any acquisition of territory, or exercise any influence over the internal affairs of the country prejudicial to the rights of the Mexicans to establish such form of government as they might desire, the Emperor of the French was laying plans to accomplish both the acquisition of territory and the interference in the political affairs of the country. He was already negotiating with certain persons, looking to the future disposition of the Mexican State of Sonora and adjacent territory; and he had been in consultation with General Almonte, General Miramon, Jose Maria Gutierrez de Estrada, Francisco J. Miranda ("Padre Miranda," a turbulent Mexican cleric), Haro y Tamaris, and other banished Reactionary leaders. It was largely upon such ex parte  testimony as these men were able to furnish as to the status of Mexican affairs, that he had laid his plans for the establishment of a trans-Atlantic Empire. How fully he had absorbed this scheme may be judged by his remark, after the complete overthrow of the Mexican Empire was regarded by everyone else as merely a question of a few months, that he looked upon it as the greatest creation of his reign. Subsequent events, however, proved it the beginning of his overthrow—the Moscow of the Second French Empire of the Napoleons.

The allied nations proceeded without loss of time to send forces to occupy the coast cities of Mexico, as provided in the treaty; and early in December, 1861, the Spanish squadron arrived, in advance of the others, at Vera Cruz. A week later, the city was occupied by the Spanish troops. This was regarded as not in accord with the agreement, and was made the pretext, on the part of France, for sending out reinforcements to the number of four or five thousand men. Here again was an occasion for the French Minister to protest that it was not the intention of France to interfere in the internal affairs of Mexico. An assurance to that effect was again asked, and was earnestly given.

The French and English forces arrived on the eighth of January, 1862, and the whole foreign army was placed under the command of the Spanish Marshal Prim, Count of Reus, who was Commander-in-chief of the Expedition and Plenipotentiary of Spain. This army then consisted of about six thousand Spanish soldiers; twenty-five hundred French soldiers, under Admiral Jurien de la Graviere; and one line-of-battle ship, two small frigates, and seven hundred English marines, under Commodore Dunlop. The Count de Saligny and the Admiral Jurien de la Graviere were the diplomatic agents of France; and England was to be represented by Sir Charles Wyke.

Through its minister in France, the Mexican Government had been advised that France and England were taking measures to compel Mexico to accede to their demands, and that Spain was intending to join them, with the hope of establishing a monarchy in that country. A man of less character than Benito Juarez would have been appalled by such news, following closely upon three years of civil war that had sapped the resources of his government. But Juarez was of tougher fiber than others of his countrymen. He rose to the occasion, and took immediate steps to encounter these new difficulties in the way of establishing constitutional government. He appealed to Mexicans to lay aside their private feuds and unite against the common foe. He reorganized his army, and made efforts to defend the country. He raised money by forced loans or voluntary contributions, negotiated upon terms the most unfavorable to the government, as is usual in such cases. If he showed an arbitrary spirit in these measures, it was no more than the emergency seemed to demand, nor was it contrary to precedents established by the previous rulers of his nation. It must also be remembered that all he did had in view the final establishment of a Constitutional Government which was to do away forever with the necessity of applying such arbitrary measures again.

On the twenty-fifth of January, 1862, Juarez issued a decree declaring that all men between the ages of sixteen and sixty who refused to take up arms in defense of the country should be regarded as traitors; establishing courts-martial in the place of the ordinary tribunals; and giving authority to the governors of States and magistrates of towns to dispose of the persons or property of all disloyal persons within their jurisdictions. It declared any armed invasion of the country by Mexicans or foreigners without a previous declaration of war, and any invitation offered by Mexicans or foreign residents of Mexico for such invasion, to be crimes against the Independence of Mexico, punishable with death.

This stern decree was issued, it must be remembered, in times that demanded drastic measures, and for the governance of a people of revolutionary tendencies who were yet unprepared for constitutional government. A Reactionary leader, General Robles, made an effort to join a party in the French camp soon afterward, but was arrested by the Mexican authorities, banished from the capital, and confined on parole in a small town. He violated his parole, and escaped from his imprisonment. Before he could reach other plotters against the government of Juarez, he was again arrested, and under the decree of January twenty-fifth was sentenced to be shot. General Prim and the English Plenipotentiary made an effort to save him, and succeeded in inducing the Mexican Minister to suspend the sentence of death; but the courier bearing the reprieve lost his way, and arrived at the place appointed for the execution after the sentence had been carried out.

