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(29TH Cong. recommended that another demand for redress for redress, and “many of them aggravated cases should be made before authorizing war or repri- of personal wrongs, have been now for years be. sals. The Committee on Foreign Relations of the fore the Mexican Government, and some of the Senate, in their report, say: After such a de- causes of national complaint, and those of the mand, should prompt justice be refused by the most offensive character, admitted of immediate, Mexican Government, we may appeal to all na simple, and satisfactory replies, it is only within tions not only for the equity and moderation a few days past that any specific communication with which we shall bave acted towards a sister in answer to our last demand, made five months republic, but for the necessity which will then ago, has been received from the Mexican Miniscompel us to seek redress for our wrongs, either ter;" and that " for not one of our public comby actual war or by reprisals. The subject will plaints bas satisfaction been given or offered ; that then be presented before Congress, at the com- but one of the cases of personał wrong has been mencement of the next session, in a clear and dis- favorably considered, and that but four cases of tinct form; and the committee cannot doubt but both descriptions, out of all those formally pre. that such measures will be immediately adopted as sented, and earnestly pressed, have as yet, been may be necessary to vindicate the honor of the decided upon by the Mexican Government." country, and insure ample reparation to our injured President Van Buren, believing that it would be citizens."
vain to make any further attempt to obtain redress The Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House by the ordinary means within the power of the of Representatives made a similar recommenda- Executive, communicated this opinion to Contion. In their report, they say that they “fully gress, in the message referred to, in which he concur with the President that ample cause exists said: “On a careful and deliberate examination of for taking redress into our own hands, and be the contents, [of the correspondence with the lieve that we should be justified in the opinion of Mexican Government,) and considering the spirit other nations for taking such a step. But they manifested by the Mexican Government, it has beare willing to try the experiment of another de- come my painful duty to return the subject as it mand, made in the most solemn form, upon the now stands to Congress, to whom it belongs, to justice of the Mexican Government, before any decide upon the time, the mode, and the measure further proceedings are adopted."
of redress.” Had the United States at that time No difference of opinion upon the subject is be- adopted compulsory measures, and taken redress lieved to have existed in Congress at that time; into their own hands, all our difficulties with the executive and legislative departments con- Mexico would probably have been long siuce adcurred; and yet such has been our forbearance justed, and the existing war have been averted. and desire to preserve peace with Mexico, that the Magnanimity and moderation on our part only wrongs of which we then complained, and which had the effect to complicate these difficulties, and gave rise to these solemn proceedings, not only render an amicable settlement of them the more remain unredressed to this day, but additional embarrassing. That such measures of redress, causes of complaint, of an aggravated character, under similar provocations, committed by any of have ever since been accumulating.
the powerful nations of Europe, would have been Shortly after these proceedings, a special mes promptly resorted to by the United States, cannot senger was despatched to Mexico, to make a final | be doubted. The national honor, and the preserdemand for redress; and on the twentieth July, vation of the national character throughout the 1857, the demand was made. The reply of the world, as well as our own self-respect and the proMexican Government bears date on the twenty- tection due to our own citizens, would have renninth of the same month, and contains assurances dered such a resort indispensable. The history, of the “anxious wish" of the Mexican Government of no civilized nation in modern times has pre"not to delay the moment of that final and equita- sented within so brief a period so many wanton ble adjustment which is to terminate the existing attacks upon the honor of its flag, and upon the difficulties between the two Governments;” that property and persons of its citizens, as had at “nothing should be left undone which may contrib- that time been borne by the United States from ute to the most speedy and equitable determina- the Mexican authorities and people. But Mexico tion of the subjects which have so seriously en- was a sister republic, on the North American con. gaged the attention of the American Government;" tinent, occupying a territory contiguous to our that the “Mexican Government would adopt, as the own, and was in a feeble and distracted condition, only guides for its conduct, the plainest principles and these considerations, it is presumed, induced of public right, the sacred obligations imposed by Congress to forbear still longer. international law, and the religious faith of trea- Instead of taking redress into our own hands, a ties ;” and that “whatever reason and justice new negotiation was entered upon, with fair prom. may dictate respecting each case will be done.” ises on the part of Mexico, but with the real purThe assurance was further given, that the decision pose, as the event has proved, of indefinitely postof the Mexican Government upon each cause of poning the reparation which we demanded, and complaint, for which redress had been demanded, which was so justly due. This negotiation, after should be communicated to the Government of more than a year's delay, resulted in the conventhe United States by the Mexican Minister of tion of the eleventh of April, 1839, “ for the adWashington.
