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Weekly national intelligencer. [volume] (Washington [D.C.]) 1841-1869, December 11, 1847, Image 5

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ao enormous is of it?elf proof ot the fact that thc> j
were not at any time deemed by Congress to con
stitute a sufficient cause of war. iMost of themhad
besides been actually adjusted by a treaty between
the two countries, which was in the course of faith
ful execution by Mexico when the hostile demon
strations of our Administration suspended the pay
ment of stipulated indemnities. As to what remain
ed of unadjusted claims, there was nothing, until
the occurrence of this war, to prevent their peacea
ble and even satisfactory adjustment. As to the re
fusal by Mexico to receive our Minister being, as
the President intimates, a sufficient cause ot war, il
is a sufficient answer to the President that the army
was Ordered to march to the Rio Grande (where,
according to the programme of the government pa
per, the war was to begin) two months belore oui
Minister was linally relused to be received by the
Government of Mexico.
But let it be admitted, for the sake of argument,
and for that sake only, that, according to the cus
toms and laws of nations in less civilized, less
moral, and less enlightened ages than the present,
we really had cause of war with Mexico, so far as
war between two Christian Nations is ever just or
necessary: yet, war with Mexico,distracted, weak
ened, and impoverished as she had long been and
then was, with intestine factions and divisions, was
neither necessary, magnanimous, nor honorable on
our part. Such a war, even for just objects, being
unnecessary?the only inevitable effect indeed upon
the claims for which it would be waged being to
fasten them upon our own Treasury instead of the
Mexican?could never redound to the glory ot the
country, and much less compensate for the rivers ot
blood and heaps of treasure which have been already
wasted in this war.
But, to pass all this by, whether the existing war
be just or unjust, necessary or unnecessary, is not
the question now at issue between the President
and the People. Was this War the act of the
Sovereign People of the United States, declared in
their name, in the only manner known or ac
knowledged by the Constitution?by the Senate and
House of Representatives in Congress, to whom
alone it belongs to determine whether War, at any
time or under any circumstances, be just and lie
cessary ? Or was it, whether a crime or a mis
take, the unauthorized act ol the President, to whom
the Constitution has denied all power over the
question of War? This is the true question ; nor
can all the wire-drawn sophistry and special plead
ing of the President's Message ot last year, referred
t0= in that which is now before us, deceive a sin
gle individual, be he Whig or be he Democrat, of
common sense or common information, against the
well-known and well-authenticated facts in the case.
Need we add, that, whoever the President be, who,
trampling down the barriers which the Constitu
tion has erected for the protection of the general
welfare, and for the security of the life, liberty, and
property of the citizen, ot his own mere will and
pleasure plunges the country into a War, with or
without cause?that man is a Despot! The Na
tion that quietly folds its arms and permits this to
be done with impunity, may delude itself with the
fancy that it lives under a written Law and Consti
tution, but it is an idle dream. That Nation is a
Niuion of slaves, and lives under a Despotism.
To proceed, however, to the main point, upon
the re-assertion of which alone the President relies
to justify himself before his own fellow-citizens for
his agency in this War, viz. that the Mexican Gov
ernment 44 finally, under wholly unjustifiable pre
? texts, involved the two countries in war, by inva
* ding the territory of Texas, striking the first blow,
?and shedding the blood of onr citizens on Ameri
< can soil." Xot one word of this is true. We
regret the necessity, but the President imposes upon
us the obligation, of renewing the demonstration ot
the utter falsity of the whole of ft. Mexico did
not involve the two countries in war : Mexico did
not invade the territory of Texas : Mexico did not
strike the first blow : Mexico did not shed the blood
of our citizens on our own soil.
This whole question, it will be seen, resolves
itself into one of territorial boundary. _
Did, at the breaking out ot this war, the terri
torv between the Nueces and the Rio Grande (Del
Norte) belong to Mexico or to the United States
It did not belong to the United States. I he Re
public of Texas had no title to it. She had not
even a respectable claim to it. She pretended to
no such title when she called a Convention to form
her Constitution ; for not a member was called to
that Convention from any portion of the territory
bounding on the Rio Grande. Nor when, in her
Constitution, she apportioned the Representation
in her Legislature among the several districts of
her territory, did she enumerate any districts lying
upon the Rio Grande as entitled to representation
in the Texan General Assembly. The whole coun
try on the Rio Grande, and indeed the whole coun
try west of the Nueces, except the small settlement
of San Patricio, was exclusively in possession o!
the Mexicans, until the army of the United States
marched into it, driving before it the Mexican civil
officers and the peaceful inhabitants. Texas hav
ing no title to the territory, the annexation of Texas
to this Union could confer none upon the United
States. Were a peace to be made to-morrow on
the basis of leaving things as they were before the
war, the territory between the Nueces and the Rio
Grande would still constitute a part of the Mexican
?States of Tamaulipas, &r.
