Imágenes de páginas

capital? Looking steadily at these as the only subjects of difference between the two nations, and the only legitimate and avowed objects of the war on our part, what was Mr. Trist, as the Commissioner of the United States, authorized, or rather what should he have been authorized of right, to demand of the Mexican Government, in regard to them? His legitimate demands would have been—

1. Ample indemnity for the claims of American citizens on Mexico. 2. The cession, or renunciation, of all claims or pretensions on the part of Mexico, to the proper territory of the State of Texas. 8. An adjustment, on terms of reciprocal fairness, of the boundary between the State of Texas and Mexico.

Now these demands were virtually included in the plan of a Treaty furnished to Mr. Trist at Washington, and presented by him to the Mexican Commissioners. It is not necessary that we should state at this moment, what other and further demands were included in the same document. How, then, did Mexico treat these demands? What answer did she return through her Commissioners? Did she refuse all concessions on all or any of these subjects?

The Mexican Commissioners presented a Counter-Project for a Treaty, which is referred to in the President's Message, as offering terms of a Treaty " wholly inadmissible." We deeply regret to be obliged to say, that this highest official dignitary of the land speaks of this Counter-Project in a manner which is neither warranted by common candor, nor by the clear facts of the case.

One thing at least is not denied in the President's statement of objections to the terms of this Counter-Project; and that is, that it includes a clear cession or renunciation of all claims or pretensions of the Mexican government, to the proper territory of Texas. This is done in the fourth article of the project, which is as follows:—

"The dividing line between the two Republics shall commence in the Gnlf of Mexico, three leagues from land, opposite to the southern mouth of the Bay of Corpus Christi, running in a straight line from within the said Bay to the mouth of the river Nueces; thence through the middle of said river in all its course to its source ; from the source of the river Nueces •ball be traced a straight line until it meets

the present frontier of New Mexico on tlie cast-south-cast side; then follow the present boundary of New Mexico on the east, north and west, until this last touches the 37th degree; which will serve as a limit for bolh Republics from the point in which it touches the said frontier of West of Now Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. The Government of Mexico promises not to found any new towns or establish colonies in the tract of land which remains between the river Nueces and the Bravo del Norte."

The line here proposed as a boundary begins with yielding to the United States the State of Texas, just as it had stood as a State or Department of Mexico. It was the same State of Texas, having its southeastern boundary defined as here described, which had revolted from Mexico, and achieved its independence on the plains of San Jacinto. The line here stated does not, it is true, include any part of CoJihuila, or of the State of Tamaulipas, neither of which ever revolted from Mexico, or ever manifested any desire to separate from the Mexican empire. But we repeal that this line yielded to the United States the proper State and territory of Texas And let it be remembered that we an here referring to this matter, only as i affects the general question of Annexation and the subject of difficulty and disput between the countries on account of An nexation. It was this subject of Armexs tion—as distinct from any mere questio of boundary—at which Mexico originall took offence. It was on this account thi the Mexican minister in this country, A monte, demanded his passports and wit! drew from the country. It was on th account that Mexico refused to have aj further diplomatic intercourse with N Shannon, then our minister near the gc crnment of that republic. And it was this account, and because Mr. Slidell h not come as a special commissioner charg with the particular duty of proposi terms of accommodation in reference Annexation, that that functionary was i received by the Mexican government. was this Annexation of Texas that Mex said originally she should regard as a > claration of war against her, though i acted no further on this declaration tl to break up all diplomatic relations \% us, and to hold herself aloof as the offeni party, who was to be conciliated. Iv proper advance on our part. Her rejection of our minister, and which was one subject of complaint by our government, though not perhaps set down distinctly as one cause of war, is referrible mainly to this subject of Annexation.

Now what we mean to say is, that in their Counter-Project of a treaty, the Mexican Commissioners expressly yielded the whole matter of difference or dispute in regard to the general subject of the Annexation of Texas to the United States. Annexation was no longer a subject of complaint, and was no longer to stand in the way of peace and amity between the two countries. And thus we say, one of the original subjects of dispute, and no doubt the main cause leading to a collision of arms, was removed. If there had been no Annexation there would have been no war; there would have been no interruption of diplomatic and friendly relations; there would have been no rejection of our minister, and no marching of troops to the Rio Grande. "The existing war," said the Mexican commissioners in their letter to Mr. Trist, accompanying their counterproject, " has been undertaken solely on account of the territory of the State of Texas, respecting which the North American republic presents as its title the Act of the said State by which it was annexed to the North American confederation, after having proclaimed its independence of Mexico." And they add, after stating that Mexico consents "to the pretensions of the government of Washington to the territory of Texas," that "the cause of the war has disappeared, and the war itself ought to cease, since there is no warrant for its continuance." And undoubtedly they were right to this extent, that so far as this question of Annexation was a cause for the war, that cause did disappear from the moment Mexico had declared herself ready to yield the point, and the United States were no longer at liberty to prosecute the war on account of that question, or for any reason merely incident to it. This object of the war, then, if an object of the war at all, no longer remained after the conferences between the commissioners of tbe two countries, in September; and when the war was renewed, it was renewed for no object relating to the annexation of Texas to the United States.