justment of claims of citizens of the United States These solemn assurances, in answer to our de- of America upon the Government of the Mexican mand for redress, were disregarded. By making republic.” The joint board of commissioners them, however, Mexico obtained further delay. created by this convention to examine and decide President Van Buren, in his annual message to upon these claims, was not organized until the Congress of the fifth of December, 1837, states, month of August, 1840, and under the terms of that " although the larger number” of our demands the convention they were to terminate their duties
[DECEMBER, 1846. within eighteen months from that time. Four of by failing and refusing to make the payment. The the eighteen months were consumed in preliminary two instalments due in April and July, 1844, under discussions on frivolous and dilatory points raised the peculiar circumstances connected with them, by the Mexican commissioners; and it was not have been assumed by the United States and disuntil the month of December, 1840, that they com- charged to the claimants, but they are still due by menced the examination of the claims of our citi- Mexico. But this is not all of which we have just zens upon Mexico. Fourteen months only remain cause of complaint. To provide a remedy for the ed to examine and decide upon these numerous claimants whose cases were not decided by the and complicated cases. In the month of February, joint commission under the convention of April 1842, the term of the commission expired, leaving the eleventh, 1839, it was expressly stipulated by many claims undisposed of for want of time. The the sixth article of the convention of the thirtieth claims which were allowed by the board, and of January, 1843, that “a new convention shall by the umpire authorized by the convention be entered into for the settlement of all claims of to decide in case of disagreement between the the Government and citizens of the United States Mexican and American commissioners, amounted against the republic of Mexico which were not to two million twenty-six thousand one hundred finally decided by the late commission, which met and thirty-nine dollars and sixty-eight cents. in the city of Washington, and of all claims of the There were pending before the umpire when the Government and citizens of Mexico against the commission expired, additional claims, which had United States." been examined and awarded by the American In conformity with this stipulation, a third concommissioners, and had not been allowed by the vention was concluded and signed at the city of Mexican commissioners, amounting to nine hun. Mexico on the twentieth of November, 1843, by dred and twenty-eight thousand six hundred and the plenipotentiaries of the two Governments, by twenty-seven dollars and eighty-eight cents, upon which provision was made for ascertaining and which he did not decide, alleging that his authority paying these claims. In January, 1844, this conhad ceased with the termination of the joint com- vention was ratified by the Senate of the United mission. Besides these claims, there were others States, with two amendments, which were mani. of American citizens amounting to three million festly reasonable in their character. Upon a referthree hundred and thirty-six thousand eight hun- ence of the amendments proposed to the Govern. dred and thirty-seven dollars and five cents, which ment of Mexico, the same evasions, difficulties, had been submitted to the board, and upon which and delays were interposed which have so long they had not time to decide, before their final ad- marked the policy of that Government towards journment.
the United States. It has not even yet decided The sum of two million twenty-six thousand whether it would or would not accede to them, one hundred and thirty-nine dollars and sixty-eight although the subject has been repeatedly pressed cents, which had been awarded to the claimants, upon its consideration. was a liquidated and ascertained debt due by Mexico has thus violated a second time the Mexico, about which there could be no dispute, faith of treaties, by failing or refusing to carry into and which she was bound to pay according to the effect the sixth article of the convention of January, terms of the convention. Soon after the final 1843. awards for this amount had been made, the Mexi- Such is the history of the wrongs which we can Government asked for a postponement of the have suffered and patiently endured from Mexico time of making payment, alleging that it would be through a loug series of years. So far from affordinconvenient to make the payment at the time ing reasonable satisfaction for the injuries and instipulated. In the spirit of forbearing kindness sults we have borne, a great aggravation of them towards a sister republic, which Mexico has so consists in the fact, that while the United States, long abused, the United States promptly complied anxious to preserve a good understanding with with her request. A second convention was ac- Mexico, have been constantly, but vainly, em. cordingly concluded between the two Governments ployed in seeking redress for past wrongs, new on the thirtieth of January, 1843, which upon its outrages were constantly occurring, which have face declares that, “ this new arrangement is en continued to increase our causes of complaint, and tered into for the accommodation of Mexico." to swell the amount of our demands. While the By the terms of this convention, all the interest citizens of the United States were conducting a due on the awards wbich had been made in favor lawful commerce with Mexico under the guarantee of the claimants under the convention of the of a treaty of “amity, commerce, and navigation," eleventh of April, 1839, was to be paid to them on many of them have suffered all the injuries which the thirtieth of April, 1843, and “the principal of would have resulted from open war.
