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length (modified greatly and differing in many details from the bill prepared by the Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Forward) became a law. - Among other measures introduced by Mr. Ingersoll, we notice a bill to abolish public executions, and a joint resolution authorizing the President of the United States to cause medals from the trophies of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma to be made.
To the unremitted efforts of Mr. Ingersoll it was owing that the long-vexed question in relation to the Pea Patch Island, of which the title is now finally declared to be in the United States, was put in a train for settlement.
" He was among the number of those who adhered, through all the excitement of the time, to the opinion that the Oregon dispute was still a subject-matter of honorable compromise, and who never lost sight of that hope and object. He voted for the “ Notice." (See title, STEPHEN A. Douglas.]
He constantly took ground against the annexation of Texas, and claims to have been the first member of the House who asserted the principle that annexation was, ipso facto, war. In a speech delivered on the 4th of January, 1815, we find these sentiments expressed :
“A question had sometimes been made whether annexation with Texas would lead to war with Mexico. Mr. Ingersoll did not consider that to be a true statement of the case. Annexa. tion with Texas was of itself, and of necessity, war with Mex. ico. How could it be otherwise? A war existed between these two countries. Whether civil or foreign in its nature, whether fiercely or sluggishly carried on, was not the point. Different assertions, and for different purposes, had been put forth. A rebellious province in the eyes of the parent country was an emancipated republic in its own. An extinguished war for purposes of de facto independence was a flagrant one for purposes of humane interposition and gratuitous protection. Whatever was its character, it must attach to the soil and the inhabitants, no matter what might be the flag under which they should march to battle. A mere change of colors did not convert an enemy and a belligerent into a neutral; otherwise it would be easy to escape the hazards of war. If Texas should become a part of the United States, that part kept alive the war in which it was engaged, and every part of the United States adopted and assumed it. The right hand can not be at war and the left at peace, of the same body, at the same time. The only difference between the present and the possible state of things would be, that a distant, difficult, and almost inaccessible theater of war, narrow in its sphere, and without temptation in its objects, would become one of easy access and rich incitement.
“ This nation has no right thus to expose the property or the lives of its citizens in such a quarrel. With a just cause of injured right, invaded territory, or insulted honor, it has felt no fear to encounter single-handed the mightiest power of the earth. The God of battles has not frowned upon the bold design. A causeless, voluntary war, founded upon interest or ambition, can not expect the sanction or the smiles of Ileaven. Not even verbal indignity could be offered as a poor excuse. The first insult, in the late correspondence at least—that between Mr. Shannon and Mr. Rejon—came from our side; we, if not too wise and too well bred, ought to have been at least too proud and too politic to indulge in it. If money would purchase a doubtful title, why not pay it now? To buy property might be fair and just, but to buy off a provoked, though feeble enemy, was what could not be submitted to without disgrace."
During the twenty-ninth Congress, Mr. Ingersoll uniformly advocated the same principles. Believing that the war had been unnecessarily and wantonly begun on our part, he still did not feel justified in refusing supplies for armies in the field. He expressed his views fully toward the close of the session of 1846. “War,” said he, “exists by constitutional authority; an authority exercised, indeed, most improvidently, but exercised and wielded, as I believe, by legislative inducement and sanction. I do not refer at all to that recent preamble of the 11th of May, as affording legislative sanction, which, constituting no part of the enacting clause, can neither give strength to it, nor take it away. I refer to that earlier and more significant legislative proceeding, the first resolution deliberately and willfuly passed by Congress, and approved March 1st, 1845."
