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Weekly national intelligencer. [volume] (Washington [D.C.]) 1841-1869, December 12, 1846, Image 3

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have disregarded and trampled upon her Couatitu
tion and forms of law ; who have put down all
order and legal accountability ; and in their stead
have introduced universal confusion and military
anarchy. So far from having auy regular and ac
countable Government, the social system of the
Mexicans has for years exhibited a continued series
of almost entire disorganization. This sad destiny j
has been brought upon them by the delinquency,^
the violence* and the crimes of their rulers. Admit (
that the injuries which we have received at the^
hands of Mexico have been sufficient to excite a
desire lor redress, or, if you will, even for ven
geance ; yet, when we look at things as they exist
in that unhappy country, and reflect that her down
trodden masses, upon whom chiefly the calamities
of war fqjl, are innocent of our wrongs, and have
not the power to rigjit them, pity and humanity
arrest the purpose that would inflict upon them the
direful scourge of war* Our arms might carry
desolation and mourning into alt the hovels of the
miserable masses of Mexico, whilst the real delin
quents would be well nigh as secure from harm as
the true author of this war, almost enthroned as he
is in the palace in this Metropolis. But had the
President recommended war instead of declaring
that he forbore to do so, Congress might or might
not have declared it. Probably not, as the Presi
dent admitted that an existing Government in Mex
ico was disposed to receive a Minister from us to
setde existing difficulties, and also that the country
was on the verge of one of its frequent revolutions.
If disposed to take a remedy into our own hands,
Congress might have authorized reprisals upon
Mexico; a measure short of war, which President
Jackson had recommended, and which was then
and at all times amply sufficient for redress, and
for every purpose except to despoil Mexico of a
portion of her territory.
But, to return to the material question between
President Polk and the American People : IIow
and by whom was thi? war begun ? If by Mexico,
he stands absolved ; if by himself, he has far sur
passed all his predecessors in bold abuse of power.
No threats on the part of Mexico amounted to.
War. In August, 1845, the American army, by
orders of the President, took post at Corpus Christi,
on the west bank of the Nueces, and within the
line of the Texan settlements. It remained in that
position, unmolested by the Mexicans, until March
1840, when, under orders of the War Department,
it moved forward to occupy a position on the Rio
Grande. In the execution of the orders of the
President, the Commanding General overthrew by
military force and expelled the Mexican authorities
from Santiago, took post on the Rio Grande, for
tified his camp, mounted his cannon so as to com
mand the town of Matamoros, and cut off all com
munication with it by blockading the mouth of the
river on which it stands. Up to that time Mexico
had sent no forces across the Rio Grande. The
Texans had no settlements or posts (nor ever have
had any) on the Rio Grande, upon any of its tribu
taries, or within its long valley, from its sources to
its mouth. Texan officers, laws, or jurisdiction had
never been seen or existed any where on the bor
ders of the Rio Grande, from the Green Moun
tains to the Gulf. On the contrary, the whole
length of the country had been discovered by the
Mexicans, and their uninterrupted possession had
continued up to that day. Beginning with the city
of Taos, more than one thousand miles up the Rio
Grande, the Mexicans had east of that river towns
and cities, Santa Cruz, Santa F6 (the capital of New
Mexico,) San Miguel, San Domingo, Albuquerque,
Torreon, Totillas, Tajiqua, Nutreas, Tabira, Val
verde, Fra Cristobal, Old Presidio, Dolores, Laredo,
and Point Isabel, stretching the whole length of the
river, from its sources to the Gulf. From the time
that Mexico became independent of old Spain, her
jurisdiction, her laws, and her officers had swayed
over all these cities and towns, and the entire rural
population of the country. Texas never had had a
foothold in the. country of the Rio Grande. Sucli
was the state of things until it was first interrupted,
and has Bince been subverted, by our army ; and
all this was as well known to the President as to
any other man. Both Mexico and President Polk
have declared to the world that the United Stales
and Mexico were at peace before Gen. Taylor was
ordered to march from the Nueces to the Rio
Grande. Certainly Mexico had not made war upon
the United States. No person will deny that a
warlike act is war. Are not the marching of an
army of one nation into territory that has ever been
in the unbroken possession of another with which
it is at peace, and where the jurisdiction, laws, and
authorities of the country thus assaulted have been
daily enforced, and the overthrow of the$e laws and
authorities by the invading army, and the substitu
tion of its military rule, warlike acts ? If these acts
necessarily lead to war, it is not competent for the
President to authorize them, because the Constitu
tion vests the whole war-power of the Government
in Congress. But such acts are War, and in a
most offensive form. Our armies have taken pos
session of a good part of New Mexico and Chihua
hua, without any actual conflict of arms ; and who
will not say that we have not made war upon those
Mexican States ? No, the President has no more
right or constitutional power of himself to undertake
such acts than he has to appropriate money in the
Treasury, or to decide causes in the Supreme
But the Message assumes boldly that the Rio
Grande, from its mouth to its source, is the western
bonndary of Texas. It predicates this conclusion,
mainly, npon the grounds that Texas had always
claimed to that boundary ; that her Congress, by
the act of 183?, declared it to be so ; that44 in her
treaty with Santa Anna, in May, 1830, he recognis
ed it as such;" and that " Texas, as ceded to the
United States by France in 1803, has been always
claimed as extending west to the Rio Grande, or
Rio Bravo." His proposition, then, is, that as
Texas by annexation became a State of the Union,
and her western boundary was the Rio Grande, the
United States extended to that line, and it was his
duty to " see that her laws were faithfully execut
ed " up to it.
