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stood to be opposed to invading Texas, ally felt by the Administration at Washand in favor of an amicable settlement ington, that Mexico would declare war, with the United States. He fell-partly or would attempt an invasion of Texas, on account of this imputation; but Pa. or even cross the Rio Grande with an redes, who succeeded, was just as little army. If it was otherwise, let it be disposed to undertake such a conquest as shown. It cannot be shown, or preHerrera had been.
tended. For any movement of troops, or And not only would there have been demonstrations of hostile purpose, the no invasion, or attempt at invasion, if Administration relied for information on the President had occupied only the General Taylor at Corpus Christi. Not proper and acknowledged soil of Texas, an expression can be found in any letter but it is manifest that nothing of the sort of his, from the month of September onwould have occurred, notwithstanding ward, which indicated danger, or any that our army had crossed the Nueces and prospect of danger. On the contrary taken position on the west bank of that everything breathed of repose, quiet and river, provided the President had allowed peace. And the news of peace from it to remain there. Corpus Christi, and General Taylor was confirmed to the a narrow strip of country on the west Administration from other quarters. The bank of the Nueces, though not a part of Secretary of War writes to him, under the ancient province of Texas, had date of October 16 : “ The information been actually occupied by Texans, and which we have here renders it prob. governed by the laws of the Republic. able that no serious attempts will, at General Taylor had held his position prcsent, be made by Mexico to invade there for six months without disturb. Texas-although she continues to threatance, and he was just as little threat en incursions." We repeat, and we ened with disturbance at the end as charge, in the most solemn manner, not at the beginning—and vastly less so. only the fact, but that the President and At first there was some apprehension, his Cabinet well knew, that so long as both in the camp and at Washing. General Taylor remained, or should reton, that Mexico might mean some. main, in his position at Corpus Christithing by her threats of war and invasion. so long as they refrained from pushing But this apprehension soon subsided at the army forward towards the Rio both points. On the 6th of September, Grande, no war and no invasion was to within three weeks of his arrival at be apprehended from Mexico. All the Corpus Christi, General Taylor writes: accounts show conclusively, that after “I have the honor to report, that a con- the month of August, and up to the time fidential agent dispatched, some days of this fatal movementof our army from the since, to Matamoras, has returned, and Nueces, there had been no concentration reports that no extraordinary preparation of Mexican troops on that frontier-no was going forward there ; that ihe gar- movement of troops towards it, and no rison does not seem to have been in- preparations for any such movement. creased, and that our Consul is of opinion The military correspondence shows this there will be no declaration of war.” fact beyond all dispute. He adds, “I must express the hope, that The collision of arms between us and no militia force will be ordered to join Mexico resulted, without any sort of me without my requisition for it. I am doubt or question, from the movement of entirely confident that none will be re our army to the Rio Grande. The presquired” And on the 17th of September, ent war is the necessary consequence of the Secretary of State writes from that movement, and is attributable to Washington: “ Information recently re that cause alone. This movement was ceived at this department . . . . renders commenced about the first of March, and it probable that the Mexican Government every active preparation for resistance may now be willing to restore the diplo. by Mexico, was made after that period matic relations between the two coun or at least after the time when the news tries." We say confidently, that from of this intended movement reached her the month of September down to and capital. Meja was then in command of including the 13th of January, when a a small force-not two thousand menperemptory order was issued to General at Matamoras. Ampudia was at the Taylor to move to the Rio Grande, there capital, but marched to Matamoras with was not the least reason to apprehend, a force of two or three thousand men, nor was any serious apprehension actu. where he arrived and assumed the com
mand a fortnight after General Taylor with an undefined boundary, or of invadhad sat down before that city. A fort. ing ou occupying that territory, or any night later, on the 4th of April, Arista part of it, with her forces; that if Genearrived and assumed the command. And ral Taylor had been suffered to remain at what was the attitude and position which Corpus Christi, no war and no collision these commanders assumed, under in- would have taken place, and that hostili. structions from their Government? Each ties and the war are to be attributed solein succession issued a proclamation, ly to the marching of our army to the or sent a communication to General Tay- Rio del Norte. It was not Texas that lor. That of Ampudia recited the explicit Mexico undertook to invade or defend ; demands of his Government. They were, but it was the soil of Tamaulipas invaded in substance, that General Taylor should by our army, even to the banks of del forthwith break up his camp and retire Norte, that she attempted to protect. She to the Nueces, until the question of submitted, in terms express as she could boundary should be settled between the make them, before a blow was struck, to two Governments. “If,” said he, “ you our forcible occupation of Texas up to, persist in remaining upon the soil of the and even over, the Nueces. More than Department of Tamaulipas, it must cer- that, pending the question of boundary tainly result that arms, and arms alone, between the two countries, she resolved must decide the question.” The answer not to submit to. of Taylor was: “The instructions under We can think of nothing more absurd which I am acting will not permit me to and silly, than a reference in a case like retrograde from the position I now oc. this, to the party that struck the first cupy.” Taylor acts as he is ordered, blow, as determining the question as to and says little. He immediately ordered which party began the war. We have the blockade of the mouth of the Rio no hesitation whatever in saying that the Grande, to cut off all supplies from Mata- President of the United States began this
“ It will,” said he, a few days war. The people of this country, and afterwards, “ compel the Mexicans either the world, will hold him responsible for to withdraw their army from Matamoras, it. Let him justify it, if he can. We where it cannot be subsisted, or to as. have said before, and on another occasume the offensive on this side of the river.” sion, that it was not his fault that this war He was right. On the very next day was not begun many months earlier than Captain Thornton's command was ai- it was. He began in the first summer tacked, and sixteen men killed and month of 1845 to point the vision of a wounded; and “ hostilities were now brave military commander to the banks considered as commenced.” General of the Rio del Norte. Taylor was a warArista considered hostilities commenced rior, bred in camps, who had never any before this. The Mexican army in force, fault to find with his profession, exsoon after “ assumed the offensive oncept that in a long peace it lacked acthis side of the river,” and the country tivity. This was the individual whom is informed of the issue.
