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election of representatives and senators to the Texan Legislature, as well as a congressional district for the election of a representative to the Congress of the United States. Colonel Kinney, who emigrated from my own state, has resided in that country, between the Nueces and the Rio del Norte, for many years; has represented it in the Congress of the Republic of Texas, also in the convention which formed the Constitution of the State of Texas, and now represents it in the Texan Senate. I know not what stronger evidence could be desired that the country in question was, in fact, a portion of the Republic of Texas, and, as a consequence, is now a portion of the United States. If an express acknowledgment by Mexico of the Rio del Norte as the boundary, is deemed essential, and the recognition of that fact in Santa Ana's treaty, and subsequently by Filisola, is not considered sufficient, I will endeavor to furnish further and more recent evidence, which, I trust, will be satisfactory on that point. I have not the papers to which I shall refer before me at this moment, but they are of such general notoriety that they can not fail to be within the recollection of the members of the House generally. It will be remembered that when we were discussing the propriety and expediency of the annexation of Texas some two years ago, much was said about an armistice entered into between Mexico and Texas for the suspension of hostilities for a limited period. Well, that armistice was agreed to by the two governments, and in the proclamation announcing the fact by the Mexican government, the Mexican forces were required to retire from the territory of Texas to the west side of the Rio del Norte. This proclamation was issued, as near as I recollect, in 1843 or 1844, just before the treaty of annexation was signed by President Tyler, and at a period when Mexico had had sufficient time to recover from the dizziness of the shock at San Jacinto, and to ascertain to what extent the revolution had been successful, and where the true boundary was. She was not a prisoner of war, nor in duress, at the time she issued this proclamation. It was her own deliberate act (so far as deliberation ever attends her action), done of her own volition. In that proclamation she clearly recognizes the Rio del Norte as the boundary, and that, too, in view of a treaty of peace, by which the independence of Texas was to be again acknowledged. Mr. Adams. I wish to ask the gentleman from Illinois if the last Congress did not pass an act regulating trade and commerce to the foreign province of Santa Fé P Mr. Douglas. I believe the last Congress did pass an act upon that subject, and I will remind the gentleman that the present Congress has passed an act extending the revenue laws of the United States over the country between the Rio del Norte and the Nueces, and providing for the appointment of custom-house officers to reside there. As near as I recollect, the gentleman from Massachusetts and myself voted for both of those acts. The only difference between us, in this respect, was, that he, being a little more zealous than myself, made a speech for the last one—for the act extending our laws over and taking legal possession of the very country where General Taylor's army is now encamped, and which he now asserts to belong to Mexico. That act passed this Congress unanimously at the present session, taking legal possession of the whole country in dispute, and of course making it the sworn duty of the President to see its provisions faithfully executed. In the name of truth and justice, I ask the gentleman from Massachusetts, and his followers in this crusade, how they can justify it to their consciences to denounce the President for sending the army to protect the lives of our citizens there, and defend the country from invasion, after they had voted to take legal possession by the extension of our laws? They had asserted our right to the country by a solemn act of Congress; had erected it into a collection district, and the Constitution required the President to appoint the officers, and see the laws faithfully executed. He had done so; and for this simple discharge of a duty enjoined upon him by a law for which they voted, he is assailed, in the coarsest terms known to our language, as having committed an act which is unholy, unrighteous, and damnable ! ... But I feel it due to the venerable gentleman from Massachusetts to respond more particularly to his inquiry in regard to the act of the last Congress regulating commerce and trade to Santa Fé. I do not now recollect its exact provisions, nor is it important, inasmuch as that act was passed before Texas was annexed to this Union. Of course Santa Fé was foreign to us at that time, whether it belonged to Texas or Mexico. The object of that act was to regulate the trade across our western frontier between us and foreign countries. Texas was then foreign to us, but is no longer so since her annexation and admission into the Union. Mr. Chairman, I believe I have now said all that I intended for the purpose of showing that the Rio del Norte was the western boundary of the Republic of Texas. How far I have succeeded in establishing the position, I leave to the House and the country to determine. If that was the boundary of the Republic of Texas, it has, of course, become the boundary of the United States by virtue of the acts of annexation and admission into the Union. ... I will not say that I have demonstrated the question as satisfactorily as the distinguished gentleman from Massachusetts did in 1819, but I will say that I think I am safe in adopting the sentiment which he then expressed—that our title to the Rio del Norte is as clear as to the island of New Orleans. Mr. Adams. I never said that our title was good to the Rio del Norte