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Biographical Sketch Of JAMES KNOX POLK Page 1429

Inaugural Address, March 4, 1845 1439

Fi«t Annual Message, December 2, 1845 1447

Special Message, December 9, 1845 1474

SpvciaJ Message, December 19, 1845 .... 1474

Special Message, January 3, ie46 1474

Special Message, February 7, 1846 1475

Special Menace, February 9, 1846 1475

Special Message, February 18, 1846 1475

Special Message, March 23, 1846 1475

Special Message, March 24, 1846 ■ 1477

Special Messal'c, April 2, 1846 1479

Special Message, April 13,1846 1479

Special Message, April 20, 1846 1481

Special Message, May 6, 1846 1485

Special Message, May 6, 1846 1485

Mexican War Message, May 11, 1846 1488

Special Message, May 28. 1846 1629

Special Message, June 6,1816 1629

Special Message, Jane 8, 1846 1629

Special Message. June 10, 1846 1630

Special Message, June 16, 1846 1632

Special Message, Jane 16, 1846 1633

Special Message, June 17, 1846 1633

Special Message, July 2, 1846 1634

Special Message, July 9, 1846 1634

Special Message, July 21, 1846 1634

River and Harbor Veto, August 3, 1846 1635

Special Message, August 4, 1846 1640

Special Message, August 5, 1846 1641

Special Message, August 8, 1846 1642

French Claims Veto, August 8, 1846 1643

Second Annual Message, December 8, 1846 1645

Special Message, December 28, 1846 1675

Special Messoge, December 29, 1846 1677

Special Message, January 4, 1847 • • 1678

Special Message. January 19, 1R47 1678

Special Message, January 20, 1847 1678

Special Message, January 25. 1847 1679

Special Message, January 29. ie47 . 1679

Special Message, February 3, 1847 1679

Special Message, February 13, 1847 1680

Special Message, February 20, 1847 .... - 1683

Special Messaie, February 27, 1847 1683

Third Annual Message, December 7,1847 1684

Internal Improvement Message, December 15, 1847 1711

Special Message, January 4, 1848 1725

Special Message, January 12, 1848 , 1726-

Special Message, January 21, 1848 1728

Special Message, January 24, 1848 1728

Special Message, February 2, 1848 1729

Special Message, February 10, 1848 1729

Special Message, February 10, 1848 1731

Mexican Treaty Message," February 22,1848 1731

Special Message, February 28,1848 1733

Special Message, February 29, 1848 1733

Special Message. March 7, 1848 1734

Special Message, March 8, 1848 1734

Special Message, March 8, 1848 1735
Special Message, March 15, 1848 Fagz 1735

Si,cc;al Message, March 20, 1848 1735

Special Message, March 24, 1848 1736

Special Message, April 3, 1848 1736

Special Message, April 29. 1848 1737

Special Message, May 8, 1848 1739

Special Message, May 29, 1848 1739

Special Message, July 6,1848: 1740

Special Message, July 12,1848 1745

Special Message, July 24, 1848 1746

Special Message, July 29, 1848 1751

Special Message. August 1, 1848 1751

Special Messace, August 3.1848 1752

Specinl Message, August 5, 1848 1753

Special Message, August 8, 184S • . . 1753

Special Message, August 8. 1848 1753

Specinl Message, August 10, 1848 1754

Special Message, August 11, 1849 -1754

Cherokee Treaty Message, August 7, 1846 1754

Fourth Annual Message, December 5, 1848: 1756

Oregon Territorial Message, August 14, 1848 1792

Special Message, December 27, 1848 1795

Special Message, January 29, 1849 1796

Special Message, February 1, 1849 1796

Special Message, February 9, 1949 1796

Special Message, February 12, 1849 1803

Special Message, February 23,1849 1803

Special Message, February 27, 1849 1804

Special Message, March 2, 1849 1804

Administration Of Polk 1805

Biografhical Sketch or ZACHARY TAYLOR 1823

Inaugural Address, March 5, 1849 1861

Historical Sketch Ok The American Union—A History of the Events and Circum-

stances which led to the Union of the States and the Formation of the Constitution . . 1493

