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millions to a hundred millions; because it was only in this way that he could put a plausible face on his bold assumption of the inability of Mexico to meet our claims in any way but by a cession of territory. And now, after all this, what will be thought of the President of the United States, when the fact comes to be stated and proved, that by the terms of his own project of a treaty, not only was no claim set up for the expenses of the war, but any pretence of that sort was necessaril negatived and excluded ? Nobody will be silly enough to pretend that under the stipulations of a treaty of peace, which makes not the slightest reference to the expenses of the war on either side, either party is to É. more than its own expenses. In the esident's plan of a treaty, Mexico is not asked, nor is the remotest hint conveyed that she is expected, to pay us the costs of the war. Besides, any such idea is excluded by the stipulations actually inserted in the instrument. Mexico was indebted to our citizens in a certain amount—say four millions of dollars—and this plan proposes that if Mexico will cede to the United States certain lands, the government of the United States will undertake to satisfy the creditors of Mexico in this country for this indebtedness, in such manner that she shall be fully discharged from it. And, as it is understood that the lands proposed to be ceded are worth more than this four millions of dollars, it is proposed that the United States shall pay to Mexico the balance of this value, whatever it may be ascertained or agreed to be. Such was the President's own proposition for a settlement and treaty of e with Mexico; and he does not get through the tortuous course of his Message without giving this very account and explanation of the matter. “As the territory,” he says, “to be acquired by the boundary proposed, might be estimated to be of greater value than a fair equivalent for our just demands, our Commissioner was authorized to stipulate for the payment of such additional pecuniary consideration as was deemed reasonable.” Not a word here about the expenses of the war. No intimation here that the balance of value to be paid in money to Mexico was only so much as would remain af
ter deducting four millions for the demands due our citizens, and a hundred millions more for the cost of the war. The President knows as well as we do, that the expenses of this war, end when and how it may, are to be borne by the people of the United States; and he did not entertain the remotest idea, when this project of a treaty was prepared, that Mexico was to be made to pay, or asked to pay these expenses, or any part of them. He knew then, and he knows now, that Mexico will never make a treaty with the United States on any such basis. In our account of what the President proposed as the basis of a treaty with Mexico, we have had reference to what the Washington Union some time since published as “the authentic copy of the draught of a treaty carried out by Mr. Trist.” It would seem that Mr. Trist went a step further, in the project presented by him to the Mexican Commissioners. He inserted, in the fifth article, a reference to the stipulation contained in article eight, in regard to a right of way across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, "as forming a part of the general consideration for the undertakings proposed on the part of the United States; and then, by way of addition to the stipulations for paying the claims of our own citizens, and the payment of a clear sum of money to Mexico, he inserted this express renunciation: “The United States abandon forever all claims against the United JMerican States, on account of the expenses of the war.” . After all this, it is difficult to understand how the President could have the courage to talk about the expenses of the war in the manner he has done in the Message. At any rate, we trust an enlightened public will understand the true state of the case. Thus far, then, we have seen that two principal subjects or matters of difference between the United States and Mexico at the commencement of the war, were actually removed, so far as the most ample concessions on the part of Mexico could remove them, at the conferences near Chapultepec in September last. Mexico yielded her pretensions to the State of Texas, and all complaints she had to make on ac
* We have not had in hand the official papers as sent in to Congress with the Message.
