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well informed relative to the interests of the two countries, and of our sincere desire to restore, cultivate, and strengthen friendship and good correspondence between us; and, from a knowledge of his fidelity and good conduct, I have entire confidence that he will render himself acceptable to the Mexican government, by his constant endeavors to preserve and advance the interest and happiness of both nations. I, therefore, request your excellency to receive him favorably, and to give full credence to whatever he shall say on the part of the United States. And I pray God to have you in his safe and holy keeping.
Written at the city of Washington the tenth day of Novmber, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-five, and of the independence of the United States the seventieth.
Your good friend,
JAMES K. POLK.
Secretary of State.
President of the Mexican Repub.i.
[Enclosure No. 2.)
Mr. Black to Mr. Slidell.-Extracts.
CONSULATE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Mexico, December 15, 1815. In compliance with your request, I have the honor to give you, herewith, a written statement of what passed between his excellency Manuel de la Peña y Peña, minister of foreign relations, &c., of the Mexican government, and myself, and the two interviews had with the said minister, on the evenings of the 8th and 13th instant, held at his house, as follows:
At the interview of Monday evening, the 8th instant, which took place between the hours of 6 and 7, I stated to his excellency that I presumed he knew of the arrival' in this city of the Hon. John Slidell, as envoy, &c., from the government of the United States. He replied that he had been informed of it that day. I then told him that I had made known to Mr. Slidell what his excellency had communicated to me in our interview of Welnesday, the 3d inst., in relation to the fears entertained by the Mexican government on account of his arrival at this time, as it would have better suited the Mexican government, and they would be more able to carry out their views in relation to the mi.sion, if the envoy had arrived a month later; and that our minister, Mr. Slidell, had regrelied much that he had not known the wish of the Mexican government in relation to this point before he left home, as it would also have better suited his convenience to have deferred his coming a
month longer; but it was his impression that it was the wish of the Mexican government that he should arrive with as little delay as possible.
His excellency replied that he had been under the impression, from what had been intimated by myself and others, that an envoy would not be appointed by the government of the United States until after the meeting of Congress, which would not take place until the 1st of December; that the Mexican government were engaged in collecting the opinion of the department in relation to this atfair, in order that they might be prepared and better able to carry out their views respecting the same; that he himself was well disposed to have everything amicably arranged, but that the opposition was strong, and opposed the government with great violence in this measure, and that the government had to proceed with caution; that nothing positive could be done until the new Congress meet in January; but that, in the meantime, they would receive the minister's credentials, examine them, and be treating on the subject. He wished to know when I thought the minister would receive the confirmation of his appointment by the Senate. I said this he would likely know in a few days.
I then presented to his excellency the letter of the Hon. John Slidell, enclosing a copy of his credentials, and a letter from the Hon. James Buchanan, Secretary of State of the United States; at the same time asking the Mexican minister when it would be convenient to give an answers to which he replied, on Wednesday evening, the 10th instant, at the same hour and place, and requested that I would attend, to receive the same accordingly; to which I consented; but, about 4 o'clock in the afternoon of that day, I received a note from Mr. Monasterio, chief clerk of the foreign department, advising me that the minister could not receive me that night (as agreed on) on account of it having been determined to hear the opinion of the government council on the subject of the arrival of the minister from the United States; but as soon as he was ready for the conference arranged with me, he would have the pleasure to advise ine, as will be seen by a copy of said note, which I transmit herewith.
On Saturday evening, the 13th instant, at the request of Mr. Slidell, I called on the Mexican minister, Señor Peña, at his house, to inquire when an answer would be given to his (Mr. Slidell's) aforesaid note. He replied that the affair had been submitted to the government council, in a special session of this day, and that it had been referred to a committee, and that as soon as the committee made a report, and the council should decide, he would then advise me, through Mr. Monasterio, when he was ready for the conference to present to me the answer for Mr. Slidell; as he said when he came to examine the credentials of Mr. S. hé found them to be the same as those presented by Mr. Shannon, and other former ministers—as a minister to reside near the government of Mexico, just as if there had been no suspension of the diplomatic and friendly relations between the two governments; that the Mexican government understood the present mission to be a special mission, and confined to the differences in relation to the Texas question, and not as a mission to reside near the Mexican government, as in ordinary cases; that of course would follow when the first question was decided.
I replied, that as I understood it, the Mexican government had not only agreed to receive an envoy, intrusted with full powers to settle the question in dispute in relation to the affairs of Texas, but all the questions in dispute between the two governments, as proposed by the government of the United States. He replied that the credentials of Mr. Slidell had not reference to any questions in dispute, but merely as a minister to reside near the Mexican government, without reference to any questions in dispute, just as if the diplomatic and friendly relations between the two governments had not been and were not interrupted; that I knew the critical situation of the Mexican government, and that it had to proceed with great caution and circumspection in this affair; that the government itself was well disposed to arrange all differ
He said he was happy to say that he had received very favorable information in relation to our minister, the Hon. Mr. Slidell; that he understood he was a person endued with excellent qualities, and an eminent lawyer; and as he himself was of that profession, they would be able to understand each other better, and that be would be much pleased to cultivate his acquaintance; and that if etiquette and the present state of affairs would permit, he would be happy to pay him a visit, even before he was presented to the government; and said he would advise me, through Mr. Monasterio, when he was ready to present to me the answer to Mr. Siidell's note.
