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Public Deposites—Death of Mr. Manning.
[May 3, 1836.
The bill to regulate the deposites of the public moneys was taken up as the order of the day, when Mr. W RIGHT submitted an amendment to the amend. ment submitted by him some days ago, changing that amendment so far as to provide that, whenever the money in the Treasury shall amount to seven millions and upwards, it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to invest it in some stock of the States of this Union, bearing an interest of – per cent. Mr. CALHOUN then submitted an amendment; which was ordered to be printed. Mr. WRight’s amendment was then ordered to be printed, and the bill was laid on the table; Mr. W. saying, in reply to a question asked by Mr. C., that he would call it up at the earliest opportunity that he could, without interfering with the appropriation bills.
The bill for the improvement of certain harbors, and for making certain surveys, was then taken up. Mr. PORTER moved to amend the bill by inserting an appropriation for deepening the bar at, and keeping clear, the mouth of the Mississippi river. After a debate, in which Messrs. PORTER, MAN. GUM, CALHOUN, DAVIS, LINN, EWING, and TOM. LINSON took part, Mr. CLAYTON moved to amend Mr. Porter's amendment, by providing that the Secretary of War shall first cause a survey to be made to ascertain the practicability of the work, and the best mode of doing it; and if, in his judgment, the object can be accomplished, he shall then apply $75,000 thus appropriated. After some remarks from Messrs. DAVIS, BUCHANAN, PRESTON, SOUTHARD, and CLAYTON, the amendment was agreed to. Mr. WALKER moved further to amend the bill by appropriating a sum not exceeding fifteen hundred dollars for surveying the channels of Pearl river and Pascagoula river in the State of Mississippi, near the mouths of said rivers, and ascertaining whether the existing obstructions in said channels can be removed, and the probable expense of removing such obstructions. After some remarks from Messrs. CALHOUN, PRESTON, DAVIS, WALKER, and KING of Alabama, Mr. WALKER'Samendment was rejected—yeas 14, nays 20, as follows: YEAs--Messrs. Benton, Black, Ewing of Illinois, Goldsborough, Hendricks, King of Alabama, Knight, Moore, Nicholas, Porter, Robinson, Tallmadge, Walker, Wall—14. NAxs--Messrs. Buchanan, Calhoun, Clayton, Cuthbert, Davis, Ewing of Ohio, Hill, Leigh, Linn, Mangum, Naudain, Prentiss, Preston, Rives, Robbins, Southard, Swift, Tipton, Tomlinson, White-–20. Mr. HENDRICKS moved to amend the bill by inserting an appropriation of $5,000 for removing a ledge of rocks in the Ohio river below Shippingport; and after some remarks from Messrs. WALKER, BUCHANAN, and H ENDRICKS, Mr. HENDR1cks's amendment was rejected–-yeas 10, nays 24, as follows: YEAs--Messrs. Benton, Clayton, Ewing of Illinois, Ewing of Ohio, Hendricks, Nicholas, Porter, Robbins, Itobinson, Wall—10. NAYs–Messrs. Black, Buchanan, Calhoun, Cuthbert, Davis, Goldsborough, Hill, Kent, King of Alabama, King of Georgia, Knight, Leigh, Linn, Mangum, Naudain, Prentiss, Preston, Rives, Southard, Swift, Tipton, Tomlinson, Walker, White—24. Mr. LINN moved to amend the bill by inserting an appropriation of $1,200 for removing the obstructions in White river; which motion was agreed to without a division.
Mr. KING of Alabama moved to amend the bill by inserting an appropriation for the survey of the mouth of Dog river bar, in the bay of Mobile, to determine the practicability of deepening the bar; which motion was rejected. Mr. KING then moved to strike out all the appropriations in the bill for specific appropriations, leaving the appropriations in gross for general surveys, at the discretion of the Secretary of War. After some remarks from Messrs. KING of Alabama, LINN, WALL, and WALKER, Mr. KING's amendment was rejected—yeas 12, nays 21, as follows: YEAs—Messrs. Black, Calhoun, Hill, King of Alabama, King of Georgia, Leigh, Mangum, Preston, Rives, Robinson, Walker, White—12. NA vs.--Messrs. Benton, Clayton, Davis, Ewing of Illinois, Ewing of Ohio, Goldsborough, Hendricks. Kent, Knight, Linn, Naudain, Nicholas, Porter, Prentiss, IRob. bins, Southard, Swift, Tallmadge, Tipton, Tomlinson, Wall—21. The bill was then ordered to be engrossed for a third reading—yeas 25, nays 9, as follows: YEAs–Messrs. Benton, Buchanan, Clayton, Cuthbert, Davis, Ewing of Illinois, Ewing of Ohio, Goldsborough, Hendricks, Kent, King of Alabama, Knight, Linn, Naudain, Nicholas, Porter, Prentiss, Robbins, Robinson, Southard, Swift, Tallmadge, Tipton, Tomlinson, Wall—25. NArs—Messrs. Black, Calhoun, Hill, King of Georgia, Leigh, Mangum, Preston, Rives, White—9. After the consideration of executive business, The Senate adjourned.