This state of the fact is none of our first discov
ering, much less of our imagining. We derive
nearly all our information on the subject troin the
highest Democratic authority. When the Treaty
with Texas, by which she undertook to convey to
the United States a western boundary to the Rio
Grande, was depending in the Senate, Mr. Senator
Bf.nton (high authority on the subject) indignantly
denounced it as an attempted traud and outrage.
" I wash my hands," said he, " of all attempts
4 to dismember the Mexican Republic, bi/ seizing
4 her dominions in New Mexico, Chihuahua, Coa
* hiiila, and Tamaulipas. The treaty, in all that
4 relates to the boundary of the Rio Grande, is an
4 act of unparalleled outrage on Mexico. It is
4 the seizure of two thousand miles of her terri
4 ton/, without a word of explanation with her, and
4 by virtue of a treaty with Texas, to which she is
4 no party."
Mr. Benton further declared that the claim set
up by Texas by the Treaty, if maintained, would
rut off" the capital and forty towns and villages of
* New Mexico, now and always as fully under the
4 dominion of.Mexico as Quebec and all the towns
? of Canada are otonder the dominion of Great
* Britain."
Mr. B. closed hit) speech by ofleriug the follow
ing resolution:
Retejeed,the incorporation of the left bunk of the Rio
del Norte into the American Union, by virtue of a treaty with
Texan, comprehending, as the said incorporation would do, a
portion ol' the Mexican department* of New Mexico," Chihua
hua, Coahuila, and Tamaulipa*, would he un act oj direct
aggression upon Mexico, for all the consequences of which
the United State* would stUnd responsible. '
To the same effect, that great Democratic leader,
I the Hon. Silas Wright, (whose late death has
; been so justly lamented by men of all parlies,) who
1 was present duHng the whole debate upon the Texas
j Treaty and gave his vote against its ratification,
I declared to his constituents, in a speech delivered
at Watertown, as follows:
411 felt it my duty to vote against the ratification
4 of the treaty for the annexation. 1 believed that
4 the treaty, from the boundaries that must be im
4 plied from it, em I) raced a country to which Texas
4 hud no claim, over which she hud never asserted
4 jurisdiction, and which she had no right to cede."
Hut, many years before the date of this debate,
the records of the United States had borne testimony
to the true boundary of Texas. In 1830 an Agent
was dispatched by the President of the United
States (lien. Jackson) to examine and report upon
the condition of Texas, which had then established
an independent Government; and in his report,
dated in August of that year, he reported that 44 the
4 political limits of Texas proper, previous to the
4 last revolution, were the Nueces River on the
4 tvesl; along the Red River on the north ; the
4 Sabine on the east; and the Gulf of Mexico on
4 the south."
At the time of the consummation of the act of
annexation, Mr. Donelsox being the Charge d'Af
faires of the United States to that young Republic,
communicated freely with his Government as to the
position of things in Texas. From his letters we
extract the following passages, showing what was
the fact as to the limits of the territory actually
occupied by Texas, even at that time:
44 Corpus Christi is said to be as heallhy as Pensacola, a
convenient place for supplies, and the most western
j point now occupied h* Texas."?Letter to Secretary of
State, June 30, 1845.
44 The occupation of the country between the Nueces and
the Rio Grande, you are aware, is a disputed question.
Texas holds Corpus Christi. Mexico holiis the Biiasos
he Santtaoo."?Litter to Gen. Taylor, June 28, 1815.
44 The joint resolution of our Congress left the question an
open one, and the preliminary proposition made by this Gov
ernment, under the auspices of the British and French Gov
ernments, as the basis of a definitive treaty with Mexico, left
i the .question in the same .state. And although this Govern
\ ment [the Government of Texas] has since indicated a point
| on the Rio Grande for the occupation of our troops, I did not
consider this circumstance as varying the question, since the
President [of Texas] but a few weeks before issued a procla
mation suspending hostilities between Texas and Mexico, the
! practical elTect of which was to leave the question precisely
I as it stood when our joint resolution passed?Mexico in
POSSESSION OF ONE POUTION MF THE TERJUTOIU, AND TeXAS
' of another." 44 The proclamation of a truce between the
two nations, founded on propositions mutually acceptable to
i them, leaving the question of boundary not only an open
I one, but Mexico iv possession of the east hank of the
i Rio Ghande, seemed to me inconsistent with the expectation
| that in defence of the claim of Texas our troops should march
i immediately to that river. What the Executive of Texas had
determined not to fight for, but to settle by negotiation,
to say the least of it, could as well be left to the United States
on the same conditions."