Dates of the Ratification of the Constitution by the several United States 1507

Congress at Albany, 1754, with the names of the Members 1508

Congress at New York, 1765, with the Names of the Members 1509

Continental Congress 1510

Members of the Continental Consress. from 1774 to 1778 1511

Signers of the Declaration of Independence—Places and Dates of Births, Deaths, etc. . . 1515

Senators and Representatives in Congress, from 1789 to 1849 1516

Sessions of Congress—their Durations, Number of Acts passed, Vetoes, Speakers, etc. . 1543

Votes for Presidents and Vice-Presidents, from 1789 to 1849 154-1

Members of successive Administrations, from 1789 to 1849 1547

Public Ministers of the United States in Foreign Countries, from 1789 to 1849 . . . 1551

Summary of the Censuses of the United States, from 1790 to 1840 1557

Synopsis of the Constitutions of the several United States 1559

Chronological Table of Events in American History, from 1492 to 1849 1583

Imports and Exports of the United States, from 1791 to 1845 UtM

Members of the U. S. 8uprcme Court, with the Attorney Generals, from 1789 to 1849 1091

Index 1593


Sfecial Messages Of WASHINGTON— Special Mcssage, January 29, 1796 Fage xvii

Special Message, August 7, 1799 . . Fage i Special Message, March 30, 1796 . . . xvii
Special Message, September 17, 1799 . . ii Special Message, January 19, 1797 . . xix
Special Message, February 9, 1790 . . iii Sfecial Messages Of JOHN ADAMS—
Special Message, August 4, 1790 .... iii Special Message, June 12,1797 . . Fage Xx
Special Message, August 7, 1790 ... iv Sitecial Message, June 22, 1797 .... xxi
Special Message. August 11, 1790 . . . v , Sl,cciat Message, July 3, 1797 .... xxi

'I Special Message, January 17, 1798 . . xxii

Special Message, January 24, 1791

Special Message, February 14, 1791 . . . vii

Special Message, February 18, 1791 . . vii

Sisvial Message, March 5, 1792 . . . . ix

Special Message, May 8, 1792 . . . . ix

Special Message, December 16, 1793 . . x

Special Message, December 16, 1793 . . xi
Special Message, January 21, 1794

Special Message, January 18, 1798 . . xxii
Special Message, January 23,1798 . . xxii
Special Message, January 8, 1799 . . . xxiii
Special Message. March 2, 1799 . . , xxiii
Special Message. December 19,1799 . . xxiii
Special Message. December 19,1799 . xxiv
Special Message, January 6, 1800 . . . xxiv

Special Message, March 28, 1794 . . . xii Special Messace, January 14, 1800 . . xxiv

Special Message, May 20, 1794 . . . .xii Jefferson's Confidential Message—Western

Special Message, May 21,1794 .... xiii Exploring Expedition. January 18,1803 xxv

Special Message, February 28,1795 . . xiii Washington's Veto Message. Apr. 5,1792 xxvii

Special Message, June 25, 1795 . . . . xv da Veto Message, Feb. 28, 1797 xxvii

Special Message, January 4, 1796 . . xvi Madison's Veto Message, March 3,1817 xxviii

Special Message, January 8, 1796 . . . xvi 1 Jackson's Land-Bill Veto, Dec. 4, 1833 xxx
lie two countries as peaceful, unless Mexico should declare war, or commit acts of hostility indicative of a state of war; and these orders he faithfully executed. While occupying his position on the east bank of the Rio Grande, within the limits of Texas, then recently admitted as one of the states of our Union, the commanding general of the Mexican forces, who, in pursuance of the orders of his government, had collected a large army on the opposite shore of the Rio Grande, crossed the river, invaded our territory, and commenced hostilities by attacking our forces.


