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316

THE PRESIDENT'S VETO

doned ; and every class of individuals united in paying solemn honors to the illustrious dead. His funeral took place on Wednesday, the 7th of April, and was of im mense length.

According to a clause in the constitution providing for such an emergency, Mr. Tyler now became president of the United States. The cabinet was retained, and is was generally supposed that he would carry out the measures recommended by his lamented predecessor. His message to the extra session confirmed these hopes, and sanguine expectations were indulged that the credit and business of the country would soon be placed upon a firm basis.

The first act of importance passed by congress, was, to establish a fiscal bank in the District of Columbia, similar to the old United States Bank. When this bill was presented to the president, he kept it ten days, and then returned it with his veto. A second bill, understood to have previously met with his approval, shared the same fate. These proceedings of the president bewildered congress, and caused apprehension and dismay through out the country. All the cabinet except Mr. Webster, Secretary of State, resigned; and the chief magistrate and his former party were severed forever.

Meanwhile congress had passed several other bills, which became laws—one repealing the sub-treasury, a second establishing a uniform system of bankruptcy, another to appropriate the proceeds of the public lands. The duties of the session were many and laborious and the members showed a full determination to meet the wishes of the people, as far as lay in their power.

During this year the trial of Alexander M’Leod took place in New York, and created much excitement throughout the United States. He had been a sheriff in Upper Canada, and was charged with having murdered an American named Amos Durfee, on the 29th of December, 1837, at which time the American steamboat

Who became president ?-What was the first act or congress ? its fate ?- What was done with the second bank bill ?--What effect had the president's course on congress?-on the country ?-on the cabinet ? --Mention the other bills passed by congress.-What is said of this session ?-What trial came on this year?-who was McLeod I -For what was he tried ?

ANNEXATION OF TEXAS.

317

Caroline, was set on fire by some Canadians, and sent over the Falls. As this party acted under government authority, the United States claimed M'Leod, as a national prisoner, but the governor of New York refused to give him up. Great Britain threatened war unless he was liberated, but her threats were disregarded. Happily the prisoner was acquitted.

The twenty-seventh congress assembled in second session on the 6th of December, 1841. This session is noted as the longest ever held, and as transacting more important business than any one since the formation of the federal constitution. Its leading measure was a new tariff law. It also apportioned the ratio of representation, and provided for publishing the account of Captain Willis's exploring expedition to the South Seas.

In 1842, Mr. Webster, Secretary of State, and Lord Ashburton, English Plenipotentiary, negotiated a treaty by which the north-eastern boundary question was definitely settled in a manner satisfactory to Maine and Massachusetts, the states most interested therein. Beside its great object, the treaty provided for the final suppression of the African slave trade, and the giving up of fugitive criminals in certain cases. Mr. Webster then resigned his office in the cabinet, and was suc ceeded by Abel P. Upshur, of Virginia. Soon after, by the bursting of a gun on the steamer Princeton, Mr. Upshur, and the Secretary of War, Mr. Gilmer, lost their lives, and J. C. Calhoun was appointed in place of the former.

In 1843, a valuable treaty was concluded with the Chinese government; and in the following year Mr. Calhoun signed a treaty of annexation between the United States and Texas. The senate, however, rejected this instrument by a decided vote.

In the fall of 1844, the presidential election took place, which resulted in the success of the democratic

Before what tribunal?-Did Great Britain interfere?--What was the result ?-For what is the congress of December, 1841, noted ?What was its leading measure ?-Mention some of the others.- What important treaty was concluded in 1842!--What is said of Webster's resignation ?-of the Princeton ?-the Chinese government 1--of Mr. Calhoun's treaty ?-Who was elected president in 1844 ?-When was Texas annexed ?

318

POLK'S ADMINISTRATION.

randidates, Polk and Dallas, over the whigs, Clay and Frelinghuysen. In the following session of congress, Texas was annexed to the Union, and Florida and lowa admitted as states.

President Tyler's administration closed on the 3d of March, 1845; and on the following day, James K. Polk of Tennessee, was inaugurated.

CHAPTER XLV.

ADMINISTRATION OF POLK.

The first act of the president elect was to organize a new cabinet; this was followed by radical changes in many of the offices depending on his authority, which were filled with friends of the administration.

