able, as an officer of the Mexican government, to entertain any conversation with the Texan commissioners on the subjects of an armistice and on the reopening of the frontier trade.
In breaking off the conferences with the Texan emissaries, Arista informed them on August 8 that
. . . there can be no doubt that Texas belongs to Mexico, and that the inhabitants of that territory have rebelled against the legitimate Govt. It is not to be presumed that in this case the rules and forms observed by different nations at issue with each other, at all exist, much less that international laws be recurred to.
He then proceeded to inform Van Ness and Morris that the Mexican frontier commander was acquainted with and acted in conformity with the rules of war, with the instructions of his government, and the spirit of the age, and the laws of humanity. He reminded the Texan commissioners that the frontier commander "never attacks the innocent citizen, particularly as he is persuaded that in Texas there are many pacific persons who heartily desire to return to obedience to the Republic" of Mexico.
Possibly, with the desire to show his good intentions towards peaceful Texans, Arista, upon learning of the arrest of Dimitt (discussed in chapter XIX), ordered him and the other Texan prisoners to be sent to Monterey with the object of liberating them, since it was felt that they could not be freed at Matamoros in view of the excitement against them in that city. At the time the Texan commissioners left Monterey, Dimitt and his companions had not arrived. When they did reach Monterey, capital of Nuevo León, the turmoil of revolution had rolled northward making Arista's position quite uncertain, and the attitude
really know where Texas was, and that therefore it should not astonish anyone if their attention could easily be withdrawn from a war, about the cause of which they were ignorant and from a country which the most of them did not know they had ever claimed." Henry M. Morfit to John Forsyth, near Orazimba, Sept. 6, 1836, in Correspondence and Reports of American Agents and Others in Texas, 1836-1845, Justin H. Smith, "Transcripts," V, ms.
28. Mariano Arista al Sres. Dn. C. Van Ness y Dn. T. [J.] Morris, Agosto 8 de 1841 (Particular), in Garrison (ed.), Diplomatic Correspondence of Texas, 1908, II, 776-777; Telegraph and Texas Register, Sept. 22, 1841.
29. Austin City Gazette quoted in Telegraph and Texas Register, Sept. 29, 1841.