Mexico – the French Intervention and the 2nd Empire, 1862-1867 (1/2)

1 – THE ORIGINS (2)

Mexico - the French Intervention and the 2nd Empire, 1862-1867
What followed was an obscure scheme involving a paper issue at an annual interest of six per cent, guaranteed by the house of Jecker. Holders of old bonds could convert them into Jecker bonds by paying 25 – 28 % for this “revalidation”. By the time the conservatives were ousted and Jecker was back in Europe, the worth of the bonds was miraculously risen to the grand total of $ 18,000,000. This was going to provide the French government with an excuse for the invasion of Mexico. All Miramón ever saw, btw, was no more than a meagre $ 700,000.

 

Mexico - the French Intervention and the 2nd Empire, 1862-1867
Meanwhile this gentleman here on the right, General Juan Nepomuceno Almonte, Miramón’s minister in France, signed a treaty with Spain: the Mon-Almonte Treaty. It promised the payment of debts to the Spaniards in exchange for economic aid against the Mexican Liberal Party. This treaty was the ground for the Spanish claims on Mexico.

On the 17th of November, 1860, Miramón was utterly defeated by the Liberal army and fled the country. Juárez, reinstalled in the capital, could hardly be expected to honour any treaties or contracts made by the conservatives to finance their rebellion. So, logically, he decreed the annulment of the contract under which the Jecker bonds were issued, thus not only ruining Jecker, but also his creditors, a large part of whom were French.

Mexico - the French Intervention and the 2nd Empire, 1862-1867

Then Jecker went to France for a tête-à-tête with the Duc de Morny, half brother to Napoleon III, an influential man at the French court. The duke, president of the Corps Législatif (the Legislative Assembly) who did not shun to use his position to assist his financial speculations, took him under his wings. In exchange for a commission of 30 % he would see to it that the claim was sustained by the French minister in Mexico, Alphonse Dubois de Saligny.

With unusual speed Jecker was naturalized, which made his business French business.

Meanwhile many conservatives, after the final defeat of Miramón, sought refuge in Europe, especially in Rome and in Paris, where they, from their princely palaces, loudly denounced the crimes and atrocities of the juaristas. They found a willing ear with the Empress, Eugénie.

Mexico - the French Intervention and the 2nd Empire, 1862-1867

María Eugenia Ignacia Augustina de Palafox Portocarrero de Guzmán y Kirkpatrick, 18th Marchioness of Ardales, 18th Marchioness of Moya, 19th Countess of Teba, 10th Countess of Montijo and Countess of Ablitas, better known in France as Eugénie de Montijo, was not only one of the pioneers of the new fashion of the crinoline, but also a staunch Catholic. It was her dream to see the standard of the faith firmly replanted on Mexican soil.

Mexico - the French Intervention and the 2nd Empire, 1862-1867

And so, the scene is set for the entry of one of the main characters: Napoleon III, by the grace of God and the will of the nation Emperor of the French.

 

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