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conveying it to her, no deed or other muniment of title. She shows no act of conquest over it. But, on the contrary, the whole region was found exclusively in the possession of Mexico by the United States, and was conquered from her by the United States. Texas claims it now, because she asserted a claim before the war, but did not conquer it. I hold it to belong to the United States, because the United States found it in the possession of Mexico, and conquered it, and bought it. Texas picks out, not from our statute books, but from messages, reports, and other executive documents, here and there an expression that she construes in support of her claim. This is balanced, on the other hand, by her own oblivion of her claim, and by other executive proceedings and documents equally conclusive against the implication. This argument of estoppel is one that can never be set up against New Mexico, even if it could be set up against the United States, which acts as a trustee for the people of the United States. I cannot consent, therefore, to buy from Texas, because she has no title, and her claim seems to me to be groundless. I say all this with no disrespect or unkindness toward the State of Texas, with no desire to do her injustice. I cherish for her the same regard and the same solicitude that I do for any other state in this Union. So far from indulging antipathy or hostility to that state, I regard Texas as fully, clearly, and justly entitled to all the money that is likely to be awarded to her by this bill. I hold the obligations of contracts made by the states upon just consideration, concerning legitimate subjects of contract, to be sacred and inviolable. Upon that ground, I hold that Texas owes to her creditors all the money that she borrowed in her war of independence. I hold that the United States, by extending her sovereignty over her, and thus protecting her against her creditors, became liable in justice and in equity to pay that debt. I hold this to be so, notwithstanding the agreement between the United States and Texas, that the United States should not pay the debt. The creditors were not parties to that agreement. It was known, or might have been known at that time, that Texas could not pay the debt, and that it must go unpaid unless the United States should discharge it. The agreement itself, then, was an act of flagrant injustice and repudiation. Now, sir, while I will not give one dollar, nor one cent, to a state of this Union to buy her off from encroaching on the territory of a prostrate, helpless, and conquered enemy, whom it is our duty to protect and defend by other means, I would pay to save the faith of any state, and the faith and honor of the United States, as much and as cheerfully as he that shall go the furthest in that way. I regret only, and I think the senators from Texas, in the further progress of this question, will find occasion to regret, that they have betrayed distrust of the justice of Congress, by putting their claim upon a basis which will not combine all who would give it their support, while the basis is indefensible in itself. [In reply to Mr. Clay, Mr. SEWARD said :]
I regret very much that the few remarks I felt it my duty to make have rendered it necessary, in the opinion of the honorable and distinguished Senator from Kentucky, that he should reply now, in the delicate condition of health which is so apparent. No one here sympathizes with him more deeply; no one of his numerous friends anywhere sympathizes with him, and with the country, more deeply than I do in everything that affects his health, his happiness, his repose, and his fame. It is however, a privilege which he exercises for himself to examine subjects for himself. It is a duty which he has taught me, to perform my duties by the guidance of my own judgment, endeavoring more to be right than to agree
any other man or men, and even with himself. I was not aware that I spoke in language of complaint-I certainly did not in language of reproach. I expressed my opinion of the result of the measures which had been adopted on the suggestions of the committee, which result was, that the public business was brought to a dead stand-still.
The public business is practically at a stand-still. We have arrived near to that limit which generally bounds the longer session of the Congress of the United States. We are, moreover, at the verge of the fiscal year, when new appropriations must be made to keep the government in motion, and yet everything remains undone and almost unattempted. This embarrassment has resulted from some error or from some misfortune, I do not say which.
I have thought that the great and leading measure of the session was the one commended to us in the most earnest manner by the President of the United States--the admission of California. Taking that measure, together with the other suggestions in the mes sage, and other propositions brought forward by committees as the leading measures, the business of the session remains unfinished, and there are no immediate indications of a change. This extraordinary state of things has happened from some cause and in some way. Now, there is a regular and customary mode of legislation. It consists in doing one thing at one time and on one occasion. The same principle prevails in judicial administration. If a majority of a court should insist upon taking up the whole calender of cases at once ; swearing all the witnesses at once; taking all the evidence in all the causes at once; hearing all the counsel for all the parties at once, and sending all the cases to the jury at once, instructing them to bring in one general verdict of compromise or adjustment of the whole, and if they should en-, counter delays and embarrassment, I think they would have little reason to complain of the minority of the bench who should have remonstrated against so extraordinary a proceeding. Now, sir, I think sound legislation just as wisely and as necessarily inhibits multifariousness of subjects and confusion of measures as judicial administration does multifariousness of issues and confusion of parties. I must beg leave, therefore, with the utmost deference to the committee, to submit to the country the departure from accustomed modes of legislation which has occurred, as involving the real cause which has arrested public business. If there is to be a question of responsibility, it will be awarded to those who, being a majority, have exercised power; and not to the minority, who have constantly, though vainly, endeavored to bring back the Senate to the customary mode of transacting business. If I am asked, as indeed I am, how this departure here operates upon the other House, I reply that the two Houses are not so far apart but that a course of action in one House, favoring or opposing action in the other, may be adopted. I cannot consent to the passage of this bill for the purpose of obtaining the admission of California, because it involves sacrifices of other measures which I cannot consent to make.
