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in the contest, the effect of which is not likely to be lost on ourselves or others. At the call of their country, our people have literally rushed to arms. The emulation has been to be received into the service, not to be excused from it. Individuals from the plough, the counting-house, the lawoffice, and the workshop, have taken the field, braving inclement seasons and inhospitable climates without a murmur, and, though wholly unused to arms, withstanding the most destructive fire, and storming batteries at the point of the bayonet, with the coolness, intrepidity, and spirit of veterans. I believe I may safely say, there has been no parallel to thes£ achievements by undisciplined forces since the French revolution. I am not sure that history can furnish a parallel. As to the regular army, we always expect it to be gallant and heroic, and we are never disappointed. The whole conduct of the war in the field has exhibited the highest evidence of our military capacity. It confirms an opinion I have always held, — that a soldier is formidable in ratio of the importance he possesses in the order of the political system of which he is a part. It establishes another position of vital importance to us: that, under the protection of our militia system, the country may, at the termination of every contest, lay aside the more massive and burdensome parts of its armor, and become prepared, with energies renewed by that very capacity, for succeeding scenes of danger.
sented himself at the gates of the city indomitable courage of their followers, of Mexico, he was at the head of four With half his force left on the battlethousand of the most warlike of the field or in the hospital, and with less natives, as auxiliaries to the band of than six thousand men, after a series Spaniards with which he commenced of desperate contests, he took posseshis march from Vera Cruz. Thus his sion of the city of Mexico, containing early successes were as much the tri- nearly two hundred thousand inhabiumph of policy as of arms. . General tants, and defended by the remnant of Scott, and the gallant band he led, had an army of more than thirty thousand no such advantages. The whole popu- soldiers. I confess I know nothing in lation of the country, from Vera Cruz modern warfare which exceeds in brillto Mexico, was united as one man iancy the movements of the American against him, and animated by the army from the Gulf to the city of Mexfiercest animosity. He was opposed ico. I shall not attempt to speak of by military forces armed like his own, them in the language of eulogium. often better disciplined, occupying po- They are not a fit theme for such comsitions chosen by themselves, strong ment. Like the achievements of Genby nature, and fortified according to eral Taylor and his brave men on the the strictest rules of art. These ob- Rio Grande, at Monterey, and Buena stacles were overcome by his skill as a Vista, the highest and most appropriate tactician, aided by a corps of officers praise is contained in the simplest stateunsurpassed for their knowledge of the ment of facts." art of attack and defence, and by the
Mr. President, the political condition of Mexico has been gradually approaching a dissolution of all responsible government} and of the civil order which constitutes her an independent State. This lamentable situation is not the fruit alone of our military successes. The factions by which that country has been distracted, each in turn gaining and maintaining a temporary ascendency, and often by brute force, lie at the foundation of the social and political disorder which has reigned there for the last twenty years. To most of the abuses of the old colonial system of Spain she has superadded the evils of an unstable and irresponsible government. The military bodies, which have been the instruments of those who have thus in succession gained a brief and precarious control over her affairs, though dispersed, still exist, ready to be reunited and to renew the anarchy which we have superseded, for the time being, by a military government. And this brings me to the first great objection to the proposition of withdrawing our armies from the field.
