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Abridgment of the Debates of Congress, from 1789 to 1856. From Gales and Seatons' Annals of Congress; from their Register of debates; and from the official reported debates, by John C. Rives online

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Online LibraryUnited States. CongressAbridgment of the Debates of Congress, from 1789 to 1856. From Gales and Seatons' Annals of Congress; from their Register of debates; and from the official reported debates, by John C. Rives → online text (page 111 of 184)
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try, were bound by every principle of honor and
of patriotism to adhere to it.

He would now (Mr. S. said) proceed to the
consideration of another part of the subject,
which was the act of September, 1841, called
the distribution act. What did that act say ?
with a view to preserve the character of this
Legislature ; with a view to preserve the faith
pledged in this compromise inviolate, it was
provided in that act, that whenever it should
be found necessary to raise the duties beyond
20 per cent., the distribution should cease.
Then there were two acts of solemn legislation
on which the faith of the Legislature was equal-
ly pledged — the compromise act, passed under
the circumstances he had adverted to ; and the
distribution act, passed with that solemn and
express reservation for the purpose of preserving
the faith pledged in the first. It was conceded
on all hands that, without that proviso, the
last-named act never could have passed the
Senate ; and it was also conceded that, with-
out it, it could not have received the sanction
of the President ; and yet they saw gentlemen,
after having got these measures, seeking to vio-
late the solemn conditions on which they ob-
tained them.

They had heard gentlemen, who were in fa-
vor of distribution, say to the manufacturing
interests, that " unless you hold on to the dis-
tribution, you shall get no protection." He
would ask gentlemen if there was any principle
of honor or morality that would justify such
an outrageous violation of the most solemn
pledges ever entered into by man. Under the
circumstances he had explained, this distribu-
tion bill was passed through this and the other
House, and sent to the President for his signa-
ture. Mr. S. here adverted to the " race-horse



JnLT, 1842.]

7%e Veto of the Provisional Tariff.

[27th Cohg.

speed " with which the measure was hurried
through; and observed that, notwithstanding
the plausible reasons given by the chairman
of the Committee of Ways and Means for this
hurried legislation, when sent to the Senate, it
was suffered to remain on the table for several
days, in order, as he supposed, that It might be
passed at a period so near the 30tL June, that
the President would feel himself under the ne-
cessity of sanctioning it. The bill then went
to the President under circumstances which
induced a belief that the President was placed
in such a situation as compelled him to sign it,
and thus violate the faith he had pledged in
the compromise act, as well as commit an act
contrary to his known and recorded opinions.
This, however, like many other attempts that
had been made to head Captain Tyler, failed,
and he returned the biU with his veto. "What
were the grounds on which his objections were
placed? Mr. S. here went into a recapitulation
of the reasons given by the President, in his
veto Message, for returning the bill to the
House in which it originated, explaining and
commenting on them as he went on.

In relation to the distribution act, Mr. S. said
that the President, who had been arraigned
here as in favor of unqualified distribution, had
expressly declared that he would go for it only
so far as that it should not interfere with the
compromise act. In 1841, when the distribu-
tion act was presented to him for his signature,
he did not hesitate to give his assent to it ;
though he saw in the condition of the treasury
good reasons for withholding it, yet he gave
his assent to it, because it contained a proviso
that the distribution was to be arrested the
moment the duties should be raised above
twenty per cent. Now, when he was called
upon to give his assent to a bill involving a
breach of the compromise act, and a breach of
the distribution act, he would ask gentlemen if
he was not under a high moral obligation to
reject it, which he could not well have disre-

Monday, June 4.
The Veto of the Provisional Tariff.

The House then resumed the debate on the
President's veto of the provisional tariff.

Mr. HuNTEE said if there was nothing in the
objection that the proceeds of the public lands
ought of right, and of duty, to have gone to the
States ; if there was nothing in the objection
that the President ought not to have vetoed
the bill on grounds of expediency only ; the
other question which remained to be considered
was, Was this such a bill as ought to have been
vetoed ? He maintained that this was such a
bill ; and, if there ever was a measure which
a statesman and patriot was bound to arrest,
this was one. Mr. H. referred to the condition
of the country under which this bill was pass-
ed ; to the clamor of the public creditors ; the

