Page images
PDF
EPUB

be applied to the payment of the debts and liabilities of said Republic of Texas, and the residue of said lands, after discharging said debts and liabilities, to be disposed of as said State may direct; but in no event are said debts and liabilities to become a charge upon the Government of the United States. Third. New States, of convenient size, not exceeding four in number, in addition to said State of Texas, and having sufficient population, may hereafter, by the consent of said State, be formed out of the territory thereof, which shall be entitled to admission under the provisions of the federal constitution. And such States as may be formed out of that portion of said territory lying south of thirtysix degrees thirty minutes north latitude, commonly known as the Missouri compromise line, shall be admitted into the Union with or without slavery, as the people of each State asking admission may desire. And in such State or States as shall be formed out of said territory north of said Missouri compromise line, slavery, or involuntary servitude, (except for crime, shall be prohibited.

3. And be it further resolved, That if the President of the United States shall in his judgment and discretion deem it most advisable, instead of proceeding to submit the foregoing resolution to the Republic of Texas, as an overture on the part of the United States for admission, to negotiate with that Republic; then,

Be it resolved, That a State, to be formed out of the present Republic of Texas, with suitable extent and boundaries, and with two representatives in Congress, until the next apportionment of representation, shall be admitted into the Union, by virtue of this act, on an equal footing with the existing States, as soon as the terms and conditions of such admission, and the cession of the remaining Texian territory to the United States shall be agreed upon by the Governments of Texas and the United States: And that the sum of one hundred thousand dollars be, and the same is hereby, appropriated to defray the expenses of missions and negotiations, to agree upon the terms of said admission and cession, either by treaty to be submitted to the Senate, or by articles to be submitted to the two houses of Congress, as the President

may direct.

No. 98. Act for the

Act for the Prosecution of the

Mexican War

May 13, 1846 A BILL authorizing the President to accept the services of volunteers in certain cases had been introduced in the House early in the session of 1845–46, but no further action in reference to it had been taken. On the receipt of Polk's war message of May 11 the bill was at once taken up, a new first section and preamble substituted, and, with further amendments and a changed title, the bill passed the same day, by a vote of 174 to 14. In the Senate, the following day, a motion to strike out the preamble was lost, 18 to 28, and the bill, with a slight amendment, was passed, the vote being 40 to 2. On the 13th the House concurred in the Senate amendment, the act was approved, and a proclamation by the President was issued.

REFERENCES. -- Text in U. S. Stat. at Large, IX., 9, 10. The brief proceedings and debates may be followed in the Journals and Cong. Globe, 29th Cong., ist Sess., or Benton's Abridgment, XV. The political causes and aspects of the Mexican war, and its significance in connection with the slavery controversy, are discussed at length in general histories of the period and in biographies of contemporary public men. See also Webster's Works (ed. 1857), V., 253–261, 271-301; Calhoun's Works (ed. 1854), IV., 303–327, 396–424. An Act providing for the Prosecution of the existing War between

the United States and the Republic of Mexico.

WHEREAS, by the act of the Republic of Mexico, a state of war exists between that Government and the United States:

Be it enacted ... , That, for the purpose of enabling the government of the United States to prosecute said war to a speedy and successful termination, the President be, and he is hereby, authorized to employ the militia, naval, and military forces of the United States, and to call for and accept the services of any number of volunteers, not exceeding fifty thousand, who may offer their services, either as cavalry, artillery, infantry, or riflemen, to serve twelve months after they shall have arrived at the place of rendezvous, or to the end of the war, unless sooner discharged, according to the time for which they shall have been mustered into service; and that the sum of ten millions of dollars, out of any moneys in the treasury, or to come into the treasury, not otherwise appropriated, be, and the same is hereby, appropriated for the purpose of carrying the provisions of this act into effect.

CONFIDENCE

Veus

*

*

*

*

7

372

TREATY WITH GREAT BRITAIN

(June 15

SEC. 8. And be it further enacted, That the President of the United States be, and he is hereby, authorized forthwith to complete all the public armed vessels now authorized by law, and to purchase or charter, arm, equip, and man, such merchant vessels and steam-boats as, upon examination, may be found fit, or easily converted into armed vessels fit for the public service, and in such number as he may deem necessary for the protection of the seaboard, lake coast, and the general defence of the country.