the President invited in repeated mes. We desire, in all this, that our readers sages—we cannot call them orders should note the attitude assumed by the through several successive months, to Mexican Government and the Mexican march to " the point of his ultimate desti. Commanders. The Proclamation of the nation.” But Taylor waited for orders, President was: “I solemnly announce and when they came he marched. And he that I do not declare war against the had no sooner passed out of the valley of United States." “ But the defence of the the Nueces, and over the upsettled region Mexican territory, invaded by the troops adjoining, than he became fully aware of the United States, is of paramount ne: that he was in a foreign country, at the cessity.” The Commanders called on head of an invading army, and surroundGeneral Taylor to retire to the Nueces, ed by enemies. His situation was whol. as his occupation of the soil of Tamau- ly changed. At Corpus Christi he had lipas” must lead to hostilities. And we seen no enemy. Mexican traders came advert to these things now as affording and went, and all was friendship and indubitable proof of the position we have peace.
Now the case
was altered. been insisting on, namely—that Mexico His advance began to be met, he says, had long since abandoned all idea, if she by armed parties of Mexicans, thrown had ever seriously entertained it, of de- out to observe bis force and his move. claring or making war on account of the ments. At the Arroyo Colorado he was Annexation of Texas to the United States, met by a considerable force, who in
formed him that they were there to dis- ico, and was occupied and protected by pute his passage of that river, with posi- her military posts. In the earliest distive orders to fire on him if he attempted patches from the Department of War, to cross. He crossed as in the presence General Taylor was advised of the existof an enemy, with his “balteries of ence of these military posts and Mexican field artillery planted so as to sweep the settlements this side the Rio Grande. opposite bank.” The Mexicans retreat. And now let the President answer whethed. Some miles before reaching Point er he did not begin this war. He invad. Isabel, he was met by a civil deputation, ed, with his army, a foreign country-in bearing a white flag, from Matamoras. possession of a foreign people, and under They brought with them a formal Pro- the rule of a foreign power. And this test of the Prefect of the northern district is war—this is war! It was, in every of Tamaulipas against his occupation of step of the march for the last hundred that country:
“ The citizens of this dis- miles, a forced invasion, with military trict," says this respectful and dignified array—a conquering march, with inhabdocument, “ in the exercise of the natu. itants fleeing, and military parties retreatral rights of self-defence, PROTEST, ing before it. And this is war! It was through their organ, IN THE MOST SOL• an invasion of a foreign country to the EMN FORM, THAT NEITHER NOW, NOR AT distance of one hundred miles beyond ANY TIME, DO THEY CONSENT, OR WILL where the United States, or the Republic EVER CONSENT, TO SEPARATE THEMSELVES of Texas, had ever exercised or pretended THE MEXICAN REPUBLIC, AND to exercise jurisdiction ; and the invasion
THE UNITED did not stop till, at that distance from any STATES OF THE NORTH.” “ The territory which we ever had the slightest inhabitants must, whatever professions pretence to call our own, a powerful batof peace you may employ, regard you as tery was planted to " bear directly on openly committing hostilities. General the public square” of a foreign city, Taylor found this information strictly “ within good range for demolishing the and literally true. The buildings at town!" If this is not war, will the Point Isabel were fired at his approach. President tell us, in the name of all The inhabitants abandoned their homes the martial gods at once, what war and cultivated fields, and fled as he ad- is? vanced. When he reached his position We think that no reader who has fol. opposite Matamoras, in his brief, soldier. lowed us thus far can doubt that the ly way of writing, he sums up the case President of the United States is alone re. in this wise: “ The attitude of the Mex. sponsible for the war with Mexico-that icans is so far decidedly hostile.” He that war is to be attributed solely to the conducted himself accordingly. “ On march of our army, under his orders, our side,” said he, “a battery of four from the Nueces to the Rio Grande—that 18 pounders will be completed, and the that march itself was a hostile invasion guns placed in battery to-day. These and the commencement of hostile operaguns bear directly upon the public square of tions. There is not a nation in ChristenMatamoras, and within good range för dom, or in the world, having the ability demolishing the town. Their object can
and the courage, that would
not have renot be mistaken by the enemy,” &c. Only sisted such an invasion, under the like one step was wanting to " compel the circumstances. It remains to inquire Mexicans either to withdraw their army what justification or apology the Presi. from Matamoras, or to assume the offen- dent offers, or can offer, for making this sive on this side of the river ;" that step war. We can do but small justice to was to blockade the mouth of the river this part of our subject in the brief space --and it was done!
