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Wisconsin herald. [volume] (Lancaster, Wis.) 1846-1849, December 19, 1846, Wisconsin Herald: Extra, Image 6

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FeUoio Citizens of the Senate
and ilouse of Representatives:
In resuming your labors in the service of
the people, it is a subject of congratulation
’hat there has been no period in our past
history, when all the elements of national
prosperity have been so fully developed.—
binca your last session, no afflicting dispen
sation has visited our country; general good
healt i has prevailed; abundance has crown
ed the toil of the husbandman; and labor in
all its branches is receiving an ample re
ward, while education, science and the arts
-are rapidly advancing the means of social
happiness. Ihe progress of our country in
her career of greatness, not only in the vast
'extension of our territorial limits and the ra
pid increase of our population, but in re
sources and wealth, and in the happy con
dition of our people, is without example in
the history of nations.
As the wisdom, strength, and beneficence
of our free institution.? are unfolded, every
day adds fresh motives to contentment, and
fresh incentives to patriotism.
Our devout and sincere acknowledgments
are due to the gracious Giver of all good,
for the numberless blessings which our be
loved country enjoys.
It is a source of high satisfaction to know
that the relations of tiio United States with
fJM ether nations, with a single exception,
are of the most amicable c laracter. Sin
cerely attached to the policy of peace, early
adopted and steadily pursued by this govern
ment, I have anxiously desired to cultivate
and cherish friendship and commerce with
every foreign power. The spirit and habits
of the American people arc favorable to the
maintenance of such international harmony.
In adhering to this wise policy, a prelimina
ry and paramount duty obviously consists in
the protection of our national interests from
encroachments or sacrifice, and our Ration
al honor from reproach. Those must be
m i’iitained at any hazard. They admit of
no compromise or neglect, and must be
scrupulously and constantly guarded. In
iheir vigilant vindication, collision and con
flict with foreign powers may sometimes be-
COnae. unavoidable. Such has been our
scrupulous adherence to the dictates of jus
tice, in all our foreign intercourse, th?t,
tlibugh steadily and rapidly advancing in
prosperity and power, we have given no
just cause of complaint to any nation, and
have en joyed the blessings of peace for more
than thirty years, from a policy so sacred
to humanity and so salutary in its effects up
on our political system, we should never be
induced voluntarily to depart.
The existing war with Mexico was neith
er desired nor provoked by the United States.
On the contrary, all honorable means were
resorted to to avert it. After years of endu
rance of aggravated and unredressed wrongs
on our part, Mexico, in violation of solemn
treaty stipulations, and of every principle of
justice recognized by civilized nations, com
menced hostilities, and thus, by her own
act, forced the war upon us. Long before
the ad vance of o«r army to the left bank of
tee Rio Grande, we had ample cause of war
figainst Mexico; and had the U. States re
sorted to this extremity, we might have ap-
I aled to the whole civilized world for the
justice of our cause.
• I deem it to be my duty to present toyou,
on the present occasion, a condensed review
<d the in juries wc had sustained, of the cau
ses which led to the war, and of its progress
since its co nmencement. This is rendered
the more necessary because of the misap
prehensions which have to some extent pre
vailed as to its origin and true character.—
l“ne war has been represented as unjust and
unnecessary, aw las one of aggression on
( irpait upon a weak and injured enemy.—
Such erroneous views, though entertained
but by tew, have been widely and exten
sively circulated, not only at home, but have
been spread throughout Mexico and the
whole world. A more effectual means
e ) ild not have been devised to encourage
the enemy and protract the war, than to ad
vocate and a .acre to their cause, and thus
•give them ‘‘aid and comfort.”
It is a source of national pride and exulta
. tion, that the great body of our people have
thrown no such obstacles in the way of the
government in prosecuting the war success*
. » illy, but have shown themselves to be em
inently patriotic, and ready to vindicate
their country’s honor and interest at any sa
crifice. rhe alacrity and promptness with
which oar volunteer forces rushed to the
field on their country’s call, prove not only
their patriotism, but their deep conviction
that our cause is just.
The wrongs which wc have suffered from
Mexico almost ever since she became an
'independent power, and the patient endu
rance with which we have borne them, are
without a parallel in the history of modern
civilized nations. There is reason to believe
that if these wrongs had been resented and
resisted in the first instance, the present war
• might nave been avoided. One outrage,
h >wever, permitted to pass with impunity,
almost necessarily encourage I the perpetra
tion of another, until at last Mexico seemed
v> attribute to weakness and indecision on
•our part a forbearance which was the off
spring of magnanimity, and of a sincere de
sire to preserve friendly relations with a
sister republic.
Scarcely ha I Mexico achieved her inde
pendence, which the United States were
first among the nations to acknowledge,
when she commenced the system of in.ult
all spoliation, which she has eversince pur
s led. Oir citizens, engagedin lawful com
merce, were imprisoned, their vessels seiz
ed, and our flag insulted in her ports. If
rn mey was wanted, the lawless seizure of
o ir merchant vessels and their cargoes was
n ready resource, and if to accomplish their
p irpotes it beca.no necessary to imprison
the owners, ciplains and crews, it was done.
Rulers suporcc.lv.l rulers in Mexico in rapid
s iceeS'iion, but stift there was no change in
this syste i ol depr< lation. The govern
ment of the United States made repeated re
clamations on l-ehalf of its citizens, but
these were answered by the perpetration of
ne v outrages. Promises of redress made
by Mexico in the most solemn forms, were
postpone! or evaded. The files and records
of the Departmeat of State contain conclu
sive proofs of numerous lawless acts perpe
trite l upon the property and person s of our
citizens oy Mexico, and of wanton insults to
our national flag. Th ' interposition of our
government to obtain redress was again mi l
ligiin invoked, under circumstances which
n » natio i o ight t > disregard.