Thus, after all the injuries which we had received and bome from Mexico, and after she had insultingly rejected a minister sent to her on a mission of peace, and whom she had solemnly agreed to receive, she consummated her long course of outrage against our country by commencing an offensive war and shedding the blood of our citizens on our own soil.

The United States never attempted to acquire Texas by conquest. On the contrary, at an early period after the people of Texas had achieved theiT independence, they sought to be annexed to the United States. At a general election in September, 1836, they decided with great unanimity in favor of "annexation;" and in November following, the Congress of the republic authorized the appointment of a minister, to bear their request to this government. This government, however, having remained neutral between Texas and Mexico during the war between them, and considering it due to the honor of our country, and our fair fame among the nations of the earth, that we should not at this early period consent to annexation, nor until it should be manifest to the whole world that the reconquest of Texas by Mexico was impossible, refused to accede to the overtures made by Texas. On the twelfth of April, 1844, and after more than seven years had elapsed since Texas had established her independence, a treaty was concluded for the annexation of that republic to the United States, which was rejected by the senate. Finally, on the first of March, 1845, Congress passed a joint resolution for annexing her to the United States, upon certain preliminary conditions to which her assent was required. The solemnities which characterized the deliberations and conduct of the government and people of Texas, on the deeply interesting questions presented by these resolutions, are known to the world. The Congress, the executive, and the people of Texas, in a convention elected for that purpose, accepted with great unanimity the proposed terms of annexation ; and thus consummated upon her part the great act of restoring to our federal Union a vast territory which had been ceded to Spain by the Florida treaty more than a quarter of a century before.

After the joint resolution for the annexation of Texas to the United States had been passed by our Congress, the Mexican minister at Washington addressed a note to the secretary of state, bearing date on the sixth of March, 1845, protesting against it as " 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 ;" and protesting against the resolution of annexation, as being an act " whereby the province of Texas, an integral portion of the Mexican territory, is agreed and admitted into the American Union;" and he announced that, as a consequence, his mission to the United States had terminated, and demanded his passports, which were granted. It was upon the absurd pretext, made by Mexico (herself indebted for her independence to a successful revolution), that the republic of Texas still continued to be, notwithstanding all that had passed, a province of Mexico, that this step was taken by the Mexican minister.

Every honorable effort has been used by me to avoid the war which followed, but all have proved vain. All our attempts to preserve peace have been met by insult and resistance on the part of Mexico. My efforts to this end commenced in the note of the secretary of state of the tenth of March, 1845, in answer to that of the Mexican minister. While declining to reopen a discussion which had already been exhausted, and proving again what was known to the whole world, that Texas had long since achieved her independence, the secretary of state expressed the regret of this government that Mexico should have taken offence at the resolution of annexation passed by Congress, and gave assurance that our " most strenuous efforts shall be devoted to the amicable adjustment of every cause of complaint between the two governments, and to the cultivation of the kindest and most friendly relations between the sister-republics."

That I have acted in the spirit of this assurance, will appear from the events which have since occurred. Notwithstanding Mexico had abruptly terminated all diplomatic intercourse with the United States, and ought, therefore, to have been the first to ask for its resumption, yet, waiving all ceremony, I embraced the earliest favorable opportunity to " ascertain from the Mexican government whether they would receive an envoy from the United States, intrusted with full power to adjust all the questions in dispute between the two governments." In September, 1845, I believed the propitious moment for such an overture had arrived. Texas, by the enthusiastic and almost unanimous will of her people, had pronounced in favor of annexation. Mexico herself had agreed to acknowledge the independence of Texas, subject to a condition, it is true, which she had no right to impose and no power to enforce. The last lingering hope of Mexico, if she still could have retained any, that Texas would ever again become one of her provinces, must have been abandoned.