that is left to us for this article. We are not condemning General Tay Let us not, in this inquiry, be diverted lor. This war was not his, but the from the true point in the case. This Presidents. And it was no sin of igno- war, as we have seen, was begun by the rance in the President. He knew that act of the President, in moving the army the country on the Rio Grande had never from Corpus Christi on the west bank of been occupied by Texans, or touched by the Nueces, and sending it to take posTexans, except to be destroyed, or cap. session of the country on the east bank tured as enemies. He knew that the in. of the Rio Grande del Norte. The ques. habitants were Mexicans; that the whole tion is, what sufficient reasons existed to district was under the quiet and undis- justify this act? The President makes turbed rule of the civil authorities of Mex. The most of his own case, in his message
to Congress of the 14th of May. We opinion of the President, “ of urgent ne: feel bound to give him the benefit of his cessity” to provide for the defence of that defence just as he has presented it. Here particular section of country which lies it is:
between the Nueces and the Rio Grande. “This force (the army) was concentrat- Why? What new exigency had arisen ed at Corpus Christi, and remained there to demand now, and not before, the spe. until after I had received such information cial defence of“ that portion” of country? from Mexico as rendered it probable, if not The President answers : “ Meantime, certain, that the Mexican Government Texas, by the final action of our Con. would refuse to receive our Envoy. “Meantime, Texas, by the final action Union,” and the country
gress, had become an integral part of our
“ between the of our Congress, had become an integral Nueces and Del Norte” was a part of part of our Union. The Congress of Tex: Texas ; and hence “the urgent necessity as, by its act of December 19th, 1836, had declared the Rio del Norte to be the bound to provide for the defence of that portion dary of that Republic. Its jurisdiction had of our country," on the 13th of January been extended and exercised beyond the But, Mr. President, allow us respectfully Nueces.
to remind you, that if the Rio Grande was “ The country between that river and the south-western boundary of Texas, it Del Norte had been represented in the did not become so on or near the 13th of Congress and in the Convention of Texas, January, 1846, or at or about the time had thus taken part in the act of Annex. when Texas, by the final action of our ation itself, and is now included within one
Congress, became an integral part of our of our Congressional Districts. Our own
Union. You, yourself, date that boundary Congress had, moreover, with great unanimity, by the act approved December besides this, your army had actually oc
from the 19th of December, 1836; and 31st, 1845, recognized the country beyond the Nueces as a part of our territory by in. cupied the Texan country-yes, and“ becluding it within our own revenue system; yond the Nueces”-forseveral months beand a revenue officer, to reside within that fore your order of the 13th of January, District, has been appointed by and with and before Texas, by your present con. the advice and consent of the Senate. fession, had become an integral part of
“It became, therefore, of urgent neces our Union, by the final action of our Consity to provide for the defence of that gress. Several months before that order, portion of our country. Accordingly on
you assumed, in derogation of the Conthe 13th of January last instructions were issued to the General in command of these stitution, and to the great scandal of your troops to occupy the left bank of the Del country, that Texas, hy the action of the Norte. This river-which is the south Congress, or Convention, of that repub. western boundary of the State of Texas- lic, became an integral portion of our is an exposed frontier. From this quarter Union, and you ordered an army to march invasion was threatened ; upon it and in there, to occupy and defend it, as such, its immediate vicinity, in the judgment of For months before Texas became a State high military experience, are the proper of this Union—while she was still an instations for the protecting forces of the dependent republic, governed in all things Government.
by her own republican authorities—your “ In addition to this important consider. « Army of Occupation,” by your order, ation, several others occurred to induce this movement.