Juarez was anxious to postpone as long as possible, and to avoid altogether, if might be, a collision with the foreign troops. He accordingly invited the envoys of the allied powers to a conference, to be held at Orizaba, in April, 1862. To arrange for this conference, a preliminary convention was held at Soledad, near Vera Cruz, in February. The Mexican Government was represented on this occasion by Manuel Doblado, who acquitted himself as an able and influential diplomat, winning the respect and approval of the British and Spanish Plenipotentiaries.

An agreement was reached respecting the matters to be discussed and decided upon at Orizaba. Doblado's argument was conclusive that the robbery of the funds at the British Legation by Marquez was the work of bandits for which the Government of Mexico could not be held accountable; and he also showed conclusively to the Spanish Plenipotentiary that certain assassinations of which he complained, and for which his government sought redress, were acts which the government of Juarez had tried to prevent and was now taking energetic measures to punish.

Although Doblado's efforts and arguments were less successful with the French agents than with the British and Spanish, it was agreed that the allies should recognize the Mexican Government as constitutional and legitimately established; that their troops should be allowed to occupy certain towns, as healthful and convenient garrisons; and that if the conference to take place at Orizaba failed of a satisfactory issue, and negotiations were broken off, the troops of the allies were to fall back from the places they had been allowed to occupy conditionally, and hostilities would then of course begin.

At the Orizaba Conference, the Count de Saligny declared that the Mexican Government had heaped so many fresh grievances upon the French subjects that he could no longer treat with it, and would be content with nothing less than a march upon the capital of the country. General Laurencez had already arrived in Mexico with reinforcements which increased the French army to over six thousand five hundred men. These had been sent in order, as was alleged, that the Spanish forces might not exceed in number those of France.

With these reinforcements came also General Almonte, Padre Miranda, Haro y Tamaris, and others whose characters were odious in the eyes of Mexico, and whose names recalled some of the worst scenes in a civil war that had proved a disgrace to the civilization of the nineteenth century, and who were responsible for many of the outrages for which the allied powers now sought redress. Almonte might not have been precisely in such a category, but he was offensive to the Constitutionalists of Mexico, both because of his former connection with the Conservatives and Reactionaries, and because while living in exile in Paris he had been active in poisoning the mind of the Emperor of the French in regard to Mexican affairs. Under the protection of the French flag, these men assumed an arrogant air, and Almonte went so far as to assume the title of "Provisional President of Mexico," and to issue manifestos and proclamations calling upon the Mexicans to overthrow the government of Juarez. Miranda and the others openly and vauntingly avowed that they had come by the express command of the Emperor of the French, to upset the government of President Juarez. The execution of Robles, which for his offence at such a time was justifiable in any country of the world, was proclaimed as a murder, and was given as a new reason for the French support of the projects of Almonte. Unquestionably, the French expedition was assuming,—by the presence of General Almonte, Padre Miranda, and the others,—the character of an afterpiece to the War of the Reform.

Juarez protested against the presence of these men in the French camp, and his protest was emphasized by the declaration of the English and Spanish commissioners that the persistence of France in protecting the Mexican conspirators was contrary to the terms of the Treaty of London. But all was to no avail. The decisive action of the British Commodore in regard to Miramon was more effectual. Miramon attempted to join Almonte and the others in the French camp, but Commodore Dunlop declared that if he attempted to land he would at once arrest him on account of his part in the robbery of the British Legation. Miramon accordingly thought it wise to withdraw to Havana.

In the attempt to adjust the claims of the allied powers at Orizaba, the French commissioners demanded on behalf of France a round sum of twelve million dollars, without details or items, "as an approximation to the value of the French claims by a million or two more or less," in addition to the Jecker claim of one million five hundred thousand dollars. It was shown, however, that on its bonds issued to the above amount the government of Miramon had received no more than seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Jecker was demanding the face value of his bonds from the Juarez Government, on the plea that one government was bound by the acts and obligations of another. Juarez offered to assume the seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars, with interest at five per cent, but repudiated the idea of being liable for the one million five hundred thousand dollars.

