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THE NEBRASKA AND KANSAS BILL.
various members of the Senate arrayed vigorously during the rest of the month; themselves on that side of the question numerous amendments were offered, which their convictions or their inter- one of which, excluding aliens from ests seemed to dictate. On the 7th of voting, was concurred in by a vote of February, Mr. Douglas moved the strik- twenty-two to twenty; and on the 3d ing out the amendment he had before of March, after a considerable amount reported, and substituting a clause in- of speechifying and personal bickerings, stead, declaring that the Missouri com- the bill was passed by a vote of thirtypromise act being “inconsistent with seven to fourteen. the principles of non-intervention by On the last day of January, a bill for Congress with slavery in the states and organizing the territories of Nebraska territories as recognized by the legisla- and Kansas, similar to the one before tion of 1850, commonly called the com- | the Senate, was reported to the House, promise measures, is hereby declared and gave rise to some debate, but withinoperative and void, it being the true out any action at the time. About the interest and meaning of this act, not to middle of March, on motion of Mr. legislate slavery into any territory or Cutting, of New York, the Nebraska státe, nor to exclude it therefrom, but bill was taken up, and after some warm to leave the people thereof perfectly opposition was referred to the free to form and regulate their domes- committee of the whole by a tic institutions in their own way, sub- small majority. But little further atject only to the Constitution of the tention was given to it for a month subUnited States.” In favor of the bill, sequently; but, on the 25th of April, Messrs. Dixon, Badger, Pettit, Butler, Mr. Benton, who, since leaving the SenCass, Norris, and others, urged the ar- ate, had entered the House as a Repre. guments which appeared to them to sentative from Missouri, delivered an demand the action proposed; while in energetic speech against the bill. Proopposition to it, Messrs. Everett, Wade, testing, in no measured terms, against Houston, Sumner, Seward, Bell, and the practice of bringing up in the legisothers, gave expression to the earnest lature the opinions of the president, and convictions on their minds of the un- denouncing vehemently the newspapers fairness and impropriety of the course employed to do the public printing, for marked out by Mr. Douglas, especially daring to dictate to Congress, the veturging that the repeal of the Missouri eran statesman went on to resist the compromise would be a breach of faith proposition to repeal the Missouri comon the part of the southern states. On promise, on the ground that it was one the 14th of February, however, the of the three great measures by which ' amendment offered by Mr. Douglas, the Union had been formed and its harwhich declared the Missouri compro- mony preserved—the first being the mise inoperative and void, was adopted ordinance of 1787, and the second the by a vote of thirty-five to nine. The Federal Constitution. Mr. Benton said, discussion continued to be carried on he came into public life on the Missouri
compromise, and he intended always to den, and sent to the Senate for confirm. stand upon it, even if he should stand ation. It there underwent important alone. It partook of the nature of a modifications, and was finally contract, and could not be repealed now arranged to the satisfaction of without a violation of good faith. It the respective governments. A part had given peace and harmony to the of the first article, respecting the limits country, and its repeal would inevitably between the two republics was as folinvolve us in useless and mischievous lows: "beginning in the Gulf of Mexagitations. Not a petition for its re- ico, three leagues from land, opposite peal had come into Congress from any the mouth of the Rio Grande, as pro quarter. The slave states had nothing vided in the fifth article of the treaty to gain by passing it; the pretence that of Guadalupe-Hidalgo (p. 463); thence, it was necessary in order to carry out as defined in the said article, up the the principle of non-intervention, was middle of that river, to the point utterly fallacious; and on every account where the parallel of 31° 47' north the bill ought not to be suffered to latitude crosses the same; thence due pass. Early in May, the bill was re- west one hundred miles; thence south ferred to the committee of the whole, to the parallel of 31° 20' north latitude; and by a vote took precedence of thence along the said parallel of 31° 20' all other business. Amendment after to the 111th meridian of longitude amendment was offered; interminable west of Greenwich; thence in a straight discussions and disputes took place; | line to a point on the Colorado River the bill was reported again and again twenty English miles below the junction to the House, and again to the com- of the Gila and Colorado Rivers; thence mittee of the whole; all sorts of en- up the middle of the said River Colorado, gineering processes were put into oper- until it intersects the present line beation; and finally, on the 22d of May, tween the United States and Mexico." the bill, as passed by the Senate, was In consideration of being released from adopted by a vote of one hundred and the obligation to protect the Mexican thirteeen to one hundred, the clause frontier against the Indians (see p. 465) excluding aliens from voting being and as compensation for the territory omitted. A few days afterwards, the ceded by Mexico, the United States Senate took up the bill, as amended, agreed to pay $10,000,000. The grant and after considerable debate, it was for a railroad route across the Isthmus agreed to, and passed by a vote of of Tehuantepec was expressly confirmthirty-five to thirteen.*
ed, and various other privileges were Early in the year, a treaty was con
secured to our countrymen. A good cluded with Mexico by General Gads- deal of debate was had upon this treaty;
* A letter from ex-senator Clemens, of Alabama, vindicating his course in opposition to the Nebraska bill, was published, and excited considerable attention. He gave it as his opinion, that the passage of this bill
would end in decided ultimate injury to the south; that the compromise of 1850 did not repeal that of 1820; and that by this course of conduct the south was involved in a flagrant breach of faith.
