previous next
[419] account; but to decide the matter upon an ex-parte statement of favorites, to suspend a successful General in command of an army in the heart of an enemy's country, to try the judge in place of the accused, is to upset all discipline, to jeopardize the safety of the army and the honor of the country, and to violate justice. I trust, however, that all will work well in the end.

I had strong hopes of peace on the basis of the project of the treaty submitted by the Mexican Government, of which you have learned through the papers. Had Congress promptly granted the means for prosecuting the war asked by the President, I believe the treaty, if acceptable to our country, would have been ratified by the Mexican Congress. But the discussions in Congress and speeches of some of our leading men are calculated so to confuse the public mind here that it may encourage them to delay and procrastinate in the hope that the plan of withdrawing the army, no indemnity, etc., may be adopted. These other difficulties that I have spoken of, especially the recall of General Scott, may prove unfavorable. It is rather late in the day to discuss the origin of the war (that ought to have been understood before we engaged in it). It may have been produced by the act of either party or the force of circumstances. Let the pedants in diplomacy determine. It is certain that we are the victors in a regular war, continued, if not brought on, by their obstinacy and ignorance, and they are whipped in a manner of which women might be ashamed. We have the right by the laws of war of dictating the terms of peace and requiring indemnity for our losses and expenses. Rather than forego that right, except through a spirit of magnanimity to a crushed foe, I would fight them ten years, but I would be generous in exercising it.

We have said that Lee's friendship for Scott, thus begun, grew stronger as the years went on. His family and others who knew him speak of the tender, loving terms in which he always spoke of his chief, and the high respect with which he always treated him. But this is very strikingly brought out in the circumstances under which Lee, despite the remonstrances of Scott, resigned his commission in the United States Army and cast his lot with his native State. During the earlier stages of the secession excitement Colonel Lee was with his regiment in Texas, and under date of January 23, 1861, he wrote to a member of his family:

‘As an American citizen I take great pride in my country, her prosperity and institutions, and would defend any State if her rights ’

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Winfield Scott (3)
Sidney Smith Lee (3)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
January 23rd, 1861 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: