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Mexico, where slavery is unknown, the obligation to surrender fugitive slaves ?”
It is idle to suppose that the occupation of the left bank of the Rio Norte is wanted by the United States, either as a defensive position or as a security for the future good behavior of the Mexicans. No candid man can believe, specially if the desert be made the boundary, that the Mexicans, after the severe lesson they have received, ever will begin an aggressive war. With such an immense superiority in every respect, and particularly with the indisputable command of the sea, the United States want no special defensive boundary in that quarter. The desert itself would be a sufficient barrier against invasion. No other reason can be alleged for insisting on the Rio Norte boundary than a compliance with the claim advanced by Texas.
Not only will the abandonment of this pretension secure the permanence of
but no measure can better insure the free ratification of the treaty by the Government of Mexico, and the unreluctant and general acquiescence of that nation. The high degree of importance which Mexico justly attached to the continued possession of the left bank of the Rio Norte has been manifested on every occasion, and never more forcibly than in the negotiation with Mr. Trist, when he was an authorized agent. Kind and even grateful feelings will be restored when the Mexicans find that the United States leave them compact and secure, and that their true strength and their nationality remain unimpaired.
With respect to Texas, she will not deny that her claim was disputed, and that, by the act of annexation, the right to decide on the boundary was reserved by the United States. Moreover, this detached belt of land, separated from the compact body of the States by the wide desert, and owned, as far as it is fit for cultivation, by Mexicans, is of no intrinsic value, and adds nothing to the real strength of the State. It is only an outpost, and, unless Texas entertains ulterior views, it is with her little more than a question of pride. This has been fully gratified by her invincibility in the field, and she might afford to be even generous. Texas should also remember that, however convenient the annexation may have been to the United States, it will have cost them, besides thousands of invaluable lives, one hundred millions of dollars of destroyed capital, and will impose on them a debt of nearly the same amount. Yet, if it would remove opposition from that quarter, it would be expedient to deduct three millions from the sum which may be thought due to Mexico as a compensation for her cessions, and to pay that sum to Texas.
But if that State should, notwithstanding every effort to obtain its assent, persist in opposing the cession of her claim, it may reasonably be suspected that there are some other ulterior projects in view; that this obstinate retention of the left bank of the Rio Norte is only an entering wedge, through which the exaltados of the United States expect that collisions will necessarily take place and may be encouraged ; that a new war with Mexico will thus be provoked or forced upon her, and that the plans of conquest, dismemberment, subjugation, or annexation may be carried into effect.
ADDITIONAL NOTE. Though of much less immediate importance, but still for the same reasons, the Rio Gila is an improper boundary. Here something more is wanted than is provided for by the project. For the sake of peace, the whole of the country drained by the Colorado and its tributaries should belong to the United States. The ridge which separates the waters from the south that empty into the river Gila from the sources of the rivers that fall into the Gulf of California is the natural and proper boundary. An exception may be necessary in order to afford to Mexico a land communication with Lower California. But the right of the free navigation of the Rio Colorado from that point to its mouth should be expressly reserved ; and, in order to secure it, the island of Algodones* should be included in the cession to the United States.
* “In the Colorado.” See Coulter, vol. v., “Transactions of the Royal Geographical Society," London.
(Vol. I., page 274.)
CORRESPONDENCE RELATING TO THE CHIARGE OF ABOLITIONISU.
Augusta, Ga., August 26, 1853. Hon. J. A. Dix:
The Whigs of Georgia are unsparing in their denunciations of General Pierce for what they are pleased to call his abolition and free soil appointments to office, and your appointment has been especially singled out by the Whig presses and itinerant orators for unsparing abuse. You are denounced as a Free Soiler and Abolitionist, and General Pierce as false to his inaugural pledges for appointing you. The intelligent Democrats of Georgia understand the game, of course; but I have thought that if a letter from you could be laid before our people, it might prevent the loss of some of our more credulous friends. We (that is, the Democracy) deny that you are an Abolitionist, or ever have been one, and we aver that, whatever your opinions may have been or may be upon the free-soil question, you have planted yourself upon the Democratic platform of 1852, and acquiesce in the compromise measures, Fugitive Slave Bill included. If this is a true statement of your position, it would benefit us to bring your endorsement of our declaration before the people. If you were in favor of the compromise measures, and do not merely acquiesce, it would, of course, be still stronger. Please pardon the liberty I take in troubling you, and give me an early answer, if it comports with your views to do so. Very respectfully,
I. P. GARVIN.
New York, August 31, 1853. Dr. I. P. Garvin :
Dear Sir,-I have just received your favor of the 26th instant, stating that I am represented by Whig presses and itinerant orators in Georgia as an Abolitionist, etc., and I thank you for the opportunity you have afforded me of saying, in reply:
1. That I am not and never have been an Abolitionist, in any sense of that term. On the contrary, I have been an open and uniform opponent of all abolition movements in this State and elsewhere since they commenced in 1835 to the present time. While in the Senate of the United States I opposed the extension of slavery to free territory—a question entirely distinct from interference with slavery where it already exists. In the latter case I have steadily opposed all external interference with it.
2. That I have on all occasions, public and private, since the Fugitive Slave Law passed, declared myself in favor of carrying it into execution in good faith, like every other law of the land.
3. That I was in favor of the union of the Democracy of this State, which was consummated in 1850, continued in 1851 on the basis of the compromise measures, and in 1852 on the basis of the Baltimore platform.
4. That I have, since the Baltimore Convention, in June, 1852, repeatedly given my public assent to its proceedings and acquiesced in its declarations, as an adjustment of disturbing questions, by which I was willing to abide.
On these points I may write you more fully in a few days; and in the mean time you are at liberty to use this brief reply to your note as you may
JOHN A. Dix.
New York, September 21, 1853. Dr. I. P. Garvin:
DEAR SIR,—In my letter of the 31st ult. I intimated that I might in a few days write you more fully on the subject to which it related. My objects were: 1st, to show, by what I have said on former occasions, that I was not, in that letter, expressing any new views on the points referred to; and 2d, to sustain, by reference to the past, the representations of political friends in your State. I should have written you at an earlier day but for my inability to procure some of the materials I required.
1. ABOLITIONISM. The first great movements of the Abolitionists in this State were made in 1835. To counteract them, a meeting was called in September of that year at Albany, without distinction of party. Hon. William L. Marcy (then Governor of the State) presided; and I (then Secretary of State) addressed the meeting and offered the resolutions, all of which, with a single exception, were drawn by myself. Among them were the following:
“ Resolved, That, under the Constitution of the United States, the relation of master and slave is a matter belonging exclusively to the people of each State within its own boundaries ; that the general Government has no control over it ; that it is subject only to the respective arrangements of the several States within which it exists; and that any attempt by the people or government of any other State, or by the general Government, to interfere with or disturb it, would violate the spirit of the compromise wbich lies at the basis of the federal compact.
“ Resolved, That the Union of the States, which under Providence has conferred the richest blessings on the people, was the result of compromise and conciliation ; that we can only hope to maintain it by abstaining from all interference with the laws, domestic policy, and peculiar interests of every other State ; and that all such interference, which tends to alienate one portion of our countrymen from the rest, deserves to be frowned upon with indignation by all who cherish the principles of our Revolutionary fathers, and who desire to preserve the Constitution, by the exercise of that spirit of amity which animated its framers.
“Resolved, That we deprecate as earnestly as any portion of our fellow. citizens, the conduct of individuals who are attempting to coerce our brethren in other States into the abolition of slavery by appeals to the fears of the master and the passions of the slave ; that we cannot but consider them as disturbers of the public peace; and that we will, by all constitutional and lawful means, exert our influence to arrest the progress of measures tending to loosen the bonds of union, and to create between us and our Southern brethren feelings of alienation and distrust, from which the most fatal consequences are to be apprehended.
' Resolved, That while we impute no criminal design to the greater part of those who have united themselves to abolition societies, we feel it our duty to conjure them, as brethren of the same great political family, to abandon the associations into which they have entered, and to prove the purity of their motives by discontinuing a course of conduct which they cannot now but see must lead to disorders and crimes of the darkest dye.
“Resolved, That while we would maintain inviolate the liberty of speech and the freedom of the Press, we consider discussions, which from their nature tend to inflame the public mind and put in jeopardy the lives and property of our fellow-citizens, at war with every rule of moral duty and every suggestion of humanity; and we shall be constrained, moreover, to regard those who, with full knowledge of their pernicious tendency, continue to carry them on, as disloyal to the Union, the integrity of which can only be maintained by a forbearance on the part of all from every species of intrusion into the domestic concerns of others.
“Resolved, That the inevitable consequence of the unconstitutional and incendiary proceedings in relation to slavery in the South must be to ag. gravate the condition of the blacks, by exciting distrust and alarm among the white population, who, for their own protection and security, will be compelled to multiply restraints upon their slaves, and thus increase the rigors of slavery.