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may be true, perhaps, that Mexico intended no action but a display of threats without the slightest design of redeeming them. If she found us unmoved by these, her counsels of prudence were sufficient to produce other and equally safe expedients. But the decree alluded to by General Taylor was evidence enough that she intended war, and nothing but war. It was not, however, the open war of civilized nations that they. looked for and desired, but for opportunities of sudden incursions and massacres ! They would have ventured attacks upon unarmed citizens, asleep, in the night time, and possibly upon detachments of troops, if their numbers were so small as to give them no apprehension of danger. Not to enjoy such privileges of bloodshed was a sore disappointment to them. They did not expect to be met on the line, where they could have no chance to execute their acts of revenge upon
people of Texas without a check, or a shot that might injure them. They, indeed, claimed it as a right, that our army should remove beyond the Nueces, until the two governments had settled the boundary question. They had a sudden, and for them, a novel disposition, to protect their own soil, and their own people. But it was thought by our government that no evil could arise by giving protection to all the territory that Texas claimed, knowing full well that the tender mercies of Mexico could in no human probability exceed those which would be extended by our army, and without any expense to them. It was a matter of duty, however, paramount to every other consideration with our government, if persuaded that any protection was required, to give it with an amplitude that should insure entire and unquestioned safety to Texas, and preserve unsullied the integrity of the United States.
Let us now look on the other side. Let us see what was
MEXICO, during this period of threatened hostilities on the part of that republic. We would not intentionally bias the reader in favor
of his own country, if she were in the wrong ; nor would we endeavor to create prejudices in his mind against a sister republic, if she were in the right. Our purpose is, simply, to ask a candid attention to facts. Let the documents speak for themselves. Our limits allow us no alternative but to make extracts, and almost always at the expense of much evidence confirmatory of our views, which we are compelled to omit.
PLEDGE OF AMITY OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT.
Mr. Buchanan to General Almonte, March 10, 1845. “The president sincerely regrets that the government of Mexico should have taken offence at these proceedings, [act of Congress annexing Texas ;] and he earnestly trusts that it may hereafter be disposed to view them in a more favorable and friendly light. Whilst entering upon the duties of the presidential office, he cheerfully declares, IN ADVANCE, that his most strenuous efforts shall be devoted to the amicable adjustment of every cause of complaint between the two governments, and to the cultivation of the kindest and most friendly relations between the sister Republics.”
ACTS OF HOSTILITY FORBIDDEN BY THE UNITED STATES.
Mr. Buchanan to Mr. Donelson, June 3, 1845.
" This government will studiously refrain from all acts of hostility towards that Republic, (Mexico,) unless these should become absolutely necessary in self-defence. Orders have been transmitted to Captain Stockton in accordance with this declaration.”
ORDER FOR DEFENCE, NOT INVASION.
Secretary of War to General Taylor, June 15, 1845. “ You will limit yourself to the territory of Texas, unless Mexico should declare war against the United States.”
ORDER TO SPARE ANY MILITARY ESTABLISHMENTS EAST SIDE
OF THE RIO GRANDE.
Secretary of War to General Taylor, July 8, 1845. “ This department is informed that Mexico has some military establishments on the east side of the Rio Grande, which are, and for some time have been, in the actual occupancy of her troops. In carrying out the instructions heretofore received, you will be careful to avoid any acts of aggression, unless an actual state of war should exist."
This order has been frequently quoted to prove that our government was wrong in claiming to the Rio Grande, because a few Mexicans had been specially permitted by our government to remain between that river and the Nueces. This is certainly novel logic. We should suppose that the meaning was quite the contrary. If our government deemed it expedient to make such an exception, the fact of making it is evi. dence to prove that it considered its title to the territory undoubted ; otherwise the act would have been one of inconsistent assumption. It was an act of deliberate indulgence. If the right of exception implies any thing, it implies the right of possession.
ORDER TO AVOID AGGRESSION, BUT TO PROTECT TEXAS.
Secretary of War to General Taylor, July 30, 1845.
“ While avoiding, as you have been instructed to do, all aggressive measures towards Mexico, as long as the relations of peace exist between that republic and the United States, you are expected to occupy, protect, and defend the territory of Texas to the extent that it has been occupied by the people of Texas.”
This was made subject to the exception given in the letter of July 8.
ASSURANCE OF GENERAL TAYLOR THAT FRIENDLY RELATIONS
WOULD NOT BE INTERRUPTED.
General Taylor to Adjutant-General Jones, July 20, 1845.
“ The department may rest assured that I will take no step to interrupt the friendly relations between the United States and Mexico."
GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES PROPOSES TO NEGOTIATE.
APPOINTMENT OF MR. SLIDELL MINISTER TO MEXICO.
The desire for peace was universal and sincere with the people of the United States, and it pervaded all the acts of our government. The olive branch was made a part of the national banner, and peaceful negotiation was invited at every step and movement of our army by our government. From evidence that was deemed authentic, it was generally believed, in this country, that the people of Mexico were averse to war with the United States, and that they would be glad to have an opportunity to sustain their government in any measures that would secure a permanent peace. Constantly alive to the best good of that Republic, and a consistent friend to peace, the president of the United States thought that an act of condescension on the part of the more powerful government might have a salutary effect in conciliating Mexico, and in preparing her to listen to those dictates of prudence which one would suppose she would be at no loss to find in her own distracted condition.
In his message of December, 1845, the president says,
“ After our army and navy had remained on the frontier and coasts of Mexico for many weeks, without any hostile movement on her part, though menaces were continued, I deemed it important to put an end, if possible, to this state of things. With this view, I caused steps to be taken, in the month of September last, to ascertain distinctly, and in authentic form, what the designs of the Mexican government were ; whether it was their intention to declare. war, or to invade Texas, or whether they were disposed to adjust and settle, in an amicable manner, the pending difficulties between the two countries. On the 9th of November, an official answer was received, that the Mexican government consented to renew the diplomatic relations which had been suspended in March last, and for that purpose were willing to accredit a minister from the United States. With a sincere desire to preserve peace, and restore relations of a good understanding between the two Republics, I waived all ceremony as to the manner of renewing diplomatic intercourse between them; and, assuming the initiative, on the 10th of November, a distinguished citizen of Louisiana * was appointed envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Mexico, clothed with full powers to adjust and definitely settle all pending differences between the two countries, including those of boundary between Mexico and the State of Texas.”
" He has been instructed to bring the negotiation with which he is charged to a conclusion at the earliest practicable period ; which, it is expected, will be in time to enable me to communicate the result to Congress during the present session. Until that result is known, I forbear to recommend to Congress, such ulterior measures of redress for the wrongs and injuries we have so long borne, as it would have been proper to make had no such negotiation been instituted.”
This was magnanimity such as could only come from a nation conscious of its accountability, greatness, and power. A feeble nation would lose its rank, and be stigmatized as wanting in courage and self-respect, that should assume the initiative in renewing diplomatic relations that had been suspended by the acts of another power. It was an act worthy of this Republic, and, if any evidence were wanting fully to confirm the sincerity of the government declarations manifesting a strong desire for peace, this must be deemed conclusive
* Hon. John Slidell,