was encamped and entrenched in that Among these are the facilities afforded by the ports at Brazos country, to defend it as an integral porSantiago and the mouth of the Del Norte tion of our Union. And if the Rio Grande for the reception of supplies by sea, the
was the boundary of Texas in January, stronger and more healthful military po- 1846, it was not less the boundary of sitions, the convenience for obtaining a Texas in July, 1845; and we do not yet ready and more abundant supply of pro- see, therefore, how your obligations, on visions, water, fuel and forage, and the your own principles, became so much advantages which are afforded by the Delmore “urgent” 10 provide for the defence Norte in forwarding supplies to such posts of that portion of Texas beyond the as may be established in the interior and Nueces, in January, than it had been upon the Indian frontier."
in July We will see what this defence amounts Certainly, the President seemed to ento. The army had lain quietly for seve- tertain no doubt from the beginning that, ral months at Corpus Christi, disturbing as soon as Texas herself had acted on the nobody, and nobody disturbing it. On question of Annexation, it became his duty the 13th of January it became, in the to protect and defend that country, and
the whole of it, up to its extremest limits; were a new idea to him, that Texas had and as little doubt did he seem to enter. its western boundary on the Rio Grandetain, as long ago as the 15th of June, that nor yet by talking of that boundary as the Rio Grande constituted its western “an exposed frontier,” proper and conboundary. Gen. Taylor was then so in- venient to be occupied by the protecting structed. Under instructions, he took up forces of the Government. On the 23d of a position in Texas, “ beyond the Nue. Aug., a dispatch was written from Washces,” and this occupation was designed ington to inform General Taylor that expressly for the protection and defence the Administration then had “reason to of Texas-not of Texas on this side of believe that Mexico was making efforts that river' only, but of Texas wherever to assemble a large army on the frontier Texas was, and wherever Texans were. of Texas ;” and he was instructed that, By orders of the 13th of July, he was to “should Mexico assemble a large body protect and defend the territory of Texas, of troops on the Rio Grande, and cross it to the extent that it has been occupied by with a considerable force, such a movethe people of Texas.” “The Rio Grande ment must be regarded as an invasion of is claimed to be the boundary between the the United States, and the commencement two countries, and up to this boundary of hostilities.” And yet he was told in you are to extend your protection-only the same dispatch, that they “ had no excepting any posts on the eastern side more explicit instructions to give him in thereof, which are in the actual occupancy regard to his movements than had been of Mexican forces, or Mexican settle- already forwarded.” At that time, even ments over which the Republic of Texas a danger felt to be imminent could not did not exercise jurisdiction at the period draw from the President a positive order of Annexation, or shortly before that to move the army to the Rio Grande ; event.” Such were then the General's what, in the name of wonder, was it that orders; and under them, and to fulfill made that order of such “ urgent necesthem to the letter, he selected and main- sity” on the 13th of January ? tained his position on the west bank of But we have not forgotten that the the Nueces. What we want to know is: President had then, as he states, “received what had happened, on or about the 13th such information from Mexico as rendered of January, to create such an “urgent it probable, if not certain, that the Mexi. necessity” for directing his position to be can Government would refuse to receive changed from the Nueces to the Rio our Envoy.” If the President really offers Grande? and that change to be made, too, this as a reason for moving the army to wholly regardless of any Mexican posts the Rio Grande, then it must have been or Mexican settlements on this side of on one of two grounds : either that he that river! Up to that time the “ Army intended to consider the rejection of Mr. of Occupation,” in its position at Corpus Slidell as cause of war, or to make it, if Christi, had served abundantly to protect he could, the occasion of war, with MexiTexas, and the whole of it, to the extentco, on the part of the United States, and that it had been occupied by the people to lead the way to the commencement of of Texas, and strictly in accordance with hostilities accordingly; or, he apprebendthe orders of the 15th of June, and the ed that Mexico would follow up that act 30th of July. No war had been declared, by herself making war on us, or invading and Texas had not been invaded ; and all Texas. apprehension that it would be was past. Now we are prepared to say, and main. No such apprehension was sincerely felt tain, that the President had not the slighteither in the camp or in the cabinet. We est reason to believe—nor do we suppose have furnished the proof of this significant he did believe, or would so pretend—that fact already. We ask again then : where. Mexico was about to commence hostili. fore the orders of the 13th of January? ties because she had rejected, or would What were the grounds of that “ urgent reject our Minister. The subject of this necessity” which then arose to provide mission, and the temper and manner in especially for the better defence of that which it was conducted, ought to receive portion” of country which lies beyond a full exposition in this connection. But the Nueces ? Certainly, the President we cannot now enter into it. We think does not account for it, by declaring that if the object really was to conciliate the “ meantime Texas, by the final action of Mexican Government in the matter of Anour Congress, had become an integral part nexation—the point of offence to Mexiof our Union,”-nor by declaring, as if it co— nothing would have been more un