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merely intended to silence the clamor and defeat the intrigues of the American party in Texas.29
While the diplomats discussed and meditated, the Diario endeavored to bring the people around. Regarding the course of the United States, it said, the opinion of all is the same; but it is now a question of " opening negotiations for the very purpose of preventing" the success of their designs. If the government refuse to hear the proposals of Texas, it may hereafter be said that by so doing they brought upon us the greatest of evils; whereas if those proposals are listened to, no matter what be the outcome, it will be clear to the world that we resort to war only after exhausting all honorable measures to avoid it. Besides, the negotiations are to rest, as we understand, on a basis highly creditable to Mexico, and the result of them will be submitted to the Chambers. An opposition paper attacks the idea of even listening to Texas, on the ground that while we dream of a peaceful settlement, the United States—“who never sleep"—will overwhelm us; but there is no need of relaxing our preparations for war while we negotiate. The article in question betrays personal considerations all the way through. It is simply an attempt to discredit the ministry, and it would be better to await the result of the discussions and see what kind of a treaty is actually drawn. Others complain because the propositions of Texas are not immediately published; but it would be stupid to make them known, since the United States might then baffle us, as they have already taken advantage of every blunder on our part.30
It is charged, protested the Diario, that the ministry have usurped powers that do not belong to them; but this is false, for they have taken no final action and will leave the decision to the Chambers. It is objected that they have asked not only for power to hear propositions but for power to execute an agreement; but it would be absurd to let them listen yet refuse them all authority to do anything. It is argued that treaty-making is a sovereign act, and thatrecognizing the ability of Texas to treat with us by asking leave to negotiate with her—the government practically admit the independence of that country; but it is well known that in every case of rebellion the seceding part of a nation is for certain purposes regarded as if independent, and this was done by ourselves in the instance of Yucatan. It is further objected that the organic law permits the president to make treaties only with foreign nations, and that the government, by asking permission to treat with Texas, recognize it as such; but the government would have had no occasion to ask for special powers had they regarded Texas as a foreign nation. Another objection is this: The organic law gives no authority to treat with a revolted province and therefore the mere proposition of the government is itself a violation of law; but at the worst, if the law did forbid the government to treat with a revolted province, the present proposition would be only a suggestion that one of its provisions be annulled. The constitution does not, however, forbid such negotiations, for it is merely silent on the matter. 31
29 Bankhead to Elliot, May 20, 1845, F. O., Texas, XXIII. ; id., no. 48, May 20, 1845 (see note 25).
50 Diario, April 22, May 1, 1845.
At the same time the urgency of the situation was further emphasized by the Mexican consul at New Orleans. The press of Texas, he reported, had come over gradually to the side of annexation, and the Congress would not dare to reject the American proposition. At Fort Jesup, near the Texas frontier, he added, there were sixteen companies of l'nited States infantry and seven of dragoons, and other troops had been ordered to that point. In all there were 2500 or 2600 men, and they would enter Texas immediately, should it be known that Mexican soldiers had crossed the border. It would therefore be in vain to rely upon force. Meanwhile the Mexican minister to the United States, who believed his nation ought to recognize Texas at once and hurried home to present his views, appears to have arrived on the scene and doubtless he gave additional strength to that side of the question. 32
Finally, after three days of debate, the Chamber of Deputies authorized the cabinet on May 3 to hear the propositions “offered by Texas", thus gratifying the national vanity by pointing out distinctly who had tendered the olive branch. At the same time, instead of permitting the ministers to negotiate such an agreement as they should consider proper and honorable, it only gave power to negotiate one that should "be" proper and honorable. For this ingenious device to saddle the responsibility upon the executive department the vote stood forty-one to thirteen. Two weeks later the Senate approved of the measure by thirty voices against six, and at length on May 20 Bankhead notified Elliot, and Cyprey notified Jones, of the acceptance of the Texan articles. Cuevas had made an additional declaration to the effect that, should the negotiation fail for any reason or should Texas consent directly or indirectly to join
Diario, May 1, 6, 1845. The arguments of the Diario are of particular interest because they reveal the superficial and captious yet clever character of the opposition. It was aided by the ablest of Mexican journals, El Siglo XIX. (e. g., April 24, 1845), and by some other periodicals.
82 Arrangoiz, no. 67 (res.), April 30, 1845, Sria. Relac. : Foreign Office to Cowley, ambassador to France, no. 46, April 15, 1845, F. (., Texas, XXI.; Shannon, no. 10, April 6, 1845, State Dept., Desps. from Mins., Mexico, XII.
the United States, the action of Mexico in agreeing to treat with her should be considered null and void; but this bit of tactics did not affect the substance of the matter."
During the last week of April Elliot, having done all that he could at the capital, retired to the beautiful town of Jalapa, not far from Vera Cruz, and there awaited the result of his mission. On learning what had been accomplished, he sailed for Galveston in the French brig of war, La Pérouse, and on May 30 he found himself in port. All his efforts and those of his French colleague, however, though seconded by the Texan executive, came to naught. Public sentiment declared emphatically in favor of joining the American Union. The conditions of peace, when laid before the Senate, were promptly rejected; and both Congress and a convention of the people accepted the annexation proposal of the United States. 34
JUSTIN H. SMITH.