DEATH OF M R. MANNING.
A message was received from the House of Representatives, announcing the death of the honorable Richard J. Manning, a representative from the State of South Carolina.
The message having been read,
Mr. PRESTON rose, and addressed the Senate, in substance, as follows:
Mr. President: The message just read imposes upon me the customary duty of moving for the usual testimony of respect to the memory of my deceased colleague, the honorable Rich Ann J. MANNING, of the House of Representatives; and never, sir, has such an official act been performed with deeper emotions than those under whose melancholy influence 1 rise on this occasion.
It is not fit that I should obtrude my private griefs upon the Senate, although I am well assured that its kindness would extend some indulgence to a friendship of a most intimate character, which, commencing in college companionship, has been unimpaired by the chances and changes of life, and undiminished even by party spirit, whose repulsive energy so often breaks asunder the strongest bonds of affection. For although, sir, it has so happened that we have been much and long opposed in politics, and although I have had much occasion to feel the adverse influence of his high character, there is not that man who loved him living, or mourns him dead, more than I do.
He was, indeed, Mr. President, of very noble nature. Endowed with all high and generous qualities; cool, bold, just, patient, and resolute; magnanimous in his whole tone of feeling and tenor of thought; totally exempt from all sordid or selfish propensities; of that prompt and patient benevolence to do or to suffer, which comes of natural impulse; educated into principle; unflinching in the performance of duty, but too kind in his nature to be stern; scrupulous in self-regulation, but generously indulgent to others. Ilis father, a distinMay 4, 1836.]
guished soldier of the Revolution, deeply inscribed upon his son's character the impress of that heroic period. Honor, courage, and devotion to country were hereditary and native to him; and these manly virtues were softened and made amiable by the kindliest affections of the heart, while over his whole character presided an exalted and fervent piety. For many years, in various ways, he received distinguished testimonies of the affection and confidence of his native State. He served frequently in either branch of the Legislature, was Governor, and, at length, a representative in Congress. In the prime of life, and in the vigor of manhood, he has died, as he lived--in the midst of his duties. Never, Mr. President, have the honors of the Senate been more worthily bestowed than upon the memory of Richard J. Manning, for which I invoke them, by offering the following resolution: [The usual resolution, to wear crape on the left arm for thirty days, was then adopted.] On motion of Mr. PRESTON, as an additional testi. mony of respect for the memory of the deceased, The Senate then adjourned.
WEDNEs DAY, MAY 4.
ZANESVILLE AND MAYSVILLE ROAD.
Mr. EWING of Ohio rose to present a petition, and prefaced the presentation with the following explanation:
I present some further memorials this morning on the subject of the Zanesville and Maysville road, and ask that they have the usual reference. Almost the whole population of the adjacent country has petitioned or is petitioning Congress in favor of that road, the very great importance of which I took occasion some time ago to explain, and which I believe is well understood throughout the United States. I regret that this subject has not been brought forward earlier in the session, so that we might have had time to act definitively upon it this year; but I fear it is now too late. Nevertheless, I would ask the Committee on Roads and Canals to give it their attention, and let us know whether, in their judgment, it merits the aid of the nation; and I must take leave to say that, if nothing can be concluded upon it now, it will be early presented and vigorously pressed at the next session of Congress.
The memorials were referred to the Committee on Roads and Canals.
DFFENCE OF THE FRONTIERS.
Mr. BENTON, from the Committee on Military Affairs, reported, with amendments, the bill from the House of Representatives to authorize the President of the United States to accept the services of volunteers for the defence of the frontiers, and moved that the Senate proceed to the consideration of that bill.
