ALMONTE, JUAN. (1803-1869). Mexican revolutionary, soldier and statesman who fought at the Battle of the Alamo and served as regent of the Second Mexican Empire. LS. (“J.N. Almonte”). 2pp. 4to. Washington, January 22, 1843. On letterhead of the Mexican Legation to the United States of America. To Mexican military engineer FRANCISCO MARTINEZ DE CHAVERO (?-?). In Spanish with translation.
“On this date, I am sending the following to the battalion commander Don Antonio Almonte.
‘By tomorrow morning’s stagecoach you will set out together with the Captain of Engineers Don Francisco Martinez de Chavero, heading for the port of New York to take advantage of the packet boat that is due to leave for Veracruz on the 25th present.
After your arrival at the said port of Veracruz you will proceed without delay to the Capital of the Republic carrying the papers of this Legation which have been delivered to you for the Supreme Government; and by the first route you will give me an account of having delivered them to His Excellency the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Interior.’
Whatever concerns you for your knowledge and so that you may immediately be prepared to leave together with Captain Almonte.
God and Liberty
Washington January 22, 1843.
J. N. Almonte
By Captain of Engineers
Don Francisco Martinez de Chavero”
Almonte was the son of José Mariá Morelos, the revolutionary priest who led Mexico’s independence movement after the execution of Manuel Hidalgo. It was under Morelos’ leadership that the Congress of Anáhuac declared Mexico’s independence in 1813 and proclaimed itself a republic. Morelos, who was executed in 1815, is revered as a national hero. Prior to his martyrdom, Morelos dispatched his son, Almonte, to New Orleans to learn English and continue his education, whereupon he joined the staff of revolutionary leader José Félix Trespalacios, traveled to London as part of a Mexican delegation, and helped negotiate Mexico’s first international treaty. In 1830, upon taking a seat in the Mexican Congress, he accused President Anastasio Bustamante of permitting foreign influence, an accusation that led to his arrest and exile to New Orleans. Nevertheless, Bustamante appointed him secretary of the Mexican Legation Extraordinary in 1831, where he represented Mexico throughout South America. In 1834, Almonte was part of an inspection tour of Texas and in 1836 he became Antonio López de Santa Anna’s aide-de-camp where he assisted in the attempt to suppress the Texas Revolution. Almonte fought at the Battle of the Alamo, where he rejected the Texian’s plea for a conditional surrender. Shortly thereafter, he led the Mexican Army’s final attempt to defeat the rebels and, after their surrender, stayed with the imprisoned Santa Anna, acting as interpreter.
Following his return to Mexico, Almonte became the country’s secretary of war and marine, continuing his diplomatic career as minister plenipotentiary to Washington beginning in 1841, in which capacity he penned our letter. In August 1843, President Santa Anna announced that American annexation of the Republic of Texas – which Mexico refused to recognize – would be considered an act of war and, with the territory’s 1845 annexation, Almonte fled Washington as armed conflict grew imminent.
Almonte returned to the U.S. in a diplomatic role after the war and, later, sought European intervention during Mexico’s War of Reform. In 1859, he signed the Mon-Almonte Treaty that normalized relations between Mexico and Spain. Almonte was instrumental in France’s 1861 establishment of the Second Mexican Empire when Napoleon III worked behind the scenes to make Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian emperor of Mexico. Maximilian bestowed on Almonte the title of marshal of the empire, but following the ill-fated emperor’s execution, Almonte went into exile in Europe.
Our letter was written during the era of the Centralist Republic of Mexico (República Mexicana), briefly headed by President Nicolás Bravo from 1842-1843. Almonte mentions his own brother, Don Antonio Almonte (?-?), who was imprisoned in 1830 after Almonte’s accusations against the Bustamante government.
The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican-American War with Mexico obliged to cede to the United States large portions of its territory in modern Arizona, California, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Nevada, and Utah. Francisco Martinez de Chavero served as secretary of the Mexican Commission to survey the new border between Mexico and the United States.
Written on recto and verso. Normal folding, otherwise fine and rare. [indexhistory]