from its mouth to its source. Mr. Douglas. I know nothing of the gentleman's mental reservations. If he means, by his denial, to place the whole emphasis on the qualification that he did not claim that river as the boundary “from its mouth to its source,” I shall not dispute with him on that point. But if he wishes to be understood as denying that he ever claimed the Rio del Norte, in general terms, as our boundary under the Louisiana treaty, I can furnish him with an official document, over his own signature, which he will find very embarrassing and exceedingly difficult to explain. I allude to his famous dispatch as secretary of state, in 1819, to Don Onis, the Spanish minister. I am not certain that I can prove his handwriting, for the copy I have in my possession I find printed in the American State Papers, published by order of Congress. In that paper he not only claimed the Rio del Norte as our boundary, but he demonstrated the validity of the claim by a train of facts and arguments which rivet conviction on every impartial mind, and defy refutation. Mr. Adams. I wrote that dispatch as secretary of state, and endeavored to make out the best case I could for my own country, as it was my duty; but I utterly deny that I claimed the Rio del Norte as our boundary in its full extent. I only claimed it a short distance up the river, and then diverged northward some distance from the stream. Mr. Douglas. Will the gentleman specify the point at which his line left the river ? Mr. Adams. I never designated the point. Mr. Douglas. Was it above Matamoras? Mr. Adams. I never specified any particular place. Mr. Douglas. I am well aware that the gentleman never specified any point of departure for his northward line, which, he now informs us, was to run a part of the way on the east side of that river; for he claimed the river as the boundary in general terms, without any qualification. But his present admission is sufficient for my purposes, if he will only specify the point from which he then understood or now understands that his line was to have diverged from the river. . I have heard of this line before, and know with reasonable certainty its point of departure. It followed the river to a place near the highlands—certainly more than one hundred miles above Matamoras; consequently, if we adopt that line as our present boundary, it will give us Point Isabel and General Taylor's camp opposite Matamoras, and every inch of ground upon which an American soldier has ever placed his foot since the annexation of Texas to the Union. Hence my solicitude to extract an answer from the venerable gentleman to my interrogatory whether his line followed the river any distance above Matamoras, and hence, I apprehend, the cause of my failure to procure a response to that question. If he had responded to my inquiry, his answer would have furnished a triumphant refutation of all the charges which he and his friends have made against the President for ordering the army of occupation to its present position. I am not now to be diverted from the real point in controversy by a discussion of the question whether the Rio del Norte was the boundary to its source. My present object is to repel the calumnies which have been urged against our government, to place our country in the right and the enemy in the wrong, before the civilized world, according to the truth and justice of the case. I have exposed these calumnies by reference to the acts and admissions of our accusers, by which they have asserted our title to the full extent that we have taken possession. I have shown that Texas always claimed the Rio del Norte as her boundary during the existence of the republic, and that Mexico on several occasions recognized it as such in the most direct and solemn manner. The President ordered the army no farther than Congress had extended our laws. In view of these facts, I leave it to the candor of every honest man whether the executive did not do his duty, and nothing but his duty, when he ordered the army to the Rio del Norte. Should he have folded his arms, and allowed our citizens to be murdered and our territory invaded with impunity? have we not forborne to act, either offensively or defensively, until our forbearance is construed into cowardice, and is exciting contempt from those toward whom we have exercised our magnanimity? We have a long list of grievances, a long catalogue of wrongs to be avenged. The war has commenced; blood has been shed; our territory invaded; all by the act of the enemy. I had hoped and trusted that there would be no anti-war party after war was declared. In this I have been sadly disappointed. I have been particularly mortified to see one with whom I have acted on the Oregon question, who was ready to plunge the country into immediate war, if necessary, to maintain the rights and honor of the country in that direction, now arraying himself on the side of the enemy when our country is invaded by another portion of the Union. To me, our country and all its parts are one and indivisible. I would rally under her standard in the defense of one portion as soon as another—the South as soon as the North; for Texas as soon as Oregon. And I will here do my Southern friends the justice to say that I firmly believe, and never doubted that, if war had arisen out of the Oregon question, when once declared, they would have been found shoulder to shoulder with me as firmly as I shall be with them in this Mexican war. Mr. Adams. I thought I understood the gentleman some time ago, while standing on 54° 40', to tell his Southern friends that he wanted no dodging on the Oregon question. Mr. Douglas. I did stand on 54° 40'; I stand there now, and never intend, by any act of mine, to surrender the position. I am as ready and willing to fight for 54° 40' as for the Rio del Norte. My patriotism is not of that kind which would induce me to go to war to enlarge one section of the Union out of mere hatred and vengeance toward the other. I have no personal or political griefs resulting from the past to embitter my feelings and inflame my resentment toward any section of our country. I know no sections, no divisions. I did complain of a few of my Southern friends on the Oregon question; did tell them that I wished to see no dodging; endeavored to rally
