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No. 17.

Mr. Slidell to Mr.Buchanan.



At Sea, April 2, 1846. I last had the honor of addressing you, on the 27th ultimo, from Jalapa. My passports had, as I supposed, gone to Vera Cruz, although they were directed to me at Jalapa.

I send a copy of Mr. Castillo y Lanzás’s note accompanying the passports. You will observe from its date, that, with a promptness very unusual in Mexican councils, they were transmitted by the first mail after the reception of my note of 17th March.

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The notes of Mr. Castillo y Lanzas will give you a correct idea of the temper of the Paredes government; and although it will probably soon be replaced by another, we have no reason to expect a change of tone towards us until Mexico shall have been made te feel our strength.

General Almonte had reached Jalapa, on his way to Vera Cruz, there to embark in the British steamer.


I send you a paper containing the manifesto of Paredes, of which I made mention in my last. It professes to present his views of the difficulties with the United States, and in relation to the form of government. As to the datter, it will be seen, on a critical examination, that it is far from being satisfactory. It merely affirms that he is in favor of a republican government, until the constituent congress shall have decided the question; that his preferences are for a republic, but if what he assumes will be an expression of the national will shall pronounce differently, he is prepared to obey it. But we know, from recent experience, what reliance is to be placed on the declarations of Parades.

The manifesto declares that until the national congress shall have considered the question, no act of aggression will be committed against the United States by the Mexican government, but that it will repel any that may be offered by them. This declaration, however, under existing circumstances, even if made in good faith, leaves a wide range of discretion; for the advance of our troops to the banks of the Rio del Norte can at any time be made a ground for commencing hostilities.

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[Enclosure No. 1.]

Mr. Castillo y Lanzas to Mr. Slidell.



Mexico, March 21, 1846. The undersigned, minister of foreign relations and government, has the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the note which his excellency John Slidell, appointed envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States, was pleased to address to him, under date of the 17th instant, from the city of Jalapa.

As it appears that Mr. Slidell, in this communication, merely reproduces arguments and historical reasons which have been previously presented by other diplomatic agents of the United States in this country, and have been repeatedly refuted victoriously by the Mexican government, it would be unnecessary for the undersigned to undertake anew the useless task of entering into an examination of the said reasons and arguments.

And as Mr. Slidell is, moreover, agreeably to instructions from his government, about to return to the United States, and he asks that passports be delivered to him to that effect, the undersigned has the honor to enclose them to his excellency, in compliance with the orders of his excellency the acting president of the republic.

The undersigned at the same time avails himself of the opportunity to renew to his excellency Mr. Slidell the assurances of his distinguished consideration.



TO MARCH 2, 1846.


WAR DEPARTMENT, May 28, 1815. Sir: I am directed by the President to cause the forces now una der your command, and those which may be assigned to it, to be put into a position where they may most promptly and efficiently act in defence of Texas, in the event it shall become necessary or proper to employ them for that purpose. The information received by the Executive of the Uạited States warrants the belief that Texas will shortly accede to the terms of annexation. As soon as the Texan congress shall have given its consent to annexation, and a convention shall assemble and accept the terms offered in the resolutions of congress, Texas will then be regarded by the executive government here so far a part of the United States as to be en

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titled from this government to defence and protection from foreign invasion and Indian incursions. The troops under your command will be placed and kept in readiness to perform this duty.

In the letter addressed to you from the adjutant general's office, of the 21st of March, you were instructed to hold a portion of the troops under your immediate command in readiness to move into Texas under certain contingencies, and upon further orders from this department. In the treaty between the United States and Mexico, the two governments mutually stipulated to use all the means in their power to maintain peace and harmony among the Indian nations inhabiting the lands on their borders; and to restrain by force any hostilities and incursions by these nations within their respective boundaries, so that the one would not suffer the Indians within its limits to attack, in any manner whatever, the citizens of the other, or the Indians residing upon the territories of the other. (See the 33d article, a copy of which is herewith transmitted.) The obligations which in this respect are due to Mexico by this treaty, are due also to Texas. Should the Indians residing within the limits of the United States, either by themselves, or associated with others, attempt any hostile movement in regard to Texas, it will be your duty to employ the troops under your command to repel and chastise them; and for this purpose you will give the necessary instructions to the military posts on the upper Red river, (although not under your immediate command,) and, with the approbation of the Texan authorities, make such movements, and take such position, within the limits of Texas, as in your judgment may be necessary. You are also directed to open immediate correspondence with the agthorities of Texas, and with any diplomatic agent of the United States, (if one should be residing therein,) with a view to information and advice in respect to the common Indian enemy, as well as to any foreign power. This communication and consultation with the Texan authorities, &c., are directed with a view to enable you to avail yourself of the superior local knowledge they may possess, but not for the purpose of placing you, or any portion of the forces of the United States, under the orders of any functionary not in the regular line of command above you.

