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The revolution in Nuevo León

Originally General Pablo González supported the earlier Constitutionalist currency. On 18 June 1914 from his headquarters in Monterrey he decreed, in view of the difficulties which the refusal to accept some issues was causing, that
(a) all the Ejército Constitucionalista and Monclova issues were forced;
(b) the Ejército Constitucionalista notes that were considered counterfeit because they had a fondo blanco in the central vignette were in fact genuine;
(c) the dos caritas were valid tender and forced;
(d) infractors would be punished with a fine or imprisonmentPeriódico Oficial, Tamaulipas, 24 June 1914: El Demócrata, Segunda Época, Tomo II, Núm.122, 1 July 1914).

The dos caritas were very popular in Monterrey, in spite of the restrictions imposed by Carranza’s decrees, but in December 1914 people in Monterrey and Saltillo began to refuse themPrensa, 6 December 1914. Because the public were unhappy with the disposition that Chihuahua notes were invalid, the governor and comandante militar of Nuevo León, Antonio I. Villarreal, felt compelled to issue a 'decree'[text needed] that the disposition of 4 June 1914, by which the Chihuahua money was made obligatory, remained in force. He thus contradicted Carranza’s recent decreePrensa, 16 December 1914.

However, there were problems with the acceptability of local issues. On 27 February 1915 the Chamber of Commerce pressed the Jefatura de Hacienda to exchange the regional issues in circulation for notes of forced circulation throughout the country, as merchants had to accept large discounts when they used the former to buy goods from other markets. In March the alcalde of Monterrey promised to help by allowing merchant to deposit in any public office the government vales they had in order to get the same amount in cash.

The Villistas

In Monterrey, the Provisional Governor and Comandante Militar, Raul Madero, had already received instructions from the Convention to retire the unrevalidated Gobierno Provisional and Ejército Constitucionalista notes. His decree of 13 March 1915 instructed holders to change such notes within ten days for notes of the Estado de Chihuahua at the offices set up in the old Banco de Carralde at calle Hidalgo 66; the Tesorería Municipal; Jefatura de Hacienda; Tesorería General del Estado; Recaudacíon de Rentas del Estado; Recaudacíon de Rentas Municipales and Administracíon Principal de TimbrePeriódico Oficial,19 March 1915. On 20 March José Videgaray, Presidente Municipal of Monterrey, wrote to the Secretario de Gobierno, in reply to a query, that the Tesorería Municipal and Recaudación de Rentas Municipales had told him that they both would require two employees to effect the exchange. The Recaudación de Rentas Municipales would use Alfredo R. Garza and Rufino M. González (ANL, Correspondencia de Alcaldes: Monterrey, caja 131). The Tesorería Municipal used José María González y Juan E. Rivera (ANL, Correspondencia de Alcaldes: Monterrey, caja 131 letter 24 March 1915). On 19 March 1915 Madero decreed[text needed] the withdrawal of all Carrancista issues. The decree caused a sensation in Monterrey as vast quantities of Carrancista notes were in circulation and the inhabitants believed that the period fixed for exchanging the notes would not be long enoughPrensa, 20 March 1915. When Madero received orders to declare invalid all the Carrancista issues, he listed these in his decree (núm. 7) of 31 March as the Monclova and Gobierno Provisional de México issues and the notes issued by Carranza in VeracruzLa Republica, 1 April 1915. Obviously, he did not consider Villa’s order to include the Ejército Constitucionalista.

On 3 April Madero reported the turmoil caused by the nullification of Carrancista money, with people having nothing to eat and those arriving from recently conquered territories having only this type of currency. He suggested that notes revalidated by the express order of Chihuahua should be considered good as no order was ever given for their exchange. He suggested giving thirty days to get them changed, and asked for three million pesos to effect thisLG papers, 3-F-7, telegram from Madero, Monterrey, to de la Garza, 3 April 1915. On 6 April J. Cantu Reyna, the Regidor Primero of Montemorelos, telephoned to report that the poorer classes in his town only had Ejército Constitucionalista notes and no dos caritas. He asked for someone to be sent with between 15,000 and 20,000 pesos in exchange. The governor ordered the Tesorería to send someone with $25,000ANL, Hacienda y Tesorería, Cambio de Moneda, caja 1 and on 8 April Carlos Cantú Treviño was dispatched: he returned on 19 AprilANL, Hacienda y Tesorería, Cambio de Moneda, caja 159. On 10 April Madero ordered that Carrancista notes that had been restamped by the Villista government could continue to circulate, and only those that lacked resellos were worthlessPrensa, 15 April 1915.