difi&culty in negotiating a loan ; and the falling
off of the revenue. He also noticed the esti-
mates of the chairman of the Committee of
Ways and Means and of the Secretary of the
Treasury, in relation to the amount of revenue
required for the service of the Government, for
its ordinary expenses and for the public debt,
for the present year. The chairman of the
Committee of Ways and Means had introduced
a bill for the purpose of raising twenty-seven
millions of dollars, on an estimate of seventy-
nine millions of imports ; while the Secretary
of the Treasury estimated the imports at ninety
millions. But Mr. H. ventured to predict that
this amount of revenue could not be raised, on
account of the extent to which smuggling would
be carried on, on the north-western frontier.
Free trade would then prevail , in earnest — which
would be a very fine thing, to be sure, for Buf-.
falo ; but what would it be for New York ? —
what would it be for Boston, Philadelphia,
Baltimore, and Charleston? Would the At-
lantic seaboard consent to be hermetically
sealed, while free trade was pouring its riches
into the north-west ? He would warn gentle-
men that their system would destroy the very
subject of taxation itself, producing a spirit that
would soon lead to some other mode of raising
a revenue. If we cannot get along by the pres-
ent means of raising revenue, and our expendi-
ture is to be twenty- seven millions — what,
then, is to be the result ? K we do wisely, we
should curtaU our expenditures, take back the
proceeds of the public lands, and collect a rev-
enue by a system of duties laid solely for that
object. What was the other alternative ? A
system of internal duties ; and he would put it
to gentlemen whether they would be willing
to take direct taxation rather than give up dis-
tribution? Where would this system fall
heaviest ? Not on us, but on that rich country
whose resources gentlemen so much boast of.
If the system which gentlemen were so wed-
ded to, should, in the end, destroy foreign com-
merce, dry up. the sources of public revenue,
and drive us to a system of direct taxation — as
he verily believed it would — when that time
came, the burden would fall on them. The
question then was, of returning to the treasury
the proceeds of the public lands, or of direct
taxation ? Can we blame the President, then,
when — seeing the finances of the country em-
barrassed, and public credit prostrated — he
takes the only measure in his power to relieve
the one and restore the other ? If the domi-
nant party would take his advice, (and he
would not pretend that he had a right to advise
them,) they would meet an inevitable state of
things by a wise and manly course. Here Mr.
H. laid down the policy which he deemed best
calculated for the interests of the country. The
people were with the President in the acts
which were so severely censured. They do
not (said Mr. H.) distrust your patriotism or
your talents ; but they believe that your system
is not calculated for the benefit of the country.



2d Sess.]

The Tariff.

[Jdlt, 1842.

The question was then taken, " Shall this hill
pass, notwithstanding the objections of the
President ? " and decided in the negative-
there not being a majority of two-thirds — as
follows :

Teas. — ^Messrs. Allen, L. "W. Andrews, Sherlock
J. Andrews, Appleton, Arnold, Ayerigg, Babcock,
Balcer, Barnard, Barton, Birdseye, Blair, Boardman,
Borden, Briggs, Brockway, Bronson, M. Brown, J.
Brown, Burnell, William Butler, William B. Camp-
bell, Thomas J. Campbell, Caruthers, Casey, Childs,
Chittenden, John C. Clark, Staley N. Clarke, James
Cooper, Cowen, Garrett Davis, Deberry, John Ed-
wards, Everett, Fessenden, Fillmore, A. L. Foster,
Gamble, Gentry, Giddings, Goggin, P. G. Goode,
Graham, Granger, Green, Hall, Halsted, Howard,
Hudson, Hunt, J. K. IngersoU, James Irvin, W. W.
Irwin, James, John P. Kennedy, King, Lane, Linn,
McKennan, Thomas F. Marshall, Samson Mason,
Mathiot, Mattocks, Maxwell, Maynard, Meriwether,
Mitchell, Moore, Morgan, Morris, Morrow, Osborne,
Owsley, Pearce, Pendleton, Pope, Powell, Eamsay,
Benjamin Randall, A. Randall, Randolph, Ridgway,
Eo(hiey, Wm. Russell, James M. Russell, Saltonstall,
Shepperd, Slade, Truman Smith, Sellers, Sprigg,
Stanly, Stokeley, Stratton, Alexander H. H. Stuart,
John T. Stuart, Summers, Taliaferro, John B. Thomp-
son, K. W. Thompson, Tillinghast, Toland, Tomlin-
son, Triplett, Trumbull, Van Rensselaer, Wallace,
Warren, Washington, Edward D. White, Christopher
H. Williams, Joseph L. Williams, and John Young

