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The voice of freedom. [volume] (Montpelier, Vt.) 1839-1848, April 20, 1848, Image 1

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Of Mr. Uphiii, of Vermont,
Delivered in the Senate of the U. S., February 15, 1S48.
f Con eluded.
Atrnin. air. it. has been more than intimated
by honorable Senators on the other side of I
7, i i i i . . i .i I
the chamber, who have participated in W'13
ueoaie, mat, me oniy icsi, ui iruu jiauiuusm
and real love ot country, is a cordial support
of all the measures recommended by the ad
ministration, for the further prosecution of
this war; and that opposition to them is op
position to the country, and taking sides with
the enemy. Sir, I claim to be as patriotic,
and as ready to stand by the country, in peace
and in war, as Senators over the way. lint
it is one thing to stand by tho country, and
quite a different thing to stand bv the admin
istration. In standing by the country, I find
myself compelled to oppose the measures re
commended by the administration, because,
in my judgment, if carried out, they would
prove ruinous to the country. But, Mr.
President, the honorable Senator from Illi
nois, (Mr. Douglass,) said he was surprised
to hear this war and the recommendations of
the President for its vigorous prosecution de
nounced, "especially from those Senators who
voted for all the war measures of the last ses
sion and tho preceding one." The war meas
ures, sir, for which wo have heretofore voted,
were recommended, tho President informed
us, with no view to the acquisition of Mexi
can territory, by conquest a just and honor
able peace, and not the forcible dismember
ment of the Mexican republic, was the pur
pose avowed lor the prosecution of the war.
But, sir, the war, since the last session of Con
gress, has assumed a now character. Its more
vigorous prosecution is now recommended for
a new object, and one that we have never ap
proved, but unifbrmally condemned. We
have never voted men nor money for such a
war as tho President now avows this to be.
The war for which wo voted supplies was a
war " waged with no view to conquest." The
honorable Senator, therefore, ought to feel
no surprise at tho stand we take against this
But, sir, I will leave this subject and pass
to a brief review of the measures which occa
sioned the war, viz : the un negation of Tex
as, and tho order of the ISih of January,
1840, fur the march of the array from Corpus
Christi to the left bank of thoJLlio Grande.
Por these two measures the democratic party
and the President are responsible. And I
therefore charge upon them this war, and all
the blood and treasure it lias cost this coun
try. The annexation of Texas was a party
measure. It was a scheme, devised by the
democracy ot the south, to prevent the aboli
tion of slavery in Texas; and, when first an
nounced, it met with no favor from the de
mocracy of the north. It was denounced with
great violence, and in language somewhat of
fensive, by the party press, and in the con
ventions of the people. The Globe, the load
ing democratic press in this city, joined in the
opposition, and it was continued up to the
meeting of the democratic convention in Bal
timore in May, 1844. Now, sir, as the hon
orable Senator from Illinois thought it his
duty to convey through tho Senate to the
country tho denunciations of a portion of the
clergy and tho press against the war of 181 2,
I will follow his example, and present to the
country the denunciations of the northern
democracy against the annexation of Texas,
when tho scheme was first announced to the
country. I shall do this, sir, with no view
to cast reproach upon the people of Texas,
but to show that, with the northern democra
cy, obligations to country are sometimes over
come by obligations to party.
On the 20th of November, 1843, tho Dover
Gazette, N. II., a democratic paper, in an ar
ticle against annexation, spoke of Texas in
the following language :
" Texas can hardly be in a worse stato than it is
now the most wicked, vile, God-abandoned place
of which we have any knowledge its history would
make the savngo blush with shame.
Yet there are some who desire to effect nn union bo
tween Texas and this country, as if wo had not
enough guilt and crime already upon our shoulders.
We wish rather that we could fix an impassable ipilf
between us and its borders, tiiat Us breath of pentiteji.ee
mitht never reach our ilwixs. Heaven suvo us from
a union with Texas."
The New Hampshire Nashua Gazette
(democratic paper) November 9, 1843, in
speaking of tho annexation of Texas said :
" The object and design throughout all U as black
as ink bitter as hell."
" We hope, and sincerely trust there will be no
truckling on tho part of our northern representatives,
when this mighty project shall come up before them
in all Its questionable shapes."
