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plain of, go to your state Legislatures; address your petitions to those who have power to act in the premises. If these Natives mean to carry out their wholesale system of disfranchisement, let them turn their batteries against the states; let them go there, where they have a right to be heard, but not come here, where there is no jurisdiction, for redress."
Mr. Douglas was among the early and earnest advocates of the annexation of Texas; and, after the treaty for that object had failed in the Senate, he was one of those who introduced propositions, in the form of joint resolutions, as substitute measures for that treaty. The form which the joint resolutions for the admission of Texas finally took was, however, not that which Mr. Douglas had proposed. He argued that if we wished to acquire Texas without making war or treaty, we must fall back upon the clause of the Constitution which provides "that new states may be admitted by the Congress into the Union;" and that we must acquire the territory by act of Congress, as one of the necessary and indispensable means of exercising that enumerated power. And, as chairman of the Committee on the Territories, at the first session of the last Congress he reported the joint resolution declaring Texas to be one of the United States of America, and admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original states, in all respects whatever.
We also notice an amendment proposed by him to the Bill to provide for the Establishment of a Smithsonian Institution for the Increase and Diffusion of Knowledge among Men, which is as follows:
"That the author or proprietor of any book, map, chart, musieal composition, print, cut, or engraving, for which a copyright shall be secured under the existing acts of Congress, or those which shall hereafter be enacted respecting copyrights, shall, within three months from the publication of said book, map, chart, musical composition, print, cut, or engraving, deliver, or cause to be delivered, one copy of the same to the librarian of the Smithsonian Institute, and one copy to the librarian of the Congress library, for the use of said libraries."
The amendment was incorporated in the bill, which is now the law of the land. A moment,s reflection upon its results will show that, in the course of time, this provision alone will probably furnish a more extensive library to the Smithsonian Institute than will be collected from its own funds.
In the measures which it has adopted for the prosecution of the war against Mexico, the administration has not been able to point to the services of a more consistent or determined coadjutor. He has especially vindicated the action of the government in sending into the territory of Texas the Army of Occupation under General Taylor, designed as a precautionary measure—a measure of defense against threatened hostilities of Mexico, and not designed to make an aggressive movement against that nation. The Rio del Norte, he argued, was the western boundary between Texas and Mexico, and had been so claimed on the one side, and recognized on the other, ever since the battle of San Jacinto. The State of Texas had accepted the terms of the joint resolution of the Congress of the United States, and the union was substantially, and to all intents and purposes complete, although the formalities had not all been completed. Texas was as much entitled to the defense of the general government as any state of the Union. The compact was formed, was irrevocable, was binding upon every man in this Union, whether before that time he was opposed to annexation or in favor of it. Whether the compact was or was not complete, was immaterial. If our government had seen fit to make the proposition of annexation to Texas, and by that means had brought down upon her an invasion, it was our duty to defend her. The measure of annexation, he contended, was one which had worked out its own vindication in all sections of the country. It had appealed to all our interests, commercial, agricultural, and manufacturing. It was an important step toward driving Great Britain from the continent, and which, in all its results, would promote the glory and honor of the republic. In no district in the country could the people now be appealed to against it with any hope of success, unless it was by working upon their passions and prejudices.
He argued that for years past we have had ample cause of war against Mexico, independent of the then recent bloody transactions upon the Rio del Norte. Aggressions and insults; outrages on the national flag—on the persons and property of our citizens; violations of treaty stipulations; murder, robbery, and imprisonment of our countrymen, made up a catalogue of wrongs the very recital of which was sufficient to fill the national heart with indignation. The weakness, however, and the distracted condition of Mexico, had softened our rosentment, and induced us to endure her aggressions. These insults and injuries, it was to be borne in mind, were committed before the annexation of Texas to the United States—before the proposition was ever seriously entertained by this government. Of course, the subsequent consummation of that measure could afford no pretext for atrocities previously committed. Remuneration and satisfaction had been made to England and France for the same injuries of which we complain, where their subjects and our citizens were common sufferers. Still the wrongs of our citizens remained unredressed, and the indignity to the honor and flag of the country unavenged. Our wrongs were tenfold greater than theirs in number, enormity, and amount. Their complaints had been heard in tones of thunder from the mouths of their cannon, and had been adjusted according to the terms dictated by the injured parties. The forbearance of our own government to enforce our rights by the same efficient measures which they employed, had been considered as evidence of our imbecility, giving impunity to the past and license to the future. Under the operation of these causes, our commerce with Mexico had dwindled down from nine millions of dollars per annum to a mere nominal sum, while that of France and England had steadily increased, until they had secured a monopoly of the trade, and almost a controlling influence over the government of that wretched country. Such was the relative position of Mexico toward the United States and other countries when the controversy in regard to the annexation of Texas arose. Subsequent events he traced as justifying the course of our government. "We are now," he said, "at war with Mexico. I trust our armies will penetrate as far as the capital, and capture, not only the army, but the government itself, in the Halls of the Montezumas; that we may make them all prisoners of war, and keep them in duress until they shall make a treaty of peace and boundary with us, by which they shall recognize not only the Rio del Norte, but such other line as we shall choose to dictate or accept."
