The Writings of Abraham Lincoln Vol. 1-7


iSpeech

Again, it is a singular omission in this message that it nowhere
intimates when the President expects the war to terminate. At
its beginning, General Scott was by this same President driven
into disfavor if not disgrace, for intimating that peace could
not be conquered in less than three or four months. But now, at
the end of about twenty months, during which time our arms have
given us the most splendid successes, every department and every
part, land and water, officers and privates, regulars and
volunteers, doing all that men could do, and hundreds of things
which it had ever before been thought men could not do--after all
this, this same President gives a long message, without showing
us that as to the end he himself has even an imaginary
conception. As I have before said, he knows not where he is. He
is a bewildered, confounded, and miserably perplexed man. God
grant he may be able to show there is not something about his
conscience more painful than his mental perplexity.

The following is a copy of the so-called "treaty" referred to in
the speech:

"Articles of Agreement entered into between his Excellency
David G. Burnet, President of the Republic of Texas, of the one
part, and his Excellency General Santa Anna, President-General-
in-Chief of the Mexican army, of the other part:
"Article I. General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna agrees that
he will not take up arms, nor will he exercise his influence to
cause them to be taken up, against the people of Texas during the
present war of independence.
"Article II. All hostilities between the Mexican and Texan
troops will cease immediately, both by land and water.
"Article III. The Mexican troops will evacuate the territory
of Texas, passing to the other side of the Rio Grande Del Norte.
"Article IV. The Mexican army, in its retreat, shall not
take the property of any person without his consent and just
indemnification, using only such articles as may be necessary for
its subsistence, in cases when the owner may not be present, and
remitting to the commander of the army of Texas, or to the
commissioners to be appointed for the adjustment of such matters,
an account of the value of the property consumed, the place where
taken, and the name of the owner, if it can be ascertained.
"Article V. That all private property, including cattle,
horses, negro slaves, or indentured persons, of whatever
denomination, that may have been captured by any portion of the
Mexican army, or may have taken refuge in the said army, since
the commencement of the late invasion, shall be restored to the
commander of the Texan army, or to such other persons as may be
appointed by the Government of Texas to receive them.
"Article VI. The troops of both armies will refrain from
coming in contact with each other; and to this end the commander
of the army of Texas will be careful not to approach within a
shorter distance than five leagues.
"Article VII. The Mexican army shall not make any other
delay on its march than that which is necessary to take up their
hospitals, baggage, etc., and to cross the rivers; any delay not
necessary to these purposes to be considered an infraction of
this agreement.
"Article VIII. By an express, to be immediately despatched,
this agreement shall be sent to General Vincente Filisola and to
General T. J. Rusk, commander of the Texan army, in order that
they may be apprised of its stipulations; and to this end they
will exchange engagements to comply with the same.
"Article IX. That all Texan prisoners now in the possession
of the Mexican army, or its authorities, be forthwith released,
and furnished with free passports to return to their homes; in
consideration of which a corresponding number of Mexican
prisoners, rank and file, now in possession of the Government of
Texas shall be immediately released; the remainder of the Mexican
prisoners that continue in the possession of the Government of
Texas to be treated with due humanity,--any extraordinary
comforts that may be furnished them to be at the charge of the
Government of Mexico.
"Article X. General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna will be sent
to Vera Cruz as soon as it shall be deemed proper.

"The contracting parties sign this instrument for the
abovementioned purposes, in duplicate, at the port of Velasco,
this fourteenth day of May, 1836.

"DAVID G. BURNET, President,
"JAS. COLLINGSWORTH, Secretary of State,
"ANTONIO LOPEZ DE SANTA ANNA,
"B. HARDIMAN, Secretary o f the Treasury,
"P. W. GRAYSON, Attorney-General."

REPORT IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
JANUARY 19, 1848.

