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Entered, according to act of Congress, in the year 1850, by
JAMES M. ALDEN,
in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United States for the Northern District of New York.
T. B. SmITH, Stereotyper, 216 William st., N. Y.
THE life of any American President, I feel confident, would not need to be specially commended to the attention of his countrymen, and certainly not that of James K. Polk, for whatever may be the opinions entertained in regard to the administration of which he was the head, it must be conceded that great and important measures were submitted to their consideration and action, and that interests of the deepest magnitude were confided to their hands.
Mr. Polk could not have said, with Augustus Caesar, that he found the capital of the republic built of brick, and left it constructed of marble; but he might have claimed that he found her territories bounded on the south by the Sabine and the 42d parallel, and her authority west of the Rocky Mountains existing only in name—and when he transferred the government to other hands, New Mexico and California were annexed to her domain, and her flag floated in token of sovereignty on the banks of the Rio Grande, on the shores of the Straits of Fuca, and in the bay of San Francisco. How and in what manner these territorial acquisitions were made, is a question worthy of inquiry. Mr. Polk did not want for able defenders to vindicate the policy of his administration; nor did his conduct escape censure and criticism. By some, as in the pamphlet of the late Mr. Gallatin, one of the most important measures with which the late President was identified—the war with Mexico— was reviewed in a spirit of candor and frankness, yet, as I think, under the influence of erroneous impressions with regard to the facts upon which conclusions were based; and by others, as in the Review of Mr. Jay and the productions of those who have followed in his wake—sed longo intervallo—with pure and honest motives, but with dogmatic assumptions, and appeals to the passions and the sympathies, rather than with well-founded arguments. It is not claimed for this volume, that it is entirely impartial. Entertaining his own views in all sincerity, the writer has not hesitated to express them; and this right he is quite willing should be exercised by those who differ from him in opinion. It has not appeared to me to be advisable, to present a detailed history of the war in Mexico, for two reasons. In the first place, so much has been written on the sub