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The revolution in Tamaulipas

The Constitutionalists in Tamaulipas published Carranza’s various pronouncements on currency. On 15 February 1914, from Matamoros General Pablo González, Comandante en Jefe of the Cuerpo de Ejército del Noreste, which covered Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas, decreed that the Constitutionalist issues were of forced circulation in those states and that banknotes were without value and strictly prohibitedPeriódico Oficial, Tomo XXXIX, Núm. 14, 18 February 1914. Two days later Luis Caballero, governor and military commander of the state, from Ciudad Victoria, told holders of banknotes that they could exchange them for Constitutionalist currency in an office that he had set up in the Palacio de Gobiernoibid..

The Presidente Municipal in Matamoros published González’ decree but on 26 February had to report that Policarpo Suso (a Spanish subject, formerly Spanish vice consul at Torreón and manager of the Compañía Agrícola de Río Bravo) had opened a bureau de change where he bought Constitutionalist notes at 65c silver a peso. He was told to closeAMM, Archivo General 1914, exp. 1462 minutas de comunicaciones oficiales febrero-marzo.

On 19 February, since the banks had not complied with Carranza’s ultimátum, Caballero took them overPeriódico Oficial, Tomo XXXIX, Núm. 15, 21 February 1914. On 1 March Caballero relayed Carranza’s decree making the issues from the states Sonora, Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Durango, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas, of forced circulation throughout the territory dominated by his forcesPeriódico Oficial, Tomo XXXIX, Núm. 18, 4 March 1914 and published Carranza other decrees from February through to Maythus decree núm. 18 (Periódico Oficial, Tomo XXXIX, Núm. 20, 11 March 1914): circular núm. 8 (Periódico Oficial, Tomo XXXIX, Núm. 21, 14 March 1914): decree núm. 22 (Periódico Oficial, Tomo XXXIX, Núm. 25, 28 March 1914): decree núm. 24 (Periódico Oficial, Tomo XXXIX, Núm. 36, 6 May 1914): decree núm. 26 (Periódico Oficial, Tomo XXXIX, Núm. 46, 10 June 1914).

On 17 April Policarpo Suso, in Matamoros, was arrested on a charge of circulating counterfeit Monclova currencyAlbuquerque Journal, 18 April 1914. By June 1914 the American consul, Jesse H. Johnson, had managed to get Suso released from jail but on condition that he did not leave MatamorosPrensa, 18 June 1914.

On 4 June Caballero prohibited the circulation of banknotes issued since Huerta’s coup d’état on 22 February 1913 (so González' previous ban on all banknotes was obviously not totally effective) and told holders to hang on to them until the banks reopened and could honour themPeriódico Oficial, Tomo XXXIX, Núm. 48, 17 June 1914 and a couple of days later authorised his own issue.

On 12 June Caballero decreed that of the Chihuahua issues only the dos caritas were of forced circulation. On 24 June the Periódico Oficial published Pablo González' decree confirming the validity of certain Constitutionalist issues (Monclova, Ejército Constitucionalista (including the fondo blanco), and dos caritas) on pain of punishmentPeriódico Oficial, Tomo XXXIX, Núm. 50, 24 June 1914. And on 11 July published Carranza’s decree núm. 27 authorising the Estado de Durango notesPeriódico Oficial, Tomo XXXIX, Núm. 55, 11 July 1914.

On 6 September, since counterfeits had been discovered in certain towns, Caballero ordered the holders of counterfeit notes to hand them in to the local Jefatura de Armas before 13 SeptemberPeriódico Oficial, Tomo XXXIX, Núm. 72, 9 September 1914. However, on 17 September, since far less was handed in than expected, he extended the period for thirty days, setting the Jefatura de Armas in the capital and the Tesorerías Municipales in the other places. This time he threatened that counterfeiters would be dealt with by Benito Juárez’ law of 25 January 1862 which stipulated the death penaltyPeriódico Oficial, Tomo XXXIX, Núm. 75, 19 September 1914.

Caballero followed Carranza’s various pronouncements on paper currency, including notices about counterfeits so on 9 December he declared that the notes of the states of Sonora and Chihuahua were null and voidPeriódico Oficial, Tomo XXXIX, Núm. 99, 12 December 1914. The Periódico Oficial also published the various notices about counterfeits, for example on Ejército Constitucionalista notesPeriódico Oficial, Tomo XL, Núm. 9, 30 January 1915 and on validity, for instance the Secretaría de Hacienda’s Aclaracion sobre la circulacion de billetesPeriódico Oficial, Tomo XL, Núm. 21, 13 March 1915. On 24 March Caballero had to remind people that the Pagaduría General del Cuerpo de Ejército del Noreste issue and Gobierno Provisional de Mexico notes, whether or not, they had the PESOS bar over the denomination, were validPeriódico Oficial, Tomo XL, Núm. 24, 24 March 1915.

On 14 June 1915 Caballero reported, in his circular no. 48, that Carranza had prohibited the paper money of Villa and Gutiérrez (revalidados) and ordered the Presidentes Municipales to decommission them. Thus, on 16 June, in Matamoros, Pedro A. Chapa, Jefe de las Armas, published a telegram he had received from Caballero, in Monterrey, that from 9 June, by order of Carranza, all Villista and Gutiérrista issues were invalid, and those in Matamoros should be collected and sent to the Comandancia de la 5ª. División del Noreste. Some people were still using Villista notesPrensa, 19 June 1915.

However, the next week the Jefatura de la Línea Fronteriza de Tamaulipas announced that, by disposition of Governor Caballero, revalidated notes (los billetes constitucionalistas que hayan sido revalidados por las autoridades convencionalistas por decreto de 17 de Diciembre de 1914), would be of forced circulation, so public offices and individuals could get back the notes that had been previously been collected as being worthless. The Presidente Municipal of Matamoros, Conrado Gutiérrez, published a message from Caballero that stated: “in view of a new disposition of the Primer Jefe, notes issued by our government and revalidated by Gutiérrez are again of forced circulation”Prensa, 27 June 1915.

In September 1915 Procopio Elizondo, Jefe de las Armas in Matamoros, issued a circular that, by order of General Jacinto Treviño, notes issued in Chihuahua on 14 March 1914, and Veracruz Gobierno Provisional notes were of forced circulationPrensa, 4 September 1915. On 5 September the Jefe de la Línea Fronteriza, General Emiliano P. Nafarrete, in Matamoros, threatened to punish businesses that refused to accept $10 and $20 Carrancista notes, which had previously been withdrawn because of the number of counterfeits. Despite Elizondo’s circular, businesses had continued to refuse to accept these notesPrensa, 8 September 1915.