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ought to be kept before the view of Congress, whereas it has
been kept entirely out of sight. That is my point. The honor
able member admits that it is a debt, but contends that it is
not to be reckoned as a portion of the public national debt. If
by this the honorable member means to say, that this amount
forms no part of the debt arising from borrowed money, unques
tionably he is right. But still it is a national debt ; the nation
owes this money ; and it enters necessarily, as one important
item or element, into a statement of the financial condition of
the government.

The honorable member has asked, if this were so, why such
a statement ought not, in like manner, to include the Indian
annuities. They are included in effect. Does not the annual
report from the department always state the amount of those
annuities as part of the expenditures for which Congress is to
provide ? Are they not always in the estimates ? So the mem
ber asks why the pensions are not to be included. The same
answer might be made. The amount of that expenditure, also,
is annually laid before Congress, and it is provided for as
other demands on the government. I have not complained
of this amount of two and a half millions of Indian debt ; I
have never opposed these treaties. All I have contended for is,
that, as an amount to be provided for, it is as much a part
of the public debt as if it consisted of borrowed money ; it is
a demand which Congress is bound to meet. In any general
view, therefore, of the liabilities of the government, is there one


of those liabilities which could with more truth and justice be
inserted than this?

I have said that I commend the argument of the President, in
opposition to a national debt; and I should be quite unwilling
to have it supposed that any thing I said could be wrested (I do
not charge that it has been intentionally so wrested) to favor the
idea of a public debt at all. But I must still insist that the
language employed by the President on the eighth page of his
message does refer to past political contests in this country, and
does hold out the idea that, from the beginning of the govern
ment, in the political contests which have agitated the country,
there have been some men or some parties who were in favor of
the creation and continuance of a public debt, as part of their
policy; and this I have denied. The idea in the message is
not that there are certain great interests in the country which
are always, from the nature of things, in favor of such a debt,
on account of the advantages derivable from it to themselves, as
the honorable member has argued to-day. If the President had
stated this, as it has now been stated in the speech of the hon
orable member, nobody could have taken any exception to it.
But that is not the language of the message. The point of ob
jection is, that the message charges this fondness for a national
debt upon some one of the parties which have engaged in the
past political strifes of the country, and has represented it as a
broad and general ground of distinction between parties, that
one was the advocate of a national debt, as of itself a good,
and the other the opponent of the existence of a debt. This I
regard as an imputation wholly unfounded ; and it is on this
ground that I have objected to that portion of the executive
communication. No facts in our history warrant the allegation.
It is mere assumption.

When up before, I omitted one important item, in stating
the amount of expenditures under the existing administration
beyond the accruing revenue, which ought to be brought to the
public view. If I am in error, the honorable member will put me
right. In March, 1836, a law passed, postponing the payment of
certain revenue bonds, in consequence of the great fire in New
York, for three, four, and five years. The great mass of these
postponed bonds have fallen due, and been received into the treas
ury, since the present administration came into power. The to-


tal amount is about six millions of dollars. This being so, the
whole amount of expenditure over and above the accruing
revenue amounts to thirty-four millions, or thereabouts, and
thus gives an annual excess of expenditures over receipts of
eight and a half millions a year; and I insist again, looking at
the matter in a purely financial view, looking at the compara
tive proportion of liabilities and of means to discharge them,
that when the President finds an excess of the former continu
ing for four years, at the rate of eight and a half millions per
annum, and does not particularize any one branch of expendi
ture in which a considerable practical reduction can be made,
(unless so far as it may take place in the pension list, by the
gradual decease of the pensioners,) and when he proposes no
new measure as a means of replenishing the exhausted treasury,
the question for Congress and for the nation to consider is,
whether this is a safe course to be pursued in relation to our fis
cal concerns. Is it wise, provident, and statesmanlike ?

There is another point in which the honorable member from
New York has entirely misapprehended me. He says that I ap
peared to desire to avoid, as a critical and delicate subject, the
question of the tariff; or rather, had complained that this admin
istration had not taken it up. Now, I did not say a word about
the tariff, further than to state that another great reduction was
immediately approaching in the rate of duties, of which the mes
sage takes no notice whatever; though it does not fail to refer to
two reductions which have heretofore taken place. What I said
on the subject of imposing new duties for revenue had reference
solely to silks and wines. This has been a delicate point with
me at no time. I have, for a long period, been desirous to lay
such a duty on silks and wines ; and it does appear to me the
strangest thing imaginable, the strangest phase of the existing
system of revenue, that we should import so many millions of
dollars worth of silks and wines entirely free of duty, at the
very time when the government has been compelled, by tempo
rary loans, to keep itself in constant debt for four years past.
So far from considering this a matter of any delicacy, had the
Senate the constitutional power of originating revenue bills,
the very first thing I should move, in my place, would be to lay
a tax on both these articles of luxury.

