be entitled to be regarded as prisoners of war, as the expedition had not been authorized by the Texian government.
Shortly after the arrival of Mr. Percy W. Doyle in Mexico, I had a conversation with him on the subject, in which he made the same statement as to the letter of Captain Elliott; and in a subsequent conversation upon the subject, he added, that he thought it probable, in saying that the expedition was not authorized, that President Houston alluded not to the original expedition, but to the continuance of it after the return to Texas of General Somerville. Although I am very sure that in this I cannot be mistaken, yet if I am, it is very easy to prove it by the production of the letter, or a statement of Mr. Packenham.
Mexico, December 21st, 1843
|General W. Thompson:|
Dear Sir, - In compliance with your request, I called yesterday upon the Honourable Percy W. Doyle with the statement which is copied above, and which you propose to send to General T.J. Green, upon the subject of Captain Elliott's letter to Mr. Packenham, relative to the Texians taken prisoners at Mier. Mr. Doyle declined giving me a copy of Captain Elliott's letter, on the ground that it was a private letter, and not addressed to him; and after retiring to another room to compare your statement with that letter, he admitted that the statement was in every respect correct. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
|Ben E. Green|
His Excellency Charles Bankhead:
Sir, - The undersigned, a committee of the prisoners now confined in the Castle of Perote, believing that we are abandoned by our own government, have only the alternative left of appealing to the minister of her Britannic majesty at the court of Mexico to interfere with a view of putting a termination to our suffering and imprisonment. The evidence upon which our opinion is based, that we are surrendered by our government, are, first, the letter to your predecessor by the Executive of Texas, denouncing the Mier expedition as a lawless band of adventurers, unsanctioned by the authorities of the country whence it came, and therefore unentitled to the consideration and protection which, by civilized usage and of right, belong to prisoners of war. Secondly his withholding the means appropriated by Congress for our relief, when well apprized of our destitute and unfortunate situation. Thirdly, his entire neglect to make any exertion in our behalf, either by way of mitigating our hard fate or procuring our release. The only anxiety, within the knowledge of the undersigned, evinced by President Houston for the Texian prisoners, is to be found in the letter above referred to, which resulted in the melancholy, tragic scene at the Ranch Salado, where were executed in cold blood seventeen as brave men as ever enlisted in the holy cause and under the sacred banner of liberty. Whether this solicitude was for our weal or wo, the probable tendency of its operation, and its actual lamentable consequences, will show, not only to the satisfaction of those who executed, but those who prompted the horrid act. From this it will appear that this appeal properly emanates from the undersigned, and the sequel will show that it is appropriately addressed to your excellency the British minister.
We believe, sir, that the government of Great Britain is under official obligation to demand our liberation. Under the auspices, and through the avowed agency of the chargé d'affaires of your government to Texas, a treaty for the mutual exchange of prisoners was entered into and solemnly ratified by the contracting parties. Texas had confidence in this treaty from the fact