The English Commissioner showed that the demands of the French could only lead to war, as no nation on earth could accede to them. It was unquestionably with war in view that the French Commissioners advanced them. The projects of the three allied powers were soon found to be "incompatible," and the English and Spanish troops were withdrawn from the enterprise. The Treaty of London was quickly thrown aside by the commissioners from France, and the French were left in Mexico to carry out the purposes of Napoleon III.

In April, 1862, immediately after the Convention of Orizaba, the French General issued a proclamation declaring a military dictatorship established in Mexico, with Almonte as Supreme Chief of the nation. The same day, the French army was reorganized in two divisions, and advanced towards the capital, one division by way of Jalapa, the other by way of Orizaba. An army of Mexicans, under the command of General Marquez, joined the forces of the Interventionists.

The peril in which Mexico again found herself had the effect of sifting her military leaders. Zaragoza, Escobedo, and Porfirio Diaz remained stanch adherents of the Republic. Comonfort early returned from France, and, joining the forces of Juarez, was appointed Commander-in-chief. Senor Gallardo, father of a gallant young Republican Colonel, raised and equipped two troops of cavalry, and undertook to advance twelve thousand dollars a month for the services of the Republic until its independence was restored. Vidaurri held the State of San Luis Potosi for the Republicans for a time, and then deserted to the Imperialists. Zuloaga refused to fight against his country, and retired altogether from the scene of the approaching conflict. Mejia joined the cause of the Interventionists, and Miramon came back to Mexico to do the same as soon as it was safe for him to enter the country.

One column of the Army of the Intervention advanced toward the capital by way of Orizaba and Puebla. By the French it was supposed that the advance was to be a mere military parade; that the mass of the Mexican people were either indifferent to or absolutely in favor of the Intervention; and that the few who objected to it had neither strength nor spirit to resist. But there was a surprise in store for the advancing army. Puebla was found to be occupied by an inferior force of badly equipped raw recruits, under the very efficient command of General Zaragoza, who had prepared for the advance of the French invading forces by hastily fortifying the hills of Guadalupe and Loretto. No plausible excuse was offered by the French for attacking Puebla. The attacking forces numbered more than seven thousand well-organized and well-disciplined men. Yet notwithstanding their disadvantages the Republican forces repulsed the invaders with terrible slaughter, and won a glorious victory.

The battle was fought on the fifth of May, 1862. It was exceedingly inspiriting to the Republicans, and it gave to Mexico one of her greatest national feast days, El Cinco de Mayo. In appreciation of his brilliant victory and defense of the city. General Zaragoza was appointed Military Governor of Vera Cruz, his name was inscribed in letters of gold upon the walls of the Hall of Congress, and the official name of Puebla was changed to "Puebla de Zaragoza." Porfirio Diaz was promoted to the rank of General for the brilliant part he took in the defense of the city.

The defeated French retreated to Orizaba, not strong enough to attack again, but too strong to be attacked. Zaragoza was soon transferred, at his own request, to the army of operations under Ortega, and returned to the defense of Puebla. He attempted to follow up the advantage he had gained, by marching against the French at Orizaba; but was surprised and defeated at Cerro del Borrego. He withdrew to Puebla, and there he died of typhus fever the following September, to the great loss of the Republican cause, for he was regarded as the greatest military genius the country had ever produced.

Toward the end of September, General Laurencez was superseded in the command of the Army of the Intervention by the French General Forey, who brought from France sufficient reinforcements to raise the army to twenty thousand men. Not only did he assume command of the army, but he also constituted himself Military Dictator over the whole country, declaring that he had come by order of the Emperor of the French, to destroy the government of Juarez, and to free the people of Mexico from his despotic sway. He was so indiscreet as to issue a proclamation confiscating the property of all who failed immediately to give in their adhesion to the new system. This, however, met with no favor in Europe,—not even in France, where the papers sarcastically commented upon the "inconvenience of addressing remonstrances to Russia regarding the confiscations in Lithuania, while Forey was carrying the same system a step or two farther in Mexico."

The French army, thus reinforced, began a second advance toward the capital. Puebla was captured in May, 1863, but not without desperate fighting, for the Mexicans defended their city inch by inch, and preferred death to submitting to any terms of surrender offered by the French. The city was finally taken, however; the soldiers who had held it so valiantly were either slain or dispersed, and some of the officers were taken prisoner and carried away to France. Diaz escaped from imprisonment before he could be carried into exile.