Let us rapidly examine these various points. By
the resolution annexing Texas, Congress did not
recognise the Rio Grande, or any other line, as the
western boundary of Texas. There has been at
no time a controversy or doubt upon the true posi
tion of any other than the western boundary of
Texas; and, in reference to this line, the resolution
of annexation expressly included only " the terri
tory properly included within, and rightfully be
longing to the Republic of Texas cautiously pro-|
viding, in addition, that said State (of Texas) was
" to be formed subject to the adjustment by this
Government of all questions of boundary that may
arise with other Governments." Here is a distinct
recognition that this western boundary was unsei
zed, and a condition imposed which, in terms, was
acceded to by Texas, that its adjustment with Mex
ico should be made by the Government of the Uui
ted States. Will any one maintain that the Presi
dent ol himself can adjust and determine the un
settled boundaries of the United States ? That can
be done only by the treaty-making power, the Pre
sident and the Senate acting by two-thirds ; and
this true and constitutional mods of settling the
question is provided for by the articles of annexa
tion. lo the extent of the dispute in relation to
the true locality of the western boundary line of!
Texas it was the duty of the President of the Uni
ted States to await the action of the treaty-making
power with Mexico. But such constitutional de
lay did not suit his purposes. He was resolved to I
have what he then thought would be an easy,
speedy, and triumphant brush with Mexico; and,
as his occupation of Texas to the utmost verge of!
her settlements west of the Nueces for six months
would not extract the first fire from her, he was re-1
solved to make the war himself, although Congress
was then in session. He therefore ordered the!
army to march in hostile array to the Rio Grande.
If this position ol his, that the western boundary
of the United States extended along that river from its
mouth to its source, and it was his duty to main
tain the jurisdiction and to execute the laws of the
United States up to it, was not an after-thought,
why did he not immediately upon annexation march
our army upon Santiago, break up the Mexican
customhouse there, and drive her officers, laws,
and authority from the soil of the United States ?
Why should he delay this work for months, if he
was so urgently impelled by his oath and duty ?
Santa l e, too, the capital of New Mexico, was
some miles within the United States, according to
his present position. . It was the seat of a foreign
conflicting Government, which was then maintain- i
ing an adversary rule over about as many Mexican
towns, cities, and people east of the Rio Grande
as there were in the entire country between that
river and the Sabine which acknowledged the juris
diction of Texas. If the lower part of that stream
was the boundary of the United States, on the an
nexation of Texas, according to his own position
the river was a continuation of the same boundary
line to its source. It lie was bound as President
to assert the jurisdiction of the United States, and
execute their laws at Santiago, was he not under a
stronger obligation to expel a foreign Government
from Santa Fe, and to reduce that capital and all
its dependencies under our laws and authority ?
Vet tliis he never attempted or dreamed of until
Congress recognised the unconstitutional war which
he had commenced. In such difficulties does a
departure from principle involve men.
" Texas, as ceded to the United States by France
? in 1803, has been always claimed as extending
4 west to the Rio Grande or Rio" Bravo," says the
Message. Now France never ceded Texas to the
United States at all; she ceded T^ouisiana, which
the United States contended included all the coun
try between the Mississippi river and the Rocky
Mountains, from the sources of that river to the Rio
Grande. The statement that France ceded to the
United States Texas eo nomine can have no other
effect than to produce a false impressiou upon the
public mind. Spain always controverted the posi
tion that Louisiana extended to the Rio Grande.
But that is neither the main nor p collateral ques
tion in this matter; it is only thrown in lo distract
and to lead the mind from the true points. Louisi
ana and 1 exas once had a common recognised boun
dary, and that was the river Nueces. The query,
however, is as to the boundary of Texas. Spain
owned and was possessed of Louisiana, which she
ceded to France by the treaty of October, 1800.
