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DISTRICTS OF COUNTRY BELONGING TO THAT
WHICH ARE ACCURATELY DEFINED AND DE
OF THE ENTERPRISE TO WHICH WE ARE IN
Our object in this article will be to pre JUST CAUSE, AND WITHOUT AN EQUIVALENT, sent to the American people—at least as (IF THERE COULD BE AN EQUIVALENT FOR A widely as our humble labors may reach FORCED DISMEMBERMENT,) CERTAIN LARGE the great Practical Issue, as it now stands, in regard to the further prosecution of the NATION, ALREADY CONQUERED BY OUR ARMS, Mexican War. We laid the foundation for AND HELD UNDER MILITARY OCCUPATION, AND this, in our article in the last number of the Review, on “ the President's Message, SCRIBED FOR OUR BETTER UNDERSTANDING and the War," and to which we would invite our readers to recur. We think
It must be understood that the we cannot be mistaken in supposing territory which he now proposes to take or that a crisis has come in our Mexican rela- secure, is more extensive than that which tions, which, of necessity, must force politi- he demanded, as his ultimatum, in the concal men and political parties into an open ferences of Mr. Trist with the Mexican and undisguised attitude on the one side or Commissioners in September last. In those the other of the great issue which has now conferences, the President informs us in arisen in those relations.
his late Annual Message, “ the boundary According to our conception of the clear of the Rio Grande, and the cession to the facts of the case, the President now offers United States of New Mexico and Upper to Congress and the country the project California, constituted an ultimatum which of a war to be prosecuted and maintained, our Commissioner was, under no circumfrom this time forward, for the following stances, to yield.” The demand now emspecific object-namely: To COMPEL | braces both the Californias.
· Early after MEXICO TO SUBMIT TO OUR APPROPRIATING the commencement of the war," says the PERMANENTLY TO OURSELVES, WITHOUT ANY | Message, “ New Mexico and the Califor
nias were taken possession of by our for- | for our claims. All this she did in the “These provinces are now in our
conferences with Mr. Trist. We take the undisputed possession, and have been for President at his word, in what he has so many months.” “I am satisfied that they often said, with the most solemn asseverashould never be surrendered to Mexico.” The tions, up to that period, that the war was present ultimatum of the President, then, not waged for conquest, but for the redress embraces Lower as well as Upper Califor- of injuries, and for indemnity for our claims. nia. And the whole territory, taken to- | And when concessions were offered by gether, comprising parts of three Mexican Mexico which fully met those objects of States, the province of New Mexico and the war, the war of course ceased to be the two Californias, has an area of nearly prosecuted for those objects. The goal was 700,000 square miles. The whole area of reached, and the enterprise could not be the Mexican empire, since she has lost pushed an inch further in that direction. Texas, is, we believe, less than 1,500,000 It is true, the submission of Mexico was square miles ; so that the President propo- not accepted; not because of any defect or ses to take for the United States a little deficiency in the concessions and indemnity less than one half of the dominions remain- offered, nor, as we have shown in our foring to that empire.