This treaty, the said awards, and the interest accruing thereon, instead of affording protection to our citizens, bas was stipulated to “be paid in five years, in equal been the means of inviting them into the ports of instalments, every three months.” Notwithstand. Mexico, that they might be, as they have been in ing this new convention was entered into at the re- numerous instances, plundered of their property, quest of Mexico, and for the purpose of relieving and deprived of their personal liberty if they dared her from embarrassment, the claimants have only insist on their rights. Had the unlawful seizures received the interest due on the thirtieth of April, of American property, and the violation of the per1843, and three of the twenty instalments. Al- sonal liberty of our citizens, to say nothing of the though the payment of the sum thus liquidated, insults to our ilag which have occurred in the and confessedly due by Mexico to our citizens as ports of Mexico, taken place on the high seas, indemnity for acknowledged acts of outrage and they would themselves long since have constituted wrong, was secured by treaty, the obligations of a state of actual war between the two countries. which are ever held sacred by all just nations, In so long suffering Mexico to violate her most yet Mexico has violated this solemn engagement solemn treaty obligations, plunder nitizens of
Government. The people of Texas were unwilling Such are the grave causes of complaint on the to submit to this usurpation. Resistance to such part of the United States against Mexico-causes tyranny became a high duty. Texas was fully which existed long before the annexation of Texas absolved from all allegiance to the central Governto the American Union; and yet, animated by the ment of Mexico from the moment that Government love of peace, and a magnanimous moderation, we had abolished her State constitution, and in its did not adopt those measures of redress which, un- place substituted an arbitrary and despotic central der such circumstances, are the justified resort of Government. injured nations.
Such were the principal causes of the Texan The annexation of Texas to the United States revolution. The people of Texas at once deterconstituted no just cause of offence to Mexico. The mined upon resistance, and flew to arms. In the pretext that it did so, is wholly inconsistent, and midst of these important and exciting events, hov. irreconcilable with well-authenticated facts connect- ever, they did not omit to place their liberties upon ed with the revolution by which Texas became in- a secure and permanent foundation. They elected dependent of Mexico. That this may be the more members to a convention, who, in the month of manifest, it may be proper to advert to the causes March 1836, issued a formal declaration that their and to the history of the principal events of that political connection with the Mexican nation has revolution.
'forever ended, and that the people of Texas do Texas constituted a portion of the ancient prov- now constitute a FREE, SOVEREIGN, and INDEPENDince of Louisiana, ceded to the United States by ENT REPUBLIC, and are fully invested with all the France in the year 1803. In the year 1819, the rights and attributes which properly belong to inUnited States, by the Florida treaty, ceded to dependent nations." They also adopted for their Spain all that part of Louisiana within the present government a liberal republican constitution. limits of Texas; and Mexico, by the revolution About the same time, Santa Anna, then the dictawhich separated her from Spain, and rendered her tor of Mexico, invaded Texas with a numerous an independent nation, succeeded to the rights of army, for the purpose of subduing her people, and the mother country over this territory. In the enforcing obedience to his arbitrary and despotic year 1824, Mexico established a federal constitu-government. On the twenty-first of April, 1836, tion, under which the Mexican republic was com- he was met by the Texan citizen soldiers, and on posed of a number of sovereign States, confederat- that day was achieved by them the memorable ed together in a federal Union similar to our own. victory of San Jacinto, by which they conquered Each of these States had its own Executive, Legis- their independence. Considering the numbers en lature, and Judiciary; and, for all except federal gaged on the respective sides, history does not purposes, was as independent of the General Gov- record a more brilliant achievement. Santa Anna ernment, and that of the other States, as is Penn- himself was among the captives. sylvania or Virginia under our constitution. Texas In the month of May, 1836, Santa Anna acknowland Coahuila united, and formed one of these edged, by a treaty with the Texan authorities, in Mexican States. The State constitution which the most solemn form," the full, entire, and perthey adopted, and which was approved by the fect independence of the republic of Texas." It Mexican confederacy, asserted that they were is true, he was then a prisoner of war, but it is “free and independent of the other Mexican Unit- equally true that he had failed to reconquer Texas, ed States, and of every other power and dominion and had met with signal defeat; that his authority whatsoever;” and proclaimed the great principle had not been revoked, and that by virtue of this of human liberty, that "the sovereignty of the treaty he obtained his personal release.