The New Hampshire Patriot (democratic
paper) of November 23, 1813, speaking of
annexation said:
" lie, (the President) and his gang will probably
attempt to throw this question into Congress as a
lire brand. It may produce mischief, but we irust
that the democrats have good sense enough to avoid
being distracted by tlio acts of the enemy." -
Tee Dover Gazette, New Hampshire, in
the fall of 1843, in an article against the ad
mission of Texas, among other things, said :
"The admission of Texas into the Union would
bo a public disgrace, and disgrace us in the eves of
all the civilized world, it would array against us
the moral inllucuco of nil Christendom, and draw
upon us tlio just retribution of an offended Cod."
At a democratic convention held at Head
field, Maine, in the summer of 1843, to nom
inate a candidate for Congress, for the 3d
Congressional District, tho lollowing resolu
tion was adopted :
Hcsolred, That the impropriety and inexpediency
of the annexation of Texas to the United States, op
pose insuperable objections to its admission into the
Unioa ; and that the silly representation of federal
presses, that the democratic party are in alliance
with the slave power of tho South, in a systematic
design to effect the admission of Texas, is entirely
unsupported by any facts, or by the slightest indica
tions in any quarter, giving such a supposition the
appearance ot truth ; and is, therefore, a wilful and
deliberate fabrication of the federal party for baso
and partisan purposes."
Here, Mr. President, wo have the views
of tlio patriotic democracy of the 3d Con
gressional District in Maine upon the subject
of Texas annexation. The char ire that the
democratic party were in favor of tho meas
ure, is declared to lie u wilful falsehood, utter
ed by the federal party for base and partisan
purposes. Hut, sir, this hostility to annexa
tion was not confined to the 3d Congression
al District in Maine, the democracy of the
whole State opposed it by strong resolutions
passed in the House of Representatives in
the wirter cf 1843.
Here, sir, are the resolutions of the Demo
cratic Legislature of Massachusetts passed in
Retained, That under no circumstances whatever,
can me people oi .Massachusetts regard the proposi-
jou to admit Texas into tho Union, in any other light
"'an as dangerous to its continuance m pence, in
prosperity, and in 'the enjoyment of those blcss-
mgs wlncli it is the onject ol a tree government to
Jit si.i'f That the Senators and Ilopresentatives
ofMasMicliiictt9,iiitlicOongrcR! of the United States,
be requeued to sparo no exertions to oppose and,
if possible, to prevent the adoption of the proposi
tion referred to.
Jiesvleed, That his excellency, the Governor, bo
requested to transmit one copy of these resolutions
to the executive of each of the United States, and a
like copy to each Senator and 1'eprcseiitative in
Congress from Massachusetts.
The democracy of Massachusetts regarded
the admission of Texas into the Union as
dangerous to its perpetuity, and under no
circumstances whatever, could they consent to
Ex-President Van Buren in a letter to Mr.
Hamnictt, under date of April 20, 1814, op
posed annexation, because, in his judgment,
it would involve U3 in a war with Mexico.
And the Washington Globe of tho first of
May, 1844, contains the following editorial
article :
" We concur with 5Ir. Van Buren fully and cor
dially in this view, and say it is the only wise, hon
orable, safe, and practicable course. Mexico and
Texas are now at war; the armistice admits it, (a
circumstance of which we were not apprised when
we wrote our first article on this subject ; and to
adopt the Texan as our citizens at this time, is to
make ourselves a party to the war, and to take upon
ourselves tho business of its conclusion, either by
negotiation or by arms. It requires no declaration
of war from Mexico to involve us. From the mo
ment wc admit Texas, wo mako her a territory of
the Union ; and it would bo unlawful and punisha
ble in her to treat with Mexico or to fight alonowith
Mexico. The Uuiled States alone could treat or
fijtht; and thus, from the day of the ratification of
this treaty, the LniteJ States and .Mexico would be
at war; commerce between them would cease, and
they would remain at war, and commerce remain
broken up, until the negotiations or the arms of the
United States terminated the adopted war. This is
clear common sense, and no One. can deny it."
" We have been looking a little further in the pub
lished documents which accompany the treaty, and
every step amazes us more and more. We find that
Lord Aberdeen anil the British Minister here utter
ly deny the Duff Creen storv, sent from London in
August last, of the designs of England upon Texas,
which is made tho foundation of this whole proceed
ing. Wo believe it can easily bo proved, that tho
whole scheme of getting up the Texas question, pre
cisely us that question now is, existed long belnre
Duff Green furnished that pretext, and that all this
story of British interference, now put forth as the
pretext for tho moment, lias been invented since tho
movement was organized. " Globe, Mat I, 1S11.