Mr. Lincoln, from the Committee on the Post-office and Post
Roads, made the following report:

The Committee on the Post-office and Post Roads, to whom was
referred the petition of Messrs. Saltmarsh and Fuller, report:
That, as proved to their satisfaction, the mail routes from
Milledgeville to Athens, and from Warrenton to Decatur, in the
State of Georgia (numbered 2366 and 2380), were let to Reeside
and Avery at $1300 per annum for the former and $1500 for the
latter, for the term of four years, to commence on the first day
of January, 1835; that, previous to the time for commencing the
service, Reeside sold his interest therein to Avery; that on the
a a th of May, 1835, Avery sold the whole to these petitioners,
Saltmarsh and Fuller, to take effect from the beginning, January
a 1835 ; that at this time, the Assistant Postmaster-General,
being called on for that purpose, consented to the transfer of
the contracts from Reeside and Avery to these petitioners, and
promised to have proper entries of the transfer made on the books
of the department, which, however, was neglected to be done; that
the petitioners, supposing all was right, in good faith commenced
the transportation of the mail on these routes, and after
difficulty arose, still trusting that all would be made right,
continued the service till December a 1`837; that they performed
the service to the entire satisfaction of the department, and
have never been paid anything for it except $_____ ; that the
difficulty occurred as follows:

Mr. Barry was Postmaster-General at the times of making the
contracts and the attempted transfer of them; Mr. Kendall
succeeded Mr. Barry, and finding Reeside apparently in debt to
the department, and these contracts still standing in the names
of Reeside and Avery, refused to pay for the services under them,
otherwise than by credits to Reeside ; afterward, however, he
divided the compensation, still crediting one half to Reeside,
and directing the other to be paid to the order of Avery, who
disclaimed all right to it. After discontinuing the service,
these petitioners, supposing they might have legal redress
against Avery, brought suit against him in New Orleans; in which
suit they failed, on the ground that Avery had complied with his
contract, having done so much toward the transfer as they had
accepted and been satisfied with. Still later the department
sued Reeside on his supposed indebtedness, and by a verdict of
the jury it was determined that the department was indebted to
him in a sum much beyond all the credits given him on the account
above stated. Under these circumstances, the committee consider
the petitioners clearly entitled to relief, and they report a
bill accordingly; lest, however, there should be some mistake as
to the amount which they have already received, we so frame it as
that, by adjustment at the department, they may be paid so much
as remains unpaid for services actually performed by them not
charging them with the credits given to Reeside. The committee
think it not improbable that the petitioners purchased the right
of Avery to be paid for the service from the 1st of January, till
their purchase on May 11, 1835; but, the evidence on this point
being very vague, they forbear to report in favor of allowing it.

TO WILLIAM H. HERNDON--LEGAL WORK

WASHINGTON, January 19, 1848.

DEAR WILLIAM:--Inclosed you find a letter of Louis W. Chandler.
What is wanted is that you shall ascertain whether the claim upon
the note described has received any dividend in the Probate Court
of Christian County, where the estate of Mr. Overbon Williams has
been administered on. If nothing is paid on it, withdraw the
note and send it to me, so that Chandler can see the indorser of
it. At all events write me all about it, till I can somehow get
it off my hands. I have already been bored more than enough
about it; not the least of which annoyance is his cursed,
unreadable, and ungodly handwriting.

I have made a speech, a copy of which I will send you by next
mail.

Yours as ever,

A. LINCOLN.

REGARDING SPEECH ON MEXICAN WAR

TO WILLIAM H. HERNDON.

WASHINGTON, February 1, 1848.

DEAR WILLIAM:--Your letter of the 19th ultimo was received last
night, and for which I am much obliged. The only thing in it
that I wish to talk to you at once about is that because of my
vote for Ashmun's amendment you fear that you and I disagree
about the war. I regret this, not because of any fear we shall
remain disagreed after you have read this letter, but because if
you misunderstand I fear other good friends may also. That vote
affirms that the war was unnecessarily and unconstitutionally
commenced by the President; and I will stake my life that if you
had been in my place you would have voted just as I did. Would
you have voted what you felt and knew to be a lie? I know you
would not. Would you have gone out of the House--skulked the
vote? I expect not. If you had skulked one vote, you would have
had to skulk many more before the end of the session.
Richardson's resolutions, introduced before I made any move or
gave any vote upon the subject, make the direct question of the
justice of the war; so that no man can be silent if he would.
You are compelled to speak; and your only alternative is to tell
the truth or a lie. I cannot doubt which you would do.