Before this cession she was undisputed sovereign of
Louisiana, of Texas, New Mexico, and all the
other provinces of Mexico. She held and possess
ed them all by certain and definite boundary, and
the western line of Texas, in which she made set
tlements more than a century ago, was the river
Nueces. Her ancient, first, and only capital of
New Mexico continued to be Santa Fe, which it
could not have been had the province of Louisiana
extended to the Rio Grande. After she ceded
Louisiana to Franee, during the whole period of its
possession by that Power, and after its transfer by
her to the United Slates, Santa F? continued to be
the undisputed capital of New Mexico, where its
government was fully and uninterruptedly adminis
tered. The right of the United States to Texas
was ceded to Spain by the treaty of 1810; and
from that time until Mexico revolted she held and
governed Texas by the Nueces as its Western
boundary; and Tamaulipas, another province, as
running across the Rio Grande to the Nueces for
its Eastern boundary. In 1824, Mexico, having
achieved her independence, established a Federal
Republic, constituted of several States, upon the
model of our Union and Constitution. Under this
system New Mexico was one of the States, Coa
huila was another, and Texas a third. The two
latter did not unite and form one State of the Re
public, as the Message states. They were estab
lished and existed as separate and distinct political
' geographical divisions, but were united under one
[common Legislature and one common State Gov
ernment. They existed as separate territories, hav
^ ing distinct and separate boundaries, and each by
its known and mutually recognised boundary, and by
the name of Coahuila and Texas respectively. The
same river Nueces was a common boundary be
tween them, being the western line of Texas and
the eastern line of Coahuila. Texas did not in
fact, nor did she then claim to, extend further west
(than the Nueces; and as to the reaching afar up,
I and comprehending all of New Mexico east of the
^ Rio Grande, including her capital of Santa F?, such
an extravagance had not then entered into any
man s imagination. Things remained in this state
until Texas, hi 1835, declared her independence;
but Coahuila remained a State of Mexico. Texas
declared herself independent by name, and did not
define her boundary. She ineffectually endeavored
lo prevail with Coahuila to take ihe same step, and
then left her in undisputed possession and in the exer
cise of her separate jurisdiction and authority up to
the Nueces. No question of boundary had then arisen
between them. What, then, becomes of the Presi
dent's position, 44 Texas, as ceded to the United
? Stales by France in 1803, has been always claim.
4 ed as extending west to the Rio Grande?"
In April, 1836, Santa Anna was captured by the
Texan army, and whilst a prisoner of war he en
tered into and signed certain articles with some of
the principal officers of the Texan army. It was
provided expressly in one of the articles that the
whole arrangement should be submitted respective
ly to die Governments of Texas and Mexico; and
the latter rejected it. Santa Anna had, from the1
time of marching to invade Texas, ceased to be the'
President of Mexico, and a President ad interim
had been appointed, and was invested with, and
was then exercising,'5 the powers of that office.
Santa Anna was only General-iu-chief, and also a
piisoner of war. One of the articles of this ar
rangement stipulated that "the Mexican army1
should retire west of the Rio Grande," and this is
the only provision bearing upon the point of ces-'
sion of territory or boundary. It neither attempts,
nor, by any terms which might have been adopted,
could it have settled boundary, or ceded any of the
territory of Mexico. Because, first, Santa Anna
was but a military commander before he was taken
captive, and could not as such make a treaty to
bind Mexico. Secondly, if he was clothed with
such a power, its total suspension ensued immedi
ately upon his daptivity, and reverted to Mexico.
Thirdly, the arrangement itself provided for its ra
tification or rejection by Mexico and Texas, and
Mexico rejected it. This is what President Polk
terms a " treaty made with Santa Anna in May,
1830," by Texas, in which "he recognised" the
Rio Grande as her western boundary. It is diffi
cult to decide whether the President blunders most
in his idea of a treaty, or in the statement of the
facts of the case. This compact between the pri
soner Santa Anna and his captors had no effect to
divest Mexico of the country between the Nueces
and the Rio Grande, or to invest Texas with it;
and yet it is the first beginning and the only foun
dation of her claim ! Never before had she set up
any claim for any portion of the country between
the two rivers. In December following, indeed,
her Congress passed an act to define the boundaries'
of the Republic of Texas, in which the Rio Grande,
I from its mouth to its source, was declared to be her
western boundary. All the while, the whole country
on both sides of that river continued to be studded by
Mexican towns and cities, to be held and inhabited
by Mexican people, to be governed by Mexican
laws and officers, and to know no others ; and mat
ters so remained until they were subverted by the
invasion of the American army. It is the extreme
of absurdity to say that this act of the Texan Con
gress expanded her boundary to the Rio Grande.