Were I to draw an inference from the speech of the honora-


ble member, it would be that it rather seemed to be his own
opinion, and certainly seemed also to be that of the President,
that it would be wiser to withdraw the whole or a part of the
money deposited with the States, than to lay taxes on silks and
wines. In this opinion I do not at all concur. If the question
were between such a withdrawal and the imposition of such a
tax, I should, without hesitation, say, lay the tax, and leave the
money with the States where it is. I am greatly mistaken if
such a preference would not meet the public approbation. I am
for taxing this enormous amount of twenty or thirty millions of
foreign products imported in a single year, and all consumed in
the country, and consumed as articles of luxury, by the rich
alone, and for leaving the deposits in possession of the States
with whom they have been placed.

I believe I have now noticed so much of the honorable Sena
tor s speech as requires a reply ; and I shall resume my seat
with again repeating that it has been no part of my purpose to
ascribe either extravagance, or the opposite virtue, to the admin
istration, in the purchase of Indian lands or other transactions.
That is not my object, or my point, on this occasion. I wish
only to present a true financial view of the condition of our
affairs, and to show that our national debt is much greater and
more serious than a hasty reader of the message might be led
to conclude; and however warmly it admonishes the country
against a national debt, yet these admonitions are all uttered
at a moment when a national debt has already been begun,
begun in time of peace, begun under the administration of the
President himself.


AT a very early period of the session of 1845-46, a joint resolution
for the admission of the State of Texas into the Union, was introduced
into the House of Representatives by Mr. Douglass of Illinois, from the
Committee on the Territories. This resolution, having rapidly passed
through all the stages of legislation in the House, was referred in the
Senate to the Committee on the Territories, and promptly reported back
by Mr. Ashley of Arkansas, without amendment. On the 22d of De
cember the resolution came up, on the question of a third reacting, and
was opposed by Mr. Webster as follows :

I AM quite aware, Mr. President, that this resolution will pass
the Senate. It has passed the other house of Congress by a
large majority, and it is quite well known that there is a decided
majority in this house also in faver of its passage. There are
members of this body, Sir, who opposed the measures for the
annexation of Texas which came before Congress at its last
session, who, nevertheless, will very probably feel themselves
now, in consequence of the resolutions of the last session, and in
consequence of the proceedings of Texas upon those resolutions,
bound to vote for her admission into the Union. I do not in
tend, Mr. President, to argue either of the questions which were
discussed in Congress at that time, and which have been so
much discussed throughout the country within the last three

Mr. President, there is no citizen of this country who has
been more kindly disposed towards the people of Texas than
myself, from the time they achieved, in so very extraordinary a

* Remarks in the Senate of the United States, on the 22d of December, 1845,
on the Admission of the State of Texas into the Union.


manner, their independence of the Mexican government. I have
shown, I hope, in another place, and shall show in all situa
tions, and under all circumstances, a just and proper regard
for the people of that country ; but with respect to its annexa
tion to this Union it is well known that, from the first announce
ment of any such idea, I have felt it my duty steadily, uniform
ly, and zealously to oppose it. I have expressed opinions and
urged arguments against it everywhere, and on all occasions
on which the subject came under consideration. I could not
now, if I were to go over the whole topic again, adduce any
new views, or support old views, as far as I am aware, by any
new arguments or illustrations. My efforts have been constant
and unwearied ; but, like those of others in the same cause, they
have failed of success. I will therefore, Sir, in very few words,
acting under the unanimous resolution and instructions of both
branches of the legislature of Massachusetts, as well as in con
formity to my own settled judgment and full conviction, reca
pitulate before the Senate and before the community the objec
tions which have prevailed, and must always prevail, with me
against this measure of annexation.

In the first place, I have, on the deepest reflection, long ago
come to the conclusion, that it is of very dangerous tendency
and doubtful consequences to enlarge the boundaries of this
country, or the territories over which our laws are now es
tablished. There must be some limit to the extent of our terri
tory, if we would make our institutions permanent. And this
permanency forms the great subject of all my political efforts,
the paramount object of my political regard. The government
is very likely to be endangered, in my opinion, by a further en
largement of the territorial surface, already so vast, over which
it is extended.

In the next place, I have always wished that this country
should exhibit to the nations of the earth the example of a great,
rich, and powerful republic, which is not possessed by a spirit
of aggrandizement. It is an example, I think, due from us to
the world, in favor of the character of republican government.

