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the undersigned to the consul of the United States in his confidential note of the 14th of October last; on the contrary, those sentiments are repeated; and he would have the utmost satisfaction in treating with Mr. Slidell, so soon as he should have presented credentials which authorize him exclusively to settle the differences existing between the two countries. If this object could be attained, there would be no inconvenience then in receiving him in the character of minister resident near the government of the undersigned.
In addressing the present note to the Secretary of State of the United States, the undersigned, having no doubt that the just motives which determine his excellency the president not to receive Mr. Slidell in the character in which he presents himself will be properly appreciated, seizes this occasion to offer the assurances of his distinguished consideration.
MANUEL DE LA PEÑA Y PEÑA. Hon. JAMES BUCHANAN,
Secretary of State of the United States.
Mr. Buchanan to Mr. Slidell.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, January 20, 1846. I have the honor to transmit, herewith, your commission as envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Mexican republic, under the appointment made by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.
Your despatches Nos. 2 and 3, under date, respectively, the 30th November and 17th December, have been received; and I shall await the arrival of others by the “Porpoise" with much solicitude. Should the Mexican government, by finally refusing to receive you, consummate the act of folly and bad faith of which they have affo: ded such strong indications, nothing will then remain for this government but to take the redress of the wrongs of its citizens into its own hands.
In the event of such a refusal, the course which you have determined to pursue is the proper one. You ought, in your own language, so to conduct yourself as to throw the whole odium of the failure of the negotiation upon the Mexican government; point out, in the most temperate manner, the immediate consequences of so unheard of a violation of all the usages which govern the intercourse between civilized nations; and declare your intention to remain in Mexico until you can receive instructions adapted to the exigencies of the case. This sojourn will afford you an honorable opportunity to watch the course of events, and avail yourself of
any favorable circumstances. which, in the meantime, may occur. Should a revolution have taken place before the 1st of January, the day appointed for the meeting of Congress, (an event which you deemed probable,) or should a change of ministry have been effected, which you considered almost certain, this delay will enable you to ascertain the views and wishes of the new government or administration. The desire of the President is, that you should conduct yourself with such wisdom and firmness in the crisis, that the voice of the American people shall be unanimous 'in favor of redressing the wrongs of our much injured and long suffering claimants.
It would seem to be the desire of the Mexican government to evade the redress of the real injuries of our citizens, by confining the negotiation to the adjustment of a pecuniary indemnity for its imaginary rights over Texas. This cannot be tolerated. The two subjects must proceed hand in hand; they can never be separated. It is evidently with the view of thus limiting the negotiation that the Mexican authorities have been quibbling about the mere form of your credentials, without ever asking whether you had instructions and full powers to adjust the Texan boundary. The advice of the council of government seems to have been dictated by the same spirit. They do not advise the Mexican government to refuse to receive you; but, assuming the fact that the government had agreed to receive a plenipotentiary to treat upon the subject of Texas alone, they infer that it is not bound to receive an envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary without this limitation.
In the meantime, the President, in anticipation of the final refusal of the Mexican government to receive you, has ordered the army of Texas to advance and take position on the left bank of the Rio Grande; and has directed that a strong fleet shall be immediately assembled in the gulf of Mexico. He will thus be prepared to act with vigor and promptitude, the moment that Congress shall give him the authority.
This despatch will not be transmitted to you by the “Mississippi.” That vessel will be detained at Pensacola for the purpose of conveying to you instructions, with the least possible delay, after we shall have heard from you by the “Porpoise," and of bringing you home, in case this shall become necessary.
Mr. Buchanan to Mr. Slidell.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, January 28, 1846. Your despatches, dated the 27th and 29th December last, (erroneously numbered 2 and 3, instead of 3 and 4,) were received at this department on the 23d instant.
After a careful and critical examination of their contents, the President entirely approves your conduct. The exposure, contained in your reply to the Mexican minister for foreign affairs, of the evasions and subterfuges of his government in excuse of their refusal to recognise you as envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States, is so complete as to leave nothing for me to add upon the subject. It is now, however, morally certain that the insurrection of Paredes has proved successful, and that a new administration of some kind or other at this moment controls that unfortunate country.
* The question arises, therefore, what course you should pursue in this contingency. In my despatch of the 20th instant, I have already anticipated nearly all that it is necessary to say in answer to this question. The President is sincerely desirous to preserve peace with Mexico. Both inclination and policy dictate this
Should the Mexican government, however, finally refuse to receive you, the cup of forbearance will then have been exhausted. Nothing can remain but to take the redress of the injuries to our citizens, and the insults to our government, into our own hands. In view of this serious alternative, every honorable effort should be made before a final rupture. You should wait patiently for a final decision on the question of your reception, unless it should be unreasonably protracted, or you should clearly discover that they are trifling with this government. It is impossible for any person not upon the spot and conversant with the motives and movements of the revolutionary government now most probably existing in Mexico, to give you precise instructions how long your forbearance ought to continue. Much must necessarily be left to your own discretion. In general terms, I may say that you should take care to act with such prudence and firmness that it inay appear manifest to the people of the United States, and to the world, that a rupture could not be honorably avoided. After this, should the Mexican government finally refuse to receive you, then demand passports from the proper authority, and return to the United States. It will then become the duty of the President to submit the whole case to Congress, and call upon the nation to assert its just rights, and avenge its injured honor.
