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passes a graveyard in the night. I have just as little idea that they will negotiate now, or until matters are adjusted between England and this country. .. nothing would be more convenient to Mexico than that we should have no minister there to trouble the government with complaints. Waddy Thompson, Recollections of Jlexico (New York, etc., 1846), 235-241

passim.

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BY JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL

WHEN

For Lowell, see No. 15 below. — Bibliography as in No, u below.
THEN a deed is done for Freedom, through the broad earth's

aching breast
Runs a thrill of joy prophetic, trembling on from east to west,
And the slave, where'er he cowers, feels the soul within him climb
To the awful verge of manhood, as the energy sublime
Of a century bursts full-blossomed on the thorny stem of Time.

Through the walls of hut and palace shoots the instantaneous throe,
When the travail of the Ages wrings earth's systems to and fro;
At the birth of each new Era, with a recognizing start,
Nation wildly looks at nation, standing with mute lips apart,
And glad Truth's yet mightier man-child leaps beneath the Future's

heart.

For mankind are one in spirit, and an instinct bears along,
Round the earth's electric circle, the swift flash of right or wrong ;
Whether conscious or unconscious, yet Humanity's vast frame
Through its ocean-sundered fibres feels the gush of joy or shame;
In the gain or loss of one race all the rest have equal claim.

Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side ;
Some great cause, God's new Messiah, offering each the bloom or blight,
Parts the goats upon the left hand, and the sheep upon the right,
And the choice goes by for ever 'twixt that darkness and that light.

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Hast thou chosen, O my people, on whose party thou shalt stand,
Ere the Doom from its worn sandals shakes the dust against our land?
Though the cause of Evil prosper, yet 't is Truth alone is strong,
And, albeit she wander outcast now, I see around her throng
Troops of beautiful, tall angels, to enshield her from all wrong.

COM

55-24

We see dimly in the Present what is small and what is great,
Slow of faith how weak an arm may turn the iron helm of fate,
But the soul is still oracular; amid the market's din,
List the ominous stern whisper from the Delphic cave within,
"They enslave their children's children who make compromise with sin."
Slavery, the earthborn Cyclops, fellest of the giant brood,
Sons of brutish Force and Darkness, who have drenched the earth with

blood,
Famished in his self-made desert, blinded by our purer day,
Gropes in yet unblasted regions for his miserable prey ;-
Shall we guide his gory fingers where our helpless children play?

arth's

'Tis as easy to be heroes as to sit the idle slaves
Of a legendary virtue carved upon our fathers' graves;
Worshippers of light ancestral make the present light a crime;
Was the Mayflower launched by cowards, steered by men behind their

time?
Turn those tracks toward Past or Future, that make Plymouth rock

sublime ?
They were men of present valor, stalwart old iconoclasts,
Unconvinced by axe or gibbet that all virtue was the Past's ;
But we make their truth our falsehood, thinking that hath made us free,
Hoarding it in mouldy parchments, while our tender spirits flee
The rude grasp of that great Impulse which drove them across the sea.

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New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth;
They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth;
Lo, before us gleam her camp-fires ! we ourselves must Pilgrims be,
Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly through the desperate winter sea,
Nor attempt the Future's portal with the Past's blood-rusted key.
[James Russell Lowell], Poems, Second Series (Cambridge, etc., 1848), 53-62

passim.

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10. Reasons for War (1846)

BY PRESIDENT JAMES KNOX POLK Polk as president confirmed the annexation of Texas; the war with Mexico which followed might have been averted but for the intention to conquer and annex New Mexico and California. The reasons for war given in this message to Congress do not cover the real grounds. — Bibliography: H. H. Bancrost, History of the Pacific States, VIII, 344-345; Channing and Hart, Guide, $ 194.

"HE existing state of the relations between the United States and

Mexico renders it proper that I should bring the subject to the consideration of Congress. In my message at the commencement of your present session the state of these relations, we causes which led to the suspension of diplomatic intercourse between the two countries in March, 1845, and the long-continued and unredressed wrongs and injuries committed by the Mexican Government on citizens of the United States in their persons and property were briefly set forth. ...

Mr. Slidell arrived at Vera Cruz on the 30th of November (1845), and was courteously received by the authorities of that city. But the Government of General Herrera was then tottering to its fall. The revolutionary party had seized upon the Texas question to effect or hasten its overthrow. Its determination to restore friendly relations with the United States, and to receive our minister to negotiate for the settlement of this question, was violently assailed, and was made the great theme of denunciation against it. The Government of General Herrera, there is good reason to believe, was sincerely desirous to receive our minister; but it yielded to the storm raised by its enemies, and on the 21st of December refused to accredit Mr. Slidell upon the most frivolous pretexts. These are so fully and ably exposed in the note of Mr. Slidell of the 24th of December last to the Mexican minister of foreign relations, herewith transmitted, that I deem it unnecessary to enter into further detail on this portion of the subject.

Five days after the date of Mr. Slidell's note General Herrera yielded the Government to General Paredes without a struggle, and on the 30th of December resigned the Presidency. This revolution was accomplished solely by the army, the people having taken little part in the contest; and thus the supreme power in Mexico passed into the hands of a military leader. ...

Under these circumstances, Mr. Slidell, in obedience to my direction, addressed a note to the Mexican minister of foreign relations, under

10. Reasons for War (1846)

own country.

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BY PRESIDENT JAMES KNOX POLK Polk as president confirmed the annexation of Texas; the war with Mexico which followed might have been averted but for the intention to conquer and annex Nex Mexico and California. The reasons for war given in this message to Congress do not cover the real grounds. — Bibliography: H. H. Bancroft, History of the Pacific States, VIII, 344-345; Channing and Hart, Guide, $ 194.

