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discriminating duties within the limit prescribed, care should be taken that it be done in a manner not to benefit the wealthy few, at the expense of the toiling millions, by taxing lowest the luxuries of life, or articles of superior quality and high price, which can only be consumed by the wealthy; and highest the necessaries of life, or articles of coarse quality and low price, which the poor and great mass of our people must consume. The burdens of government should, as far as practicable, be distributed justly and equally among all classes of our population. These general views, long entertained on this subject, I have deemed it proper to reiterate. It is a subject upon which conflicting interests of sections and occupations are supposed to exist, and a spirit of mutual concession and compromise in adjusting its details should be cherished by every part of our wide-spread country, as the only means of preserving harmony and a cheerful acquiescence of all in the operation of our revenue laws. Our patriotic citizens in every part of the Union will readily submit to the payment of such taxes as shall be needed for the support of their government, whether in peace or in war, if they are so levied as to distribute the burdens as equally as possible among them. The Republic of Texas has made known her desire to come into our Union, to form a part of our confederacy, and enjoy with us the blessings of liberty secured and guarantied by our constitution. Texas was once a part of our country —was unwisely ceded away to a foreign power—is now independent and possesses an undoubted right to dispose of a part or the whole of her territory, and to merge her sovereignty, as a separate and independent State, in ours, I congratulate my country, that, by an act of the late Congress of the United States, the assent of this government has been given to the reunion; and it only remains for the two countries to agree upon the terms, to consummate an object so important to both. I regard the question of annexation as belonging, exclusively to the United States and Texas. They are independent powers, competent to contract; and foreign nations have no right to interfere with them, or to take exceptions to their reunion. Foreign powers do not seem to appreciate the true characte: of our government. Our Union is a copfederation of independent States, whose policy is peace with each other and all the world. To enlarge its limits is to . extend the dominion of peace over additional territories and increasing millions. The world has nothing to fear from military ambition in our government. While the chief magistrate and the popular branch of Congress are elected for short terms by the suffrages of those millions who must, in their own persons, bear all the burdens and miseries of war, our government cannot be otherwise than pacific. Foreign powers should, therefore, look on the annexation of Texas to the United States, not as the conquest of a nation seeking to extend her dominions by arms and violence, but as the peaceful acquisition of a territory once her own, by adding another member to our confederation, with the consent of that member—thereby diminishing the chances of war, and opening to them new and ever increasing markets for their products. To Texas the reunion is important, because the strong protecting arm of our government would be extended over her, and the vast resources of her fertile soil and genia. climate would be speedily developed; while the safety of New Orleans, and of our whole southwestern frontier against hostile aggression, as well as the interests of the whole Union, would be promoted by it. In the earlier stages of our national existence, the opinion prevailed with some, that our system of confederated States could not operate successfully over an extended territory, and serious objections have, at different times, been made to the enlargement of our boundaries. These objections were earnestly urged when we acquired Louisiana. Experience has shown that they were not well founded. The title of numerous Indian tribes to vast tracts of country has been extinguished. New States have been admitted into the Union; new territories have been created, and our jurisdiction and laws extended over them. As our population has expanded, the Union has been cemented and strengthened; as our boundaries have been enlarged, and our agricultural population has been spread over a large surface, our federative system has acquired additional strength and security. It may well be doubted whether it would not be in greater danger of overthrow if our present population
were confined to the comparatively narrow limits of the original thirteen States, than it is, now that they are sparsely settled over a more expanded territory. It is confidently believed that our system may be safely extended to the utmost bounds of our territorial limits; and that, as it shall be extended. the bonds of our Union, so far from being weakened, will become stronger. None can fail to see the danger to our safety and future peace, if Texas remains an independent State, or becomes an ally or dependency of some foreign nation more powerful than herself. Is there one among our citizens who would not prefer perpetual peace with Texas, to occasional wars, which so often occur between bordering independent nations? Is there one who would not prefer free intercourse with her, to high duties on all our products and manufactures which enter her ports or cross her frontiers? Is there one who would not prefer