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the nature of their pursuits, they are incapable of forming extensive combinations to act together with united force. Such concert of action may sometimes be produced in a single city, or in a small district of country, by means of personal communications with each other; but they have no regular or active correspondence with those who are engaged in similar pursuits in distant places; they have but little patronage to give to the press, and exercise but a small share of influence over it; they have no crowd of dependants about them, who hope to grow rich without labor, by their countenance and favor, and who are, therefore, always ready to execute their wishes. The planter, the farmer, the mechanic, and the laborer, all know that their success depends upon their own industry and economy, and that they must not expect to become suddenly rich by the fruits of their toil. Yet these classes of society form the great body of the people of the United States; they are the bone and sinew of the country; men who love liberty and desire nothing but equal rights and equal laws, and who, moreover, hold the great mass of our national wealth, although it is distributed in moderate amounts among the millions of freemen who possess it. But, with overwhelming numbers and wealth on their side, they are in constant danger of losing their fair influence in the Government, and with difficulty maintain their just rights against the incessant efforts daily made to encroach upon them. The mischief springs from the power which the moneyed interest derives from a paper currency, which they are able to control; from the multitude of corporations, with exclusive privileges, which they have succeeded in obtaining in the different States, and which are employed altogether for their benefit; and unless you become more watchful in your States, and check this spirit of monopoly and thirst for exclusive privileges, you will, in the end, find that the most important powers of Government have been given or bartered awcy, and the control over your dearest interests has passed into the hands of these corporations.
The paper money system, and its natural associates, monopoly and exclusive privileges, have already struck their roots deep in the soil; and it will require all your efforts to check its surther growth, and to eradicate the evil. The men who profit by the abuses, and desire to perpetuate them, will continue to besiege the halls of legislation in the General Government as well as in the States, and will seek, by every artifice, to mislead and deceive the public servants. It is to yourselves that you must look for safety, and the means of guarding and perpetuating your free institutioris. In
hands is rightfully placed the sovereignty of the country, and to you every one placed in authority is ultimately responsible. It is always in your power to see that the wishes of the people are carried into faithful execution, and their will, when once made known, must sooner or later be obeyed. And while the people remain, as I trust they ever will, uncorrupted and incorruptible, and continue watchful and jealous of their rights, the Govern ment is safe, and the cause of freedom will continue to triumph over all its enemies.
But it will require steady and persevering exertions on your part to rid yourselves of the iniquities and mischiefs of the paper system, and to check the spirit of monopoly and other abuses which have sprung up with it, and of which it is the main support. So many interests are united to resist all reform on this subject, that you must not hope the conflict will be a short one, nor success easy. My humble efforts have not been spared, during my administration of the Government, to restore the constitutional currency of gold and silver ; and something, 1 trust, has been done towards the accomplishment of this most desirable object. But enough yet remains to require all your energy and perseverance. The power, however, is in your hands, and the remedy must and will be applied, if you determine
While I am thus endeavoring to press upon your attention the principles which I deem of vital importance in the domestic concerns of the country, I ought not to pass over, without notice, the important considerations which should govern your policy towards foreign powers. It is, unquestionably, our true interest to cultivate the most friendly understanding with every nation, and to avoid, by every honorable means, the calamities of war; and we shall best attain this object by frankness and sincerity in our foreign intercourse, by the prompt and faithful execution of treaties, and by justice and impartiality in our conduct to all. But no nation, however desirous of peace, can hope to escape occasional collisions with other powers; and the soundest dictates of policy require that we should place ourselves in a condition to assert our rights, if a resort to force should ever becomo necessary. Our local situation, our long line of seacoast, indented by numerous bays, with deep rivers opening into the interior, as well as our extended and still increasing commerce, point to the navy as our natural means of defence. It will, in the end, be found to be the cheapest and most effectual ; and now is the time, in a season of peace, and with an overflowing revenue, that we can, year after year, add to its strength, without increasing the burdens of the people. It is your true policy. For your navy will not only protect your rich and flourishing commerce in distant seas, but will enable you to reach and annoy the enemy, and will give to defence its greatest efficiency, by meeting danger at a distance from home. It is impossible, by any line of fortifications, to guard every point from attack against a hostile force advancing from the ocean and selecting its object : but they are indispensable to protect cities from bombardment; dock yards and naval arsenals from destruction; to give shelter to merchant vessels in time of war, and to single ships or weaker squadrons when pressed by superior force. Fortifications of this description cannot be too soon completed and armed, and placed in a condition of the most perfect preparation. The abundant means we now possess cannot be applied in any manner more useful to the country; and when this is done, and our naval force sufficiently strengthened, and our militia armed, we need not fear that any nation will wantonly insult us, or needlessly provoke hostilities. We shall more certainly preserve peace, when it is well understood that we are prepared for war.