Conquest and Treaty are the only modes by which
territory can be transferred from one nation to an
other. If it could be done by the mode adopted by
Texas, all her territory would now belong to Mexi
co, because Mexico has claimed a thousand times, in
every possible form, and still does, the whole
country known as Texas. '
These observations are equally applicable to our
acts of Congress, passed since annexation, estab
lishing a port of delivery at Corpus Christi, and a
post route or two west of the Nueces. This legis
lation did not interfere with the Mexican people
and authorities seated east of the Rio Grande. But,
il our Congress had passed an act in the words of
the previous act of Texas declaring the Rio Grande
to be the western boundary of Texas, it would nei
ther have strengthened the right of the United
States nor have weakened that of Mexico. The
question of right would have been left just where
it was, and as it stood before. Such is another of
the broken reeds upon which President Polk leans
in this his great strait.
Hut die President is so hard pressed that he ra
dier unwittingly, it would seem, quotes this lan
guage in reference to Texas, from the despatch of
our Secretary of State in 1842 to our Minister in
Mexico : ? Practically free and independent, ac
? knowledged as a political sovereignty by the prin
' cipal Powers of tlie world.no hostilefool resting
4 within hcr[Texas~\ territory for nix or seven years,
4 and Mexico herself refraining for all that period from
? any further attempt to re-establish her own audio
' rity over that territory," Ac. This is testimony
adduced by the President himself; and, although it
may prove that Texas was independent, it estab
lishes conclusively that, in the judgment of the then
Administration, Texas did not extend to the Rio
Grande, or include all the Mexican towns and peo
ple east of it, from Santiago along its whole course
to the cities of Santa Fe, Taos, and upward.
But the President in this Message protests that
he could not assume " the responsibility of yielding
4 up the territory west of the Nueces to Mexico, or 1
4 refusing to protect and defend this territory and
4 its inhabitants, including Corpus Christi, as well
' as the remainder of Texas, against the threatened
4 invasion. I o which it is enough to reply that
General Taylor's post at Corpus Christi protected
amply every Texan settler west of the Nueces, and
the President will not say to the contrary. Mexico
made no military movementon that border until Gen.
Taylor was in full march to the Rio Grande. It was
not until her own people and authority on the Rio
Grande were invaded by the army under his com
mand that she prepared for resistance and to defend
them. The President was not required even by
Mexico to yield up any territory; but, of his own
will, and whilst Congress was in session, he march
ed our army into a country where the military force
of Texas never had been but to be defeated ; he,
upon his own mere authority, invaded a country that
was and ever had been in the full possession of
Mexico,and expelled her officers and laws from it!
by force of arms.
Thus began the War.
The true issue, therefore, between the President'
and the People is not whether there existed,1
prior to the year 1H45, as the President now ar
gues, justifiable cause of war,* but whether he, the
President, had constitutional power to determine
that question, much less to act as he did upon that
determination. The question of the sufficiency of
canse for war was one for Congress, and not for
the I resident, to decide. Congress was in session
when the order was expedited for the march of the
Army to the Rio Grande, and upon that decisive
and conclusive step the President failed in his duty
to ask the sanction of the Constitutional authority.
To the Government of Mexico, and as between
that Government and the United States, it is of little
consequence how the war was brought on. The
war now exists, and must be fought out, unless the
Almighty shall breathe into the councils of both
countries at once the spirit of peace. But, as be
tween the President and the People of the United
States, it is of infinile consequence to know for
what purpose, and with what Ulterior objects, this
war is to be further prosecuted. <
? See tlte Note at the foot of the next column.
u 'f he war has not been waged in the spirit of
conquest." So says the Message; and, if the de
claration of the Message were not contradicted by
notorious facts, we should mottt sincerely rejoice in
it. But, have we not before us the rescripts of our
Military and Naval Commanders, opeidy and offi
cially proclaiming the contrary ? Did not General
Kf.arnby, on taking possession oi Santa te, pub
licly announce his 44 intention to hold the Depart
ment of New Mexico an a part of the United
tStates, and under the name of the Territory <>J
New Mexico ?" Did he not also issue another
ukase, in which, 44 by authority ol the President ol
the United States," he announced the establishment
of a Civil Government for 44 the Territory" thus
annexed by proclamation, including an entire judi
cial system, as well as a Governor, Secretary, <fcc.
dating the same " at Santa Fe, the capital of the
Territory of New Mcxico, in the seventy-first year
of the Independence of the United States ?" 11
this be no! acquisition, political and territorial an
nexation, as well as conquest, what can constitute it ?