It was hoped that these outrages would
c. is?, and that M ‘xico would be restrained
bthe Iv-vs which regulate the conduct <>f
' vilized nations in their intercourse with
«• ich other after the treaty of amity, com
m u'cj, and navigation of the 6th April, 1831
ww c include I between tho two republics ;
bit this hope soon proved to be vain. The
c > ;rso of seizure and confiscation of the
pro >eity of oir citizens, the violation of
their persons and the insults Hoar flag pur
s i-'I by Mexico, previous to that time, were
scarcely suspended for even a brief period,,
although the treaty so clearly defines the
rig sa i 1 duties of th? respective parties,
that it is Impossible to misun ierstnnd or mis
take them. In less than seven years after
tas conclusion of that treaty our grievances I
ha! become so intolerable that, in the opin
i»n of President Jackson, they should no ■
long?" b? en lured. To his message to Con- (
grass in Febrrirv, 1837, h n presented them ,
t» the consideration of that body, and de
chted that“ The length of time since some
f the injuries have bven committed, the re-
peated and uAvailing applications for re
| dress, the wagton character of some of the
, outrages upoi| the property ’and persons of
cur citizens, upon the officers and flag of the
United States, independent of recent insults
to this government and people by the late
extraordinary Mexican minister, would jus
tify in the eyes of all nations immediate war.
In a spirit of kindness and forbearance, how
ever, he recommended reprisals as a milder '
mode of redress. He declared that war I
should not be used as a remedy “ by just and '
generous nations confiding in their strength, ;
for injuries committed, if it can be honora- i
bly avoided,” and added “ it has occurred to I
me that, considering the present embarras
sed condition of that country, we should act
with both wisdom and moderation, by giv
ing Mexico one more opportunity to atone
for the past, before we take redress into our
own hands. Io avoid all misconception on
the part of Mexico, as well as to protect our
national character from reproach, this op
portunity should be given with the avowed
design and full preparation to take imme
diate satisfaction, if it should not be obtain
ed on a repetition of the demand for it. To
this end I recommend that an act be passed
authorizing reprisals, and the use of the na
val force of the United States, by the Exec
utive against Mexico, to enforce them in the
event of a refusal by the Mexican Govern
ment to come to an amicable adjustment of
the matters in controversy between us, up
on another demand thereof, made from on
board one of our vessels of war on the coast
■ of Mexico.”
Committees of both Houses of Congress,
to which this message of the President was
referred, fully sustained his views of the
character and wrongs which we had suffer
ed from Mexico, and recommended that an
other demand for redress should be made
before authorizing war or reprisals. The
Committee on Foreign Relations of the Sen
ate, in their report, say : After such a de
mand, should prompt justice be refused by
the Mexican Government, we may appeal
to all nations, not only for the equity and
moderation with which we shall have acted
towards a sister republic, but for the neces
sity which will then compel us to seek re
dress for our wrongs either by actual war or
by reprisals. The subject will then be pre
sented before Congress, at the commence
ment of the next session, in a clear and dis
tinct form ; and the committee cannot doubt
hut that such measures will be immediately
adopted as may be necessary to vindicate
the honor of our country, and insure ample
reparation to our injured citizens.”
The Committee on Foreign Affairs ofthe
House of Representatives made a similar
recommendation. In their report, they sav
that they fully concur with the Ppesident
that ample cause exists for taking redress in
to our own hands, and believe that we
should be justified in the opinion of other
nations for taking such a step. But they
are willing to try the experiment of another
demand, made in the most solemn form, up
on the justice of the Mexican government,
before any other proceedings are adopted.”
No difference of opinion upon the subject
is believed to have existed in Congress at
that time. The Executive and Legislative
departments concurred : and yet such has
been our forbearance, and desire to preserve
peace with Mexico, that the wrongs of
which we then complained, and which gave
rise to these solemn proceedings, not only
remain unredressed to this day, but addition
al causes of complaint, of an aggravated
character, have ever since been accumula
Shortly after these proceedings, a special
messenger was despatched to Mexico, to
make a final demand for redress ; and on the
twentieth id July, 1837, the demand was
made. The rfeply of the Mexican govern
ment bears date on the twenty-ninth of the
same month, and contains assurances ofthe
anxious wish” of the Mexican govern
ment “ not to delay the moment of that final
and equitable adjustment which is to termi
nate the existing difficulties between thetwo
governments ;” that “ nothing should be left
undone which may contribute to the most
speedy and equitable determination of the
subjects which have so seriously engaged
the attention of the American Government,
that the Mexican Government would adopt,
as the only guides for its conduct, the plain
est principles of public right, the sacred ob
ligations imposed by international law, and
the religious faith of treatiesand that
“whatever reason and justice may dictate
I respecting each case will be done.” The
assurance was further given, thrt the decis
ion ol the Mexican government upon each
cause of complaint, for which redress had
been demanded, should be communicated to
the government of the United States, by the
Mexican ministers at Washington.
These solemn assurances, in answer to our
demand for redress, were disregarded. By
making them, however, Mexico obtained
further delay. President Van Buren, in his
annual message to Congress of the fifth of
December, 1837, states that “ although the
larger number” of our demands for redress,
and “ many of them aggravated cases of
personal wrongs, have been now for years
I before the Mexican government, and some
iof the causes of national complaint, and
those of the most offensive character, ad
mitted oi immediate, simple, and satisfacto
| ry replies, it is only within a few days past
that my specific communication in answer
to our last demand, made five months ago,
has been received from the Mexican minis
| ter and that (( for not one of our public
complaints has satisfaction been given or of
fered ; that but one of the cases of personal
wrong has been favorably considered, and
that but four cases of both descriptions, out
of all those formerly presented, and earnest
ly pressed, have as yet been decided upon
by the Mexican government.” President
Van Buren, believing that it would be vain
to make any further attempt to obtain re
diess by the ordinary means within the pow
er of the Executive, communicated his opin
ion to Congress, in the message referred to,
in which he said,“On a careful and delib
erate examin ition of the contents,” (of the
correspon lence with the Mexican govern
ment,) « and considering the spirit manifes
ted by the Mexican government, it has be
come my painful duty to return the subject
as it now stands, to Congress, to whom it be
longs, to decide upon the time, the mode,
and the measure of redress.” Had the Uni
ted States at that time adopted compulsory
measures, and taken redress into their own
han Is, all our difficulties with Mexico would
probably have been long since adjusted, and ■
the existing war have been averted. Mag
nanimity and moderation on our part only |
t had the i feet to complicate these difficulties :
and render amicable settlement of them the i
more em jarrassing. That such measures of
redress under similar provocations, commit-,
ted by a yof the powerful nations of Eu- ’
•■ope, wmiVA have been promptly resorted to j
by the United States, cannot be doubted.— ;
'1 he natt. 1 honor, and the preservation of
the national character throughout the world
as well as our own self-respect, and the pro
tection due to our own citizens, would have
rendered such a resort indispensable. The
history of no civilized nation in modern
times has presented within so brief a period,
so many wanton attacks upon the honor of i
its flag, and upon the property and persons I
of -its citizens,as had at that time, been ■
borne by the United States from the Mexi- j
can authorities and people. But Mexico
was a sister republic, on the North Ameri-!
