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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 excellentcy, 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 right's 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 wbich 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, recogrized 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 object 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, presented 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 government, 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. Tnat 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 tim; 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 excelJency will pardon him if he suggests the doubt whether your excellency-constantly occupied, as he must for some time past have been, by the disturbed state of the internal affairs of the republic 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 he will learn with the greatest satisfaction that his present peculiar and most embarrassing position is the result of unintentional error on the part of the Mexican government.
The undersigned will now proceed, by precise and literal quotatation from the letter of the consul of October 13, to show, in the most conclusive manner, that the government of the United States proposed to send to Mexico an envoy intrusted with full power to adjust all the questions in dispute between the two powers; and that the Mexican government, through your excellency, in the letter of October 15, declared itself disposed to receive the commissioner of the United States, who might come to this capital with full powers to settle those disputes in a peaceable, reasonable, and honorable man
The consul, in his letter of October 13, said that, in a confidential interview with your excellency, which took place on the 11th October, he had the honor to inform your excellency that he (the consul) had received a communication from the Secretary of State of the United States; and having, in that interview, made known to your excellency the substance of said communication, your excellency, having heard and considered with due attention the statement read from the said communication, stated that, as the diplomatic relations between the two governments had been, and still were suspended, the interview should have no other character than that of a confidential meeting; to which he (the consul) assented, considering it only in that light. That your excellency then requested that he (the consul) might, in the same confidential manner, communicate in writing what had thus been made known verbally; that, in conformity with that request, he transcribed that part of the communication of the Secretary of State of the United States, which was in tbe following words: “At the time of the suspension of the diplomatic relations between the two countries, 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. He desires that all existing differences should be terminated amicably by negotiation, and not by the sword. 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, entrusted 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."
Your excellency, under date of October 15, in reply to the consul, said: “I bave informed my government of the private conference which took place between you and myself on the 11th instant, and have submitted to it the confidential letter which you, in consequence of, and agreeably to, waat was then said, addressed to me yesterday. In answer, I have to say to you, that although the Mexican nation is deeply injured by the United States, through the acts committed by them in the department of Texas, belonging to this
nation, my government is disposed to receive the commissioner of the United States, who may come to this capital with full powers to settle the present dispute in a peaceable, reasonable, and honorable manner; thus giving a new proof, that, even in the midst of its injuries, and of its firm determination to exact adequate reparation of them, it does not repel nor undervalue the measure of reason and peace to which it is invited by its allversary."
" As my government believes this invitation to be made in good faith, and with the real desire that it may lead to a favorable conclusion, it also hopes that the commissioner will be a person endowed with the qualities proper for the attainment of this end; that his dignity, prudence, and moderation, and the discreetness and reasonableness of his proposals, will contribute to calm, as much as possible, the just irritation of the Mexicans; and, in fine, that the conduct of the commissioner may be such as to persuade them that they may obtain satisfaction for their injuries thro the means of reason and peace, and without being obliged to resort to those of arms and force.
“What my government requires above all things is, that the mission of the commissioner of ihe United States should appear to be always absolutely frank, and free from every sign of menace or coercion; and thus, Mr. Consul, while making known to your government the disposition on the part of that of Mexico to receive the commissioner, you should impress upon it, as indispensable, the recall of the whole naval force now lying in sight of our port of Vera Cruz. Its presence would degrade Mexico while she is receiving the commissioner, and would justly subject the United States to the imputation of contradicting, by acts, the vehement desire of conciliation, peace, and friendship, which is professed and asserted by words. I have made known to you Mr. Consul, with the brevity which you desired, the disposition of my government; and, in so doing, I have the satisfaction to assure you of my consideration and esteem for you personally.”
The undersigned kas transcribed the letter of your excellency at length and verbatim, on account of the discrepancy of dates, to which he has before adverted, in order that your excellency may have an opportunity of comparing it with the copy on the files of bis office. Argument and illustration would be superfluous to show that the offer of the United States was accepted by your excellency, without any other condition or restriction than that the whole naval force, then lying in sight of Vera Cruz, should be recalled. That condition was promptly complied with, and no ship of war of the United States has since appeared at Vera Cruz, excepting those which have conveyed thither the undersigned and the secretary of his legation. Nor is it the intention of his government that any should appear at Vera Cruz, or any other port of the republic on the gulf of Mexico, excepting such only as may be necessary for the conveyance of despatches.
The undersigned has said that no other condition or restriction was placed by Mr. Peña y Peña upon the acceptance of the propos tion made through the consul, than that of the withdrawal of the