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such a formidable, costly and desolating war, up to the walls of the Mexican capital, for no necessary causes of dispute whatever between Mexico and us, the President found or deemed it necessary to turn his back upon the false pretences he had constantly set up and insisted on, as inducing and justifying hostilities, and to make such demands for the dismemberment of the Mexican empire as, if yielded on her part, might gratify the pride and supposed rapacity of his countrymen, and win for the war an unjustifiable and dishonest popular approval. This, of course, put peace out of the question. Negotiations were broken off, because Mexico would not consent to the dismemberment proposed to her. An unnecessary war had led to the making of an iniquitous and exorbitant demand, to which Mexico would not submit. The conflict was resumed. More battles were fought; the best blood of the country flowed again like water; the capital of the enemy was entered, sword in hand, and Mexico is conquered!
Yes, Mexico is conquered, but she is not yet subdued, and we have not yet "conquered a peace." Mexico is no nearer submission, now that her capital is in our hands, than the United States were, when, in the Revolution, the enemy had possession of New-York and Philadelphia. She is no nearer submission than Russia was, when Napoleon was in Moscow. And it is at this very point, that the difficulties and embarrassments of the President on account of this war, are become most formidable and inextricable. At the end of campaigns as completely successful, so far as military operations are concerned, as any that Alexander or Napoleon ever prosecuted, he finds himself in a state of most distressing perplexity. He can neither go forward nor retreat, with any prospect of 'satisfaction. The last field of glory in this war, was reaped when the city of Mexico was taken. Henceforth, there can be no grand fighting, no glorious victories., What remains is a war of details, a defensive war against guerillas, and assassins, and the vomito. A few minor cities and places may yet be assailed and taken; but there can be no grand forward movement. As a war of movement and of conquest, it is over. And as the President holds retreat to be impossible, so long as Mexico refuses to consent to the
VOL. I. NO. I. NEW SERIES.
terms he has prescribed for her dismemberment," and as there is not the slightest chance that Mexico will ever consent to anything of the sort, a state of embarrassment has arisen, which might well fill the Executive with distress and alarm. How he proposes to deal with the case, since he is forced to meet it in some way, we shall see in the progress of this article. Suffice it here to say, that he meets the case with a proposition as daring, reckless, and profligate, as any that ever characterized the proceedings of the most celebrated among the professed conquerers and spoilers of ancient or modern times; and so we shall demonstrate the fact to be, before we have done with the subject.
Our readers must be made aware, if they are not so already, of the significant and important fact, now officially disclosed, that the war assumed an entirely new phase from the termination of the negotiations between Mr. Trist and the Mexican Commissioners. From that period, IT BECAME
EXPLICITLY AND WITHOUT DISGUISE, A WAR FOR THE CONQUEST AND DISMEMBERMENT OF MEXICO. The general object had been plain enough to all shrewd observers from the beginning; but it had been made as far as possible a covert object, and had been constantly, not to say impudently, disavowed. Up to that time, other objects of the war had been insisted on, and not without some show of reason, since war had been undertaken. There were the claims of our citizens, which must be secured in some satisfactory form. And, then, Mexico must be made to relinquish her pretensions to Texas, since that country was annexed to the United States. There was, finally, an unsettled question of boundary between Mexico and the State of Texas, which Mexico must be made to consent to negotiate about and settle, before we could make a definitive peace with her. These were the subjects of difference between the two countries at the breaking out of the war, and the only subjects of difference. Of course they formed, so far as had been avowed at any time, the objects, and the only objects, of the war on our part.
Now we desire to ask, and to ask very emphatically, what remained of these objects of the war, after the conferences between the American and Mexican Commissioners before the walls of the Mexican
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. 3. 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 Gulf 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 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 degree; which will serve as a limit for both Reand west, until this last touches the 37th publics from the point in which it touches the said frontier of West of New 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 Cophuila, 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 repeat that this line yielded to the United States the proper State and territory of Texas. And let it be remembered that we are here referring to this matter, only as it affects the general question of Annexation, and the subject of difficulty and dispute between the countries on account of Annexation. It was this subject of Annexation--as distinct from any mere question of boundary-at which Mexico originally took offence. It was on this account that the Mexican minister in this country, Almonte, demanded his passports and withdrew from the country. It was on this account that Mexico refused to have any further diplomatic intercourse with Mr. Shannon, then our minister near the government of that republic. And it was on this account, and because Mr. Slidell had not come as a special commissioner charged with the particular duty of proposing terms of accommodation in reference to Annexation, that that functionary was not received by the Mexican government. It was this Annexation of Texas that Mexico said originally she should regard as a declaration of war against her, though she acted no further on this declaration than to break up all diplomatic relations with us, and to hold herself aloof as the offended party, who was to be conciliated by a
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.
