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ernment. He was eyes and ears for it, reporting all he could hear or see, which would concern his country, of occurrences not only in the United States but in Europe as well. In this capacity he served his country faithfully for nearly four years. His government's unstable financial condition made it impossible to supply him with funds sufficient to maintain his country's credit and dignity or his own comfort. Finally driven to distraction by financial embarrassment, by ill health, probably by bad news from home, and, it was thought also, by disappointment in love, he terminated his services by committing suicide.7

47 He had repeatedly requested his recall. Before he had been in Washington two years he wrote that the grave infirmity from which he was suffering and of which he had previously written made continuous exertion impossible; and he asked to be permitted to withdraw from his post and return home. Obregon to Secretario, 20 de agosto de 1826. In the following winter he asked that his recall be sent as soon as possible, alluding to pecuniary and other difficulties. Same to same, 21 de febrero de 1827, MS., Relaciones Exteriores.

In August, 1828, Obregon announced to the State Department his intention of absenting himself from the United States on a visit to Mexico, giving ill health as his reason. He said that he would leave Montoya as chargé d'affaires. A little less than a month later Montoya announced the death of Obregon. Obregon to Clay, August 14, 1828, and Montoya to Clay, September 11, 1828, MS., Department of State, Notes from the Mexican Legation, I.

On the same day on which he announced Obregon's death to the State Department Montoya wrote a long account of it to his government. Beginning by saying that Obregon had retired to return to Mexico leaving him as chargé and that one of his first duties was the unpleasant one of telling of Obregon's suicide, he speculated at length on the probable

cause for the deed. He said that no declaration of motives could be found. But it seemed that the minister had offered his hand to a young lady, a resident of the United States, and had been refused. This made a deep impression on his too vivid imagination and was probably the final cause of his complete loss of balance. But the absolute failure of his means of subsistence and the consequent necessity of retiring from his post in order to sell his furniture had aggravated the malady from which he was suffering. In spite of his melancholy, however, Obregon had given no sign of attempting to take his life until two or three days before his death. Up to that time he had been engaged in arranging his papers and preparing for the journey which he expected to make by way of New Orleans. At that time he had received some letters. Montoya was uncertain whether they brought disagreeable domestic news, or whether Obregon imagined some misfortune that did not exist. But it was certain that on the very day on which he had received the correspondence he had broken out with a declaration that he would not now go to Mexico but would stay in the United States. He had made good this declaration by the catastrophe which had just occurred. Taking advantage of the absence of the legation officials, Obregon had hanged himself from the ceiling of his room. An enclosed medical certificate of a physician who had been summoned in hope of restoring life told the facts so far as known. Death certificate, dated 10 de septiembre de 1828, and Montoya to Secretario, 11 de septiembre de 1828, MS., Relaciones Exteriores.



Athough the government of Mexico was very slow in establishing its legation in Washington, yet the Washington government was slower still in opening the United States legation at Mexico. Furthermore the delays were less unavoidable. The equivocal character and uncertain tenure of the various shortlived governments of Mexico had something to do with the delays on both sides. But there were other reasons, the motive for which was far less creditable to the Washington administration. There were strong suspicions—and there is little doubt that those suspicions were well founded-that this and other diplomatic appointments were intentionally delayed to be used as political capital. The relation between the appointment of a minister for Mexico and the notorious presidential contest of 1824 is so intimate that in order to understand the former it is essential to refer frequently to the latter. For two or three years before it occurred that coming conflict cast its shadow over the country and influenced the conduct of the Washington cabinet, and especially that of the secretary of state, who was one of the most important participants in the conflict. To appreciate the difficulties which the first

minister encountered when he finally reached Mexico, which difficulties he felt were a consequence of the long delay, it is also desirable to understand the causes for the delay.

On March 7, 1822, the day preceding the one on which President Monroe sent his famous message to Congress recommending the recognition of the independence of Mexico and of several other Latin-American countries, Secretary Adams wrote: "There has been hitherto no agent of the United States in Mexico; but among the papers herewith submitted is a letter recently received from a citizen of the United States, who has been some years residing there, containing the best information in possession of the government concerning the late revolution in that country." Wilcocks, the citizen here mentioned, arrived in Washington a few days afterward and, on March 13, delivered to the State Department the despatch dated November 30, preceding, sent by Herrera, the minister for foreign relations of the new Mexican executive, men

1 Adams to Monroe, March 7, 1822, American State Papers, Foreign, IV, 819. For the President's message to Congress of the following day, see the same, 818; or British and Foreign State Papers, IX, 366. Concerning the recognition of Mexican independence by the United States, see footnote 18, chapter I, above.

The letter referred to by Adams is that of Wilcocks, dated October 25, 1821, cited in footnote 1, chapter I, above. It is a long laudatory account of the character and work of Iturbide. It reviews also the progress of the revolution from its beginning in 1810.

tioned above as the first diplomatic communication which passed between the governments.2

Adams replied to Herrera's letter on April 23. In the meantime Congress had almost unanimously endorsed the President's proposal to recognize the new states. In this reply Adams told Herrera that the President would appoint a minister to represent the United States at Mexico. Almost as soon as it was decided that the United States should recognize the new states the question presented itself whether ministers should be appointed and despatched at once; or whether the government at Washington should await the arrival of an agent from each of those states and then send one of the same rank in exchange. The cabinet was not unanimous for either proposition. Adams thought the latter course should be pursued, but was not insistent. The indecision caused delay. The matter was discussed in April, 1822, again in June, and as late as November without a definite decision being reached. The arrival and reception of Zozaya, the minister from Mexico, early the following month removed this ground for delay. Early in January of 1823 the selection of a minister for Mexico was taken up in earnest, the President having decided that the position should be filled at once.

2 See footnote 2, chapter I, above.

3 Herrera to Adams, September 24, 1822, MS., Department of State, Notes from Mexican Legation, I, acknowledges this letter from Adams of April 23.

4 Adams, Memoirs, V, 492; VI, 24, 110.

5 See chapter I, above.

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