COMMODORE PERRY AND THE JAPAN EXPEDITION.
but finally, near the end of the session, Japan, succeeded, after
Japan, succeeded, after many and vexthe House, by a vote of one hundred atious delays, in getting an expedition and two to sixty-three, and the Senate, for this important object ander way. by a vote of thirty-four to six, passed He sailed from New York on the 24th the bill making the appropriation of of November, 1852, in the steamer $10,000,000 for carrying the treaty into Mississippi, other vessels in the East effect.*
being ordered to join him. The Cape Other topics of interest, to which we of Good Hope was doubled during the can now only allude, were—the manner latter part of February, 1853; Singain which the steamer Black Warrior pore was reached on the 25th of March; was treated by the Cuban officials, and and Shanghai on the 4th of May. Here the spirit roused by it in the United the commodore transferred his flag to States; the discussion upon building six the Susquehanna, and had now a fleet first-class steam frigates, and the final of four vessels, with two others to join
passage of the bill by a large him soon after. The Lew-Chew Islands
vote; the president's veto of were visited, and early in July, Commothe bill appropriating ten millions of dore Perry directed his course to Japan. acres of public lands to the several On the 7th of July, he reached the Bay states for the relief of the indigent in- of Yedo, and caused no little surprise sane within their limits; the holding a and apprehension by steaming directly convention at Charleston, in April
, to into the bay, and insisting upon carry. consider how best to set forward the ing out the measures for which he had interests of the southern states; the come so far. By his judicious firmness, various inklings and movements to the commodore succeeded in accomwards annexing the Sandwich Islands; plishing the object of his mission; the the issuing of a proclamation by the letter of the president to the emperor president, on the 31st of May, denounc- was delivered; negotiations were ening the filibustering attempts again | tered into; and finally, on the 31st of about to be made upon Cuba; etc. A March, 1854, a treaty was agreed upon considerable amount of public business and signed. Commodore Perry rewas left unfinished, and Congress ad- turned home, reaching New York early journed on the 7th of August.
in 1855, and the treaty with Japan was Commodore M. C. Perry, who had duly ratified by the Senate.* urged upon the government the importance of effecting a treaty with
* For a full and very interesting account of the whole
voyage and its valuable results, see the “Narrative of * At the close of 1856, the inhabitants of the newly the Expedition of an American Squadron to the acquired territory, sent a delegate to Washington, re- China Seas and Japan, 1852–1854.” By Commodore questing that this portion of New Mexico might be M. C. Perry, U. S. N. New York, 1857, pp. 624. erected into a territory, under the name of Arizonia. This attractive volume was arranged and prepared The committee of the House reported adversely to from the documents, journals, etc., at the request of their petition, mainly on account of the paucity of the Commodore Perry, by the Rev. F. L. Hawks, D. D. population
of New York.
