John A. (John Adams) Dix.

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innumerable frauds. Sir, these were some of the arguments
against the British system, as will be seen by referring to
the extract I have given from Smollett. And if the Senator
will permit me, I will remind him that at the close of the
last session of Congress he raised the same objections to a
bill allowing a drawback of duties on goods transported from
the United States to the adjacent British provinces. The
bill became a law, and has been most salutary in practice.
Not an additional custom-house officer, as I believe, has been
appointed under it, nor have I heard any allegation of fraud
arising from the more extended conmiercial intercourse to
which it has led. I trust and believe that the apprehensions
of my friend from Connecticut will prove as groundless now
as they did then.

One of the closing remarks of the Senator was, that
there was no analogy between this bill and the act of 1799,
in respect to the deposit of goods in the public stores. I
differ with him in opinion entirely. I see a strong analogy
between them. The Senator said the provision in the act


of 1799 was intended to secure the duties on unclaimed
goods, and that its object was pubHc, and not the conven-
ience of individuals. Sir, I think he will admit, on further
consideration, that he puts too narrow a construction on that
act. It ai)plied also to goods deposited in store with the
consent of the owner, consignee, or master of the vessel,
and authorized them to be received after five days' notice
to the collector. The Senator is learned in the law, and I
need only remind him of the rule, that, whenever an author-
ity is conferred on a public officer, and the exercise of the
authority may be beneficial to third persons, it is his duty,
on the application of the parties interested, to act. The
term consent must, therefore, be deemed synonymous with
request ; and such I believe it is in practice ; for, as I said
when I explained to the Senate the provisions of this bill,
vessels in haste to enter on the return-voyage are constantly
unladen under the five days' order. Let us pursue this
question of analogy a little further. What were the leading
provisions in force in 1799 in respect to the storage and
reexportation of foreign merchandise] Storage for nine
months, no interest on the duties, and one and one fourth
per cent, deduction on the drawback. What are the provis-
ions .in force now ] Storage for sixty and ninety days, in-
terest at six per cent, on the duties, and two and a half per
cent, deduction on the drawback. The bill under consider-
ation IS intended to remove the rigors of the present law,
and to restore and extend the privileges of the old. Sir, so
strong do I consider the analogy between the provisions of
the bill under consideration and the provisions of the act
of 1799, that I would almost be willing to take the latter,
with a mere extension of the time allowed for storing goods,
and ask no more.

But, sir, I have trespassed too long on the indulgence of
the Senate, and with a brief reference to a single topic I
will bring my remarks to a close.

It is said that this is a measure calculated for the exclu-


sive benefit of New York, and appeals were made to Sena-
tors from other States to take notice that the bill contained
no provision for rewarehousing goods when once deposited
in store at the place of importation. In reply to this appeal
I wish to say, that, after the bill was drawn, a provision to
allow goods to be removed from one collection district to an-
other, in the manner in which they may now be transported
for reexportation, with the benefit of drawback, was sug-
gested by a distinguished Senator from the South, and I
assured hirn that if such an amendment was proposed, I
should not object to it.

But, with such an amendment or without it, my sincere
belief is, that New York is no more interested in this meas-
ure than some other seaports in the Union. She is the cen-
tre of commerce now. A warehouse system can make her
no more. But I believe its tendency is to make other cities
participate, to a greater extent than they do now, in the
commerce of the country. Its tendency is to make them
depots of merchandise for the supply of the interior dis-
tricts of which they are respectively the outlets : — Boston,
for the New England district, which lies back and north of
her, not great in territorial extent, but wonderful in activity
and physical power, with a network of railways covering it
and connecting it with her ; Philadelphia, for the rich in-
terior of Pennsylvania, and the still more western districts
which that State has rendered tributary to her by means of
the internal channels of communication of which the city is
the terminus ; Baltimore, Charleston, and Savannah for the
interior districts which receive their supplies through those
cities ; and last, though among the first in importance, New
Orleans, with the immense valley of the Mississippi, and the
almost boundless regions upon the Missouri, the Arkansas,
and the Red rivers, which look to her as their only outlet,
and their only point of transshipment, both for their inward
and outward trade. I believe these cities, in proportion to
their population and commerce, will be as much benefited as


New York by the measure under consideration. They will
become depots for the merchandise required to supply the
several districts dependent on them, and New Orleans may
also confidently look for a large and valuable share of the
export trade in foreign products deposited for reexportation
in her warehouses. As Senators from other States have
been appealed to, I desire to commend the Senators from
Louisiana to an attentive consideration of the commercial
statements on their tables. New Orleans sends abroad
domestic products to the value of twenty-five millions of
dollars. New York sends only about ninety thousand dollars
more. Look now to the imports. New York receives sev-
enty millions, New Orleans only seven, — a tenth part. The
foreign products, in which the vast export of New Orleans
is paid, go first to New York, and the duties are paid there.
I ask them to consider these facts, and say whether, under
the proposed system. New Orleans may not become the
depot for the merchandise required for the consumption of
the valley of the Mississippi, and for exportation to South.

