“I have but little doubt but the Mexican question will be taken up”

I have returned to Washington and discovered a large backlog of correspondence from Gen. Sheridan concerning the situation in Mexico.  I replied to him,

WASHINGTON, October 22, 1865.

Major General P. H. SHERIDAN,

Commanding Military Division of the Gulf:

You are probably aware that I have been absent from Washington for eleven weeks. During that time Your dispatches touching Mexican affairs were received at the office, but some none of them forwarded to me. I only read them two days ago for the first time. This will answer a seeming negligence in my not replying to You. Immediately on my return from my Western four I had a long conversation with the President on Mexican affairs. On that subject he feels just as I do; in fact, as the whole country does, irrespective of parties. Before I left Washington I procured a leave of absence for Schofield for the purpose of allowing him to go to Mexico to take service there. I think Mr. Seward has been the stumbling block in the way of-his starting. Some correspondence, it is said, is going on with the French Government in relation to the withdrawal of French troops from Mexico, which is necessary to get a reply to before action. The President, however, told me that arrangements were made to supply the Liberal Government with arms without regard to their having means to pay for them. There is also, I believe, a project on foot to supply Schofield, or whoever goes there, with emigrants who will enlist after they reach Mexican soil. Of this, however, the Government knows nothing, and I only learned it from the fact that inquiries have been made of me how far emigration will be prevented. I have no hesitation in saying that I would like to see any amount of assistance given to the Liberals, and if I had my way I would use U. S. forces to give to them the Rio Grande country as a base to start from; that is, I would clear out the south bank for them. This, however, is not permitted.

I believe, as is indicated in some of Your dispatches, that the Mexicans have no great leader capable of using the great resources at their disposal. It will take some man from the United States to fill the place. Schofield, if he can get the start, is fully equal to the task.

When Congress meets I have but little doubt but the Mexican question will be taken up and the withdrawal of all foreign troops insisted upon. If so, this will settle the whole question. In the meantime, all You can do is to encourage the Liberals to use their greatest exertions until they do get aid. If they give up themselves and, like MacKauber, wait for something to turn up, they may lose everything.

Some of Your letters received in my absence I have furnished copies of to the President. Your course and views are heartily concurred in by me, and I am satisfied they are also by the President and Secretary of War. Mr. Secretary of State I fear is working against the Liberal cause in Mexico. I hope I do him injustice in this matter.



The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 15, p 362-3

O.R., I, xlviii, part 2, p 1242-3

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