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Dear Colonel:—I feel a good deal anxious to hear how you
are getting along there to home, and I s'pose you are full as
anxious to know how we are going it out here. I got your
message to Congress, and their first three days' doings, and
that's the last I've heard. When I found the Whigs had fairly


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carried the House, I see in a moment there was a bad time
ahead for us. Says I, look out for squalls; the old ship will
have a hard time of it this winter. I had a good mind to come
right home to help stan' by the helm, for I knew you would
need me. But then I see at once that wouldn't do, for our officers
have got into a dreadful snarl here, and I shouldn't dare
to leave till things is settled, for fear the annexin' would all
go back again, and we should lose our two years' work. So,
as I can't come, all I can do is to give my notions about things
a little, by way of advice.

I see how 'twill be; the House will be quarreling with you
all winter; they'll be asking you all the hard questions they
can think of, and all the time prying into your secrets about
the war and annexin'. And I don't believe the Senate will be
a copper better. 'Tis true there an't so many Whigs there,
but there's them there that is full as bad. You never can do
anything with Mr. Calhoun; you know he always splits everything
in two, even to a hair; and the most he'll ever do for us
about this annexin' business will be to split off a little piece
of Mexico. If he finds out we are annexin' the whole of it,
he'll fight agin us till all is blue. Then there's Colonel Benton
I don't think is a whit better than Mr. Calhoun. You know
what a fuss he made when we took in Texas, because we sot
out to take in a little strip of Mexico with it; only a little reasonable
strip, too, jest on our side of the river, so as to make
square work of it. Colonel Benton's ebenezer was right up
about it: he said it didn't belong to us, and it didn't belong to
Texas, and we had no right to it, and shouldn't touch it. Now,
if he made such a fuss about that little strip on our side of
the river, he'll be likely to raise Ned and turn up Jack, if he
finds out we have a notion of annexin' the whole of Mexico.
And he's a terrible enemy to have, I can tell you; I don't believe
there's another man in the country that can look down


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opposition equal to him. Now, with such men as these in the
Senate, besides all the thunder of Webster, and all the persuadin'
of Crittenden, how are you going to get along? I
think there is no way for us to get along safe but to keep
such men in the dark. Keep coaxing the money out of 'em to
“conquer a piece,” but never let 'em mistrust that we intend
to conquer the whole. We must look one way all the time,
and row t'other. I know you'll have a hard time of it, for
Congress will keep diving into you all the time with this
question and that, and pryin' into all the secrets about
the war, and want to know what orders you give to us out
here in Mexico, and what the armies are going to do, and
where all the money goes to, and a thousand things that they've
no business with. Now, when they keep coming to you with
these ugly questions, I think the only safe way will be for
you to shet your mouth right up, and keep a stiff upper lip,
and not say a word. And do pray be careful what you tell to
good old Mr. Ritchie, for you know he never could keep his
mouth shet. There's some dogs, you know, that always bark
at the wrong time, and frighten away the game. You never
can train 'em to keep still when they ought to. You remember,
more than two years ago, before the war begun, when you was
laying out the work privately and carefully, and getting your
ships around to the Pacific, and giving the officers their orders
to stan' ready and wait till the train was touched on this side,
and the moment they heard the first sound of the war to snap
up California and annex it, and hold on to it, so that if we found
the people wouldn't let the war go on, we could come to a settlement,
and each side hold what they had got, you remember
how Mr. Ritchie got so full of the matter that he liked to blowed
the whole business up by letting on about the conquest of
Mexico. A little more such carelessness at that time would a
been likely to upset our whole kittle of fish—we might a lost


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California, and Santa Fe, and likely enough even that little
strip on our side of the river jining Texas. And as for the
whole of Mexico, our jig would a been up at once; we might
a whistled for it till doomsday, but 't wouldn't come.

I think you did right to make believe, in your message, that
you had no idea of conquering the whole of Mexico. I don't
believe it would be safe to take that ground till the work is
all done. Tho people of our country are too skittish yet about
conquering other countries; they haint got used to it. And
for this reason you will have to be very firm with Congress,
and not let 'em cross-question you too close, and get you into
a bother. Call upon them boldly for large armies, and all the
millions of money the mints can make, and all that Mr.
Walker can borrow, and tell 'em you are digging into the
vital parts of Mexico to get that five millions she owes us.

If they ask you if Mr. Tyler didn't offer to give up that five
millions to Mexico to pay her for our taking Texas without
her leave, jest shet your mouth up.

If they ask you if we hadn't ought to give up that five
millions to Mexico for that strip on our side of the river that
you sent General Taylor to take, jest shet your mouth up.

If they ask you if Mr. Trist didn't offer to give up that five
millions to Mexico, and pay her twenty millions more, if she
wouldn't try to get back California and New Mexico, that you
had taken from her without her leave, jest shet your mouth up.

If they ask you what upon earth you can want of a hundred
thousand soldiers in Mexico, and a hundred millions of
dollars a year for spending money, jest open your lips carefully
a little ways, and tell 'em you are digging into the vital
parts of Mexico to get that five millions she owes us.

Then shet your mouth right up again, and keep it shet, and
I guess you'll be safe. Don't be afraid of 'em; they can't pry
your mouth open if they should try; and I guess that answer


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will pacify 'em till we get the work all done, and Mexico all
annexed. Then you can step up to 'em boldly, and tell 'em
you have made the greatest bargain that anybody ever made
on this airth; you have got the whole of Mexico, people and
all, for five millions of dollars, which is only about fifty cents
a head for the people, and the lands and the gold mines
thrown in for nothing.

I'm persuaded it will make the greatest man of you that
ever lived yet; greater than Washington, or Jackson, or anybody
else. The world will then say, “What great things was
Washington? He only defended his country, and built up a
Republic; but there was Colonel Polk, he conquered a country
and annexed a Republic.” I'm so sure it will come to this
that I wish you could stop their setting up that great Washington
Monument there in the city of Washington, for that
mnnument ought to be raised to you yet, and the money should
be saved for that purpose. I don't know how you can stop
the work goin' on, unless you can make it out that it comes
under the head of internal improvements, and then you might
stop it constitutionally. At any rate, it's worth trying for.
Never mind the prating of them scare-crow folks who make
such a fuss, and say it will be the destruction of the United
States if you annex Mexico. What if it should? You would
still stand above Washington, and be remembered longer.
Our history books tell us that the name of the man who built
the first great temple to Diana at Ephesus is lost and forgotten;
nobody knows who he was; but the name of the man
who sot fire to it and burnt it down is found in all the histories
down to this day. So in this grand annexin' business of
yourn, if you should set fire to the great temple that Washington
built, and burn it down, don't fear but your name will
live on the page of history full as long as Washington.

But I've writ so much already that I haven't room to say


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but a word or two about matters here. We keep pushing the
business here; we've got pretty well through the vital parts
of the country, and the army has now commenced spreading
out and turning squatters. But we haven't near enough to
spread all over the country yet, without leaving them too
scattering. I hope you will hurry on the thirty thousand
more men that you promised, as fast as possible; that would
make us near a hundred thousand strong—enough to spread
out squatters into all parts of the country, and the annexin'
business would be pretty much over. That is, the annexin'
of Mexico; and I take it you'll give us a holiday, and let us
rest a few months before we hitch on to the next country
down South. And, besides, we shall need that holiday to see
about electing you President another term; for you'll have to
be elected in the common way once more before you will be
strong enough to stand President all the time.

I remain your faithful friend,