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Indians. He said that those Indians were as likely to attack citizens of Mexico as citizens of the United States. If the latter should press claims which the former alike suffered he feared that Mexico might prevent such trade altogether, either by directly prohibiting it or indirectly hampering it. Further he said if such claims, even though always bona fide, should be pressed against the government of Mexico, then Mexican citizens might press similar but fictitious claims against the United States for losses within the borders of the latter. He believed a claim to be fraudulent which Escudero had made and received indemnity for on the ground that he had been plundered by Osage Indians. He said that Mexico was suspicious of the United States, and did not really desire the trade by way of the interior. The government was continually making complaint of the insolence of the traders from the United States and their sale of arms to the Indians; and was trying to put into the treaty an article prohibiting all trade with the Indians.42
In spite of insufficient protection, and consequent losses by Indian attacks, the Santa Fé trade continued to grow, with a few reverses. In 1829 the long expected military force was furnished by the United States to escort the traders.13 In April, 1830, Van
42 Poinsett to Clay, April 13, 1827, MS., Department of State, Despatches from Mexico, II. For payment of Escudero's claim see Clay to Poinsett, January 5, 1827, MS., Department of State, Instructions, XI, 227.
43 In response to a resolution of the United States Senate,
Buren, then secretary of state, wrote to Butler, the chargé at Mexico, telling of the army contingent which the United States was equipping to protect the trade with northern Mexico; and instructed him to endeavor to induce the Mexican government to supply a similar force to meet the caravans on the frontier and escort them to the civilized settlements in Mexico. Or if this was impossible he was to try to get the consent of that government for the United States troops to guard the caravans to the nearest civilized Mexican settlements. The last, he was told, would be a very delicate matter."
a report was made by the War Department January 10, 1827, on the "expediency of providing for the establishment of a military post on the trading route between Missouri and Mexico for the protection of that trade." The report advised against the establishment of a permanent post because of the great length of the route to be protected, the great distance a post on the Arkansas would be from the nearest settlements, and the consequent difficulty of keeping the post supplied. It suggested instead that an armed force should be provided to travel with the caravans, having a place of rendezvous, only, on the Arkansas. See American State Papers, Military Affairs, III, 615.
Major Riley was in command of this first escort. He and his command accompanied the wagon train in 1829 to the Arkansas where he expected to turn back. But Indians attacked the train a few miles beyond the Arkansas, and the traders appealed to Riley for protection. He crossed into Mexican territory and drove away the Indians, and continued with the train as far as the Cimarron [Semirone in the document], where he turned back. After his return to Ft. Leavenworth he sent a report to the War Department. See American State Papers, Military Affairs, IV, 277.
44 Van Buren to Butler, April 1, 1830, MS., Department of State, Instructions to American States, XIV, 176.
The commercial treaty which Butler concluded with the Mexican government on April 5, 1831, and which was ratified just a year later contained an article intended to regulate the trade by this route. It declared: "For the purpose of regulating the interior commerce between the frontier territories of both republics, it is agreed that the executive of each shall have power, by mutual agreement, of determining on the route and establishing the roads by which such commerce shall be conducted; and in all cases where the caravans employed in such commerce may require convoy and protection by military escort, the supreme executive of each nation shall, by mutual agreement, in like manner, fix on the period of departure for such caravans, and the point at which the military escort of the two nations shall be exchanged. And it is further agreed, that, until the regulations for governing this interior commerce between the two nations shall be established, the commercial intercourse between the state of Missouri of the United States of America, and New Mexico in the United Mexican States, shall be conducted as heretofore, each government affording the necessary protection to the citizens of the other."45
-Writers of popular narratives of events along the trail tell of United States troops escorting wagon trains to the Arkansas, and sometimes into Mexican territory, and of the coming of Mexican troops to meet and escort traders to Santa Fé.46
45 United States, Treaties and Conventions, 1776-1909, I, 1095. 46 In the books cited in footnote 1, above.
DENUNCIATION OF POINSEtt Because of HIS RELATIONS WITH THE YORK MASONS
In spite of clerical opposition, Masonry was already flourishing in Mexico before Poinsett's arrival in 1825. But all of the lodges hitherto fully organized and having a charter belonged to the Scottish rite. The secrecy of the lodges made them a fertile field for the growth and spread of political doctrines. The centralista faction dominated them everywhere and their influence was reactionary. Federalistas felt that it was necessary to oppose their influence in order to prevent a return to the monarchical system.
Just at the time when the changes were occurring in the government which Poinsett spoke of as the organization of an American party, and when that party was getting control of the cabinet, lodges of York rite Masons began to be organized. They immediately spread with great rapidity, were everywhere controlled. by federalista partisans, and soon began a violent political agitation against the supposed European and monarchical tendencies of the centralistas exerted through the Scottish rite lodges. A bitter hostility sprang up between the two rites, which shortly either absorbed or obscured all other issues and caused the
1 Discussed above in the chapter entitled British Influence in Mexico, and Poinsett's Struggle Against it.
two chief political parties to abandon their old names for the respective designations of the rival rites. Poinsett's relations with the York rite leaders, which became manifest at the time when they were securing control of the government, were the chief cause of the fierce denunciations which the defeated faction soon began to hurl at him, and which interfered so seriously with the conduct of his negotiations.
In his correspondence at the time of their formation, Poinsett did not hesitate to acknowledge that he had taken part in their organization. In a letter of October 14, 1825, to Rufus King in London, he said he had encouraged and assisted in their organization and had entertained the members at his home. The meeting had been reported to Ward, the British chargé, by Tornel as having been entirely political; and that gentleman had been given a false notion of the toasts. Subsequenly Ward had given a diplomatic dinner to the secretaries of state and foreign ministers to which he had not invited Poinsett. At this dinner Ward's friends had indulged in toasts allusive to pending negotiations between the United States and Mexico of not a very friendly tenor, and those toasts had been published at Ward's request. The factions which Poinsett classed as the enemies of the government,-the European Spaniards, the Bourbonistas, and the centralistas, had been displeased, he said, at the good understanding that had hitherto existed between the representatives of England and the United States, and had worked on Ward to break