"If tho General Government should tako this
step, in violation of tho treaty with Mexico, would
the character of out country bo left to our posterity
tho same noble and nonomiiie inheritance winch was
handed down to us by Washington, Jefferson, and
Jackson ?
" We do not bnlievo tho great mass of our coun
trymen are willing to sacrifice the honor, tho re
nown, and the real glory of this country for ancarth
ly acquisition. If then, Texas has admitted, by a
solemn proclamation, the existence of a war between
her mid Mexico; if tho Government of the United
States has, bv a solemn official document, declared
its full knowtedgo that this is the state of the rela
tions between Texas and Mexico, how can the pres
ident and Sonale of the United States, without sac
rificing the honor of the country, adopt this war with
Mexico, in the face of our treaty of pcaco witU that
country." UlAie, May 10, ISM.
Here, sir, we have not only a full endorse
ment of Mr. Van Buren's views against an
nexation, but a strong argument showing that
Mexico and Texas were ut war, and that tho
adoption of tho measure would make us a
party to the war, and compel us to bring it
to a conclusion, either by negotiation or by
arms. Well, sir, as the northern democracy
anticipated, the "fire-brand" was thrown into
Congress. On tho 22d of April, 1844, Pres
ident Tyler transmitted to the Senate, for
ratification, a treaty annexing the republic of
Texas to the United States. And what was
its fate ? Why,
liy, sir, it was rejected by a vote
o 3D nays. Every democratic
ot 1G vcas to 3D nays, livery
Senator from the north, with the exception
of Mr. Woodbury, from New Hampshire,
voted against it. lbe rejection ol the treaty,
however, was but a temporary defeat of the
measure. The Baltimore Convention, as
sembled for tho purpose of nominating dem
ocratic candidates for President and Vice
President, took the foreign relations of the
country in charge, and resolved upon the re
annoxation of Texas and the re-occupation of
Oregon. How, Mr. President, was this reso
lution received by the northern democracy ?
New York rebelled at once. The leaders' of
the party came out in a circular denouncing
it as an unauthorised interpolation into the
democratic creed, and refused to sustain it.
Mr. Van Buren, their favorite candidate for
the Presidency, had been rejected by that
convention for his opposition to annexation ;
and Mr. Polk, known to bo friendly to the
measure, had received the nomination. In
this condition of things, it was a work of some
difficulty to reconcile the democracy of New
York to the nominees of the convention.
But, difficult as tho task seemed, it was at
length accomplished. Tho honorable Silas
Wright, who was a member of I he Senate in
1844, and had voted against the treaty of an
nexation, and who was known to bo strongly
opposed to trie measure, was nominated as a
candidate for governor. This nomination re
conciled the democracy to vote for Mr. Polk,
provided no democratic member of Congress
should be elected who was not pledged against
annexation. Tho news of this arrangement
of family difficulties in New York was soon
conveyed to the New England democracy.
Mr. Wright's nomination, it was said, would
secure New York to Mr. Polk, and New
England must come in and sustain the party.
Opposition to annexation soon began to die
away, and, in a few weeks, tho whole demo
cratic party wheeled into the ranks and gave
their support to the nominees of the conven
tion. Now, sir, to keep up the party character of
tiie measure, 1 will go back to the resolution
of annexation. In the winter of 1845, nf'lcr
the election of Mr. Polk, a joint resolution
was introduced into the House of Kcpresen
tatives for the annexation of Texas to the
United States, and, on the same day, I believe,
a resolution for the same purpose was intro
duced into the Senate. On the 25th of Jan
uary, tho test vote was taken on I he resolu
tion in the House of Representatives, and it
was passed Yeas, 113, Nays, lOfi, every
whig in the House, with the exception of
three from Tennessee, two from Georgia, and
one from Alabama, voting in the negative.
The House resolution came to the Senate,
and tho honorable Senator from Alabama,
(Mr. Bagby,) among others, made an able
speech against it. lie denied the constitu
tional power of Congress to bring into the
Union a foreign State, by a joint resolution ;
that power, he maintained, belonged, cxclu
sivcly, to another branch of the government,
viz : the treaty making power. After this
avowal of the Senator from Alabama, that he
could not suppott tho resolution as it came
from the House, Mr. Walker, then a Senator
from Mississippi, moved an amendment con
ferring upon the President the power to with
hold the resolution, if, in his judgment and
discretion, he should deem it most advisable,
and to negotiate with the republic of Texas
for her admission into tho Union. The
amendment was adopted. A motion was
then made, by a Senator on this side of the
chamber, to strike out the first and second
sections of the resolution and confine the
President to negotiate alone for the ucnuisi
tion of the country. This measure was op -
posed and defeated the Senator from Ala-
bama voting with the majority. The resolu
tion was then passed by a vote of 27 yeas, to
25 nays, every democratic Senator voting in
the affirmative, and every whig Senator, with
tho exception of Mr. Henderson, from Missis
sippi, Mr. Johnson, from Louisiana, and Mr.