Nats. — Messrs. Adams, Arrington, Atherton, Bid-
lack, Black, Bowne, Boyd, Brewster, Burke, William
0. Butler, Green W. Caldwell, P. G. Caldwell, John
Campbell, Chapman, Clifford, CUnton, Coles, M. A.
Cooper, Cravens, Gushing, Daniel, Richard D.,Davis,
Dawson, Dean, Doan, Doig, Eastman, Egbert, Ferris,
Charles A. Floyd, Fornance, T. F. Foster, Gerry, Gil-
mer, Wm. 0. Goode, Gordon, Gwin, Habersham,
Hastings, Hays, Holmes, Hopkins, Houck, Houston,
Hubard, Hunter, C. J. Ingersoll, Jack, Cave John-
son, John W. Jones, Keim, Andrew Kennedy, Lewis,
Littlefield, Robert McClellan, McKay^ McKeon, Mal-
lory, Marchand, Alfred Marshall, J. T. Mason,
Mathews, Medill, Miller, Newhard, Patridge, Payne,
Pickens, Plumer, Read, Reding, Renoher, Reynolds,
Rhett, Riggs, Rogers, Roosevelt, Sanford, Saunders,
Shaw, Shields, William Smith, Snyder, Steenrod,
Sumter, Jacob Thompson, Van Buren, Ward, Wat-
terson, Weller, Westbrook, Joseph L. White, James
W. Williams, Wise, and Wood— 97.

The House adjourned.


Thtjesday, July 7.
The Exchequer Bill.
Mr. Tallmadge said he rose for the purpose
of giving notice that, on Monday next, he wonld
move to postpone the general orders, for the
purpose of taking up the bill proposing to modi-
fy the several acts establishing the Treasury
Department, commonly called the " exchequer
bill." He gave this notice then, in the hope
that gentlemen would be prepared to take the
bill up at that time. He thought it was pertinent
to say that the bill had been postponed for a

long time, for no other reason than that there
were matters before the Senate of a more press-
ing character. At the time the bill was intro-
duced, the several resolutions of the late Sena-
tor from Kentucky (Mr. Olat) were occupying
the attention of the Senate. It was the wish
on the part of all not to interfere with those
resolutions. Since that time, the loan bill, the
apportionment bUl, the army and navy bills, and
a variety of other, matters, of pressing necessity
and urgency, have taken up the time of the
Senate. He determined that it was not proper
to move in this bill while those matters, which
were deemed of amore immediate and pressing
character, were pending. He believed that
there was now no measure for the relief of the
country, which more pressingly required the
consideration of this body, than the exchequer
bill. He would therefore give notice that, on
Monday, he would in good faith move to take
up this bill, and press action until an expression
of the opinion of the Senate was had upon it.


Thursday, July 7.

The Tariff.

The House resolved itself into a Committee
of the Wliole on the state of the Union, (Mr.
MoKennan in the chair,) and proceeded with
the consideration of the bill to provide revenue
from imports, and to change and modify exist-
ing laws, imposing duties on imports, and for
other purposes.

Mr. Wm. Cost Johnson, after a few prelimi-
nary remarks, said that he should take this op-
portunity to apprise the committee that, at the
first moment allowed him, he should offer a
resolution calling for a Select Committee for
the purpose of taking into consideration the
present interests of the country,' and to report
a bill providing for giving relief both to the
General and State Governments. If the House
should grant him that committee, he should
not offer any amendment to the bill under con-
sideration ; but, if it should refuse to do so, he
should bring forward his proposition in the
most formal and distinct manner, as an amend-
ment to the bill, before it was disposed of. He
would say to gentlemen of every party here,
that all efforts would he vain and fruitless to
keep this question from bold and free inquiry.
To attempt to hide it, and exclude it from the
public gaze and public consideration, wonld be
vain and nugatory. They might as well at-
tempt to stifle the hoarse voice of Boreas, or
bid the mighty Mississippi cease to flow on, as it
would forever. He regarded the question as
one broader and deeper than any one of those
which divided the different parties of the coun-
try. If gentlemen were anxious, at this early
period, to record their names against it, he was
as anxious to give them the opportunity.

Mr. J., in the course of his remarks, gave an
outline of the plan he intended to propose, viz :



Jdiy, 1842.]


[27th CoNa.

that Government stocks should be issued, bear-
ing a particular interest ; and that these stocks
should be given to the States, (as well to
those indebted as to those out of debt,) to an
amount not, perhaps, sufficient to give them
ample relief, but sufficient, with the aid of their
own resources, to enable them to meet their
engagements, and re-establish their credit.

