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Report No. 42.HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, MEXICO, January 6, 1848. SIR: Nothing of interest has occurred since my report of the 26th ultimo ; not even the arrival of a mail ; but a private conveyance brought up yesterday a letter from Brigadier-General Marshall, representing that he was at Jalapa the 22d ultimo, with a column of troops (number not given), one half of whom were on the sick report, with measles and diarrhoea, and that he had sent back his train to VERA CRUZ for medicines and other supplies. He gave no day for the recommence ment of his march. The number on the sick report, in this basin, is also great. In a total of 14,964, we have only 11,162 " for duty." The measles are rife among the new volunteers. Colonel Withers, with the 9th Infantry, occupied Pachuca, quietly, more than a week ago. Brigadier-General Cadwallader, with the remainder of his brigade, will march for Lerma and Toluca (State capital, thirty-eight miles off, in a direction opposite to Pachuca) to-day. The general object in occupying the three cities is to commence levying the assessments for the last month, and, through them, to enforce peace. Please see copies of General Orders, Nos. 395-8, here with. (Giving the finance details promised in Order, No. 3T6.) The tobacco monopoly I have thought it necessary to abolish. It would be worthless without a prohibition of the plant at the custom houses, and I doubted whether our Government, considering the interests of some five of our own tobacco-growing States, would prohibit the importation. Again, to protect the monopoly, including licenses to cultivators, would require a host of excise men. Probably a reasonable duty on importation will give larger net receipts for a year or two than could be derived in that time from any mo nopoly however strictly enforced. Like difficulties in management caused me to relinquish to the Mexican States, respectively, the stamped- paper and playing-card monopolies. More than a substitute will be found in the quadrupling of the direct assessments on the States. From the want of sufficient numbers to send, at once, columns of five thousand men each to Zacatecas and San Luis de Potosi, respectively, I next proposed to despatch to the latter place a force of seven thousand, which would be sufficient to open the channel of commerce between Tampico and Zacatecas, a distance of three hundred and ninety-four miles, and, by the operation, double, perhaps, the receipts at that seaport, as well as the interior dues on the precious metals. The commercial wealth of Durango would soon fall into the same channel. But assuming seven thousand men as the minimum force for this neighborhood, including the capital, Chapultepec, Pachuca, Lerma, and Toluca, I am obliged to wait for further reinforcements to make up the one column for San Luis. The delay of Brigadier-General Marshall, who had been expected daily for nearly a week, is, therefore, quite a vexatious disappointment. Possibly before his arrival (should the measles here have earlier subsided), I may risk a column of five thousand men, leaving, for a time, two intermediate posts vacant, and instruct the commander (Major-General Butler) to take into his sphere of operation a part of the forces belonging to the base of the Rio Grande. A detachment moving upon Tula, and, perhaps, leaving Victoria to the left, might cooperate very advantageously with the forces at the new centre, San Luis, and without endangering the line of Monterey, in which direction, it is supposed, the Mexicans cannot have any formidable number of organized troops. To concert the double movement, by correspondence, would be the principal difficulty ; but ample discretion would be allowed in my general instructions. Many of the States of this republic, on account of their remoteness from the common centre, sparseness of population, and inability to pay more than a trifle in the way of contributions, are not worth being occupied. Their influence on the question of peace or war is, proportionally, inconsiderable. As reinforcements arrive, I shall therefore endeavor to occupy only the more populous and wealthy States. Most of the mints (all but two, I learn) have been farmed by foreigners for terms of years (unexpired), on the payment of large sums in advance. The principal mint (here) is in hands of the British Consul-General, who paid down about $200,000 in February last for the term of ten years, and contracted to pay, currently, one per centum on the amount of coinage. I suppose myself bound to respect such contracts until otherwise instructed. Other mints pay, I am informed, one and a half per centum on the money turned out. Hence a direction in General Orders, No. 395, to examine the contracts between the Mexican Government and the several mints. Those not under contract will be as sessed as heretofore. By two conveyances I am expecting mails up from VERA CRUZ in two and four days. I am anxious to receive the views of the Department on several points of importance to me in this command. The new Federal Executive and Congress are, as yet, not installed. Both, it is believed, will be strongly inclined to a peace. I have the honor, etc., etc., WINFIELD SCOTT. HON. WM. L. MARCY, SECRETARY OF WAR.
- Winfield Scott