*

*

*

No. 99. Treaty with Great Britain

June 15, 1846

So much of the northern boundary of the United States as lay between the Lake of the Woods and the Rocky Mountains had been fixed by the Ashburton treaty of 1842; west of the mountains, however, the boundary was still undetermined. By virtue of the discovery of the Mississippi, France had claimed all the region west of that river as far as the Pacific; and this claim, of doubtful value at best, had passed to the United States upon the purchase of Louisiana in 1803. The region known as Oregon was also claimed by the United States, on the ground of Gray's discovery of the Columbia River in 1791. Oregon was also claimed by Great Britain; but by a convention of Oct. 20, 1818, the two countries agreed to a joint occupancy of the country for ten years, without prejudice to the rights of either party. By the treaty of 1819 between the United States and Spain, the latter accepted the 42d parallel as the northern limit of its possessions on the Pacific coast; while by treaties of 1824 with the United States, and of 1825 with Great Britain, the southern limit of the Russian possessions was fixed at 54° 40'. The “Oregon country,” therefore, was the region between 42° and 54° 40', and west of the Rocky Mountains. The convention of 1818 was continued indefinitely Aug. 6, 1827, but made terminable by either party after Oct. 20, 1828, on twelve months' notice. In the presidential campaign of 1844 the Democratic platform demanded “the re-occupation of Oregon, and the re-annexation of Texas, at the earliest practicable period,” the intention being, of course, to use Oregon as a political offset to Texas. A bill to organize a territorial government for Oregon, with the line of 54° 40' as the northern limit, passed the House Feb. 3, 1845, but the Senate refused to consider it because slavery was to be prohibited in the proposed territory. A joint resolution of April 27, 1846, authorized the President, at his discretion, to give the required notice of withdrawal from the agreement of 1827 with Great Britain. The matter in dispute was finally settled by the treaty of June 15, 1846, although, owing to

the disagreement of the commissioners under the treaty, a portion of the water boundary remained undetermined until 1871.

REFERENCES. Text in U.S. Stat. at Large, IX., 869-870. The message of the President transmitting the treaty and correspondence, together with the proceedings of the Senate, are in Senate Doc. 489, 29th Cong., ist Sess., and Cong. Globe, Appendix, 1168–1178; see also Senate Doc. I, pp. 138–192, and Senate Doc. 117.

*

ARTICLE I.

From the point on the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude, where the boundary laid down in existing treaties and conventions between the United States and Great Britain terminates, the line of boundary between the territories of the United States and those of her Britannic Majesty shall be continued westward along the said forty-ninth parallel of north latitude to the middle of the channel which separates the continent from Vancouver's Island, and thence southerly through the middle of the said channel, and of Fuca's Straits, to the Pacific Ocean: Provided, however, That the navigation of the whole of the said channel and straits, south of the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude, remain free and open to both parties.

ARTICLE II.

From the point at which the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude shall be found to intersect the great northern branch of the Columbia River, the navigation of the said branch shall be free and open to the Hudson's Bay Company, and to all British subjects trading with the same, to the point where the said branch meets the main stream of the Columbia, and thence down the said main stream to the ocean, with free access into and through the said river or rivers, it being understood that all the usual portages along the line thus described shall, in like manner, be free and open. In navigating the said river or rivers, British subjects, with their goods and produce, shall be treated on the same footing as citizens of the United States; it being, however, always understood that nothing in this article shall be construed as preventing, or intended to prevent, the government of the United States from making any regulations respecting the navigation of the said river or rivers not inconsistent with the present treaty.

ARTICLE III. In the future appropriation of the territory south of the fortyninth parallel of north latitude, as provided in the first article of this treaty, the possessory rights of the Hudson's Bay Company, and of all British subjects who may be already in the occupation of land or other property lawfully acquired within the said territory, shall be respected.

ARTICLE IV.

The farms, lands, and other property of every description, belonging to the Puget's Sound Agricultural Company, on the north side of the Columbia River, shall be confirmed to the said company. In case, however, the situation of those farms and lands should be considered by the United States to be of public and political importance, and the United States government should signify a desire to obtain possession of the whole, or of any part thereof, the property so required shall be transferred to the said government, at a proper valuation, to be agreed upon between the parties.

*1

*

No. 100. Independent Treasury Act

August 6, 1846

The passage of the act of July 4, 1840, "to provide for the collection, safe keeping, transfer, and disbursement of the public revenue," seemed to mark the final success of the so-called independent treasury plan, which had been several times urged by the President, and twice rejected by the House in the twenty-fifth Congress. The success of the Whigs, however, in the election of 1840, was followed, Aug. 13, 1841, by the repeal of the act; while the veto of two successive bank bills by President Tyler, in the same year, led to the immediate resignation of the members of the Cabinet, with the exception of Webster, and to a formal repudiation of Tyler by the Whigs. From 1841 to 1846 the custody of the public funds devolved upon the Treasury Department without special regulation by law. December 19, 1845, a bill embodying the general features of the independent treasury act of 1840 was reported in the House. The bill was taken up March 30, and passed April 2 by a vote of 123

· Signed: “James Buchanan, Richard Pakenham.” – ED.

« PreviousContinue »