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government of the United States, and the Mexican government accepted it, in order to give a new proof, that in the midst of grievances, and its firm decision to exact adequate reparation, it did not repel or contemn the measure of reason and peace to which it was invited; so that this proposition, as well as it acceptance, rested ubon the precise and definite understanding that the commissioner should be ad hoc-that is to say, commissioned to settle, in a peaceful and honorable manner, the questions relative to Texas. This has not been done, as Mr. Siidell does not come invested with that character, but with the absolute and general functions of an envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, to reside in this quality near the Mexican government.
If bis excellency Mr. Slidell be admiited in this character, which differs substantially from that proposed for his mission on the part of the United States, and accepted by the government of the undersigned, there would be reason to believe that thenceforth the relations between the two republics were open and frank, which could not be the case until the questions which have led to the present interruption of those relations should have been settled in a manner peaceful, but at the same time honorabie to Mexico.
Although it be true that, in the credential letter brought by his excellency Mr. Slidell, it is stated that he is informed of the desire of the President of the United States to restore, cultivate, and strengthen friendship and good correspondence between the two countries, it is also no less frue that in this clause the single word restore is by no means sufficient to give to Mr. Slidell the special character of commissioner, or plenipotentiary ad hoc; to make propositions as to the affairs of Texas, calculated to establish peace firmly, and to arrest the evils of war by means of an adequate agree
Mr. Slidell is too enlightened not himself to see that the powers of such a plenipotentiary ought to refer, and be adequate, and directed definitely to the business for which he is appointed; and that he is very far from possessing these requisites, in virtue of the character in which he appears, of an absolute and general minister, of an ordinary plenipotentiary, to reside near the Mexican government.
The admission of such a minister should be, as the undersigned has already said, preceded by the agreement which the United Siates proposes to enter into for the establishment of peace and good correspondence with Moxico, interrupted by the occurrences of Texas -this point being, from its very nature, necessary to be attained before any other; and until it shall have been entirely and peacefully settled, not even an appointment should be made of a resident minister by either of the two governments.
The supreme government of Mexico, therefore, cannot admit his excellency Mr. Slidell to the exercise of the functions of the mission conferred on him by the United States government. But as the sentiments expressed by the undersigned to the consul, in his above mentioned communication of the 14th of October las:, are in no wise changed, he now repeats them; adding that he will have the utmost pleasure in treating with Mr. Slidell so soon as he shall
have presented credentials authorizing him expressly and exclusively to settle thequestions which have disturbed the harmony and good understanding between the two republics, and which will bring on war beiween them unless such settlement be effected in a satisfactory manner, to which the proposition from the government of the United States related, and under the express understanding of which that proposition was accepted by the Mexican government. Until this be done, Mr Slidell cannot be admitted in the character with which he appears invested, as the honor, the dignity, and the interests of the Mexican republic would thereby be placed in jeopardy:
The undersigned takes the liberty to adjoin to the present note his answer to that of the Secretary of Siate of the United States, presented to him by Mr. John Slidell; to whom he has the honor at the same time to present the assurances of his very distinguished consideration.
MANUEL DE LA PEÑA Y PEÑA. To his Excellency John SLIDELL, &c., &C., &c.
[Enclosure No. 3.)
Mr. Slidell to Mr. Pena y Pena.
Mexico, December 24, 1845. The undersigned, enroy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States of America, had the honor to receive, on the evening of Sunday the 21st instant, the communication of Mr.
Peña y Peña, dated on the preceding day. The undersigned will abstain from the full expression of the feelings of astonishment and dissatisfaction which iis perusal has so naturally excited, fearful that, if he did not do so, he might overstep the bounds which courtesy and the usages of diplomatic intercourse prescribe, in addressing a person occupying the distinguished position of Mr. Peña y Peña; but he should be recreant alike to the character, dignity, and interests of the government which he has the honor to represent, were he not to point out to your excellency, and through him to to the people of the United States and of Mexico, the misstatements (and he begs to be understood that he uses this word in no invidiious sense) which the communication of your excellency contains of the correspondence which induced the appointment of the undersigned, refute the reasoning by which Mr. Peña y Peña attempts to sustain the refusal of the Mexican government to receive him, and apprise him of the very grave consequences to which a persistence in that refusal will probably lead.
