« PředchozíPokračovat »
river, and in the event of his failure to comply with these demands, announced that arms, and arms alone, must decide the question. But no open act of hostility was committed until the 24th of April. On that day, General Arista, who had succeeded to the command of the Mexican forces, communicated to General Taylor that “he considered hostilities commenced, and should prosecute them.” A party of dragoons of sixty-three men and cflicers were on the same day dispatched from the American camp up the Rio 'del Norte, on its left bank, to ascertain whether the Mexican troops had crossed, or were preparing to cross the river, “became engaged with a large body of these troops, and after a short affair, in which some sixteen were killed and wounded, appear to have been surrounded and compelled to surrender."
The grievous wrongs perpetrated by Mexico upon our citizens throughout a long period of years, remain unredressed ; and solemn treaties, pledging her public faith for this redress, have been disregarded. A government either unable or unwilling to enforce the execution of such treaties, fails to perform one of its plainest duties.
Our commerce with Mexico has been almost annihilated. It was formerly highly beneficial to both nations; but our merchants have been deterred from prosecuting it by the system of outrage and extortion which the Mexican authorities have pursued against them, while their appeals through their own government for indemnity have been made in vain. Our forbearance has gone to such an extreme as to be mistaken in its character. Had we acted with vigor in repelling the insults and redressing the injuries inflicted by Mexico at the commencement, we should doubtless have * escaped all the difficulties in which we are now involved.
Instead of this, however, we have been exerting our best efforts to propitiate her good will. Upon the pretext that Texas, a nation as independent as herself, thought proper to unite its destinies with our own, she has affected to believe that we have severed her rightful territory, and, in official proclamations and manifestoes, has repeatedly threatened to make war upon us for the purpose of reconquering Texas, In the mean time, we have tried every effort at reconciliation. The cup of forbearance had been exhausted, even be. fore the recent information from the frontier of the Del Norte. But now, after reiterated menaces, Mexico has passed the boundary of the United States, has invaded our territory, and shed American blood upon the American soil. She has proclaimed that hostilities have commenced, and that the two nations are now at war.
As war exists, and, notwithstanding all our efforts to avoid it, exists by the act of Mexico herself, we are called upon, by every consideration of duty and patriotism, to vindicate, with decision, the honor, the rights, and the interests of oui country.
Anticipating the possibility of a crisis like that which has arrived, instructions were given in August last, “ as a precautionary measure," against irvasion, or threatened invasion, authorizing General Taylor, if the emergency required, to accept volunteers, not from Texas only, but from the States of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky; and corresponding letters were addressed to the respective governors of those States.
These instructions were repeated ; and in January last, soon after the incorporation of “Texas into our Union of States,” General Taylor was further “ authorized by the President'to make a requisition upon the executive of that State for such of its militia force as may be needed to repel invasion, or to secure the country against apprehended invasion.” On the 2d day of March, he was again reminded, " in the event of the approach of any considerable Mexican force, promptly and efficiently to use the authority with which he was clothed, to call io him such auxiliary force as he might need."
War actually existing, and our territory having been invaded, General Taylor, pursuant to authority vested in him by my direction, has called on the governor of Texas for four regiments of state troops, two to be mounted, and two to serve on foot, and on the governor of Louisiana for four regiments of infantry, to be sent to him as soon as practicable.
In further vindication of our rights and defence of our territory, I invoke the prompt action of Congress to recognize the existence of the war, and to place at the disposition of the executive the means of prosecuting the war with
vigor, and thus hasten the restoration of peace. To this end I recommend that authority should be given to call into the public service a large body of volunteers, to serve for not less than six or twelve months, unless sooner dis-, charged.
A volunteer force is, beyond question, more efficient than any other description of citizen-soldiers; and it is not to be doubted that a number far beyond that required would readily rush to the field upon the call of their country. I further recommend that a liberal provision be made for sustaining our entire military force, and furnishing it with supplies and munitions of war.
The most energetic and prompt measures, and the immediate appearance in arms of a large and overpowering force, are recommended to Congress as the most certain and efficient means of bringing the existing collision with Mexico to a speedy and sưccessful termination.