By it State resides originally and essentially in the gene- hostilities were suspended, and the army which ral mass of the individuals who compose it.” To the bad invaded Texas under his command returned, government under this constitution, as well as to in pursuance of this arrangement, unmolested, to that under the federal constitution, the people of Mexico. Texas owed allegiance.
From the day that the battle of San Jacinto was Emigrants from foreign countries, including the fought, until the present hour, Mexico has never United States, were invited by the colonization possessed the power to reconquer Texas. In the laws of the State and of the federal Government language of the Secretary of State of the United to settle in Texas. Advantageous terms were States, in a despatch to our Minister in Mexico, offered to induce them to leave their own country under date of the eighth of July, 1842, "Mexico and become Mexican citizens. This invitation was may have chosen to consider, and may still choose accepted by many of our citizens, in the full faith | to consider Texas as having been at all times
[DECEMBER, 1846. since 1835, and as still continuing, a rebellious | standing all this, and her utter inability to subdue province; but the world has been obliged to take or reconquer Texas, still stubbornly refused to rea very different view of the matter. From the cognize her as an independent nation, she was time of the battle of San Jacinto, in April, 1836, none the less so on that account. Mexico herself to the present moment, Texas has exhibited the had been recognized as an independent nation by same external signs of national independence the United States, and by other powers, many as Mexico herself, and with quite as much stability years before Spain, of which, before her revoluof Government. Practically free and independent, tion, she had been a colony, would agree to reacknowledged as a political sovereignty by the prin cognize her as such ; and yet Mexico was at that cipal powers of the world, no hostile foot finding time, in the estimation of the civilized world, and rest within her territory for six or seven years, and in fact, none the less an independent power beMexico herself refraining for all that period from cause Spain still claimed her as a colony. If Spain any further attempt to re-establish her own authori- had continued until the present period to assert ty over that territory, it cannot but be surprising that Mexico was one of her colonies, in rebellion to find Mr. de Bocanegra (the Secretary of Foreign against her, this would not have made her so, or Affairs of Mexico) complaining that for that whole changed the fact of her independent existence. period citizens of the United States, or its Govern- Texas, at the period of her annexation to the ment, have been favoring the rebels of Texas, and United States, bore the same relation to Mexico supplying them with vessels, ammunition, and mon- that Mexico had borne to Spain for many years ey, as if the war for the reduction of the province of before Spain acknowledged her independence, with Texas had been constantly prosecuted by Mex. this important difference--that, before the annexico, and her success prevented by these influation of Texas to the United States was consumences from abroad.” In the same despatch, the mated, Mexico herself, by a formal act of her Secretary of State affirms, that “since 1837, Government, had acknowledged the independence the United States have regarded Texas as an in- of Texas as a nation. It is true, that in the act of dependent sovereignty, as much as Mexico; and recognition she prescribed a condition, which she that trade and commerce with citizens of a Gov- had no power or authority to impose, that Texas ernment at war with Mexico cannot, on that ac- should not annex herself to any other power; but count, be regarded as an intercourse by which as- this could not detract in any degree from the recogsistance and succor are given to Mexican rebels. nition