Captain Santos Benavides, commanding at Carrizo,* to which I beg to call the attention of Your Excellency.
It appears that a party of thieves with stolen beeves crossed the Rio Grande Mexico a few miles below the encampment of Captain Benavides; that on discovering the trail he notified the authorities of Guerrero that he was about to cross in pursuit, and received a response that they also would immediately proceed to follow. He then crossed, and on the trail in less than two leagues found himself at Guerrero, the trail leading into that town. He then notified the authorities that he was ready with his force to assist in the capture of the thieves, but it seems that the commander of the Mexican forces took offense at his presence and ordered him back to the Texas side of the river. In the discussion which ensued he informed Captain Benavides that he should not respect the mutual agreement entered into between us, for he had private instructions from Your Excellency not do so. Upon this Captain Benavides returned to his camp on the Texas side and issued an order that all persons should cross at his headquarters and deposit their arms before proceeding to the interior, &c.
In calling your attention to the letter of Captain Benavides I need not assure Your Excellency who has given me so many proofs of your good faith, that I consider the language of the military commander at Guerrero concerning the private instructions he may have received from you as utterly false, but it appears to me important that his conduct should be inquired into, and if found to be influenced by hostility or antipathy to the people of Texas that one more in harmony with us should replace him.
The act of Captain Benavides seems to me to have been in conformity with the spirit of our agreement up to the time of his arrival in front of Guerrero. He did not then pretend to enter city, but contented himself with offering his services if they were needed. The pursuit on the part of the Mexican authorities had not even commenced, so short was the time allowed, and yet the stolen property was even then in the streets of Guerrero, which would show that the "absolute necessity" contemplated by the agreement had arisen, for otherwise the trail would have been lost.
I trust that You Excellency will direct the occurrence of any intention to trespass on the rights of Mexico, but rather consider it as an energetic effort to carry out the spirit of an agreement mutually beneficial to the citizens of both nations. The object was to punish thieves, and when considered in that light itself a friendly act, and done with the best motives and with considerate courtesy. A different construction of this act may have been instigated by the local and personal enmities unfortunately existing in that vicinity, it being the residence of Zapata and the headquarters of his band.
I would respectfully inquire if it is within your knowledge that the stolen beeves thus traced to the town of Guerrero have been returned to the authorities of Texas and the thieves punished.
I regret to state that I have received information that cattle and horses are being stolen from the ranches in Texas and crossed into Mexico with lamentable frequency.
I have no report from Captain Benavides of having crossed the river a second time in pursuit of thieves, and shall very much regret that he should have done so without giving the necessary notice, but presume it was done because the military commander had avowed his intention
* Probably that of April 13, p.1040.