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with the Roman: Mr. Polk, too, gallantly threw in his sword, but at last he offers to withdraw it, and weigh down the scales with money, as his ultimate argument with the Mexican. But Mexico, though in the extremity of distress, refuses to take money as the price of her honor—she refuses to allow the President to salve her sore humiliation in that mode. And this puts him in a dilemna: he must retire from this chosen field of his glory without the illgotten fruits of his successful military exploits, or he must prosecute his war from this time forward, for the naked purpose of subjugation and dismemberment. The latter alternative, as we shall see, is the one he has chosen, and recommends in his Message to Congress and the country.
Recurring to the particulars embraced in the policy of conquest and dismemberment, now disclosed and avowed by the President, and confining our attention still for a while to the state of things as they existed at the breaking up of the conferences near Chapultepec, let us observe how naked and undisguised the object is, in each particular. We have shown the offer made of half the vast province of Upper California, not only giving the United States the most ample indemnity for all the claims of our citizens on Mexico, but very far exceeding in value to us the amount of those claims. ' We have shown, also, that beyond these claims, the President, in his negotiations with Mexico, did not set up any other or further demands for indemnity. After deducting the amount of these claims, he offered to pay Mexico as much money as the territories he wanted were deemed worth. It is merely absurd, or it is much worse than that, for him now to talk about the expenses of the war, as if he expected to make Mexico pay them. He has known from the beginning, that we could make no claim on her for the cost of the war, and that this was an account which the people of his own country must pay, without recourse or redress anywhere. And on these terms he offered to make peace with Mexico—provided only she would cede to us as much territory as he desired to get, for an equivalent in money.
When the war was resumed, then, under the walls of the Mexican capital, we aver and maintain, that it was for the sole
purpose of compelling Mexico to consent, for a consideration in money, to the dismemberment of her empire, by ceding to the United States three distinct parcels of her territory, to neither of which had we the slightest claim of right, either on the ground of indemnity, or on the ground of title. The pretence of further indemnity, rather hinted at or disingenuously insinuated, than actually set up, in the Message, we have already disposed of. We must say a few words on the matter of title.
No boldness nor ingenuity has ever enabled the President to assert any right or title to the Californias. The demand, therefore, as an ultimatum, of the remaining half of Upper California, after Mexico had offered to yield up the first half by way of indemnity and for the sake of peace, was a naked demand of dismemberment to that extent, though for a consideration in money, to be agreed to by Mexico, undei the penalty of an immediate resumption and prosecution of the war against her.*
The demand made for the cession oi New Mexico, was of the same characte and rested on the same foundation. It i true, the President has the amazing cool ness to venture on a suggestion in hi Message, that there was a question c boundary to be adjusted between the prw ince of New Mexico and the State of Texaa on the ground that " the territorial limit of the State of Texas, as defined by h< laws before her admission into our Unio embrace all that portion of New Mexit lying east of the Rio Grande." Ever body knows that Texas might as well ha' extended her limits, by a statutory il eel a r tiin—a ridiculous brulem fulmen—ov the whole of Old Mexico, as over a part the province of New Mexico; and such act would have given her just as mu right and title in that case, as it did in t other. But besides this, it is perfec notorious that the President, utterly dia garding any claim of the State of Te upon New Mexico, on account of t statutory declaration, seeing she had ne occupied a foot of the soil of that territc ordered the country to be conquered the United States, which was done acco
* The Mexican Commissioners say that Trist was disposed to abandon his first preteny "to apart of Upper California." If so, il was ii face of the President's ultimatum.
htgly after a fashion, when he caused a aril government to be set up there under his authority. The demand, therefore, as an ultimatum, of the whole of New Mexico, on both sides of the Rio Grande, was a naked demand for the further dismemberment of Mexico, though for a consideration in money, to be assented to by that power, under the penalty of an immediate resumption and prosecution of the war against her.