Mr. EWING of Ohio hoped that the amendments would be allowed to take the usual course, and lie for consideration; and that the land bill, which was the order for yesterday, would now be taken up and disposed of before any other subject should be taken up.
Mr. LINN said that, so far as he was concerned, no obstacle should be thrown in the way of the final action of the Senate on the land bill. In some remarks made by him some days since, when a motion was made to adjourn over from Friday to Tuesday, he had said that he could not vote for such an adjournment, knowing as he did the exposed state of the western frontier, and of the imminent danger that an Indian war would break out; and that he was anxious that business should progress rapidly, with a view to reach the bill to increase the army of the United States, which was of the utmost import
Zanesville and Maysville Road—Defence of the Frontiers.
ance to the state he had the honor to represent. But as it was his intention to redeem every pledge made by him, expressed or implied, in this House or out of it, he would not impede, in any way, the decision on the land bill. Some observations had been made as to the great necessity of finally disposing of that bill, and the implied pledge to take it up to-day. He must be permitted to say, he saw no imperative reason for pushing it, to the delay of a measure providing for the protection of our citizens from Indian barbarities. He hoped gentlemen would consider the lives of our citizens of more value than the division of the surplus money. He could consider nothing more worthy their immediate attention than the protection of our frontiers, threatened, as they now had good reason to apprehend, with the greatest of dan. gers, and particularly as that frontier had been placed in its present critical attitude by the action of the Gov. ernment, in throwing large masses of Indians on them, contrary to the wishes of the frontier States, and in defiance of the solemn protest of one of them. He asked the Senate to look at that frontier from north to south, and they would see a vast column of Indians, the base of which rested on Texas, now fighting for independence, and against which province the Mexicans were waging a war of extermination and perfidy. No Senator can turn his eye from this examination without being convinced that a train of the most inflammable materials is laid around our borders, ready at any moment to have a spark applied and light up the flame of war—of an Indian war--of all others the most appalling. There is a moral obligation imposed on the Government of not only effectually protecting this frontier, but to preserve its tranquillity, which could not, under any circumstances, be got over. . He was under a sort of pledge not to oppose a speedy decision of the land bill, but he hoped gentlemen would not consider it of as much importance as the measure now pressed on the consideration of the Senate by his honorable colleague.
Mr. PRESTON stated that the amendments proposed the addition of a regiment of dragoons, and also a considerable augmentation of the army. It was suggested that strange occurrences had taken place on our frontier; that an army, flushed with conquest, and rendered furious from the taste of blood, was rapidly approaching our frontier. Rumors of this character were well calculated to produce a certain degree of anxiety in the bosoms of American citizens. His own imagination had been startled—his feelings deeply pained; he had been sensible even of something of indignation at the rumors of outrages appalling to humanity, which had reached him. His feelings had been roused; our countrymen, our friends, our relatives, massacred in cold blood, and, as report says, in violation of every sort of pledge—massacred after surrendering to a powerful force, acting under an able military commander. But the rumors went still further. It was said that there had been negotiations with the Indians on the frontier, for the purpose of enlisting their hostility against our citizens on the frontier. True, there was no other foundation for those statements but these rumors, and these rumors were in themselves contradictory. Gentlemen, who are well versed in the geography of the country, had been unable to trace the operations on the map. The whole was a mass of great confusion. We are all possessed with some vague ideas that something horrible has happened. In this state of things, perplexed by vague and general rumors, we are presented with a case of possible necessity, to urge us to hasten a measure, in reference to which it seems to be particularly desirable that the Senate should have the most exact information on the subject. There may be gentlemen who had better information than he had, and, if so, they should come forward and communicate it.