The next object of the war, on our part, after it had once been commenced, was to obtain satisfaction, or indemnity, for the 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 terri
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 counter-tory. project, "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 the 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 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, were wholly inadmissible," among other reasons,
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 United Mexican States," &c. The subsequent articles, of course, set forth the terms upon which the President proposed this lasting and universal peace should rest.
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 Now it is the particular mode adopted hold the President, therefore, as meaning in this draught of a treaty, of reaching to deny, by the expression we have quoted, the matters of difference and dispute bethat Mexico had made any offer whatever tween the two countries, to which we wish of indemnity for the claims of our citizens. to call the attention of the reader, by way And he has not left this matter in doubt; of preparing him to understand fully, and for by way of expressly negativing the idea without the possibility of mistake, the that any cession of territory was offered as meaning and intention of the terms subindemnity for these claims, he proceeds to sequently proposed in the Counter-Project declare, as showing what he calls "the of the Mexican Commissioners. He must unreasonable terms proposed by the Mexi- remember that a main thing was, as the can Commissioners," that this project of a President so strenuously argues, to obtain treaty, amongst other things, "offered to indemnity for the claims of our citizens by cede to the United States, for a pecuniary a cession of territory. "Mexico," says consideration, that part of Upper Califor- the Message, "has no money to pay, and nia lying north of latitude thirty-seven no other means of making the required degrees.' He refers to this offer of ces- indemnity. If we refuse this, we can obsion, as among the objectionable and un-tain nothing else." This, indeed, was assumreasonable things contained in the counter-ing a fact without any warrant of proof. project 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
But for the interruption caused by the annexation of Texas, and finally by the war, there cannot be a doubt that every dollar of these claims would have been paid in money. And the President forgets that in this very Message in which he urges the impossibility of squeezing anything out of Mexico, except land, he exults in the prospect of being able to do a good deal towards supporting our vast military operations in that country by the money which shall be collected out of regular Mexican custom house and internal duties, seized into the hands of our officers for that purpose! The internal revenue of Mexico and her Departments, is stated by the Secretary of the Treasury in his recent Report, to have been about thirteen millions of dollars per annum, and the receipts on imports he says have varied from six to twelve millions. And he gives it as his de
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 have 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 same time-in the same breath-we have it laid down as a fact-“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 how 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 our claims. This was to be done, as the President insists, only by obtaining a cession of territory. Mr. Trist carried out with him a plan of a treaty which embraced this object; and yet is just as
true of this plan, as it is of the CounterProject presented by the Mexican Commissioners, first, that "it contained no provision for the payment by Mexico, of the just claims of our citizens;" and next, that it contained a provision for the cession of territory to the United States "for a pecuniary consideration." If the Counter-Project was objectionable or offensive, on either of these grounds, the plan presented by Mr. Trist was objectionable and offensive to the United States for the same reasons. The form of reaching both points-indemnity, and the cession of territory-was precisely the same in each case. And more than this: the substance of the several provisions, embracing these two objects, and, to a great extent, the language, was identical in the two projects of a treaty, except only-and this was the only essential difference-as to the amount of territory to be ceded. We here place the articles containing these provisions in juxtaposition on our pages, that they may be read together and easily compared; only premising that the matter inclosed in brackets, in the copy first given, was not, according to the authority of the Washington Union, embraced in the original draught furnished to Mr. Trist.
FROM THE DRAUGHT OF A TREATY PROPOSED BY MR. TRIST.
ARTICLE IV. The boundary line between the two republics shall commence in the Gulf of Mexico, three leagues from land, opposite the Rio Grande; from thence up the middle of that line of New Mexico; thence westwardly along river to the point where it strikes the southern the southern boundary of New Mexico, to the southwestern corner of the same; thence northward along the western line of New Mexico, until it intersects the first branch of the river Gila, or if it should not intersect any branch of that river, then to the point on the said line nearest to such branch; and thence in a direct line to the same, and down the middle of said branch and of the said river until it empties into the Rio Colorado, and thence downwards by the middle of the Colorado, and the middle of the Gulf of California, to the Pacific Ocean.
ARTICLE V. In consideration of the extension by the last preceding article, [and by the stipuof the boundaries of the United States, as defined lations which will appear in article No. 8, the United States abandon, for ever, all claims against the United States of Mexico on account of the exponses of the war] the United States