Capture of Monterey, California, by the United States Navy in 1842

[NOTE: This document can be found in Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States Inter-American Affairs 1831-1860 Volume VIII —Mexico, page 503 ]

Waddy Thompson, United States Minister to Mexico, to Daniel Webster, Secretary of State of the United States


No. 4 Mexico, July 30, 1842.

Sir: I herewith transmit to you a copy of a communication from the Minister of For: Relations to the Dip: Corps: in reply to my answer to his first circular on the subject of the violation on the part of the Govt of the U S: of the obligations of neutrality. I deemed it proper, after much reflection, to reply to the first circular, and did so in a tone much more respectful and conciliatory than I should have done, if ! had occupied a position in the Govt at home. But I considered that as consequences of a serious character might grow out of the questions involved, it was most proper that all the issues should be made by the Gov at home. I felt some repugnance at even seeming to recognize the tribunal to which this government had appealed, and therefore expressly disclaimed any such idea; but as the Representative of my Govt here, I felt that it was my duty to repel at the first moment the charges that had been made. But I cannot consent to a continuance of the discussion before the foreign Diplomatick Corps. The reply which I send you is in my judgment nothing but a wordy declamation characteristick of these people, and does not touch one of the grounds I have assumed or the argument in support of them. Nothing, therefore, could be more agreeable to see to than to reply to it if I felt that it were proper to do so. I have written a note to the Dip: Corps on the subject, a copy of which I send you—N91—1 I have not yet sent it, but shall do so after the arrival of the next mail from the U S. if I do not receive your answer to the note addressed to you—1 I have heard, more than a fortnight since, that this Govt, had received that answer, but I do not believe it, because I should also have been furnished with a copy.

I have information upon which I can rely that an agent of this Government is now in England negotiating for the sale, or, what is precisely the same thing, the mortgage, of upper California for the loan of fifteen millions. In my first Despatch,2 I glanced at the advantages which would result to our country from that acquisition. Great as those advantages would be, they sink in comparison with the evils to our commerce and other interests, even more important, from a cession of that country to England. I had at one time thought that I would enquire of the Minister of For: Relations if such a transfer was contemplated; but have concluded that it would be better to communicate the fact to you. I have also been informed, and do not question the truth of it,—that two large steam frigates are soon to sail from England for Mexico with English crews and English officers, to be employed in the Texan war. One of these ships is to be commanded by an officer of the British navy, who retains his commission in that navy, and receives a furlough to enable him, with the consent of/his Government, to take that command. This is certainly, on the part of the British Government, taking part directly in the war— Will this be permitted?—Will England be allowed to engage in any of the wars of this continent as a party? I trust not.—I think you may rely on this statement.—I enquired of Mr Packenham the British minister if it was true— He did not deny it, and left me to infer that it was.

Genl Santa Anna talks freely of war with the U: S: and said a few days since that he had assurances of aid from England, in such an event. Mr Packenham repeats his positive denial of the truth of this.

The alliance of England with this country is very close, and her influence very great. All the principal commercial houses are English—the principal mines are in the hands of English Companies—and the great pabulum of English currency and commerce specie—is desired, principally, from Mexico. I suppose not less than $15,000,000 annually. Their commerce would be infinitely important to us, and could, I doubt not, be acquired, but for this unfortunate Texan war, which has caused much injury to the U: S: The Mexicans hate us with the hatred of a Spaniard—bitter and unchangeable. The rights of Amn Citizens of every grade and character, are subject to constant outrage. I have three cases on my hands now of an aggravated character. The great difficulty of obtaining redress is that the facts cannot be ascertained, for the authorities here can prove anything. Great preperations are making for an invasion of Texas and Yuca [Need page 511 and maybe more]