In the next place, Sir, I have to say, that while I hold, with
as much integrity, I trust, and faithfulness, as any citizen of this
country, to all the original arrangements and compromises un
der which the Constitution under which we now live was adopt-


eel, I never could, and never can, persuade myself to be in
favor of the admission of other States into the Union as slave
States, with the inequalities which were allowed and accorded
by the Constitution to the slave-holding States then in exist
ence. I do not think that the free States ever expected, or
could expect, that they would be called on to admit more slave
States, having the unequal advantages arising to them from
the mode of apportioning representation under the existing Con

Sir, I have never made an effort, and never propose to make
an effort ; I have never countenanced an effort, and never mean
to countenance an effort, to disturb the arrangements, as origi
nally made, by which the various States came into the Union.
But I cannot avoid considering it quite a different question,
when a proposition is made to admit new States, and that they
be allowed to come in with the same advantages and inequali
ties which were agreed to in regard to the old. It may be said,
that, according to the provisions of the Constitution, new States
are to be admitted upon the same footing as the old States.
It may be so ; but it does not follow at all from that provision,
that every territory or portion of country may at pleasure estab
lish slavery, and then say we will become a portion of the
Union, and will bring with us the principles which we have thus
adopted, and must be received on the same footing as the old
States. It will always be a question whether the other States
have not a right (and I think they have the clearest right) to re
quire that the State coming into the Union should come in upon
an equality ; and if the existence of slavery be an impediment to
coming in on an equality, then the State proposing to come in
should be required to remove that inequality by abolishing slav
ery, or take the alternative of being excluded.

Now, I suppose that I should be very safe in saying, that if
a proposition were made to introduce from the North or the
Northwest territories into this Union, under circumstances which
would give them an equivalent to that enjoyed by slave States,
advantage and inequality, that is to say, over the South, such
as this admission gives to the South over the North, I take it
for granted that there is not a gentleman in this body from a
slave-holding State that would listen for one moment to such a
proposition. I therefore put my opposition, as well as on other


grounds, on the political ground that it deranges the balance of
the Constitution, and creates inequality and unjust advantage
against the North, and in favor of the slave-holding country of
the South. I repeat, that if a proposition were now made for
annexations from the North, and that proposition contained
such a preference, such a manifest inequality, as that now before
us, no one could hope that any gentleman from the Southern
States would hearken to it for a moment.

It is not a subject that I mean to discuss at length. I am
quite aware that there are in this chamber gentlemen represent
ing free States, gentlemen from the North and East, who have
manifested a disposition to add Texas to the Union as a slave
State, with the common inequality belonging to slave States.
This is a matter for their own discretion, and judgment, and re
sponsibility. They are in no way responsible to me for the ex
ercise of the duties assigned them here ; but I must say that 1
cannot but think that the time will come when they will very
much doubt both the propriety and the justice of the present
proceeding. I cannot but think the time will come when all
will be convinced that there is no reason, political or moral, for
increasing the number of the States, and increasing, at the same
time, the obvious inequality which exists in the representation
of the people in Congress by extending slavery and slave repre

On looking at the proposition further, I find that it imposes
restraints upon the legislature of the State as to the manner in
which it shall proceed (in case of a desire to proceed at all) in
order to the abolition of slavery. I have perused that part of
the constitution of Texas, and, if I understand it, the legislature
is restrained from abolishing slavery at any time, except on two
conditions ; one, the consent of every master, and the other, the
payment of compensation. Now I think that a constitution
thus formed ties up the hands of the legislature effectually
against any movement, under any state of circumstances, with a
view to abolish slavery ; because, if any thing is to be done, it
must be done within the State by general law, and such a thing
as the consent of every master cannot be obtained; though I do
not say that there may not be an inherent power in the people
of Texas to alter the constitution, if they should be inclined to
relieve themselves hereafter from the restraint under which thev
labor. But I speak of the constitution now presented to us.


Mr. President, I was not in Congress at the last session, and
of course I had no opportunity to take part in the debates upon
this question ; nor have I before been called upon to discharge a
public trust in regard to it. I certainly did, as a private citizen,
entertain a strong feeling that, if Texas were to be brought into
the Union at all, she ought to be brought in by diplomatic ar
rangement, sanctioned by treaty. But it has been decided other
wise by both houses of Congress ; and, whatever my own opin
ions maybe, I know that many who coincided with me -feel
themselves, nevertheless, bound by the decision of all branches
of the government. My own opinion and judgment have not
been at all shaken by any thing I have heard. And now, not
having been a member of the government, and having, of course,
taken no official part in the measure, and as it has now come to
be completed, I have believed that I should best discharge my
own duty, and fulfil the expectations of those who placed me
here, by giving this expression of their most decided, unequivo
cal, and unanimous dissent and protest ; and stating, as I have
now stated, the reasons which have impelled me to withhold my