And so, in the case of California and Commodore
Stockton, from whose first proclamation, signed by
him as 44 Commander-in-chief and Governor of the
Territory of California," and dated "City of the
Angels, California, August 17, 1846," we extract
the following entire paragraphs :
44 The flag of the United States is now flying
4 from every commanding position in the Territory,
4 and California is entirely free from Mexican do
? minion.
? The Territory of California now belongs to
4 the United States, and will be governed, as
4 soon as circumstances may permit, by officers
4 and laws similar to those by which the other ter
4 ritories of the United Staten are regulated and
4 protected."
It may not be amiss, in the same connection, to
remind the reader of the letter ol authority and in
structions given by the Secretary of War to Colonel
J. D. Stevenson, of the city of New York, when
authorizing him to raise a regiment of Volunteers
to be employed in Upper California, showing that
they were intended to be of the character ol colo
nists and settlers ol a conquered territory, rather
than soldiers to take part in the strife of war. By
this letter the volunteers were required, as far as
practicable, to be men 44 of various pursuits, and j
such as would be likely to remain al the end of the
I war either in Oregon or any territory that may be
then a part of the United State i;" exhibiting a
remarkable coincidence of views between the dis
tinguished Naval Commander and the Chief of the
War Department. Though the gallan lCommodore
sailed for the Northwest Coast about the 1st of
November, 1845, it is evident enough that he knewi
before he embarked, what was in the wind. In
deed, in his address to'his crew, on the deck of his
ship, before leaving the port of Norfolk, he seems
to have hinted at his ultimate destination when he
said: 44 We now sail for California and Oregon,
and, then, what Heaven pleases."
These are acts of sovereignty, such as no one
would suspect either General Kearney or Captain
Stockton of undertaking to exercise without other
authority than their own, though they had not ex
pressly declared that in what they have done they
have acted by authority of the President of the
United States. Do not these acts of theirs, so sanc
tioned, constitute sufficient proof that44 the spirit ol
conquest" has had something to do with this war ?
When wb Jftok. too, at contemporaneous indica
tions of tlfcw^isposition of the Executive and his
official advisers, supplied by the columns of the
government paper?the most ultra and most odious
doctrine of which against public liberty the P?esi
dent has just endorsed in his Message?we cannot
doubt but44 the spirit of conquest" entered into the
motives of this war. We find in that paper of the
Igth of May last, immediately after the receipt ol
the first news of the conflict of arms on the Rio
Grande, exhortations to 44 throw volunteers at once
4 across the Rio Grande, march into Mexico, and
4 terminate the war with Mexico, if necessary, in
4 the Halls of Montezuma /" Nor was this hanker
ing after the halls of Montezuma a new idea with
the Administration, thrown out in the heat of pur
suit of a retreating army. The same idea was
broajhed by the organ of the present Administration
in cold blood within the first three months after its
establishment in office, and within one week after
the Editor of the new government paper took his
post. In the 44 Union" of the 8th of May, 1845,
referring to some speculations of a London news
paper upon the supposed designs of the United
States upon Mexico, our government Editor took
occasion to say that not 25,000 men nor 20,000
would be necessary, but that 10,000 men would be
enough, to march upon Mexico, adding as follows :
44 Sound the bugle through the West and South
? west let the United States raise the standard to
4 morrow, and in this proclaimed crusade to the
4 Halls of Montezuma and the Mines of Mexico,
4 twenty thousand volunteers would appear," <fcc.
And, on the 22d of the same month, replying to
the Cincinnati Gazette's exception to the spirit and
temper of the above intimation, the 44 Union" said?
44 Was it wrong in us to tell the London Times
4 that, though we might not have regular troops
4 enough, ye1 volunteers would start up at the first
4 sound of the bugle by the Government of the
* The President, in justification of the order of the 13th
January for the march of our army to the Rio Grande, Mate*, |
an circumstances existing when it was deemed proper to issue |
that order, the following :
?4 Before these orders were issued, the despatch of our Min-,
inter in Mexico, transmitting the decision of the Council of
Government of Mexico, advising that ho should not he receiv- I
cd, and also the despatch of our Consul residing in the city of
Mexico? the former hearing date on the 17th, and the latter
on the lBth of December, 1845?were received at the Depart
ment of State. These communications rendered it highly pro
bable, if not absolutely certain, that our Minister would not be
received by the Government," Ac.