can continent, occupying a territory contig
uous to our own, arid was in a feeble dis-.
traded condition : and these considerations, (
it is presumed, induces Congress to forbear
Still longer,
Instead of taking redress into our own
hands, a new negotiation was entered upon
with fair promises on the part of Mexico,—
but with the real purpose, as the (event has
proved, of indefinitely postponing the repa
ration which we demanded, and which was
so justly due. This negotiation, after mo»»
than a year’s delay, resulted in the conven
or the eleventh of April, 1839, “for the ad
justment of claims of citizens of the United
States of America upon the government of
the Mexican Republic.” Th* joint board of
commissioners created by this convention to
examine and decide epon these claims was
not organized until the month of August,
1840, and under the terms of the convention
they were to terminate their duties within
eighteen months from that time. Four of
the eighteen month • were consumed in pre
liminary discussions on frivolous and dilato
ry points, raised by the Mexican commis
sioners ; and it was not until the month of
December, 1840, that they commenced the
examination of the claims of our citizens up
on Mexico. Fourteen months only remain
ed to examine and decide upon these nume
rous and complicated cases. In the month
of February, 1842, the term ofthe commis
sion expired, leaving many claims undis
posed of for want of time. The claims
which were allowed by the board, and by
the umpirejauthorized by the continent to
decide in cases of disagreement between the
Mexican and American commissioners, a
mounting to two million twenty-six thou
sand one hundred and thirty-nine dollars
and sixty-eight cents. There were pending
between the umpire when the commission
expired additional claims which had been
examined and awarded by’ the American
commissioners, and had not been allowed
by the Mexican commissioners, amounting
to nine hundred and twenty-eight thousand
one hundred and twenty-seven dollars and
eighty-eight cents, upon which he did not
decide, alleging that his authority ceased
w ith the termination of the joint commission.
Besides these claims,there were others of
American citizens, amounting to three mil
lions three hundred and thirty six thousand
eight hundred and thirty seven dollars and
five cents, which had been submitted to the
board, and upon which they had not time to
decide betore their final adjournment.
I he sum of two millions twenty-six thou
sand one hundred and thirty-nine dollars
and sixty-eight cents which had been awar
ded to the claimants, was a liquidated and
..s, curtained debt due by Mexico, about
which there could be no dispute, and which
she was bound to pay according to the terms
of the convention: Soon after the final a
wards ol this amount had been made, the
Mexican government asked for a postpone
ment of the time of making payment, alleg
ing that it would be inconvenient to make
the payment at the time stipulated. In the
spirit of forbearing kindness towards a sis
ter republic, which Mexico has so long abu
sed, the United States promptly complied
with her request.
A second convention was accordingly’
concluded between the two governments on
the thirteenth of January, 1843, which upon
its lace declared (hat “This new arrange
ment is entered into for the accommodation
of Mexico.” By the terms of this conven
tion, all the interest due on the awards
which had been made in favor ofthe claim
ants under the convention of the eleventh of
April, 1839, was to be paid to them on the
thirteenth of April 1843, “and the principal
of the said awards, and the interest accru
ing thereon,” was stipulated to “be paid in
five years, in equal instalments every three
Notwithstanding thisnsw convention was
entered into at the request of Mexico, and
lor the purpose of relieving her of embar
rassment, the claimants have only received
the interest due on the thirteenth of April,
1843, and three of the twenty instalments.—
Although the payment of the sum thus liqui
dated, and confessedly due by Mexico to
our citizens as indemnity for acknowledged
acts of wrongs and outrages, was secured
by treaty, the obligations of which are al
ways held sacred by all just nations, yet
Mexico has violated this solemn engage
ment by failing and refusing to inake the
payment. The two in A
pril and July, 1814, under cir
cumstances connected with been
assumed by the United States and discharg
ed to the claimants, but they are still due by
But this is not all of which we have just
cause of complaint.
To provide a remedy for the claimants
whose cases were not decided by the joint
commission under the .convention of April
the eleventh 1839, it was expressly stipula
ted by the sixth article ofthe thirteenth of
January, 1843, that “a new convention shall
be entered into for the settlement of all
claims of the government and citizens of the
United States against the republic of Mexi
co, which were not finally decided by the
late commission which met in the city of
Washington, and of all claims of the gov
ernment and citizens of Mexico against the
United States.”
In conforming with this stipulation, a
third convention was concluded and signed
at the city of Mexico on the2oth of Novem
ber, 1813, by the plenipotentiaries of the two
governments, by which provision was
made for ascertaining and paying these
claims. In January, 1844, this convention
was ratified by the Senate ofthe United
States with two amendments which were
manifestly reasonable in their character.—
Upon a reference of amendments proposed
to the government of Mexico, the same eva
sions, difficulties and delays were interpos
ed which have so long marked the policy of
that government towards the United States.
It has not even yet decided whether it wil)
or would not accede to them, although (he
subject has been repeatedly pressed upon
their consideration.
Mexico has thus violated a Second time
the faith of treaties, by failing or refusing to
carry into effect the sixth article ofthe Con
vention of January, 1843.
