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erection of field works. A depôt has also been established at Point Isabel, near the Brazos Santiago, thirty miles in rear of the encampment. The selection of his position was necessarily confided to the judgment of the general in command.
The Mexican forces at Matamoras assumed a belligerent attitude, and, on the twelfth of April, General Ampudia, then in command, notified General Taylor to break up his camp within twenty-four hours, and to retire beyond the Nueces river, and, in the event of his failure to comply with these demands, announced that arms, and arms alone, must decide the question. But no open act of hostility was committed until the twenty-fourth of April. On that day, General Arista, who had succeeded to the command of the Mexican forces, communicated to General Taylor that “he considered hostilities commenced, and should prosecute them.” of dragoons, of sixty-three men and officers, were on the same day despatched from the American camp up the Rio del Norte, on its left bank, to ascertain whether the Mexican troops had crossed, or were preparing to cross, the river, “became engaged with a large body of these troops, and, after a short affair, in which some sixteen were killed and wounded, appear to have been surrounded and compelled to surrender."
The grievous wrongs perpetrated by Mexico upon our citizens throughout a long period of years remain unredressed; and solemn treaties, pledging her public faith for this redress, have been disregarded. A government either unable or unwilling to enforce the execution of such treaties, fails to perform one of its plainest duties.
Our commerce with Mexico has been almost annihilated. It was formerly highly beneficial to both nations; but our merchants have been deterred from prosecuting it by the system of outrage and extortion which the Mexican authorities have pursued against them, whilst their appeals through their own government for indemnity have been made in vain. Our forbearance has gone to such an extreme as to be mistaken in its character. Had we acted with vigor in repelling the insults and redressing the injuries inflicted by Mexico at the commencement, we should doubtless have escaped all the difficulties in which we are now involved.
Instead of this, however, we have been exerting our best efforts to propitiate her good will. Upon the pretext that Texas, a nation as independent as herself, thought proper to unite its destinies with our own, she has affected to believe that we have severed her rightful territory, and in official proclamations and manifestoes bas repeatedly threatened to make war upon us, for the purpose of reconquering Texas. In the meantime, we have tried every effort at reconciliation. The cup of forbearance had been exhausted, even before the recent information from the frontier of the Del Norte; but now, after reiterated menaces, Mexico has passed the boundary of the United States, has invaded our territory, and shed American blood upon the American soil. She has proclaimed that hostilities have commenced, and that the two nations are now at war.
As war exists, and, notwithstanding all our efforts to avoid it, exists by the act of Mexico herself, we are called upon by every consideration of duty and patriotism to vindicate with decision the honor, the rights, and the interests of our country.
Anticipating the possibility of a crisis like that which has arrived, instructions were given in August last, "as a precautionary measure” against invasion, or threatened invasion, authorizing General Taylor, if the emergency required, to accept volunteers, not from Texas only, but from the States of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky; and corresponding letters were addressed to the respective governors of those States. These instructions were repeated; and, in January last, soon after the incorporation of “ Texas into our union of States,” General Taylor was further "authorized by the President to make a requisition upon the executive of that State for such of its militia force as may be needed to repel invasion, or to secure the country against apprehended invasion." On the second day of March he was again reminded, “in the event of the approach of any considerable Mexican force, promptly and efficiently to use the authority with which he was clothed to call to him such auxiliary force as he might need." War actually existing, and our territory having been invaded, General Taylor, pursuant to authority vested in him by my direction, has called on the governor of Texas for four regiments of State troops-two to be mounted, and two to serve on foot; and on the governor of Louisiana for four regiments of infantry, to be sent to him as soon as practicable.
In further vindication of our rights, and defence of our territory, I invoke the prompt action of Congress to recognize the existence of the war, and to place at the disposition of the Executive the means of prosecuting the war with vigor, and thus hastening the restoration of peace. To this end I recommend that authority should be given to call into the public service a large body of volunteers, to serve for not less than six or twelve months, unless sooner discharged. A volunteer force is, beyond question, more efficient than any other description of citizen soldiers; and it is not to be doubted that a number far beyond that required would readily rush to the field upon the call of their country. I further recommend that a liberal provision be made for sustaining our entire military force and furnishing it with supplies and munitions of war.
The most energetic and prompt measures, and the immediate appearance in arms of a large and overpowering force, are recommended to Congress as the most certain and efficient means of bringing the existing collision with Mexico to a speedy and successful termination.