This may be true, and, whether true or not, ia not mate
rial to the iiwue ; it being sufficiently obvious that the refusal
of Mexico to receive our Minister was no reason for war with
Mexico, or for marching the army to the Rio Grande. But
it is curious to see how differently tilings were represented
here by the government paper on the day of the date of the
marching order to Gen. Taylor. On that very day (the 13th
January, 1846) the 44 Union" contained an extract of a letter
received at the Navy Department from Vera Craa, stating
that Mr. SLinRLi. bad been flatteringly received there,
&C, and on the 10th of the following month (February) the
41 Union" published the following yiMMi official information :
44 From Mkxico.?Letters were received last night in this
city by special conveyance from Mexico and Vera Crui. The
letters fiom the city of Mexico are to Uie 14tl? January, at
which time Mr. Hlidxll was in the city, but was expected to
arrive at Jalapa on the 17th. He had obtained an escort to
that place. Not the slightest insult had been offered to him,
as has been reported ; but he had been received with much
courtesy, and he had been welcomed in the society of the me
tropolis as an elegant and accomplished gentleman. He had
not yet been received by the Government in his official capa
city neither had they declined his reception .? and, in fact,
judging by appearances, there was no reason to Itelieve that
he would not be as acceptable to the Government ol Parcdes
as to that of Herrera."
* United States sufficient to overrun Mexico, occupy I
4 the Holla of Montezuma, and conquer the valleys
4 of California ?"
What thoughts were running in the head ol this
Administration on its very first accession to power, is
sufficiently shown by these indications. Nor, r?y
the way, was the thought of bringing on a war by
the advance of Gen. Taylor's lorces to the Rio
Grande entirely out of the mind ot the Administra
tion long before that march was actually ordered ,
for, on the lltli of September, 1845, many of 0111
readers must well remember, the "Union held
the following language :
"If Arista dares to carry out his braggirt
4 threats?if ho ventures to cross the Rio Grande
4 with reinforcements to any little armed post which
4 Mexico may occupy on the east side of that
4 river, Gen. Taylor will attempt to prevent him?
4 blood must flow?War must enstte."
Arista did not crous the Rio Grande; and bo,
after waiting four months in vain for such a god
send, the Administration ordered Gen. Taylor to
march his force to the Rio Grande. With what
object ? For what purpose ? These are questions
which the reader will answer for himself, if he be
not satisfied with the view which, in the preceding
columns, has been already taken of that matter.
As early as the Oth of June last, the " Union
inadvertently disclosed the fact that our squadron
was instructed, long before the breaking out ol this
war, to be in the way to take possession of Cali
fornia, in the shape of a supposition that 44 an Ame
rican force may possibly at this moment be in pos
session of the principal harbors of California. '
And before the news of our occupation of those
harbors or of the capital of New Mexico reached
this country (that is to say, on the 20th September)
the 44 Union" discoursed as lollows :
44 There is every reason to believe that General
4 Kearney is already in possession of Santa to;
4 that Gen. Taylor is now or will be in a lew days
4 at Monterey, and perhaps at Saltillo; and that
4 Gen. Wool will be at Chihuahua by the 10th or
4 15th of October. Shall we then fold our arms
4 and relinquish one of the advantages which we
4 may have obtained ? On the contrary, shall we
4 not prosecute our victories and make additional
4 conquests?towards California and towards the
4 capital of Mexico itself r'
And a few days afterwards, the news of the oc
cupation of Santa Fe having arrived, the 44 Union"
expressed the views of the Administration thus :
44 The discretion which marked his [Gen. Kear
4 ney's] proceedings after he had reached Santa Fe,
4 and the subsequent steps which he is about to
4 take, will make this acquisition one of the most j
4 remarkable and important events of the war.
4 He has located our victorious eagles at this point,
? and Mexico has to ask herself if we have thus
4 acquired one of her finest provinces, what is to
4 stop us in our career, or why will she persevere
4 in the war amid so many difficulties?"
We have neither time nor space to multiply
proofs, which might be adduced, of the intention of
the Administration to consider New Mexico and
California at least, when overrun, as having been
acquired by conquest for the United States. The
President himself almost avows the design in his
recommendation to provide for the security of these
important conquests, by making appropriations for
fortifications?permanent, of course ; field fortifica
tions or other operations proper to a state of war
not requiring such specific appropriations?and lor
defraying the expenses of the civil government
which our officers have, by order ol the President,
established in these 44 Territories of the United
States.? This recommendation by the Executive
is a full recognition of what his officers have said
and done.