Sir, a majority of this Senate have determined that they will bring into one bill various propositions upon which it is known, and must be known, that Senators must disagree, and that there must be division of opinion not only, but many lines of division. The consequence is, that if we vote for the bill to obtain the measures that we approve, we must vote also for measures which our judgments condemn; and if we vote against the bill on account of measures which we disapprove, we must sacrifice others which we desire to see prevail.
Now, sir, it is this course of legislation to which I object. It is for this reason that I shall vote to strike out every feature of the bill, as fast as they are proposed. If we cannot break the bill down by a common opposition, I am willing to take it to pieces joint by joint, limb by limb; and I am ready to do so, because he who requires me to vote for measures which I disapprove by combining them with those which I do approve, seeks to control my judgment by coercion; and he who surrenders to a combination which is intended to have this effect, surrenders a part of his rights. For my part, I never will consent to any such surrender; and I am very sure that I never should engage in
such conspiracy against others.
THE COMPROMISE BILL.*
JULY 25, 1852.
I SUPPOSE we are to understand that the proposed commission is to make an honest and just award upon the rights of the respective parties to the territoriy in question—not a partial, biased, or corrupt one, but a true, just, and fair award. Congress certainly would not offer Texas a proposition for a commission to proceed upon any other principle.
Now, then, assuming that this is to be the character of this commission, and this its design, I ask what is to be the effect of this proviso upon the state of the case committed to the commission for its consideration and adjudication? It is a recognition, an acknowledgment that Texas has rights in regard to this territory; that she has some rights there, (not defining what they are,) while the amendment is silent upon the rights to be reserved to the United States and to New Mexico. This amendment of the Senator from Texas leaves a strong implication against the United States and against New Mexico, and in favor of pretensions set up here in the Senate of the United States, and which have been
* Remarks on an amendment of the Compromise Bill, proposing a joint commission to be instituted by the United States and Texas, for settling the dispute of boundaries between Texas and New Mexico.
overruled here, and which the executive authority of the United States has refused to acknowledge. It will be in vain, after this commission shall have been appointed, to say that this proviso means nothing; that if Texas has acquired no rights since the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, then that the proviso stipulates to reserve no rights. And why? Because Congress would not be presumed to use a form of expression which would be absurd. They will be deemed to have considered and determined that Texas has acquired, in some way, some rights since the execution of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. And, if they failed to define what her rights are, the commissioners themselves must undertake to determine what the rights she acquired subsequent to the treaty are. And when they come to examine these rights, they must, it seems to me, come to the conclusion that Congress as sumes that Texas has acquired rights by extending her territory since that time.
Now, for myself, I believe that no action which has been taken by the state of Texas since that treaty; that no action which has been taken by any military or civil officer of the United States has affected that question in the slightest degree. I believe that the rights of the parties (New Mexico and Texas) remain precisely as they were at the time of the execution of that treaty, and cannot be changed. I have, in all the attention I have bestowed upon this subject, looked upon the supposed estoppels of the United States, by the action of the different functionaries of this government, partial as they were in their character, and limited in their authority, as having no bearing on this subject. But this commission will not be at liberty so to treat; and therefore they will come to the conclusion that Texas has acquired some rights.
Now, I say that if Texas has acquired any rights by any action of her own, then New Mexico has acquired rights by her action. If Texas, by taking possession of El Paso, by holding an election there, as is contended, has acquired any right in that region, then I hold that New Mexico, by holding a convention, and denying the jurisdiction of Texas, and establishing a constitution for herself, has equally acquired rights which are to be upheld against the pretensions of Texas. And again, if the action of the executive or military officers of the United States has given an advantage, then I insist, on the other hand, that the subsequent action of the government of the United States, in consenting to the erec