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undecided for want of time, were claims amounting to nine hundred and twenty-eight thousand six hundred and twenty-seven dollars and eighty-five cents; while still other claims submitted to the board, amounting to three million three hundred and thirtysix thousand eight hundred and thirty-seven dollars and five cents, were not examined at all for want of time. The two million twenty-six thousand one hundred and thirty-nine dollars and sixty-eight cents, were not paid by Mexico, according to stipulation, and a postponement of the time of payment was granted to Mexico at her request, in the spirit of forbearance that had always actuated the American government.
A second convention was concluded on the 30th of January, *1843, which was declared to be entered into for the accommodation of Mexico." This stipulated that Mexico should pay on the 30th of April, 1843, the interest then due on the awards of the convention of the 11th of April, 1839; and that she should pay in five years, in equal instalments every three months, the principal of the awards, and the interest accruing thereon. Of the sum thus acknowledged for acts of outrage and wrong committed upon the citizens of the United States, and secured by the solemn obligations of a treaty, Mexico paid only the interest due on the 30th of April, 1843, and three of the twenty instalments of the principal. Nor was this all. To provide for a liquidation of the claims not decided upon by the convention of April 1839, it was stipulated by the sixth article of the convention of the 30th of January, 1843, that a new convention should be entered into for the settlement of these claims. A third convention was accordingly concluded on the 20th of November, 1843, and ratified by the United States Senate in January 1844, with two amendments, manifestly reasonable. On referring these amendments to the government of Mexico, she was guilty of delays and evasions, in violation of the faith of treaties; and, though the subject was earnestly pressed upon her, she would not give an answer whether
LETTER TO MR. SLIDELL.
she would or would not accede to the amendments, but preserved a gloomy and sullen silence.
It is but just, however, to state that an effort was made to pay our admitted claims, which fell through, partly in consequence of the anticipated annexation of Texas. This will appear from an extract from the letter of Mr. Voss to Mr. Slidell :
“For the avowed purpose of liquidating the recognised American claims, General Santa Anna, the head of the Mexican government, in May 1843, decreed the collection of a forced loan, to be distributed in certain proportions through the departments of this Republic, and paid at periods corresponding to those stipulated in the convention to that effect with the government of the United States. This measure, essentially unpopular, could only have emanated from a government as absolute as that of Santa Anna then was, and, even with the aid of his unlimited powers, was very imperfectly enforced, while the temptation to a misapplication of the funds collected amidst the difficulties by which Santa Anna was surrounded is sufficiently obvious. From these concurring circumstances, the Mexican government was absolutely unable to pay the instalment which became due in April 1844; and in July of the same year, when another instalment should have been paid, the incapacity of the government to fulfil its engagements had become still greater.
“ About this time public attention was directed to the Texan question with renewed force; and amidst the angry excitement which it occasioned, the press found a popular theme for complaint in the payment of the American claims, and freely advocated its discontinuance.”
To show that Mexico had no just right to complain of the conduct either of Texas or of the government of the United States, we will consider the circumstances attending the revolt of the former, and its annexation to the United States.
Early Condition of Texas-Grant to Moses Austin by the Spanish Authorities
Colony led to Texas by Stephen F. Austin in 1821-Overthrow of the Spanish Power in Mexico-Confirmation of the Grant to Austin-Mexican Constitution of 1824-Coahuila and Texas provisionally united as a State - Guaranty of future State Sovereignty to Texas-Its Political Condition Election of Pedraza as President of Mexico overthrown by the Military Power of Santa AnnaGuerrero declared President-Deposition and Death of Guerrero by Bustamente -Tyranny of Bustamente --Troops sent to harass Texas--Expelled by the Texans-Bustamente overthrown by Santa Anna and Pedraza recalled--Santa Anna President-Overthrow of the Constitution and Federal System- A Central Government organized-Resistance of the Mexicans-Zacatecas-Butchery of the People-Call of a Texan Congress of Consultation--Arrival of General Cos in Texas-Resistance of the Texans-Fall of the Mexican Forts-General Cos capitulates with his Troops Declaration of the People of Texas—Provisional Government.
