Mr. Bigelow to Mr. Seward

No. 372.]

Sir: There is considerable discussion just now in Paris in relation to the measures to be taken by the Emperor’s government to secure the holders of the Mexican loan from the loss of their entire investments. The journals are especially occupying themselves with this subject, several of those in the opposition charging the government with at least a moral responsibility for the loan; and the ministerial sheets, though somewhat reticent, generally intrenching themselves behind the formal disavowal of guarantee made by M. Rouher in the Corps Legislatif. It is thought by many that a project of a law for the relief of these unfortunate people will be introduced into the next session of the legislative body. No one considers the assignment of the Mexican customs a serious measure of reimbursement. The 34,000,000 francs now lying in the bureau of deposits is the only solid resource that any one seems to regard as within the hands of the French. But so general is the belief that something will be devised by the government to reimburse the people who invested their savings in its Mexican enterprise, that quite a brisk speculation in these apparently worthless securities has sprung up, since the announcement of insolvency was made by the president of the commission.

On the other hand, I learn from good source that Mr. Fould is firmly opposed to any assumption of Maximilian’s liabilities, and has even expressed his determination to retire from the government sooner than carry out a policy so injurious to the financial interests of France.

It is sometimes vaguely suggested that a way out of the difficulty would be by a cession of territory to the United States, in exchange for a guarantee of French claims. There could be no better proof of the perplexity of the public mind in regard to this matter than this unreasonable fancy that the United States [Page 358] would accept from France what they utterly deny her right to offer, and thus lend their assistance to the completion of a course of action which they have consistently condemned from its inception.

I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,


Hon William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.