which Mexico then made of her actual inde. The whole current of Mr. de Bocanegra’s remarks pendence. Upon this plain statement of facts, it runs in the same direction, as if the independence is absurd for Mexico to allege, as a pretext for of Texas had not been acknowledged. It has been commencing hostilities against the United States, acknowledged—it was acknowledged in 1837, that Texas is still a part of her territory. against the remonstrance and protest of Mexico; But there are those who, conceding all this to be and most of the acts of any importance, of which true, assume the ground that the true western Mr. de Bocanegra complains, flow necessarily boundary of Texas is the Nueces, instead of the from that recognition. He speaks of Texas as Rio Grande; and that, therefore, in marching our still being an integral part of the territory of the army to the east bank of the latter river, we passed Mexican Republic; ' but he cannot but understand the Texan line, and invaded the territory of Mexithat the United States do not so regard it. The co. A simple statement of facts, known to exist, real complaint of Mexico, therefore, is, in sub- will conclusively refute such an assumption. Te stance, neither more nor less than a complaint as, as ceded to the United States by France in against the recognition of Texan independence. 1803, has been always claimed as extending west It may be thought rather late to repeat that com- to the Rio Grande, or Rio Bravo. This fact is plaint, and not quite just to confine it to the United established by the authority of our most eminent States, to the exemption of England, France, and statesmen at a period when the question was as Belgium, unless the United States, having been the well, if not better understood, than it is at present. first to acknowledge the independence of Mexico During Mr. Jefferson's administration, Messrs. herself, are to be blamed for setting an example Monroe and Pinckney, who had been sent on a for the recognition of that of Texas.” And he special mission to Madrid, charged, among other added, that “the constitution, public treaties, and things, with the adjustment of boundary between the laws, obliged the President to regard' Texas the two countries, in a note addressed to the Spanas an independent State, and its territory as no ish Minister of Foreign Affairs, under date of the part of the territory of Mexico." Texas had been twenty-eighth of January, 1805, assert that the an independent State, with an organized Govern- boundaries of Louisiana, as ceded to the United ment, defying the power of Mexico to overthrow States by France, " are the river Perdido on the or reconquer her, for more than ten years before east, and the river Bravo on the west ;” and they Mexico commenced the present war against the add, that “the facts and principles which justify United States. Texas bad given such evidence to this conclusion are so satisfactory to our Governthe world of her ability to maintain her separate ment, as to convince it that the United States have existence as an independent nation, that she had not a better right to the island of New Orleans, been formally recognized as such, not only by the under the cession referred to, than they have to United States, but by several of the principal the whole district of territory which is above powers of Europe. These powers had entered described." into treaties of amity, commerce, and navigation Down to the conclusion of the Florida treaty, with her. They had received and accredited her in February, 1819, by which this territory was ministers, and other diplomatic agents at their ceded to Spain, the United States asserted and respective courts; and they had commissioned maintained their territorial rights to this extent. ministers and diplomatic agents on their part to In the month of June, 1818, during Mr. Monroe's the Government of Texas. If Mexico, notwith. I administration, information having been received
2D SESS.] The President's Message.