This vote has nothing to do in determining my votes on the
questions of supplies. I have always intended, and still intend,
to vote supplies; perhaps not in the precise form recommended by
the President, but in a better form for all purposes, except
Locofoco party purposes. It is in this particular you seem
mistaken. The Locos are untiring in their efforts to make the
impression that all who vote supplies or take part in the war do
of necessity approve the President's conduct in the beginning of
it; but the Whigs have from the beginning made and kept the
distinction between the two. In the very first act nearly all
the Whigs voted against the preamble declaring that war existed
by the act of Mexico; and yet nearly all of them voted for the
supplies. As to the Whig men who have participated in the war,
so far as they have spoken in my hearing they do not hesitate to
denounce as unjust the President's conduct in the beginning of
the war. They do not suppose that such denunciation is directed
by undying hatred to him, as The Register would have it
believed. There are two such Whigs on this floor (Colonel
Haskell and Major James) The former fought as a colonel by the
side of Colonel Baker at Cerro Gordo, and stands side by side
with me in the vote that you seem dissatisfied with. The latter,
the history of whose capture with Cassius Clay you well know, had
not arrived here when that vote was given; but, as I understand,
he stands ready to give just such a vote whenever an occasion
shall present. Baker, too, who is now here, says the truth is
undoubtedly that way; and whenever he shall speak out, he will
say so. Colonel Doniphan, too, the favorite Whig of Missouri,
and who overran all Northern Mexico, on his return home in a
public speech at St. Louis condemned the administration in
relation to the war. If I remember, G. T. M. Davis, who has
been through almost the whole war, declares in favor of Mr. Clay;
from which I infer that he adopts the sentiments of Mr. Clay,
generally at least. On the other hand, I have heard of but one
Whig who has been to the war attempting to justify the
President's conduct. That one was Captain Bishop, editor of the
Charleston Courier, and a very clever fellow. I do not mean this
letter for the public, but for you. Before it reaches you, you
will have seen and read my pamphlet speech, and perhaps been
scared anew by it. After you get over your scare, read it over
again, sentence by sentence, and tell me honestly what you think
of it. I condensed all I could for fear of being cut off by the
hour rule, and when I got through I had spoken but forty-five
minutes.

Yours forever,

A. LINCOLN.

TO WILLIAM H. HERNDON.

WASHINGTON, February 2, 1848

DEAR WILLIAM:--I just take my pen to say that Mr. Stephens, of
Georgia, a little, slim, pale-faced, consumptive man, with a
voice like Logan's, has just concluded the very best speech of an
hour's length I ever heard. My old withered dry eyes are full of
tears yet.

If he writes it out anything like he delivered it, our people
shall see a good many copies of it.

Yours truly,

A. LINCOLN.

ON THE MEXICAN WAR

TO WILLIAM H. HERNDON.

WASHINGTON, February 15, 1848.

DEAR WILLIAM:--Your letter of the 29th January was received last
night. Being exclusively a constitutional argument, I wish to
submit some reflections upon it in the same spirit of kindness
that I know actuates you. Let me first state what I understand
to be your position. It is that if it shall become necessary to
repel invasion, the President may, without violation of the
Constitution, cross the line and invade the territory of another
country, and that whether such necessity exists in any given case
the President is the sole judge.

Before going further consider well whether this is or is not your
position. If it is, it is a position that neither the President
himself, nor any friend of his, so far as I know, has ever taken.
Their only positions are--first, that the soil was ours when the
hostilities commenced; and second, that whether it was rightfully
ours or not, Congress had annexed it, and the President for that
reason was bound to defend it; both of which are as clearly
proved to be false in fact as you can prove that your house is
mine. The soil was not ours, and Congress did not annex or
attempt to annex it. But to return to your position. Allow the
President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem
it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so
whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such
purpose, and you allow him to make war at pleasure. Study to see
if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after
having given him so much as you propose. If to-day he should
choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent
the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may
say to him,--I see no probability of the British invading us";
but he will say to you, "Be silent: I see it, if you don't."

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