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as we could find, could of course be obtained only by force, which would necessarily lead to war, and that as necessarily to the immediate annexation of Texas. Accordingly, on the 6th February, 1837, the President having received Mr. Ellis's report, sent a Message to Congress on the subject of our claims upon Mexico. In this document, complaining of the conduct of the sister Republic, he observed : “ The length of time since some of the injuries have been committed, the repeated and unavailing applications for redress, the wanton character of some of the outrages upon the property and persons of our citizens, upon the officers and flag of the United States, independent of recent insults to this Government and people by the late extraordinary Mexican Minister, would justify in the eyes of all nations IMMEDIATE WAR. That remedy, however, should not be used by just and generous nations, confiding in their strength, for injuries committed, if it can be honorably avoided ; and it has occurred to me that, considering the present embarrassed condition of that country, we should act both with wisdom and moderation, by giving to Mexico one more opportunity to atone for the past, before we take redress into our hands."

“ To avoid all misconception on the part of Mexico, as well as to protect our national character from reproach, this opportunity should be given with the avowed design and full preparation to take immediate satisfaction, if it should not be obtained on a repetition of the demand for it. To this end, I recommend that an act be passed, authorizing reprisals and the use of the naval force of the United States, by the Executive, against Mexico, to enforce them, in the event of a refusal by the Mexican government, to come to an amicable adjustment of the matters in controversy between us, upon another demand thereof, made on board one of our vessels of war, on the coast of Mexico.

The cruelty of this attempt to involve the two countries in war, was aggravated by the very character of the recommendation. No specification is made of the injuries we have received, no notice is taken of the answers returned to the eighteen complaints, no mention made of the amount of money claimed. The President is to be armed with power to take immediate satisfaction, and for this purpose the navy is to be placed at his disposal. But to what amount the navy is to plunder the commerce and sea-ports of Mexico, is not stated. However, before a system of robbery is commenced, a demand for satisfaction (but how much no one knows,) is to be sent to the Government of Mexico, from a ship of war off Vera Cruz, and “a satisfactory answer to be retnrned, of course, in a certain number of days. No one can fail to see that the President intended war, and that a compliance with his recommendation by Congress would have been equivalent to its declaration. The country was not yet prepared to commence a system of human butchery, for the purpose of facilitating the acquisition of Texas; and General Jackson's belligerent proposition found but little favor with either house of Congress.

But the reader is as yet only partially acquainted with the extreme wickedness of this proposal. He is yet to learn that only six months before the date of this message, the President had himself acknowledged that Mexico was guiltless of the conduct he now imputed to her. We must again advert to the letter of the 5th August, 1836, already quoted in the preceding chapter. This was a sort of semi-official, semi-confidential epistle, written, not at Washington, but at the President's residence in Tennessee, and addressed to the Governor of that State. Governor Cannon was, doubtless, no less anxious than his friend, for the annexation of Texas, even at the cost, if necessary, of a war with Mexico. General Jackson seems to have written the letter, to excuse himself for countermanding Gaines's order for troops, and for not facilitating annexation, by making war on Mexico. On the first point he tells the Governor “there is no information to justify the apprehension of hostilities to any serious extent, from the western Indians:" But was not the frontier endangered by the Mexicans ? Was not Mexico virtually waging war upon us ? Listen to the solemn assertions made by the President's ambassador Ellis, in his letter to the Mexican Secretary of State, on the 26th September, only a few weeks after the communication made to Governor Cannon :-“ The flag of the United States has been repeatedly insulted, and fired upon by the public armed vessels of this Government; her consuls, in almost every port of the Republic, have been maltreated and insulted by the public authorities; her citizens, while in the pursuit of a lawful trade, have been murdered on the high seas, by a licentious and unrestrained soldiery. Others have been arrested and scourged in the streets by the military, like malefactors— they have been seized and imprisoned under the most frivolous pretexts—their property has been condemned and confiscated in violation of existing treaties, and the acknowledged laws of nations, and large sums of money have been exacted of them, contrary to all law.” Now, in such a state of things, how did General Jackson excuse himself to his friend, for not vindicating the rights of his country? Very easily. All the grievances we could muster were but eighteen, and Ellis's vituperation was intended for the purpose of insult and exasperation. The President well knew, as the result proved, that Congress could not be prevailed on to declare war against Mexico at present, and hence he tells Governor Cannon: Should Mexico insult our national flag, invade our territory, or interrupt our citizens in the lawful pursuits which are guaranteed to them by treaty, then the Government will promptly repel the insult, and take speedy reparation for the injury. BUT IT DOES NOT SEEM THAT OFFENCES OF THIS CHARACTER HAVE BEEN COMMITTED BY MEXICO."* Let it not be forgotten, that this confession was made about two weeks after the date of the instructions to Ellis already mentioned, and which were obviously intended to produce a rupture of the diplomatic intercourse between the two countries, as preparatory to war.

* See this remarkable letter in Ex. Doc. 2 Sess. 24 Cong. Vol. 1, No. 2. It was probably intended as a private letter, but almost immediately found its way into the newspapers, most likely through the indiscretion of Governor Cannon. Being thus made public, Mr. Forsyth made use of it, the 31st of the same month, in his correspondence with the Mexican Minister, sending him a newspaper copy of the letter, as evidence of the Presi. dent's friendly disposition towards Mexico !

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The colonists of Texas being American citizens, at no time wished to remain a separate and independant nation. Their highest aspiration was to see their lone star admitted into the American constellation. The slave-holders also were adverse to the rise of a small independent State on their southern borders—a State that in time might form a barrier to the

progress of slavery. It was the policy of the Texans to stimulate the desire of the slave-holders for annexation, and hence within fifteen days after the declaration of independence, they adopted a constitution giving the rights of citizenship to all white emigrants, after a residence of six months, authorizing emigrants to bring their slaves with them, and rendering human bondage perpetual, by depriving the legislature of the power to abolish it. A boon was held out to the breeding States, by granting them the monopoly of the Texan market, the importation of slaves being prohibited, except from the United States. Free negroes and mulattoes, it is well known, are regarded by the slave-holders as a dangerous population. In Texas, no colonization society was needed to remove such nuisances from the country. By the Constitution, every negro and every mulatto, now or in future, remaining on the soil of Texas, was doomed to bondage. There was still one more lure held out to the South. Mr. Benton had calculated that nine slave States might be carved out of Texas; but his vision of the future was confined to the Mexican province of that name.

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