A Mexican Official Calls on his Country to Re-Conquer Texas or Risk Losing More Territory
Digital History ID 3664
José Maria Tornel y Mendivil
Mexico’s Secretary of War warns that the loss of Texas will encourage the United States to acquire more Mexican territory.
From the state of Maine to Louisiana a call has been made in the public squares to recruit volunteers for the ranks of the rebels in Texas. Everywhere meetings have been held, presided over, as in New York, by public officials of the government, to collect money, buy ships, enlist men, and fan that spirit of animosity that characterizes all the acts of the United States with regard to Mexico. The newspapers, paid by the land speculators, without excepting the Globe of Washington, which is doubtless an official organ, have sponsored the insurrection of Texas with the same ardor they would have supported the uprising of 1776. Our character, our customs, our very rights have been painted in the darkest hues, while the crimes of the Texans have been applauded in the house of the President, in the halls of the capitol, in the marts of trade, in public meetings, in small towns, and even in the fields. The President of the Mexican republic was publicly executed in effigy in Philadelphia in an insulting and shameful burlesque. The world has witnessed all these incidents, of which we have become aware through the shameful accounts in the newspapers of the United States. Could greater insults, outrages, or indignities be offered us by an open declaration of war? Let national indignation answer the question…. The Texas question . . . has given the cabinet of the United States, every opportunity desired for the increase of her territory. Relying upon the inability of the Mexican republic to assemble the necessary resources for a definite and successful attempt to recuperate her lost territory and to vindicate her honor, nothing will be easier for the Americans than to add one more star to their flag.
. . . The loss of Texas will inevitably result in the loss of New Mexico and the Californias. Little by little our territory will be absorbed, until only an insignificant part is left to us. Our destiny will be similar to the sad lot of Poland. Our national existence, acquired at the cost of so much blood, recognized after so many difficulties, would end like those weak meteors which, from time to time, shine fitfully in the firmament and disappear. It is for this reason that General Terán wrote the government, ''Whoever consents to and refuses to oppose the loss of Texas is a despicable traitor, worthy of being punished with a thousand deaths"…. The resources of the country now available are more than sufficient to humble the pride of those who, not knowing how to defend their territory, obtained a victory at San Jacinto by a mere whim of fortune, that fickle goddess that seems to rejoice in disappointing those who place too much confidence in her favors. Five thousand infantry and 500 cavalry would be enough, more than enough, to put an end to the high hopes of the Texans, to drive them to the banks of the Sabine, and to reconquer the favors of destiny. The superiority of the Mexican soldier over the mountaineers of Kentucky and the hunters of Missouri are well known. He knows how to endure all privations with serene calmness, and how to overcome hunger and conquer death herself. Veterans, seasoned by twenty years of wars, cannot be intimidated by the presence of an enemy, ignorant of the art of war, incapable of discipline, and renowned for insubordination. .. The fear that we will find ourselves involved in a war against the United States if we refuse to subscribe to the terms demanded is not without foundation. If their diplomacy has been dictated by a preconceived plan,—and this cannot be doubted by those who have observed the skill with which the cabinet in Washington directs its affairs—it is obvious that their aim has been to acquire possession of the disputed territory by force if necessary. This will involve us in more serious difficulties than even those presented by the Texas question itself. War with the United States, however, need not be feared, for our final salvation may depend upon it.
Source: José Maria Tornel y Mendivil, "Relations Between Texas, The United States of America and the Mexican Republic" (Mexico, 1837), trans. and ed. Carlos E. Castañeda, The Mexican Side of the Texas Revolution (Dallas: 1928), pp. 358-61, 370-71.
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