The President refers to the Law of Nations as
authorizing what he has done, and proposes to do,
in California and New Mexico. Leaving him to
settle with Congress the question how far a state
of war erects an Executive authority supreme
over boUi Congress and the Constitution, we will
content ourselves with saying that, in what the
President asserts to be 44 the right and duty ol the
conqueror," he and his advisers have evidently-suf
fered themselves to be misled by the antiquated
maxims of writers upon national law who fiourished
! at a time when such a thing as a written Constitu
' tion was as unknown as the Magnetic Telegraph ;
at a time when all power was deemed the preroga
tive of the ruler, and all rights of the people re
garded as gracious or coerced concessions by him in
their favor. These maxims, therefore, so far as
they concern the relations between our Executive
and his constituents or their Representatives in
Congress, have in many cases no application at
all ; and certainly have none when they are resort
ed to for the purpose of deriving from them for
the President powers which are denied to him by
the Constitution. The President has of himself no
lawful authority to annex or acquire Territory, or
to establish civil governments over Territories either
within or without the United States. All such acts
are foreign to his office, and, in the absence of any
authority derived from Congress, cannot but be re
garded as usurpations of power.
The whole idea of acquisition of foreign territo
ry by casual conquest, or temporary possession
obtained by force, is a delusion. Not only has not
the President no power to go forth with arms in
his hands and wrest territories from a foreign Power,
but Congress cannot law full/ authorize him to do
it. The law on that point is not only well under
stood by civilians of the present day all over the
world, but in our own country it has been long ago
adjudicated and settled by its highest Judicial tribu
nal. ;In Peters's Digest of the Decisions of the
Supreme Cou^t, which we have taken occasion to
consult, we find, at page 535 of volume I, the law
on this subject very clearly laid down as lollows :
44 By a conquest, the conqueror acquires nothing
4 but a temporary right of possession and govern
4 ment over the territory conquered, until a pacifi
4 cation, and cannot, in the mean time, impair, by
4 anv transfer, the rights of the former sovereign."
[Clark v*. The V. State*, 3 WtuA. C. V. R. 101.
(i jj territory, conquered by an enemy, is not to
4 be considered as incorporated into the dominions
4 of that enemy, without a renunciation in a treaty
4 of peace, or a long and permanent possession."
[I/. State* r*. Hayioood, 2 Gallin. C. C. K. 501.
To the same effect we find the following passage
in Judge Story's Commentaries :
44 In cases of conquest, the usage of the world is,
4 if a nation is not wholly subdued, to consider the
4 conquered territory as merely held by military oc
4 cupation, until its fate shall be determined by a
4 treaty of peace."
Hut, further, the President says, in his Mes
sage, 44 By the laws of nations a conquered territo
1 ry is subject to be governed by the conqueror,"
1 ?&?-.,44 the old civil government being necessarily
1 supersededAc,
The Supreme Court has decided otherwise:
( 4 By *he ^aw of nations the rights of property
are protected, even in the case of a conquered
4 country, and held sacred and inviolable when it is
cedq) byJreaty, with or without any stipulation
to such effect; and the laws, whether in writing
or evidenced by the mage and customs of the
conquered or ceded country, continue in force
until altered by the new sovereign
[Strothervs. Lucax, 12 Peters, 410.
It is very clear, therefore, that the United States
acquires, by the conquest of the chief ports of Cali
fornia and of the capital of Santa Fe, no rights but
those which pertain to it as the military tenant of
the territory during the continuance of the war, and
that the claim of title set up under that occupation
will count for nothing when the two Governments
come to a reckoning at the end of the war.
Upon the explanation which the President has
made of his purpose in allowing, and indeed encou
raging, the return of Santa Anna to Mexico, we
have but a single remark to make. We are perfectly
willing to give credit to the President for good in
tentions in pursuing this course, but we cannot shut
our eyes to the fact that the Military Chieftain thus
permitted to return to his country is the very indi
vidual under whose Presidency were perpetrated
those delays and denials of justice for alleged out
rages against our citizens, out of which our Presi
dent has in his Message compiled so formidable a
list of grievances as to constitute in his opinion just
cause of war. There is an apparent incongruity in
these facts which it is for those to reconcile who
We had intended to follow the view which we
have taken of the Mexican war with some observa
tions of the danger to the Republic of indulging in
a spirit of conquest and lust of dominion, the pro
pensity to which has been abundantly revealed
within the last few years, not in the acts and de
signs of the Executive merely, but in the debates
which have within that period taken place in Con
gress. We find, however, that what we have to
say on that head would cover too much space for
to-day ; and we reserve it for another paper.
In the same manner, and for the same reason, we
defer also our consideration of the remaining topics
of the Message.
