The California State Library recently acquired a letter from Mexican Minister of War Jose Maria Tornel y Mendivil to California Commissioners Andres Castillero, D. Manuel Castanares, and Jose Maria Castanares, dated July 25, 1846 after war had broken out between the United States and Mexico. It was written and sent from Mexico City and urged its recipients to defend California, telling them that "in case the Territory of California should be invaded by forces of the United States, you are authorized to use all resources to defend her with all your patriotism, keeping in mind the importance of the National Integrity."
What makes this letter remarkable is that it provides the first evidence that Mexico tried to keep California from falling into the hands of the U. S. (as well as the revolts led by local Californios). No copies of this letter or its text exist in other libraries, nor are there any other known letters ordering the defense of California.
Tornel's dates of birth and death are not known for certain, but he came from Orizaba, Veracruz, Mexico and became a Mexican Army general and a politician. For most of his career he allied with Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.