44 The question was whether, under the circumstances, we
should take a position to make war for this claim, in the face
of an acknowledgment on the part oj this Government thut
it could be settled by negotiation. I at once decided that we
should take no such position, but should regard only us with
in the limits of our protection that portion of territory ac
ti*aelt possessed it v Texas, and which she did not con
sider as subject to negotiation."?Letter to Mr. Buchanan,
j July 11, 1813.
44 Yoiir purpose will be the defence of Texas, if she is in
j vaded by Mexico, and you will he in position at Corpus
\ Christi, San Antonio, and other points on the Nueces,
i ready to act according to circumstances."?To Gin. Tuulor,
1 July 7, 1845.
These extracts taken together establish, upon the
evidence of our Government itself, through its Di
plomatic Representative in Texas, that Mexico was
" in possession of the territory west of the Nucces
(except the county of Patricio) and Texas of the
territory east of the Nueces, with the addition of
Patricio; that Mexico w^s admitted by our own
Envoy to be in possession of the east bank of
Rio (irande, and that Corpus Christi was the most
i western point then occupied by Texas. These
admissions from a source so well-informed, so free
from bias in favor of any interest but that of the
United States, (including Texas,) are fatal to every
pretension of territorial right oil the part of Texas
| between the Rio Grande and the Nuecfes, the small
county of Patricio perhaps excepted.
All that remains, therefore, to sustain the preten
i sion of our Administration tiiat the boundary of
I Texas extended to the Rio Grande, and that by her
annexation the Rio Grande became the boundary of
( the United States, is the act of the Legislature of
Texas declaring its boundary to extend to the Rio
I Grande. If that act could be considered of any
efl'ect whatever, it- would at most leave ground for
controversy and negotiation, as was assumed by
Mr. Donelson. Hut that a<M itself was a mere
nullity.
To that efl'ect we have the opinion of Senator
Woodbury, (now an Associate Judge of the Su
preme Court of the United States,) in his Speech in
favor of ratifying the Treaty of Annexation :
44 Texas, by a mere law" said he, ^ could ac
44 t/uire no title but what she conquered from Mex
44 ico, and actually governed. Hence, though her
44 law iucludes more than the ancient Texas, she
44 could hold anil convey only that, or, at the utter
44 most, only what she exercised char jurisdiction
\ 44 oi'pr.".
Texas never had exercised jurisdiction of any
sort over .any territory on the Rio Grande, and
could not therefore by possibility convey to the
United States any title to it.
To the saino effect we have the authority of Mr.
| Gat.latin, which saves us and our readers the trou
1 ble of searching further on the subject :
44 The Republic of Texas did, by an act of De
j 44 cember, 1886, declare the Rio del Norte to be its
' 44 boundary. It will not be seriouslv contended
44 that a nation has a right, by a law of its own, to
44 determine what is or shali be the boundary bc
44 tween it and another country. The act was no
44 thing more than the expression of the tvishes or
! 44 pretensions of the Government. Jis regards |
44 right, the act of Texas is a perfect nullity."
It is thus conclusively demonstrated that the ter
ritory between the Nueces and the Rio Grande
( never had passed out of the possession or right of
Mexico, and was in no sense 44 American soil," or
territory of the United States. The fact is, more
| over, too notorious to need to be here dwelt upon,
that the array of the United States, when it neared
the Kio Grande, chased the Mexican custom-officers
out of their houses, and, when it encamped on the
hank of the river, found itself in the midst of a
Mexican population, and occupying the corn and
qotton-tields which they had iled from in dismay.
The tlag of the United States was planted by our
army, as in defiance, under the guns ol a Mexican
fort, and at the same time the vessels of our
Navy blockaded the mouth of the Kio Grande?a
river running, from its source to the ocean, alto
gether between Mexican banks, without a 1 exan
settlement of any sort within a hundred miles oi it.
Nay, Gen, Taylor himself, after literally obeying
the Executive orders by occupying a position oppo
site Matamoros, thus reported to the War Depart
ment (under date of April 6, 1810,) his pro
ceedings :
? On our side a battery for four eighteen-pound
4 ers will be completed, and the guns placed in bat
4 tery to-day. These guns bear directly upon the
4 public square of Matamoros, unit within good
4 range Jor demolishing the town. Their object .
4 CANNOT UE MISTAKEN BY THE ENEMY."
The Enemy ! W hat enemy ? Does not this
language prove that the brave old General under
stood very well what he was sent there for ? War
did not exist until he had planted a battery of guns
bearing directly upon the public square ol Mata
moros, the object of which, as he very truly reports
to Mr. Marcy, could not be mistaken !