Sir, I did not understand the Senator from Connecticut
as intimating that this measure has been urged by myself
with any exclusive view to benefit New York. I am sure
he knows me too well to suppose that in my legislative
capacity I am not actuated by a higher motive than that of
endeavoring to shape the legislation of the Union so as to
give any undue advantage to mere local interests. When
the Senate did me the honor to make me a member of the
Committee on Commerce, I considered myself charged, in
common with my associates, with the responsibility of look-
ing to the commercial interests of the whole country. I
have endeavored to meet that responsibility in a liberal and
impartial spirit. I might safely appeal to the other members
of the committee to say whether I have busied myself in
devising schemes of local benefit for the State I have the
honor to represent, — whether I have not discouraged appli-



cations from that State in more than one instance, because
I believed them not to be made under such circumstances as
to render it proper to grant them. It is my duty, doubt-
less, in conjunction with my colleague, to see, as far as lies
in my power, that the interests of New York are not over-
looked in our consultations for the general good. That duty
I shall endeavor to discharge faithfully and vigilantly. But
1 trust I shall never be found pressing any local interest of
my own State in opposition to the common interests of the
whole Union. Such a service I can never consent to perform.
My constituents do not expect it of me. They would be the
first to pronounce me unworthy of the trust they have re-
posed in me if they were to find me acting upon grounds so
narrow and so subversive of all just principles of legislation.
Sir, New York asks no partial exercise of legislative power
in her favor. She needs none. She desires only to stand
on equal ground with her sister States. Her " claim hath
this extent, no more."

In bringing forward this measure, I have been actuated
by the single desire of benefiting the commerce of the coun-
try at large, of liberating it from some of the restrictions
by which it is embarrassed, and of giving it freer and
broader scope. I believe these objects may be effected with-
out prejudicing any other interest. I believe the measure
proposed is due to every consideration of fairness. I have
given it my support under these convictions. I shall defend
it to the last. I trust it will receive the sanction of the Sen-
ate. If I shall be disappointed, I shall bow, as is my duty,
to the judgment of the majority of my associates on this
floor. But in such an event, which I will not anticipate, it
will be with the assurance, not that the measure is unworthy,
but that it would have succeeded if it had been advocated by
the mover in a manner at all commensurate with its claims
to support.


JA^^UARY 4, 1847.

Mr. Dix moved that the Senate proceed to the consideration of
the bill to appoint a lieutenant-general to command the military forces
of the United States during the war with Mexico.

The motion was agreed to, and the bill was taken up accordingly,
as in committee of the whole.

Mr. President: The bill under consideration was in-
troduced in accordance with the recommendation contained
in the President's special message of the 4th instant. The
reasons for asking the appointment of a general to com-
mand all our military forces in Mexico were briefly ex-
plained in that message. Having introduced the bill as
a member of the Committee on Military Afiairs, I deem it
due to the Senate and to the subject to state the considera-
tions by which I have been governed in giving the measure
my support.

Our military operations in Mexico have heretofore been
carried on in detached commands, on very extended lines,
and in the execution of enterprises not only totally distinct
from each other, but at geographical distances so remote as
to preclude anything like direct combination between the
forces respectively employed in them. These enterprises
have all been successful. Santa Fe and Chihuahua have
been overrun and occupied by the military forces under Gen-
eral Kearney ; the Californias by Colonel Fremont and our
naval forces in the Pacific ; New Leon and part of Tamau-
lipas by General Taylor; and Durango by General Wool


and General Worth. The whole of northern and central
Mexico, as far south as the mouth of the Rio Grande and
the twenty-sixth parallel of latitude, is virtually in our pos-
session. The Mexican authority may by this occupation be
considered extinct in this extensive district, constitutinof — if
we include Sonora and Sinoloa on the eastern shore of the
Gulf of California, from which I believe the Mexican forces
are withdrawn — about two thirds of the entire territory of
the Mexican republic, and about one tenth of its population.
The land forces, by which these acquisitions have been
made, are rapidly concentrating- upon the southern line of
the subjugated territory. Their operations are to be, in
some degree, combined, instead of being carried on in sep-
arate divisions. General officers, who have heretofore oper-
ated independently, are to come together and to act with
each other in the accomplishment of common objects. At
least four of these generals have the same rank, that of ma-
jor-general, the highest rank in the service ; and precedence
among them in their respective arms is, therefore, to be de-
termined by date of commission. In subordinate commands
this mode of settling questions of precedence is inevitable,
and ordinarily leads to little practical inconvenience. But to
permit the right to the chief command over such numerous
forces as are now to be combined, and in such extensive
operations as are to be carried on, to be determined by mere
priority of commission, and not by superiority of grade, is,
to say the least, exceedingly undesirable, not only in defer-
ence to military principles, but because this very circum-
stance has often proved unfriendly to united and zealous
action, and sometimes has led to the frustration of plans of
campaign, and even to defeat, when success would have been
certain with proper cooperation on the part of the com-
mander and his subordinates. I might appeal, for the truth
of this remark, to our own military history, as well as to
that of other countries. I believe I may say, it is a well-set-
tled opinion in respect to military command, and especially in