The consul of the United States at the city of Mexico, was, therefore, instructed by the secretary of state, on the fifteenth of September, 1845, to make the inquiry of the Mexican government. The inquiry was made, and on the fifteenth of October, 1845, the minister of foreign affairs of the Mexican government, in a note addressed to our consul, gave a favorable response, requesting, at the same time, that our naval force might be withdrawn from Vera Cruz while negotiations should be pending. Upon the receipt of this note, our naval force was promptly withdrawn from Vera Cruz. A minister was immediately appointed, and departed to Mexico Everything bore a promising aspect for a speedy and peaceful adjustment of all our difficulties. At the date of my annual message to Congress, in December last, no doubt was entertained but that he would be received by the Mexican government, and the hope was cherished that all cause of misunderstanding between the two countries would be speedily removed. In the confident hope that such would be the result of his mission, I informed Congress that I forbore at that time to " recommend such ulterior measures of redress for the wrongs and injuries we had so long borne, as it would have been proper to make had no such negotiation been instituted." To my surprise and regret, the Mexican government though solemnly pledged to do so, upon the arrival of our minister in Mexico, refused to receive and accredit him. When he reached Vera Cruz, on the thirtieth of November, 1845, he found that the aspect of affairs had undergone an unhappy change. The government of General Herrera, who was at that time president of the republic, was tottering to its fall. General Paredes (a military leader), had manifested his determination to overthrow the government of Herrera, by a military revolution; and one of the principal means which he employed to effect his purpose, and render the government of Herrera odious to the army and people of Mexico, was by loudly condemning its determination to receive a minister of peace from the United States, alleging that it was the intention of Herrera, by a treaty with the United States, to dismember the territory of Mexico, by ceding •away the department of Texas. The government of Herrera is believed to have been well disposed to a pacific adjustment of existing difficulties; nut, probably alarmed for its own security, and in order to ward off the danger of the revolution led by Paredes, violated its solemn agreement, and refused to receive or accredit our minister; and this, although informed that he had been invested with full power to adjust all questions in dispute oetween the two governments. Among the frivolous pretexts for this refusal, the principal one was. that our minister had not gone upon a special mission, confined to the question of Texas alone, leaving all the outrages upon our flag and our citizens unredressed. The Mexican government well knew that both our national honor and the protection due to our citizens imperatively required that the two questions of boundary and indemnity should be treated of together, as naturally and inseparably blended, and they ought to have seen that this course was best calculated to enable the United States to extend to them the most liberal justice. On the thirtieth of December, 1845, General Herrera resigned the presidency, and yielded up the government to General Paredes without a struggle. Thus a revolution was accomplished solely by the army commanded by Paredes, and the supreme power in Mexico passed into the hands of a military usurper, who was known to be bitterly hostile to the United States.

Although the prospect of a pacific adjustment with the new government was unpromising, from the known hostility of its head to the United States, yet, determined that nothing should be left undone on our part to restore friendly relations between the two countries, our minister was instructed to present his credentials to the new government, and ask to be accredited by it in the diplomatic character in which he had been commissioned. These instructions he executed by his note of the first of March, 1346, addressed to the Mexican minister of foreign affairs ; but his request was insultingly refused by that minister, in his answer of the twelfth of the same month. No alternative remained for our minister but to demand his passports, and return to the United States.

Thus was the extraordinary spectacle presented to the civilized world of a government, in violation of its own express agreement, having twice rejected a minister of peace, invested with full powers to adjust all the existing differences between the two countries, in a manner just and honorable to both. 1 am not aware that modern history presents a parallel case, in which, in time of peace, one nation has refused even to hear propositions from another for terminating existing difficulties between them.

Scarcely a hope of adjusting our difficulties, even at a remote day, or of preserving peace with Mexico, could be cherished while Paredes remained at the head of the government. He had acquired the supreme power by a military revolution, and upon the most solemn pledges to wage war against the United States, and to reconquer Texas, which he claimed as a revolted province of Mexico. He had denounced as guilty of treason all those Mexicans who considered Texas as no longer constituting a part of the territory of Mexico, and who were friendly to the cause of peace. The duration of the war which he waged against the United States was indefinite, because

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