Rumor says that a distinguished officer, a major general in the American army, on the frontiers, has made a call on the Executives of three States for a force of militia, and that the militia, to the number of seven thousand, have been embodied. It is supposed that a still stronger measure will become necessary, and that the executive arm will have to be extended before a more tranquil state of things can be produced. He was as willing as his friend [Mr. LINN] to protect the frontier. He was as ready to go as far, whenever the exigencies of circumstances should require it; but he hoped that gentlemen would not suffer their feelings to be excited and urged beyond what the law of nations would justify. He hoped that gentlemen would concur with him in opinion that they did not come here to indulge private and personal feelings, but to shape their course so as to insure the greatest advantages to those whom they represented. He could not sit down without saying that his feelings had been pained, and he would repeat that he was ready to go as far as his friend from Missouri to protect the frontier, and, in all circumstances, to go as far as he would in doing that which was right. He hoped that some gentleman would take the necessary steps to obtain the information so much desired on the subject. As a member of the Military Committee, he would be glad that all possible information should be before the Senate, and that the measure should not be pressed until that information should be obtained. He did not come into the Senate to-day prepared to go into this question. He should be ready at any time to go into the consideration of the subject, but he thought the best course now was to o of the land bill, and asterwards to consider this bill. Mr. CLAY said, the proposition, if he understood it, was to take up a military bill from the House, passed this morning, providing for an increase of the army, and authorizing the calling out of ten thousand volunteers. Every Senator here was undoubtedly as willing as the gentleman from South Carolina to do whatever the honor, interest, and tranquillity of the country required to be done. But he must see a very different state of things from any that had as yet presented itself, before he should be willing to interrupt the pacific relations of the Government, and precipitate it into a war with Mexico. If there was a cause—a just and righteous cause—for such a step, he trusted we should act promptly and manfully; but, as yet, we had but rumors of the inhuman scenes which were said to have been enacted. As yet, so far as respected this country, there was no ground for engaging in hostilities with any foreign power. It was not yet the proper time to go into the consideration of this subject. It should be taken up deliberately, and with all the information that could possibly be obtained. It was proposed to augment the military force of the country; and it was proper to consider by how large a number of men, and of officers capable of commanding them. Perhaps an increase of both was necessary; but, without a great and controlling necessity, there should be an increase of neither. He came into the Senate this morning under the full expectation that a final disposition would be made of the land bill, before proceeding to the consideration of any other subject. There was time enough to look into this measure. There was no particular urgency for considering it at this moment. He had been told that we had lately at Tampa Bay seven thousand men engaged in a contest with six or seven hundred miserable Indians: these we had neither conquered nor found; and unless we could show a somewhat better capacity for war, we had better refrain from engaging in one. If Santa Anna should commence hostilities with us, if he should invade our frontier--and he had, as yet, shown no such intention--what was to prevent our trans
Defence of the Frontiers.
porting this force from Tampa Bay to the Sabine, to prevent any violation of neutrality and of existing treaties in that quarter? But, unless there was an actual or threatened invasion, we were not called upon for any active measures. At any rate, we wanted information. Has no communication been made to our Government from that of Mexico? No assurances been given that existing treaties would be respected? If so, let us have them. A call, in his opinion, would not fail to bring us such facts as would, in a great measure, quiet the public apprehension. He had risen, however, for the sole purpose of saying, that when a final vote was expected on the land bill to-day, he was unwilling to have that measure put aside, as it had been repeatedly, and that, too, in a very unusual and unparliamentary manner. He hoped the Senate would proceed to its consideration. Mr. BENTON, in support of his motion to take up the act from the House of Representatives for increasing the military force, deprecated the effect which the land distribution bill had upon the public mind. It was a bill which met every thing, opposed every thing, and defeated many things. It was the pestilence of legislation. It was found in conflict with every bill that proposed to appropriate a dollar for the service of the country, and every bill must give way before it. . The Cumberland road bill was the first sacrifice; and after seeing the fate of that bill, nothing could be wondered at. That road, for every beneficial purpose, was now stopped; for who cared about grading a road between the Wabash and the Mississippi, where there was not a solitary hill to be crossed? The solid construction of the road is negatived; the appropriation for the present year is cut down; months were consumed in opposing it; and half the season for doing work is now gone by. This road, then, the oldest and most cherished work of the Government, was put down; it was the first sacrifice to the devouring spirit of the distribution bill, and the forerunner to the fate of others. He repeated, this bill was the pestilence of legislation. It was to the business of the Senate what the curse of the frogs was in Egypt; it is in the way of every thing; it is found every where, like those pestilential frogs which encumbered and defiled the whole household-–tables, beds, kneadingtroughs, and all. The fortification bill had to yield to it; the army bill may now share the same fate; and, if this is the effect at the outset, what is to be the effect in the end? If this insatiate spirit of distribution can post; pone, set aside, and defeat the bills for the defence of the country and the support of the Government, while yet in its infancy, what will it not do in its manhood? It will take all to itself; it will reduce the general Govern: ment to its condition during the confederation; it will reduce it, if not to the voluntary contributions, to the voluntary leavings of the States. They will be served first, and what is left may go to the general Govern: ment; and, from the manner in which this spirit cuts and carves for itself now, it may well be seen that nothing will be left for the federal Government. It may be in vain that some members may wish to vote first for the federal Government; the distributees will be served first, and instructions from home will overrule wishes here. Members of Congress will be instructed—if States once begin to receive dividends from the federal Treasury, they will be instructed to supply the States first, and to take the lion's share for their State Governments. We have been told of an arrangement, (said Mr. B., ) by virtue of which this distribution bill was to take precedence over all business, until it was finished. He (Mr. B.) was privy to no such arrangement. He had, in the sace of the Senate, refused to enter into any such arrangement, and had declared himself ready to sit all night. But why mention arrangements, since the time May 4, 1836.]