Such is the wrongs which we have suffer
ed and patiently endured from Mexico, —
through a long series of years. So far from
affording reasonable satisfaction for the in
juries and insults we had borne, a great ag
gravation consists in the fact, that while the
United States, anxious to preserve a good
understanding with Mexico, have been con
stantly, but vainly employed in seeking re
dress for past wrongs, new outrages were
constantly occurring, which have continu
ed to increase our causes of complaint, and
ito swell the amount of our demands. While
• the citizens of the United States were con
| ducting a lawful commerce with Mexico, —
I under a guarantee of a treaty of “amity,
; commerce and navigation,” many of them
: have suffered all the injuries which would
! have, resulted from open war.
This treaty, instead of affording protection
i to our citizens, has been the means of invi
i ting them into the ports of Mexico, that they
might be, as they have - been in numerous
; instances, plundered of their property and
deprived of their personal liberty, if they
j dare insist on their rights. Had the unlaw-
I ful seizures of American property, and the
violence of personal liberty of our citizens,
I say nothing of the insults to our flag which
i have occurred in the ports of Mexico, taken
i place on the high seas, they would them
i selves long since have constituted a state of
actual war between the two countries. In
so long suffering Mexico to violate her most
solemn treaty obligations, plunder our citi
> zens of their property, “and imprison their
persons, without affording them any redress,
have failed to perform one of the first
and highest duties which every government
oi\ es to its citizens ; and the consequence is
that many of them have been reduced from
astate of affluence to a state of bankrupt-
The proud name of American citizen
which ought to protect all who bear it from
insult and injury throughout the world, has
afforded no such protection, to our citizens
in Mexico. We had ample cause of war
against Mexico long before the breaking out
of hostilities. Bat even then wc forebore to
take a redress in our own hands, until Mex
ico herself became the aggressor,by invading
our soil in hostile array, and shedding the
blood of our citizens.
Such are the grave causes of complaint
on the part of the United States against
Mexico—causes which existed lon<> before
the annexation of Texas to the American
Union; and yet, animated by the love of
peace, and magnanimous moderation we
did not adopt these measures of redress
which, under such circumstances, are the
justified resort of injured nations.
The annexation of Texas to the United
States constituted no just cause of offence to
Mexico. The pretext that it did so is whol
ly inconsistent, and irreconcilable with the
well authenticated facts connected with the
revolution by' which I'exas became inde
pendent of Mexico. '1 hat this maybe the
more manifest, it may be proper to advert to
the causes and to the history of the princi
pal events of that revolution.
lexas constituted a portion oftheancient
province of Louisiana, ceded to the United
States by France in the year 1803. In the
year 1819,the U. States, by the Florida trea
ty, ceded to Spain all that part of Louisiana
within the present limits of Texas ; and
Mexico, by the revolution which separated
her from Spain, and rendered her an inde
pendent nation, succeeded to the rights of
the mother country over this territory. In
1824, Mexico established a federal constitu
tion, under which the Mexican republic was
composed of a number of sovereign States
confederated together in a federal Union
similar to our own. Each of these States,
had its own Executive, Legislature, and Ju
diciary, and for all, except federal purposes,
was as independent of the general govern
ment, and that of the other States, as is
Pennsylvania or Virginia under our consti
tution. Texas and Coahuila united and
formed one of these Mexican States. The
State constitution which they adopted, and
which was approved by the Mexican con
federacy, asserted that they were “ free and
independent of the other Mexican United
States, and of every other power and do
minion whatsoever,” and proclaimed the
great principle of human liberty, that “the
sovereignty of the State resides originally
and essentially in.the general mass ol h*e
individuals who compose it.” To the "e
ernment under thte eonstitution, as wefl as
to that under the federal constitution, the
people of lexas ovv’ed allegience.
Emigrants IroTi foreign countries includ
ing the United States, were invited by the
cohonzation laws ofthe State and the feder
al gov ernment to settle in Texas. Advan
tageous terms were offered to induce them
to leave their own country and beeome
Mexican citizens. This invitation was ac
cepted by many of our citizens, in the full
faith that in their new home they would be
governed by laws enacted by representa
tives elected by themselves, and that their
lives, libeity,and property would be protec
ted by constitutional guarantees similar to
those which existed in the republic they had
left. Under a government thus organized
they continued until the year 1835, when a
military revolution broke out in the city of
Mexico, which entirely subverted the fed
eral and State constitutions, and placed a
military dictator at the head of the govern
By a sweeping decree of Congress sub
servient to the will of the dictator, the
several State constitutions were abolished,
and the States themselves converted into
mere departments of the Central Govern
ment. The people of Texas were unwill
ing to submit to this usurpation. Resistance
to such tyranny became a high duty. Tex
as was fully absolved from all allegiance to
the Central Government of Mexico from
the moment that Government had abolished
her State constitution, and in its place sub
stituted an arbitrary and despotic Central
Such were the principal causes of the
Texas revolution. The people of Texas at
once determined upon resistance, and flew
to arms. In the midst of these important
and exciting events, however, they did not
omit to place their liberties upon a secure
and permanent foundation. They elected
members to a convention, who, in the month
of March, 1836, issued a formal declaration
that their “ political connection with the
Mexican nation has forever ended, and that
the people of Texas do now constitute a
LIC, and are fully invested with all rights
and attributes which properly belong to in
dependent nations.” They also adopted for
their government a liberal republican con
stitution. About the same time Santa An
na, then the dictator of Mexico, invaded
Texas with a numerous army, for the pur
pose of subduing her people, and enforcing
obedience to his arbitary and despotic gov
ernment. On the 21st April, 1836, he
was met by the Texa.n citizen-soldiers, and
on that day was achieved by them the mem
orable victory of San Jacinto, by which
they conquered their independence. Con
sidering the numbers engaged in the respec
tive s’.ues, history does not record a more
brilliant achievement. Santa Anna was
hiffiself among the captives.