The next object of the war, on our part after it had once been commenced, was U obtain satisfaction, or indemnity, for tht claims of our citizens on Mexico, on account of injuries and indignities to their persons and property. These claims were not the cause of the war; it was not undertaken for the redress of these injuries; but the war once begun, it was not to be expected that peace would be made, until these demands should be satisfactorily adjusted.

Now we assert, in the face of the bald and bold statement to the contrary in the President's Message, that the Mexican Commissioners, in their counter-project, did offer an ample indemnity for these claims. It is not true, as the President affirms, that this plan "contained no provision for the payment by Mexico of the just claims of our citizens." There was no offer of payment in money, nor was any such payment in money expected, or desired, by the Administration. But there was indemnity, and just that kind of indemnity after which the government has been looking from the beginning, namely, indemnity in territory.

The whole statement in which the Message indulges on this point, is the most extraordinary, perhaps, that was ever uttered by a high public functionary, in the face of an intelligent country. We know of nothing to compare with it, except, indeed, some other statements of the like character in the same document, and in the President's previous Messages on the same general subject. It would be charitable to believe, if we could, that the President falls into these shocking errors of fact, from the agency and imposition of some unprincipled persons about him, and is to be excused on the ground of utter inattention, or else of absolute want of capacity. If this habit of gross perversion, or of careless statement, is to be indulged in, and tolerated, and if he is really to be held accountable for what appears under his hand, it will soon come to be understood, that a Message of the President of the United States to Congress, is no more to be relied on for its relation of facts, than the most worthless newspaper sheet in the land.

The Message informs Congress and the country, that "the terms of a treaty proposed by the Mexican Commissioners, wore wholly inadmissible," among other reasons, some of which are equally gross, because "it contained no provision for the payment by Mexico of the just claims of our citizens." Standing by itself, this might be taken merely as an assertion that this project of a treaty contained no provision for the pecuniary payment of these claims; and if so intended to be understood, the assertion could have had no purpose, but to mislead and confound the intelligence of the general reader, because, from the beginning of this war, the President has had no design or desire, nor the remotest expectation, that these claims should be paid by Mexico in money, or provided for by her in any other way than by the cession of territory to the United States. We must hold the President, therefore, as meaning to deny, by the expression we have quoted, that Mexico had made any offer whatever of indemnity for the claims of our citizens. And he has not left this matter in doubt; for by way of expressly negativing the idea that any cession of territory was offered as indemnity for these claims, he proceeds to declare, as showing what he calls "the unreasonable terms proposed by the Mexican Commissioners," that this project of a treaty, amongst other things, "offered to cede to the United States, fur a pecuniary conrideration, that part of Upper California lying north of latitude thirty-seven degrees.' He refers to this offer of cession, as among the objectionable and unreasonable things contained in the counterproject of the Mexican Commissioners—a cession to be made "for a pecuniary consideration;" and he accuses the Commissioners of having " negotiated as if Mexico were the victorious and not the vanquished party." In short, he means to state, and means that we shall understand him as stating, that while Mexico had the impertinence to endeavor to get a bargain out of us, by offering to sell us land in California for ready money, she refused to give us any indemnity, or any satisfaction whatever, in land or anything else, for the just claims of our citizens. And this statement we are constrained to pronounce utterly at variance with the facts.

It will be observed by the reader that our Commissioner opened the negotiation at the conferences referred to, by presenting to the Mexican Commissioners the draught of a treaty, with which he had

been furnished by our Government, although the President takes pains to inform us, by way of showing with what a dignified and lofty reserve the conference must have been approached on the part of the United States, that Mr. Trist " was not directed to make any new overtures of peace." Nevertheless, he presented the draught of a treaty, the first article of which began with declaring, "There shall be a firm and universal peace between the United States of America, and the Unite<! Mexican States," &c. The subsequent ar tides, of course, set forth the terms upot which the President proposed this lasting and universal peace should rest.