During the summer and autumn, po $20,137,967. The public debt remainlitical conventions were held in various ing unpaid was, nearly, $45,000,000, parts of the country, and the usual elec- redeemable at different periods within tions excited active interest. The dis- fourteen years. The reports of the cussions and contrariety of opinions on various heads of the departments, and the subject of the Missouri compromise other documents, accompanying the repeal, and the passage of the bill re- president's message, were elaborate paspecting Nebraska and Kansas, seemed pers' containing full statements on all to indicate changes about to take place the points necessary to guide Congress in some of the old party lines and com- in carrying forward wise, appropriate, binations; and from this date, we may and economical legislation. note the increase of a disposition on At the beginning of the year 1855, the part of a portion of our country- President Pierce sent in a message, in men to form a native American party, which he presented an elaborate arguas opposed to aliens, and especially Ro ment against the policy of internal imman Catholic Irish and German natur provements to be carried on by the alized citizens. Whether anything was general government, and in which he to
grow out of the “Know Nothing” also: vindicated his action in having movements and operations, was not vetoed the bill for this purpose, passed easy, perhaps not possible, to predict; at the last session. The merits of this but, in the opinion of many, there are whole subject have already been pretty grave and serious questions yet to be fully set forth on previous pages of our settled, as to the respective rights and history; hence we need not go over the privileges of native born and adopted ground again in this place. President citizens of the United States.
Pierce certainly added nothing of moThe second and short session of the ment to the settlement of the question, thirty-third Congress commenced on which is an open one among Ameri. the 4th of December, and President cans, and which, we may say, always Pierce sent in his message on the same will be open to difference of sentiment. day. It contained the usual summary General Cass, a few days later, made of the state of foreign and domestic a speech on the subject of obeying the
affairs, and made a number of instructions of the legislature of his
suggestions on various points of state; the substance of which seemed interest and importance for the con- to be that, as the legislature was of difsideration of Congress. The balance ferent political views from his own,
he in the treasury, June 30th, was $21,942, could not conscientiously obey their in892; amount received, $73,549,705; structions; if they agreed with making the total available resources, him, as was the case when he nearly $95,500,000. The expenditures came into the Senate, he was ready to of the year were, $51,018,249; pay- obey their directions, but in the present ments on the public debt, $24,336,380; instance he felt bound to decline. So leaving a balance in the treasury of the general refused to do as he was
THE PRESIDENT'S VETOES.
told, viz., to endeavor to procure the pas- of his duties. During the autumn and sage of a law prohibiting slavery from winter, the colony seemed to be adthe territories of Kansas and Nebraska. vancing in prosperity, and a number
The emigrating expedition under of emigrants from the United States Colonel Kinney attracted considerable cast in their 'lot with those already attention at this date. It appears, that on the ground. The government of the intention of the colonel and his Nicaragua, however, early in 1856, ancompany was, to colonize and settle nounced its claim to the Mosquito tercertain portions of the territory on the ritory, refusing to recognize the validity Mosquito coast, under a grant which, it of the land claims of Colonel Kinney. was alleged, had been made to Shep- A bill having passed both Houses, pard and Haly, two British subjects, by authorizing the establishment of a comthe late king of the Mosquito country. mission to investigate and pay
the losses The government of Nicaragua protested sustained by American citizens from against this expedition, as an invasion French spoliations on American comof its territory; to which Mr. Marcy merce, the president, on the 17th of replied, that so far as he could learn, February, sent in another veto message. there was no intention to do otherwise An attempt was made to pass the bill than peacefully settle upon and im- in spite of the veto, but it failed of prove the lands to which the company obtaining a two-thirds vote. Another were about to proceed. The Nicara- bill
, increasing the annual appropriaguan minister, Mr. Marcoleta, addressed tion to the Collins line of steamers from the secretary of state a long, argument- $385,000 to $850,000, for mail ative letter, urging upon the United service, was passed by both the States not to allow any movements House and the Senate by a rather close which should favor British pretensions vote. On the 3d of March, President on the Mosquito coast, or encourage Pierce vetoed this bill likewise, and the invasion of the rights of Nicaragua. gave various cogent reasons for his Colonel Kinney pushed forward his refusal to sign it. On motion of Mr. movements, and about the middle of Seward, in the Senate, the bill just July, reached San Juan del Norte, after vetoed was added to the naval appro experiencing trials of shipwreck and priation bill, omitting the repeal of delay. Sanguine of success in obtain that clause in the existing contract, ing and holding possession of the Shep- which gives Congress the right to dispard grant of thirty-five millions of continue the extra allowance on giving acres of land on the Mosquito coast, six month’s notice. This amendment every step to this end was taken with was unanimously agreed to by the promptitude. Early in September, a Senate, and the House, finding that it public meeting was held, Colonel Kin- could not obtain a two-thirds vote in ney was elected civil and military favor of the bill, agreed to pass it as governor, and a council of five ap- received from the Senate. This was pointed to aid him in the discharge done, and the bill thus became a law.