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declined to consider their claims, on the ground that the question had been closed by previous action of the senate.

On the 24th of January, 1857, Mr. Slidell, of Louisiana, from the committee on foreign relations, reported to the senate a bill for the acquisition of the island of Cuba. The project had been ushered into the senate by a special message from the president and was considered an Executive measure. It provided for the immediate appropriation of thirty millions of dollars, to be placed under the control of the president, to be used in his discretion for the acquisition of the island, without requiring the ratification by the senate of any treaty he might make. Neither was the president limited in the amount to be paid, ultimately-the thirty millions of dollars being for the preliminary arrangements to the actual purchase. Mr. Seward's views in regard to the acquisition of Cuba were expressed in his speech in the senate on the 26th of January, 1853, as follows:

"While I do not desire the immediate or early annexation of Cuba, nor see how I could vote for it at all until slavery shall have ceased to counteract the workings of nature in that beautiful island, nor even then, unless it could come into the Union without injustice to Spain, without aggressive war, and without producing internal dissensions among ourselves, I nevertheless yield my full acquiescence to the views of John Quincy Adams, that this nation can never safely allow that island to pass under the dominion of any power that is already, or can become, a formidable rival or enemy."

The bill now before the senate met with Mr. Seward's persistent opposition. His speeches and remarks during the debate were full of warning and denunciation of the dangerous provisions contained in the bill. It also encountered the opposition of the other repub lican senators, and was finally dropped by its friends, without a vote being taken on its passage. A motion to lay the bill on the table was made in the senate at midnight on the 25th of February, which was lost, eighteen to thirty. This was the last action had upon the measure during the session.

By the 10th section of an act passed March 3d, 1857, congress provided for the establishment of an overland mail to San Francisco in these words:

"SEC. 10. And be it further enacted, That the postmaster-general be, and he is hereby, authorized to contract for the conveyance of the entire letter mail, from

1 See Vol. III, page 605.

such point on the Mississippi river as the contractors may select, to San Francisco, in the state of California, for six years, at a cost not exceeding three hundred thousand dollars per annum for semi-monthly, four hundred and fifty thousand dollars for weekly, or six hundred thousand dollars for semi-weekly service; to be performed semi-monthly, weekly or semi-weekly, at the option of the postmaster-general.”

The bids made for this contract specified the route to be traversed as it was contemplated they should, by the act. But none of the routes proposed were sufficiently southern to satisfy the president and his cabinet. By an extraordinary exercise of power the successful contractors were made to adopt a route agreed upon by the administration and its southern advisers, described as follows:

"From St. Louis, Missouri, and from Memphis, Tennessee, converging at Little Rock, Arkansas; thence, via Preston, Texas, or as nearly so as may be found advisable, to the best point of crossing the Rio Grande, above El Paso, and not far from Fort Fillmore; thence along the new road, being opened and constructed under the direction of the secretary of the interior, to Fort Yumas, California; thence through the best passes and along the best valleys for safe and expeditious staging, to San Francisco."

One of the objects in compelling the contractors to take this extremely southern and circuitous route seems to have been to favor the gulf states and to populate with immigrants the territory of Arizona, at the expense of the more central and northern portions. of the country. An effort was made in congress in February, 1859, to change the action of the post office department in regard to this matter, and to restore the spirit and letter of the act of March 3d, 1857. The route forced upon the contractors neither accommodated the transmission of letters nor the conveyance of passengers from the Mississippi river to San Francisco, while it involved an expense. of over six hundred thousand dollars. On the 1st of March, 1859, an amendment to the post office appropriation bill was lost, as follows:

"And be it further enacted, That the contract with Butterfield & Co., for carrying the mails from the Mississippi river to San Francisco, in California, shall be so construed as to allow said contractors to carry the mail by any route they may select."

YEAS-Messrs. Broderick, Cameron, Chandler, Clark, Collamer, Dixon, Doolittle, Durkee, Foot, Foster Harlan, King, Polk, Pugh, Seward, Shields, Simmons, Trumbull, Wade and Wilson-20. NAYS-Messrs. Allen, Bell, Benjamin, Bigler, Brown, Chesnut, Clay, Clingman, Crittenden, Fitch, Fitzpatrick, Green, Gwin,

Hammond, Houston, Hunter, Iverson, Johnson of Arkansas, Johnson of Tennessee, Jones, Lane, Mason, Pearce, Reid, Rice, Slidell, Stuart, Toombs, Ward and Yulee-30.

It will be seen that this vote was almost entirely sectional, Mr. Polk of Missouri being the only senator from a slave state in the affirmative.

Further efforts were made in the senate and in the house by Mr. Seward and others, to give to the north and west a just and equitable share in the advantages to be derived from an overland mail. route to the Pacific. One provision of this character, adopted by congress, was defeated by the president's refusing to sign the bill containing it, and another was lost with the post office appropriation bill to which it was attached.

Mr. Seward advocated the most practicable measures that came before the senate for affording mail facilities to the people living between the Mississippi river and the Pacific ocean. In the same spirit he favored the best attainable projects for a railroad, and a line of telegraphs, through the same territory. No sectional prejudices mar any of his speeches on these great subjects nor appear in any of the votes he cast.

A bill giving to the several states portions of the public lands for the support of colleges devoted specially to agricultural and mechanical sciences, having passed the house at the previous session, came up in the senate and was passed: ayes twenty-five, nays twenty-two. It was vetoed by the president. Mr. Seward with other republican senators zealously supported this bill while the negative votes were cast entirely by democrats.