mer article on this subject, because of any We desire to be understood as taking inadmissible claims on her part by which the ground distinctly, that from the period they were accompanied; but because, and V of the conferences with the Mexican Com- only because, her submission did not go missioners, we have, in effect, so far as far enough to satisfy the secret purpose of Congress, or the country, is called on to the President in the war. But as a nabecome a party to it, a NEW WAR. It tional war, the country had nothing to do wants the formalities of a new war to make with any secret purpose of the President it such in legal contemplation, and nothing in prosecuting it
. So far as the nation else. To every moral intent, so far as was concerned, it was a war for such obCongress or the country is concerned, it is jects only as had been avowed, and were a new war—the monstrous birth of that to understood by the nation. The submiswhich it has succeeded. The war which sion of Mexico fully met and covered these was carried on up to the period referred objects, or would have done so if it had to, though the real designs of its author been accepted. And when that submission were undoubtedly veiled from the public was rejected because it stopped short of that eye, had certain professed objects in view, extreme humiliation and sacrifice to which upon which all appeals to the country for it had been the private purpose of the its sanction and support were constantly President to reduce that unhappy country, based. Mexico had injured our citizens, and when the war, after the conferences, and had not made reparation, as she was was resumed, and prosecuted for the sinbound to do. "In vindicating our national gle purpose of bringing down Mexico to honor,” says the President, "we seek to the point of that extreme humiliation and obtain redress for the wrongs she has done sacrifice, we say it was, in effect, a new us, and indemnity for our just demands war; a war to which neither Congress nor against her.” It was supposed, of course, the country had as yet committed themthat our national honor would be suffi- selves, and a war to which it remains to be ciently vindicated, our wrongs redressed, seen whether they will ever commit themand the whole end of the war obtained, selves. when we had beaten her forces, with im We must recur to what took place at mense odds against us, in every field and the conferences in September, referring fight through two campaigns, had brought the reader for further particulars and her, by the extremity to which she was re- proofs, to our former article on this subduced, to give up her pretensions and ject. Our army had fought its way up to complaints on account of the annexation of the gates of the capital of Mexico. Here Texas to the United States, to propose a a parley was sounded; there was a pause just and proper boundary between our in the war; and Commissioners of Peace State of Texas and her dominions, and to came together to tender and receive terms tender to our acceptance ample indemnity of accommodation. The first thing to be
done was to hear the demands of the con sions to the demands of the President. quering party. The Project of a Treaty Their plan of a Treaty proposed a bounwas presented. After consideration, a dary which yielded Texas proper to the Counter-Project of a Treaty was offered on United States ; stipulated to maintain the the part of Mexico. Then came the Ulti- desert country between the Nueces and the matum of the President; and upon this, the Rio Grande in its uninhabited state, as a conferences were broken off—the Mexican national frontier, equally secure and beneCommissioners finding this ultimatum inad- ficial to both countries; and ceded to the missible. It is important that we under- United States one-half of Upper Califorstand perfectly the substance and effect of nia, including the port and bay of San this transaction. The first demands of the Francisco. Upon this extension of our conqueror, according to the habit of di- limits by the grant of Mexico—for the plomacy-generally, we think, a very bad new territory acquired in California alone habit-embraced more than was to be in- would have an area equal to that of four sisted on.
The Project presented by Mr. States like New York—it was required Trist, proposed a line of boundary between that the United States should assume the two countries, giving to the United and pay the claims of our citizens on States, besides Texas proper, Ist, the Mexico, and should pay such further sum country between the Nueces and the Rio of money to Mexico, as the value of our Grande; 2d, the whole of New Mexico; acquisitions should render just. The coun3d, the whole of the two Californias. It try on the left bank of the lower Rio asked also for certain privileges of trans Grande and the territory of New Mexico, portation and transit across the Isthmus of with the whole of Lower and a part of Tehuantepec. And, in consideration of Upper California, the Commissioners rethese demands, if conceded, it proposed fused to yield. The preservation of their three things on the part of the United country on the Rio Grande, and of New States: 1st, to renounce all claims for the Mexico, with their loyal inhabitants, and expenses of the war; 2d, to assume and the possessions and property belonging to pay the claims of our own citizens on Mexi- them, to the Mexican nation, and under its co; 3d, to pay to Mexico such additional jurisdiction, they declared to be a condition pecuniary compensation for the new terri- sine qua non of peace. “Mexico," it was tory acquired, as it might be worth, over declared, " would not sell her citizens as a and above the amount of the claims. The herd of catle !" “ Mexico would not put sum offered by Mr. Trist is stated to have a price on the attachment of a citizen to been “from fifteen to twenty millions of the land that gave him birth !” Of course, dollars ”--the demands of the Commis the preservation of these countries to sioner having been first lowered to the ul Mexico, was inconsistent with the ultimatimatum of the President. This ultimatum tum of the President. The conferences, excluded from his demands Lower Cali- therefore, were broken off, and the war fornia, and the right of way across the
was resumed. Isthmus of Tehuantepec. In these con It is essential, here, that we do not comferences, then, the final and ultimate de- mit the error of supposing that the negomand of the President was that Mexico, tiations for peace failed on any other besides giving up Texas proper, should ground than that just stated. Nothing cede to the United States, 1st, the coun else had any influence or tendency towards 'try on the left bank of the lower Rio this result. The President would not perGrande; 2d, New Mexico; and 3d, Upper mit his Commissioner to make terms of California. And for this he would make peace with Mexico, because she would not the stipulations and payments just men- yield so far at least to his demands, as to tioned.