Atul by this invasion of Mexican territory, under
peremptory orders from Washington to the C oin
manding General, was the war begun by the Presi
dent of the United States, without the knowledge
of Congress, though then in session. Nor then nor
since has there been a drop of American (United
States) blood shed by Mexico on American soil :
nor then uor since has a Mexican soldier or armed
man set his foot upon American soil, (Texas proper
included.)
The foundation of the President's first, second,
and last War Manifestoes against Mexico being
thus withdrawn from under them, what is there left
to sustain any part of the recommendations, in the
Message before us, of a further and more vindictive
prosecution of the war ! ?
*But to proceed : The ground upon which the
President placed the War, when, having got into it,
he was obliged to call upon Congress to sustain
him in it, is, as we have shown, so far from being
' solid or true, that it is directly the reverse. So far
from Mexico having invaded the United States, our
President invaded .Mexico ; and, so far from the
war having 44 existed " by the act of Mexico, it
: existed?so far as it is possible for the United
I States to be at war without the consent ol the war
making power?by the act ol Mr. Polk alone. Nor,
in our opinion, did it exist without premeditation.
It had been contemplated as possible, at least, from
the moment of his coming to the Presidency. The
' government paper, as we have already remarked,
i had not been in existence more than a week before,
' in that mirror of the Presidential sentiment, the inva
sion, and even the conquest of Mexico, were lore
, shadowed?we may say predicted?in the*event of
Mexico venturing to exercise any authority on the
cast bank of the Kio Grande. As early as June,
1845 [mark the date]?the Commander of the
Naval force of the United States in the Pacific was
directed to look out for a war with Mexico, and, on
receipt of the news of it, to possess himself of the
port of San Francisco, on the coast of California, and
such other ports as his force would permit. He had
| been so instructed even earlier than this : for the
i letter to him begins : 44 Your attention is still par
j ticularly directed," &c. to the contingency of war.
i Congress was to meet in the December following.
Early in November, the Message of the President
to Congress being in a state of preparation, al
' ready contained, as we had every reason to be
lieve, a recommendation of hostilities against Mex
ico, in some form or other, on the ground of unsat
isfied claims of our citizens, of unpaid indemnity
inonev, and other alleged grievances. On the Dili
of November, however, just three weeks before the
session began, information having been received
from our Consul at Mexico that the Mexican Gov-j
eminent was willing to receive a Commissioner to
negotiate concerning the Texas boundary, the Mes
j sage was perforce changed. The body ol the in
I dictment against that Government was indeed re
I tained, as the reader will perceive if he will take
I the trouble to refer to the Message itself; the re
' commendation of reprisals, or of war in some form,
being the only thing omitted.* A Minister Pleni
potentiary was sent instead of a Commissioner?
our Government refusing to treat on the boundary
question without mixing it up with matters with
! which it had no sort of connexion?and the cor
I **The evidence which satisfied our mind of the facts here
referred to may interest some readers. We will therelore
briefly state it. In the Journal of Commerce, whose sorrea
pondent was at that time certainly in confidential communi
cation with person* familiar with the movements of the Uov
ernment, we found, and copied into the National Intelligencer,
! the following Letter :
44 Wasiunktox, October 30, (H45.)
44 I am happv to learn that the Executive has determined not
; to send a special agent to Mexico, to demand payment of in
i demr.itie*.
?' But I am glad to state, for the information of Mexican
claimant?, ar.d for the information of all those who entertain
a just sen*e of our national rights and dignity, that the course
! of thp Executive on this subject will l>e one that will fully
meet their expectations, anil be far mare effective than the
feelde and fnrmal one that I hare referred to, and which ha*
been abandoned. '
?' What this course is to be I will not undertake to state : -'Ut
I refer all who m#y he interested in the matter to the Presi
dent's Annual Mettage, which will be forthcoming in al?out
four weeks.
44 The ground now taken by the Execut ve probably is, that
Mexico has so fur violated the treaty herself that we ark *n
soi.vr.n from ant adhkhkrcii to it. She has taken the re
sponsibility of breaking off ail diplomatic intercourse, recalline
her own Minister and dismissing ours. I do not see how this
Government could approach her in any way, except the wa?
tiik Frirch took."
