Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/352

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toward his capital, he occupied himself with forming a ministry favorable to his scheme, with the intent of making sooner or later a radical change in the political institutions of the country.

Such intentions had aroused a violent opposition to his administration. Santa Anna, apparently amusing himself at Havana, but always well informed by his partisans of what was going on at home, sent home letters declaring himself in favor of the Constitution of 1824, and ready, as usual, to serve his country. The American government, hearing of this, thought it well to encourage Santa Anna, in opposition to Paredes, for they looked with no favor on the idea of a monarchy in Mexico, and moreover saw that all negotiations for peace were futile during the stay of Paredes in power. The Gulf of Mexico was already blockaded by an American squadron, but orders were issued to permit Santa Anna to come in, if he wanted to. This order was given before the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, and must be taken as a sign of willingness on the part of the United States for a pacific accommodation.

But Santa Anna's gifts were those of a military nature, not for peaceful solutions. If he was to serve his country, it must be by waving the battle flag and not the olive branch.

The defeats of the army reminded Paredes of the need of regaining his prestige. He began to put forth some energy in raising men and money, and gave out that he should repair to the field of action himself to conduct operations against the invaders