In presenting to you, my fellow-citizens, these parting counsels, I have brought before you the leading principles upon which I endeavored to administer the Government in the high office with which you twice honored me. Knowing that the path of freedom is continually beset by enemies, who often assume the disguise of friends, I have devoted the last hours of my public life to warn you of the dangers. The progress of the United States, under our free and happy institutions, has surpassed the most sanguine hopes of the founders of the republic. Our growth has been rapid beyond all former example, in numbers, in wealth, in knowledge, and all the useful arts which contribute to the comforts and convenience of man; and from the earliest ages of history to the present day, there never have been thirteen' millions of people associated together in one political body who enjoyed so much freedom and happiness as the people of these United States. You have no longer any cause to fear danger from abroad; your strength and power are well known throughout the civilized world, as well as the high and gallant bearing of your sons. It is from within, among yourselves, from cupidity, from corruption, from disappointed ambition, and inordinate thirst for power, that factions will be formed and liberty endangered. It is against such designs, whatever 'disguise the actors may assume, that you have especially to guard yourselves. You have the highest of human trusts committed to your care. Providence has showered on this favored land blessings without number, and has chosen you as the guardians of freedom to preserve it for the benefit of the human race. May He, who holds in his hands the destinies of nations, make you worthy of the favors he has bestowed, and enable you, with pure hearts and pure hands, and sleepless vigilance, to guard and defend to the end of time the great charge he has committed to your keeping:
My own race is nearly run; advanced age and failing health warn me that before long I must pass beyond the reach or human events, and cease to feel the vicissitudes of human affairs. I thank God that my life has been spent in a land of liberty, and that he has given me a heart to love my country with the affection of a son. And filled with gratitude for your constant and unwavering kindness, I bid you a last and affectionate farewell.
GEN, ANDREW JACKSON,
ON THE ANNEXATION OF TEXAS. .
HERMITAGE, Feb. 12, 1844. dency of our institutions, in which there was My Dear Sir: Yours of the 23d ult. has been mingled somewhat of jealousy io ihe rising greatreceived, and with it the Madisonian, containing ness of the South and West. Governor Giliner's letter on the subject of an
But I forbear to dwell on this part of the hisnexation of Texas to the United States.
tory of this question. It is passed, and cannot You are not mistaken in supposing that I have now be undone. We can now only look at it as formed an opinion on this interesting subject. It one of annexation, if Texas presents it to us; occupied much of my attention during my Pre- and if she does, I do not hesitate to say that the sidency, and I am sure has lost none of its im- welfare and happiness of our Union require that portance by what has since transpired.
it should be accepted. Soon after my election in 1829, it was made
If in a military point of view alone, the quesknown to me by Mr. Erwin, formerly our Mi- tion be examined, it will be found to be most imnister at the Court of Madrid, that whilst at the portant to the United States to be in possession Court he had laid the foundation of a treaty with of that territory. Spain for the cession of the Floridas, and ihe set
Great Britain has already made treaties with tlement of the boundary of Louisiana, fixing the Texas; and we know that far-seeing nation western limit of the latter at the Rio Grande,* never omits a circumstance in her extensive inagreeably to the understanding of France-that tercourse with the world, which can be turned to he had written home to our Government for account in increasing, her military resources. powers to complete and sign this negotiation; May she not enter into an alliance with Texas ? but that, instead of receiving such authority, the and reserving (as she doubtless will), the northnegotiation was taken out of his hands and trans- western boundary question as a cause of war ferred to Washington, and a new treaty was, with us, whenever she chooses to declare it, let there concluded, by which the Sabine, and not us suppose that, as an ally with Texas, we are the Rio Grande, was recognised and established to fight her? Preparatory to such a movement, as the boundary of Louisiana.
she sends her 20,000 or 30,000 men to Texas; Finding that these statements were true, and organizes them on the Sabine, where her sup. that our Government did really give up that im- plies and arms can be concentrated before we portant territory, when it was at its option to re- I have even notice of her intentions; makes a tain it, I was filled with astonishment. The i lodgment on the Mississippi ; excites the negroes right to the territory was obtained from France; t insurrection; the lower country falls, and with Spain stood ready to acknowledge it to the Rio it New Orleans, and a servile war rages through Grande; and yet the authority asked by our the whole Suuth and West. minister to insert the true boundary was not only
In the mean while she is also moving an army withheld, but, in lieu of it, a-limit was adopted, along the upper western frontier from Canada, which stripped us on the whole of the vast coun- which, in co-operation with the army from try lying between the two rivers.
Texas, spreads ruin and havoc from the Lakes On such a subject, I thought with the ancient to the Gulf of Mexico.