Upon the disclosure, in this Letter, of the intention of the
President to recommend to Congress to take 44 the way the
French took" in regaid to our differences with Mexico, we
made such comments as to scandalous a proposition as the
bombatdment and blockade of Veta Cruz, or any measure ol
a like character, upon the plea of unsatisfied claims of the
United Slates, seemed to us to deserve. Whereupon, Out
upon us coines the 44 Union," with a column or two of the
grossest vituperation of the National Intelligencer as opposing j
the Government, first in its desire to got up a war for Iifly
fvur forty on the Oregon question, and now again having the ,
assurance to say a word against war with Mexico ; but not
denying a syllable of the fact communicated to the Public by
the Washington Correspondent of the Journal of Commerce. ,
[This was six months before the war actually did break out
without the agency of Congress.] We did not doubt then,
and do not now doubt, that the correspondent aforesaid ha<! ,
either s*en the draft of so much of the President's intended
Message aa concerned Mexico, or had it so divulged to him
j iu to allow him to speak of its forthcoming contents with sub
i stantial if not verbal accuracy.
respondence between our Minister and the Mexi
can authorities was still going on when the army
of General Ia\lor was, as if lor the purpose
ol precipitating events, marched from Corpus
Christi to the RioGrande. About the same time, as
we know from the President's Message of last year,
he was himself in secret negotiation with the exiled
Military ( hieftain, Santa Anna, for what precise
purpose can only be inferred from the fact, that the
day alter the war was declared to exist, directions
were gh en to out vessels ol war to allow him to
pass into Mexico. All these concurring circum
stances show that war was premeditated by the
President.
I hat^ the war might have been then averted by
Mexico s agreeing to surrender to the United
States California and a boundary on the Kio.Grande,
we do not doubt; nor do we doubt that the Presi
de t and his Cabinet have been willing, ever since
t le war bi gan, to end it whenever Mexico would agree
to surrender to their demand all of her territory that
they have set their hearts on : and that this is what
the J resident means when he speaks of ? conquering
a peace." Kut we have still less doubt that the
original obje< t ol this war, and the sole true cause
and motive ol it, was Congest, or, in other words,
t te coercion of Mexico to surrender territory which
Mr. Polk ainbitioned the eclat of "annexing" to
the United States. Mr. Secretary Bancroft, in a
letter ol instructions to Commodore Sloat, (then
commanding in the Pacific,) on the 12th of July,
1846 two months after the war was legalized by
Congress?very frankly disclosed this fact. " The
'object of the United States," said he, " is, under
'lta rl8ht* "" ? belligerent nation, to possess it
? self entirely of Upper California." And, further,
said Mr. Bancroft, " The object of the United
' States has reference to ultimate peace with Mex
' teo ; [ultimate, observe ; possession of her covet
4 ed territory, being the jumultimate object ;j?and
' ii, at the peace, the basis of the uti possidetis
'shall be established, the Government expects,
' through your forces, to be found in actial pos
' session of Upper California."
1 lie President declared to Congress, it is true,
in his Message of last year, that this war with
Mexico had not been waged in a spirit of conquest.
Would any one suppose, with these instructions to
our Naval Commander, and corresponding instruc
tions to our Military Commanders, that he under
stood the import of this disclaimer ? No one can
at least misunderstand the purport of his present
Message, breathing, as it does, nothing but war, a
Conqueror's peace, or the alternative of the annihi
lation of Mexico.
Nor does the President seem to understand him
self in another respect any better than he did when
he disclaimed any purpose of conquest in the pro
secution of the war with Mexico.
In setting forth, for instance, in the beginning of
this Message, his own love of Peace and strenuous
efforts to preserve for us its blessings, we must look
on him as exhibiting a very signal example of self
i delusion. No man's pacific merits could well be
less. His course, thus, far, in his high office, on
the contrary, realized to the full, in almost every
instance, what we said of it a year ago ; namely, that,
having seen that wars were popular in this.country
and felt that he himself was not too popular, heJiad
thought to himself, ?1 will be a War-President,
and that will make me popular and render all my
opponents and competitors odious." Accordingly,
his very Inaugural had a full-blown quarrel with'
England in it: his first Annual Message announced
that he had done nearly all he could to brinsr that
quarrel to a focus; meantime he had secretly ta
ken steps for another with Mexico, by way ot
making sure of a war somewhere. So that, no
sooner had the interposition of the Senate foiled
him in his original war-plan,?than, by a diligent
improvement of his time, he had another fight readv
to substitute for that which had been refused him.
Grown more wary this time, he took care not to be
foiled by any body's discretion ; and, though Con
gress was sitting for five months before he had
brought every thing to bear, contrived, to have a
war completely in a blaze, and our succorless army
placed in what (their prowess unknown) seemed an
almost hopeless predicament, before the country or
Congress knew one word of what he was about.
Such are the general and the larger facts, as to
that merit of loving peace which the President ap
propriates to himself. If we look closer and scan
the particulars of things, we must not only say that
President Polk is not possessed of that virtue of a
ruler which he claims, and?we regret that Ve must
say it?has shown, and every where in this Mes
sage shows himself, utterly indifferent to the car
nage and calamities of war.
Of little less than stone, indeed, must his heart
be, who can look, without the strongest commiser
ation, upon the spectacle of a nation reduced to the
extremity of distress in which Mexico, known from
the first to be incapable of resisting us. now stands.