I agree with the unanimous opinion of the legislature of
Massachusetts ; I agree with the great mass of her people ; I re
affirm what I have said and written during the last eight years,
at various times, against this annexation. I here record my
own dissent and opposition ; and I here express and place on
record, also, the dissent and protest of the State of Massachu


VERY early in the first session of the Twenty-ninth Congress, General
Cass, one of the Senators from Michigan, introduced resolutions directing
the Committees on Military Affairs, the Militia, and Naval Affairs, re
spectively, to inquire into the condition of the national fortifications and
their armaments ; into the present condition of the militia and the state of
the militia laws ; and into the condition of the navy of the United States,
and the quantity and condition of the naval supplies on hand. These
resolutions were supported by General Cass in a short speech, in which
he pointed to the relations of the United States and Great Britain in ref
erence to the Oregon Territory, as making these inquiries into the state
of the military defences of the country both prudent and necessary.
On these resolutions Mr. Webster made the following remarks :

I DO not propose to offer any opposition whatever to the pas
sage of the resolutions, though I cannot perceive that there is
any very great necessity for their adoption. It does not appear
to me that they charge the committees with any especial new
duty. Inquiry into the matters here suggested is the ordinary
duty of the committees, and I do not think there are any extra
ordinary circumstances existing which render it necessary, on
this occasion, to instruct them by a resolution of the Senate, or
to stimulate them in the performance of an established duty.
Nevertheless, I regret the introduction of these resolutions, com
bined, as they are, with the remarks which the Senator from
Michigan has thought proper to address to the Senate, because
I agree with the Senator from Kentucky,! that their introduc-

* Remarks on the Resolutions moved by General Cass in the Senate of the
United States, on the lath of December, 18-45, directing Inquiry into the Condi
tion of the Military Defences of the Country.

| Mr. Crittenden.


tion in that manner appears to give something to them of sig
nificance, which will create unnecessary alarm. Every mem
ber of the Senate knows, and every man of intelligence knows,
that unnecessary alarm and apprehension about the preserva
tion of the public peace is a great evil. It disturbs the affairs
of the country, it disturbs the calculations of men, it deranges the
pursuits of life, and even, to a great extent, changes the circum
stances of the whole business of the community. This truth will
be felt more especially by every gentleman acquainted or con
nected with the seaboard. They all know what an immense
amount of property is afloat upon the ocean, carried there by
our citizens in the prosecution of their maritime pursuits. They
all know that a rumor of war, or the breath of a rumor of war,
will affect the value of that property. They all know what
effect it will have upon insurances. They all know what im
mense amounts of property on shore will be affected by the agi
tation of public opinion upon an intimation of the disturbance
of the pacific relations existing between this country and foreign

Sir, there are two ways, in either of which a government may
proceed; and, when I have stated them, I think it will be obvious
to every one which is the wisest. We may, if we choose, create
alarm and apprehension. We may, if we are wiser, cause no
unnecessary alarm, but make quiet, thorough, just, politic, states
manlike provision for the future.

Mr. President, I am entirely of the opinion of the Senator
from Kentucky. I have not been able to bring myself to believe
that war will grow out of this matter, certainly not immediately;
and I think I cannot be mistaken when I say, that the recom
mendations which the chief magistrate has made to Congress
do not show that he expects war. I think it impossible to
mistake the meaning of the President. He does not expect war.
Looking at the state of things aronnd us, and at what is stated
by the executive, I cannot believe that he apprehends any

Sir, I abstain cautiously from offering any remark upon that
portion of the message which refers to the negotiation. I ab
stain with equal care from any remark upon a correspondence
which has been published. I do not wish to say whether it
appears from that correspondence that negotiation is so com-

VOL. v. 6


pletely and entirely at an end, that no amicable disposition of
the question may be looked for hereafter from a diplomatic
source. It is enough for me, in order to accomplish all the pur
poses of these few remarks, to say, that, while I am incapable
of bringing myself to the belief that the President apprehends
any immediate danger of war, I may be allowed to suppose, or
to imagine, that he may entertain an opinion similar to that
which has been expressed this morning by the Senator from
Connecticut,* He may possibly, having communicated the ul
timatum of this government, look for propositions to come from
the other side. Whether it be in this view or upon other
grounds that the expectation is entertained, it is enough for
me to deprecate any false alarm that may disturb the tranquil
lity of the country.

The President may feel, as I am bound to suppose he does
feel, the full weight of the responsibility which attaches to him
in relation to every public interest, and the greatest of all in
terests, the peace of the country. I am bound to suppose
that he understands the position in which he is placed, and that
he judges wisely as to the extent to which he should go in sub
mitting propositions to Congress. Therefore, I entirely concur

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