I have already said that no policy can deserve our support which does not hold out the promise of a durable peace. Nothing seems to me more unlikely to secure so desirable a result than an abandonment of Mexico by us at the present moment without a treaty, leaving behind a strong feeling of animosity towards us, with party-divisions as strongly marked, and political animosities as rancorous, perhaps, as they have been at any former period. Even when her capital had fallen, humbled and powerless as she was, party-leaders, instead of consulting for the common good, were seen struggling with each other for the barren sceptre of her authority. Our retirement as enemies would, in all probability, be the signal for intestine conflicts as desperate and sanguinary as those in which they have heen engaged with us, — conflicts always the most disastrous for the great body of the Mexican people, for, on what side soever fortune turns, they are certain to be the victims. You know, sir, there are two great parties in Mexico, (I pass by the minor divisions,) the "federalistas" and "centralistas." The former, as their name imports, are in favor of the federative system; they are the true republican party. With us, in former times, the terms "federal" and "republican" designated different parties; in Mexico, they are both employed to designate the friends of the federative system. The centralists are in favor of a consolidated government, republican or monarchical in form, and are composed of the army, the clergy, and I suppose a small portion of the population. I believe our only hope of obtaining a durable peace lies in the firm establishment of the federal party in power, — the party represented by Herrera, Anaya, Pena y Pefia, Cumplido, and others. I understand Herrera has been elected president of the republic; and this is certainly a favorable indication. But, unfortunately, I fear this party would not succeed in maintaining itself, if Mexico were left to herself at the present moment with an embittered feeling of hostility towards us. The military chiefs, who control the army, and who might rally it again for political uses, if we were to retire without a treaty, are for the most part enemies of the federative system, and conservators of the popular abuses, to which they owe their wealth and importance. Nothing could be more unfortunate for Mexico than the reestablishment of these men in power. It would bring with it a hopeless perpetuation of the anarchy and oppression which have given a character to their supremacy in past years, — a supremacy without a prospect of amelioration in the condition of the Mexican people, — a supremacy of which the chief variation has been an exchange of one military despot for another.
Calamitous as the restoration of this party to their former ascendency would be for Mexico, it would hardly be less so for us. Relying on military force for their support, their policy would be to continue the war as a pretext for maintaining the army in full strength, or, at least, not to terminate it till peace would ensure their own supremacy. It is believed that these considerations have been leading motives in the resistance they have opposed to us. It is true, the republican party has been equally hostile, so far as external indications show; but the fact is accounted for by their desire to see the war continued until the army and its leaders, the great enemies of the federative system, are overthrown. Undoubtedly the obstinate refusal of Mexico to make peace may be very properly referred to the natural exasperation of every people whose soil is invaded; but there can be little doubt that it has been influenced in no inconsiderable degree by considerations growing out of party divisions, and the jealousy and animosities to which those divisions have given rise. My confidence in our ability to make an amicable arrangement with the federal party, if it were in undisputed possession of the government, arises from the belief that their motives are honest, that they have at heart the public welfare, and that they must see there is no hope for Mexico but in a solid peace with us. My utter distrust of the centralists arises from the belief that their objects are selfish, and that, to accomplish them, they would not hesitate to sacrifice the liberties of the people and the prosperity of the country. But whether I err in these views or not, I feel quite confident I do not err in believing that if our armies were to be withdrawn from Mexico, without a peace, the flames of civil discord would be rekindled in that unhappy country, and burn with redoubled violence. I should greatly fear that the military chiefs would succeed in reestablishing their ascendency, and that no probable limit could be assigned to the duration of the war. If I am right, our true policy is to stand firm, and, if possible, united, until wiser counsels shall prevail in Mexico, and a disposition shall be shown to come to an amicable arrangement with us on reasonable terms.
The objection I have stated to the proposition of withdrawing our forces from Mexico concerns only the relations which now exist, or may exist hereafter, between the two countries. If there were no other objection, the question , might be decided upon considerations touching only their domestic interests and their mutual rights.
But I come to the second objection, — one perhaps of graver import than the first, because it supposes the possibility, if not the probability, of an interference in her affairs by other countries, if we were to retire without a treaty and without commercial arrangements which it would be in our power to enforce. The President alluded to the subject in his annual message at the opening of Congress, and expressed an apprehension of danger from that source. I participate in it. I shall assign the grounds on which it rests; and I only regret that, in stating them with the minuteness necessary to make them fully understood, I shall be compelled to draw much more largely than I desire on the patience of the Senate.
Senators are doubtless aware that the right of intervention in the affairs of this continent was formally asserted in the French Chamber of Deputies, in the year 1845, by M. Guizot, Minister of foreign affairs, as the organ of the government of France. He regarded the great powers on this continent as divided into three groups, namely, Great Britain, the United States, and the states of Spanish origin; and he declared that it belonged to France " to protect, by the authority of her name, the independence of states, and the equilibrium of the great political forces in America." To this declaration, I have thought it not out of place, in connection with the subject under discussion, to call the attention of the Senate; not for the purpose of undertaking the formal refutation,— of which I think the whole doctrine of intervention, as it has been practically enforced in Europe,