Defence of the Frontiers.
that the formal agreement to act upon the executive nominations had been annulled by the votes of those who were brought up, not to vote upon nominations, as agreed upon, but to vote against going into executive business at all? Mr. B. repelled the idea thrown out by the Senator from Kentucky, [Mr. CLAY,] that this bill for raising volunteers, and increasing the army, was a war measure against Mexico. So far from it, that Mexico was not even thought of when it originated. It originated three months ago, on motions from Senators on this floor——his colleague [Mr. LINN] and a Senator from Indiana [Mr. Tipton] --calling on the executive Government for plans for an increase of the military force—calls which were answered two months ago, and a bill reported six weeks ago. Far from looking to Mexico, it did not even look to the Texan frontier. It was not a measure of southwestern, but of northwestern origin, called for by the state of things on the western and northwestern frontier, and wholly independent of events in Texas. These events might well be quoted, to accelerate the progress of the bill, but not to account for its origin, or to determine its fate. Above all, the bill was not to be prejudiced by an assumption or representation that it was a preparation for a Mexican war. Mr. B. thought it right to notice the contemptuous terms in which the war, and the conduct of the war in Florida, had been mentioned by the Senator from Kentucky, [Mr. Clar.] It was called a miserable war, miserably conducted. It was due to the hundred and twelve brave men, under Major Dade, who fell on the ground on which they stood--who died in their tracks-no officer quitting his soldiers, no soldier quitting his officer——and whose unburied bodies remained a prey to wolves and vultures——it was due to their memory to speak respectfully of them in this chamber. It was due to the New Orleans regiment and their accomplished commander, Colonel Smith, who had volunteered for a distant and arduous service, not to undervalue or disparage their exertions. No body of men could show more zeal, constancy, and cheerfulness, under the most trying circumstances. Leaving a luxurious city, they had gone to encounter danger, to endure privations, to suf. fer want, to feed on food not fit for man, and to volunteer for new toils and dangers as fast as the fatigues of the first were over. Courage was their birthright and inheritance, and bravery they were expected to show; but this steadiness, perseverance, zeal, and cheerfulness, under every extremity of hunger and suffering, was a new trait in the volunteers of a great city, accustomed to every luxury and to every delicacy of the South, and entitled them to more honor than victories alone could confer. Besides these, many were the brave and devoted acts which did honor to our arms in this war, and which should exempt our arms from contemptuous allusion on this floor. Officers were there, whose reputation formed a part of the riches of their country; and the difficulties of their position should be considered. They were on a theatre, where the unseen enemy could deliver a deadly fire and elude pursuit. It was a case in which the difficulty was, not to conquer, but to catch. Mr. B. had been drawn from his immediate subject to speak of events in Florida, because he felt it to be wrong to permit unjust aspersions upon those there to go out from this chamber, and because his position as chairman of the Military Committee, and his connexion with the debate, made it proper for him to say a word in their windication. He returned to his own bill, and to the reasons which required him to press its adoption. It was not a measure against Mexico. It was no preparation for war with Mexico. It was simply a measure of defence, originating before the invasion of Texas, and
rendered necessary by the act of the Government in accumulating an Indian population of 250,000 souls, yielding a force of 50,000 warriors, within striking distance of the western and northwestern frontiers, and which frontiers were now naked and defenceless. Still, the state of things on the Texas frontier was not to be disregarded. The position of General Gaines, the possible contingencies in the excitement of the Indians, the scenes which might occur on our line, were all to be considered; and his imagination could conceive of cases in which the heart alone should be obeyed—in which there should be no head to think—nothing but a heart to feel and an arm to strike. It was the case of women and children pursued by a brutal and ruffian soldiery. Mr. B. said the Florida war now rages; the southwestern frontier is exposed to the contagion of hostilities; the whole west and northwest is open to savage incursion; troops are called for by a General in the field; the public mind is anxious, uneasy, excited, everywhere. Yet what is the scene in the Senate? What occupies our thoughts in this chamber? The surplus, the surplus, the surplus! Distribution of money, division of the spoil, is the absorbing and engrossing subject; and until that is. disposed of, our suffering country calls in vain for help. He had read of such things in