an unrestricted communication with her citizens, to the frontier obstructions which must occur if she remains out of the Union ? Whatever is good or evil in the local institutions of Texas, will remain her own, whether annexed to the United States or not. None of the present States will be responsible for them, any more than they are for the local institutions of each other. They have confederated together for certain specified objects. Upon the same principle that they would refuse to form a perpetual union with Texas, because of her local institutions, our forefathers would have been prevented from forming our present Union. Perceiving no valid objection to the measure, and many reasons for its adoption, vitally affecting the peace, the safety, and the prosperity of both countries, I shall, on the broad principle which formed the basis and produced the adoption of our constitution, and not in any narrow spirit of sectional policy, endeavor, by all constitutional, honorable, and appropriate means, to consummate the expressed will of the people and government of the United States, by the reannexation of Texas to our Union at the earliest practicable eriod. Nor will it become in a less degree my duty to assert and maintain, by all constitutional means, the right of the United States to that portion of our territory which lies beyond the Rocky mountains. Our title to the country of the Oregon is “clear and unquestionable;” and already are our people preparing to perfect that title, by occupying it with their wives and children. But eighty years ago, our population was confined on the West by the ridge of the Alleghanies. Within that period—within the lifetime, I might say, of some of my hearers—our people, increasing to many millions, have filled the eastern valley.of the Mississippi; adventurously ascended the Missouri to its head springs; and are already engaged in establishing the blessings of self-government in valleys, of which the rivers flow to the Pacific. The world beholds the peaceful triumphs of the industry of our emigrants. To us belongs the duty of protecting them, adequately, wherever they may be upon our soil. The jurisdiction of our laws, and the benefits of our republican institutions, should be extended over them in the distant regions which they have selected for their homes. The increasing facilities of intercourse will easily bring the States, of which the formation in that part of our territory cannot be long delayed, within the sphere of our federative Union. In the mean time, every obligation imposed by treaty or conventional stipulations should be sacredly respected. In the management of our foreign relations, it will be my aim to observe a careful respect for the rights of other nations, while our own will be the subject of constant watchfulness. Equal and exact justice should characterize all our intercourse with foreign countries. All alliances having a tendency to jeopard the welfare and honor of our country, or sacrifice any one of the national interests, will be studiously avoided ; and yet no opportunity will be lost to cultivate a favorable understanding with foreign governments, by which our navigation and commerce may be extended, and the ample products of our fertile soil, as well as the manufactures of our skilful artisans, find a ready market and remunerating prices in foreign countries. In taking “care that the laws be faithfully executed,” a strict performance of duty will be exacted from all public officers. From those officers, especially, who are charged with the collection and disbursement of the public revenue. will prompt and rigid accountability be required. Any cutpable failure or delay on their part to account tor the moneys intrusted to them, at the times and in the unanner required by law, will, in every instance, terminate the official connection of such defaulting officer with the government.
Although, in our country, the chief magistrate must almost of necessity be chosen by a party, and stand pledged to its principles and measures, yet, in his official action, he should not be the President of a part only, but of the whole people of the United States. While he executes the laws with an impartial hand, shrinks from no proper responsibility, and faithfully carries out in the executive department of the government, the principles and policy of those who have chosen him, he should not be unmindful that our fellowcitizens who have differed with him in opinion, are entitled to the full and free exercise of their opinions and judgment, and that the rights of all are entitled to respect and regard.
Confidently relying upon the aid and assistance of the co-ordinate departments of the government in conducting our public affairs, I enter upon the discharge of the high duties which have been assigned me by the people, again humbly supplicating that Divine Being who has watched over and protected our beloved country from its infancy to the present hour, to continue his gracious benedictions upon us, that we may continue to be a prosperous and happy people.
POLK'S MEXICAN WAR MESSAGE.
To the Senate and House of
THE existing state of the relations between the United States and Mexico, renders it proper that I should bring the subject to the consideration of Congress. In my message at the commencement of your present session, the state of these relations, the causes which led to the suspension of diplomatic intercourse between the two countries in March, 1845, and the long-continued and unredressed wrongs and injuries somitted by the Mexican government on citizens of 34