Should the territories of Texas be invaded by a foreign power, and you shall receive certain intelligence through her functionaries of that fact, after her convention shall have acceded to the terms of annexation contained in the resolutions of the Congress of the United States, you will at once employ, in the most effective manner your judgment may dictate, the forces under your command, for the defence of these territories, and to expel the invaders.

It is supposed here that, for the mere purpose of repelling a common Indian enemy, as above provided for, it may not be necessary that

you should march across the Sabine or upper Red river (at least in the first instance) with more than the particular troops which you were desired in the instructions before referred to, of the 21st March, to hold in immediate readiness for the field, but it is not intended to restrict you positively to that particular amount of

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force. On the contrary, according to the emergency, you may add any other corps, or any number of companies within your department, deened necessary, beginning with those nearest at hand; and in the contingency of a foreign invasion of Texas, as above specified, other regiments from a distance may be ordered to report to you. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Secretary of War. General Z. TAYLOR,

Fort Jesup, Louisiana.


WAR DEPARTMENT, June 15, 1845. Sir: On the 4th day of July next, or very soon thereafter, the convention of the people of Texas will probably accept the proposition of annexation, under the joint resolutions of the late Congress of the United States. That acceptance will constitute Texas an integral portion of our country.

In anticipation of that event, you will forth with make a forward movement with the troops under your command, and advance to the mouth of the Sabine, or to such other point on the gulf of Mexico, or its navigable waters, as in your judgment may be most convenient for an embarkation at the proper time for the western frontier of Texas.

In leaving to your judgment to decide the route, it is intended that you choose the most expeditious, having due regard to the health and efficiency of the troops, on reaching the point of destination.

The force under your immediate command, at and near Fort Jesup, to be put in motion on the receipt of these instructions, will be the 3d and 4th regiments of infantry, and seven companies of the 2d regiment of dragoons. The two absent companies of the 4th infantry have been ordered to join their regiments. Artillery will be ordered from New Orleans.

It is understood that suitable forage for cavalry cannot be obtained in the region which the troops are to occupy; if this be so, the dragoons must leave their horses and serve as riflemen.' But it is possible that horses of the country, accustomed to subsist on neagre forage, may be procured, if it be found necessary. You will therefore take the precaution to order a portion of the cavalry equipments to accompany the regiment, with a view to mounted service.

The point of your ultimate destination is the western frontier of Texas, where you will select and occupy, on or near the Rio Grande del Norte, such a site as will consist with the health of the troops, and will be best adapted to repel invasion, and to protect what, in the event of annexation, will be our western border. You will limit yourself to the defence of the ter

ritory of Texas, unless Mexico should declare war against the United States.

Your movement to the gulf of Mexico, and your preparations to embark for the western frontier of Texas, are to be made without any delay; but you will not effect a landing on that frontier until you have yourself ascertained the due acceptance of Texas of the proffered terms of annexation, or until you receive directions from Mr. Donelson. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

GEORGE BÁNCROFT. To Brigadier General Z. TAYLOR,

U. S. Army, com'g 1st dep't, Fort Jesup, Lai

P. S.–The revenue cutters Spencer and Woodbury have beer placed, by the Treasury Department, at the disposition of Mr. Donelson.

WAR DEPARTMENT, July 8, 1845. Sir: This department is informed that Mexico has some military establishments on the east side of the Rio Grande, which are, and for some time have been, in the actual occupancy of her troops. In carrying out the instructions heretofore received, you will be careful to avoid any acts of aggression, unless an actual state of war should exist. The Mexican forces at the posts in their possession, and which have been so, will not be disturbed as long as the relations of peace between the United States and Mexico continue.

WM. L. MARCY. Brigadier General Z. TAYLOR.


Washington, July 30, 1845. Sır:, Your letter, from New Orleans, of the 20th instant, addressed to the Adjutant General, has been received and laid before the President, and he desires me to express to you bis approval of your movements.

He has not the requisite information in regard to the country to enable him to give any positive directions as to the position you ought to take, or the movements which it may be expedient to make. These must be governed by circumstances. While avoiding, as you have been instructed to do, all aggressive measures towards Mexico, as long as the relations of peace exist between that republic and the United States, you are expected to occupy, protect and defend the territory of Texas to the extent that it has been occupied by the people of Texas. The Rio Grande is claimed to be the boundary between the two countries, and up to this boundary you are to extend your protection, only excepting any posts on the

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