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RESIDENT POLK had been elected by the political party favourable to the annexation of Texas; and his first act was to lay before the government and citizens of the newly acquired territory the first and second sections of the joint resolution for their approval and acceptance. This being complied with, the American Congress, on the 29th of December, 1845, admitted Texas into the confederacy as a sovereign state. During the same session, the tariff law of 1842 was repealed, and another substituted, which considerably reduced the duties on many articles. The measure met with the determined opposition of the minority, and was carried in the Senate only through the casting vote of the VicePresident, Mr. Dallas. Its opponents claimed that it was insuffi cient both for revenue and protection.

Another important measure of the early part of this administration, was the establishment of an independent treasury, such as had existed under the administration of Mr. Van Buren. A short



time previous to this measure, the question concerning the northern boundary line of Oregon had been settled. The President had claimed the whole of this territory, up to 54° 40'; the British asserted an equal right with the United States, and the two Governments finally agreed on the 49th parallel.

Meanwhile, the relations between our country and Mexico were daily growing more critical, in consequence of the act which deprived the latter power of all hope of ever again regaining her authority in Texas. From the first intimations of the project of annexation, she had used all her influence to defeat it; and when the action of the joint resolution was consummated, she, through her minister, declared it to be "an act of aggression the most unjust which can be found recorded in the annals of modern history-namely, that of despoiling a friendly nation, like Mexico, of a considerable portion of her territory." Soon after, the minister was withdrawn. So strong was the popular feeling throughout that country, that President Herrera, who was disposed toward an amicable adjustment of the difficulty, was loudly denounced as a traitor, and a strong party, headed by General Paredes, raised against him. Anxious for peace, Herrera consented to receive a minister from the United States, clothed with full powers; but before negotiations could be opened, his administration had ended, and the new President, Paredes, refused to listen to overtures of peace.

Previous to this, President Polk, [March 21, 1845,] had issued orders to General Zachary Taylor, to prepare the troops at Fort Jessup, where he commanded, for marching into Texas as soon as required. Soon after, the general was instructed to take up a favourable position in that territory, which he did by occupying Corpus Christi, on the Gulf of Mexico. After remaining here until the following spring, he was ordered to take up a position on the Rio Grande-the American Government claiming that river as the boundary. On the 8th of March, he broke up his camp, and moved toward that river, taking possession, in his route, of Point Isabel, as a depot for his public stores. Before reaching it, he had been met by two small parties of Mexicans, one of which fled, after a show of resisting his passage of the Arroya Colorado, and the other, a civil deputation, after protesting in the name of the local government, against the occupation of their territory, retired to Matamoras. General Taylor left a small force under Major Monroe, at Point Isabel, with directions to fortify the place in the best manner

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possible. It had been set on fire by the Mexicans, but the flames were extinguished, and the authorities and straggling soldiers driven away by a detachment of dragoons under Colonel Twiggs. At eleven o'clock, A. M., of March 28, the American army reached the Rio Grande, and planted the national flag opposite Matamoras. On the same day, Colonel Worth was sent across the river with despatches for the authorities; but his interview with the prefect and other officers was productive of nothing decisive.

The first care of the American general was the erection of the system of defences subsequently known as Fort Brown. At the same time, the Mexicans raised batteries and mounted cannon, for a considerable distance along the river. As yet, however, war had not been proclaimed by either government, nor had any thing occurred to interrupt the friendly relations hitherto existing between the two nations.

On the 10th of April, Colonel Cross, quarter-master general of the army of occupation, was murdered by a band of outlaws, while riding from camp, to take his customary daily exercise. His body was not recovered until the 21st. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Porter and three others, who, with a small party, had been sent out to reconnoitre, were waylaid and killed.

On the 26th, General Taylor received information that the Mexicans were crossing the river, both above and below the fort. In

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order to be satisfied of the correctness of this report, he despatched Captain Ker with a small party, to the landing below, and Captain Thornton to that above. The former soon returned without seeing an enemy. Thornton's party fell into an ambush, was completely surrounded, and soon after separated into two portions. The captain's horse, being severely wounded, leaped the chaparral fence which enclosed him, and ran at full speed toward the American camp. Both, however, were captured, and taken into Matamoras. Meanwhile, the party now commanded by Captain Hardee, after fighting with great bravery, was overpowered by numbers, and induced to surrender, on a promise of good treatment. Soon after these accidents, the Mexicans crossed the Rio Grande in large numbers, and spread themselves between General Taylor's camp and that of Major Monroe, thus cutting off the communication between them.

On ascertaining the danger of his main depot, General Taylor resolved on marching immediately to its relief. With the greater part of his army, he left his camp on the 1st of May, and arrived at Point Isabel on the evening of the 2d, having met with no opposition from the Mexicans. A regiment of infantry, and two companies of artillery, were left at the river fort, under the command of Major Jacob Brown.

Intelligence of the hostile operations of the Mexicans having been transmitted to the seat of government, the facts were formally announced to Congress by a message of the President, on the 11th of May, 1846. On the 13th, Congress passed an act declaring the existence of war between the two republics, empowering the President to accept the services of fifty thousand volunteers, and appropriating ten millions of dollars to defray expenses. Thus authorized, the executive issued a proclamation, invoking the aid of the nation in carrying on the war.

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HE departure of General Taylor from the fort opposite Matamoras was the signal for the opening of the war. Early on the morning of May 3, the Mexican batteries in Matamoras commenced a heavy fire upon the river fort, which continued the greater part of the day, and was answered at intervals by the garrison. One sergeant was killed, and considerable

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