In the month of May, 183 G, Santa Anna
acknowledged, by a treaty with Texan au
thorities, in the most solemn form, “the
full, entire, and perfect independence of the
republice of Texas.” It is true he was then
a prisoner of war, but it is equally true that
he failed to sonquer Texas, and met with
signal defeat; that his authority had not been
revoked, and that by virtue of fcfe; treaty
he obtained his personal release. By it, hos
tillities were suspended, and the army which
had invaded Texas under his command re
turned, in pursuance of this arrangement,
unmolested, to Mexico.
From the day that the battle of San Ja
cinto was fought, until the present hour
Mexico has never possessed the power to
reconquer Texas. In the language of the
Secretary of State of the United States, in
a despatch to our Minister in Mexico, under
date of the Sth of July, 1812, “ Mexico may
have chosen to consider, an 1 may still
choose to consider Texas as having been at
times since 183-5, and is still continuing, a
rebellious province; but the world has been
obliged to take a very different view of the
matter. From the time of the battle of San
Jacinto, in April, 183 G, to the present mo
ment, Texas has exhibited the same exter
nal signs of national independence as Mex
co herself, and with quite as much stability
of Government.
Practically free and independent, acknow
ledged as a political sovereignty by the prin
cipal powers of the world, no hostile foot
finding rest within her territory lor six or
seven years, and Mexico herself refraining
for all that period, from any further attempt
to re-establish her own authority over the
territory, it cannot but be surprising to find
Mr. de Bocanegra, the Secretary of Foreign
Affairs for Mexico, “complaining that for
that whole period citizens of the U. States
or its Government, have been favoring the
rebels of Texas, and supplying them with
vessels, ammunition, and money, as if the
war for the redaction of the province of
Texas had been constantly prosecuted by
Mexico, and her success prevented by these
influences from abroad.” In the same des
patch from th e Secretary of State, he affirms
I that , j’" Ce 1837 tl,e Unit ed States have re
garded lexas as an independent sovereign
ty, as much as Mexico; and that trade and
commerce with citizens of a government at
war with Mexico cannot, on that account,
be regarded as an intercourse by which as
sistance and succor are given to Mexican
rebels. The whole current of Mr. de Boca
negras remarks runs in the same direction
as it the independence of Texas had not
been acknowledged. It has been acknow
ledged, it was acknowledged in 1837 against
the remonstrance and protest of Mexico;
ai ™ ‘’ los t of the acts of any importance of
which Mr. de Bocanegra complains, flow
necessarily, from that recognition. He
speaks of lexas as still being f an integral
part of the territory of the Mexican Repub
lic, but he cannot but understand that the
United States do not so regard it. The real
complaint of Mexico therefore, is. in sub
stance neither more nor less, than a com
plaint against the recognition of Texan in
dependence. It may be thought rather late
to repeat that complaint, and not quite just
to confine it to the United States, but to the
exemption of England,France and Belgium,
unleisthe United States, having been the
first to acknowledge the independence of
Mexico herself, are to be blamed for setting
an example for the recognition of that of
Texas.” And he added, that “the consti
tution, public treaties, and the laws oblige
the President to regard Texas as an inde
pendent State, and its territory as no part of
Mexico.” Texas had been an independent
State, with an organized government, defy
ing the power of Mexico to overthrow' or
reconquer her, for more than ten years be
fore Mexico commenced the present war
against the United States. Texas had giv
en such evidence to the world of her ability
to maintain her separate existence as an in
dependent nation, that she had been formal
ly recognized as such, not only by the Uni
ted States, but by several of the principal
powers of Europe.
These powers had entered into treaties ol
amity , commerce and navigation with her.
They had received and accredited her min
isters and other deplomatic agents at their
respective courts, and they had commission
ed ministers and diplomatic agents on their
part to the government of Texas. If Mex
ico, notwithstanding all this, and her utter
inability to subdue or reconquer Texas, still
stubbornly refused to recognize her as an
independent nation, she was none the less
so on that account. Mexico herself had
been recognized by tiie United States as an
independent nation, and by other powers,
long before Spain, of which, before her rev
olution, she had been a colony, would agree
to recognize her as such; and yet Mexico
was at that time, in the estimation of the
civilized world, and in fact, none the less an
independent power because Spain still claim
ed her as a colony. If Spain had continued
to assert until the present period that Mexi
co was one of her colonies in rebellion
against her, this would not have made her
so, or changed the fact of her independent
existence. Texas, at the period of her an
nexation to the United States, bore the same
relation to Mexico that Mexico had borne
to Spain for many years before Spain ac
knowledged her independence, with this
important difference—that, before the an
nexation of Texas to the United States was
consummated, Mexico herself, by a formal
act of her government, had acknowledged
the independence of Texas as a nation, it
is true that in the/ict of recognition she pre
scribed a condition which she had no power
or authority to impose, that Texas should
not annex herself to any other Power; but
this could not detract in any degree from
the recognition which Mexico then made of
her actual independence. Upon this plain
statement of facts, it is absurd for Mexico to
allege, as a pretext for commencing hostili
ties against the United States, that Texas is
still a part of her territory.
But there are those who, conceding all
this to be true, assume the ground that the
true western boundary of Texas is the Neu
ces, instead of the Rio Grande; and that,
therefore in marching our army to the east
bank of the latterriver.we passed the Texas
line, & invaded the territory of Mexico. A
simple statement of the facts known to exist,
will conclusieely refute such an assumption.
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. '1 his fact is established by the au
thority of our most eminent statesmen, at a
period when the question was as w ell, if not
better understood, than it is at present.
