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in every respect, the reverse of the and useless. The object of the war, if Twenty-Seventh. Its first characteristic it be what it is pretended-for we are as is its tendency towards destructivism. yet without any clear avowal of its real There is apparent in its action a recog- purpose-could have been better accomnition of positive pleasure in doing what plished without an invasion than with it. is calculated to surprise the country by It is, therefore, but an indefensible aggresits boldness and its novelty. It harbored sion upon a weak and distracted country, the utmost ultraism on the Oregon and wholly unworthy the prowess of our arms. Texas questions :-nothing was too ex We began by the annexation of Texas. travagant to be said or done on those The extent of our duty, after that measure, topics. It has given to the Constitution was to defend this new possession. To an entirely new character. They who that point the country would have been could not find authority to pave the with the administration-even those who Pennsylvania Avenue, or to make a na. opposed the policy of the annexation. tional' turnpike, have now discovered To this extent, the President has had ampower to bring new empires within the ple evidence that all parties would have Union. With this body the will of party united with him and Ient their aid to the is everything. In the advocacy of the achievement of a secure and honorable President's movements against Mexico, peace. With all due allowance for the it has stripped itself and its successors of natural ebullition of Mexican feeling the right of judging upon the expediency against the annexation, there is scarcely of a war, and given that question over a doubt that wise forbearance on our to the arbitrament of the Executive side, and firm assertion of our purpose alone. In the re-establishment of the to resist all attempts on the part of MexiIndependent Treasury, it has not only co to repossess herself of her lost probeen guilty of a piece of inexcusable vince, would have soon, been followed by folly, but it has defied the public will a restoration of friendly relations. But and treated it with contumely. In the the President has gone far beyond this repeal of the Tariff of 1842 it has griev. position. We have become invadersously assailed the welfare of the people, not to defend Texas but to add new doand consummated an act of perfidy which, mains to our national territory. for its intrepidity-if not for its impolicy Without intending to dwell upon the -is without a parallel in our history. history of this war and its objects, there The country has looked with amazement are one or two inquiries, connected with upon the hardihood with which their re. our pretensions, upon which the people presentatives have advanced in this work will hereafter demand an explanation. of destruction; and the public sensibility When the question of annexation was to their misdeeds seems, for the moment, brought to the consideration of the last even to have been blunted by the fre- Congress, a distinguished member of the quency of the recurrence of acts which Senate, whose course upon this measure singly could not escape a quick and in- entitles him to the respect and the thanks dignant denunciation.
of the nation-we mean Mr. BentonTo say nothing of the unfortunate ex very pertinently asked: What Texas is it, hibition made by the President and some that it is proposed to annex to this Union ? of his friends in the Oregon question- Is it the province of that name, formerly the peculiar absurdity of which has been belonging to the Mexican confederation, sufficiently reproved in the manly and which revolted and, on the plains of San wise statesmanship of the Senate-we Jacinto, won its independence? that Texcan find no language too strong to ex as which was bounded by the Nueces press our objections to the course of and the Red River, and known to all geoGovernment action by which the country graphers as definitively as any other Mexhas become involved in the Mexican ican State ?-Or is it proposed to annex
The Twenty-Ninth Congress has that country which is defined only in an made itself accessory to the folly and act of the Texan Congress ; which claims improvidence of this act, not only by its to have the Rio Grande for its limit up to acquiescence but by its vindication of the forty-second parallel of latitude, and the President and its active co-operation includes large portions of five Mexican in his views.
provinces that have never revolied, but We see no justification of that war in now live contentedly under the Mexican any incident of its history. It had its law; within whose borders no hostile origin in an untruth. It was impolitic Texan has ever been, except as a pris
oner of war? This was, in substance, the march of Mexican troops on the left Mr. Benton's inquiry. The reply was: bank of the Rio Grande was an act of There is no purpose to annex any other war begun by Mexico herself; and, ihat State or part of any province, but that having thus begun the war, she was to which has conquered its independence bide the consequences.