'HE existing state of the relations between the United States and

Mexico renders it proper that I should bring the subject to the consideration of Congress

. In my message at the commencement of 'our present session the state of these relations, we causes which led to he suspension of diplomatic intercourse between the two countries in Tarch, 1845, and the long-continued and unredressed wrongs and injues committed by the Mexican Government on citizens of the United tates in their persons and property were briefly set forth. ...

Mr. Slidell arrived at Vera Cruz on the zoth of November (1845), ad was courteously received by the authorities of that city. But the overnment of General Herrera was then tottering to its fall. The revotionary party had seized upon the Texas question to effect or hasten

overthrow. Its determination to restore friendly relations with the nited States, and to receive our minister to negotiate for the settlement

this question, was violently assailed, and was made the great theme denunciation against it. The Government of General Herrera, there good reason to believe, was sincerely desirous to receive our minister;

it yielded to the storm raised by its enemies, and on the 21st of cember refused to accredit Mr. Slidell upon the most frivolous prets. These are so fully and ably exposed in the note of Mr. Slidell of 24th of December last to the Mexican minister of foreign relations, 2with transmitted, that I deem it unnecessary to enter into further uil on this portion of the subject. ive days after the date of Mr. Slidell's note General Herrera yielded Government to General Paredes without a struggle, and on the 30th December resigned the Presidency. This revolution was accomplished y by the army, the people having taken little part in the contest ; the supreme power in Mexico passed into the hands of a military; r. ader these circumstances, Mr. Slidell, in obedience to my direction, essed a note to the Mexican minister of foreign relations, under

date of the ist of March last, asking to be received by that Government in the diplomatic character to which he had been appointed.

This minister in his reply, under date of the 12th of March, reiterated the arguments of his predecessor, and in terms that may be considered as giving just grounds of offense to the Government and people of the United States denied the application of Mr. Slidell. Nothing therefore remained for our envoy but to demand his passports and return to his

Thus the Government of Mexico, though solemnly pledged by official acts in October last to receive and accredit an American envoy, violated their plighted faith and refused the offer of a peaceful adjustment of our difficulties. Not only was the offer rejected, but the indignity of its rejection was enhanced by the manifest breach of faith in refusing to admit the envoy who came because they had bound themselves to receive him. Nor can it be said that the offer was fruitless from the want of opportunity of discussing it; our envoy was present on their own soil

. Nor can it be ascribed to a want of sufficient powers; our envoy had full powers to adjust every question of difference. Nor was there room for complaint that our propositions for settlement were unreasonable ; permission was not even given our envoy to make any proposition whatever. Nor can it be objected that we, on our part, would not listen to any reasonable terms of their suggestion ; the Mexican Government refused all negotiation, and have made no proposition of any kind.

In my message at the commencement of the present session I informed you that upon the earnest appeal both of the Congress and convention of Texas I had ordered an efficient military force to take a position " between the Nueces and the Del Norte.” This had become necessary to meet a threatened invasion of Texas by the Mexican forces, for which extensive military preparations had been made. The invasion was threatened solely because Texas had determined, in accordance with a solemn resolution of the Congress of the United States, to annex herself to our Union, and under these circumstances it was plainly our duty to extend our protection over her citizens and soil.

This force was concentrated at Corpus Christi, and remained there until after I had received such information from Mexico as rendered it probable, if not certain, that the Mexican Government would refuse to

Meantime Texas, by the final action of our Congress, had become an integral part of our Union. The Congress of Texas, by its act of Decem

S

and

receive our envoy.

ber 19, 1836, had declared the Rio del Norte to be the boundary of that Republic. Its jurisdiction had been extended and exercised beyond the Nueces. The country between that river and the Del Norte had been represented in the Congress and in the convention of Texas, had thus taken part in the act of annexation itself, and is now included within one of our Congressional districts. Our own Congress had, moreover, with great unanimity, by the act approved December 31, 1845, recognized the country beyond the Nueces as a part of our territory by including it within our own revenue system, and a revenue officer to reside within that district has been appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. It became, therefore, of urgent necessity to provide for the defense of that portion of our country. Accordingly, on the 13th of January last instructions were issued to the general in command of these troops to occupy the left bank of the Del Norte. This river, which is the southwestern boundary of the State of Texas, is an exposed frontier. ...

The movement of the troops to the Del Norte was made by the commanding general under positive instructions to abstain from all aggressive acts toward Mexico or Mexican citizens and to regard the relations between that Republic and the United States as peaceful unless she should declare war or commit acts of hostility indicative of a state of

He was specially directed to protect private property and respect personal rights.

The Army moved from Corpus Christi on the oth of March, and on the 28th of that month arrived on the left bank of the Del Norte opposite to Matamoras, where it encamped on a commanding position, which has since been strengthened by the erection of fieldworks. A depot has also been established at Point Isabel, near the Brazos Santiago, 30 miles in rear of the encampment. The selection of his position was necessarily confided to the judgment of the general in command.

The Mexican forces at Matamoras assumed a belligerent attitude, and on the 12th of April General Ampudia, then in command, notified General Taylor to break up his camp within twenty-four hours and to retire beyond the Nueces River, and in the event of his failure to comply with these demands announced that arms, and arms alone, must decide the question. But no open act of hostility was committed until the 24th of April. On that day General Arista, who had succeeded to the command of the Mexican forces, communicated to General Taylor that “he considered hostilities commenced and should prosecute them.” A party of

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