The fall of Puebla broke the heart of the Mexican resistance, and left the City of Mexico exposed to the invaders without means of defense. On the last day of May, President Juarez left the capital, accompanied by his ministers, and set up his government at San Luis Potosi on the tenth of June. There he remained until near the end of 1863.

On the eleventh of June the Army of the Intervention occupied the capital. General Forey was accompanied by Dubois Saligny (the French Commissioner who had conducted negotiations on behalf of France at the late Conferences of Soledad and Orizaba), General Marquez (the "Infamous Marquez," as Europeans were already beginning to call him), and General Almonte. Forey appointed a prefect for the city, and proceeded to select thirty-five citizens to act as a "Supreme Council of the Nation," and as a basis for the establishment of a permanent government. The Supreme Council elected General Almonte, General Mariano Salas, and Archbishop Labastida as Regents, with the Bishop of Puebla as the alternate of the Archbishop, who was in France. Into the hands of the Regency passed the government of Mexico, pending the completion of the plans of the Emperor of the French, which were now no longer concealed, and were found to include the long-cherished schemes of the Monarchical or Imperialistic party of previous years.

Subsequently an "Assembly of Notables" was organized as a legislative body. It was composed of two hundred and thirty-one members, apparently selected at random, representing the twenty-four States of Mexico then in existence, without regard to the population of those States. They were, of course, all of monarchical predilections.

On the tenth of July, 1863, this strangely constituted Assembly passed an "Act" adopting for the country a monarchical form of government, and offering the crown to Fernando Maximiliano (Ferdinand Maximilian), Archduke of Austria. It further provided that in case Maximilian should decline the crown it should be offered to any Roman Catholic prince whom the Emperor of the French should designate. A Committee of Monarchists and Reactionaries (including Gutierrez de Estrada, who was already in Europe) was appointed to proceed to the Archducal Palace of Maximilian, at Miramar, to offer him the crown and hasten his departure for Mexico.

The Regents nominally at the head of the government of Mexico were under the direct control of two agents of the Emperor of the French. They were General Forey, Commander-in-chief of the Army of the Interventionists, and Dubois Saligny, the French Minister who had been unpleasantly involved in the business of the Intervention from the beginning. That all the actions of the Assembly of Notables were brought about by these two persons, acting under explicit instructions from Paris, cannot now be doubted. If not at the time of the Treaty of London, very soon afterwards. Napoleon III had communicated to the Imperial house of Austria his intention of placing the Archduke Maximilian at the head of the Empire he proposed to establish; and this had been the subject of diplomatic correspondence with other European nations. Hence the action of the Assembly of Notables in offering the crown to Maximilian was no surprise to Europeans.

Before the end of 1863, both Forey and Saligny were recalled, owing to the too great precipitancy with which these events had been brought about. Napoleon deplored the actions of these agents, or at least the frank publicity given to them, as of "too reactionary" a character. Forey was succeeded in the command of the army in Mexico by Marshal Bazaine, who throughout the subsequent history of the Intervention proved a faithful servant of Louis Napoleon.

Under the command of Bazaine, the French troops proceeded to occupy the interior of Mexico. The army was again divided into two columns. One of these, under the command of General Marquez, took the road to Morelia. The other, under the command of General Tomas Mejia, advanced toward Queretaro. Within a month, the Interventionists had control of the country as far as Guadalajara in the northwest, Queretaro in the north, and Vera Cruz in the east. The extreme northern States and the extreme southern States,—twelve in number,—were not yet occupied by the Interventionists. There were Members of the Assembly of Notables claiming to represent those States, but they were mere refugees at the capital.

Meanwhile, the Republican forces were scattered but not exterminated. There were bands of patriots in Michoacan, in Jalisco, in Sinaloa, in Sonora, in Durango, in Zacatecas, in Tamaulipas, in the mountains of Puebla and Oaxaca, in Vera Cruz, Tabasco, and the south. A Republican press was maintained by able political writers, and continued to instruct the people in their rights under the Constitution. Porfirio Diaz was made Commander-in-chief of the Republican Army in the South, and invested with full power for the administration of affairs and for the defense of the southeastern States,—that is, Oaxaca, a part of Puebla, Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, and Yucatan. He took up and maintained a position between Puebla and Oaxaca.