During Mr. Jefferson’s administration,
Messrs. Monroe and Pickney, who had been
senton a special mission to Madrid, charged
among other things, with the adjustment of
boundary between the two countries, in a
note addressed to the Spanish Minister of
Foreign Affairs, under date of the twenty
eighth of January, 1805, assert that the
boundaries of Louisiana, as ceded to the
United States by France, “ are the river
Perdido on the east, and the river Bravo on
the west;” and they add, that “the factsand
principles which justify this conclusion are
so satisfactory to our government, as to con
vince it that Hie United States have not a
better right to the island of New Orleans un
der the cession referred to, than they have
to the whole district of territory which' is
above described.” Down to the conclusion
of the Florida treaty, in February. 1809, by
which this territory was ceded to Spain, the
U. States asserted and maintained their ter
ritorial rights to this extent. In June, 1818,
during Mr. Monroe’s adminstration, infor
mation having been received that a number
of foreign adventurers had landed at Gal
veston, with the avow ed purpose of forming
a settlement in that vicinity, a special mes
senger was despatched by the government
of the United States, with instructions from
the Secretary of State to warn them to de
sist, should they be found there,“or any
other place north of the Rio Bravo, and
within the territory claimed by the United
States.” He was instructed, should they be
found in the country north of that river, to
make known to them <( the surprise with
which the President has seen possession
thus taken, without authority from the Uni
ted States, of a place within their territorial
limits, and upon which no lawful settlement
can be made without their sanction,” lie
was instructed to call upon them to “ avow
under what national authority they profess
to act,” and to give them due warning “that
the place is within the United States, who
w ill suffer no permanent settlement to be
made there, under any authority other than
their own.” As late as the eighth of July,
1812, the Secretary of State of the United
States, in a note addressed to our Minister
in Mexico, maintains that, by the Florida
treaty of 1819, the territory as far west as
the Rio Grande was confirmed to Spain.—
In that note he states that, “ by the treaty of
the twenty-second February, 1819, between
the United States and Spain, the Sabine was
adopted as the line of boundary between
the two Powers. Up to that period, no con
siderable colozination had been effected in
Texas; but the territory between the Sa
bine and the Rio Grande being confirmed to
Spain by the treaty, applications were made
to that Power for grants of lands ; and such
grants, or permissions of settlement, were
in fact made by the Spanish authorities in
favor of citizens of tne United States propo
sing to emigrate to Texas in numerous fam
ilies, before the declaration of independence ;
by Mexico.
, lexas which was ceded to Spain by
the Florida treaty of 1819, embraced all the
country now claimed by the State of Texas
between the Neuces and the Rio Grande.—
Ihe republic ot Texas always claimed the
river as her western boundary, and in her
treaty made with Santa Anna, in Mav,
18ob, he recognised it as such. By the con
l*jj lion u ' hich Texas adopted in March,
18.3 b, senatorial and representative districts
Reorganized extending west of the Nue-
The congress of Texas on the nineteenth
of December, 1836, passed “An act to define
the boundaries of the republic of Texas,” in
which they declared the RiofcGrande from
its mouth to its source to be their boundary,
and to the said act they extended their “civ
il and political jurisdiction” over the coun
try u to that boundary. During a period
ol more than nine years, which intervened
between the adoption of her constitution ami
her annexation as one of the States of our
Union, Texas asserted and exercised many
acts, of sovereignty and jurisdiction over the
territory and the inhabitants west of the
Nueces. She organized and defined the
limits of counties extending to the Rio
Grande. She established courts of justice
and extended her judicial system over the
territory. She established a custom-house
and collected duties, and also post office and
post roads, in it. She established a land of
fice, and issued numerous grants of land, —
within its limits. A Senator and a Repre
sentative residing in it were elected to the
Congress of the Republic, and served as
sue i before the act oi annexation took place.
In both the congress and convention of Tex
as, which gave their assent to the annexa
tion to the United States, proposed bv our
Congress were representatives residing
west of the Nueces, who took part in the an
nexatijH itself. This was the Texas—
on\' Cthe act of our Congress, of the
-Jin of December, 1845, was admitted as
one ot the States of our Union. That the
Congress of the United States understood the
State of lexas which they admitted into the
Union to extend beyond the Nueces, is ap
parent from the fact, that on the thirty-first
of December, 1845, only two days after the
act of admission, they passed a law to estab
lish a collection district in the State of Tex
as,” by which they created a port of deliv
ery at Corpus Christi, situated west of the
Nueces, and being the same point at which
the Texan custom-house, under the laws of
that republic, was located, and directed that
a surveyor to collect the revenue, should bo
appointed for that port by the President, by
and with the advice and consent of the Sen
ate. A surveyor was accordingly nomina
ted and confirmed by the Senate, and has
been ever since in the performance of his
duties. All these acts of the republic of
lexas and of our Cong-ess, preceded the or
ders for the advance of our army to the east
bank of the Rio Grande. Subsequently,
congress passed an act to “establish certain
post routes,” extending west of the Neuces.
The country west of that river now con
stitutes a part of one of the Congressional
districts of Texas, and is represented in the
House of Representatives. The Senators
rom that State were chosen by the legisla
ture in which the country west of that river
was represented. In view of all these facts,
it is difficult to conceive upon what ground
it can be maintained that, in occupying the
country west of the Nueces with our army,
with a view solely’ to its security and de
fence we invaded the territory of Mexico.—
But it would have been still more difficult to
justify the executive whose duty it-wasto
see that the Jaws are faithfully executed, if
in the lace of all these proceedings, both of
the congress of Texas and the United States
he had assumed the responsibility of yield
ing up the territory west of the* Nueces to
Mexico, or of refusing to protect and defend
this territory and its inhabitants, and inclu
ding Corpus Christi, as well as the remain
der of Texas, against the threatened Mexi
can invasion.
But Mexico herself has never placed the war which
she has waged upon the ground that our army occupied
the intermediate territory between the Nueces and the
Rio Her refuted pretension that Texas was
not in fact an independent State, but a rebellious prov
ince, was obstinately persevered in; and her avowed
purpose in commencing a war with the U. States was
to reconquer Texas, and to restore Mexican authority
over the whole territory —not to the Nueces only, but
to the Sabino. In view of the proclaimed menaces of
Mexico to this effect, I deemed it my duty as a measure
of precaution and defence, to order our army to occupy
a position on our frontier as a military post, from
which our troops c< uld best resist anil repel any at
tempted invasion which Mexico might make.