After arguing that this act of annexation of Texas was "i casus belli," and so received and treated by Mexico, he proceeded to show that this paper war became active by ordering our troops through disputed territory, partly occupied by a Mexican population, to the banks of the Rio Grande, without any
corresponding warlike exhibition on their part, and placing heavy cannon in battery on the edge of a narrow river, bear. ing, according to General Taylor's dispatches, "directly upon the public square of Matamoras, and within good range for demolishing the town." From the moment of actual collision and subsequent invasion of the Mexican territory, a question arose respecting the duty of the minority, who, believing that such a state of things might have been avoided, were called upon to determine whether they would give to further belligerent operations their official aid. War had then become flagrant. The troops of the United States had penetrated far into the interior of the country, and their situation might become more than critical, if not looked to with more than ordinary care. ' A bill providing appropriations for carrying on the war was reported. The Whig party was required to determine what it would do in that contingency. Mr. Ingersoll thought the opposing grounds taken by different individuals so distinctly marked, that it was scarcely possible there should be any mistake in relation to them. Positions were stated in both houses of Congress, of a precise and definite character. They might be summed up in a few words. It had been repeatedly declared by gentlemen of the minority, that in the existing state of things they would not vote a dollar for supplies, or add one more soldier to the force in Mexico. In this, he thought, there was no mere theory, no hypothesis, nothing of what ought to be done, or might be done, under circumstances in a greater or less degree different. Now Mr. Ingersoll always declared that he could not, and did not, concur in these sentiments. If the executive had done wrong in commencing active hostilities, and if, as he individually believed, a former Congress had done wrong in taking the first step toward war, the remedy was with the people. If disgrace and suffering should ensue from denying appropriations, he should not feel justified in that refusal, because of a possibility and a power to pervert the supplies in part to purposes of acquisition. Acquisition by war was to be deprecated, and he trusted that it might not be made. But there were evils greater even than acquisition, great as that was, and it became every friend of his country to use his exertions to avert them. In the course of his remarks on the occasion referred to, he said:
“Under these circumstances, it becomes a grave question, what is the duty of our friends on this side of the House ? of those who, though in a minority which disqualifies them from the introduction, and takes from their shoulders much of the credit and responsibility of public measures, still have an im. portant part to act. They have, at least, to guard the purity of an honored name. As a general rule, they are on the side of principle and their country; and if at this moment there be a difference on any question which presents those attributes arrayed against their opposites, I trust there never will be a doubt or hesitation where every true Whig will be found. In placing themselves within the pale, and under the panoply of a party which has always been ardent and devoted in the cause of freedom, they do but emulate the course of those virtuous men that have maintained the independence and honor of their country. According to Lord Bolingbroke, this was their character nearly two hundred years ago. It characterized them at their origin, and has gone along with their entire history. The Whig party,' says this writer, in his dissertation on parties, 'was called into being to resist the attempt of the king and his cabal against the religion and liberty of the country. The power and majesty of the people, an original contract, the authority and independency of Parliaments, liberty, resistance, exclusion, abdication, deposition—these were ideas associated at that time to the idea of a Whig, and supposed by every Whig to be incommunicable, and inconsistent with the idea of a Tory?.
“There might be unnecessary severity in the application of the same eloquent author's remarks to the antagonist party of this day and nation. To that antagonist party he imputes at its origin principles which are certainly not so creditable.
6. Divine, hereditary, and indefeasable right,' says he, lineal succession, passive obedience, prerogative, non-resistance, slavery, nay, and sometimes popery too, were associated in many minds to the idea of a Tory, and deemed incommunicable, and inconsistent in the same manner with a Whig.
“Such was the case in the beginning. Two hundred years have in political creeds made no difference. The same love of liberty and the country, its Constitution and laws, which distinguished the patriots in the days of the royal Charleses—the prerogative Stuarts; which assumed the shape of rebellion at
one period, and produced the revolution of 1688 at another, lived and flourished in the year 1776, and it continues to animate, inspire, and invigorate the same party in name and nature now.?"
Shortly before the close of the first session of the last Con. gress, Mr. Ingersoll made an effort, in which, however, he was not successful, to introduce the following joint resolutions, for the purpose of obtaining an expression of the opinion of the House:
" Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That at a period, and under circumstances when no liability exists to misconstruction of the measure, or danger of impeachment of the motives which induce it, a reasonable effort should be made, consistently with national dignity and honor, for the restoration of peace between the Republic of the United States and that of Mexico.
“And be it further resolved, That the Senate and House of Representatives respectfully recommend to the President that he offer, if in his judgment it be expedient, to open with Mexico a negotiation for the purpose of closing the present war, of stopping the effusion of human blood, and of providing a permanent and satisfactory arrangement of all subsisting differences.
“ And be it further resolved, That the offer now recommended can not fail to produce (whatever may be its reception and immediate effect) ultimate consequences alike honorable to the country and beneficial to the cause of justice. If accepted in a spirit corresponding with that which prompts it, this nation will be restored to its natural progressive course of prosperity and · happiness, and will secure to itself a sentiment of universal goodwill. If refused, from whatever cause the refusal may arise, the nation which assumes a responsibility so full of threatened wretchedness will deprive itself of every claim to the sympathies of the world; and this government and country will assume a position so lofty and so firm, that humanity itself will sanction a necessary continuance of the ravages of war.
“ And be it further resolved, That no impediment exists to a communication with the government of Mexico, by reason either of hostilities between the two countries, or a disturbed state of public affairs in one of them. Intercourse may be opened, if necessary, from army to army, even at the point of the bayonet, or, with better hopes, through the amicable agency of a friendly foreign power.”