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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 an 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 as 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 definitive 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. Intelligence 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 exer«ise 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 consul at 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;
and the passports.' me on that, if a
but there is no safety in reasoning from probabilities or analogies as to the course of public men in this country. * If, however, I should now be received, I think that my prospects of successful negotiation will be better than if no obstacles had been opposed to my recognition in the first instance.
[Enclosure No. 1.]
Mr. Slidell to Don J. Castillo y Lanzas.
Jalapa, March 1, 1846. The undersigned, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Mexican republic, had the honor, on the eighth day of December last, to address to his excellency Manuel de la Peña y Peña, then minister of foreign relations, a copy of his credentials, with a request that he might be informed when he would be admitted to present the original to the President of the Mexican republic. On the 16th December, the undersigned was informed by Mr. Peña y Peña that difficulties existed in relation to the tenor of his credentials, which made it necessary to consult the council of government thereon, and on the twentieth of the same month, he was advised by Mr. Peña y Peña that the Mexican government had decided not to recognise him in his capacity of envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary.
To these communications of the minister of foreign relations the undersigned replied, under dates of 20th and 24th December, refuting the reasoning by which the refusal to recognize him was attempted to be sustained, vindicating the course pursued by his government, and declaring his intention to proceed to Jalapa, there to await instructions adapted to an emergency so entirely unlooked for. He has now received these instructions...
The President of the United States entirely approves the course pursued by the undersigned, and the communications by him addressed to the Mexican government. Had the then existing government continued in power, as no alternative would have remained, the undersigned would have been directed to demand his passports, the President of the United States would have submitted the whole case to Congress, and called upon the nation to assert its just rights, and avenge its injured honor.
The destinies of the Mexican republic, however, having since been committed to other hands, the President is unwilling to take a course which would inevitably result in war, without making another effort to avert so great a calamity. He wishes, by exhausting every honorable means of conciliation, to demonstrate to the civilized world that, if its peace shall be disturbed, the responsibility must fall upon Mexico alone. He is sincerely desirous to preserve that peace; but the state of quasi hostility which now
exists on the part of Mexico is one which is incompatible witi te dignity and interests of the United States; and it is for the Mexrar: government to decide whether it snall give place to friendly negotiation, or lead to an open rupture.
It would be idle to repeat the arguments which the undersigned had the honor to present in his notes of the 20th and 24th December, above referred to. He has nothing to add to them, but is instructed again to present them to the consideration of the President ad interim of the Mexican republic, General Mariano Paredes y Arrillago.
The undersigned begs leave to suggest, most respectfully, to your excellency, that inasmuch as ample time has been afforded for the most mature reflection upon the momentous interests involved in the question of his recognition, as little delay as possible may occur in notifying him of the final decision of his excellency the President ad interim. He cannot but indulge the hope that it will be such as to result in the establishment of cordial and lasting amity between the two republics.
The undersigned avails himself of this opportunity of presenting to his excellency Don Joaquim Castillo y Lanzas the assurances of bis distinguished consideration.
JOHN SLIDELL. To his Excellency Don JOAQUIM CASTILLO Y LANZAS,
Minister of Foreign Relations and Government.
Mr. Buchanan to Mr. Slidell.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, March 12, 1846. The duplicate of your despatch No.6, of the 6th ultimo, and your despatch No. 7, have been received. In the latter you state that you shall anxiously await my definitive instructions by the “ Mississippi."
It is not deemed necessary to modify the instructions which you have already received, except in a single particular, and this arises from the late revolution effected in the government of the Mexican republic by General Paredes.
I am directed by the President to instruct you not to leave that republic until you shall have made a formal demand to be received by the new government. The government of Paredes came into existence not by a regular constitutional succession, but in consequence of a military revolution, by which the subsisting constitutional authorities were subverted. It cannot be considered as a mere continuance of the government of Herrera. On the contrary,