count of Annexation. This struck at the original source of all the difficulty between the two powers, and made an end of it, so far as Mexico could alone effect that object. Mexico also offered ample indemnity for the claims of our citizens, in the mode preferred and insisted on by us—that is to say, by a cession of territory; and thus put an end, so far as she alone could do it, to all complaints which we had to prefer against her for neglect of those claims, and whatever other conduct in relation to them we had thought exceptionable. There remained, therefore, only one original subject of dispute between the two powers, and that was the undefined boundary between our State of Texas and the dominions of Mexico. It must be admitted that the President went into the war claiming the right to the whole country between the Nueces and the Rio del Norte; though it is perfectly certain that this was not such a claim on our part, that any Congress of the United States, which alone has the power of declaring war, would ever have undertaken to enforce it by the sword. Mexico refused to cede to us this territory, at the conferences near Chapultepec, and this question of boundary remained, therefore, in statu quo, when the war was resumed. The important inquiry now arises, whether the war thus resumed had for part of its object, the enforcement of the President's demand, clearly embraced in his project of a treaty, for the cession of the whole country between the Nueces and the Rio del Norte 2 We suppose there cannot be a doubt of it. The fact is sufficiently indicated in this brief and characteristic announcement in the Message: “The boundary of the Rio Grande, and the cession to the United States of New Mexico and Upper California, constituted an ultimatum, which our Commissioner was, under no circumstances, to yield.” The history of the conferences shows that the Commissioner, though with evident misgivings, acted up to the letter of his instructions on this point. He would not yield “the boundary to the Rio Grande,” but “he offered that if there remained no other point of difference for the conclusion of peace, than that relative to the territory which is comprised between the Bravo and the Nueces, he would consult his govern
ment upon it, with some hope of a good result.”. Such is the Mexican official account. Mr. Trist, it is evident, did not believe it possible the President would dare to make the renewal and continuance of the war turn on his adherence to the absurd and baseless pretension he had set up, of a right and title in the United States to a “boundary to the Rio Grande.” Mr. Trist had manifestly been impressed with the pregnant and severe tone of the following declaration, in the note addressed to him by
• the Mexican Commissioners :—
“To the other territories, [i. e. besides the proper territory of Texas,) mentioned in the fourth article of your Excellency's draught, [including, of course, the country between the Nueces and the Bravo, no right has heretofore been asserted by the Republic of North America, nor do we believe it possible for it to assert any. Consequently, it could not acquire them, except by the right of conquest, or by the title which will result from the cession or sale which Mexico might now make. But as we are persuaded that the Republic of Washington will not only absolutely repel, but will hold in abhorrence, the first of these titles, and as, on the other hand, it would be a new thing, and contrary to every idea of justice, to make war on a people, for no other reason than because it refused to sell territory which its neighbor sought to buy, we hope, from the justice of the government and people of North America, that the ample modifications which we have to propose, to the cessions of territory (except that of the State of Texas) contemplated by the said Article Four, will not be a motive to persist in a war which the worthy General of the North American troops has justly styled unnatural.”
But, however the Commissioner of the United States might have been impressed and moved by an appeal so replete with the force of simple truth and natural justice, he was bound by an Executive ultimatum, which embraced other points, that Mexico could no more yield than she could this demand of a boundary to the Rio Grande. The President must have New Mexico and Upper California, as well as the whole territory between the Nueces and the Bravo. Mexico could not yield to any of these demands, to the extent to which the President's ultimatum carried them; and nothing remained, therefore, but to renew and prosecute the war. She did offer, be it observed, to give up the most valuable portion of Upper California; and
she offered, also, so far to relinquish her possessory right, or right of occupation, to the wide uninhabited frontier of the country between the two rivers, as to stipulate that it should be preserved as an uninhabited and desert space forever, expressly for a safe and peaceable frontier between the two countries. And this enables us to see exactly upon what precise pretensions and demands of the President it was, in regard to territory, that the war was renewed, after the concessions made at the conferences near Chapultepec ; and we desire to set down these pretensions and demands very precisely, and to call the attention of the country to them in a very particular manner, that the people may clearly understand what it really was, the war was resumed for. The war, then, was resumed and prosecuted, after the conferences near Chapultepec, for the following objects: First, to compel Mexico, who was willing and ready to relinquish her right of occupation in the wide uninhabited space between the Nueces and the Rio Grande, so as to make that desert space in effect the boundary between the two countries, to go further and cede to us in absolute sovereignty and jurisdiction, the whole of that territory up to the Rio Grande: Second, to compel Mexico, who was willing to yield us one half, and the most valuable portion of Upper California, to go further, and sell to us the other half also : And, third, to compel Mexico to sell to us her province of New Mexico. Of these three objects, the first is the only one, it will be observed, which, in any shape whatever, found a place among those original subjects of demand, to which alone the war from its inception, apparently or professedly, had any relation. The other two objects became objects of the war for the first time, so far as any distinct avowal or disclosure is concerned, when it was renewed after the conferences near Chapultepec. But the truth is that the whole three objects just specified, stand in fact, when properly understood, on the same footing. The demand which the President makes of a boundary on the Rio Grande, is just as much in the spirit of conquest as the rest, These last, as we now see, stand out open and undisguised. To compel our unwilling enemy, by force
of arms, to sell her territory to us, is to exercise over her and her territory the rights of conquest. Payment in such a case is no equivalent. It is not a bargain, though we pay our money for the lands, where the cession is compulsory. If effected, it is nothing less than a robbery, with the insult added of throwing our purse in the face of our victim, by way of charity, or for the sake of appearances. The object is to dismember the Mexican empire, and appropriate her territories to our own use, by virtue of our military superiority. The President wants these territories because he thinks it will gratify a spirit of rapacity which he imagines dwells in the hearts of our people, and will glorify his administration before the masses, who, he believes, will make no account whatever of the money price of the robbery. He believes they would like it still better if he had resolved to keep the territory already conquered, and the money too. And we do not entertain a doubt that he would have preferred this policy from the first, if he had thought it as practicable as the other; he would have let appearances take care of themselves. The truth is, that the offer of money to Mexico for her conquered provinces, was not to pay for the land, but to buy a peace of her after the conquest. He thought this would be better than perpetual war, and the support of large standing armies, to maintain the conquests. It was not justice, but policy, that dictated the offer. It was better, he thought, to pay Mexico twenty millions for her craven consent to her own dismemberment and degradation, than undertake to maintain his conquests by arms, at the cost of another hundred millions. Brennus, the Gallic conqueror, finding his affairs in desperate condition, but game to the last, demanded to receive of Rome a thousand pounds of gold for retiring from his conquests, for thus he would go home an acknowledged conqueror, though giving up the provinces he had overrun. Our modern American Brennus understands the glory of conquest differently; he is willing to pay Mexico a thousand pounds of gold to stop her resistance, allow him to keep the provinces he has over. run, and so come home a conqueror. Brennus proudly threw his sword into the scale at the last moment, as his ultimate argument
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 dilemma: 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 furtherindemnity, 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, under the penalty of an immediate resumption and prosecution of the war against her.” The demand made for the cession of New Mexico, was of the same character and rested on the same foundation. It is true, the President has the amazing coolness to venture on a suggestion in his Message, that there was a question of boundary to be adjusted between the province of New Mexico and the State of Texas, on the ground that “the territorial limits of the State of Texas, as defined by her laws before her admission into our Union, embrace all that portion of New Mexico lying east of the Rio Grande.” Everybody knows that Texas might as well have extended her limits, by a statutory declaration—a ridiculouse brutem fulmen—over the whole of Old Mexico, as over a part of the province of New Mexico; and such an act would have given her just as much right and title in that case, as it did in the other. But besides this, it is perfectly notorious that the President, utterly disregarding any claim of the State of Texas upon New Mexico, on account of this . declaration, seeing she had never occupied a foot of the soil of that territory, ordered the country to be conquered for the United States, which was done accordingly after a fashion, when he caused a civil 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 sensibility 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 language. The President believes, then, that as Mexico must 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.
* The Mexican Commissioners say that Mr. Trist was disposed to abandon his first pretensions “to a part of Upper California.” If so, it was in the face of the President's ultimatum.
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