Let, now, any man, possessing any just «ensibility to the honor and proper fame of the country, turn to the President's Message, and read there, without a blush of shame if he can, the reasons which that high officer has grouped together to justify the nefarious demand which he caused to be made upon Mexico for the dismemberment of that country, by the forced cession of Upper California and New Mexico to the United States. We will give the substance and real meaning of these reasons, leaving it to the reader to verify our brief exposition by recurring to the President's own
\c President believes, then, that as Mexico mast be dismembered, it is for her convenience and interest, as well as our own, that these two provinces should be lopped off rather than any other. They lie a great way off from her capital, and if she does not lose them now, it is manifest the time will come when she will have to give them up. This is especially true of Upper California, and if we don't take it now, some other foreign power may, by-and-by. Or it may become independent of Mexico, by a revolutionary movement, and then be annexed to some other country; and if annexed to any country but our own, we should have to fight that country for it. These territories are contiguous to our territories, and if we had them we would bring them on, and make something out of them. Upper California is bounded right upon our Oregon possessions, and we could stock it with a good population, and, with the use of its harbors, make great commercial profits out of it, in which the commercial world might participate. New Mexico is naturally connected with our Western settlements, and after all is not worth much to Mexico. Besides, our State of Texas once threw its paper arms around the neck of this darling province, and embraced it with affection.
And, then, see what a benefit it would be to Mexico to give this province up to us; for we could protect it, and her, against the Indians, and make them give up their captives! Finally, in ceding these provinces to us, there would only be a moderate population of Mexican citizens [probably only about 175,000] who would be transferred, like cattle, without their consent and against their will, from Mexico to the United States. "These," adds the President, "were the leading considerations which induced me to authorize the terms of peace which were proposed to Mexico. They were rejected; and negotiations being at an end, hostilities were renewed.' These were the "leading considerations" which induced the President to instruct his Commissioner, that unless Mexico, besides giving up to us half of the vast province of Upper California for our full indemnity, which she offered to do, would consent to a further dismemberment by ceding to us the rest of that province, and the whole of New Mexico, for a sum of money, the war should go on. Even if the Rio Grande had been yielded as a boundary for Texas, and every other demand of the President, still, for the "leading considerations " we have recited, the war was to go on unless Mexico would give up also the whole of New Mexico and Upper California!
But besides these two provinces, there was that other considerable tract of country, embracing parts of three Mexican States, and having altogether an area of about 45,000 square miles—nearly equal to New-York—lying between the Nueces and the Bravo, which was also demanded as an ultimatum. And to this, as to the rest, except where there was an inconsiderable settlement on and near the Nueces, the United States had not the slightest claim of right, -for herself or for Texas, unless by conquest. Yet this is the country in reference to which the President repeats in the present Message, the stale and miserable fiction, so often exposed before, that Mexico "involved the two countries in war by invading the territory of the State of Texas, striking the first blow, and shedding the blood of our citizens on our own soil;" that " Mexico commenced the war, and we were compelled, in self-defence, to repel the invader!" In the name of Truth, and by the authority of its unerring Records, we pronounce every word of all this statement utterly without foundation in fact. The country where our army was found when the first blood was shed, was not American soil. It was in the peaceable possession and actual occupancy of Mexico, and under her undisputed jurisdiction, as it had always been since she was a nation, and as Spain had possessed and governed it before her. If the United States once preferred a claim, as against Spain, to the Rio del Norte as the boundary of French Louisiana, the pretension was yielded by solemn treaty with that power in 1819. Thus the Sabine was settled as the boundary of our possessions in that direction, and the Republic of Mexico became the undisputed mistress of the country from that river westward. Texas with Coahuila was a State of the Mexican Confederation, and the indisputable limit of Texas in the south-west was the Nueces. Texas revolted and established her independence; and when she annexed herself to the United States, the Nueces was still her boundary, except that she had so far encroached on the neighboring loyal State of Tamaulipas, as to have a small settlement on the right bank of that river, over which she exercised jurisdiction. Thus far the just claim of Texas may go, and no farther. Beyond Corpus Christi, or San Patricio, in that direction, she had neither possession nor jurisdiction. Thence began a desert, a hundred and twenty miles wide, and reaching to within a few miles of the Rio Grande, where was a long established Mexican population, under undisputed Mexican jurisdiction. Hereitwas the first blood was shed in this war. The claim which Texas asserted to the whole of this country between the rivers Nueces and del Norte, and that which the President has set up after her example, rest on a title which is no better than a base and impudent forgery, It is a naked paper lille in the shape of legislative enactments, made by the parlti selling up the claim, and having not a shadow of right to stand upon. A man could as well make himself a deed of his neighbor's farm, and establish a right under it in a court of justice. The most distinguished men of the President's own party have derided and denounced this claim of title: Benton, Wright, Woodbury, have done so. The President himself has