In performing this ungrateful duty, the undersigned will sedulously endeavor to avoid every expression that could, by possibility, offend the just sensibilities of the Mexican government; but this feeling, sincerely entertained, would dengenerate into culpable weakness, were he to withhold any fact or suppress any argument necessary to the faithful discharge of the task which has been imposed upon him—that of vindicating the strict correctness of the course pursued by his government, and demonstrating the glaring impropriety of that which the Mexican government seems determined to pursue.
For this purpose, it will be necessary to make a brief reference to the difficulties which existed between the two countries, when, at the instance of your excellerfey, the consul of the United States, acting by authority of his government, addressed to your excellency, on the 13th of October last, a letter, the substance of which had been communicated orally to your excellency in a confidential interview two days previously. Diplomatic relations had been suspended by the recall of General Almonte, the Mexican minister at Washington, in March last, and the subsequent withdrawal of the minister of the United States from Mexico.
Mexico considered herself aggrieved by the course which the United States had pursued in relation to Texas, and this feeling, it is true, was the immediate cause of the abrupt termination of all diplomatic relations; but the United States, on their part, had causes of complaint, better founded and more serious, arising out of the claims of its citizens on Mexico.
It is not the purpose of the undersigned to trace the history of these claims, and the outrages from which they sprung. The an nals of no civilized nation present, in so short a period of time, so many wanton attacks upon the rights of persons and property as have been endured by citizens of the United States from the Mexican authorities-attacks that would never have been tolerated from any other nation than a neighboring and sister republic. They were the subject of earnest, repeated, and unavailing remonstrance, during a long series of years, until at last, on the 11th of April, 1839, a convention was concluded for their adjustment. As, by the provisions of that convention, the board of commissioners organized for the liquidation of the claims was obliged to terminate its duties within eighteen months, and as much of that time was lost in preliminary discussions, it only acted finally upon a small portion of the claims, the amount awarded upon which amounted to $2,026,139, (two millions twenty-six thousand one hundred and thirty-nine dollars;) claims were examined and awarded by the American commissioners, amounting to $928,627, (nine hundred and twenty-eight thousand six hundred and twenty-seven dollars,) upon which the umpire refused to decide, alleging that his authority had expired, while others, to the amount of $3,336,837, (three millions three hundred and thirty-six thousand eight hundred and thirty-seven dollars, remained altogether unacted upon, because they had been submitted too late for the decision of the board. In relation to the claims which had been submitted to the board of commissioners, but were not acted on for want of time, amounting to $4,265,464, (four millions two hundred and sixty-five thousand four hundred and sixty-four dollars,) a convention was signed in this capital on the 20th of November, 1843, by Mr. Waddy Thomp
son, on the part of the United States, and Messrs. Bocanegra and Trigueros, on that of Mexico, which was ratified by the Senate of the United States, with two amendments manifestly reasonable and necessary. Upon a reference of these amendments to the government of Mexico, it interposed erasions, difficulties, and delays of every kind, and has never yet decided whether it would accede to them or not, although the subject has been repeatedly pressed by the ministers of the United States. Subsequently, additional claims have been presented to the Department of State, exceeding in amount $2,200,000, (two millions two hundred thousand dollars,) showing in all the enormous aggregate of $8,491,603, (eight millions four hundred and ninety-one thousand six hundred and three dollars.) But what has been the fate even of those claimants against the government of Mexico, whose debt has been fully liquidated, recogr.ized by Mexico, and its payment guaranteed by the most solemn treaty stipulations ? The Mexican government finding it inconvenient to pay the amount awarded, either in money or in an issue of treasury notes, according to the terms of the convention, a new convention was concluded on the 30th of January, 1843, between the two governments, to relieve that of Mexico from this embarrassment. By its terms, the interest due on the whole amount awarded was ordered to be paid on the 30th April, 1843, and the principal, with the accruing interest, was made payable in five years, in equal instalments, every three months. Under this new agreement, made to favor Mexico, the claimants have only received the interest up to the 30th April, 1813, and three of the twenty instalments.