them on 54° 40' as our fighting line, regardless of consequences, war or no war. But, while they declined to assume this position in a time of peace, they unanimously avowed their determination to stand by the country the moment war was declared. But, since the gentleman from Massachusetts has dragged the Oregon question into this debate, I wish to call his attention to one of his wise sayings on that subject, and see if he is not willing to apply it to Texas as well as Oregon, to Mexico as well as Great Britain. He recalled to the mind of the House that passage of history in which the great Frederick took military possession of Silesia, and immediately proposed to settle the question of title and boundaries by negotiation. During the Oregon debate he avowed himself in favor of Frederick's plan for the settlement of that question, “Take possession first, and negotiate afterward.” I desire to know why the gentleman is not willing to apply this principle to the country on the Rio del Norte as well as Oregon? According to his own showing, that is precisely what President Polk has done. He has taken possession, and proposed to negotiate. In this respect the President has adopted the advice of the gentleman from Massachusetts, and followed the example of the great Frederick. The only difference in the two cases is that the President was maintaining a legal possession, which Congress had previously taken by the extension of our laws. For this he is also abused. He is condemned alike for using the sword and the olive branch. His enemies object to his efforts for amicable adjustment as well as to the movements of the army. All is wrong in their eyes. Their country is always wrong, and its enemies right. It has ever been so. It was so in the last war with Great Britain. Then it was unbecoming a moral and religious people to rejoice at the success of American arms. We were wrong, in their estimation, in the French Indemnity case, in the Florida war, in all the Indian wars, and now in the Mexican war. I despair of ever seeing my country again in the right, if they are to be the oracles.
On the 23d of February, 1848, President Pierce communicated to the Senate the treaty of peace with Mexico, negotiated at Guadalupe Hidalgo by N. P. Trist, calling attention to certain provisions in it which were highly objectionable. The debate on this treaty continued until March 10, when, it having been amended, the vote was taken, “Will the Senate advise and consent to the ratification of the treaty in the form of this resolution ?” and the vote stood:
Yeas—Ashley, Atherton, Bagby, Bell, Bradbury, Bright, Butler, Calhoun, Cameron, Cass, Clarke, Crittenden, Davis of Massachusetts, Davis of Mississippi, Dayton, Dickinson, Dix, Downs, Felch, Foote, Greene, Hale, Hannegan, Hunter, Johnson of Maryland, Johnson of Louisiana, Johnson of Georgia, Mangum, Mason, Miller, Moor, Niles, Rusk, Sevier, Sturgeon, Turney, Underwood, Yulee—38.
Nays—Allen of Ohio, Atchison of Missouri, Badger of North Carolina, Baldwin of Connecticut, Benton of Missouri, Berrien of Georgia, Breese of Illinois, Corwin of Ohio, Douglas of Illinois, Lewis of Alabama, Spruance of Delaware, Upham of Vermont, Webster of Massachusetts, Westcott of Florida–14. Two thirds having voted in the affirmative, the treaty was ratified.
The objections to the treaty on the part of Mr. Douglas are stated in the extracts from his speeches in the various part of this volume.
SINCE the advent of Mr. Douglas upon the floors of Congress, he has always taken an active and decided part in the discussions upon the proper policy to be adopted and maintained by the United States with respect to foreign governments, and also respecting foreign possessions and foreign domination upon the American continent. While he has always been a strenuous defender of the Monroe doctrine, and a zealous advocate of its rigid maintenance on all occasions by the United States, he has never given his approval to any of the resolutions or propositions which, from time to time, have been introduced into Congress, with a view of having a declaration of what this government would or would not do under certain circumstances. ' His theory is that the declaration by Mr. Monroe was a formal notice to the world that thenceforth there was to be no new establishment of power or acquisition of territory on this continent by any European nation. By that declaration he is willing to stand. It is broad, explicit, and covers the whole subject. As to all other questions, he is for leaving the United States unfettered by declarations, pledges, or treaty stipulations. He is opposed to any agreement between the United States and any European power by which the United States will be bound to do or not to do certain things respecting the future of any part of this continent. He is for leaving the government perfectly free to act when the occasion arises, just as the circumstances and interests of the country shall at the time require.
When Mr. Douglas entered Congress the Oregon boundary question was causing considerable agitation. He had discussed the subject often at home in Illinois. It was no new subject for him. He at once entered largely into it. As the whole controversy has long since been finally disposed of by treaty, it is unnecessary to quote in a work of this kind his speeches on the question. They were many and able, and displayed a research for which those who were strangers to him