repudiated the main ground of the claim set up by Texas—her Legislative Act of 1836, declaring the Rio Grande to be her boundary in its whole extent; for this would give her a large part of New Mexico, and he has, by the most unequivocal acts, treated this part of her claim with contempt
Though it be true, therefore, that the President asserted a claim for a boundary on the Rio Grande, when this war was begun, yet it was only a claim, and had not a shadow of truth and justice to support it. The boundary between the State of Texas and the Republic of Mexico was undefined, and so considered and left by Congress in the Act of Annexation. It was no further undefined and in dispute, however, than as Texas had laid the foundation of a claim to some territory on and adjacent to the right bank of the Nueces, by having established and exercised actual jurisdiction over some small settlements along there. But because this left the President at liberty to plant one foot on the Nueces, it did not authorize him to plant the other on the Bravo, and so claim the whole country embraced in his colossal stride. Considering the hold which Texas has acquired on the Mexican side of the Nueces, and looking at the peculiai topography of the country, the true boun dary separating the two countries, wouk be the broad desert between Ihe two rivers the line of which might properly rui through its centre. We have not a doub that Mexico would have consented to this if it had been proposed or suggested. I effect, indeed, this is what she herself pre posed. She offered to have the urunhat ited desert preserved forever as a bound; ry, and barrier, to secure each count i from the other.
She knew very well that peace cou never be maintained, if the Anglo-Sax was to be planted on one side of a narrc stream like the Rio del Norte, from whi he could look into the windows of t Mexican on the opposite side; and s refused to make that river the bounda Besides, though the real value of 1 country was not great, yet there -w. Mexican citizens who had their home the left bank of that river, and she no declared that " it was not for the Mexi government to weigh the price of th*j tachment of the citizen to the soil on wt he is bom." "As to these Mexicans, can a government go and sell them like cattle!"
We do not hesitate to say that the claim of title, or right, asserted by the President to the entire tract between the Nueces and the Bravo, was a baseless pretension, set up to cover a foregone resolution, right or wrong, to make it a part of the territory of the United States. And the demand, therefore, at the conferences near Chapultepec, of "a boundary on the Rio Grande," as an ultimatum, notwithstanding the offer of Mexico to make the desert, intermediate the two rivers, in effect, the frontier of the two countries, was, in truth, like those for California and New Mexico, a naked demand for the further dismemberment still of Mexico, to be assented to by that power, under the penalty of the immediate resumption and prosecution of the war against her.
We have said, that from the termination of the conferences between Mr. Trist and the Mexican Commissioners, the war became explicitly and without disguise a war for the Conquest and Dismemberment of Mexico. We say that Conquest and Dismemberment became the Sole object "f the war. We have shown precisely what particular portions of the Mexican dominions were demanded to be ceded to the United States, and that, in every instance, these were naked demands, without any just pretence of right or title, and without any excuse or apology, to be found in any remaining cause of complaint against Mexico, or any unsatisfied claims upon her for indemnity, existing when the war commenced, or to which the war could have any just relation. We have shown how every other demand of the American Commissioner, except only his naked demands for the dismemberment of the Mexi'-An empire, was met by the most ample offers and concessions on the part of the Mexican Commissioners, leaving, in very truth, nothing else but those demands for dismemberment for the war to stand on.
It is only necessary to add here, that there were just two things embraced in the Counter-Project of a treaty presented by the Mexican Commissioners, which would have been deemed inadmissible by Mr. Trist, and which, there cannot be a doubt, would have been adjusted without
difficulty, if Mr. Trist's demands for territory had not put an end to all hopes of peace. Mexico asked for indemnity to her citizens for injuries sustained from our troops in the prosecution of the war; and she wished to levy duties on goods found in her ports, which had been imported under the authority of the President, and had paid duties into hi* military chest. The President makes the most of these objectionable claims, in his Message, calling them a part of the Mexican ultimatum, and forgetting entirely that the Mexican Commissioners, in presenting their Counter-Project, referred to them expressly as matters of "minor moment," which could occasion no serious difficulty. It is certain that the negotiations for peace did not fail on account of these matters of "minor moment," but that they did fail solely on the ground of the naked demands of our Commissioner, as the President's ultimatum, for the dismemberment of the Mexican empire.