In making these recommendations, I deem it proper to declare that it is my anxious desire not only to terminate hostilities speedily, but to bring all matters in dispute between this government and Mexico to an early and amicable adjustment; and, in this view, I shall be prepared to renew negotiations whenever Mexico shall be ready to receive propositions, or to make propositions of her own.
I transmit herewith a copy of the correspondence between our envoy to Mexico and the Mexican minister for foreign affairs; and so much of the correspondence between that envoy and the Secretary of State, and between the Secretary of War and the general in command on the Del Norte, as is necessary to a full understanding of the subject.
List of papers.
No. 1. Mr. Buchanan to Mr. Black, of 17th September, 1815.
2. Mr. Black to Mr. Buchanan, of 17th October, 1845. Two enclosures
1. Mr. Black to Mr. Peña y Peña.
2. Mr. Peña y Peña to Mr. Black.
1. Mr. Black to Mr. Peña.
4. Mr. Black to Mr. Peña.
1. Mr. Slidell to Mr. Peña.
[Letter of credence.
4. Mr. Peña to Mr. Slidell.
1. Mr. Slidell to Mr. Peña.
3. Mr. Slidell to Mr. Peña.
1. Mr. Peña to Mr. Buchanan. 9. Mr. Buchanan to Mr. Slidell, of 20th January, 1846. 10. Mr. Buchanan to Mr. Slidell, of 28th January, 1846. 11. Mr. Slidell to Mr. Buchanan, of 6th February, 1846. One enclosure
1. Mr. Peña's report to the council of government. 12. Mr. Slidell to Mr. Buchanan, of 17th February, 1846. 13. Mr. Slidell to Mr. Buchanan, of 1st March, 1816. One enclosure
1. Mr. Slidell to Mr. Castillo. 14. Mr. Buchanan to Mr. Slidell, of 12th March, 1846. 15. Mr. Slidell to Mr. Buchanan, of 18th March, 1846. Two enclosures
1. Mr. Castillo to Mr. Slidell.
2. Mr. Slidell to Mr. Castillo. 16. Mr. Slidell to Mr. Buchanan, of 27th March, 1846. 17. Mr. Slidell to Mr. Buchanan, of 2d April, 1846. One enclosure
1. Mr. Castillo to Mr. Slidell.
Mr. Buchanan to Mr. Black.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, September 17, 1845. Information recently received at this department, both from yourself and others, renders it probable that the Mexican government may now be willing to restore the diplomatic relations between the two countries. At the time of their suspension, General Almonte was assured of the desire felt by the President to adjust amicably every cause of complaint between the governments, and to cultivate the kindest and most friendly relations between the sister republics. He still continues to be animated by the same sentiments. It was his duty to place the country in a condition successfully to resist the threatened invasion of Texas by Mexico, and this has been accomplished. He desires, however, that all existing differences should be terminated amicably by negotiation and not by the sword. He is anxious to preserve peace, although prepared for war.
Actuated by these sentiments, the President has directed me to instruct you, in the absence of any diplomatic agent in Mexico, to ascertain from the Mexican government whether they would receive an envoy from the United States, intrusted with full power to adjust all the questions in dispute between the two governments. Should the answer be in the affirmative, such an envoy will be immediately despatched to Mexico.
If the President were disposed to stand upon a mere question of etiquette, he would wait until the Mexican government, which had suspended the diplomatic relations between the two countries, should ask that they may be restored. But his desire is so strong to terminate the present unfortunate state of our relations with that republic, that he has consented to waive all.ceremony and take the initiative. So soon as you shall have received the answer of that
government, you will communicate a copy of it, without delay, by some safe opportunity, to F. M. Dimond, esq., our consul at Vera Cruz. You will also transmit a copy to this department. It is of great consequence that you should use as much despatch as possible in executing this important commission. The future course of this government may, and probably will, depend upon the answer which you may receive.
I need scarcely warn you to preserve the most inviolable secrecy in regard to your proceedings, making no communication to any person, with the exception of Dr. Parrott, not indispensable to the accomplishment of the object. There will be a vessel-of-war at Vera Cruz, ready to receive your despatch for this department, and to convey it to the United States with the least possible delay.
I shall transmit this despatch, under an unsealed cover, but with the strictest injunctions of secrecy, to Mr. Dimond, as it is deemed advisable that he should be acquainted with its contents.