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apparent that her position, past or present, carries with it the attributes of an effective and unqualified independence. In a qualified sense, indeed, she may be said to have been independent; but we have constantly treated her as a part of the Mexican republic, though abstaining from acts of hostility against her on account of her refusal to take part in the war against us. She complains that, while not considering her as an enemy, we have, nevertheless, not treated her as a friend or a neutral. We have occupied the port of Laguna, in the Island of Carmen,—one of the islands which nearly shuts out Lake Terminos from the southern portion of the Gulf of Mexico. The ground of this occupation, on our part, was, that a trade in contraband was carried on between that port and Tabasco, which was hostile to us, and which borders on Lake Terminos.
Such, then, is the political condition of Yucatan, an inter gral portion of Mexico, having no active participation in the war against us, and maintaining, for the most part, a strict neutrality. The peculiar relation in which Yucatan stands to Mexico, and to us, undoubtedly complicates the question of our interference in her domestic afiairs. We have entered into a treaty with Mexico; and although we are not permitted here to speak definitely with regard to its stipulations, enough has been made public in a legitimate way to show that we are precluded from undertaking any hostile enterprise against any portion of the Mexican territory or people. An armistice has been agreed on, and is now in force, preparatory to the evacuation of the country, in case the treaty is ratified. These facts have become matters of public notoriety, not through- the action of this body, but through the acts of the two governments, legitimately performed in execution of the preliminary articles of agreement. Under these circumstances, it appears to me that the military occupation proposed by the bill, even though temporary, may be considered incompatible with a strict construction of the treaty. As I have already said, we have constantly treated Yucatan as a part of Mexico. The President so considers her in his special message calling our attention to the subject. This being conceded, the stipulations of the treaty are as applicable to her as to any other department or state of the Mexican republic. We can only do in respect to her what we may do in respect to Jalisco, Tabasco, or any other of the Mexican states. Military occupation, in its commonly received sense, implies, if carried out, a displacement or subversion of the existing government. It would be no defence to say that Yucatan voluntarily submits to our power. Should we be authorized, this treaty being in force, to occupy, by military force, the state of Tabasco, for instance, if the local government were willing to submit to us? No, sir. I apprehend that the sanction of the Central government would be necessary to warrant it. In like manner, Yucatan being a part of Mexico, it appears to me that the military occupation of that state by us would require the sanction of the Central government. This rigid construction of the treaty may seem technical and over-scrupulous. Perhaps it is so. But in all matters involving the inviolability of international engagements, the strictest performance of stipulations is not only the part of prudence, but of imperative duty. We should afford no pretence for imputing to us an act of bad faith. Now, it is only to the form of the interposition— to military occupation and its incidents—that I object. And I trust my friend from Indiana, the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations,1 will not adhere to the first section of the bill with tenacity, if he shall be satisfied that there is any other form of intervention which is unobjectionable, and which will, at the same time, accomplish the same end,— which will avoid all pretext for the imputation of violating the treaty, and yet enable us to effect every legitimate object of the interposition. And here I desire to say, that I approve of the second and third sections of the bill, providing arms, munitions of war, and troops, to put an end to the war of devastation in Yucatan. I know nothing more revolting in the history of modern times than the exterminating warfare carried on by the aboriginal against the European races. Neither age nor sex, nor even the sanctity of religion, is respected. The infant is slaughtered at the mother's breast; the priest is immolated at the altar. It is not legitimate warfare; it is cold-blooded, atrocious murder.
So far as we are permitted, by international obligations and by constitutional forms of political organization at home, I am disposed to interfere for the purpose of putting an end to transactions so repugnant to every dictate of humanity, and every principle of civilization. I am willing to vote for the second and third sections of the bill. For the first section I have proposed a substitute, which I will now read: —
Strike out all the first section after the enacting clause, and insert the following : —
"That the President of the United States be authorized to employ the army and navy of the United States to aid in putting an end to the war of devastation in Yucatan, provided the aid hereby authorized be rendered in concurrence with the government of that state."
The difference between the original section and the substitute is this: the former authorizes the President to occupy or take military possession of Yucatan; the substitute authorizes him to employ the army and navy to assist the government of Yucatan in putting an end to the unnatural warfare carried on within that state. In the first case, the government would be virtually superseded; in the second, we should act in conjunction with it. And, sir, if we should decide to act, I should entertain a strong hope that our interposition might be speedily effectual. With the moral power of our victories in Mexico, a discreet officer going there, as much in the capacity of a pacificator as a combatant, might, aided by a small force, be able to restore harmony and peace between the contending parties.
But for the treaty with Mexico and the armistice entered
into with a view to its execution, I think the President would be fully authorized, in the conduct of the war, to do all that is proposed by the bill. It is the peculiar relation in which we stand to Mexico, of which Yucatan is a part, which presents, ill my judgment, an impediment to military occupation. As it is, the treaty being in force, I think if we had troops to spare in Mexico, they might be sent into Yucatan by the President, to aid the government in bringing about a termination of hostilities. If the Indians should attack the Mexican settlements in Coahuila or Durango, or any other portion of the republic, does any one doubt that we might detach a portion of our troops in Mexico to aid those settlements in defending themselves, without violating the armistice or the treaty % It would be an act of friendship and of mercy, not an act of hostility; and it is only against offensive operations that the treaty and the armistice are intended to guard. The honorable Senator from Mississippi* suggests that the terms of the armistice require that we should interpose, whenever a necessity arises, to protect any part of the Mexican republic from the incursions or attacks of the Indians; that we have so interposed; and he considers it to be applicable to this case. Under this view of the subject, the interposition of Congress is required, rather with a view to provide the President with the means than to confer upon him the authority to act. But in placing the army and navy at his disposal, for a special purpose by law, it seems proper to define the conditions under which they shall be employed. This is done by the substitute, which declares that he shall act with the concurrence of the government of Yucatan. Thus all pretence of violating the treaty or the armistice will be obviated.
Is there any violation of international obligations, so far as they depend on principles of public law, in extending to Yucatan the required assistance % I think not. We are already in the occupation of a portion of Yucatan. Our
1 Mr. Davis.
fleet has for a long time been in possession of Laguna, and thus commanded a large portion of the coast. We have exercised not only military but political authority there, holding stations, imposing duties, and collecting revenue. Indeed, Yucatan complains that by this very assumption or exercise of authority we have deprived her of her revenues, and diminished her ability to provide against the exigencies in which she is placed. This is one of the grounds on which she appeals to us for succor. She asks us to give back to her in one way the means we have taken from her in another. In this view of the subject, it is as much redress as aid which she seeks.
Sir, I think there is some truth in what she says. But whether that be so or not, the very fact that we are in the occupation of a portion of Yucatan takes the whole case out of the ordinary rule of non-intervention. We occupy one of her seaports under the laws of war. To aid the existing government under such circumstances, in subordination to its own wishes, in restoring tranquillity and putting an end to domestic dissensions, cannot be deemed a violation of the rule that one nation shall not interfere in the domestic concerns of another. Indeed, but for the treaty we might interfere without the consent of the government, having already partial occupation. It is only the obligations arising under it that make such consent necessary at all.
If we were at peace with Mexico and Yucatan, I confess I should very much doubt whether we could, on any consideration of humanity, interpose between parties engaged in intestine conflict with each other, however strong our inclination might be. I will not say that there are not obligations of duty to our fellow-men, which rise above all the restraints of political organization and government. But it must be a very extreme case, which can authorize us, even from motives of humanity, to exercise powers not expressly conferred by the Constitution and laws by which we are governed. Nothing, perhaps, short of an exigency threatening to uproot the very