In making these recommendations, I deem it proper to declare that it is my anxious desire, not only to terminate hostilities speedily, but to bring all matters in dispute between this government and Mexico to an early and amicable adjustment; and, in this view, I shall be prepared to renew negotiations, whenever Mexico shall be ready to receive propositions, or to make propositions of her own.
I transmit herewith a copy of the correspondence between our envoy to Mexico and the Mexican minister for foreign affairs; and so much of the correspondence between that envoy and the secretary of state, and between the secretary of war and the general in command on the Del Norte, as are necessary to a full understanding of the subject.
TAYLOR'S INAUGURAL ADDRESS.
MARCH 5, 1849.
ELECTED by the American people to the highest office known to our laws, I appear here to take the oath prescrihed by the Constitution, and in compliance with the
time honored custom, to address those who are now assembled.
The confidence and respect shown by my countrymen in calling me to be the Chief Magistrate of a Republic holding A high rank among the nations of the earth, have inspired me with feelings of the most profound gratitude; but when I reflect that the acceptance of the office which their partiality has bestowed imposes the discharge of the most arduous duties, involves the weightiest obligations, I am conscious that the position which I have been called to fill, though sufficient to satisfy the loftiest ambition, is surrounded by fearful responsibilities. Happily, however, in the performance of my new duties, I shall not be without able co-operation. The legislative and judicial branches of the government present prominent examples of distinguished civil attainments and matured experience, and it shall be my endeavor to call to my assistance, in the executive departments, individuals whose talents, integrity, and purity of character, will furnish ample guarantees for the faithful and honorable performance of the trusts to be committed to their charge.
With such aid, and an honest purpose to do whatever is right, I hope to execute diligently, impartially, and for the best interests of the country, the manifold duties devolved upon me.
In the discharge of these duties, my guide shall be the Constitution, which I this day swear to preserve, protect and defend. For the interpretation of that instrument, I Laall look to the decisions of the judicial tribunals estabwashed by its authority, and to the practice of government under the earlier Presidents, who had so large a share in its formation. To the example of those illustrious patriots I shall always defer with reverence, and especially to his example who was, by so many titles, the Father of his country.
To command the army and navy of the United States : with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, appoint ambassadors and other officers; to give to Congress information of the state of the Union, and recommend such measures as he shall judge to be necessary, and to take care that the laws shall be faithfully executed--theso are the most important functions intrusted to the President by the Constitution, and it may be expected tjat I snall briefly indicate the principles which will control me in their execution.
Chosen by the body of the people, under the assurance that my administration would be devoted to the welfire of the whole country, and not to the support of any particular section, or merely local interest, I this day renew the declarations I have heretofore made, and proclaim my fixed determination to maintain, to the extent of my ability, the
gov. ernment in its original purity, and to adopt as the basis of my public policy those great republican doctrines which constitute the strength of our national existence.
In reference to the army and navy, lately employed with so much distinction in active service, care shall be taken to insure the highest condition of efficiency, and, in furtherance of that object, the Military and Naval Schools-sustained by the liberality of Congress-shall receive the special attention of the Executive.
As American freemen, we cannot but sympathize in all efforts to extend the blessings of civil and political liberty; but, at the same time, we are warned by the admonitions of history and the voice of our own beloved Washington, to abstain from entangling alliances with foreign nations. all disputes between conflicting governments, it is our interest not less than our duty, to remain strictly neutral ; while our geographical position, the genius of our institutions and our people, the advancing spirit of civilization, and, above all, the dictates of religion, direct us to the cultivation of peaceful and friendly relations with all other powers. It is to be hoped that no international question can now arise which a government, confident in its own strength, and resolved to protect its own just rights, may not settle by wise negotiation, and it eminently becomes a government like our own, founded on the morality and intelligence of its citizens, and upheld by their affections, to exhaust every resort of honorable diplomacy before appealing to arms. In the conduct of our foreign relations, I shall conform to these views, as I believe them essential to the best interests and true honor of the country.
The appointing power ested in the President imposes delicate and onerous duti 5. So far as it is possible to be