Let it be observed, then—let the people of this abused country understand—that it was upon such an issue as we have here demonstrated—upon the President's demands and ultimatum, for the dismemberment of Mexico, and upon that issue only— that this war was begun de novo, after the breaking up of the conferences near Chapultepec. Upon this Issue of Dismemberment, the awful battle of El Molino del Rey was fought. Upon this Issue of Dismemberment, the terrible conflict at Chapultepec was waged, and the murderous affairs at the gates of Belen and San Cosme were enacted. Upon this Issue of Dismemberment, the proud capital of the enemy was entered, sword in hand, and the colors of the United States hoisted on the National Palace. Wonderful achievements all—brilliant and glorious feats of arms— if only fiey had been exhibited in a cause where national justice and honor, and human rights and human liberty, were to be defended! But every blow was struck— every life sacrificed—every gaping and hideous wound inflicted—upon this naked Issue of Dismemberment! Upwards of sixteen hundred gallant American citizens and noble spirits—and among them some of the most valued in the land—were struck down in these battles alone; and of tbo enemy, whole hecatombs were sacrificed; all, all, upon this naked Issue of Dismemberment! Mexico would not consent to dismemberment, for a consideration in money, and so the war was begun de novo, and prosecuted at the cost of such a horrible amount of human sacrifice.
We are already beyond the limits of the proper space allotted for this article, and we must hasten to a conclusion, before we have half finished what we would have said about the President's Message and the War. The Message shows us plainly enough what perplexity the President has suffered, since he has found, what all considerate and wise men understood before, that Mexico is no nearer submitting to his demand for her dismemberment, now that her capital has fallen, than she was before. Let the country ponder well what he has finally brought his courage up to propose as the future policy to be pursued. Instead of moderating his demands, he actually proposes to enlarge them. He now demands Lower California with the rest. He now calls upon Congress to aid him, by legislative acts and ample military supplies, in appropriating permanently to ourselves, and without any reference to Mexican consent, both the Californias, the whole of New Mexico, and the tract between the Nueces and Bravo. Of course, they can only be appropriated as countries conquered in war. And we are not to content ourselves with taking, and governing, and defending these countries, but we must still prosecute the war, "with increased energy and power in the vital parts of the enemy's country." We must hold her other towns and provinces, so far as already overpowered, and as many more as we can yet conquer, by military occupation, and we must try to feed our armies on the substance of the Mexican people. And all this we must do, in order to compel Mexico to cease her resistance to us, and consent
and submit—as a lamb submits to the slaughter—to the enforced and enlarged dismemberment of her empire, which \re are resolved "to complete and execute. All that is asked of her.is, that she shall allow us, without gainsaying or resistance, to appropriate to ourselves, including Texas, only a little more than half of her territorial empire ; we generously consenting that, for the present, she shall keep what is left. She has offered us enough for ample in demnity; but she must give us the rest according to our demands, or suffer thi horrors of an eternal war in the vital part of her country!
What will Congress do on this grea theme and subject? Near the close of th last session the Whigs in both Housesin the Senate, on the motion of Mr. Bef Bien, from the South ; in the House, on th motion of Mr. Winthrop, from the Nort —voted in solid column, with only or nominal exception in each House, for r stricting the Executive in the conduct the war, so that it should not be prosccut< for the dismemberment of Mexico. Tl Whigs in the present Congress will not fc get this example. Can there be a sa man in Congress, or in the country, w has the true honor and the safety of t country at heart, and is governed by a notions of common justice, who will 1 say, with Texas yielded and the vei question of Annexation at rest; with 1 broad desert between the Nueces and i Bravo for a boundary and frontier seps ting Texas from Mexico ; and with five grees, or 190,000 square miles, of the ritory of Upper California for our ind nity, including the finest harbor and in that part of the Pacific; that we oi to have peace with Mexico? God ] this infatuated country, if peace may Th embraced and secured on the offer of terms as these! D. D.