Not one spark of compassion can his breast ever
have known, who, after inflicting upon a wretched
people, destitute of any resource against us but their
hereditary obstinacy, all the slaughter and humilia
tion which we have every where inflicted upon
Mexico, can coolly resolve in his heart that this is
not enough; not blood enough, not tears enough ;
not sufficient ravage, not satisfactory disaster, not
national wo and degradation duly deep ; for that
tbe victim-people, though covered with blood
and prostrate in the dust, at ill, with desperate though
feeble hands, fights, though vainly, for its hearths
and a'tars?that therefore, as Mexico does not
yield, we must now begin to strike her " in her
vital parts and, besides seizing, for ours perpe
tually, territories the utmost that even Rapacity has
dared avow tor our aim, most pacifically and peace- i
lovingly exhorts us to go on ravaging the rest of
Mexico until the nation yields or is destroyed !
W hy. the very savage of the court-yard, in other
times?that most brutal of mankind, the bully of
.he haihwick, who chewed up aii ear or nose, or
-cooped out with thumb a prostrate adversary's
eje -was humane, was generous, in comparison
with this ; for he, when he fought, never fought the
weak, but rather his match : nor, when his rival
champion lay gasping and helpless under him,game
to the last and ready to die sooner than utter the
craven word "enough," would he have ever thought
of proceeding to mutilate the vanquished, by wav
of forcing him to confess himself conquered, and
then, moreover, have helped himself to whatever he
could find in the maimed man's pockets. No:
even in his hardened heart, there would be a manly
pity, because there was courage : if he did not at
once raise up his enemy with respect, he at least
would not begin " to strike at his vitul parts and
well for him, too, that he would not; for the very
crowd of a court green, coarse as it then was, was
yet undebauched of every right sentiment by party
politics, and would not have suffered in the bully
what it now endures in the President.
.So much for the mercies and the compunctions
of him who proposes, for the lucre of five misera
ble millions of indemnities, which he himself ac
knowledges Mexico could not raise the means ol
paying, to butcher or enslave a whole empire of
Republics ! Hut this is not all: how stood the
fact of our very right to ask for those indemnities,
alter having helped ourselves to Texas, for the lib
erty of peacefully annexing whic h it is well known
that we stood ready, under the Tyler administra
tion, at any time to have given more than the
amount of the indemnities as a price ? Even in
the moment of Annexation, the Chairman of the
Committee of Foreign Affairs in the House of Rep
resentatives, speaking as the organ of the Execu
tive in the House, said, to quiet the last opposition,
that he had the liberty of assuring the House that
it was ascertained that the injured feelings of Mexi
' eo could be healed with money. Such was the in
1 timation then held out; and there is every reason
to believe that authorized but unofficial offers of at
least the amount of the indemnities had been more
than once made to Mexico for her rights over
Tex&s.
Finally, however, in the mere confidence of im
punity, we took it without a price : but at least, by
a last reserve of shame or of pity, upon the remon
strance and the unanswerable showing of Mr. Ben
j ton that we were about to take much more than
Texas, (which had never possessed any thing be
j yond the Nueces,; Congress relented, and by its
Resolution of Annexation ordered the Executive to
I adjust by friendly negotiation the proper boundary
between Texas and Mexico.
j And, now, once more for the peace-lovingness of
| this our President. His duty stood assigned him.
j He knew that we had taken what we had of.en of
j fered to buy; he knew that if, in honor and faith,
' the indemnities were not cancelled by our seizure
i of Texas, at least that now an injury to Mexico had
1 been committed. But he knew that, feeble as she
i was, she dared not accept that war ; and at once,
^ with a pitilessness the most singular, not content
i though we had just ravished from her a vast and
I rich territory, nor touched by the lorlornness ot a
1 nation utterly unable to revenge such treatment fur
! ther than by the impotent resentment of withdraw
ing her Ambassador from our Court, he sends Gen.
Taylor forward, to seize, in addition to all that she
had been stripped of, even the petty and barren slip,
the mere selvage of sand, the desert space between
the Nueces and Rio Grande, which Congress had
plainly meant to spare. For this worthless object,
and under circumstances so vehemently invoking
forbearance and mercy, has Mr. Polk illegally and
; unconstitutionally involved us in this cruel war,
every step in which is plainly, according to the pro
gress of his plans, to lead us further and further into
; *4the bowels of the land."