give Texas a boundary on the Rio Grande, Now, before this ultimatum was and cede New Mexico to the United States, nounced, the Mexican Commissioners had in addition to the cession of half of Upper presented their Counter-Project of California, which she offered to make. Treaty; and it is important that we under- This was the sole cause why the conferstand precisely how far Mexico was will ences were broken off, and the war reing, and offered, to go, in making conces- newed. We have not forgotten, that two
or three inadmissible propositions of minor country which he demanded, lying on the importance were inserted in the Counter- left bank of the Bravo, as it is of New Project of the Mexican Commissioners ; Mexico, on both sides of that river, or of but we assert positively that they had no California. We are bold to say, that no influence whatever in arresting the negoti- man who has given himself the trouble to ations for peace. We appeal to the record understand the facts, and who has any just in the case. We cannot be mistaken. In perception of the difference between the last instructions given by the Mexican meum and luum, and between right and Government to the Commissioners of that wrong, can doubt the truth of this posipower, dated the day before the Counter- tion. We know the contrary has been Project was presented to Mr. Trist, it was asserted in high places even by the Pressolemnly declared : “ In New Mexico, ident of the United States, over and over and the few leagues which intervene be again, in the most solemn form—as well tween the right bank of the Nueces and as by partisans and politicians of high and 'the left bank of the Bravo, lies the ques- low degree, all over the land. Nevertion of peace or war.” Mexico presented theless, the truth is as we have stated itno other ultimatum-no other condition resting on the plainest facts, open and sine qua non of peace, but this. She pre- read of all men, and which cannot be arsented some claims—she offered some gued off from imperishable records. The propositions—for the consideration and ac- question of title does not rest on arguceptance of the American Commissioner ; ment. There is nothing in the case to but they were not to be insisted on. In argue about. Unless a man may give reference to these, the Mexican Commis- himself a valid title to his neighbor's propsioners, after stating the point on which erty, by making a deed of it to himself, the conferences were broken off, expressly neither Texas nor the United States had declare : “ The other points touched the slightest claim of title, antecedent to upon in the Project appeared to us easily | this war, to the country on the left bank sellled : such at least was the opinion we of the Rio Grande. The reader who has formed during the conferences. It is ab- done us the honor to look into our presurd to suppose that Mexico would have vious articles in this Journal, in relation to allowed the war to go on, some thousands the Mexican war, will not expect, or need, more of her citizens to be sacrificed, her that we should say more on this matter, whole army to be cut up and dissipated, in this place. and her proud capital to be taken, merely Another point to be noticed here, and on the claim which she set up to impose firmly fixed in our minds, is this : that the import duties over again on foreign goods terms of peace offered by Mexico in the which had once paid such duties to the conferences with Mr. Trist, having refer
conqueror,” or on that other claim of ence to the original subjects of difference or damages done to her citizens by the ne- quarrel between the two countries, did not cessary progress of our arms in the war. leave an inch of just ground, so far as The matter on which the parties separated those subjects of dispute were concerned, --and the whole matter--was the ultimatum | for the United States to stand on in reof the President, demanding the dismem- newing and further prosecuting the war. berment of Mexico far beyond what the The points of dispute were, 1st. The anGovernment of that country would con nexation of Texas to the United States, sent to.