Our army had occupied a position at Corpus Christi,
westof the Nueces, as early as August, 1845, without
complaint from any quu-tei. Had the Nueces been
regarded as the true western boundary of Texas, that
boundary had been passed by our army many months
before it advanced to the eastern bank of the Rio
Grande. In my annual message of December last, I
informed Congress that, upon invitation of both the
Congress and Convention ol Texas, I had deemed it
proper to order a strong squadron to the coast of Mex
ico, and to concentrate an efficient military force on
the western frontierof Texas, toprotectand defend the
inhabitants against the menaced invasion of Mexico.
In that message I informed Congress that the mo
ment the terms of annexation offered by the U. States
were accepted by Texas, the latter became so far a
part of ourown country as to make it our duty to af
ford such protection and defence; and that for that
purpose our squadron had been ordered to the Gulf,
and our army to «take a position between the Neuces
and the Del Norte,” or Rio Grande, and “to repel any
invasion of the Texan territory which might be at
tempted by the Mexican forces.”
It was deemed proper to issue this o rder, because,
soon after, the President of Texas, in April, 1845, had
issued his proclamation, convening the Congress of
that republic, for the purpose of submitting to that bo
dy the terms of annexation proposed by the U. States,
the government of Mexico made serious threats of
invading the Texan territory. These throats became
more imposing as it became more apparent, in the pro
gress of the question, that the people of Texas would
decide in favor of the terms of annexation ; and, finally,
they had assumed such a formidable character, as in
duced both the Congress and Convention of Texas to
request that a military force should be sent by the U.
States into her territory for the purpose of protecting
and defending heragainst the threatened invasion. It
would have been a violation of good faith towards the
people of Texas to have refused to afford the aid which
they desired against the threatened invasion, to which
they had been exposed by their tree determination to
annex themselves to our Union, in compliance with
the overture made to them by the joint resolution of
Accordingly, a portion ofthe army was to
advance into Texas. Corpus Christi was the posi
tion selected by Gen. Taylor, He encamped at that
place in August, 1815, and the army remained in that
position until the 11th of March, 1816, when it moved
westward, and on the 28th of that month reached the
cast bank of the Rio Grande,opposite to Matamoras.
This movement was made in pursuance of orders from
the War Department,issued on the 13th of January,
1846. Before these orders were issued, the despatch
of our Minister in Mexico, transmitting the decision
lof the Council of Government of Mexico, ad
vising that he should not be received, and also the
despatch of our Consul residingin the city of Mexico
—the former bearing date on the 17th, and the latter
on the 18th of Dec., 1845, copies of both of which ac
companied ray message to Congress on the nth of
i May last—were received at the Department of State,
i These communications rendered it higuly probable,
j if not absolutely certain, that our Minister would not
be received by the government of Gen. Herrera. It
was also well known that but little hope could be en
tertained ofa ditlerent result from Gen. Paredes, in
case the revolutionary movement which he was pros
ecuting should prove successful, as was highly pro
bable. The partizansof Paredes, as our Mini*!er, in
the despatch referred to, states, breathed the fiercest
hostility against the United States, denounced the pro
posed negotiation as treason, and openly called upon
the troops and the people to put down the govern
ment of Herrera by force. The reconquest of Texas
and war with the u. States, were openly threatened.
These were the circumstances existing when it was
deemed proper to order the army under the command
of Gen. Taylor, to advance on the western frontier of
Texas, and occupy a position on or near the Rio
The apprehensions of a contemplated Mexican inva
sion have been siace fully justified by tie ev°nt. The
determination of Mexico to rush into hostilities with
the U. States was afterwards manifested from the
whole tenor of the note of the Mexican Minister of
Foreign Affairs to our Minister, bearing date on the
12th March, 1846. Paredes had then revolutionized
the geverement, and his Minister, after referring to
the resolution for the annexation of Texas, which had
; been adopted by our Congress in March, 1845,
coeds to declare that a fact such as this, or to
. with greater exactness, so notable an act of usumt
tion, created a- imperative necessity- that Mexico
her own honor, should repel it with proper finnnec.
and dignity. The supreme government had befo-n
' liand declared tnat it would look upon such an act a'
a casut belli, and, ns a consequence of this declaration*
negotiation was, by its very nafuie, at an end, and
was the only recourse of the Mexican government **
It appears, also, that on the 4th of April followiii?
| Gen. Paredes, through his Minister of War, issued*
orders to the general in command on the Texan firm,
ter to “ attack” our army “by every means which
the head of that valiant army, either fighting alre J*
or preparing for the operations of a camnaign^’ d {
“supposing you already on the theatre of* oneratm.
and with all the forces assembled, it is indispensable
that hostilities bo commenced, yourself taking the ini.
tiative against the enemy.” 6 a ‘
The movement of our army to the Rio Grande was
made by the commanding general under positive or
ders to abstain from all aggressive acts towards Mex
ico, or Mexican citizens, and to regard the relations
between the two countl ies as peaceful, unless Mexico
should declare war, or commit acts of hostility indica
toe of a state of war; and these orders he faithfully
executed. VVhilst occupying his position on the east
rank ot the Rio Grande, within the limits of Texas
then recently admitted as one of the States of the U
nion, the commanding general of the Mexican forces
who, m pursuance of the orders of his government’
had collected a large army on the opposite shore of the’
uo Grande, crossed the river, invaded our territorv
and commenced hostilities by attacking our forces.
Thus, after all the injuries which we had received
and borne .rom Mexico, and after she had insultinriv
• ejected a Minister sent to her on a mission of peace
and whom she had solemnly agreed to receive, she
consummated her long course of outrage against our
country, by commencing an oflensive war, and shed
ding the blood of our citizens on our own soil.
The United States never attempted to acquire
Texas by conquest. On the contrary, at an early pe
riod, after the people oi Texas had achieved .their in
dependence, they sought to be annexed to the Uni.
ted States. At a general election in September, 1838
they decided with great unanimity, in favor of “an
nexation,” and in November following, the Congress
of the Republic authorized the appointment of a min
ister to bear their request to this Government. This
government, however, having remained neutral be.
tween Texas and Mexico, during the war between
them, and considering itdue to the honor of ourcoun
try, and our fair fame among the nations of the earth,
that we shouldnot at this early period consent to an
nexation, nor until it should be manifest to the wholo
world that the reconquest of Texas by Mexico was
impossible, reiusod to accede to the overtures made
by Texas. On the 12lh of April, 1844, and after more
than seven years had «4apseA
lished her independence, a treaty was concluded for
the annexation of that Republic to the United States,
which was rejected by the Senate. Finally, on the Ist
Rf March, 1845, Congress passed a joint resolution for
annexing her to the United States, upon certain pre.
liminary conditions to which her assent was required.