Yet, in the face of all this, P/esident Polk can
talk smoothly of his love of Peace, the 44 liberality"
of the terms jie has held out through Mr. Trist,
and especially the generosity with which, wherever
the sword goes to crimson the fields of Mexico,
the olive-branch forthwith waves, as fast as its com
panion smites!
j "No conqueror that I ever heard of," says Ed
mund Burke,41 has ever profesned to make a cruel,
* hard, and insolent use of his conquest. No ! The
4 man of the most declared pride scarcely dares to
4 trust his own heart with this dreadful secret of
4 ambition. But it will appear in its time. And no
4 man who professes to reduce another to the inso
4 lent mercy of a foreign arm ever had any sort of
!4 good will towards him. The profession of kiiul
4 ness, with that sword in his hand and that demand
4 of surrender, is one of the most provoking acts
4 of his hostility."
Can the President so little conceive how mere a
1 mockery of peace and fraternity is this invading a
country with declarations of love, this sweeping oil
its provinces with a besom made of olive-branches,
as to expect that Mexico will not be fired with a
double resentment by the imperious and.degrading
form of negotiation to which lie would have her
submit ? If he does expect it, then is he a stranger
not only to all the natural and becoming passions
of men defending their country, its honor, and its
independence, but to all the examples o( history
and all the suggestions of prudence. War has
never thus been made, except by conquerors the j
most arrogant and merciless. The rule of the Ro- J
mans, not less wise than magnanimous, was never
to negotiate after a defeat.
Can the President intend that we are to treat in
the face of disaster, should it ever come ? Dare
he declare that the pretended 44 olive-branch would
not then be instantly withdrawn ! hat, then, is
the inevitable effect but to require that they whom
we are invading, destroying, and dismembering,
should, at every calamitous'and bloody defeat, come
forward to embrace terms necessarily made harder
and more humiliating by utter discomfiture?the
rout and dispersion of their armies, or the capture
of their forces and cities 01 negotiation under
such circumstances, the Vf t'ictis of Brennus and
his Gauls, the 44 Wo to the Conquered!" is the no
torious a fid inevitable law. The sword stands ever
ready, in all such cases, to be cast into the scale of
ransom : and none but a nation of cravens and fools
ever resigns itself to making terms al such a mo
ment. On the contrary, every brave and every
patriotic heart f>nlv summons up, at such an instant,
a more unconquerable courage; and the resolution
44 Never to despair of the Republic" becomes the
only thought which the citizen will consent to
entertain.
I,eft almost at our mercy as she is. bv factions
which not even the extremity of public distress
seems able to quiet: her Government and her
armies in the hands of those who appear equally
inefficient lor cither peace or war ; her troops every
where driven from the field or lying slaughtered ;
her ports, her capital, and several of her larg?- pro
vinces in our hands ; her treasury as empty as was
our ow^i in the gloomiest day of our Revolutionary
struggle?still, in the pertinacity of her refusals to
| treat, Mexico has shown some gleams of that old
; Numantine spirit which preferred death to surren
der : that Iberian obstinacy which the Moor could
never quell, nor even the irresistible armies ot Na
poleon tame. Whether she has caught it from her
race, or whether the growing fierceness of a univer
sal national hate such as always springs up in a
! country overrun by invaders inspires it, we should
respect it. It is honorable ; it will be found formi
dable. Such a spirit, once fairly awakened, has
ever proved invincible ; and so we shall find it to
our cost, il, by prolonged and cruel warfare, such
a" ' "'"'dent Polk would have, we stir it up through
out Mexico. Meantime, we say, without hesita
tion, that she has, in one instance at least, manifest
e a faitliluiness ol nationality which goes far to
re eein .ill the disgraces of her arms. We speak
0 her answer* with (Jen. Scott and his glorious
little army at the gates of her capital, to Mr.
1 rist s demand of the cession of New Mexico.
That answer was in the following terms :
I hat this proportion, under the recognbed light of Mex
ico to deliberate, should he modi.ied ; and that, in the preten
tion* of the United State- and the character of hi- negotia
tion,, its Commissioner leaven no other choice to Mexico than
the Ioaa of honor ; and it in that which shut* the door to all
i possibility of making peace.
?? To restore this great benefit to the nation, the Govern
ment agreed to cede Texas and a part of Upper California, as
far as the frontier of Oregon, on the terms which were stated
in the instructions; but not even with the reservation that
Congress should approve it would the Government consent
to cede more?especially not New Mexico, whose inhabitant*
have manifested their desire to make a part of the Mexican '
family with more enthusiasm than any other part of the.
Republic.
" These meritorious Mexicans, abandoned to their fate dur
ing some administrations, often without protection even to pre
serve them from the incursions of the savages, have been the
most truly patriotic of Mexicans, because, forgotting their do
mestic complaints, they have remembered nothing but their
desire to be of the Mexican family; and many, exposing and
sacrificing themselves to the vengeance of the invaders, have,
rebelled against them ; and when their plans were discovered
or disconcerted, and their conspiracies frustrated, have again
conspired ; and would any Government sell such Mexicans as
a herd of cattle ? Never ! Let the nationality of the rest of
the Republic perish for them ! Let us perish together!"