The efforts of the administration to increase the rates of postage on letters were opposed by Mr. Seward, and by the republicans in the senate and house of representatives, and were finally defeated.

On the 3d of March, 1859, the thirty-fifth congress adjourned sine die. The president immediately called an extra session of the senate to meet at noon on the next day. After a week spent chiefly in executive sessions the senate again adjourned.

After the adjournment of the senate (March 10, 1859), Mr. Seward determined to gratify his long-cherished desire for an extensive foreign tour. He had made a brief and hurried visit to Europe in 1833, in company with his father. He designed now to make a more pro

tracted stay in the countries he then visited, and to examine more thoroughly into the condition of their inhabitants and the working of their governments; and also to extend his journey into Asia and Africa.

He accordingly sailed from New York on the 7th of May, in the steamship Ariel. His departure was, unexpectedly to him, made a public event. He was waited upon at the Astor House by the two republican central committees, and, after a brief interchange of compliments, the committees, with their guest, proceeded in carriages to Castle Garden, where they were received by several hundred republicans, and escorted on board the steamer which was waiting to convey the party down the bay. A salute was fired, and the band played "Hail to the Chief," while the boat left the wharf, amid hearty cheers from men on board and on shore.

On parting with his company at the Narrows, Mr. Seward addressed them as follows:

"GENTLEMEN: It would of course be impossible for me to persuade you that anybody could be insensible to the manifestations of such hospitality as I am receiving at your hands. I will, with your leave, however, undertake to interpret it, leaving out all its political bearings and relations, and will regard you, not as politicians, not as republicans, but as fellow citizens and as friends who, against my will, followed me to the house of my friends, where I was entertained, took me up at the door of my hotel, unwilling to leave me alone in your city, and who will not part from me now until you separate from me at the gates of the ocean. Gentlemen, the sky is bright, the sun is auspicious; all the indications promise a pleasant and prosperous voyage, and it will depend upon my own temper whether out of it I am able or not to make the material for which I go abroad—the knowledge derived from the sufferings and strivings of humanity in foreign countries-to teach me how to improve and elevate the condition of my own countrymen. I will only say, gentlemen, in expressing my thanks to you, now that we are at the point of separation, that I trust it may be my good fortune to return among you, and resume the duties now temporarily suspended, in the great cause of freedom and humanity. But no one knows the casualties of life; and two voy ages separate me from you. What may happen in that space and time, no one but a beneficent Providence knows. If it is my lot not to return among you, I trust I shall be remembered as one who accomplished in his own life the laudable ends of an honorable ambition, and died far away from his native land-without an enemy to be recalled and without a regretful remembrance, and with a conviction that he had tried to deserve the good opinion which his friends entertained of him. Fellow citizens, friends, I am entirely taken by surprise by these manifestations of your good will and attention. I have not taxed myself to consider whether there can be anything in what I have done to deserve it. I had hoped, as I had

thought, that I could pass out of the country in silence, to seek strength, health, vigor and knowledge in foreign lands, unattended, unnoticed, if not unknown. I need not say it is a pleasant surprise. But as we near the place where we must part, sad thoughts, rather than exciting ones, enter into my mind. You will excuse me, therefore, if I turn aside altogether from political questions and considerations, which it is my duty to forego, and follow the scenes which it is my object to study and contemplate. I do so the more readily, because I know that at last the great questions of justice and humanity before the American people are destined to be decided, and that they may be safely left to your hands, even if the instructor never returns. If Providence restores me with health and vigor, it shall be devoted to the establishment and supremacy of the same principles. But we do not know the casualties which await us. We do know only that our welfare is the object of the care of a beneficent Providence. And we do know, too, that a life which has been devoted to humanity, and has endeavored to avoid doing injustice to mankind, is a life which can leave no other than a harmless, if not a satisfactory reputation. Such, if I know my own heart, I hope will be the reputation which I shall leave. And now, kindest of friends, whose liberality, courtesy, and attention have attended my passage from my country to the very gates of the ocean, farewell. God be with you."

The closing sentences were uttered with much emotion.

Mr. Seward remained abroad about eight months. During this time he traversed no small portions of Europe, Africa and Asia, visiting Egypt and the Holy Land. Probably no other American was ever received, wherever he went, so cordially and with such distinguished respect. The monarchs and ruling classes of Europe spontaneously offered him all the opportunities he could desire for improving the great object of his journey, and such as are only extended to recognized statesmen of the world. He enjoyed, no less, the company and respect of Kossuth, Lamartine, Mrs. Martineau, Mackay, and other friends of liberty in England and on the continent.

Mr. Seward's return to his native land, on the 29th of December, 1859, was signalized by public demonstrations and rejoicing. At New York, the common council tendered him the civilities of the city, and made arrangements for his public reception. On his arrival in the city, the mayor waited upon him and accompanied him to the City Hall, where a dense crowd of people were waiting to receive him. In response to Mayor Tiemann's address, Mr. Seward spoke as follows:

"MR. MAYOR, Gentlemen of the COMMON COUNCIL, AND FELLOW CITIZENS: I do not mean to yield to the impulses of feeling on this occasion, although I can scarcely conceive what would be more flattering to me than this reception in the VOL. IV. 9.

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