Merrick, from Maryland, voting iu the nega
tive. Mr. BAGBY. I do not suppose for a mo
ment that the Senator intends to do me the
slightest injustice in reference to what I said
then or at any time. What I then said was ;
and I repeat it now, that I never would vote
for the resolutions as they came from thellouse
of llepresentativcs, but thai I would vote for
the proposition as amended by the Senate.
I disclaimed the idea of its being indispensa
bly necessary to annex Texas by treaty, but
said it might bo done by treaty, or compact,
and cited the compact between the United
States and Georgia, in 1802, as a ca3e in
Mr. UPIIAM. The Senator opposed tho
resolution as it came from the House.
Mr. BAGBY. Decidedly.
Mr. UPIIAM. No consideration could in
duce mo to misrepresent the honorable Sena
tor in any speech he has made, or any vote
he has given upon this question. I alluded
to the speech and votes of the Senator for
the purpose of showing that the first and scc-
ond sections of the resolution presented to the
, ; ,nrV , . 1 . ...
repubtic of Texas, never had a majority of the
Senate in their favor.
The democratic Senators from the North
who voted against annexation in 1844, voted
for it in 1845. Now, what happened in the
nine months that elapsed between the rejec
tion of the treaty and the passage of the res
olution, to change their minds upon the sub
ject ? Were the objections urged against
the measure less formidable in 1815 than
they were in 1814? Was annexation less
objectionable to the democracy of the North
after it became a party measure than it was
before it assumed a party character ? These
are questions worthy of consideration, and on
some convenient occasion I hope they will be
The resolution of annexation having passed
both Houses of Congress, President Tyler, on
the 1st of March, 1845, approved it; and the
next day he .sent olf his messenger with di
rections to submit the first and second sec
tions of the resolution to tho republic of Tex
as, as an overture for her admission, as a
State, into our Union. In this condition of
affairs. President Tyler retired, and the new
administration came into power; and what,
sir, was the first act of tho new President V
It was to declaro his approval of the resolu
tion for tho annexation of Texas, and to as
sure the country that, in his opinion, our title
to the Oregon country was "clear und un
questionable." But, sir, it has been said by
Senators, on the other side of tho chamber,
that President Polk is in nowise responsible
for the manner of annexation. The Senator
from Tennessee, (Mr. Turney,) in his speech
the other day, said that annexation took place
under the Tyler administration ; that Presi
dent Polk had no connection with it or power
over it; that Mr. Tyler, in the last hours of
ns administration, selected the mode of an
nexation, and thereby deprived tho new ad
ministration of the power to withhold tho res
olution and negotiation for the acquisition of
tne country.
Mr. President, tho honorable Senator is
laboring under a great mistake in this matter.
Mr. Polk had as much to do in selecting the
modo of annexation as Mr. Tyler. Ho not
only approved of the proceedings of Presi
dent Tyler, butdircctcd our Charge d'Afl'airs
in lexas to presont tho first and second sec
tions of the resolution to that republic forhor
acceptance. The message of December 2,
1 84.";, will settle this question. The President
says :
"In pursuance of the joint resolution of Congress,
for annexing Texas totlio United Statcsj my prede
cessor, on tlio third day of .March. ISh), elected to
submit tho first and second sections of that resolu
tion to the Republic of Texas, as an overture, on the
part of the United States, for her admission as a
State into our Union. This election I unproved, and
accordingly tho charge d'affairs of the United States,
in Texas, under instruetionsof the ll)th of March,
1H-1"), presented these sections of the resolution for
tho acceptance of that republic."
Here, Mr. President, is a full approval of
all the proceedings of Mr. Tyler, touching tho
manner of annexation. The first and second
sections ot the resolutions were presented to ciirwti unlil attor Iiq had received such 'in
il'nm 1' !r f v 1 . :' lnf """I?" i formation from Mexico as rendered it proba-
Z r JL f )F ? r e"'l!T 1 aT1' bl0' if not certain, that the Mexican Govern
H fr, P"t Mr- merit would refuse to receive our envoy.-
SuLT tTWu Procccdint,0' Our army, then, was ordered to occupy the
lFCT;-Jl0ha1lfulll,Or,rtO w,t i- kft Hank of the Kio Grande, because, the
hold tho .resolution, and proceed to negoti
ate, if he preferred that mode of acquisition.