This untruth the Texas of the Mexican confederation regarding the first act of war was insertIt was said, moreover, that the acquisi- ed into the preamble of a bill to provide tion of any boundary beyond the recog- supplies necessary for the protection of nized limits of that State, would be made our army, now threatened by a force of the subject of friendly negociation with superior numbers to their own. The miMexico. This answer, more than any nority of the House, the Whigs, avowed other argument, secured the passage of their readiness to vote the supplies as esthe resolution which brought the new sential, in the existing state of affairs, to Republic into our Union. There was a secure the means of an early peace : pledge given that no war should be pro they protested against the falsehood of voked upon this question. It fell to Mr. the preamble, but the previous question, Polk's lot to redeem this pledge to the called, not to terminate but to forbid all country. His first movement was to de debate, was rigorously enforced, and no mand a negociation for the new bounda- alternative was lest but to pass the bill, ry, but coupled with that for the settle or stand exposed to the odium of abaninent of divers other complaints, and at doning our gallant army to its fate in the the same time to order armaments both by midst of an exasperated enemy. Consea and land to the Mexican border. The tenting themselves with their protest answer from Mexico was that of a people against the misrepresentation contained irritated with the unfriendly character of in the preamble, which they justly rethe whole proceeding for the annexation. garded as a snare of legislative trickery, They would treat only for the settlement they treated it with the contempt it deof the Texas question, as preliminary to served and performed their duty to the all other questions for discussion. . This country in placing all the means necesadid not satisfy Mr. Polk; and our army ry for the speedy and honorable terminawas marched to the Rio Grande, and plant- tion of the conflict at the disposal of the ed upon territory at that time in the un Executive. By whatsoever event begun, questioned occupation and under the ju- they saw that a war was now actually risdiction of Mexico. Batteries were con- waged, and that the only mode of extristructed to threaten the Mexican town of cating the nation from it, without discomMatamoras; and the entrance to the Rio fiture before the whole world, was to furGrande was blockaded by our vessels. A nish the Government every facility for its skirmish took place, as might have been prosecution with effect. They properly expected; a few American soldiers were left the Executive to take the responsiwounded; and Col. Cross, a valued offi-bility of conducting it to its conclusion. cer of our service, was waylaid and slain. Looking to the provocation of the war, the These events were calculated to arrest the temper in which our demand upon Mexico attention of the country and draw it to was made, the occupation of territory to the seat of war; they were of a nature to which, to say the least of it, the Mexican excite some degree of sensibility. Ad. claim was as good as ours, and to the palvantage was taken of this by the Govern- pable violation of the constitutional rement press, to raise a cry of vengeance straint upon the President which contides against the Mexicans, “ for the shedding the question of war with a foreign nation of American blood upon American soil.” exclusively to Congress, we cannot conWe were now informed that the pledges ceive a quarrel more indefensible in its given at the date of the annexation were origin, more worthy of censure for the nought-mere empty promises to secure recklessness with which it was burried an object :-that the territory of Texas forward, or likely to be more pernicious extended to the Rio Grande and covered in its results than this. We have acted the space defined within the limits of the towards Mexico too much in the spirit act of the Texan Congress; and that the rebuked in the fable of the Wolf and the portions of the five Mexican provinces, Lamb, and have held her to a bloody acspoken of by Mr. Benton, were embraced count for muddying the stream, at which, in the new acquisition of the United with a little moderation, forbearance and States. That for the maintenance of this Christian charity, we might both have acquisition we were now in arms; that quenched our thirst in amity.
There is another subject of remark con lified. All this by virtue of the mere nected with our pretensions in regard to Executive command! The representathis war.
If the annexation was intend- tives of the people have had nothing to ed by Congress to include the whole ter- say to it: the people themselves have ritory embraced by the boundary as de- had nothing to say to it. Annexation fined by the Legislature of Texas in 1836 has grown more summary than ever; —that is, if it extended to the Rio Grande the constitution is more elastic than we and thence to the forty-second parallel, dreamed of, and new domains crowd in it included a large portion of New Mexi- upon us like the multiplication of a jugco, containing the city of Santa Fe. But gler's balls under a cup. Truly, the strict the same Congress which made the an- constructionists have kicked up some new nexation, passed an act allowing a draw. notions of late. back on merchandise received at our It will be the deep reproach of the ports, and exported to Santa Fe. The present Congress, if these acts are sufquestion arises: Why was this drawback fered to go unquestioned.
That body allowed ? The answer is: Because San- will not escape the severest condemnation ta Fe was, in the opinion of Congress, if the outrage which has been perpein a foreign country : it was clearly, trated upon the Constitution in this ex. therefore, no part of Texas, as then un- traordinary proceeding be not visited derstood. Now, if Santa Fe was not a with a most signal rebuke. We cannot part of Texas and incorporated by the but fear, from the past, from all that we act of annexation into the Union, neither have seen of party subserviency, that the was Point Isabel, nor the country adja. Twenty-Ninth Congress possesses neicent. If Point Isabel was not a part, ther the disposition nor the faculty to do then the blood which was drawn in the the country justice in this matter ; that skirmish upon the Rio Grande, was not even the echoes of that voice, which has shed on American soil : and if that again spoken of late with such emphasis from be true, there is need of some abatement mountains and plains that have, hereof the tone of Executive declamation tofore, been wont to send forth no against the profanation of the American other than notes of assentation and fealty, soil; some good reason to question that will not be able to rouse the bated spirit solemn preamble which asserted that of this Congress to the task of checking “ war exists by the act of Mexico;" its too lordly master. The Whigs may some warrant to dispute the truth as speak, and, we predict, will speak, in no well as the wisdom of the same declara- dulcet accents, on these points ; though tion, made in the Presidential message, they will, doubtless, find all the apparacommunicating it as a fact to rouse the tus of parliamentary restraint brought into warlike spirit of Congress. This pre use to suppress the inquiry, and even sented a dilemma to the administration. silence the voice of complaint. But it is Formidable enough it was. We have not long before the people themselves heard that Mr. Secretary Walker, with a will have a potent word to say in their view to extricate the Government from own behalf, and to pass their judgment this dilemma, meditated the issuing of a upon these events.
