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DEBATES OF CONGRESS,
FROM 1789 TO 1856.
FROM GALES AND SEATON'S ANNALS OF CONGRESS; FROM THEIR
REGISTER OF DEBATES; AND FROM THE OFFICIAL
REPORTED DEBATES, BY JOHN C. RIVES.
THE AUTHOR OF THE THIRTY YEARS' VIEW. .
ENTERED according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY,
TWENTY-NINTH CONGRESS-SECOND SESSION.
PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES
SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
to wait upon the President of the United States, Monday, December 7, 1846. and inform him that a quorum of the two In conformity with_the constitution, the Houses was assembled, and that Congress was Second Session of the Twenty-ninth Congress might be pleased to make, and that Mr. Hop
now ready to receive any communication he commenced this day,
The Senate was called to order at twelve KiNs and Mr. WINTHROP were appointed said o'clock, by its presiding officer, the Vice Presi- committee on the part of the House. dent of the United States.
Report of Committee JOSEPH Cilley, from New Hampshire, took bis seat, and forty-three Senators answered to
Mr. BREESE, on behalf of the committee on their names.
the part of the Senate, appointed to wait upon
the President of the United States, reported Resolutions.
that the committee had performed the duty On motion of Mr. BREESE, it was
assigned to them, and that the President had Resolved, That a committee be appointed, jointly stated in reply that he would send a communiwith such committee as may be appointed by the cation to both Houses of Congress on to-morHouse of Representatives, to wait on the Pressident row at twelve o'clock. of the United States, and inform him that quorums On motion, the Senate adjourned. of the two Houses have assembled, and that Con. gress are ready to receive any communication he may be pleased to make.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. The VICE PRESIDENT appointed Messrs.
MONDAY, December 7. Breese, CRITTENDEN, and FAIRFIELD, & com- At twelve o'clock the Hon. John W. Davis, mittee on the part of the Senate in accordance of Indiana, Speaker of the
House of Representawith the foregoing resolution.
tives, took the chair, and called the House to On motion of Mr. CAMERON, it was
order. Resolved, That each Senator be supplied, during
The roll of the members was called over by the present session, with newspapers as heretofore, B. B. Frenon, Esq., Clerk of the
House, when not exceeding the cost of three daily papers.
186 members answered to their names.
A message was received from the Senate by Messages from the House.
the hands of A. DICKINS, Esq., Secretary, inA message was received from the House of forming the House that a quorum of the Senate Representatives by its Clerk, BENJAMIN B. had assembled, and that that body was ready FRENOR, Esq., informing the Senate that the to proceed to business. House of Representatives had assembled, and Mr. PAYNE, of Alabama, announced that his was ready to proceed to business.
colleague, Mr. James L. COTTRELL, elected to thalso, a message informing the Senate that fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation olution that a committed be appointed, on the BOWDEN, to fill the vacancy
occasioned by the part of the House, to join such committee as death of Felix G. MCCONNELL, were present. might be appointed on the part of the Senate, | Mr. Julius ROCKWELL, of Massachusetts, an
[29TH CONG nounced that his colleague, Mr. ARTEMAS HALE,
IN SENATE. elected to represent the 9th district of that State, was present.
TUESDAY, December 8. Mr. Culver, of New York, announced that
The following Senators appeared in their his colleague, Mr. Thomas P. RIPLEY, elected seats to-day: to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of
From Connecticut-Hon. JOHN M. NILKs. Richard P. HERRICK, was present.
New Jersey-Hon. W. L. Dayton. Mr Phelps, of Missouri, announced that his Mississippi-Hon. J. W. CHALMERS. colleague, Mr. William MoDANIEL, elected to
President's Message. fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Mr. STERLING Price, was present.