He opposed the incorporation of the Wilmot Proviso into the two and three million bills. He believed the proper time had not come for any action on that subject. It was unnecessary at this time, he argued, to agitate a question which, practically, might never arise. Slavery was now prohibited in Mexico. If any portion of that country should bo annexed to the United States, without any stipulation being made on that point, the existing laws would remain in force so far as they were consistent with our Constitution, until repealed by competent authority. That authority must be either Congress or the people of the territory. If Congress, then the North had. the power in its own hands; if the people of the territory, they would be left to decide the question for themselves according to their own wishes. If, therefore, we should acquire any territory, the North would have as much power over the question then as now. Why, then, hazard its acquisition by a controversy in advance as to the disposition we should make of it? If, however, the question was pressed now for immediate decision, he could perceive no other mode of harmonizing conflicting sentiments but by the adoption of the Missouri Compromise Line, which he should move as a substitute for the Wilmot Proviso.
He voted against the Trist treaty with Mexico. It is known that he would have done so if his single vote would have caused its rejection. The injunction of secrecy not having been removed from the executive proceedings, we do not feel at liberty now to speak of the reasons which, it is understood, have influenced his course.
Such is the personal and political history of Stephen A. Douglas. In its rapid successes—in its signal realization of the fruits of a steady enterprise and an honorablo ambition—it will find nothing to surpass it in any page that ivc shall write. It is its own best commentary. Personally, we have little knowledge of him. Publicly, we know him as a manly and fearless politician—a stern, unflinching advocate of Democratic principles; never seeking a refuge from responsibility, nor attempting, by sophistry or art, to elude the full measure of its consequences. Those against whom he may be arraye<l know that they are, at least, pitted against a magnanimous enemy, who boldly shows his colors and resolutely stands by them. As a debater, no man can better ''hold his own." We have seen him hawked at on all sides, but we never saw him lose the knowledge of his position, nor be surprised into its abandonment. His style of speaking, always declamatory, has, we think, gained much of late by the more attempered tone and manner which have marked it.
BIOGRAPHY OF THE ONE HOUR RULE.
Tt E have persuaded ourselves that the reader, with whom we hope to maintain pleasant relations during the long journey that awaits us, will not frown upon us if we loiter a few moments by the way, to give him something like a formal introduction to the ONE HOUR RULE. If it can not boast, like the mummy at Belzoni's Exhibition, of " bones, and flesh, and limbs, and features," and may not technically, therefore, be said to have a " biography," yet such has been its living, breathing influence on the nation and its concerns, that its claims to a niche in our biographical edifice are not to be disregarded. Those claims, in our estimation, become paramount when we reflect that we have assumed the responsibility of presenting to the people of the United States, whom we hope to reach as well in the busy hannts of men as in the distant wilderness, a "mirror" of that "House" which holds their liberties in its sacred keeping, and within whose walls, it has been aptly said, "the Constitution of the country, if destined to perish by the hand of the demagogue or the usurper, will breathe its last agonies."
Something of a regulated despotism there must be in the government of all popular bodies. We state the general proposition, not supposing it requisite to demonstrate its truth. We know that it interferes woefully with the theories of the dreamer, and the beatific visions of the men of largest liberty. We regret it, but the truth must be told. Charles J. Ingersoll, bewildered always in the mazes of those rules and orders of proceeding which possess some power, but no simplicity, declared that the parliamentary law, as it is called, was all that was required for the House of Representatives. We, who have seen that law "weighed in the balance and found wanting," understand how frail a reliance it is, especially in times of political excitement. Let the case of the New Jersey election, which