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their principles, and there are means of producing anything like concert of action, there is little chance of any resistance to the usurpation of Paredes, unless some of the troops should "pronounce against him. This may well happen; for although the disaffection to Herrera was very general in the army, many of the officers were not well disposed towards Paredes. Some of the regiments where this feeling was supposed to exist have been removed from the capital, and great dissatisfaction is said to have been manifested by them.
For some time past rumors have been rife of the establishment of a monarchy, in the person of a foreign prince. Such an idea is undoubtedly entertained by some of the clergy, and a few other persons of note in the city of Mexico; but it receives little countenance in the army, where almost every general indulges aspirations for the presidency, and is universally repudiated in the departments. Paredes unquestionably wishes to establish a despotic government; but it is equally certain that he intends to place himself at its head. His power is now established (for the time at least) throughout the country, Arista having surrendered his command; but the submission of the civil authorities generally is sullen and unwilling, and can only be maintained by military force. Yucatan is of course excepted from this remark. She has declared her absolute separation; and, as she has heretofore successfully resisted all the force that Santa Anna could direct against her, with resources infinitely superior to any which the existing government can command, she cannot now fail to maintain her independence.
The minister of foreign affairs has acknowledged the reception of Mr. Black's communication, notifying the revocation of the powers of Mr. Emilio Voss. I send a copy of his note, No. 3.
P. S.—The mail which has just arrived brings intelligence that the department of Sinaloa has declared its independence, and that the garrison of Mazatlan has pronounced against Paredes. This is an important movement, as Mazatlan is one of the ports that contribute most largely to the revenue, its receipts being inferior only to those of Vera Cruz.
[Enclosure No. 1.- Translation.]
DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN RELATIONS,
GOVERNMENT, AND Police,
Mexico, December 11, 1845. I have the honor to submit to the council, through the medium of your excellency, the documents relative to the appointinent of a commissioner of the government of the United States of America for the peaceable settlement of the questions at issue between the two republics.
As you will please to observe to the council, the proposition to
appoint such a commissioner came spontaneously from the American government, which made it through the medium of its consul in Mexico; and our government accepted it, with the declaration that it did so in order to give a new proof that, even in the midst of its grievances, and of its firm decision to exact adequate reparation, it neither repelled nor contemned the measure of reason and peace to which it was invited, so that the proposition, as well as the acceptance, rested upon the exact and definite understanding that the commissioner should be appointed ad hoc; that is to say, for the settlement of the questions of Texas in a pacific and honorable manner.
As the council will also see, in the last official communications among the documents submitted, Mr. John Slidell has arrived in this capital as commissioner of the United States, but it does not appear that this gentleman has been appointed by his government as a minister instructed specially to treat on the questions of Texas, but with the general and absolute attributes of an envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary and that he is to reside in that character near the Mexican government, in the same manner and almost in the same words used in accrediting Mr. Wilson Shannon, as may be seen by reference to the document on that subject here: with submitted.
From these facts naturally flow the following reflections:
First. The mission of this commissioner has degenerated substantially from the class proposed on the part of the United States and accepted by our government.
Secondly. If this commissioner should be received simply in the character in which he appears, grounds would justly be afforded for the presumption that the relations between us and the United States remain free and open; a presumption which would be in reality most erroneous, and at the same time most injurious to the dignity and interests of Mexico.
Thirdly. Should he be admitted in the character in which he presents himself, however explicitly we might protest that he was received only for the purpose of hearing his peaceful propositions respecting the affairs of Texas, it would always appear to the whole world that he had been received as and had been a minister plenipotentiary residing near the Mexican republic; and it is evident that this fact might serve to confuse or to diminish the most clear and direct protests.
Fourthly. The government of Mexico neither could nor ought to refuse the invitation given to it on the part of the United States to hear and deliberate upon peaceful propositions respecting Texas. In adopting this course, which morality requires, prudence counsels, and the most learned and judicious publicists recommend, the government observed the principle which they lay down as just and proper: “As the evil of war is terrible, in the same proportion are nations called on to reserve to themselves the means of terminating it. It is therefore necessary that they should be able to send ministers to each other, even in the midst of hostilities, in order to make propositions for peace, or tending to diminish the
fury of arms.
It may be stated, as a general maxim, that the minister of an enemy ought always to be admitted and heard; that is to say, that war alone, and of itself, is not a sufficient reason for refusing to hear any proposition which enemy may offer," &c. But if this doctrine be just and rational, so also is it just that the fact of a nation's having assented to hear propositions of peace made to it by its enemy should not serve a means of obscuring its rights and silencing, in that way, the demands of its justice. Such would be the case if Mexico, after assenting to receive and hear a commissioner of the United States who should come to make propositions of peace respecting the department of Texas, should admit a minister of that nation, absolute and general, a common plenipotentiary to reside near the Mexican republic.
Fifthly. It is true that in the communication addressed to our President by the President of the United States, it is declared that the commissioner is informed of the sincere desire of the latter to restore, cultivate and strengthen friendship and good correspondence between the two countries; but it is clear that neither this clause, nor still less the single word restore, is sufficient to give to Mr. Slidell the special character of commissioner to make propositions respecting Texas, calculated to establish peace firmly, and to arrest the evils of war by a definitire settlement. The reason of this is, that the full powers of such a minister should be adequate to the business for which he is appointed.