Here is a sentiment and here a conduct that are
worthy of the most magnanimous Republic. They
| say plainly, " Slaughter us ; it is in your power:
'overrun us; for you can: but not even to
' save a part of our country will we ever consent
4 to sell or give to you brave citizens who hate you
' and love Mexico. And it is these New Mexicans,
thus faithlul to their Government and thus repaid
by its affection and fidelity, that President Polk
] intends to drag into our Union, whether they will
or not, by way ot' making them into a kind of hu
man indemnity, a corporeal capital, an animated
scrip, out ot which are to be repaid the old losses
ol certain of our citizens ! A great sympathy with
love of country must our President have, and mar
vellously precise notions about the right of a pro
vince, a^ood deal more populous than was Texas in
1837, to choose under what Government it shall live !
But we have filled our vacant spacer
! and exhausted our allotted time. Whatever more
; we have to say on this Mexican War we must re
1 serve until some occasion shall arise to call Tor its
utterance.
THE OPENING OF THE SESSION.
There was, at the opening of both Houses of
I Congress on Monday, quite a full attendance of
j Members.
In the Senate the Vice President took the
! Chair.
In the House of Representatives, on the third
| trial to elect a Speaker, the lion. Robert C.
Winthrop, ot Massachusetts, received a majority
of votes, and was conducted to the Chair, whence he
| acknowledged, in highly appropriate terms, his sen
1 sibility to the confidence reposed in him by his
j fellow-members.
Mr. Wixtiirop received the votes of nearly
every Whig member present. Other Whig meni
bcrs of distinguished standing and ability had been
, spoken of for this dignified office, who would have
filled it worthily and with honor. But the choice
of the party having fallen on Mr. Winthrop, no
gentleman can feel disparaged by the preference.
His experience, abilities, dignity, and unblemished
! personal character well become the high trust con
fided to him, and furnish an abundant guaranty for
i the able and faithful discharge of the arduous and
1 responsible duties of the Chair.
The Democratic members appear not to have*
j united on any member of that party for the office of
Speaker, but to have voted according to their indi
[ vidual personal preferences.
Subsequently to Monday, the House completed
its organization by the election of?
Nathan Sargent, Esq., formerly connected
with the Philadelphia press, and heretofore run bv
the Whigs a& their candidate for Congress in one
of the Philadelphia districts, to the office of Ser
geant-at-Arms.
Robert E. Hornor, also a Member of the Edi
torial fraternity, (from New Jersey,) to the office
of Doorkeeper; and
: John M. Johnson, the former incumbent, to the
[ office of Postmaster.
Finances of Ohio.?According to the Message
| of Governor Hkbii, just communicated to the Le
gislature of Ohio, the finances of that State are in a
J nourishing condition. The treasury receipts for
the last year, from all sources, was 92,314 075
? and the disbursements, including the interest on
public debl, were 31,904,255. The balance appli
I cable to the payment of temporary and funded debts
of the State was 9109,820. Domestic bonds to tht*
amount of 9119,883 73 had been redeemed during
the year from trust funds, leaving a balance of the
same funds applicable to the same purpose of
*118,804 25. The expenses of the State Govern
ment and benevolent institutions were 9210,250 42.
He recommends an increase of sinking fund from
920,000 to 9200,000 per annum.
The following Officers of the Army arrived at
New Orleans on the 1st instant, in company with
Gen. Taylor :
Major J. H. Lato*^ Aid-de-camp; Captain It. S. Gar
jtktt, do.; Colonel W. G. Belknap, t . S. A.; Major G.
Porter, tth Artillery ; Major W. VV. S. Btiss, Assistant
Adjutant General; and Lieutenant C. L. Wtticaa, 3d
Artillery.
Hon. (?. W. Daroan was on Monday last elected.
Chancellor by the Legislature of South Carolina,
in place of the late Chancellor Harper.
A Whio Victory;?The Whigs of Savannah
(Georgia) on Monday last re-elected Dr. II. K.
Bi rkovohs to the mayoralty of that city bv the
handsome majority of 239 votes over E. J.'Har
dkn, his Democratic competitor. The present ma
jority is an increase of 97 over the vote of last
year. A Whig Board of Aldermen was also elected
by nearly the same vote.
Tin Mkmriiis Bank.?We learn from the Memphis pa
pers that an injunction was laid on the Memphis Bank of
Tennessee on the 26th ultimo, at the instance of Mr. Evan
Rogers, of Philadelphia, who owns or controls a lar^e num
ber of it* share*. Under thia process the bank, it ia suppo??d
will go into liquidation and be finally wound up. *

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