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Edward L. Pierce, Memoir and letters of Charles Sumner: volume 3, Chapter 32: the annexation of Texas.—the Mexican War.—Winthrop and Sumner.—1845-1847. (search)
votes, and taking effect March 2, 1845, two days before Tyler was succeeded by Polk, who was instigated by the same pro-slavery ambition as his predecessor. The sl that he was prepared to uphold our title to this extent, but that he distrusted Polk's intentions; that he thought the latter would fly off, and that he should try ther dominion and her title did not extend beyond the Nueces. Nevertheless, President Polk, having already advanced our army to the Nueces and stationed our fleet in ervice as a volunteer with a captain's commission; and confined his criticism of Polk and his Cabinet chiefly to incidents and details. Speeches, May 14 June 24.18 He insisted that in voting such supplies lie was relying on the pledges of President Polk that he was not carrying on the war for the purposes of aggression and conqFeb. 22, 1847. Addresses and Speeches, vol. i. p. 589. Though holding Tyler and Polk responsible for the war, he was milder in his censure of the Administration than
Edward L. Pierce, Memoir and letters of Charles Sumner: volume 3, Chapter 33: the national election of 1848.—the Free Soil Party.— 1848-1849. (search)
ritory. It had been long a scheme of the slaveholders to extend their power to the Pacific Ocean, though the wiser heads among them shrank at the last from an extension which might after a struggle leave them relatively weaker. The purpose of Polk's Administration to acquire territory from Mexico was manifested early in the war, and even before. The President, in August, 1846, signified to Congress that a cession from Mexico was a probable mode of concluding peace, and with that purpose inry passed the House, Aug. 2, 1848, mostly by a sectional vote, and was rejected by the Senate; but the latter body, which had on similar occasions carried its point against the former, receded August 13, and the bill received the signature of President Polk,—his approval being accompanied with the apology that it was not [on account of the latitude] inconsistent with the terms of the Missouri Compromise. Among the incidents of the conflict was the Clayton compromise, reported in July, 1848,—a
Edward L. Pierce, Memoir and letters of Charles Sumner: volume 3, Chapter 34: the compromise of 1850.—Mr. Webster. (search)
possible to keep the balance between the contending sections. At the same time the inhabitants of New Mexico sent a petition to Congress asking for a territorial government with a prohibition of slavery. Thus it was manifest that a war undertaken to extend and protect slavery was about to reduce the relative power of the slave States. This failure in a well-laid and long-plotted scheme made the partisans of slavery desperate. When Congress met in December, 1848, the last session of President Polk's Administration, the character of the emigration then flowing into California assured for her a majority of free State citizens. The Southern members issued an address, and organized resistance to antislavery prohibitions. They strove to obtain by some vague and covert phrase a recognition of their right under the Constitution to carry slaves into the territories; and the most outspoken and audacious among them threatened to dissolve the Union if the asserted right was denied by Cong
Edward L. Pierce, Memoir and letters of Charles Sumner: volume 3, Chapter 36: first session in Congress.—welcome to Kossuth.—public lands in the West.—the Fugitive Slave Law.—1851-1852. (search)
debate. Others are reported in conversation. I know that some Hunkers have felt its force. Clarke of Rhode Island said it would be a text-book when they were dead and gone; Shields said it was the ablest speech ever made in the Senate on slavery; and Bright used even stronger language. Cass has complimented me warmly. Soule has expressed himself in the strongest terms. Weller, after using strong terms of praise, said it would do more mischief than any speech ever made in the country. Polk, A member of the House from Tennessee. who was sober, and who listened for two hours, said the argument was unanswerable, though he could not say this aloud. I write these for your private and friendly eye. I throw the speech down as a gage. I believe it presents the true limits of opposition to slavery within the Constitution. I challenge an answer. The attempts in the Senate were puerile and ill-tempered. I cannot leave here before the end of the week. Many matters will detain me
Edward L. Pierce, Memoir and letters of Charles Sumner: volume 3, Chapter 43: return to the Senate.—the barbarism of slavery.—Popular welcomes.—Lincoln's election.—1859-1860. (search)
token the revolution in popular sentiment. He was now one of twenty-four Republicans, instead of one of three Free Soilers, as when he first entered the Senate. On the other side were thirty-seven Democrats and two Americans, with two vacancies in the representation of Democratic States. He was assigned to the committee on foreign relations, the place to which he naturally belonged from the first, with Seward as his only Republican associate; the other members were Mason, Douglas, Slidell, Polk, and Crittenden, with only the last of whom had he any personal relations. He was welcomed by the Republican senators; but there was no change for the better on the part of the Democratic senators, Northern or Southern. Notwithstanding what he had passed through, they withheld all expression of sympathy or welcome. Seward, however, who, absent in Europe when the session began, did not take his seat till after the holiday recess, had hardly a more friendly reception. As to the military