The advance of the French army in the direction of San Luis Potosi forced the Constitutional Government from that city to Saltillo, where it was established in November, 1863. Being informed that Santiago Vidaurri, Governor of the States of Leon and Coahuila, who had formerly been an adherent of the Constitutional party, was in negotiation with the French, Juarez removed the seat of his government to Monterey. Vidaurri refused to recognize the Republican government, and fled to the City of Mexico, where he openly avowed his adherence to the Imperialists. Juarez maintained his government in Monterey from April to the middle of August, 1864.

The Committee appointed by the Assembly of Notables lost no time in discharging the duties laid upon them. They were received at the Archducal Palace in Austria, and made known to the Archduke their business. Much to their surprise, Maximilian withheld his acceptance of the proffered throne until he could be assured that the people of Mexico had, state by state and town by town, expressed their wish that he should come to reign over them, by suffrage of some kind, certified in such way that he could determine the number of voters in favor of the Empire, and the ratio of this number to the population of the country. He desired also that the European nations should give him guarantees that the throne of Mexico would be protected from dangers which then appeared to threaten it.

The whole matter was therefore, in effect, referred back to Marshal Bazaine, as the agent of the French Government, to secure such an election as would satisfy the scruples of the Archduke and induce him to accept the proffered throne. Shortly afterwards, certificates of election in favor of the Empire and of Maximilian for Emperor were produced from "all places occupied by the French bayonets." These words are significant of the manner in which the election was conducted, and indicate how faithfully Bazaine was prepared to perform the duties entrusted to him by the Emperor of the French. That Emperor furthermore gave the Archduke every assurance that the Empire of Mexico would receive such support from France as might be required, but he believed that it could be upheld without further bloodshed, all "military questions" having been already settled.

Maximilian was therefore prepared to accept the throne as early as the tenth of December, 1863. He concluded all the preliminaries with Napoleon III and with his Imperial brother, Francis Joseph of Austria, who was the head of his family. This was, however, without the participation in any way of the Austrian Government. That government studiously avoided all complication in the affair, and it is clearly erroneous to speak of the "Austro-French" or of the "Franco-Austrian Empire" in Mexico. The Austrian Emperor looked with disfavor upon the scheme from the beginning, and the Austrian people were bitterly opposed to the acceptance of the throne by Maximilian. The "thought of ruling the old Empire of the Aztecs was not devoid of poetic charm and romantic character," said the Austrian newspapers, "but the time had gone by when such caprices were sufficient to compromise the policy of great states and throw them into endless complications." It was deemed especially unwise in an Austrian prince to accept any crown from the hands of a Napoleon. In the official circles of the Austrian capital, the Mexican scheme met with decided resistance up to the last moment. The Archduke's persistence, however, triumphed over all opposition, even though his decision caused a coolness between himself and his Imperial brother; and it was openly declared in Vienna, upon the announcement of his acceptance of the throne, that "Mexico and its Emperor were strangers to Austria and her interests."

In the journalistic phrase about the poetic charm and romantic character of ruling the (supposed) ancient Empire of the Aztecs, in all probability lay the strongest of the motives actuating Maximilian in the matter. His was precisely the character of mind to be dazzled by the romantic traditions regarding Mexico which had been set afloat in Europe; and to be affected by the belief, widespread in Europe, that the Indians of Mexico hoped for the return of a sovereign from the East who was to restore a former government to which they had been accustomed in the beginning. This belief was one of the stock arguments of Gutierrez de Estrada, in his "open letter" of 1840, and in pamphlets upon that subject subsequently issued from his European exile.

Ferdinand Maximilian was at this time in the thirty-second year of his age. He had been trained for the naval service, and had spent several years in travel and upon the seas. In 1855 he was appointed Commander-in-chief of the Austrian Navy, and is credited with the reorganization of the navy and its elevation to a respectable place among the navies of Europe. In 1857 he married the Princess Carlota of Belgium, a woman of lovely character and excellent mind. He was appointed by his brother, the Emperor of Austria, Military and Civil Governor of Lombardy and Venice, where he proved a liberal-minded and public-spirited ruler. The capitals of these provinces still attest the attention he gave to arts, sciences, and public improvements. Indeed, the bent of his mind seems to have been in those directions rather than toward the sterner duties of statesmanship. The books he wrote were of travel and of "aphorisms," and were not likely to attract notice beyond the circle of courtiers among whom his life was spent. His penchant for public improvement was gratified at the expense of the public funds, and with little idea of public or private economy. The magnificent Archducal Palace of Miramar, on the rocks overlooking the Gulf of Trieste, involved him heavily in debt. The French government had not only to provide the money for the payment of this debt, but to supply the means to defray the expenses of his journey to the new Empire.