The Journal having been readThese several members elect were respec- of the United States was received by the hands
The following Message from the President tively qualified, and took their seats.
of J. Knox WALKER, Esq., his Private SecreLetter from the Secretary of the Treasury, tary:
Robert J. Walker, Esq.: Estimate of appro- Fellow-Citizens of the Senate
In resuming your labors in the service of the TREASURY DEPARTMENT, November 19, 1846.
people, it is a subject of congratulation that there Sir: Agreeably to the joint resolution of Con has been no period in our past history, when all gress of the 7th January, 1846, I have the honor the elements of national prosperity have been so to transmit, for the information of the House of fully developed. Since your last session no afflictRepresentatives, printed estimates of the appro: good health has prevailed; abundance has crown
ing dispensation has visited our country; general priations proposed to be made for the fiscal year ed the toil of the husbandman; and labor in all its ending the 30th June, 1848, amounting to $41,- branches is receiving an ample reward, while edu717,355 48, viz:
cation, science, and the arts, are rapidly enlarging Civil list, Foreign intercourse, and miscellaneous,
the means of social happiness. The progress of Army proper,
our country in her career of greatness, not only in Volunteers,
the vast extension of our territorial limits and the Fortifications, ordnance, &c., 1,720,571 00 Indian department,
rapid increase of our population, but in resources Pensions,
and wealth, and in the happy condition of our Naval Establishment,
people, is without example in the history of na
tions. To the estimates are added statements showing- As the wisdom, strength, and beneficence of our I. The appropriations for the service of the
free institutions are unfolded, every day adds fresh fiscal year ending the 30th June, 1848, made by former acts of Congress, of a permanent
motives to contentment, and fresb incentives to character, amounting to Viz:
Our devout and sincere acknowledgments are Civil list, foreign intercourse,
due to the gracious Giver of all good, for the and miscellaneous,
numberless blessings which our beloved country Arming and equipping militia, 200,000 00
enjoys. Civilization of Indians,
10,000 00 Pensions, .
It is a source of high satisfaction to know that Interest, &c.; public debt,
the relations of the United States with all other
nations, with a single exception, are of the most II. The existing appropriations which will
amicable character. Sincerely attached to the be required to be expended in the fiscal year ending 30th June, 1848, amounting to 724,284 81 policy of peace, early adopted and steadily pur
sued by this Government, I have anxiously deConsisting of the following items, viz :
sired to cultivate and cherish friendship and comCivil list, foreign intercourse, and miscellaneous,
merce with every foreign power. The spirit and
$519,786 31 Army proper,
habits of the American people are favorable to the Harbors and 'rivers,
maintenance of such international harmony. In Pensions, Indian department,
adhering to this wise policy, a preliminary and 6,299 00
paramount duty obviously consists in the protec$45,781,784 51 tion of our national interests from encroachment
or sacrifice, and our national honor from reproach. III. There is also added to the estimates a statement of These must be maintained at any hazard. They
the several appropriations which will probably, be admit of no compromise or neglect, and must be carried to the surplus fund, amounting to $121,609 31. Accompanying the estimates are sundry state- vigilant vindication, collision and conflict with for
scrupulously and constantly guarded. In their ments furnished by the Treasury and War Depart- eign powers may sometimes become unavoidable. ments, containing the references to the acts of Such bas been our scrupulous adherence to the Congress, &c., on which the estimates for the ser- dictates of justice, in all our foreign intercourse, vice of those departments are founded.
that, though steadily and rapidly advancing in I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
prosperity and power, we have given no just cause R. J. WALKER,
of complaint to any nation, and have enjoyed the Secretary of the Treasury. Hon. John W. Davis,
blessings of peace for more than thirty years.
From a policy so sacred to humanity, and so saluSpeaker of the House of Representatives.
tary in its effects upon our political system, we The letter was laid upon the table.
should never be induced voluntarily to depart
3,340,144 72 patriotism.
50,000 00 24,209 00 124,990 00
[DECEMBER, 1846. The existing war with Mexico was neither de- made repeated reclamations on behalf of its citi. sired nor provoked by the United States. On the zens, but these were answered by the perpetration contrary, all honorable means were resorted to to of new outrages. Promises of redress made by avert it. After years of endurance of aggravated Mexico in the most solemn forms, were postponed and unredressed wrongs on our part, Mexico, in or evaded. The files and records of the Depart. violation of solemn treaty stipulations, and of every ment of State contain conclusive proofs of nuprinciple of justice recognized by civilized nations, merous lawless acts perpetrated upon the property commenced hostilities; and thus, by her own act, and persons of our citizens by Mexico, and of wan. forced the war upon us. Long before the advance ton insults to our national flag. The interposition of our army to the left bank of the Rio Grande, we of our Government to obtain redress was again and had ample cause of war against Mexico; and had again invoked, under circumstances which no nathe United States resorted to this extremity, we tion ought to disregard. might have appealed to the whole civilized world It was hoped that these outrages would ceasė, for the justice of our cause.