Now it is the particular mode adoptei in this draught of a treaty, of reachin) the matters of difference and dispute be twecn the two countries, to which we wis to call the attention of the reader, by wa of preparing him to understand fully, an without the possibility of mistake, th meaning and intention of the terms sul sequently proposed in the Counter-Proje< of the Mexican Commissioners. He mu remember that a main thing was, as tl President so strenuously argues, to obta indemnity for the claims of our citizens I a cession of territory. "Mexico," sa] the Message, "has no money to pay, ai no other means of making the requiri indemnity. If we refuse this, we can o tain nothing else." This, indeed, was assui ing a fact without any warrant of pro* But for the interruption caused by the a nexation of Texas, and finally by the w there cannot be a doubt that every dol of these claims would have been paid money. And the President forgets thai this very Message in which he urges the i possibility of squeezing anything out Mexico, except land, he exults in the pr pect of being able to do a good d towards supporting our vast military o rations in that country by the money wh shall be collected out of regular Mexi custom house and internal duties, sei into the hands of our officers for that p pose! The internal revenue of Mej and her Departments, is stated by Secretary of the Treasury in his rec Report, to have been about thirteen n ions of dollars per annum, and the rece on imports he says have varied from si twelve millions. And he gives it as bis liberate opinion, more than once repeated, that with the ports, and interior, and roads of Mexico in our possession, we may collect from duties on imports as much as Mexico had been used to do; though how much we may gather from internal duties he will not venture to estimate. Here, then, we hare the Administration proposing, with apparent candor and good faith, to collect from Mexico, in the form' of regular taxes, while her principal ports and places shall remain in our military occupation, many more millions annually, in hard gold and siver, for the support of the war. than would suffice to pay every dollar of the claims which our citizens have upon the justice of that country; and at the tune time—in the same breath—we have it laid down as a fact—V clear and unquestionable" as our right to Oregon up to fifty-four forty, or as our right to the Rio Grande as a boundary—that Mexico is utterly unable to pay in anything but land! In such miserable and gross contradictions does the rapacious and dishonest policy of the President constantly involve him. He was resolved, from the beginning, to have territory, as much as he could wring from the fears and distresses of that unhappy country—territory conquered in fact, because forced from its unwilling owner by the terror, and, if need be, by the desolation of our arms; but he wished to put a mask on the harsh and bloody features of the abominable transaction, by providing that the forced cession should pass under the fraudulent guise of a necessary indemnity, with a generous offer of payment, of bow many millions we know not, for whatever balance of value there might be over and above the indemnity. This was his policy and his resolution, and hence his labored and awkward attempt to make the country believe, at one and the same moment, that taxation in Mexico would give us millions for the support of the war, but could not be made to produce a farthing for the payment of our claims.

But we return to the point of our argunent and exposition. A principal thing to be secured in a treaty of peace, was the payment of oar claims. This was to be done, as the President insists, only by obtaining ■ cession of territory. Mr. Trist carried out with him a plan of a treaty which embraced this object; and yet ftsU just as

[ocr errors]

true of this plan, as it is of the Count Project presented by the Mexican Ci missioners, first, that "it contained provision for the payment by Mexico the just claims of our citizens;" and at that it contained a provision for the < sion of territory to the United States" a pecuniary consideration." If the Co ter-Project was objectionable or offens; on either of these grounds, the plan r sented by Mr. Trist was objectionable; offensive to the United States for the sa reasons. The form of reaching b points—indemnity, and the cession of t ritory—was precisely the same in e: case. And more than this: the substa of the several provisions, embracing th two objects, and, to a great extent, language, was identical in the two p jects of a treaty, except only—and was the only essential difference—as to amount of territory to be ceded, here place the articles containing th provisions in juxtaposition on our paj that they may be read together and ea compared; only premising that the n ter inclosed in brackets, in the copy 1 given, was not, according to the autl ity of the Washington Union, embra in the original draught furnished to Trist.