The foregoing, sir, is, as far as my recollection will serve, a true statement of what passed between the aforesaid Mexican minister and myself in the before mentioned interviews.
(Enclosure No. 3.]
Mr. Slidell to Mr. Peña y Peña.
Mexico, December 15, 1845. The undersigned, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States of America, had the honor, on the 8th instant, to address a note to your excellen:y, informing him of the arrival of the undersigned in this capital, accompanying the same with a copy of his letters of credence, and requesting to be informed when and where he might bave the honor of presenting his said letters of credence to the most excellent president of the Mexican republic, General José Joaquim de Herrera.
To this note the undersigned has not as yet received any reply. He is necessarily ignorant of the reasons which have caused so long a delay; but, inasmuch as he is desirous to communicate as speedily as possible with his government, he begs leave, most respectfully, to ask your excellency to inform him when he may expect to receive a reply to his note of the 8th instant.
The undersigned renews to his excellency Manuel de la Peña y Peña the assurance of his most distinguished consideration.
JOHN SLIDELL. His Ex'y MANUEL DE LA PENA Y PENA, Minister of Foreign Relations and
Government of the Mexican Republic.
[Enclosure No. 4.]
Mr. Peña y Peña to Mr. Slidell.
PALACE OF THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT,
Mexico, December 16, 1845. The undersigned, minister of foreign relations, in answer to the letter which Lis excellency Mr. John Slidell was pleased to address to bim yesterday, has the honor to inform him that the delay in his reception, to which he alludes, and the consequent delay in answering his preceding note, making known his arrival in this capital, and accompanying a copy of his credentials, have arisen solely from certain difficulties, occasioned by the nature of those credentials, as compared with the proposition made by the United States, through their consul, to treat peacefully upon the affairs of Texas, with the person who should be appointed to that effect; for which Teason it has been found necessary to submit the said credentials to the council of government, for its opinion with regard to them.
The undersigned will communicate the result to his excellency without loss of time; assuring him meanwhile that the government of Mexico is ready to proceed agreeably to what it proposed in its answer on the subject.
The undersigned avails himself of this opportunity to offer to his excellency Mr. Slidell the assurances of his very distinguished consideration.
MANUEL DE LA PEÑA Y PEÑA. His Excellency JOHN SLIDELL, &c., &c.
Mr. Slidell to Mr. Buchanan.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
Mexico, December 27, 1815. I have the honor to transmit, herewith, a copy of my despatch of the 17th instant.
On the 20th instant, not having received from the minister of foreign relations the reply in relation to my reception, which he had assured me would be made as soon as he should be informed of the results of the reference to the council of government, I thought it advisable to avail myself of the opportunity which his silence afforded to correct the statement made by him in his note of the 16th instant, that the United States had proposeil, through their consul, to treat in a friendly manner respecting the affairs of Texas. I accordingly addressed him the communication of which you will find a copy herewith; pointing out, briefly, the error into which he had fallen, with the hope, rather than the expectation, that it might induce him to withhold or qualify the reply which it was known, from the public declaration of the minister himself in the chamber of deputies, had been prepared, declaring the refusal of the President to receive me. On the 21st instant I received from Mr. Peña y Peña his promised reply, conveying the formal and unqualified refusal of the Mexican government to receive me in the character for which I am commissioned; of this most extraordinary document I send a copy. To this I replied, under date of the 24th instant, disproving the unfounded assertion of Mr. Peña y Peña, and refuting the arguments upon which the refusal to receive me was based. It would be superfluous for me to recapitulate what I have said in my letter to the minister of foreign relations, and I shall refer you for particulars to the accompanying copy.
I am not without apprehension lest, in my anxiety to preserve that tone of forbearance, in my intercourse with this government, which has been so strongly inculcated upon me by your instructions, I may have failed to animadvert with becoming spirit on its unparalleled bad faith, its gross falsification of the correspondence which led to my appointment, and the utter futility of the miserable sophistry by which it atterapts to justify its conduct. If I have erred in this respect, I doubt not that you will find sufficient excuse for the error in the peculiarity of my position, unprecedented, I believe, in our diplomatic annals; the absence of all instructions in a contingency so unlooked for; and the feeling of self abnegation which has prompted me rather to subject myself to the imputation of a want of proper firmness and energy, than to take a course which could scarcely have failed to close the door upon all subsequent attempts at negotiation, and render war inevitable.
Apart, indeed, from your instructions, two other considerations