extensive operations, that the chief commander shoukl, if
possible, be superior in grade to the other general officers
serving under liim. The considerations by which the cor-
rectness of this principle is supported, are perfectly compat-
ible with the highest patriotism and honor in the persons
holding subordinate commands. It is strictly a question of
military organization. We may concede to all the purest
devotion and disinterestedness ; and yet, in the organization
of military bodies, and in the preparation of plans of cam-
paign, we should be wanting in ordinary prudence, if we
were not guided by those general principles which are cal-
culated to render our arrangements proof, as far as human
arrangements can be, against all hazard of failure in their
execution. If there is a particular form of organization
better suited than any other to give efficiency to the move-
ments of military forces, it is the part of wisdom to adopt
it ; nor should we be content with a less efficient form, even
though we have the fullest confidence in the patriotism and
zeal of those who are to take part in the contemplated
enterprises. Sir, I have entire faith in the devotedness and
gallantry of the officers of our army, and of the volunteers;
and no one shall surpass me here in attributing to them the
praise, and awarding to them the justice to which they are
entitled. I consider the proposed measure entirely consist-
ent with the interests of both arms of the service, which
are deeply concerned, though not so deeply as the interests
of the country, in giving to the military body, of which
they are a part, the most judicious and efficient organiza-

Looking to the numerical forces to be moved in combi-
nation, they will far exceed any number ever commanded in
this country — and I believe I may say in any other, except
from accident or some temporary necessity — by a major-
general, the highest grade in our service. The proper
command of an officer of that rank is a division. A major-
general and a general of division are convertible terms. A


division consists of two brigades ; a brigade consists of two
regiments in the regular service, and three in the volun-
teers. The command of a major-general, therefore, is from
four to six thousand men. The force to be employed in
Mexico, if our operations are to be carried on with proper
vigor, should not fall short of twenty-five or thirty thousand
fighting men in the field. Tt now exceeds twenty thousand.
It is sufficient for four full divisions. To permit it to be
commanded by a major-general, having no precedence over
his associates excepting by the date of his commission, is as
inconsistent with military principles as it would be to organ-
ize a regiment with three or four majors, and without a
colonel, or, in other words, without a head. It is far too
large a force to be commanded either by a major-general
or a general having no higher rank than "iDthers serving
under him. Such an arrangement is totally inconsistent
with military principles and usages, looking to organiza-
tion in its narrowest sense. When Napoleon was in com-
mand of the army of Italy, after his first successes, the
Executive Directory determined to associate with him Gen-
eral Kellermann, one of the best commanders of that day.
Napoleon remonstrated against it in a letter written in his
usual terse and vigorous style ; and he concluded by saying,
that one bad general was better than two good ones. Sir,
there is great force and truth in the proposition. He in-
tended to intimate that every military body should have a
distinct head ; and certainly the observation is eminently
applicable to cases in which the numerical forces are greatly
disproportioned to the rank of the officer commanding them.
For these reasons, if there were no others, I should be in
favor of the President's recommendation to appoint an offi-
cer of higher rank to command our armies in Mexico.

Thus far I have spoken of the proposed measure as con-
nected with sound principles of military organization and
command. I desire now to present some considerations
of a different nature. Our military commanders in Mex-


ico are operating' in an enemy's country of vast extent.
They are overrunning provinces, reducing cities and towns,
and providing for the security of the subjugated territo-
ries under the rules of international law, and according to
the usages of civilized States. These are high preroga-
tives, the incidents of war, having their authority in con-
ventional rules beyond the civil constitution and municipal
laws of our own country. It is very desirable that the
depositary of these high and extraordinary powers should
not only carry with him the requisite military talents, but
that he should also possess the experience and the civil qual-
ifications indispensable to enable him to meet his responsi-
bihties intelligently and discreetly. Not only his own gov-
ernment, but all civilized nations have an interest in the
maintenance of rules designed to mitigate the asperities of
warfare by applying to the conduct of war the principles
of humanity and justice. Errors in the application of these
rules may involve his own government in embarrassment
and reproach. These considerations, I am aware, apply
rather to the qualifications of the man than to the rank he
may happen to hold. I advert to them only for the pur-
pose of indicating the importance of the position occupied
by the commander of our armies in Mexico, and the pro-
priety of extending to the President the broadest field for