But, Mr. President, it is time to leave this
branch of the subject, and pass to the order
of the 1 Uth of January, 184G, for the march
of the army from Corpus Christi, to the left
bank of the Bio Grande. This order, in my
judgment, was an act of Executive usurpa
tion, ana tne immediate cause ot the v. nr. Jl
our army had remained at Corpus Christi,
the acquisition of Texas would,to use the lan
guage of tho President
" Have boon a bloodless achievement. Xo arm of
forco would have been raised to produce tho result.
The sword would havo had no part in the victory."
The resolution of annexation declares:
; That Congress doth consent, that the h rritorv
properly included within and rightfully belonging
10 uio i.epuunc oi lexas, may a crectod into a
new State, &o., in order that tl'ie same mav bo ad
mitted as one of the States of this Union. Said
stato to bo formed, subject to the adjustment by this
Government of all questions of boundary that may
arise with other Governments."
1 , , , . i
lt appears on the faceof t lie resolution, that
a portion of the territory claimed by the re-
public of Texas was in dispute, and mi"ht not
properly belong to her, and that her right to
the disputed territory was a Question to be
settled by this Government and Mexico.
The republic of Tsxas had, by her act of
Congress, passed in December, 183(5, declar
ed the Bio Grande, from its mouth to its
source, to be her southwestern boundary;
hut she had not, at that time, nor at the tiiiie
the resolution of annexation was passed, pos
session of any portion of the country west of
the Nueces, except a small settlement on tho
western bank of that river. The whole ter
ritory between tho Nueces and tho Bio
Grande, as I shall show before I resume my
seat, with the exception ot the small settle
1 ment mentioned, was in possession of Mexico,
j and claimed as a part of her republic. Now,
sir, wnar was tne duty ot tne rrosident in re
gard to this matter V What are his powers
in the adjustment ot international contro
versies? They are pacific; not belligerent.
His instrumentalities are diplomatic agents ;
not armies and navies. He makes contracts
and treaties with foreign governments ; but
he has no authority, without the consent of
Congress, to call on the military power of tha
country to enforce their performance, lie
is, it is true, commander-in-chief of the army
and navy, but he has no authority to employ
them against a foreign nation for any pui p so
whatever, without the order of Congress.
And Congress alone is constitutionally in
vested with the power of changing the con
dition of the country from peace to war.
I 1 Ins was the opinion of Mr. Jeflerson, as
expressed to congress in ins commercial
message of December 9, 1805, in regard to a
question of disputed boundary between tho
United States and Spain, growing out of our
Louisiana purchase.
" After nearly five months of fruitless endeavor,"
snys Mr. .lelferson, "our minister ended the confer
ence, without having been able to obtain indemnity
for spoliations of any description, or any satisfaction
as to the boundaries of Louisiana, other than a de
claration that we had no rights eastward of the
"Considering that Congress nlnne Is constitution
ally invested with the power of ehanginrr our eon.li-
i !'" fmJmPC0 W1.11'. . have thought it my duty
i to await their authority tor using torcu m any ue-
! grco ,vhicll Could be avoided."
This, Mr. President, is sound constitutional
doctrine, and if Mr. Polk had followed in the
footsteps of his illustrious predecessor, this ;
war would have been avoided. It was the
duty of tho President to setlle this question
u. uiBj,..iu uuu uu , w.u. iue.Mcu, u. m go-:
r .i:,.....wi l,,. i :u nr....:..- i ..
tuition it lie could, but it tlus ellort tailed, it
was equally his duty to inform Congress of j
tho fact, niid await (heir authority for march- j
ing the armv on to the disputed territory. '
,ia ' . ', ... , .
Congress was in session, and could have been ,
consulted without the least inconvenience. j
The ground I assume is, that tho territory i
between the Nueces und tho Rio Grande, be-1
ing disputable, und most of it in possession of
Mexico, Tlio Presidont had no right to take
forcible possession of it, even if it rightfully
belonged to the Stato of Texas, without au-
fViis..;,. fnrtiv, Pn,-ifTria Wn hnvn li-ifl TV,.,,,,.
nuestions of disputed boundary with foreiVii i
n.'itiniiH- und no (iilminisl ration, nxnent tlm i
present, ever thought of taking forcible pos
session of the disputed territory. Our north
eastern boundary was in dispute from thu
peace of 1 783 to 18)2, and no attempt was
made by any of our Presidents to take pos
session, "by force, of the, territory we claimed.