On 10 May the Inspector Oficial in Monterrey, Alfredo H. Hernández, issued his first circular, advising public offices, commerce and the general public that forthwith, all Chihuahua issues would be forced circulation, including the so-called ‘Villistas viejos’ (i.e. sábanas) and the first issue of the dos caritas, which were distinguishable by the fact that the signature extended beyond the design in the one and five pesos: the ten pesos had its sello on the front; and the ten and twenty pesos were hand-signed. Those who refused dos caritas because they did not have a date next to the series letter or did not have letters on the reverse were mistakenPeriódico Oficial, 14 May 1915.

On 31 May the town council of Monterrey agreed to pay its workers in Villista money (billetes de emisión Villista) at double the rate, because of the lack of other currency and the value Villista money itself had in the marketplace AMM, Colección Actas de Cabildo, volumen 101, exp. 1915/024.

The Carrancistas

When the Villistas left Monterrey in May 1915 their money rapidly depreciated to nothing. One businessman papered his room with thousands of the now worthless notesJosé P. Saldaña, Episodios Contemporáneos, Monterrey, 1955. Idelfonso V. Vázquez took over as interim governor on 29 May and on 3 June decreed that Chihuahua issues were prohibited from that dateANL, Fondo Leyes, Decretos y Circulares, Colecciones de Circulares, Año 1915-1919, caja 7.

Though Ildefonso V. Vázquez had stated that revalidated Constitucionalista notes should circulate, various businesses were refusing to accept them unless they were declared of forced circulation. On 11 June 1915 the Compañía, de Tranvías, Luz y Fuerza and the Compañía de Agua y Drenaje complained to the Secretario de Gobierno that they would having difficulties making their payroll and their employees would refuse to accept the notes offeredANL, Hacienda y Tesorería, caja 166.So, on 16 June interim governor Pablo de la Garza reiterated that Gobierno Provisional de México notes with the overprint REVALIDADO were of forced circulationANL, Fondo Leyes, Decretos y Circulares, Colecciones de Circulares, Año 1915-1919, caja 7.

In June 1915 the Carrancista General Luis Caballero captured $650,000 in dos caritas from a pay train at Huertas, between Ciudad Victoria and Monterrey, and sent it to the Carrancista consulate in El Paso. The Villa authorities in Ciudad Juárez declared that it was all counterfeit but Carranza representatives pointed out that it was part of a large sum that has been used in paying Villa troops and that it must therefore be genuineEl Paso Herald, 2 June 1915: Prensa, 5 June 1915.

In Monterrey the new government issued a circular (núm. 4) on 22 June that all Constitutionalist notes were valid, with certain being of forced circulation. Others would be exchanged, whilst the notes of the Estado de Sonora, the dos caritas, the sábanas and in general all Villista issues were null and voidPeriódico Oficial, 21 July 1915. Carranza’s decree of 27 November 1914 was published in the Periódico Oficial of 17 July, and his decree of 8 December in the next issue, 21 July.

In Monterrey on 27 August General Jacinto B. Treviño, warned the public to accept the Ejército Constitucionalista notes. Strangely, he mentioned only the $5, $10 and $20 valuesEl Democrata, Monterrey, 29 August 1915 though a memorandum on counterfeits issued three days later included the $1 so this was probably an oversight. On 30 September Nieto sent a telegram to Abel A. Lozano, the Jefe de Hacienda in Monterrey, stating that the only legal currencies were the Ejército Constitucionalista and the Veracruz notes. On 2 October 1915 El Democrata in Monterrey reporting that there had been some unjustifiable alarm in the city reminded its readers that the Ejército Constitucionalista were compulsory tender even if they had not been restampedEl Demócrata, Monterrey, 2 October 1915.

On 10 May 1916 the Secretaría del Gobierno issued its circular núm. 47, telling the Oficinas Recaudadores to keep only as much Veracruz and Ejército Constitucionalista money as they needed for certain expenses, marking the rest with a stamp saying “Retirado de la circulación”.