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by all who do not wish to deceive themselves by forced convictions that cannot bear the test of truth. But this appointment, and the results of it, will be best understood by a perusal of the government documents.



Mr. Buchanan to Mr. Black, U. s. Consul at Mexico, 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. 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 powerto 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 has 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 have received the answer of that govern-. ment, 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.

“ There will be a vessel of war at Vera Cruz ready to receive your despatch, and to convey it to the United States with the least possible delay.”

* * *






Mr. Black received the letter of the secretary of state on the 10th of October, and on the 11th, had a confidential interview with the minister of foreign relations in Mexico. He manifested an earnest desire that negotiations might take place, but there was an evident solicitude in regard to the effect that such a negotiation would produce upon the people. He was fearful that it might prove fatal to their then existing government. He requested of our consul a communication in writing, expressing the wishes of the United States government, and promised an explicit answer. All interviews and communications were to be confidential, and yet no regard whatever was paid to the most solemn injunctions of secrecy.

Mr. Black, in his letter to Peña y Peña, October 13, 1845, very judiciously gave the precise words of Mr. Buchanan embracing the proposition, which we have quoted, and adds with evident pleasure his own convictions upon the subject. He says, “ The undersigned can assure his excellency, that it is with the most heartfelt satisfaction he sees, in the preceding proposition on the part of the United States, (notwithstanding

the preparations for war on both sides, that a door is still left open for conciliation, whereby all existing differences may be amicably and equitably adjusted, and the honor of both nations preserved inviolate."


On the 15th of October, Mr. Peña y Peña sent Mr. Black his answer, from which the following extracts are made :

“I have 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, what 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, which belongs to this nation, my government is disposed to receive the commissioner of the United States, who may come to this capital with full powers from his government to settle the present dispute in a peaceful, reasonable, and honorable manner; thus giving a new proof, that even in the midst of its injuries, and of its firm decision to exact adequate reparation for them, it does not repel with contumely the measure of reason and peace to which it is invited by its adversary. * * *

“What my government requires above all things is, that the mission of the commissioner of the United States, and his reception by us, 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 previous 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."

In a letter from Mr. Black to Mr. Buchanan, dated October 28, 1845, he says, “ The Mexican government is very

anxious to know when they may expect the envoy from the United States; and also, that I may soon be able to give it the information of the American squadron having retired from the port of Vera Cruz.

“ We have rumors every day that a revolution is shortly to take place, but, as yet, things are quiet. Let this go as it will, I think that an arrangement is safe, as it has the sanction of the Mexican Congress in secret session."


Mr. Black to Mr. Peña y Peña, October 29, 1845. “ The undersigned has the honor to transmit herewith a copy of a communication addressed to Commodore Conner, commander of the American squadron before Vera Cruz, to the American consul, F. M. Dimond, Esq., of that place, by which his excellency will see that the wishes of the Mexican government have been, in this respect, fully and promptly complied with.”

Commodora Conner to Mr. Dimond.

OFF SACRIFICIOS, Pctober 23, 1846.} • By the letter of Mr. Black, which you were kind enough to send me this morning, I learn that the proposition to enter into negotiation, made by our government to that of this country, had been accepted. There appears to exist, on the part of this government, some fear lest they should be accused of being forced into this measure by the hostile attitude of the United States.

Being fully aware that our government has had no intention of threatening this country, but, on the contrary, has always been actuated by a sincere desire to heal existing differences in a manner honorable to both nations, I believe I shall best contribute to such an arrangement by withdrawing our naval force from before Vera Cruz."



Mr. Black to Mr. Buchanan, December 18, 1845. “ On Wednesday, the 3d instant, I received a letter from our consul at Vera Cruz, dated the 29th of November, informing me that a vessel had just arrived at Sacrificios, on board of which was the Hon. John Slidell, who had sent for him, the said consul, to come down to that place, as he wished to leave Vera Cruz for the capital by that night's diligence ; but he, the consul, was of opinion that he would not be able to leave until the next stage.

“I went up to the president's quarters, when the minister came out in the ante-chamber and met me, and accosted me, saying that the government was informed that there was an arrival at Vera Cruz from the United States, bringing out a commissioner, by which the government was taken by surprise, and asked me who could this commissioner be, and what had he come for ? I told him I did not know, but I presumed it was the envoy which the Mexican government had agreed to receive from the government of the United States; all the information which I had upon the subject was, that the consul of the United States at Vera Cruz had advised me, in a letter under date of the 29th of November, that the Hon. John Slidell had just arrived at Sacrificios, and wished to leave Vera Cruz for this capital by the first diligence, and that I was under the impression that this person was an envoy from the government of the United States to that of Mexico, as we had good reason to expect one about this time. He said that ought not to be ; the government did not expect an envoy from the United States until January, as they were not prepared to receive him ; and he desired, if possible, that he would not come to the capital,

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