« AnteriorContinuar »
in avenging the wrongs of my country." Now Mr. Clay was old—the fires of his youth had gone out, but when he thought over the wrongs of his country, he earnestly desired to avenge them. My next witness shall be General Taylor. In his proclamation opening the war on Mexico,-a proclamation intended to satisfy all christian and enlightened nations of the earth as to the justice of our cause, he expressly states: “For many years our citizens have been subjected to repeated insults and injuries-our vessels and cargoes have been seized and confiscated-our merchants have been plundered and maimed and imprisoned without cause and without reparation. Our late effort to terminate all difficulties by peaceful negotiations has been rejected by Parades, and our minister of peace who your rulers agreed to receive, has been treated with indignity and insult, and Parades has declared that war exists between us. This war first proclaimed by him," &c. Now here is an enumeration of the wrongs, only alluded to by Mr. Clay. Let me not be told that this proclamation was made out at Washington and was not written by Gen. Taylor. If it had contained one fact that he did not know to be true Gen. Taylor would have signed it " by order of the War Department.” But as every word was true-as Gen. Taylor knows it to be true, he signs his name, makes the document his own, and sends it forth to the world, under his own proper name and signature.
But (said Gov. Brown,) this recital of our wrongs is fully sustained by Mr. Allen A. Hall, editor of the Nashville Whig, who said, on the 28th May, “ that we had a just claim of long standing against Mexico, for not less than six millions of dollars for wanton spoliations committed by her on the property of our citizens.” He further adds that she refuses to receive our ministers sent to settle all difficulties “ after having promised to do so." Here was a theme on which my competitor might have poured out the indignant eloquence of his soul against the injustice of Mexico. Instead of the widow scene which he so often describes with a tearful eye, in order to throw some censure on his own government, here one was founded on Why did he not draw you the picture of some weeping widow-shivering in her hovel, with her half starved and half naked orphans around her. Who is she? She is the widow of one of those American citizens, mentioned by Gen. Taylor and Mr. Allen A. Hall, who had been first plundered of all that he had in the world, then imprisoned without cause in the mines of Mexico, until exposed in the cold damp vaults, far from his wife and children, who are now left without a home or a shelter, to live on the cold and doubtful charities of the world. Here is a picture from real life, and I call on you to join me in denouncing that Mexican injustice and tyranny that struck so foul a blow on one of our countrymen.
But (continued Gov. Brown,) I have not done with the testimony of Mr. Hall yet. He says expressly “that Mexico had pursued a course to the United States which rendered it imperutive on the latter to force her to a settlement of the grave difficulties existing between the two countries," and challenges any man of any party to maintain to the contrary. Yes, Mr. Hall challenges any man of any party; as much as to say to my competitor, " I don't care if you are the candidate of the whig party, I am the Editor of the whig party and I challenge eyen you to controvert my position.” But my competitor has taken up the challenge and they may fight it out lustily between themselves.
But my competitor may ask, was this war commenced by us for this indemnity of six millions ? I answer that we did not commence it all. Mexico commenced it by an invasion for the reconquest of Texas, and we have carried it on" for indemnity for the past and security for the future.” So the question still recurs, is it not just to have carried it on for these purposes ? After the battles of the 8th and 9th on the Rio Grande, our country was relieved, it is true, from invasion for the present, but no one could tell how soon it might occur again. Mexico refused to negotiate at all, or even hold any sort of diplomatic intercourse with us, and might dash her armies back upon us at any moment she might please. We were therefore bound to carry on the war first commenced by her until safe and honorable peace could be extorted from her,
that indemnity which she herself had often acknowledged to be justly due to our people. So much then for the justice of this war.
Gov. Brown further maintained that it is a war of self-defence against invasion, and could not, therefore, have been avoided without dishonor. Mexico (said the Gov.) declared this war first; Gen. Taylor tells you she did. She not only declared it first, but she commenced it first; she crossed the Rio Grande in the night time, and made the attack on Thornton's detachment, killing some and taking others prisoners. This was the first blood shed in this war. What next? The next day they way-laid General Taylor on the road-side, when he was passing from one encampment to another, and made an attack upon his army, and the battle of Palo Alto was fought. This was the second time that the blood of your countrymen flowed in this war. What next? The next day he was assailed by the Mexican army on the same march to his upper encampment, and the battle of Resaca de la Palma was fought, which was the third time that the blood of your countrymen was made to flow like water in this war. Congress heard the news. The President recommended a declaration of war. It was declared, with only fourteen dissenting voices. The nation flew to arms, and more than 200,000 of our countrymen offered to volunteer to drive the insolent invader from our soil.