history, but never expected to witness them. He had read of parties in some free States contending for pre-eminence and for spoil, while the enemy were thundering at the gates, but he had not expected to see the American Senate engrossed with the bill for the division of money, while all the bills for the defence of the country were pushed aside, and the Governors of States appealed to for the forces which it was the duty of Congress to grant. His motion was to test this spirit—to see which was to have the preference, the defence of the country or the division of money; and for that purpose he asked for the yeas and nays on his motion. Mr. PORTER said he regretted extremely this discussion, as hours, nay minutes, had become precious, if we hoped to go through the great mass of business which had been prepared for the action of Congress... There had been as much debate on the precedence bills were entitled to, as was sufficient to pass one of them or reject it. He hoped we would continue to act on the bill which was made the special order of the day, until it was finally disposed of. That now proposed by the Senator from Missouri had his approbation; and, without pledging himself to all its details, he believed it would have his vote. Being friendly to it, he thought it was injuring its chance of adoption to press it on for discussion and decision, without affording time for a proper examination of its provisions. That proper examination need not be a long one. Mr. P. said he was compelled to dissent from what had fallen from the honorable Senator from Kentucky in relation to our military force. He (Mr. P.) thought it ought to be augmented. Its numbers were not greater now than they were ten years ago, and since that time our population had vastly increased; our frontier had extended in the same space of time in a still greater Follo and was necessarily weakened as it was enarged. Another circumstance called for an augmentation of our army. Within a very few years (under a policy which Mr. P. said he should ever deplore) an immense body of Indians had been removed from the east side of the Mississippi, and thrown on the frontiers of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Missouri. In their original location they were circled on every side by a white population, which ensured their good conduct, and restrained their propensity to war. They were now placed on an extended frontier, thinly settled, where, from causes he should not enlarge on, because they were obvious, a military force was indispensable to give security to our
Defence of the Frontiers.
[MAy 4, 1836.
borders. Not less, he believed, than 250,000 Indians were now located between the west of the Mississippi and the Rocky mountains, who, from ignorance and the influence of passions which constantly agitate man in a savage state, were liable to be excited to hostilities, ruinous to themselves in the end, but destructive to the borders exposed to their first outbreak. It was humanity, therefore, as well as true economy, to place a force on our frontiers which would hold them in check, and be ready to crush their first movements. There was another element to be taken into the estimate we should make of the proposed measure, which had been glanced at in the debate, and which could not be properly disregarded. He alluded to the events daily transpiring on the western boundary of Louisiana. By the last intelligence received from that quarter, it appeared that the war which had for some time raged in one of the Mexican provinces was about to be brought close to ourselves. The inhabitants of Texas were flying from their country, and taking refuge within the State of Louisiana, and their enemies, flushed with victory, were close and hot in their pursuit. He did not believe the Mexican troops would cross the Sabine and violate our territory. If Santa Anna had the wisdom and ability which his friends long since, and his enemies lately, gave him credit for, he would cautiously abstain from any such step. His true interests prompted him to respect our neutrality. He (Mr. P.) believed he would be governed by these interests. But, while he believed it, it was impossible to shut our eyes to the danger of collision between the troops of the United States now on the Sabine, and those of Mexico. The people of this country had become painfully excited by the intelligence which had reached them of the war of extermination carried on in Texas. That excitement had been communicated to our troops; it required only a spark to put the combustible materials now on our frontier in a flame, and he was afraid it would soon be furnished. It had been said that our officers there should have hearts and arms, but no heads; that is, that they should yield themselves up to the influence of their feelings, however their judgment might reprove the measures those feelings prompted them to. He had a better hope of their wisdom and prudence. A heavy responsibility rested on them. If, under the influence of passion, they involved the nation in war, they would have a severe account to render for their actions; and more especially if, at this moment, when the forces stationed on