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Ch. Vn.] MR. FILLMORE'S
ing the past year; he alluded, with great feeling, to the lamented decease of Daniel Webster; and proceeded to give the present position of the fishery question between the United States and England. The condition of affairs in regard to Cuba was next spoken of, and the proposition of England and France, for a tripartite convention fully detailed. Having stated, that he had declined becoming a party to this convention, the president went on to say; "Were this island comparatively destitute of inhabitants, or occupied by a kindred race, I should regard it, if voluntarily ceded by Spain, as a most desirable acquisition. But under existing circumstances, I should look upon its incorporation into our Union, as a very hazardous measure. It would bring into the confederacy a population of a different national stock, speaking a different language, and not likely to harmonize with the other members. It would probably affect in a prejudicial manner the industrial interests of the south; and it might revive those conflicts of opinion between the different sections of the country which lately shook the Union to its centre, and which have been so happily compromised."
The subject of the Tehuantepec route (see p. 492); the relations of the United States to various South American powers; the settlement of the question as to the claim of Peru in regard to the Lobos Islands; and the steps taken with reference to the endeavoring to obtain a change in the policy of Japan towards other nations; were succinctly set forth. Having spoken of the burdens imposed Vol. III.—63
LAST MESSAGE. 4<J7
upon the department of state, Mr. Fillmore laid before Congress the present condition of the treasury. The receipts for the year were, $49,728,386; the expenditures were, $46,008,000; the balance in the treasury was, $14,632,135. The value of foreign imports during the year was estimated at $207,240,000; the aggregate exports were, $167,066,000, besides $42,507,285 in specie. The subject of the tariff, the Mexican boundary commission, the Indian tribes, etc., were also brought before the two Houses, and the president renewed his recommendations on the various topics of river and harbor improvements, fortifications, and the like.
Having congratulated the national legislature and the country on the success of our policy of non-interference in foreign affairs, and on the manifold blessings which we enjoy, Mr. Fillmore closed his message with modestly claiming, that he had discharged the duties of his responsible post, to the best of his ability, and with a single eye to the public good. *
The proceedings of Congress during this, the concluding session, were not of very material moment. In the Senate, there was much animated debate on the whole subject of the foreign policv of the United States. The Clayton-Bulwer treaty (1850) was brought up; General Cass had a great deal to say on the subject of the "Monroe doctrine"; Messrs. Seward, Chase, Butler, Mason, Soul6, and others, took part in the discussion; and the country generally was deeply interested in the important questions involved in dispute. Various matters of business occupied the attention of the House, and a number of acts of local interest were passed, together with a great variety of private bills. On the 11th of February, Mr. Mason, from the committee on foreign affairs, submitted a report in regard to the question of the treaty stipulations with Great Britain concerning Central America, in which the opinion was expressed in favor of existing British colonial establishments in Central America, but decidedly against her establishing new ones. The Mexican Garay grant was again brought up, but no action was had on the subject. The plan of a railroad from the Mississippi to the Pacific was repeatedly discussed in the Senate, and an amendment was finally adopted to the appropriation bill, authorizing the president to use $150,000 for the expenses of surveys, explorations of the route, etc. A bill was also passed,
erecting a new territorial government out of part of Oregon, to be called the Territory of Washington.
On the 3d of March, the session ended, and the thirty-second Congress closed its career. At the same date, the administration of Millard Fillmore was brought to an end, and he retired from the lofty station which he had well and worthily filled for nearly three years. They were years of importance in our history, and we think that it will be admitted by all candid observers, who may have noted the progress of affairs under Mr. Fillmore's presidency, that he maintained the national honor and dignity in intercourse with foreign powers; he was ever the advocate of measures calculated to promote peace, harmony, concord, and attachment to the Union; and in every section of our vast country he received the meed of praise which was justly his due.
FRANKLIN PIERCE'S ADilllf ISTK ATIOH.
Inauguration of Franklin Pierce—His Inaugural address, cabinet, etc — Death of Vice-president King— The Mesilla Valley — Dr. Kane's second expedition—Other expeditions—Lord John Russell's reply to Mr. Everett's letter—Case of Kostza— The thirty-third Congress—Substance of the president's message — Senator Douglas's bill — Kansas and Nebraska—Debate in the Senate — The House's course and debate — The Gadsden treatyCommodore Perry and the Japan expedition — Political movements—Congress in session — Mr. Pierce's vetoes —Colonel Kinney and emigration to the Mosquito coast — Other acts of the session—The Ostend conference — The "American" party — Efforts in New Vork to suppress intemperance—The Sound dues question — Dr. Kane's return from the Arctic regions — His death—The Resolute sent to England—Apprehension of difficulties with Great Britain — The thirty-fourth Congress — Long contest for the speakership — Substance of the president's message — The Kansas question — Proceedings in the territory — Outbreaks, etc. — Walker and Central America—Some details — Further troubles in Kansas—Efforts of parties there — Disgraceful attack on Mr. Sumner by P. S. Brooks — The democratic, republican, arid whig conventions—Candidates nominated — Buchanan and Breckenridge elected president and vice-president— Congress in session—Mr. Pierce's last message — Mr. Benton's review of it—Business of the session, the tariff, etc.—The Dred Scott case — Excitement — Congress adjourns—End of Franklin Pierce's administration. Appendix To Chapter VIII.—Senator Benton's views on the Missouri Compromise, etc. — IL Opinion of the Supreme Court.
The ceremonies connected with the inauguration of the fourteenth president of the United States, were such as are usual on those occasions, and need not to be again specially described. Franklin Pierce, on the 4th of March, 1853, stood up in the presence of a large concourse of his fellow-citizens, and with much dignity and propriety delivered his Inaugural address. It was expressed in clear terms, and gave a cheering outline of the spirit and proposed policy of the new administration. It was not too long, and dealt with such topics as are appropriate to the day and the audience. "The policy of my administration," said Mr. Pierce, "will not be controlled by any timid forebodings of evil from expan
sion. Indeed, it is not to be disguised, that our attitude as a nation, and our position on the globe, render the acquisition of certain possessions, not within our jurisdiction, eminently important for our protection, if not, in the future, essential for our preservation of the rights of commerce and the peace of the world. Should they be obtained, it will be through no grasping spirit, but with a view to obvious national interest and security, and in a manner entirely consistent with the strictest observance of national faith." The new president also took occasion to reiterate, that "the rights, security, and repose of this confederacy, reject the idea of interference or colonization, on this side of the ocean, by any foreign