The undersignet has not made this concise summary of the injuries inflicted upon American citizens during a long series of years, coeval indeed with the existence. of the Mexican republic, reparation for which has been so unjustly delayed, for the purpose of recrimination, or to revive those angry feelings which it was the ob. ject of his mission to assuage, and, if possible, by friendly and frank negotiation, to bury in the most profound oblivion; but simply to prove, that if the proposition made by his government, through its consul, for the renewal of diplomatic relations, pre. sented any ambiguity, (which, he will proceed to show, does not exist,) it could not, by any fáir rule of construction, bear the interpretation which your excellency has given to it. The United States have never yet, in the course of their history, failed to vindicate, and successfully, too, against the most powerful nations of the earth, the rights of their injured citizens. If such has been their course in their infancy, and when comparatively feeble, it cannot be presumed that they will deviate from it now.
Mr. Peña y Peña says, that, having communicated to his excellency the president of the republic the note of the undersigned, of the 8th instant, with a copy of his credentials, and the letter of the Secretary of State of the United States relative to his mission, he regrets to inform the undersigned, that although the supreme government of the republic continues to entertain the same pacific and conciliatory intentions which your excellency manifested to
the consul of the United States in his confidential note of 14th October jast, it does not think that, to accoinplish the object which was proposed by the said consul, in the name of the Anierican gorernment, and which was accepted by Mr. Peña y Peña, it is in the situation (esté en el caso) to admit the undersigned in the character with which he comes invested, of envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary resident in the republic, and that, to sustain this refusal, Mr Peña y Peña will briefly expose to the undersigned the reasons which have governed his excellency the president. Your excellency then proceeds to say, that the proposition in question was spontaneously made by the government of the United States, and accepted by that of Mexico, to give a new proof that. even in the midst of its injuries, and of its firm determination to exact adequate reparation for them, it neither repelled nor undervalued the ineasure of reason and peace to which it was invited, so that the proposition, as well as its acceptance, turned upon the precise and positive supposition that the commissioner should be ad hoc; that is to say, to arrange in a peaceful and decorous manner the questions of Texas. This has not been done, since the undersigned does not come in that capacity, but in the absolute and general capacity of envoy extraordinary aud minister plenipotentiary, to reside in that quality near the Mexican government. That if the undersigned be admitted in this character, which differs essentially from that which was proposed for his mission on the part United States, and which was accepted by the Mexican government, it would give room to believe that the relations of the two republics became at once open and free; which could not take place, without the questions, which had brought about the state of interruption which now exists, were previously terminated peaceably, but in a decorous manner for Mexico.
If your excellency had not himself conducted the preliminary and informal negotiations with the consul of the United States, of which the preceding version is given by him; if the letter of the consul had not been addressed to, and answered by your excellency, the undersigned would be constrained to believe that your excellency had derived his knowledge of it from some unauthentic source. But, as this is not the case, the undersigned trusts that your excellency will pardon him if he suggests the doubt whether your excellency-constantly occupied, as he must for some time past have been, bò the disturbed state of the internal affairs of the republice has reperused the letter of the consul of October 13, and the answer of your excellency of October 15, with that scrupulous attention which the gravity of the case demanded; and whether the lapse of time has not left on the mind of your excellency but a vague and incorrect impression of what reaily occured. Another solution, however, of this difficulty suggests itself to the undersigned, and he shall be most happy to find that it is the correct one. Your excellency refers to his answer to the consul as being dated on the 14th October, while the letter of your excellency, now in possession of the consul, is dated on the 15th October, as the undersigned has had occasion to verify by personal inspection; and he repeats, that