a sacrifice to give up attractive plans formed by a light hearted imagination; but now that we are drawing nearer to an end [of this war], you must be meek, polite, and governed by reason. . . . If in good faith, I repeat, you wish peace, you will know that in treating with a government which sees only the misguided subject, that submission to the law is guarantee of one's true conduct. Give these proofs and then you will be heard.
Arista concluded by blaming Canales for the misery suffered by the frontier -- the desolation, the killing of husbands and sons, the fighting of presidial troops, the entrance of the barbarians, the driving off of cattle. In particular he blamed him for allying himself with the Texans, and asserted that arms would decide his fate. No peace could be had, he said, until Canales separated himself from the hated "colonials."
Unwilling to accept these conditions, especially in the absence of any guarantee of personal safety for himself and his men, Canales determined to fight and yet stand ready to accept any reasonable offer of amnesty. Returning to Guerrero on February 8, Canales, as "General in Chief of the Conventional Army," addressed the troops under his command.
Soldiers of the People, To-day you have entered into the solemn obligation of sustaining at hazards the Provisional Government of these States, and I doubt not but you will be willing to sacrifice yourselves to do so. Our enemies are filled with dismay at seeing it [this Government] established in the midst of all their forces, and will use all their endeavors to destroy it. But they can have no success when in our favor the opinions of the age march in our vanguard and the sympathies of all the world in our rear-guard. The march of time cannot be impeded, and tyranny shall remain far behind.
He then proceeded to denounce those classes, represented by the Centralists, who wished to restore the old order of nobility and of privilege to the detriment of liberty and equality. He denounced their neglect of frontier defense and their efforts to divide the people by seeking "to provoke war against strangers [Texans], to excite animosities among them," to the end of protecting the privileged classes and extinguishing patriotism among the Mexicans. "Citizens!" he concluded,
16. Mariano Arista to Antonio Canales, Cadereyta, Jan. 31, 1840, in ibid., Feb. 28, 1840.