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    [Mexican War]. Letter Criticizing President Polk's Address to Congress calling for a declaration of war against Mexico and offering counter-points should Mexico choose to issue a formal rebuttal. Four and one half pages, 8" x 10", n. p, December 21, 1846, to "General [Juan Nepomuceno] Almonte/City of Mexico" from an unknown sender. Though it is unsigned, it is likely that the author is Lewis H. Putnam, an American citizen and an outspoken critic of the Mexican War who maintained a treasonous correspondence with General Almonte throughout the war.

    He begins by criticizing President Polk's May 11, 1846, address to Congress in which Polk, laments "the long-continued and unredressed wrongs and injuries committed by the Mexican Government on citizens of the United States in their persons and property." He writes:

    "The false partial, exaggerated and inflammatory statement in Polk's message, of supposed or pretended wrongs done by Mexico to the U. States is producing its effect upon the ignorant and superficial men and on Whigs and opponents of the war. We may be able in some measure to do away this impression by giving the facts as to our claims and details of the wrongs and insults which Mexico can array as an offset, but you are aware that it takes a long time for truth told by a private citizen to overtake falsehoods flying on the four winds from the Presidents lips. Now it does seem to me that a counter document issued with equal solemnity and from an equally conspicuous source in Mexico, is demanded. Permit me to suggest some points as proper to be treated of."

    He goes on to give six points to counter Polk's speech:

    "1. The real nature of the pretended injuries as being to private persons and private property and not public wrongs or national indignities and as being also the results of mistakes of subordinate officers in applying you laws, or the ordinary case of taking private property for public use, as in the impressments of vessels and forced loans, for which Mexico has never refused a due indemnity, nor indeed in any case when it should be found to be due.

    "2. The wrongs and outrages committed by smuggling and by national vessels of the U. S. involving most palpable national insults; as the elopement of vessels from your harbors...Also the capture of your public vessels by ours merely because they were engaged in executing your revenue laws against smugglers, and endeavoring to enforce and maintain the authority of the nation in Texas and on its coast.

    "3.The outrage of Com Jones, (probably the result of secret orders) at Monterey...Also the outrage committed by the Alert (I think the vessel was called) at San Diego; and...of Gaines' invasion of Mexican territory in 1836." Commodore Thomas ap Catesby Jones had seized the port of Monterrey, California, in 1842, believing war had begun between the U. S. and Mexico. Edmund Gaines had in 1836 been stationed along the Louisiana-Texas border during the Texas Revolution. Forbidden to interfere, he received false information that a force of Mexicans and Indians 2,000 strong was amassing near Nacogdoches, Texas, causing him to march fourteen companies to the Texas-Louisiana frontier. He pulled them back to Louisiana after the Battle of San Jacinto.

    "4. The utter neglect and refusal of our government to make any satisfaction, or give any indemnity for pecuniary damage in any of these [above] cases.

    "5. The repeated attempts to obtain Texas by negotiation...the military irruptions...the final application for a grant of a district as an asylum for Catholics, persecuted in the U. S...the pertinacious and insolent attempts to make Mexico the slavecatcher of the U. S...

    "6...the insulting and outrageous conduct of Americans to officers of the law, to the citizens, Government and judicial tribunals, all in the overbearing and insolent spirit caught from their government."

    He concludes: "Now is the time...to strike a terrible blow. Such a blow would bring a storm of indignation about Polk's ears that would make him quail...unless your countrymen fight longer and harder, unless the tide of success is turned or at least checked, millions of souls here who would be loud against the slavemongers...will settle down into resignation to what will seem to them destiny. In the name of the God of Justice, in the name of liberty and humanity let Santa Ana strike."

    At the end of the letter, the author ran out of space and continued by writing perpendicularly across the first page.

    At the top margin is written "return copy." Remnants of a red wax seal is found on the verso of the last page. Heavily toned and foxed; folds are weak and separating in places, causing some loss of text.


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    Auction Dates
    March, 2012
    3rd Saturday
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