and that Mexico would be restrained by the laws I deem it to be my duty to present to you, on which regulate the conduct of civilized nations in the present occasion, a condensed review of the their intercourse with each other, after the treaty injuries we had sustained, of the causes which led of amity, commerce, and navigation, of the 5th of to the war, and of its progress since its commence- April, 1831, was concluded between the two rement. This is rendered the more necessary be- publics ; but this hope soon proved to be vain. cause of the misapprehensions which have, to some The course of seizure and confiscation of the propextent, prevailed as to its origin and true character. erty of our citizens, the violation of their persons, The war has been represented as unjust and unne- and the insults to our flag, pursued by Mexico cessary, and as one of aggression on our part upon previous to that time, were scarcely suspended a weak aud injured enemy. Such erroneous views, for even a brief period, although the treaty so though entertained by but few, have been widely clearly defines the rights and duties of the respecand extensively circulated, not only at home, but tive parties, that it is impossible to misunderstand have been spread throughout Mexico and the whole or mistake them. In less than seven years after world. A more effectual means could not have the conclusion of that treaty, our grievances had been devised to encourage the enemy and protract become so intolerable, that in the opinion of Presithe war than to advocate and adhere to their cause, dent Jackson, they should no longer be endured. and thus give them “aid and comfort."
In his message to Congress in February, 1837, he It is a source of national pride and exultation, presented them to the consideration of that body, that the great body of our people have thrown no and declared that “the length of time since some such obstacles in the way of the Government in of the injuries have been committed, the repeated prosecuting the war successfully, but have shown and unavailing applications for redress, the wanthemselves to be eminently patriotic, and ready to ton character of some of the ontrages upon the vindicate their country's honor and interest at any property and persons of our citizens, upon the sacrifice. The alacrity and promptness with which officers and flag of the United States, independent our volunteer forces rushed to the field on their of recent insults to this Government and people country's call, prove not only their patriotism, but by the late extraordinary Mexican Minister, would their deep conviction that our cause is just. justify in the eyes of all nations immediate war.”
The wrongs which we have suffered from Mexi. In a spirit of kindness and forbearance, howco almost ever since she became an independent ever, he recommended reprisals as a milder mode power, and the patient endurance with which we of redress. He declared that war should not be have borne them, are without a parallel in the his- used as a remedy “by just and generous natory of modern civilized nations. There is reason tions, confiding in their strength, for injuries comto believe that if these wrongs had been resented mitted, if it can be honorably avoided,” and and resisted in the first instance, the present war added, “it has occurred to me that, considering might have been avoided. One outrage, however, the present embarrassed condition of that country, perinitted to pass with impunity, almost neces- we should act with both wisdom and moderation, sarily encouraged the perpetration of another, by giving to Mexico one more opportunity to until at last Mexico seemed to attribute to weakness atone for the past, before we take redress into and indecision on our part a forbearance which was our own hands. To avoid all misconception on the offspring of magnanimity, and of a sincere de- the part of Mexico, as well as to protect our own sire to preserve friendly relations with a sister re national character from reproach, this opportunity public.
should be given with the avowed design and full Scarcely bad Mexico achieved her independ preparation to take immediate satisfaction, if it ence, which the United States were the first among should not be obtained on a repetition of the dethe nations to acknowledge, when she commenced mand for it. To this end I recommend that an the system of insult and spoliation, which she has act be passed authorizing reprisals, and the use ever since pursued. Our citizens engaged in of the naval force of the United States, by the lawful commerce, were imprisoned, their vessels Executive, against Mexico, to enforce them in seized, and our flag insulted in her ports. If the event of a refusal by the Mexican Governmoney was wanted, the lawless seizure and con- ment to come to an amicable adjustment of the fiscation of our merchant vessels and their cargoes matters in controversy between us, upon another was a ready resource; and if, to accomplish their demand thereof, made from on board one of our purposes, it became necessary to imprison the vessels of war on the coast of Mexico." owners, captains, and crews, it was done. Rulers Committees of both Houses of Congress, to superseded rulers in Mexico in rapid succession, which this message of the President was referred, but still there was no change in this system of dep- fully sustained his views of the character of the redation. The Goverument of the United States wrongs which we had suffered from Mexico, and