Who can estimate the national loss we may or boundary of the Republic, but always to add sustain, before such a movement could be reto it by honorable treaty, thus extending the area pelled with such force as we could organize on of freedom; and it was in accordance with this short notice? feeling that I gave our minister to Mexico instruc-. Remember that Texas borders upon us, on our tions to enter upon a negotiation for the retroces- west, to 240 of north latitude, and is our southsion of Texas to the United States.
ern boundary to the Pacific. Remember, also, This negotiation failed, and I shall ever regret that if annexed to the United States, our western it as a misfortune to both Mexico and the United | boundary would be the Rio Grande, which is of States. Mr. Gilner's letter presents many of itself a fortification, on account of its extensive, the considerations which, in my judgment, ren-barren, and uninhabitable plains. With such a dered the step necessary to the peace and harmgi barrier on our west we are invincible. The ny of the two countries; but the point in it at whole European world could not, in combinathat time, which most strongly impelled me to tion against us, make impression on our Union. the course I pursued, was the injustice done to Our population on the Pacific would rapidly inus by the surrender of the territory, when is was crease, and soon be strong enough for the protecobvious that it could have been retained without tion of our eastern whalers, and in the worst increasing the consideration afterwards given for event, could always be sustained by timely aids the Floridas. I could not but feel that the sur-' froin the intermediate country. render of so vast and important a territory was
From the Rio Grande, over land, a large army attributable to an erroneous estimate of the ten-'could not march, or be supplied, unless from the
gulf by water, which by vigilance, could always offer of the Spanish Government was probably th be intercepted; and, 10 march an army near Colorado--certainly a line far west of the Sabine. the gulf, they could be harassed by militia, and detained until an organized force could be raised Extract from a letter of Gen. JACKSON, dated to meet them. But I am in danger of running into unneces
HERMITAGE, March 11, 1844. sary detail, which my debility will not enable The present golden moment to obtain Texa me to close. The question is full of interest, must not be lost, or Texas must, from necessity also, as it affects our domestic relations, and as it be thrown into the arıns of England, and be for may bear upon those of Mexico to us. I will ever lost to the United States. Need I call you not undertake to follow it out to its consequence attention to the situation of the United Statesin those respects ; though I must say that, in all England in possession of Texas, or in strict alli its aspects, the annexat on of Texas to the United ance, offensive and defensive, and contending fo States promises to enlarge the circle of free insti- California! How easy would it be for Grea tutions, aad is essential to the United States, Britain to interpose a force sufficient to preven particularly as lessening the probabilities of a fu- emigration to California from the Univer States ture collision with a foreign power, and giving and supply her garrison from Texas. Every rea them a greater efficiency in spreading the bless-American, when they view this, with the dange ing of peace.
to New Orleans from British arms, from Texas I return you my thanks for your kind letter on must unite heart and hand in the annexation o this subject, and subscribe myself, with great sin- Texas to the United States. It will be a strony cerity, your friend and obedient servant, iron hoop around our Union, and a bulwar)
ANDREW JACKSON. against all foreign invasion or aggression. I say Hon. A. V. Brown.
again, let not this opportunity slip 10 regain Tex P.S. 'The papers furnished me by Mr. Erwin, as, or it may elude our grasp forever, or cost u to which I have referred in this letter, can be oceans of blood and millions of mon-y to free u placed in your possession, if desired.
from the evils that may be brought upon us, A. J.
hope and trust there will be as many patriols in * That this boundary could have been obtained was the Senate as will ratify the treaty, which, I hav doubtless the belief of our minister in Spain; but the no doubt, will be promptly entered into.
HON. JAMES K. POLK,
ON THE ANNEXATION OF TEXAS.
COLUMBIA, Tenn. April 23, 1844. mind, that Texas once constituted a part of the GENTLEMEN: Your letter of the 30th ultimo, territory of the United States, the title to which which you have done me the honor to address I regard to have been as indisputable as that is to me, ieached my residence during my absence any other portion of our territory. Ai the time from home, and was not received until yesterday. the negotiation was opened, with a view to ac Accompanying your letter, you transmit to me, quire the Floridas, and the settlement of other as you staie, * a copy of the proceedings of a questions, and pending that negotiation, the Spa very large meeting of the citizens of Cincinnati, nish Government itself was satisfied of the valiassembled on the 29th instant, to express their dity of our title, and was ready to recognise a selitid opposition to the annexation of Texas tuline far west of the Sabine as the true westthe United States." You request from me an ern boundary of Louisiana, as defined by the explicit expression of opinion upon this question :reaty of 1803 with France, under which Louof annexation. Having at no time entertained isiana was acquired. This negotiation, which opinions upon public subjects which I was un had heen first opened at Madrid, was broken off willing to avow, it gives me pleasure to comply and transferred to Washington, ivhere it was rewith your request. I have no hesitation in de- sumed, and resulied in the treaty of Florida, by claring, that I am in favor of the immediale re- which the Saline was fixed on as the western annieartion of Texas to the territory and Gov. rn boundary of Louisiana. From the railiwa ion ment of the United States.) I entertain no doubi of the treaty of 1863 with France, unul ile as to the power or expediency of the re-annexa reaiy of 1819 with öpain, the territory now concivil. The proof is clear and satis actory to m, lituting the republic of Texas belonged to the