The solemnity which characterized the deliberations
and conduct of the government and people of Texas,
on the deeply interesting questions presented by these
resolutions, is known to the world. The Congress,
the Executive, the People of Texas, in a convention
chosen for thaljnurpose, accepted with great unanimi
ty the proposed terms of annexation; and thus con
summated on her part the great act of restoring to our
federal Union a vast territory, which had been ceded
to Spain by the Florida treaty, more than a qaarterofa
century be fore.
After the joint resolution foi the annextionot Texas
to the United States had been passed by our Congress,
the Mexican minister at Washington addressed a note
to the Secretary of State, bearing date the 6th March,
1845, protecting against it as “an act of aggression.tha
most unjust that can be found recorded in the annals
of modern history, namely : that of despoiling a
friendly nation, like Mexico, of a considerable por
tion other territory;” and protesting against the reso
lution of annexation, as being an act “whereby the
province of Texas, an integral portion of the Mexican
territory, is agreed and admitted into the American
Union;” and he announced that, ns a consequence,lns
mission to the United States had terminated, and de
manded his passports, which were granted. It was
upon the absurd pretext made by Mexico, (herself in
debted for her independence to a successful revolu
tion) that the republic of Texas still continued to be,
notwithstanding al! that had taken place, a province of
Mexico, that this step was taken by the Mexican Min
Every honorable effort has been made by me to
avoid the war which followed, but all have proved
vain. All our attempts to preserve peace have been
met by insult and resistance on the part of Mexico
My efforts to this end commenced in my note to (ha
Secretary of State of the 10th of March, 1846, in an
swer to that of the Mexican Minister. I there gave as
surance that our “ most strenuous efforts should be
devoted tn the amicable adjustment of every cause cf
complaint between t he two governments, and to the
cultivation ofthe kindest and most friendly relations
between the sister republics.”
That I have acted in the spirit of this assurance will
appear from the events which have since occurred.—
Notwithstanding Mexico had abruptly terminated all
diplomatic intercourse with the United Stairs and
ought, therefore, to have been the first to ask for its
resumption, yet, waiving all ceremony, I embraced the
earliest favorable opportunity “to ascertain from the
Mexican government whether they would receive an
envoy from the United States, entrusted with full pow
er to adjust the questions in dispute between the two
governments.” On the 15th day of October, the Min
ister of Foreign Affairs of the Mexican 'overnment, in
a note addressed to our Consul, gave a favorable res
ponse, requesting, at the same time, that cur naval
force might be withdrawn from Vera Cruz while nego.
tiations should be pending. Upon the receipt of this
note, our naval force was promptly withdrawn from
Vera Cruz. A minister was immediately despatched
to Mexico. Every thing bore a promising asjiect for a
speedy and peaceful adjustment of all our difliculuv.
At the date of my annual message to congress
in December last, no doubt was entertained but
that he would be received by the Mexican gov.
and the hope was cherished that all cause of
misunderstanding between the two countries
would be speedily removed. In the confident
hope that such would be the result of his mis
sion, I informed Congress that I forebore at
that time to “recommend such ulterior meas
ures of redress for the wrongs and injuries wo
had so long borne as it would have been
proper to make had no such negotiation been
instituted.” To my surprise and regret, the
Mexican government, though solemnly pledged
jo do so, upon the arrival of our Minister in
Mexico, refused to receive and accredit him.—
When he reached Vera Cruz, on the 30th day of
Nov., 1845, he found that the aspect of affairs
had undergone an unhappy change. The gov
ernment of Gen. Herrera, who was at that
time President of the Republic was tottering to
its fall. Gen. Paredes (a military leader) had
manifested his determination to overthrow the
government of Gen. Herrera, by a military
revolution ; and one of the principal means
he employed to effect his purpose, and render
the government of Herrera odious to the army
and people ot Mexico, was by loudly condemn
ing its determination to receive a minister of
peace from the United States, alledging that it
was the intention of Herrera, by a treaty with
the United States, to dismember the territory of
Mexico, by ceding away the department of ! ex
as. The government of Herrera is believed to
have been well disposed to a specific adjuMmeni
of existing'difficulties; but probably alarmed
for its own security, and in order to ward oft
the danger of the revolution led by 1 aredes,
violated its solemn agreement, and refused to
receive or accredit our minister; and this, al
though informed that he had been invested with
full power to adjust all questions in dispute be
tween the two governments. Among the friv
olous pretexts for this refusal, the principal one
was, that our minister had not gone upon a spe
cial mission, confined to the question of * exc ’
alone, leaving all the outrages on our flag ana
our citizens vnredresseo. The Mexican gov
ernment well knew that both our national honor
and the protection dne our citizens, impera
tively required that the tv o'wiestions of boun
dary and indemnity should be t?Wi*ted of (oget n
er,as naturally and inseparably Headed. ana
they ought to have seen that this course was
best calculated to enable the United Statens to
extend to them the most liberal justice. On\th*
30th of Dec., 1845, General Herrera resignV 1
the Presidency, and yielded up the government
to General Paredes without a struggle. Thus A
revolution was accomplished solely by
army commanded by Paredes, and the supremt 1
power in Mexico passed into the hands of a
military usurper, who was known to be bitterly
hostile to the United States. f
Although the prospect of a pacific ndjustmAt
with the new government was unpromisiij,
from the known hostility of its head to the w.
States, yet determined that nothing anould Be
left undone on our part to restore friendly fee?*
ings between the two countries, our minister
was instructed to present his credentials to the
new government, and ask to be accredited by it
in the character in whiehh?nad|

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