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A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents: Volume 5, part 4: James Buchanan
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George Washington first term , ; George Washington second term , ; John Adams, ; Thomas Jefferson first term , ; Thomas Jefferson second term , ; James Madison first term , ; James Madison second term , -- Volume 2. Polk, -- Volume 5. Ulysses S. Grant first term , ; Ulysses S. Grant second term , ; Rutherford B. Hayes, ; Volume 8. James A. This brings the history down to March 4, , the beginning of the late war between the States.
These twelve years form an important and eventful epoch in the affairs of our country, as they immediately precede the war and cover the official utterances of the Executives during this period. Some of the more important events and incidents of these twelve years are the Bulwer-Clayton treaty with Great Britain for a joint occupancy of the proposed ship canal through Central America; the compromise measures of ; the admission of California, Minnesota, Oregon, and Kansas as States; the Gadsden purchase, by which the United States acquired 45, square miles of territory, being portions of Arizona and New Mexico; the Kansas-Nebraska legislation; the famous Dred Scott decision; the John Brown insurrection, and the disruption of the Democratic party in the national campaign of This volume contains several veto messages which are interesting.
By President Pierce, vetoes of An act making a grant of public lands to the several States for the benefit of indigent insane persons; of six acts relating to internal improvements; of an act for a subsidy for ocean mails, and of an act for the ascertainment and allowance of French spoliation claims.
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By President Buchanan, vetoes of an act granting lands for agricultural purposes; of two acts relating to internal improvements, and of a homestead act. Interesting reading is furnished in the protests of President Buchanan against the action of the House of Representatives in ordering the appointment of a committee to investigate the conduct of the President.
The careful reader will find in this volume errors which the compiler could not correct. For instance, on page certain figures are given from a report of the Postmaster-General, which when added do not produce the total given. The error may arise from the failure to make the proper addition, or it may be that the total is correct and that the figures first given are incorrect.
The original message contains the same error. Similar errors occur elsewhere in the compilation. These matters are, however, trivial and perhaps need not have been mentioned. Zachary Taylor was born in Orange County, Va. He was the third son of Richard Taylor, a colonel in the War of the Revolution, who was conspicuous for his zeal and courage. In his father removed to Kentucky, then a sparsely occupied county of Virginia, and made his home near the present city of Louisville, where he died.
Zachary had but little opportunity for attending school in this new settlement, but was surrounded during all the years of his childhood and early manhood by conditions and circumstances well adapted to form the character illustrated by his eventful career. In he was appointed a Lieutenant in the Seventh Infantry, and in was promoted to the grade of captain in the same regiment.
The same year was married to Miss Margaret Smith, of Maryland. For meritorious conduct in defending Fort Harrison, on the Wabash River, against the Indians received the brevet of major. In commanded in a campaign against hostile Indians and their British allies on Rock River. Was made lieutenant-colonel of the First Infantry in , and in became full colonel of that regiment, with headquarters at Fort Crawford, Prairie du Chien.
Was occupied with his regiment fighting the Indians in the Black Hawk and other campaigns until , when he was transferred to Florida for service in the Seminole War. For gallant conduct there the next year received the brevet of brigadier-general, and in was appointed to the chief command in Florida. In was assigned to command the southern division of the western department of the Army. About this time he made his family home at Baton Rouge, La. In was ordered to the defense of Texas, which had been annexed to the United States. He went to Corpus Christi, and on March 8, , advanced, and after some fighting, in which he routed and drove the enemy across the Rio Grande, on May 18 occupied Matamoras.
He remained there for a short period, obtaining reenforcements. In September fought the enemy at Monterey and captured that town. The following February fought and won the battle of Buena Vista. In the meantime, besides engagements less important, he had won the victories of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, which created great enthusiasm throughout the Union. The terms of capitulation granted by him to the enemy at Monterey were not approved by the Government at Washington. Soon after the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma he received the rank of brevet major-general, and on June 27, , was appointed major-general and was commander in chief of all the American forces in Mexico until Major-General Scott was ordered there in The latter part of November returned to his home in Louisiana.
Upon his return to the United States he was received wherever he went with popular demonstrations. Was nominated for President by the national convention of the Whig party at Philadelphia on June 7, , on the fourth ballot, defeating General Scott, Mr.
A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents
Clay, and Mr. At the election on November 7 the Whig ticket Taylor and Fillmore was successful, receiving electoral votes, while the Democratic candidates Cass and Butler each received votes. He was inaugurated March 5, , and died in Washington City July 9, Elected by the American people to the highest office known to our laws, I appear here to take the oath prescribed by the Constitution, and, in compliance with a time-honored custom, to address those who are now assembled.
The confidence and respect shown by my countrymen in calling me to be the Chief Magistrate of a Republic holding a high rank among the nations of the earth have inspired me with feelings of the most profound gratitude; but when I reflect that the acceptance of the office which their partiality has bestowed imposes the discharge of the most arduous duties and involves the weightiest obligations, I am conscious that the position which I have been called to fill, though sufficient to satisfy the loftiest ambition, is surrounded by fearful responsibilities.
Happily, however, in the performance of my new duties I shall not be without able cooperation. The legislative and judicial branches of the Government present prominent examples of distinguished civil attainments and matured experience, and it shall be my endeavor to call to my assistance in the Executive Departments individuals whose talents, integrity, and purity of character will furnish ample guaranties for the faithful and honorable performance of the trusts to be committed to their charge. With such aids and an honest purpose to do whatever is right, I hope to execute diligently, impartially, and for the best interests of the country the manifold duties devolved upon me.