And now, (said the Governor,) my competitor every day makes an argument to prove that this march over the Rio Grande and these attacks on our army were not an invasion of our country. I maintain that they were, and will now furnish him with proof that he never will be able to overturn. When Congress heard the news that the river had been crossed and our army attacked, they voted ten millions of dollars and 50,000 volunteers, and directed the President “to prosecute said war to a speedy and successful termination.” Mr. Crittenden moved to strike out these words and to insert the following: "to repel invasion, and otherwise prosecute hostilities until the country be secured from the danger of further invasion ;" and Crittenden, and Corwin, and Barrow, and Berrien, and indeed
of the whole whig party in the Senate, when the was passed, our country was invaded. Let this record be transcribed on your memories; for as long as that journal exists, so long must it prove that my competitor is wrong-wrong in saying that Mexico extended to the Neuces—wrong in saying that Texas did not extend to the Rio Grande. Crittenden says he is wrong ; Berrien, and Archer, and Barrow, and all his whig friends in the Senate, declare that he is wrong. Besides these, his friends, Mr. Adams, and Clay, and Webster, have all stated that Texas did extend to the Rio Grande. Mr. Jefferson, and Mr. Madison, and Monroe, and Jackson, all held the same thing; and the only authority relied on by my competitor is Mr. Senator Benton, in his speech on the Tyler treaty. Mr. Benton, in that speech was evidently alluding to the upper Rio Grande, not the lower part, on which the army was marched. Judge Breese, a Senator from Illinois, making a speech, as I understand, in Mr. Benton's presence, drew this distinction in reference to Mr. Benton's speech, between the upper and lower Rio Grande, without correction by that Senator. With that distinction Mr. Benton would be right-without it he would be wrong, and the only man of distinction in all America who, to my knowledge, holds a different doctrine. My competitor should remember that Mr. Benton was speaking against the boundary of the Tyler treaty, when annexation was rejected. It was afterward accomplished, under resolution for which Mr. Benton voted, and to which he made what he considered an important amendment. Now, if his opinions were such as my competitor ascribes to him, how could he have finally voted for annexation as he did ?
But I proceed, said Gov. Brown, to give some further evidences that Texas as annexed to the United States did extend to the Rio Grande. Ist. I rely on old maps showing that river to have been the boundary of Louisiana. 2d. On old histories referred to by our negotiators in relation to this fact. 3d. That after the battle of San Jacinto, the whole Mexican army was ordered out of Texas, and over the Rio Grande, and never did return, and make any reconquest of any portion of the country on the east side of that river. Now why did Texas
umy ve cause she drove her enemies over that river. Why up to the Nueces ? Only because she drove her enemies over that river. Why up to the Rio Grande ? Only because she drove them over the Rio Grande. Why no further than that river? Because she drove them no further. I rely not on the treaty made with Santa Anna, when a prisoner. That might possibly be void, but I rely on the fact that the Mexican troops did actually withdraw from the country, clear over the Rio Grande river, and never after successfully re-invaded it. 4th. That when Gen. Wool, (the Mexican General of that name) was about to invade Texas, the year before annexation was accomplished, he issued a proclamation clearly indicating where Mexico considered the boundary of Texas to be. His work of death and destruction was to begin, the moment he passed one league on this side of the Rio Grande-one league on this side, and every living soul that he might meet with was to be treated as Texan rebel. But why not those who lived on the river and within one league? Because he knew that those persons were mere temporary occupants of huts, near the river for purposes of fishing, or in some way concerned in the navigation of that river. Such temporary occupants, he knew to be Mexicans in fact although living in Texas, and therefore spared them in his bloody decree.
I have, said Gov. Brown, one other Mexican authority, which I will now present to my competitor. After the battle of Buena Vista an American officer had occasion to be sent to Santa Anna's quarters, and something was said about Gen. Taylor's desire for peace. His reply should forever engrave itself on the memory
"we can never say anything of peace whilst the Americans are on this side of the Bravo." Not whilst the Americans are on this side of the Nueces—no, no, whilst they are on this side of the Bravo. Will my competitor out Herod Herod? Will he beat Santa Anna himself, in surrendering more of his own country than Santa Anna is willing to claim ! But he insists that several of the Mexican States had been extended in modern times over the Rio Grande, as far as the Nueces. Well, and suppose for the sake of argument only, that they had been. In 1835