Puslapio vaizdai

over, their

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

can insurgents, however, resolved to offer to the slaveholding interest, not a single province only, but parts of Coahuila, Tamaulipas, and New Mexico; and accordingly voted themselves, on the 19th December, 1836, the vast territory included between the United States and the Rio Grande, from its source to its mouth. To proclaim, more

eagerness to transfer themselves and their immense domain, now consecrated to slavery, to the Federal Union, a poll was held in 1836, at which the electors were required to express their wish for annexation, or for a separate government. The result was, 3279 votes for annexation, and 91 against it. This vote is also important, as showing the diminutive population of the insurgent State.

These various manifestations were not made to unwilling or unobservant spectators.

The President, while full of complaints against the aggressions of Mexico, sent an official agent (Henry M. Morfit,) into Texas, whose report of the good land, it was hoped, would excite the American people to go up

and take possession. On the 22d December, 1836, the President laid before Congress a communication from his agent, on the “Political, military, and civil condition of Texas.” This document reveals the following important facts :-" The boundaries claimed by Texas will extend from the mouth of the Rio Grande, on the east side, up to its head waters, thence on a line due north, until it intersects that of the United States, and with that line to the Red River, on the northern boundary of the United States, then to the Sabine, and along that river to its mouth, and from that point westwardly with the Gulf of Mexico to the Rio Grande. It was the intention of the Government, immediately after the battle of San Jacinto, to have claimed from the Rio Grande along the river to 30 degrees of latitude, and then west to the Pacific. It was, however,

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

found that this would not strike a convenient point on the California, that it would be difficult to control a wanderiug population so distant, and that the territory now determined upon would be sufficient for a young Republic. The political limits of Texas proper, previous to the last revolution, were the Nueces river on the west, along the Red River on the north, the Sabine on the east, and the Gulf of Mexico on the south."*

The report of his agent in Texas was accompanied by the President with certain remarks highly characteristic of the policy pursued from the first by the Federal Government towards that province. “It is known,” said the President, “ that the people of Texas have instituted the same form of government with our own; and have, since the close of your last session, openly resolved, on the acknowledgment by you of their independence, to seek admission into the Union as one of the Federal States. The title of Texas to the territory she claims is identified with her independence. She asks us to acknowledge that title to the territory with an avowed design immediately to transfer it to the United States.” Thus we have a direct appeal to the avarice of the American people in behalf of annexation. The extravagant claims of Texas to Mexican territory are spread before Congress, and that body is reminded that the title to these vast domains is identified with the independence of Texas. Let us acknowledge that independence, and we thereby acknowledge the goodness of her claims; and, as soon as the acknowledgment is made, all Texas, and part of Coahuila, Tamaulipas, and most of New Mexico, will be ours. The influence of the tempter was in no degree lessened by a little commonplace cant about the duty of avoiding all suspicion of acting from interested motives. It was now obvious that, as

* Ex. Documents, Vol. 2. 24 Cong. 2 Sess.


Texas could not be purchased, and as Mexico would probably not be provoked into war, the acknowledgment of Texan independence was a necessary preliminary to annexation. But there was a powerful and vigilant hostility at the North against every measure leading to the acquisition of more slave territory. Pains were, therefore, taken first to weaken this opposition by considerations of personal and party interest, and, secondly, to lull its apprehensions by false and deceptive suggestions and assur

Thus President Jackson, in the Message already quoted, after showing how exceedingly profitable to the United States the acknowledgment of Texan independence would certainly prove, proceeded to allay the alarm of the North which his own representation awakened, by pretending that such acknowledgment must be indefinitely postponed. “ Prudence,” said he, seems to dictate that we should still stand aloof, and maintain our present attitude, if not till Mexico or one of the great foreign powers shall recognize the independence of the new Government, at least until the lapse of time, or the course of events, shall have proved, beyond all cavil or dispute, the ability of that country to maintain their separate sovereignty, and to uphold the Government constituted by them.”

This declaration, so frank and explicit, and made at the beginning of the Session of Congress, tended to prevent all demonstration of popular opinion against the acknowledgment, and all pledges on the subject from the Representatives to their constituents.

On the 1st of March, two days before the close of the Session, and in the absence of six members, a resolution passed the Senate acknowledging the INDEPENDENCE OF Texas. Allusion was made in debate to the objections

[ocr errors]

made by the President on the 22d of the preceding December to such a measure. To the astonishment of the public, the mover of the resolution, Mr. Walker, from Mississippi, declared in his place that he “had it from the President's own lips that, if he were a Senator, he would vote for this resolution.” Thus the lapse of time and course of events, contemplated by the President in his Message, were ascertained to be eight weeks, and a majority in Congress. The resolution was adopted by the lower House, and the American Colonists in Texas were thus received into the family of nations as forming an Independent Republic.



It will be recollected that President Jackson, in his Message of the 6th February, 1837, proposed that he should be authorized to make reprisals against Mexico, and for that purpose to employ the naval force of the nation, provided Mexico did not 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.”

Now, “the matters in controversy between us” were, in fact, no other than the eighteen grievances already specified. It was stipulated by the existing treaty with Mexico, that neither party shall “order or authorize any act of reprisal, nor declare war against the other on complaints of grievances or damages, until the said party considering itself offended shall first have presented to the other a statement of such injuries or damages, verified by competent proof, and demand justice and satisfaction, and the same shall have been either refused or unreasonably delayed.” Whatever claims and grievances we might have against Mexico, they were not “matters in controversy" until after they had been presented, and by the express terms of the treaty could not warrant either reprisals or war, until they had been verified, and the Mexican Government had either refused or unre

nreasonably delayed justioe.

Notwithstanding this treaty stipulation, the President

« AnkstesnisTęsti »