In the discharge of these duties my guide will be the Constitution, which I this day swear to preserve, protect, and defend. For the interpretation of that instrument I shall look to the decisions of the judicial tribunals established by its authority and to the practice of the Government under the earlier Presidents, who had so large a share in its formation. To the example of those illustrious patriots I shall always defer with reverence, and especially to his example who was by so many titles the Father of his Country.
To command the Army and Navy of the United States; with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties and to appoint ambassadors and other officers; to give to Congress information of the state of the Union and recommend such measures as he shall judge to be necessary; and to take care that the laws shall be faithfully executed—these are the most important functions intrusted to the President by the Constitution, and it may be expected that I shall briefly indicate the principles which will control me in their execution.
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Chosen by the body of the people under the assurance that my Administration would be devoted to the welfare of the whole country, and not to the support of any particular section or merely local interest, I this day renew the declarations I have heretofore made and proclaim my fixed determination to maintain to the extent of my ability the Government in its original purity and to adopt as the basis of my public policy those great republican doctrines which constitute the strength of our national existence.
In reference to the Army and Navy, lately employed with so much distinction on active service, care shall be taken to insure the highest condition of efficiency, and in furtherance of that object the military and naval schools, sustained by the liberality of Congress, shall receive the special attention of the Executive. As American freemen we can not but sympathize in all efforts to extend the blessings of civil and political liberty, but at the same time we are warned by the admonitions of history and the voice of our own beloved Washington to abstain from entangling alliances with foreign nations.
In all disputes between conflicting governments it is our interest not less than our duty to remain strictly neutral, while our geographical position, the genius of our institutions and our people, the advancing spirit of civilization, and, above all, the dictates of religion direct us to the cultivation of peaceful and friendly relations with all other powers.
It is to be hoped that no international question can now arise which a government confident in its own strength and resolved to protect its own just rights may not settle by wise negotiation; and it eminently becomes a government like our own, founded on the morality and intelligence of its citizens and upheld by their affections, to exhaust every resort of honorable diplomacy before appealing to arms.
In the conduct of our foreign relations I shall conform to these views, as I believe them essential to the best interests and the true honor of the country. The appointing power vested in the President imposes delicate and onerous duties. So far as it is possible to be informed, I shall make honesty, capacity, and fidelity indispensable prerequisites to the bestowal of office, and the absence of either of these qualities shall be deemed sufficient cause for removal. It shall be my study to recommend such constitutional measures to Congress as may be necessary and proper to secure encouragement and protection to the great interests of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures, to improve our rivers and harbors, to provide for the speedy extinguishment of the public debt, to enforce a strict accountability on the part of all officers of the Government and the utmost economy in all public expenditures; but it is for the wisdom of Congress itself, in which all legislative powers are vested by the Constitution, to regulate these and other matters of domestic policy.
I shall look with confidence to the enlightened patriotism of that body to adopt such measures of conciliation as may harmonize conflicting interests and tend to perpetuate that Union which should be the paramount object of our hopes and affections. In any action calculated to promote an object so near the heart of everyone who truly loves his country I will zealously unite with the coordinate branches of the Government. In conclusion I congratulate you, my fellow-citizens, upon the high state of prosperity to which the goodness of Divine Providence has conducted our common country.
Let us invoke a continuance of the same protecting care which has led us from small beginnings to the eminence we this day occupy, and let us seek to deserve that continuance by prudence and moderation in our councils, by well-directed attempts to assuage the bitterness which too often marks unavoidable differences of opinion, by the promulgation and practice of just and liberal principles, and by an enlarged patriotism, which shall acknowledge no limits but those of our own widespread Republic.
In answer to the resolution of the Senate of yesterday, passed in executive session, requesting a communication of certain papers relative to the amendments made by the Senate to the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the documents by which it was accompanied. It is desirable that the latter should be returned to the Department of State.
In compliance with the request contained in the resolution of the Senate yesterday, adopted in executive session, calling for certain papers in relation to the amendments made by the Senate in the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the documents by which it was accompanied.
There is reason to believe that an armed expedition is about to be fitted out in the United States with an intention to invade the island of Cuba or some of the Provinces of Mexico. The best information which the Executive has been able to obtain points to the island of Cuba as the object of this expedition.
It is the duty of this Government to observe the faith of treaties and to prevent any aggression by our citizens upon the territories of friendly nations. I have therefore thought it necessary and proper to issue this my proclamation to warn all citizens of the United States who shall connect themselves with an enterprise so grossly in violation of our laws and our treaty obligations that they will thereby subject themselves to the heavy penalties denounced against them by our acts of Congress and will forfeit their claim to the protection of their country.
No such persons must expect the interference of this Government in any form on their behalf, no matter to what extremities they may be reduced in consequence of their conduct. An enterprise to invade the territories of a friendly nation, set on foot and prosecuted within the limits of the United States, is in the highest degree criminal, as tending to endanger the peace and compromit the honor of this nation; and therefore I exhort all good citizens, as they regard our national reputation, as they respect their own laws and the laws of nations, as they value the blessings of peace and the welfare of their country, to discountenance and prevent by all lawful means any such enterprise; and I call upon every officer of this Government, civil or military, to use all efforts in his power to arrest for trial and punishment every such offender against the laws providing for the performance of our sacred obligations to friendly powers.
Given under my hand the 11th day of August, A. The President with deep regret announces to the American people the death of James K. Polk, late President of the United States, which occurred at Nashville on the 15th instant.
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