the frontiers of the State of I.ouisiana might be inadequate to its defence, they should, in their sympathy for Texas, draw the war into that State, he knew of no terms of reprehension too strong for such conduct. With all possible consideration for the inhabitants of Texas, and deep and sincere regret for the condition to which they were reduced, he could not help thinking that the citizens of Louisiana who had remained within their country had the first claim on the attention and protection of the federal Government and the federal army. He hoped and believed this view of the matter was taken by the President, however it might be disregarded elsewhere; and that orders had been sent to the commanding officers not to compromit the safety of the State he had the honor in part to represent. But, apart from all considerations of prudence and safety, there were the higher ones of justice, which forbade our intermeddling in this contest. We were acting under the eye of the civilized world. It had heretofore been our boast and our pride that we faithfully maintained all our treaties, in letter and in spirit. He trusted that, under no impulses, however praiseworthy, would we leave the vantage ground we had so long and so honorably occupied, and expose ourselves to the imputation of considering compacts binding only so long as it
suited our convenience and our interest. We were the oldest independent nation on the American continent; we were the strongest, too. It behooved us to aspire after the truest glory which a nation can acquire—to exhibit the example of power restrained by justice, and ambition directed, not to subjugate our neighbors, but to improve and to elevate them. He believed these sentiments were those of the large mass of the American people, but there was danger that they might be forgotten under the excitement of generous feelings. He respected these feelings; he shared in them; but he felt it to be his duty, in the place he occupied, to submit them to the control of his reason and his judgment, and, if possible, to induce others to do the same. No one had heard with deeper regret than himself the intelligence of the dreadful massacres which had taken place in Texas. It was possible the statements were exaggerated. He hoped they were so. But, if true, they were disgraceful to the perpetrators. The people of Texas, whether right or wrong in their attempt at independence, had done nothing to place them out of the pale of civilization; and if it were true that a body of them, after capitulation as prisoners of war, had been basely shot in cold blood, their murderers should be held up to the common execration of mankind. He (Mr. P.) would rather have been one of the gallant, though misguided, men who perished on that occasion, than the ruthless despot by whose orders they were assassinated. But giving to these feelings their full scope, he could not see in this and other inhuman acts cause for war by the United States against Mexico. We should never be an hour at peace if we set out on a crusade to punish all the cruel deeds which were committed in the world. Their proximity to us, and their being inflicted on men of kindred blood, could not change or enlarge our obligations. In abandoning their own country, and becoming citizens of another, they had placed themselves, in relation to that left, as strangers, so far as claims for national interference were concerned. We had no more right to make war because they had been unjustly treated by the Power to which they had attached themselves, than we had to intermeddle in the contests between the natives of the old States of Mexico. Our unfortunate countrymen who settled in that portion of Mexico which is now the theatre of war, knew well what kind of people they were going among. In all periods of history, the Spanish race have been distinguished for cruelty in their civil wars; extending no quarter, and sparing neither sex nor age. The scenes now daily enacted in old Spain, of which accounts reach us every day, exhibit the same brutal ferocity and disregard of all the claims of humanity as those lately perpetrated by their descendants in Texas. Those which took place in South America, some years since, were, if possible, more frightful and revolting to humanity. We did not then throw ourselves into the conflict, and he trusted we would not now. A war for revenge he deprecated, as he did one for conquest. He saw, as yet, no just cause for expending our blood and our treasure, and he hoped that all who had a voice in the councils of the nation would aid in preserving our neutrality. Mr. PRESTON said he was misapprehended, if it was supposed he wished to press the consideration of this matter now. He wished merely to draw the attention of the Senate to it, and he had succeeded in so doing. The final action upon it might easily be deferred for a day or two. We had rumors, to be sure, but he saw nothing in them to justify any act of extraordinary vigilance on our part. We need not operate defensively or on the offensive at present, Santa Anna had done enough to curdle our blood, and shock our sensibilities, but not enough to justify any warlike preparation. He