With whatever gracircular to forbid the payment of the tulation they may look
the drawback upon exports to Santa Fe ;- of our noble little army; whatever solace that this device, however, upon second they may find in the glorious exploits of thoughts, was abandoned, as a little too those brave men who have obeyed the bold even for this administration. Mr. summons to the field, as we trust our Polk treated the matter more cunningly. people ever will obey the first sumHe dispatched Gen. Kearney to take pos- mons to any battle field, in which session of our territory of New Mexico; American soldiers, marshaled under the not to conquer it, but to organize a gov- national flag, may stand in need of sucernment there,—which he has done with cor ; however freely they may consent to most soldier-like peremptoriness and furnish all supplies and aids necessary to promptitude. New Mexico is not con hasten the war to a termination which quered therefore, but organized and shall leave the lustre of our arms untarbrought into line, and prepared to send nished—they will still not abate one joa her delegates to take their seats in Con- of their condemnation of an administragress : and so now we may trade there tion that has brought us into hostilities so without paying duties or getting the unnecessary, by means so derogatory to drawback. The act of Congress is nul- the constitutional power committed to the
Executive. We have seen in these pro ence such changes may have on our ceedings, the right asserted and acted Government, we may hardly venture to upon by the President, to wage war be- foretell. yond the territory of the United States, Before we conclude this article we without a declaration of war being au have a few words to say upon the course thorized by Congress. We see in them of the present Congress in reference to the assumption that territory may be ac the Tariff. Nearly sixty years have gone quired to this Government by conquest- by since the adoption of the Constitution, a point not heretofore settled and that, and in the very first year of its existence, being so acquired, the President may an the question arose regarding the power nex it to the Union, and provide for it all of the new government to protect and enthe machinery of a provincial govern- courage the labor of the country, against ment; that this may be done, too, with the competition of foreign nations. That out the authority of Congress. It would question has been decided affirmatively seem, moreover, to settle, as far as such by every Congress, from the first in authority can setile a question, the point which it arose down to the Twentyso often mooted, and so constantly denied, Ninth. It has been decided affirmatively by the strict constructionists, that the by the gravest enunciations of the JudiUnited States may hold and govern colo. ciary. It has been maintained by every nies. These are grave questions, and President until the election of Mr. Polk. are gravely to be answered.
It has been affirmed by the great majoriWe do not wish to be understood as ties of the people in every national elecdenying the power of acquisition by con tion. One would suppose the point was quest : much less are we prepared to settled. It was reserved to the adminis. affirm it. It is a new question, not very tration of Mr. Polk and the Twentydistinctly contemplated in the Constitu- Ninth Congress to refute and disallow tion, and very pregnant of weighty con- these combined authorities. The Presi. sequences. If it be decided in the affir- dent has recently asserted the doctrine, malive, then it seems to us quite clear that whatever duty has the effect to rethat the power to establish and maintain strain or diminish importations, is unconcolonies is inseparable from it. When stitutional ; in other words, that whatever we make a conquest, it is inevitable that duty lessens the competition of foreign we must provide for it, govern it, and manufacturers against the American, is turn it to the best account. In what forbidden by the fundamental law of this way we shall govern it, must necessarily Union. We gather no less than this rest in the discretion of the Federal au from the argument of the Message. That thorities. The colonial form may be the this point might not be misapprehended, most obvious and the most useful. Again, the Secretary of the Treasury reaffirmed if we can acquire territory by conquest, the Presidential declaration in still more we may acquire it in any quarter of the explicit language, and the same doctrine globe. What more probable than that, is announced by the committee to whom following up the spirit of aggrandize- the subject was entrusted by the House. ment so recently developed in our Gov. The result was the Tariff of 1846, which ernment, we should find early motive was not exactly an illustration of this and occasion to make a conquest of the ultra doctrine, but as near an approach to Sandwich, the Marquesas, or other con- it as the House of Representatives dare venient islands of the Pacific ? Could make. It is not our intention to comment we not hold them by the same tenure by upon the details of that bill. It has been which we assume to hold parts of Mexi. sufficiently exposed in the almost univerco? There is no difference in the prin- sal condemnation it has received from ciple applicable to the two cases. We every press in the country, that is not a should thus possess territory in no prox- partisan retainer of the Administration, imity to our present Union; but possess or the exponent of those peculiar opin. ing it, what is there to restrain us, under jons, which are endemic in certain sections the recent precedents, from annexing it of the Union, known to political naturalto the Union ? We can see no limit to ists as 'the region of abstractions. We the extension of these principles. The will remark, however, of this act, that it most startling consequences seem to fol. is not only a mischievous act, demonstrat. low in lawful succession, after the first ing equal ignorance of the condition of step which took us across the old con the country, and indifference to its opin. fines of our Confederacy. What influ. ions and wants ; but it is, also, a coward:
ly, equivocating, and salse act, which, Senate, in reply to Gen. Hayne of South whilst it professes to be built upon the Carolina, when the subject of Free Trade foundation of the Free Trade principle, was in debate, “ It is, in effect, the Britflagrantly departs from it in almost every ish Colonial System that we are invited instance in which it encounters an interest to adopt; and if their policy prevail, it sufficiently powerful to be felt in an will lead substantially to the colonization election. It bullies the weak and suc- of these States under the commercial documbs to the strong. Even these conces- minion of Great Britain.” sions have not saved it from the denun That remark is as true to-day as it was ciation of those whom it designed to in 1832, when it was uttered. We are favor ; and we have already some signi. enabled to show how accurately this lanficant whispers afloat, that the present guage of Mr. Clay represents the convic. session of Congress is to be called on, tions of sagacious Englishmen on this and directed to equivocate still farther, in point; and for that purpose we refer to the hope of averting that wrath which ihe opinions of the Edinburgh Review the democracy of the administration has the most authentic champion of Free not pith enough to defy.
Trade on the other side of the AtlanticWe have heard of great joy in Lon. given to us in an article written after Mr. don—to use Mr. Ritchie's phrase--and Secretary Walker's report had elicited over all England, when the Secretary's the commendations of Sir Robert Peel and precious exposition of the American poli- Lord Aberdeen. From these we make a cy reached there. It is not often that few extracts. Loco-focoism receives such compliments. “In what,” asks the Reviewer, July, The delight which the parliamentary 1846, in a discussion of the Sophismes honors awarded to the Secretary's report, Economiques' of Bastiat, “ do the comspread over the hearts of his friends in mercial advantages of colonial possesWashington, will not soon be forgotten sions consist? They consist simply, as -especially by those who were accus it seems to us, in the power which the tomed to read the sneers of the govern- mother country thereby enjoys of securment paper and its auxiliaries, conveyed ing fair and open market to her goods. in the term · British Whigs,' whenever a They consist in her power of preventing surmise was indulged that Mr. Polk the colony from excluding her from its could, under any circumstances, take less market by restrictions and discriminating than “ fifty-four, forty :” this joy in duties, and all the perverse follies which London' will not soon be forgotten by the the union of national jealousy with false mechanics of America who have been systems of political economy have ensacrificed, nor by those who wish well to gendered. It, (the colony,) if it the mechanics.
were independent, would, however small We refer to this expression of British in extent, attempt to set up a separate ingratitude towards our Secretary, for his dustrial and commercial system. Certain friendly support of British policy, because bodies of producers and traders would we find in it a significant illustration of a raise a cry about native industry, and the very important truth, upon which the public, partly from simplicity and partly statesmen of this country may protitably from national antipathies, would yield to reflect. In the general acclaim which the interested delusion.
For arose from the depths of the English na these reasons, we have, in the present tion to honor the American Premier, we state of the world, a substantial interest recognize the sincere delight of that peo- in the dependence of our colonies. We ple, that the United States should, at last, can secure an open market and a free propose to them the most acceptable trade so long as we can procure a safe atonement in our power, for the injury passage over the seas and maintain the done them by our Declaration of Inde. allegiance of the subject territories. pendence and successful revolt. The
Generally, therefore, the adprivileges of what Englishmen call Free vantage we derive from the possession Trade constitute, according to the opin- of colonies may be said to consist in ions of their best informed statesmen, the this—that, in consideration of the resum of all the benefits they had hoped sponsibility and expense of superintendto derive from retaining the American ing their government and defending them Colonies in their allegiance to the British against hostile attack, we require them Crown.
to trade freely with us. They are sep: Some years ago, Mr. Clay said in the arate political communities, each with