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Republic has been in existence, have her prisons been without guiltless tenants from our country, and at no period within the memory of man have life and property been safe within its boundaries.* Mexico has neglected education and all modern means of reform, and has failed to secure the honest citizen in his rights, and the industrious in the fruits of his labor.f
There is no fiction in this melancholy recital ; our language is true to reality. On this point we have no occasion for corroborative evidence, as no one will doubt us. However much politicians have been willing to oppose the late war with Mexico, there are none, no, not one, who is prepared deliberately to speak well of that benighted country. They have not only been unwilling to testify to her integrity as a nation, but have actually disclaimed, in advance, all inferences that might be made from their remarks, which should seem to sanction her past practices. The delusion has been complete. Indeed, it has been cruel. She has been wrong in every thing except the war; and in regard to that, right in every thing, except defeat! Why should she be reminded of her errors, in her first attempts to do right? Why should she be blinded by a false sympathy that increased her evils, and by a mock spirit of instigation to reject her best friends?
We are free to confess our wonder, that the Republic of Mexico has been preserved so long; that its faithless and
* See Appendix F.
† For the amount of general intelligence, and the extent of the wealth and commercial intercourse of the middle classes, there is more licentiousness and vice than in any other country on the globe. The Catholic church has nowhere so corrupt a priesthood. It is the policy of this class, and the rich, to keep the lower orders in ignorance, in order that they may prostitute them to subserve their selfish and unworthy purposes. There are probably not 5000 females, out of the population of 8,000,000, who can read and write.
Gilliam's Travels in Mexico. Mr. Mayer says, in his interesting work, “that in the year 1840, while $180,000 were spent for hospitals, fortresses, and prisons, and $8,000,000 for the army, (with no foreign war,) only $110,000 were given to all the institutions of learning in Mexico.”
barbarous acts should have been permitted by civilized nations to occur so often and without redress ; that its people have been spared to live with so little nakedness and starvation. In no way can we account for this exemption from instant accountability, except it be in the indulgent and misguided forbearance of nations. Her weakness and position have been her protection. Her worst enemies have been within her own limits; the great sources of her evils have been in her own rulers ; the greatest obstacles to her success have been in the ignorance of her own people.
The period of her retribution had come. She had improved the seed-time of iniquity, and it remained that she should gather her own bitter harvests. Bound and fettered by political impostors, encamped and fortified within her vitals, and blinded by bigots that knew no grace but physical power, nothing could save her but a foreign war. Not a war forced without cause, but produced by laws of violated nature - produced by her own misguided acts and negligence; a war of literal justice. It was as likely to happen with one nation as with another, but most likely with one nearest her borders.
The primary causes of the war with Mexico may be found in her past acts, which we have reviewed ; and the recent events which have been spoken of so often, are but the ultimate results, or the legitimate outbreaks of troubles which have been engendered by her government and people.
What was true in regard to Great Britain, in 1812, has long been true in relation to Mexico. The relations between Great Britain and the United States, in 1812, were admirably summed up in a few words by President Madison, in a message to Congress.
“ We behold,” says Mr. Madison, “ in fine, on the side of Great Britairī, a state of war against the United States ; and on the side of the United States, a state of peace towards Great Britain. Whether the United States shall continue passive under these progressive usurpations and these accumulating wrongs, or, opposing force to force in defence of their national rights, shall commit our just cause into the hands of the Almighty Disposer of events, avoiding all connections which might entangle it in the contest or views of other
and preserving a constant readiness to concur in an honorable establishment of peace and friendship, is a solemn question, which the Constitution wisely confides to the legislative department of the government. In recommending it to their early deliberations, I am happy in the assurance that the decision will be worthy the enlightened and patriotic councils of a virtuous, a free, and a powerful nation."
It is with no ordinary satisfaction that we find ourselves enabled to quote, as confirmatory of our method of investigation, a passage from the writings of that eminent statesman, the late John Quincy Adams. It is taken from the lecture which he delivered on the war between Great Britain and China in 1842.
“ It is a general, but I believe altogether mistaken opinion,” says Mr. Adams, “ that the quarrel is merely for certain chests of opium imported by British merchants into China, and seized by the Chinese government for having been imported contrary to law. This is a mere incident to the dispute, but no more the cause of the war than the throwing overboard of the tca in the Boston harbor was the cause of the American revolution.
“ The cause of the war is the pretension, on the part of the Chinese, that, in all their intercourse with other nations, political or commercial, their superiority must be implicitly acknowledged, and manifested in humiliating forms. It is not creditable to the great, powerful, and enlightened nations of Europe, that for several centuries they have, for the sake of profitable trade, submitted to this insolent and insulting pretension, equally contrary to the first principles of the law of nature and of revealed religion — the natural equality of mankind —
• Auri sacra fames,
INDEPENDENCE AND SUBSEQUENT ANNEXATION OF
ANNEXATION NO CAUSE OF WAR.
Among the results, which have been discussed as causes, we find the Texas question, — the independence and subsequent annexation of Texas as a State of our Union.
This has become simple history. Parties are at issue with respect to some facts, which are not very important, even if determined, in aiding us to decide the general merits of the
The opponents of annexation have thought proper to assail the motives of the friends of that measure, and, upon the assumption that their views were correct, have manifested a singular prejudice and hostility to every proposition and event which have grown out of it. It is not our business to question their motives or their integrity, but to consider the whole subject independently of them. These were national measures, and as such we propose to consider them. The motives of those who originated and matured them make no part of the subject. A good measure may be proposed with bad motives, or motives that we cannot approve ; and bad laws may be proposed and enacted springing from the best of motives. Besides, all men do not judge accurately of results. National measures for specific interests are sometimes proposed with limited views, and for the attainment of objects not to be justified, but which, on examination, are found to possess other features highly favorable to other good purposes not contem: plated by the original mover. Indeed, they may prove fatal to his intentions. He may have failed to study his own combination of causes, and he lives to be disappointed in the results of his own acts. Let it be so. Causes are certain, men uncertain. We discuss measures to be determined, according to our best knowledge and convictions of duty ; but when called upon to consider the events of the past, we desire to take them as we find them, approving what we can, condemning what we must. We can only judge of our own motives, conceding to others the same prerogative.
As late as in 1821, Mexico was subject to the crown of Spain ; but, for reasons deemed sufficient by her people, she asserted her own independence. Her revolution was successful, and her independence was acknowledged by the United States, January 23, 1823, and soon after by other leading governments of Europe. In 1824, she adopted a federal constitution. We have already reviewed her history, and have seen what has been the measure of her success.
66 Santa Anna, at the head of the military power, overthrew the constitution of 1824, abolished the state governments, and established one of the most tyrannical and absolute governments that ever existed.” * In 1835, the State of Texas protested against the usurpation of Santa Anna, and insisted upon their rights, as guarantied by the federal constitution of 1824. The objects of that constitution were similar to those of the Constitution of the United States, -" to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”
These objects were sacred, and the government of Mexico was bound to be faithful to the conditions imposed by the trust. If it failed in the accomplishment of any one of them, there would be just cause for complaint on the part of the people, and their submission to such failure would make no part of duty. If the government failed in all the objects of the union, as set forth, it would be regarded as a case of absolute weakness, criminal design, or neglect, and nothing but a total change of administration should satisfy a people that they were true to themselves or to their country. If it failed not only to accomplish the objects for which it was organized, but usurped authority in gross violation of those objects, then its measures were acts of treason, and revolution became an imperative duty, not to be avoided without dishonor.
* See Speech of General Rusk, Senator from Texas.