Sixthly. The settlement which the United States seek to effect in order to attain peace and good correspondence with Mexico, which have been suspended by the occurrences in Texas, is a point necessarily to be determined before any other whatever; and until that is terminated entirely and peacefully, it will be impossible to appoint and admit an American minister to establish his residence near the government of Mexico.
Seventhly. Moreover, the President of the United States cannot appoint ambassadors, nor any other public ministers, nor even consuls, except with the consent of the Senate. This is fixed by the second paragraph of the second section, article second, of their national constitution. But in the credentials exhibited by Mr. Slidell, this requisite, indispensable to give legality' to his mission, does not appear.
Eighthly. Nor could that requisite have appeared, as Mr. Slidell was appointed by the President on the 10th of November last, and Congress did not assemble until the first Monday of the present month of December, agreeably to the second paragraph of the fourth section, article first, of the same constitution.
Ninthly, and finally. It is a principle most salutary and natural that he who is about to treat with another has the right to assure himself, by inquiries, as to the person and the powers of the individual with whom he is to enter into negotiation. And this universal principle of jurisprudence extends also to affairs between nation and nation. Hence comes the necessity that every minister
should present his credentials; and hence his examination and qualification by the government to which he presents himself.
From all these considerations, the supreme government concludes that Mr. Slidell is not entitled to be admitted, in the case in question, as a commissioner of the government of the United States, with the object of hearing his propositions, and settling upon them the affairs of Texas; that it will admit the commissioner whenever he may present himself in compliance with the conditions wanting in the credentials, as above mentioned; and that this should be the answer given to him. The supreme government, however, desiring to fortify its judgment, in a case of so delicate a nature, by the opinion of its enlightened council, hopes that this body will, without delay, communicate what it considers proper to be done in the affair.
MANUEL DE LA PEÑA Y PEÑA.
Mr. Slidell to Mr. Buchanan.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES OT AMERICA,
Jalapa, February 17, 1846. I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, on this day, of your despatch No. 5, dated 20th ultimo.
I send, herewith, duplicate of mine, of 6th instant, which will place you in possession of the present state of affairs in Mexico. İntelligence has since been received that the authorities of the departments of Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Chihuahua, Michoacan, and Queretaro, have protested, in strong terms, against the usurpation of Paredes, and, refusing to continue in the exercise of their functions, have dissolved. The government is evidently losing ground, and the disaffection which is openly manifested in the northern departments is extending itself in every direction. The civil employees are still without pay; but, what is vastly more important, the stipend of the troops in the capital is now seven days in arrear, and there is not a dollar in the treasury. As the Mexican soldier supplies his own food, the failure to pay him regularly is a much more serious matter than in armies where a regular commissariat provides for his daily subsistence. Appearances justify the belief that Paredes will not be able to sustain himself until the meeting of the constituent Congress; that his government will perish from inanition, if from no other cause.
I may, perhaps, have stated too unqualifiedly my opinion that if a despotism were established, Paredes intended to place himself at its head.
I send you a copy of the “Tiempo,” a journal lately established; it is conducted by Lucas Alaman, who is reputed to be the most confidential adviser of Paredes. It contains the confession of faith of the monarchist party, and unreservedly advocates the calling of a foreign prince to the throne. This might be considered conclusive evidence of the views of Paredes, were it not for the existence of two other ministerial journals, which are strongly opposed to a monarchy; one of them, indeed, has decided federal tendencies.
I shall anxiously await your definite instructions by the “Mississippi.” The advance of General Taylor's force to the left bank of the Rio del Norte, and the strengthening our squadron in the gulf, are wise measures, which may exercise a salutary influence upon the course of this government. I have the honor, &c.,
Mr. Slidell to Mr. Buchanan.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Jalapa, March 1, 1846. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, on the 27th ultimo, of your despatch of the 28th January, and am highly gratified to learn that my conduct has been so fully approved by the President and by you.
In conformity with your instructions, I have addressed a note to the minister of foreign relations, re-submitting the question of my recognition for final decision. I send you a copy. I have not fixed, in my note, any precise term for an answer; but I have requested our consulat Mexico to hand the note, personally, to Mr. Castillo y Lanzas, and, if he find him disposed to converse upon the subject, to say to him that I thought it more conciliatory and courteous not to mention it in my official communication, but that, if a definite and favorable reply were not received by me on the 15th instant, I should then apply for my passports. This will allow an entire week for consultation and the preparation of the answer.
Since my despatch of 17th ultimo, an important change has occurred in the cabinet of Paredes. Almonte has resigned the Secretaryship of War; his letter of resignation does not assign the cause, but his friends say that it is on account of his disapprobation of the monarchical tendencies of Paredes.
My note will be presented at the most propitious moment that could have been selected. All attempts to effect a loan have completely failed. The suspicion of an intention to introduce a foreign monarch has tended very much to abate the clamor against the United States, and many now begin to look in that direction for support and protection against European interference.
My letters from Mexico speak confidently of my recognition;