But, Mr. President, various pretences have
been set up to justify the man h of our army
to the left bunk of the Rio Grande. The
honorable Senator from Maryland, (Mr.
Johnson,') in his eloquent speech upon this
question said, that tho United States had re
ceived the republic of Texas into uie Union
without antecedently defining her boundaries,
and under a constitulion including the dis
puted territory ; and, therefore, they were
hound to defend it. Sir, the constitution of
Texas, formed after the passage of tho reso
lution of annexation, and under which she
was admitted as a Slate of this Union, did not
define her southwestern boundary that was
led an open question to be settled by negoti
ation between tho United States and Mexico.
Again, Mr. President, the honorable Senator
said that Mexico had mustered an army on
tho Bio Grande with tho declared object of
invading Texas, and recovering tho wiiole to
her own sovereignty, and that we had a clear,
undeniable right to meet her thoro and strike
the first blow. But I understand the Sena
tor to admit, that our right to ineot her there
and strike the blow could be justified only
upon the principle of self-defence. If we
were in no danger of a blow from Mexico
if she had no foreo collected for the invasion
of Texas, then our march into tho disputed
territory was an unjustifiable act of hostility.
Now, sir, where is the evidence that Mexico
had mustered an army on tlio Rio Grande
with the declared object of invading and
conquering Texas ? Did the President say
any thing ot the kind in bu message of the
11th of Mav, 181(1, informing Congress that
he had ordered the army to the left bank of
the Bio Grande? No, sir,
ho assigned no
such reason for the order.
He said in that
.,....,., !.... c :.,.i r
President apprehended that Mexico would
reject our envoy. Now, Mr. President, to
show that Mexico had mustered no army on
the Ilio Grande with a view to the invasion
of Texas, and that the President knew it
when ho issued the orderof the l.'ilh January
184G, I call the attention of the Senate and
the country to Gen Taylor's correspondence
with the War Department w hile he remained
at Corpus Christi.
In a despatch to the War Department, da
ted Corpus Christ i, August 20th, 1815, Gen.
Taylor says that
" Caravans of traders arrive oeca-'ionallv from the
I!io Grande, but bring no news of importance.
l 1 hey represent that there are no regular troops on
that river, except at Matamorus, and do not seem to
"f awaro oi any prepnrati'in lor a demonstration on
this side of tho' river."
On tho (itli of September, 13 15, in another
despatch, he says :
"I have the honor to report that a confidential
aeent, despatched some davs since to Matamoras,
l,n .-.,(, ........1 .,...1 f.. tl'.... n. . ....
u'i, mm n iun in. u tiu i .miuiiiai V Me
; parations are going forward there; that the garrison
Joes not seem to have been increased, and that our
! consul is of opinion there will be no declaration of
Again, in another despatch of September
11th', 1815, Gen. Taylor says:
" We have no news of interest from the frontier.
Arista, at the last accounts, was at Mier, hut with
out any force ; nor is there, us vet, any concentra
tion of troops on the river."
In a despatch under date of October 11th,
1845, he says that
" lieccnt arrivals from the K:o Grande bring no
news, or information of a different aspect from that
which I reported in my last. The views expressed
in previous communications relative to the pacific
disposition of the border people on both sides of the
riverare confirmed."
And in another despatch under date of
January 7, 181G, he says:
" Wc havo many arrivals from Jlatamoras and
other points on the river, but they bring no intelli
gence of interest. A recent scout of volunteers
from San Antonio struck the river near l'residio,
Uio Grande, and the commander reports everything
quiet in that quarter."
