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expedient to raise a note of wailing for the injuries committed by Mexico, upon American citizens, accompanied with the most obstreperous clamors for compensation.

The public have heard much, but understood little, about “Our claims upon Mexico.” It is not probable that one in a thousand of those who declaim about Mexican outrages, as justifying the war against that Republic, know whereof they affirm. Before entering upon an examination of our claims upon Mexico, it may be well to state two of the general principles which, by the laws and usages of nations, limit the interference of a government in behalf of the demands of its citizens upon foreign powers for the redress of alleged grievances.

Complaints growing out of contracts entered into by citizens of one country with the Government of another, are not properly subjects for international discussion. Our Government would not tolerate for a moment, a remonstrance from the British Cabinet in behalf of an Englishman employed in our arsenals or ship-yards, who complained that he had not been paid his stipulated wages.

Where by treaty a foreigner is entitled to seek redress in the courts of the country in which his alleged injury has been received, his Government is not permitted to convert his wrong, whether real or imaginary, into a national grievance. Should an English subject be assaulted in our streets, defrauded by his debtor, or falsely imprisoned by a police officer, his Government could not demand of ours redress for his sufferings. Were these two principles to be disregarded, and were Governments to insist on sitting in judgment on the contracts their subjects might form with foreign powers, or on the quarrels in which they might be involved abroad, it is very evident that the peace of the world would be perpetually dis

turbed. Yet these principles, as we shall see hereafter, have been set at naught in many of the claims preferred by the American Government on that of Mexico.

But the subject of these claims is so important in itself, and so indicative of the determination of the Cabinet at Washington to provoke a war with Mexico, as to demand a separate chapter.




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On the 20th July, 1836, shortly after the victory of San Jacinto, and the captivity of the President of Mexico, the Secretary of State sent to Mr. Ellis, our Minister, a list of fifteen complaints against the Republic, accompanied with the strange acknowledgment that “the Department is not in possession of proof of all the circumstances of the wrong done in the above cases, as represented by the Aggrieved parties." The Cabinet deemed it expedient to prefer the complaints without loss of time, and to seek afterwards for proof to establish them.

But the most extraordinary part of this procedure, and which reveals the anxiety of the Government to bring on a rupture with Mexico, is the course prescribed to Ellis. He is ordered to demand such reparation was these accumulated wrongs may be found to require.” If no satisfactory answer shall be given in three weeks, he was to announce, that, unless redress shall be afforded without unnecessary delay, his further residence would be useless. If this threat proved unavailing, he was to notify the Government that, unless a satisfactory answer was returned in two weeks, he should ask for his passport, and at the expiration of the fortnight, he is to return home, if no satisfactory answer is received. The Mexican Minister had already, for the reasons we have stated, left Washington; and here we see a contrivance for withdrawing our

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Minister from Mexico in a manner highly irritating and insulting. All diplomatic relations between the two coun tries being thus interrupted, and for the alleged reason that Mexico had refused to pay our just demands, the way would be open for reprisals, and consequently war would follow.

It will be observed, too, that the responsibility of taking the momentous step which was almost necessarily to lead to hostilities, was adroitly thrown upon the discretion of a Mississippi slaveholder, eager to enlarge the slave territory by the annexation of Texas. Mr. Ellis was to judge whether the reparation offered was such as our “accumulated wrongs” required; he was to decide what was unnecessary delay, and he alone to determine whether the answers he received were or were not satisfactory.

We will now notice the fifteen grievances, the redress of which in a manner which Mr. Powhatten Ellis might deem sufficiently satisfactory and prompt, was to be the sine quà non of peace or war. We entreat the reader's patience while we enumerate these grievances, and the replies to them, because as he will see hereafter, it was for these that our diplomatic intercourse with Mexico was broken off, and that the President recommended to Congress, a measure equivalent to a declaration of war. The claims afterwards urged, can of course afford no justification or apology for the conduct of the administration, founded exclusively on the fifteen transmitted to Mr. Ellis. They were in substance as follows:

1. An American, of the name of Baldwin, had in 1832, unjust judgments given against him in the Mexican courts, and on one occasion, on account of an altercation between him and a magistrate, he was sentenced to the stocks. He resisted, and attempted to escape, and fell and injured his leg. He was thereupon seized, put into the stocks, and afterwards imprisoned.

2. The American vessel Topaz, was chartered by the Mexican Government in 1832, to convey troops. The master and mate, were murdered by the soldiers, the crew imprisoned, and the vessel seized and used in the Mexican service.

5. The American vessel Brazoria, was seized in 1832, and employed in a military expedition, without compensation.

4. Two American steamboats were taken possession of by Mexican officers, and used without compensation, in 1832.

3. Capt. McKeigé was imprisoned at Tabasco, in 1834, and an enormous fine imposed upon him,

6 without cause.' 6. The American vessel Paragon, was causelessly fired into by a Mexican schooner, in 1834.

7. The American brig Ophir, was seized and condemned in 1835, at Campeachy, because by some mistake, the proper papers were not shown at the Custom-house.

8. The American vessel Martha, was seized at Galveston, in 1835, for alleged violation of the revenue laws, and the passengers, accused of an intention to use fire arms against a guard placed on board, were put in irons.

9. The American vessel Hannah Elizabeth, stranded in 1835, on the coast, was boarded by soldiers, and the crew imprisoned, and pillaged of their clothes. The crew were afterwards released.

10. Two American citizens were arrested in Metamoras, in 1836, by a party of soldiers, who struck one of thein in the face with a sword. They were temporarily confined on suspicion of an intention to proceed to Texas. Sentinels were placed at the Consul's door, under false pretences. Soldiers broke into his gate, searched his house, and took from his yard a mare and two mules.

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