In the message of the President, it is recommended that
authority be given to appoint a commanding general for
our military forces in Mexico, without specifying any rank.
The committee, in reporting the bill, propose to confer on
him the rank of lieutenant-general, — the grade in other
services next above that of major-general, \vhich is the
highest in ours. The grade was created in 1798, during
our dissensions with the French republic, by an act author-
izing the President to raise a provisional army. The office
was conferred, by the unanimous vote of the Senate, on
General Washington, and was accepted by him, but with


the express stipulation that he should not be called into
service until the exigency for which the office was created
— an invasion of the United States by France — should
actually occur. He did not believe it would occur ; he was
not deceived in this belief; and he never entered on the
discharge of his duties, excepting so far as to give advice
with regard to the organization of the army. About a year
after this grade was created, and a few months before he
died, another act was passed, authorizing the appointment
of a commander of the army, with the title of " general
of the armies of the United States," and thereupon abol-
ishing the office of lieutenant-general. I have not been
able to find that the appointment was ever made ; and by
a return from the War Department, in 1800, General Wash-
ington was reported as lieutenant-general, dead. Accord-
ing to the analogies of other services, the rank of general
is higher than that of lieutenant-general. I have not
thought it material to inquire into the object of the second
act ; but it may have been designed to confer on him a
rank as nearly approaching that which he bore in the rev-
olutionary war (that of general and commander-in-chief)
as was consistent with the Constitution of the United States,
which declares the President to be commander-in-chief of
the armies of the United States.

In other services, the rank of lieutenant-general is, I
believe, a part, and an essential part, of the military organ-
ization. In France, it was formerly conferred on the chiefs
of provinces, and the individuals holding it were invested
with civil as well as military functions. In modern times,
I believe, it has become purely a military title, and it con-
fers a rank intermediate between that of major-general,
which is below, and general, which is above it. As the
grade next to that of major-general, it seems the proper
title, if a higher grade is to be created. On the other hand,
though the office of commander of the military forces in
Mexico will be purely military, nevertheless, in providing


for exig-encles which may arise in the occupation of an ene-
my's territory, — and, let me add, with as Httle disturbance
as possible to the local authorities and the ordinary admin-
istration of justice, — his station becomes one of the high-
est delicacy and importance. If a new grade is to be cre-
ated, I repeat, the title of lieutenant-general will be admitted
to be proper in a strictly military sense, and it is descriptive
of the relation in whicli the commander of the armies in
Mexico will stand to the President as commander-in-chief
of the armies of the United States under the Constitution.
He cannot be in Mexico in person, and he must, therefore,
command there by his lieutenant or deputy, by whatever
name the latter may be called.

The proposed creation of a new grade in the army,
higher than any now known to the service, does not con-
template the creation or delegation of any new authority
to the officer who may be appointed to it. He will pos-
sess no other powers than those now possessed by our
military commanders. The act creating the office limits
its duration to the war with Mexico. It is proposed to
be created for the extraordinary emergency in which the
country is placed, and will cease with it.

I desire it to be distinctly understood that the measure
is proposed with a view to the vigorous prosecution of
the war ; and in this view only I support it. If we were
to have a war of posts, or a long and moderate war, the
office would be unnecessary, and I should not give it my
support. On this point I desire to say a few words more.
I concur fully in the sentiments expressed by the Senator
from Kentucky^ at a late session of the Senate, with re-
gard to a vigorous prosecution of the war. I see no
alternative but to advance with a competent force, and
continue our operations until Mexico shall consent to make
peace. Least of all would I approve the policy which has
been referred to on this floor, of maintaining our present

1 Mr. Crittenden.


line of possession, and waiting for peace to come to us.
I see in such a policy no beneficial results. On the con-
trary, I see in it nothing but evil and mischief. I believe
it would be a line of war, assassination, and rapine, which
neither party would have the ability to put down. It is
only a restoration of peace, resting upon the solemn sanc-
tions of a treaty, that can engage either party to treat
the j)erpetrators of outrage with the severity necessary to
suppress it. Draw a line across the Mexican territory
and place your soldiery there to guard it, and you will be
exposed to the danger, so well described by the Senator
from Kentucky, of baving your own divided forces attacked
by the combined forces of the enemy at any point which
he may select. Besides, sir, take such a line, and let our
present hostile relations to Mexico continue, and you give
to individual acts of depredation, in some degree, the sanc-
tion of law. You convert a war of communities into a
war of individuals, without responsibility, and without re-
straint, while the hostile feeling between the two countries

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