Who, Mr. President, with this evidence
before him, can say that Gen. Taylor, on the
13th of January, 1846, was ordered to the
Kio Grande to meet and repel a Mexican
army there collected for the invasion of Tex
as ? On tiie 7th of January, only six days
before the order was issued, General Taylor
informed the President that every thing was
quiet in that quarter. But, sir, the honora
ble Senator from Illinois, (Mr. Douglass,) has
attempted to justify the order, on another
ground. He says it was issued on the re
commendation and at tho request of General
Taylor. If this were true it would be no jus
tification for the President. Tiie expedien
cy of such a measure was a question for Con
gress to settle. General Taylor hud nothing
to do with it. But, Mr. President, the army
was not ordered to the Bio Grande on the i
recommendation of General Taylor. All he i
said upon the subject is cpntaincd in hit let
tertothe War Department, under date of
October lt'i, 1845, more than three months
before ho received orders to leave
Christi. In that letter he says :
"It will bo recollected that the instructions of
'line tho 15th. issued by Mr. liancroi't, then Acting
Secretary of War, directed me to select and occupy,
on or near the liio Grande, such a site as will con
sist with tlio health of the troops, and will be best
adapted to repel invasion, &o."
.iv.. ......:,,:.,,. i. ,.,.,,.., i.:..i. 1
him to citrate lU force at Corpus Chris-
ti, ho proceeds as follows :
" It is w'th great deference that I makn any sng-
ti, ,m ,, k,3 wh:cU bocotm mtter of del
i.- ito negotiation ; but if our government, iu settling
the question of boundary, makes tho lino of tho
I:io Grande an ultimatum, I cannol doubt that the
f H he greatly facilitated and hastened
by our taking posses, ion at once ol one or two snita-
,jc poillM 01; ',. ,,;. m,.lr lhu rivor. 0m. sU.en!,th
and state of preparation should be displayed in a
""mmT ,lut to 1,0 ''""
11 ' Oovcniment had determined, at all
events, to mako tho Rio Grande the western
boundary of Texas, the sooner we let Mexico
know it the better. This is the sum and
substance of all General Taylor said upon the
subject. His suggestion was based upon the
ground that the line of the Rio Gr
nuo was
our ultimatum.
Mr. President, there must havo been, at
the bottom of thisj movement, something more
than a desire to settle upon just and honor
able terms the western boundary of Texas ;
and I will endeavor to show what it was.
Our Government was aware that the annex
ation of Texas would give oileiiceto Mexico,
and an effort was made to reconcile her to
tho measure. On the l;)ih of April, 1 8 1 J,
Mr. Calhoun, the Secretary of Stale, direct
ed Mr. Green, our Charge d' Affairs in Mex
ico, to inform that Government that a treaty
for the annexation of Texas to the United
States had been signed by the. L'iciiipotcn
liaries of the two Governments, and would
be sent to tho Senate, without delay for its
approval. In making this fact known, Mr
Green was directed to give the Mexican
Government the strongest assurance (hut, in
adopting the measure, wo were actuated by
no feeling of disrespect or indifference to
tho honor and dignity of Mexico ; and that
the step was forced upon the United States
in self-defence, in consequence of the policy
adopted by Great Britain in reference to the
abolition of slavery in Texas. Mr. Green
was further enjoined to assure the Mexican
Government that it was our desire to pettle
all questions between tho two countries which
Uiight grow out of the treaty, or any other ornrv, now the good people of Texas availing them
causo, on Ihe most liberal "terms. m:hitinfftyi f their natural "Klit, solemnly .K-lare
that of boundary. On the 23d day of May
Mr. Green gave the Mexican Government
nolico of the treaty and strong assurance that
the question of boundary would be settled on
the most liberal terms.
On tho 10th of September, 1814, Mr. Cal
houn, as Secretary of State, directed Mr.
Shannon, our Minister in Mexico, to renew
to the Mexican Government the declaration
made by our Charge d'Afl'airs, that if annex
ation should bo consummated, tho United
States would be prepared to adjust all ques
tions growing out of it, including that of
boundary, on the most liberal terms. t
Well, Mr. President, after having given
these strong assurances to Mexico, in regard
to the question of boundary, wc passed the
resolution annexing Texas to tho United
States, and it was approved on tho 1st of
March, 1845.
On the 15th of June, 1845, about three
months after tho passage of the resolution,
and five months before Texas accepted our
proposition of annexation, the President or
dered General Taylor to the le.'tbank of the
Bio Grande to protect what, in the event of
annexation, was to be our western border.
Yes, Mr. President, before annexation was
commenced, the administration, notwithstand
ing the strong assurances given to Mexico,
that the question of boundary would be set
tled upon tho most liberal terms, had deter
mined that the Bio Grande should be the
western boundary of Texas. Was this act
ing in good faith towards Mexico? Was it
calculated to allay her opposition, and recon
cile her to annexation ? No, sir, it was cal
culated to increase her hostility to the meas
ure, and widen the breach between the two
Mr. Skviich. The order of the 15th of
June was, that Gen. Taylor should remain
on the Sabine.
