1. THE NEUTRAL GROUND AGREEMENT
a. Letter, dated October 29, 1806, from U. S. General James Wilkinson to Governor of Texas, Anthony Cordero :
Sir, ... In my letter to your Excellency the 24th ultimo, ...I emphatically remarked to your Excellency, "that the ultimate decision of the competent authority had been taken, that my orders were absolute, and my determination first to assert and, under God, to sustain the jurisdiction of the United States to the Sabine River, against any force which may be opposed to me"...
Your Excellency appears to lay much stress on the letter of Captain General Salcedo [Don Nemecio Salcedo, Commandant-General of the Interior Provinces] to Governor [William] Claiborne [Governor of Louisiana Territory], but as that letter treats generally on subjects of civil import, and as my functions are purely Military, it does not fall within my province to take particular cognizance of it. I will however beg leave to observe that his Excellency's exposition of the grounds on which he asserts the Arroyo Honda [sic] to be the line of provincial demarcation, carries with it an air of much plausibility, but being diametrically opposed to the sense of Expression of my Government, I cannot respect it; ...
Your Excellency is sensible to the extreme delicacy with which a Military man may exercise his discretion, when shackled with specific orders, yet such instances have occurred even on the field of Battle and must frequently become necessary, where operations are at issue a thousand miles from the source of authority. Believing that the controversy in which we are engaged presents a case precisely in point, I am willing to risque the approbations of my Government to perpetuate the tranquility of the inhospitable wilds, where waving the point of Honor, the subject of our test is scarcely worth the blood of one brave man.
Permit me then in the true spirit of reconciliation to propose to your Excellency, without yielding a Pretension, ceding a right, or interfering with the discussions which, belong to our superiors, to restore the "Status quo" at the delivery of the Province of Luisiana [sic] to the United States, by the withdrawal of our troops from the points they at present occupy to the post of Nacogdoches and Natchitoches respectively;
your Excellency's assent to this proposition shall be conclusive on my conduct, and I will commence my retrograde, on the day you break up your Camp on the right bank of the Sabine; under the joint stipulation that the troops of my Command shall not cross the Arroyo Honda, so long as those under your orders are restrained from crossing the Sabine, or until we may receive further instruction from our respective Governments ...
b. Response, dated November 4, 1906, from General Simon Herrera:
Sir. Lieutenant Hughen, Aid de Camp to Y.E. delivered to me yesterday your favorable letter of same day, and another sealed for Colonel Anthony Cordero, Y.E.'s goodness having also sent me a Copy of the contents relative to Y.E., having determined to retire with the troops of Y.E.'s orders to the quarters of Natchitoches; Demanding that whilst Spain and the U.S. settle the differences suscitated on the property of the land 'till this River of Sabinas, H.M.'s troop do not cross it, and that those of the U.S. will not come further than the Arroyo hondo.
Your E. manifesting by these operations, the peaceful ideas that possess you, I wishes to conserve the reciprocal good Harmony that is to exist between the two Nations, these proceedings oblige me to retire also to Nacogdoches those troops that I have the honor to Command, leaving them the Order not to cross the River.
That in this point nor in any other that may occur henceforth, there may be no motives if disgust [regret], passes to that camp the Adjutant Inspector Francis Viana, second commander of these troops, in order to agree with Y.E. and on his return I will remit to the Colonel Anthony Cordero Y.E.'s letter.
I am happy of this occasion to offer my respects to Y.E. praying to the Almighty to conserve Y.E.'s life.
The day after tomorrow 6th Inst. I will leave this camp, with the first divition [sic] of troops under my Command, of which I give Y.E. notice -------
The above is from the correspondence noted and found in the United States War Department Records, W-211, WD-3 in the National Archives and reproduced in the book, Documents of Texas History. See the bibliography for details on the book.
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