giving high offence to Mexico, and causThere are one or two other points in ing her to put herself in a threatening and this connection, about which it is essential war-like attitude. 2d. The question of a we should not fall into error. One of boundary between Texas and the Mexican them is this: that the United States had dominions, which Congress, by the Act of no claim of right-except only what might Annexation, expressly reserved to be setarise from conquest in war-to any part tled by negotiation. 3d. The pecuniary or portion of the territory which the Pres- claims of our citizens, which the President ident thus resolved to force from the un has constantly insisted on as the cause for willing hands of its proprietor and sover- prosecuting the war on our part. Now eign. And this remark is as true of the the terms of peace offered by Mexico, em
braced each of these points. In regard to In reference, then, to the original subthe measure of annexation—so wounding jects of dispute or quarrel between the to the pride of the Mexican nation, the two countries, we repeat that the terms of source of her irritation and anger, and the peace offered by Mexico in September last, primal cause, the causa causans, of the war did not leare an inch of just ground for the -she proposed a line of demarkation be United States to stand on in renewing and tween the two countries, which would prosecuting the war. These terms were have cut her off forever from the proper tendered, as we have every reason to say, territory of Texas, with its boundary on in perfect good faith, and with an anxious the Nueces, and thus removed completely desire to close the war and restore the rethis matter as a subject of difference or
lations of peace.
No one can read the dispute between the two powers. The last letter of Instructions from the Miniscourse proposed to be taken was particu- ter, Pacheco, to the Mexican Commissionlarly judicious, inasmuch as it would have ers, or that of the Commissioners to Mr. left the United States at liberty to look Trist, accompanying their Counter-Project always to the Congressional Act of An- of a Treaty, without being struck with the nexation, with the assent of the Republic marked change of tone, so strikingly difof Texas, as the true ground of our title ; ferent from that which has always, herewhile, at the same time, Mexico might tofore, characterized the diplomatic corconsole her wounded pride with the belief, respondence of the Mexican authorities. if she chose, that, at last, we were only There is an earnestness, a directness, a quieted in our possession of that country manifest sincerity, a nobleness of sentiment, by the generous cession which she con and even a pathos, in the communications sented to make. In regard to the ques- we refer to, which, especially if we take into tion of boundary—which we must look at, the account the unhappy and distressing all the while, as totally distinct from that circumstances under which they were of annexation—Mexico made an offer which, written, we venture to say, cannot be read in its substance and effect, cannot fail to by any just-minded person, enemy though be regarded, by all just minds, as fairly he be, without exciting within him a meeting this question with a view to its strong feeling of sympathy, and a sentiproper adjustment. She did not propose ment of disgust towards that cold blooded, to cede the country between the Nueces calculating policy of the President, which and the Bravo, but she offered to make could spurn the submission Mexico offered the desert the actual boundary. What she to make, and turning haughtily away, deinsisted on was, that she would not aban- liberately proceed with his measures of don her citizens, having their property and blood and devastation to complete her rightful residence on the left bank of the degradation, and reduce her to the last latter river, in the State of Tamaulipas; stage of wretchedness and despair. and that a desert a hundred and twenty Let it, then, be distinctly observed, that miles wide, was a safer and better frontier when the war was renewed, after the for both countries, than a narrow stream conferences in September, Mexico had like the Rio Grande. It is perfectly man tendered her submission to every just deifest that she cared nothing for the unim- mand which the United States had to portant territory on the right bank of the make upon her, in reference to every Nueces, and between that river and the original ground of difference between the desert, where Texas had some small set two countries ; and from that time, this tlements. A line of demarkation in the nation cannot justly consider the war as middle of the desert would, no doubt, prosecuted for any of those objects which, have been perfectly acceptable to her. before that period, were regarded as lendThe offer she tendered made such a line ing a sufficient sanction to its operations. in effect the boundary. Finally, in regard As a national war, as a war waged for to the pecuniary claims of our citizens, national objects, it had already met its Mexico offered the most ample indemnity, complete accomplishment, only that the by tendering the cession of one half of President refused to make peace on Upper California, including the best bay the terms of submission to which the and harbor she had on the Pacific. enemy had been brought. We say, with