Mr. UniA.M. I have it in my hand and
will read it.
The acting Scerefary of War, in his or
ders to General Taylor, under date of June
loth, 1815, says:
" The point of your ultimato destination is the
western frontier of' Texas, where von will select and
occupy, on or near the K:o Grande Del 2ortc, such
site as win con -ist with the neaitnol the troops, will
behest adapted to rrpel invasion, and to protect
what, in the event ol' annexation, will be our west
ern border."
Here, sir, is tho declaration of the Presi
dent, by his Secretary of AVar, that, in the
event oi annexation, The Rio Grande will be
our western border. I was, therefore, correct
in the assertion that the Administration had
I determined, long before annexation was con
! summated, to force on Mexico the boundary
lot' the Rio Grande. And, Mr. President, if
time would permit, I could show by the cor
respondence of the War Department with
our military and naval officers in Mexico,
that the Executive, after he had yielded to
Great Britain 5 dog. 40 mill, of territory in
Oregon, to which he had declared our title
"clear and unquestionable," turned his atten
tion to Mexico, with a fixed determination to
wrest from her, by the sword, New Mexico
and Upper California. On the 3d of June,
1816, the Secretary of War, in his despatch
to General Kearney, says :
" It has been decided by the President to be of
tho greatest importance in the pending war with
Mexico, to tulio the earliest possession of Upper
California. An expedition with that view is hereby
ordered, and you are designated to command it."
In a despatch to Col. Stevenson, under
date cf September 11th, 184G, the Secretary
says, " the military occupation of California
is tho main object in view." In another
despatch, to Commodore Sloat, commanding
our naval forces in the Pacific Ocean, under
date of July 12th, 181C, he says :
" Tho object of the United States is, under its
rights ii3 a'bcliigorent nation, to possess itseli'entire
ly of Upper California."
Commodore Sloat, in his general order of
July i th, 18 lb, says, " it is not only our duty
10 l;,Ke "'"ornia, out to preserve it auer-
I wart,si -5 a part of the United States, at all
nazarus. in regard to iew xuexico, uen.
Kearney, in his letter to the Department of
War, under date of August 24th, 181(5, says:
" On the 2'M, I issued a proclamation, claiming
tho whole of New Mexico, with its then boundaries,
as a territory of the United States of America, and
taking it under our protection." "It is the wish
and intention of the United States," (savs General
Kearney in his proclamation,) " to provide for New
Mexico a free government, with the least possible
delay, similar to those in the Unitod States ; and the
people of Xo.v Mexico will then be called on to ex
erciso the rights of freemen in electing their own
repi;.-untidives to the Territorial Legislature."
I have not time, Mr. President, to ptirsuo
this branch of the subject further. Hie ex
tracts I have read show, beyond all doubt,
that the war was waged for the acquisition of
Mexican territory, by conquest, and not to
compel a just and equitable settlement of tho
boundary between the two countries.
Mr. President, a few words upon the claim
of Texas to the left bank of the Rio Grande
shall close my remarks. In 1821, Mexico, by
her repieseiitutives iu convention assembled,,
formed and adopted a constitution similar to
ours, and became a republic. Texas, at that
time, did not contain the required population
to become a State, but was provisionally uni
ted with tho neighboring province of Coulm
ila, to form the Stato of Coahuiln and Texas,
until the latter should possess the necessary
elements to form a separate State for herself.
In 1833, the inhabitants of Texas, bavin" as
certained that their numbers were equal to
most, and exceeded those of several of the old
Stales, held a convention and formed and
adopted a constitution upon tho principles of
the Mexican republic, and applied to the gen
eral Congress for admission into tho Union.
Their application w,',s rejected, and their
iiTcnt imprisoned. In 1834, the constitution
al Congress of Mexico was dissolved by a mil
itary orderof General Santa Anna, the con
stitution overthrown, and the Stato Govern
ments abolished.
In September, 1S35, General Cos invaded
the proviiieo of Texas by land, with orders to
disarm tho citizens, and require an uncondi
tional submission to the Central Military Gov
ernment, under penalty of expulsion from
the country. A buttle ensued, which termi
nated in tho defeat of the Mexicans. On the
7th of November, 1835, Texas declared that,
' Wbereaa. General Antonio Lonez do Santa An-
nn. und other military chieftains, liave by force of
arms, overthrown the federal constitution of Mexico,
and disolvod the social compact which existed be
tween Texas and tho other members of the confed-

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