3,3 Diario, May 18, 1845 ; Bankhead to Elliot, May 20, 1845, F. O., Texas, XXIII. ; Cyprey to Jones, May 20, 1845, Texan archives, Austin ; México à través de los Siglos, IV. 543. A recent publication touching on this matter states that the Mexican government "attached its signature to the document” only after “such changes were made as were considered 'essential to the maintenance of Mexican honor'"; but a glance at pp. 88 and 89 of Sen. Doc. No. 1, 29 Cong., i sess., will show that no changes whatever were made. Here lies a point of much importance. Elliot and Saligny (the French chargé in Texas) had been compelled to use great urgency in order to bring Jones into this arrangement, and his pledge to take certain action desired by them and by Mexico was made conditional on the signing at Mexico of “the preliminary conditions now submitted " (Elliot, secret, April 2, 1845, F. O., Texas, XIII.). Consequently any modification of these would have been seen by Elliot, Saligny, and Cuevas to threaten ruin to their entire plan by enabling Jones to declare that the condition of his pledge had not been fulfilled. The “ Additional Declaration ” of Cuevas, evidently intended as a shield against his political adversaries, was worded as follows: “ It is understood that besides the four preliminary articles proposed by Texas, there are other essential and important points which ought also to be included in the negotiation, and that if this negotiation is not realized on account of circumstances, or because Texas, influenced by the law passed in the United States on annexation, should consent thereto, either directly or indirectly, then the answer which under this date is given to Texas, by the undersigned, Minister for Foreign Affairs, shall be considered as null and void. Mexico, May 19, 1845 ” (Sen. Doc. No. I, 29 Cong., I sess., p. 89).
34 London Times, June 4, 1845 ; Dimond to State Department, no, 243, May 27, 1845, State Dept., Desps. from Consuls, Vera Cruz, I. ; (arrival) Elliot, no. 16, May 30, 1845, F. O., Texas, XIII. The rest of the paragraph refers to matters of common knowledge.
THE SECOND BIRTH OF THE REPUBLICI PIRTY
In the summer of 1904 was celebrated with notable festivity the fiftieth anniversary of the birth of the Republican party. Proceedings on this occasion were characterized by the unquestioning assumption that the political organization formed "under the oaks at Jackson, Michigan, half a century before and there named the Republican party had maintained its identity under that name in unbroken continuity down to the present day. It was doubtless proper that for an occasion like that celebration such an assumption should be made and left unquestioned. Whether the same attitude is correct for the serious student of history, is more than doubtful. It is difficult to say by precisely what criterion the continuity of party life is to be judged. Should we look to principles, to personnel, to name, or to all three combined ? Whichever test we choose in connection with the Republican party, we shall find troublesome if not insuperable obstacles in the way of tracing its life unbroken through half a century. We shall find that at one very critical period of our national history the party was, if not dead, at least in a state of suspended animation, and that so far as it was capable of expressing an opinion on its own condition, it admitted that it was dead.
In so summary a treatment of this subject as I am obliged to employ here, I can consider only the aspect of the matter which is concerned with the national organization. It may be assumed that the course of affairs in the state organizations manifests a general correspondence with that in the broader field.
When in 1860 the Republicans won their first great national victory the party was still heterogeneous and ill-compacted. The single characteristic principle upon which all elements were agreed was that of opposition to the further extension of slavery: outside of that the ancient antipathies, personal and political, of Free Soilers. Whigs, Democrats, and Know Nothings caused much friction. At the outbreak of war, however, all former issues were for a time lost sight of in the overwhelming tide of Union sentiment. Party lines disappeared, but made themselves manifest again when after a year of fighting little impression had been made upon the South and the administration had begun to employ the war power in ways which played havoc with old ideals of constitutional liberty. In the reappearance of active party politics the opposition to the administration worked under the name and with the organs of the Democratic party; but the supporters of the administration, following the lead of Mr. Lincoln himself, systematically avoided resort to the name and traditions of the Republican party. It was fully demonstrated by the state and Congressional elections of 1862 that without uniting the War Democrats to the Republicans the conquest of the South was practically out of the question. This indispensable combination could hardly be hoped for, in any effective form, save through the frank abandonment by the Republicans of their distinctive party character. Such policy, therefore, was followed in all parts of the North. The Republican local organizations were used, since the War Democrats had in general no distinctive organs; but in place of the Republican name, that of Union party was adopted; for the test of anti-slavery doctrine was substituted that of purpose to maintain the integrity of the Union at whatever cost; and in the nominations for office the distinction between Democratic and Republican antecedents was disregarded. The process which went on was not that of a temporary fusion of two parties, but that of the creation of a new party, with a purpose and a policy distinct from what had been characteristic of any party theretofore.
The climax of this movement came in the National Convention at Baltimore in 1864. This assembly was neither spoken nor thought of by its members as a Republican convention. The formal call which initiated it was issued by the Republican National Executive Committee, but in no other respect was any suggestion of connection with any old party permitted to be associated with its proceedings. Its temporary chairman declared, amid the applause which attends all the speeches on such occasions, that among the solemn duties that must be performed by the convention was that of organizing the
I see before me [he said] not only primitive Republicans and primitive Abolitionists, but I see also primitive Democrats and primitive Whigs . . . primitive Americans. . . . As a Union party I will follow you to the ends of the earth and to the gates of death ; but as an Abolition Party, as a Republican Party, as a Whig Party, as a Democratic Party, as an American Party I will not follow you one foot.
And the permanent chairman said, in his carefully prepared address:
In no sense do we meet as members or representatives of either of the old political parties ... or as champions of any principle or doctrine peculiar to either. The extraordinary condition of the country since the outbreak of the rebellion . . . has compelled the formation of