Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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ROMERO, Matias (ro-may'-ro), Mexican statesman, born in Oaxaca, Mexico, 24 February, 1837. He was educated at the Institute of arts and science in his native town, where he studied philosophy and then law. In 1853 he settled in the city of Mexico, and through the influence of Benito Juarez was enabled to enter the foreign office. Meanwhile he continued his legal studies at the Academy of theoreticol and practical law, and was admitted to the bar in 1857. In the revolution of that year he sided with the government, and after the abandonment of Mexico he retired to Guadalajara, where Juarez . appointed him to an office in the department of foreign affairs. He continued to follow the fortunes of the constitutional government in its migrations, and at Vera Cruz served as secretary to Melchor Ocampe (q. v.), and chief clerk of the several departments under that statesman's charge. In December, 1859, he was appointed secretary of the Mexican legation in Washington, and he was subsequently charge d'affaires until April, 1863. The period during which he was in office at the legation was probably the most difficult in the annals of Mexican diplomacy, involving grave and complicated questions from the capture of the Spanish vessel " Maria Concepcion" down to the French intervention in Mexico. On his return to Mexico in 1863 he resigned his diplomatic post, and, soliciting an appointment in the army, was commissioned colonel, and became chief of staff to his college friend, General Porfirio Diaz. He was employed on several military missions of a diplomatic nature, and in September returned to Washington as minister to the United States. This place he then held until July, 1868, and negotiated several important treaties with this country after the downfall of the empire in Mexico. He accepted the treasury portfolio in Juarez's cabinet in August, 1868, and for five years administered the finances of his native country with skill and judgment. His health failing, he retired to the Soconusco district and engaged in agricultural pursuits, also serving as a member of congress from that part of Mexico. In 1876 he was a member of the senate, and on the election of General Diaz to the presidency he returned to his post in the treasury department, which he then held until 1 April, 1879. He was appointed postmaster-general in February, 1880, but on the inauguration of General Manuel Gonzalez was retired from that office. In the spring of 1881 he became interested in the Mexican Southern railway company, and accompanied General Grant on his tour of inspection through Mexico. From May, 1881, till February, 1882, he was general superintendent of the company in Mexico. During President Garfield's administration the boundary question between the United States and Mexico became a matter of public consideration, and also that between Mexico and Guatemala, and he was again sent as minister from Mexico. Both difficulties were adjusted by him and a treaty of reciprocity between the United States and Mexico was signed. He resigned his post at Washington on the expiration of Gonzalez's presidential term, but was reappointed by General Diaz in 1884, and still (1888) retains the office. Romero has published upward of fifty volumes, but they are chiefly official reports. Among the more important are "Circulars and other Publications made by the Mexican Legation at Washington during the French Intervention," 1862-'7 (2 vols., Mexico, 1868); "Coffee-Culture on the Southern Coast of Chiapas" (1875); "Correspondence of the Mexican Legation at Washington during the French Intervention" (9 vols., 1870-'85) ; " Historical Sketch of the Annexation of Chiapas and Soconusco to Mexico" (1877) ; and "The State of Oaxaca" (Barcelona, Spain, 1886).
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