The States not indebted would have the in-
terest of the stocks given them, as also the
principal, when finally redeemed, to apply to
such objects as they deemed most for their ad-
vantage ; so that both the indebted and non-
indebted States would be put on a footing of
perfect equality : the public lands to be pledged
for the redemption of the principal and interest
of the stocks so issued.

As a further part of his plan, Mr. J. would
propose a tariff laid for the purpose of giving
adequate protection to domestic mannfactures.
He thought that a calm and deliberate examina-
tion would be sufficient to induce any statesman
to believe that his plan was at once simple,
and, in its consequences, benign and salutary.
He would not discuss it, but would say, in ad-
vance, that the question of constitutionality
would hardly be raised by any party. Mr. J.
said that his plan, so far from being a novel
one, had the benefit of several precedents in
the history of the Government to recommend
it : and he then referred to the assumption by
the Federal Government of the revolutionary
debts of the States ; and to the treaties of 1783
and 1794, in which provision was made for
enabling individual creditors in England to re-
cover debts from individuals in this country.
He also referred to the assumption by Congress,
a few years ago, of the Holland debt due by
the corporate cities of the District of Colum-
bia. Mr. J. then continued his argument in
favor of his plan of assumption up to the ex-
piration of his hour.


Monday,. July 11.
Mr. Peeston offered the following resolu-

Resolved, That the President of the United States
be requested, if it be not inconsistent with the public
interest, to oommunicate to the Senate the recent
correspondence between the Eepublic of Mexico and
this Government in relation to Texas.

He would ask the consent of the Senate to
enter upon the consideration of the resolution
this morning, inasmuch as the subject is one of
deep national interest. It calls for information
which may demand the immediate attention
of this body.

He was sure a majority of the Senators
present had seen, in the public papers this
morning, the translation of a letter addressed
by the Secretary of Foreign Relations of the
Republic of Mexico to the Secretary of State

of the United States, but published at Mexico
before it had left that country for the United

This extraordinary letter, he felt constrained
to say, was calculated to excite great anxiety
in this country. It appeared to him there was
an obvious necessity, under the circumstances,
for Congress to be placed in possession of faU
information on the subject — at least so far as
the Executive may judge is compatible with
the public interest to make the communication
required. It is desirable that Congress should
know, as speedily as practicable, what has
taken place between the constituted authorities
of both countries.

He would beg leave to read a single para-
graph towards the conclusion, for the purpose
of showing the character and temper of the
letter to which he had alluded. After detail-
ing what the Mexican Secretary of State sup-
poses to have been the conduct of the United
States Government with regard to Texas, the
writer proceeds to make these remarks :

" Such conduct the Mexican Government cannot
comprehend ; and although animated with a sincere
desire that the relations now happily existing between
this Republic and the United States may not suffer
the least alteration, it feels bound, in frankness, to
repeat, in the most formal manner, its former protest
against the tolerance before mentioned, a continuance
of which it will ' regard as a positive act of hostility
against this Republic, and will regulate its conduct as
justice, its own interests, and the national dignity
may demand."

Now, it must be obvious to eveiy Senator,
that the force of the sentence consists in the
implied threat. It amounts to this — that a
continuation of the condition of things com-
plained of will be considered as authorizing

A declaration of this nature, made in a man-
ner so formal and official, presented, in his
opinion, a matter for the gravest consideration.
He trusted — Indeed, he had no doubt — that the
Government of the United States had an-
swered this communication in a manner becom-
ing its own dignity, and in that temper of for-
bearance which should ever characterize the
conduct of a powerful nation dealing with one
like Mexico. But, while he trusted that this
Government had answered Mr. Bocanegra's
letter with forbearance, he felt satisfied it had
been done with a just regard to our own
dignity, and with that firmness which the
occasion required.

The question was then taken on the resolu-
tion, and it was adopted.

Tuesday, July 12.
Mr. Bttohanan presented a memorial from

James Eeeside, by his attorney in fact, Mr. .

Mr. B. said Mr. Reeside was well known



2d Ses3.]

Correspondence in relation to Texas.