Unaffected and altogether charming in his manner, spotless in personal character, possessed of pure motives, Maximilian was yet lacking in political sagacity, as he was somewhat effeminate in appearance. He was tall and slender, with blonde hair and beard, both worn long and parted in the middle. His eyes were blue. The rather weak character indicated by his personal appearance seemed to imply that he was one likely to be deluded by the promises of Louis Napoleon and deceived as to the wishes of the Mexican people, as well as unsuspicious of the flattering attentions bestowed upon him by others, and thus easily lured to his ruin.

On the eighth of April, 1864, Maximilian signed at Vienna the "Family Compact" whereby he renounced all rights which he might have in the succession to the Austrian throne, and dedicated himself entirely to the Mexican enterprise. Two days later, at a high function in the Palace of Miramar, the Committee of the Mexican Assembly of Notables again formally tendered him the Imperial crown of Mexico, and it was accepted by him in a speech declaring that he had not the slightest doubt, from the "Act of Adhesion" then presented to him, that an immense majority of the Mexican people were in favor of the Imperial form of government with himself at its head. Before an ecclesiastic present, Maximilian took an oath that he would, "by every means in his power, procure the well-being and prosperity of the Mexican nation, defend its independence, and preserve the integrity of its territory." The Mexican flag was unfurled on the tower of Miramar, salutes were fired by the vessels in the harbor of Trieste, and within the palace and among the crowds without, the greatest enthusiasm prevailed.

The same day was executed the "Treaty of Miramar," a very important document in its relation to subsequent events. It was an agreement, the details of which had been arranged some time previously between Maximilian and Napoleon III., by which Maximilian was to pay the Jecker claims, the sum of fifty-four million dollars for the support of the army, and all the expenses of the expedition of the Intervention,—making a total sum of one hundred and seventy-three million dollars of public debt with which to begin his career as Emperor of Mexico. The Treaty stipulated, among other things, that from year to year the force of thirty-eight thousand men, which then composed the French army occupying Mexico, should be withdrawn as rapidly as Mexican troops could be organized to replace them, but that eight thousand men of the French army should remain in Mexico for six years. The French troops were to be in complete accord with the Mexican Emperor, and the French military commander was not to interfere in any branch of the Mexican government.

Four days later, the Emperor and Empress were on their way to the New World in an Austrian frigate escorted by a French man-of-war. The city of Rome was visited on the way, and the young Imperial couple had an audience with the Pope, the particulars of which are shrouded in deepest mystery. But the papal interests in the success of Conservative, Reactionary, and Monarchical parties having been already engaged, and the new Empire having in its inception been committed to the Roman Catholic religion, the interview is generally inferred to have been of deep significance.

The Imperial party arrived in Vera Cruz on the twenty- ninth of May, 1864. The sovereigns were received by General Almonte as President of the Regency. The seventh of June (the twenty-fifth birthday of the Empress) was spent by the Imperial party in Puebla, on the way to the capital. Five days later, Maximilian and Carlota arrived in the City of Mexico, where they were received with every manifestation of enthusiasm by the Imperialist residents of the city. In selecting his Council of Ministers, Maximilian took many who had been associated with the government of previous Absolutists. He appointed as his Minister of State, however, a pronounced Liberal, thinking thereby to conciliate the Republicans and win them over to the Empire; and the Liberal was induced, by the blandishments of Carlota, to accept the responsibilities of that trying position. But when the Emperor asked Mariano Riva Palacio to take a portfolio in his cabinet, he encountered a person of entirely different character. Senor Riva Palacio flatly refused, on the ground that it would be inconsistent for a Republican to hold office under an Empire.

The Regency continued in office until the arrival of the Emperor, and then dissolved by limitation. The members retired, or assumed other duties assigned them under the Imperial government. The Regents left the record of few official acts performed by them,—only such as were intended to secure the proper accomplishment of what might be called, in a country where every new scheme of government has been called a "Plan" of some kind, the "Plan Napoleon."