[29TH CONG. that a number of foreign adventurers had landed elected to the Congress of the republic, and served at Galveston, with the avowed purpose of forming as such before the act of annexation took place. In a settlement in that vicinity, a special messenger both the Congress and Convention of Texas, which was despatched by the Government of the United gave their assent to the terms of annexation to the States, with instructions from the Secretary of United States, proposed by our Congress, were repState, to warn them to desist, should they bé found resentatives residing west of the Nueces, who took there," or any other place north of the Rio Bravo, part in the act of annexation itself. This was the and within the territory claimed by the United Texas which, by the act of our Congress of the States." He was instructed, should they be found twenty-ninth of December, 1845, was admitted as in the country north of that river, to make known one of the States of our Union. That the Congress to them "the surprise with which the President of the United States understood the State of Texas has seen possession thus taken, without authority which they admitted into the Union to extend befrom the United States, of a place within their yond the Nueces is apparent from the fact, that on territorial limits, and upon which no lawful set the thirty-first of December, 1845, only two days tlement can be made without their sanction." after the act of admission, they passed a law "to He was instructed to call upon them to “avow establish a collection district in the State of Texas," under what national authority they profess to by which they created a port of delivery at Corpus act," and to give them due warning “ that the Christi, situated west of the Nueces, and being place is within the United States, who will suffer the same point at which the Texas custom-house, no permanent settlement to be made there, under under the laws of that republic, had been located, any authority other than their own." As late and directed that a surveyor to collect the revenue as the eighth of July, 1842, the Secretary of State should be appointed for that port by the President, of the United States, in a note addressed to our by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. Minister in Mexico, maintains that, by the Florida A surveyor was accordingly nominated, and contreaty of 1819, the territory as far west as the Rio firmed by the Senate, and has been ever since in Grande was confirmed to Spain. In that note he the performance of his duties. All these acts of states that, “by the treaty of the twenty-second the republic of Texas, and of our Congress, preof February, 1819, between the United States and ceded the orders for the advance of our army to Spain, the Sabine was adopted as the line of the east bank of the Rio Grande. Subsequently, boundary between the two powers. Up to that Congress passed an act "establishing certain post period, no considerable colonization had been routes," extending west of the Nueces. The effected in Texas; but the territory between the country west of that river now constitutes a part Sabine and the Rio Grande being confirmed to of one of the congressional districts of Texas, Spain by the treaty, applications were made to and is represented in the House of Representathat power for grants of land, and such grants, tives. The Senators from that State were chosen or permissions of settlement, were in fact made by a Legislature in which the country west of that by the Spanish authorities in favor of citizens of river was represented. In view of all these facts, the United States proposing to emigrate to Texas it is difficult to conceive upon what ground it in numerous families, before the declaration of can be maintained that, in occupying the country independence by Mexico."
west of the Nueces with our army, with a view The Texas which was ceded to Spain by the solely to its security and defence, we invaded the Florida treaty of 1819 embraced all the country territory of Mexico. But it would have been still now claimed by the State of Texas between the more difficult to justify the Executive, whose duty Nueces and the Rio Grande. The republic of it is to see that the laws be faithfully executed, Texas always claimed this river as her western in the face of all these proceedings, both of the boundary, and in her treaty made with Santa Congress of Texas and of the United States, he Anna, in May, 1836, he recognized it as such. had assumed the responsibility of yielding up the By the constitution,' which Texas adopted in territory west of the Nueces to Mexico, or of reMarch, 1836, senatorial and representative districts fusing to protect and defend this territory and its were organized extending west of the Nueces. inhabitants, including Corpus Christi, as well as The Congress of Texas, on the nineteenth of De- the remainder of Texas, against the threatened cember, 1836, passed "an act to define the boun- Mexican invasion, daries of the republic of Texas,” in which they de- But Mexico herself has never placed the war clared the Rio Grande from its mouth to its which she has waged upon the ground that our source to be their boundary, and by the said act army occupied the intermediate territory between they extended their "civil and political jurisdic. the Nueces and the Rio Grande. Her refuted pretion over the country up to that boundary. tension that Texas was not in fact an independent During a period of more than nine years, which State, but a rebellious province, was obstinately intervened between the adoption of her constitu- persevered in; and her avowed purpose in comtion and her annexation as one of the States of our mencing a war with the United States was to reUnion, Texas asserted and exercised many acts conquer Texas, and to restore Mexican authority of sovereignty and jurisdiction over the territory over the whole territory-not to the Nueces only, and inhabitants west of the Nueces. She organ- but to the Sabine. In view of the proclaimed ized and defined the limits of counties extending menaces of Mexico to this effect, I deemed it my to the Rio Grande. She established courts of jus- duty, as a measure of precaution and defence, to tice, and extended her judicial system over the ter. order our army to occupy a position on our fron. ritory. She established a custom-house, and col. tier as a military post, from which our troops could lected duties, and also post-offices and post roads best resist and repel any attempted invasion which in it. She established a land office, and issued Mexico might make. numerous grants for land, within its limits. A Our army had occupied a position at Corpus Senator and a Representative residing in it were Christi west of the Nueces, as early as August