In conclusion, there is one portion of your despatch of the 27th ultimo on which I shall make a single remark. You seem to consider it indispensable, before the commencement of any negotiation with the Mexican government, that there should be an unqualified retraction of the note of Mr. Peña y Peña to you of the 20th ultimo. This might be a necessary preliminary, if there had been no change of government. But in the present probable condition of affairs, under a new and entirely distinct government, and not merely a change of administration, such a retraction, however desirable, ought not to interpose an insuperable obstacle to negotiation.
Mr. Slidell to Mr. Buchanan.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Jalapa, February 6, 1846. I reached this place on the 20th ultimo. Since my despatch of the 14th ultimo, nothing has occurred to indicate the course likely to be taken by the existing government as to my reception; but I think that it will mainly be controlled by the aspect of the Oregon question. Should our difficulties with Great Britain continue to present a prospect of war with that power, there will be but a very faint hope of a change of policy here.
I send you a copy of a communication of Mr. Peña y Peña to the council of government, made on the 11th December, inviting an expression of the opinion of the council on the subject of my recognition, and suggesting his reasons why it should be refused. This document presents, in the most glaring light, the bad faith of the late government; and, in connexion with the statement of Consul Black, accompanying my despatch of 17th December, shows in the most conclusive manner that, from the moment my arrival was announced, it lad determined to avail itself of any pretence, however frivolous, to refuse a reception, in the hope that, by thus depriving its opponents of their chief theme of reproach and agitation, the impending blow would be averted. Mr. Peña y Peña, after stating to the councii substantially the same objections to my credentials as are embodied in his note to me of 20th December, gives, as an additional and conclusive reason for their insufficiency, the fact of my appointment not having been confirmed by the Senate.
It is, per
The anxiously expected convocatoria, or edict, of Paredes, calling together the constituent congress, and establishing the mode of its election, was promulgated on the 27th ultimo. haps, the most singular instrument of the kind that has ever appeared; but its tendency could easily have been anticipated, as it was known that its preparation was allotted to Lucas Alaman, who has long been the avowed advocate of monarchical principles. The electoral machinery is extremely complicated, and has evidently been framed that its complexity might, to a certain extent, conceal the purpose which it is intended to effect. Different classes are to be represented, each class having a distinct constituency, with widely varying qualifications for the right of suffrage. The assembly has'unlimited powers to form a constitution, which is to take effect without any appeal to the people or the depart
It is to consist of one hundred and sixty members, one hundred of whom are to be chosen by land owners, merchants, manufacturers, proprietors of mines, and members of certain pro
fessions. The remaining sixty members are to be chosen by the judiciary, administrative officers, the clergy, and the military. The constituent body will be extremely limited; the payment of a very high rate of direct contribution being required for the exercise of the right of suffrage, and still higher rates are established for the qualifications of the members of the assembly. It will give to Parades the power of returning a very large majority of members, prepared to do anything which he may dictate. The congress is to meet four months from the date of the convocatoria; nine months are allowed to form the new constitution. During this interval of thirteen months, he will, of course, continue to exercise uncontrolled power; unless, in the meantime, some discontented generals succeed in making a counter-revolution. This can only be avoided by punctual payment of the army, and by carefully abstaining from the concentration of any large force out of the capital.
Since the accession of Parades, no payments have been made, excepting to the troops; none of the civil employees have received any part of their salaries; and, as I mentioned in a previous despatch, the expenses of the army, alone, greatly exceed the entire revenue of the country. How this financial difficulty can be overcome, is a problem not easily solved. It is generally understood that the current disbursements have been met by the voluntary contributions of the clergy; but this is a resource which must soon be exhausted. Loans from domestic or foreign capitalists, in the present state of affairs, are out of the question. The only expe
. dient yet resorted to for the increase of the revenue, has been the permission to introduce raw cotton at the rate of ten dollars per quintal, payable in advance at the moment of receiving the permit. Much reliance has been placed upon this measure; but, by late letters from Mexico, I learn that permits had been taken out only for two thousand quintals.
By the plan of provisional government of the 3d of January, it was solemnly declared, that it should be administered in conformity with existing laws; but an exception was made in favor of such measures as might be necessary to preserve the integrity of the territory;" and, by the decree for the admission of cotton, all moneys received for the cotton licenses are to be devoted to this object. This clause (allowing the exercise of extraordinary powers for the preservation of the integrity of the territory) will be appealed to in justification of any proceedings, however despotic, which Parades may find it expedient to adopt. The mask of liberal principles has, indeed, been already thrown off. bitrary edict, issued by Santa Anna in 1839, abolishing the liberty of the press, was revived simultaneously with the promulgation of the convocatoria, and is evidently intended to silence all criticism of its provisions. Offending editors are to be sent, without trial, to the fortresses of San Juan de Ulloa and Acapulco. The feeling of the small portion of the population who have any opinions on political subjects, is almost universally opposed to the convocatoria; but, as few are disposed to incur any risk in announcing or sustaining