[JuLT, 1842.

throughout the United States as the "land
admiral," from his extensive transactions with
the Post Office Department. It is represented
in the memorial that he furnished money to
the department at diffiarent times; and, after a
failure to have his accounts adjusted at the
department, it was finally agreed that they
should be settled by bringing a suit; which
was done. The trial commenced in October,
1841, and ended on the 6th December follow-
ing — having occupied a period of six weeks.
And the result of the trial was a verdict en-
tered in his favor for $186,496 06. A motion
for a new trial succeeded, and the claim was
affirmed. He asks Congress to pay the amount
thus found due to him — stating, at the same time,
that there were $50,000 clearly due to him
besides ; and that eleven of the jury thought
so. The memorial was referred to the Com-
mittee on the Post Office and Post Eoads.

Thuesdat, July 14.
Correspondence in relation to Texas.

The Peesident pro tern, laid before the
Senate a Message from the President of the
United States, made in compliance with a reso-
lution of the Senate of the 11th instant, trans-
mitting the recent correspondence between the
Kepublic of Mexico and this Government, in
relation to Texas.

The correspondence was of an interesting and
important character, and very voluminous, hav-
ing occupied nearly two hours in the reading.
Mr. Webster's letter of instruction of 8th of
July, 1842, to Mr. "Waddy Thompson, our Minis-
ter at Mexico, in reply to the first letter of M.
de Bocanegra, (already published,) covers the
whole ground of Mexican outrages on the
citizens and commerce of the United States.
Its tone may be inferred from the following
extract from it, covering one point only of the
letter of M. de Bocanegra, viz :

" M. de Bocanegra declares, in conclusion, that his
Government finds itself under the necessity of pro-
testing solemnly against the aggressions which the
citizens of the States are reiterating upon the Mexican
territory ; and of declaring, in a positive manner,
that it will consider as a violation of the treaty of
amity, the toleration of that course of conduct, which
he alleges inflicts on the Mexican Kepublic the in-
juries and inconveniences of war.

" The President exceedingly regrets both the senti-
ment and the manner of this declaration. But it can
admit of but one answer. The Mexican Government
appears to require that which could not be granted,
in whatever language or whatever tone requested.

" The Government of the United States is a Gov-
ernment of law. The Chief Executive Magistrate, as
well as the functionaries in every other department, is
restrained and guided by the constitution and the
laws of the land. Neither the constitution nor the
law of the land, nor principles known to the usages
of modern States, authorize him to interdict lawful
trade between the United States and Texas ; or to
prevent, or attempt to prevent, individuals from

leaving the United States for Texas or any other
foreign country. If such individuals enter into the
service of Texas, or any other foreign State, the
Government of the United States no longer holds
over them the shield of its protection. They must
stand or fall in their newly assumed character, and
according to the fortunes which may betide it. But
the Government of the United States cannot be called
upon to prevent their emigration ; and, it must be
added, that the constitution, public treaties, and the
laws, oblige the President to regard Texas as an in-
dependent State, and its territory as no part of the
territory of Mexico. Every provision of law — every
principle of neutral obligation — will be sedulously
enforced in relation to Mexico, as in relation to other
powers, and to the same extent, and with the same
integrity of purpose. All this belongs to the consti-
tutional power and duty of the Government, and it
will be all fulfilled. But the continuance of amity
with Mexico cannot be purchased at any higher rate.
If the peace of the two countries is to be disturbed,
the responsibility will devolve on Mexico. She must
be answerable for consequences. The United States,
let it be again repeated, desire peace. It must be
with infinite pain that they should find themselves in
hostile relations with any of the new Governments
on this continent. But their Government is reg-
ulated, limited, full of the spirit of liberty, but sur-
rounded, nevertheless, with just restraints ; and,
greatly and fervently as it desires peace with all
States — and especially with its more immediate neigh-
bors — yet no fear of a different state of things can
be allowed to interrupt its course of equal and exact
justice to all nations, nor to jostle it out of the con-
stitutional orbit in which it revolves.
" I am, sir, &c.,


The following letter, comprising a part of
the instructions to our Minister at Mexico, is
in answer to the second letter of complaint and
defiance of M. de Bocanegra.

Department of State,
Washington, July 13, 1842.

Sir : After writing to you on the 8th instant, I re-
ceived, through the same channel as the former, M.
de Bocanegra's second letter, and, at the same time,
your despatch of the 6th of June, and your private
letter of the 21st. This last letter of M. de Bocane-

Online LibraryUnited States. CongressAbridgment of the Debates of Congress, from 1789 to 1856. From Gales and Seatons' Annals of Congress; from their Register of debates; and from the official reported debates, by John C. Rives → online text (page 111 of 184)