Article IV. The boundary line between two republics shall commence in the Gul Mexico, three leagues from land, opposite Rio Grande; from thence up the middle of river to the point where it strikes the soutJ line of New Mexico; thence westwardly al the southern boundary of New Mexico, to southwestern corner of the same; thence no ward along the western line of New Mex until it intersects the first branch of the r Gila, or if it should not intersect any branc that river, then to the point on the said nearest to such branch; and thence in a di line to the same, and down the middle of i branch and of the said river until it emr into the Rio Colorado, and thence downwi by the middle of the Colorado, and the mi( of the Gulf of California, to the Pacific Oce Article V. In consideration of the exten of the boundaries of the United States, as def by the last preceding article, [and by the at lations which will appear in article No. 8, United States abandon, for ever, all cli against the United States of Mexico on acc< of the exponses of the war] the United SI agree to pay to the United Mexican States, at

the city of Vera Cruz, the Bum of

dollars, in five equal instalments, each of

dollars; the first instalment to be paid immediately after this treaty shall have been duly ratified by the government of the United Mexican States.

Article VI. As a further consideration [of article No. 4] for the extension of the boundaries of the United States, as defined by the fourth article of this treaty, the United States agree to assume and pay to the claimants all the instalments now due, or hereafter to become due, under the convention between the two republics concluded at the city of Mexico on the 30th day of January, 1843, "further to provide for the payment of awards in favor of claimants under the convention between the United States and the Mexican republic, of the 11th April, 1839;" and the United States also agree to assume and pay, to an amount not exceeding three millions of dollars, all claims of citizens of the United States, not heretofore decided against the gov-, ernment of the United Mexican States, which may have arisen previous to the 13lh of May, 1846, and shall be found to be justly due by a board of commissioners, to be established by the government of the United States, whose awards shall be final and conclusive: provided, that in deciding upon the validity of these claims, the board shall be guided and governed by the principles and rules of decision prescribed by the first and fifth articles of the unratified convention, concluded at the city of Mexico, on the 20th day of November, A. D. 1843 ; and in no case shall an award be made in favor of any claim not embraced by theseprinciples and rules. And the United States do hereby for ever discharge the United Mexican States from all liability for any of the said claims, whether the same shall be rejected or allowed by the said board of commissioners.


4th. The dividing line between the two republics shall commence in the Gulf of Mexico, three leanues from land, opposite "the southern mouth of the bay of Corpus Christi, running in a straight line from within the said bay to the mouth of the river Nueces; thence through the middle of that river in all its course to its source; from the source of the river Nueces shall be traced a straight line until it meets the present frontier of New Mexico on the east-south-east side, then follow the present boundary of New Mexico on the east, north and west, until this last touches the 37th degree; which will serve as a limit for both republics, from the point in which it touches the said frontier of west of New Mexico to the Paci fie ocean. The govc rnment of Mexico promises not to found any new towns or establish colonies in the tract of land

which remains between the river Nueces and the Bravo del Norte.

5th. In just compensation for the extension of old limits which the United States may acquire by the previous article, the government of said United States is bound to pay over to

the republic of Mexico the sum of , which

shall be placed in the city of Mexico, at the disposal of the said government of the Mexican republic, in the act of exchanging the ratification of this treaty.

6th. The government of the United States is further bound to take upon itself and satisfy fully to the claimants all the instalments [cantidades] which are due up to this time, and may come due in future, by reason of the claims now liquidated, and decided against the Mexican republic, agreeably to the conventions arranged between the two republics, the 11th of April, 1839, and 30th of January, 1843, in such manner that the Mexican republic shall have absolutely no further payment to make by reason of the said reclamations.

7th. The government of the United States is also bound to take upon itself and pay fully all the claims of its own citizens, not yet decided against the Mexican republic, whatever may be the title or motive from which they may pro ceed or in which they are founded; so that fron the date of the exchange of the ratifications o the present treaty, there shall remain seltlei definitely and for ever, the accounts of ever kind that exist, or may be supposed to exist between the government of Mexico and th citizens of the United States.

8th. In order that the government of th United States may be able to satisfy, in obsen ance of the previous article, the claims not yc decided of its citizens against the Mexican r< public, there shall be established by the goven ment of the said United States a tribunal i commissioners, whose decisions shall be cpncl sive and definitive; provided that, on decidii upon the validity of any demand, it may he a justed by the principles and rules which we established in the articles 1st and 5th of tl convention (not ratified) which was held Mexico on the 20th of November, 1843, and no case to give sentence in favor of any clai which is not adjusted in the prescribed rules.

Here, then, the state of the case may' seen at a glance. The President propose through Mr. Trist, in substance, that tl line of boundary between the two cou tries be so drawn that Mexico should ce to the Unitefl States, besides Texas, pai of the several States of Tamaulipas, Cc huila, and Chihuahua, the whole of N« Mexico, and the two Californias, comprisir altogether, about 690,000 square miles territory—rather more than twice the ar within the present limits of the old th

« AnteriorContinuar »