* It would be a refinement of cruelty to hold the President
responsible for all the discrepancies between the statements of
his Message and those which have from time to time appeared
on the same subjects in the government paper. But some of
them are too glaring not to have attracted our involuntary no
tice. On the subject of Santa Anna's return, for example,
the Message informs us that, under a distinct understanding
of professions by him of "an entire change of policy," and
with the belief that " the intestine divisions, "of which his return
to Mexico would be certainly the fruit, would lead to a favor
able peace with this country, instructions were given to the
Commander of our naval forces in the Gulf, on the thirteenth
day of May, "not to obstruct the passage of Santa Anna to
Mexico, should he Bttempt to return." Notwithstanding all
which, now avowed by the President himself, the " Union"
ol tht sixth day of July put forth the following contradiction
ot a statement which turns out to have been substantially
true :
We deem it our duty to state, in the moat positive terms,
that our Government has no sort of connexion with any scheme
of Santa Amna for the revolution of Mexico, or for any sort
ofpurjHHte. Some three months ago some adventurer was in
W ashington who wished to obtain their countenance and aid
in some scheme or other connected with Santa Anna. They
declined all sort of connexion, co-operation, or participation in
any effort for the purpose. The Government of this country
declines all such itdriguea or bargains. They have made
war openly ln the face of the world. They mean to prose
cute it with all their vigor. They mean to force Mexico to
do us justice at the point of the sword. This, then, is their
design?this is their plan ; and it is worthy of a hold, high
minded, and energetic people."
Sufficient inducement not having been offered
by the demand of last Session of Congress to con- *
tinut the publication of the Congressional Intelli
gencer, it has been discontinued.
A number of orders for that paper for the pre
\sent Session of Congress having been received,
(without being sufficient to cover the cost of resum
ing it,) the. Weekly National Intelligencer has
been directed to be sent during the session in place
of it in ebch case, believing that it would be quite
as acceptable, at the same price, as the other.
The accounts from Liverpool by the steamer Ca
ledonia, which arrived at Boston on Saturday last,
are to the 19th ultimo ; but, except the commercial
news, there appears to be little that is of importance.
I he grain markets, both in England and on the
Continent, are depressed. United States free flour
was worth 32s. a 33s. in London, and in Liverpool
31s Od. Duty on Wheat 4s.
Cotton has declined id. Mobile was selling at
Ojd. Bowed Georgia at 6d.
The Hon. Gsoaoi BtNcaorr on the 12th dined with the
Queen ft Windsor Castle, and on the following Saturday was,
with his lady, at the select party at Lord Palmeraton'a, the
Minister for Foreign Affairs.
The Prussian Chargt d'Affrires to the United States, Baron
Osbolt, had arrived at Berlin to receive in person instruc
tions from his Government relative <o a treaty of commerce
and navigation, to be concluded between the Zall-Verein and
the North American Stataa.
The misunderstanding between England and France rela
tive to the Montppnsier marriage continued to afford a vent
for angry patriotism on both sidea of the Straits of Dover.
The steamship Great Britain was still ashore. She has
received but little injury, and will not be got off before next
In Portugal two battles have taken place between the
Queen's adherents and the insurgents, in both of Which the lat
ter were delieated. One thousand were killed, wounded, and
tsken prisoners in the first action. Daa Antas, the insurgent
General, was at the head of 14,000 men. Gen. Schwalbach
had commenced the Iwmbardmrnt of Elborah, occupied by
the insurgents.
The General Assembly of the State of Ohio con
vened at Columbus on Monday last, and was or
irnnized by the election of Mr. E. B. Olds as
Speaker of the Senate, and of W*. p. Cutler, as
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Tiii! Delink i* BaKAnsTrrra ?-The New York Ex
press says : ?? The decline in the price ot breadstuff* in Eng.
land has put quite a damper on the feelings of holders here.
*uch a falling off in pricas was not anticipated. The news
has reached here when oar own market ia in quite a sensitive
?tsti. There are at present large reeeiptn. The navigation
fcing about to close, an unusual quantity is in the market,
?nd some portion of it is forced to a sale. Even without any
ieclino in Europe, prices have been of late falling off here in
consequence of sales being forced. Many of our holders
(lave withdrawn their lots from the market, while others will
he compelled to sell at the highest prices ollered. If freights
?hould come down materially, of which there are some indi
ra lions, 4t will tend to strengthen the market; but, without a
fall in freights, breadstuff-) nm-t decline."
Col. Balis Pittow, being recently on a visit to Tenncs
?ee, his former resilience, several gentlemen of Nashville
(among whom were Hon. John Bell, Ephraim H. Foster.
Washington Barrow, Allen A. Hall. <Src ) invited him to ac
ept of a public dinner, in complimcnt to his gallant services
?hile with the army in Mexico. Col. Pktton, however,
vus prevented from accepting the invitation by a pressure of
?rofessional business,

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