BEFORE 1821, if we except the tribes of savages that wandered over its wastes, Texas contained few inhabitants. These generally were Americans, settled, for the most part, in and around the towns of San Antonio and Nacogdoches—adventurous and hardy pioneers, who, with restless enterprise, had pushed their fortunes beyond the confines of civilization.
Bearing with them the innate spirit of freedom, they diffused abroad the love of liberty among the Spaniards, and contributed in no small degree to induce them to throw off their foreign yoke, and establish independence.
On the 17th of January, 1821, Moses Austin, of Connecticut, obtained from the Spanish authorities permission to establish a colony in Texas, with many important privileges. He was empowered to introduce into Texas three hundred families, upon a
EARLY CONDITION OF TEXAS.
specified territory, one hundred miles in breadth on the coast, and extending one hundred and fifty miles into the interior. The grant allotted to him crossed the rivers Brazos and Colorado, and included large tracts east and west of these rivers. By the conditions agreed upon between Austin and the Spanish authorities, each family of the settlers was to receive a grant in fee of a section of land of the extent of one Spanish league square. The colonists were permitted to bring with them all necessary implements, and other goods not exceeding the value of two thousand dollars, free from any duty, and, for a period of five or six years, they were to be exempt from taxes of every kind.
Before the colony was established the grantee deceased, and Stephen F. Austin, his son, who received the grant by bequest, led thither a colony of settlers in December 1821. At the outset of their career, the colonists endured many hardships, and suffered many privations, while they were continually harassed by the incursions and depredations of the Indians.
Notwithstanding, they bore up amid their discouragements, and, favoured by a mild climate, and cheered by the hope of future wealth from the richness and fertility of the soil, continued both to labour and to suffer, while they redeemed a home from the wilderness and the savage.
After a period of toil and dangers, during which the colony had steadily progressed in importance, the Mexican Revolution produced a change of government, and in consequence cast a degree of doubt upon the validity of the compact made with the elder Austin by the Spanish authorities. To superintend the interests of his colony, Austin went to Mexico, and after spending a year there, he obtained a confirmation of his grant from the National Congress of Mexico in August 1823. This revived the drooping spirits of the colonists, and reconciled them to their new homes, of which they had begun to grow weary. Emigration to the country, which had been checked, was now resumed again, with alacrity and confidence, under the naturalization laws of 1823, '24, and '25. • In 1824, when the Mexican territory was organized into states under the constitution which was then adopted, and which provided for a political system similar to our own, consisting of a general or national government, and local or state governments,
as now res
Texas, on account of the smallness of its population, was united - with Coahuila, under the name of the state of Coahuila and
Texas. This union, which was with her own consent, was provisional, and to continue until she was in a condition to become a state herself and assume the necessary powers of government; in the words of the organic act of the constituent congress of Mexico, of the 7th of May, 1824, “until Texas possessed the necessary elements to form a separate state of herself.” Thus was guarantied to Texas a specific political existence, with all the rights of self-government, as an independent state of the Mexican confederation, as soon as she « possessed the necessary elements.”
During the presidency of Guadaloupe Victoria, the constitution and the federal system adopted under it, were considered firmly established. The internal government of Texas was similar to that of our territories. It was divided into five municipalities, each of which chose its own judges, sheriffs, and other officers. The selection thus by the people, from their own citizens, of those who were to administer law and justice among them, was a security against violence and oppression. Their officers were identified with them in views, feelings, and interests. With these guaranties for the protection of person and property for the present, and the provision for the future state sovereignty of Texas, that country afforded strong inducements for agricultural enterprise to the citizens of the United States, who accordingly emigrated thither, in expectation of the permanent enjoyment of civil institutions like those of their own country.