Mexican Military Commander
BEFORE WORD OF THE FAILURE of Webb's mission reached the Texan
authorities, an unexpected overture for the cessation of hostilities came from
the commander of the northern frontier of Mexico. A week after the issuance
of his proclamation against engaging in illicit trade with the Texans, General
Arista, reputedly a man of wealth and the owner of a great deal of land in
northern Mexico, addressed a letter
to "Mr. Mirabeau Lamar," requesting an
armistice to enable him to conduct a war against the Comanches which might
entail crossing into Texan territory. "In that spirit of confidence, usual
amongst men of honour," wrote Arista, "I address you this communication,
which will be handed you by Dr. Rafael Uribe."
The Indians ferocious and sanguinary and perfectly
faithless should be
driven beyond the bounds of civilization, and to effect this, a force will soon
move from the banks of the Río Bravo.
At the present time War should be carried on, with a frankness and
gentlemanly generosity, compatible with the customs and civilizations, to
which fortunately both men and Nations have arrived in this age.
Therefore, in accordance with these maxims, I make known to you, with the
frankness of a soldier, and with that noble conduct, which should govern all
hostilities that the expedition has not in view, as might be supposed, a
surprise upon those Colonies, but simply to chastise the ferocious enemies of
humanity. This expedition will not commit any acts, which injure any of the
inhabitants or citizens of the country, through which it may pass.
This communication must only be interpreted as a manifestation of the
anxiety I entertain, for the success of the campaign against the Indians; and
not as a suspension of hostilities between us.
Our difficulties, originating, since those colonies declared their pretensions
1. George L. Rives, The United States and Mexico, 1821-1848, II, 150.
2. For ruthless and repeated Indian raids upon the northern frontier of
Mexico, see El Cosmopolita (Mexico City), May 1, 29, July 23, 28, Aug. 28,
Dec. 3, 22, 1841.