The views of Mr. Polk were fully developed in his inaugural message. He approved of the annexation of Texas, claimed the whole of Oregon territory (to 54° 40' N. L.) in opposition to the assumptions of Great Britain, and was opposed to the tariff act of 1842. His declarations upon the two former subjects roused the pride both of Mexico and Great Britain ; and for awhile war with these countries was confidently anticipated. A treaty, however, was soon concluded with England, by which she received all of Oregon north of 49° 50', with the free navigation of the Columbia river. Negotiations were then commenced with Mexico, with a view of inducing her to yield Texas without an appeal to arms

The most important measure of congress during the winter of 1845-6, was the repeal of the tariff law of 1842, and the substitution of a much lower rate of duties. This caused an immense sensation in the northern states, and was generally condemned both by whigs and democrats.

What states were admitted about the same time?-When did the administration of President Tyler close ?-What were some of the views of the new president ?—How were they regarded by foreign countries ?-How was the Oregon question settled ?-What was done in regard to Mexico ?-What bill was passed by congress in the session of 19:5-6 ?- What is said of it?

COMMENCEMENT OF THE MEXICAN WAR.

319

Meanwhile negotiations were going on for a treaty with Mexico, which would fix a permanent boundary to Texas, and remove all other subjects of dispute witla that power. Unhappily these negotiations were unsuccessful-President Paredes refused to yield any part of the disputed territory, accused the United States of dismembering a sister republic, and appealed to foreign nations for redress and assistance.

In consequence of this hostile attitude, the president thought proper to place a corps of observation at Corpus Christi, in order to resist any invasion on the part of Mexico. The command of this force was given to General Zachary Taylor, who had highly distinguished himself in the Seminole war. On the 11th of March, the troops moved from Corpus Christi, by order of the president, and advanced toward the Rio Grande, the disputed boundary between Texas and Mexico. Two separate delegations protested against their march, and an attempt was made to fire the village at Point Isabel, in order to prevent its capture by the Americans. The conflagration was arrested, and after taking possession of the Point, General Taylor built a fort there, and made it his main depot. He then proceeded to the Rio Grande, and established himself on the east bank, opposite Matamoras. Here he built a fort, which subsequently received the name of Fort Brown.

Considering these movements of the United States as equivalent to a declaration of war, the Mexican government stationed large bodies of troops in Matamoris, to act as circumstances might require. For awhile both armies acted with extreme caution, but in April the murder of Colonel Cross, and capture of Thornton's party, evinced that a heavy storm was soon to succeed the apparent calm. In the latter part of the same month, the Mexicans crossed the river, spread themselves between Point Isabel and the station occupied by General Taylor, and cut off all communication from the latter.

What is said of the negotiations with Mexico ?-of President Pa. redes ?- What was done by President Polk!-Who commanded the corps of observation ?-When did it move from Corpus Coristi?-Who protested against the march?-What was done at Point Isabel? -Where did General Taylor establish bimself ?-What was done by the Mexican government ?-What took place in April ?

320

BATTLE OF PALO ALTO.

Aware of the absolute necessity of free access to his depot, General Taylor determined to force his way to Point Isabel. Accordingly, on the 1st of May, 1847, leaving the river fort in care of Major Brown, he ser out with the main body of his army, and after two days' march, reached his destination, without having encountered a single Mexican. On his return, however, he met (May 8th) a force of nearly six thousand troops, drawn up in battle array, directly across the road. This was at a place called Palo Alto. The American order of battle was formed at one o'clock, and soon after the first action between the forces of Mexico and the United States commnenced. Although our troops numbered only one half of the enemy, they retained their ground, repulsed every charge of cavalry, and drove the opposing infantry completely from its position. So violent was the action, that the prairie between the armies was fired, and continued to burn for nearly an hour. During this time the action was suspended, and a new line of battle formed. It then re-commenced and continued with great fury until night, when the Mexicans withdrew.

The manner in which the Americans managed their light artillery in this engagement gave them the victory, and has ever been the theme of admiration. Major Ringgold, who had been mainly instrumental in bringing it to perfection, was mortally wounded during the action, and died two days after.

The loss of the Americans in this battle was nine killed, forty-four wounded, and two missing; that of the Mexicans was not less than two hundred killed, and four hundred wounded.

On the following day General Taylor again came up with the Mexicans, who were strongly posted at a ravine called Resaca de la Palma. At four o'clock in the afternoon another engagement took place, more obstinate and bloody than that of the day before. The Mexican artillery were planted in the ravine, so as fully to com

What was done by Taylor May 1st ?-Who was left to command the river fort ?-Was his march to Point Isabel opposed ?-When and where did he meet the Mexican arıny?-What was the force of each army ?--Describe the battle.- What is said of the American light artillery ?-of Major Ringgold ?-What was the American loss ?-the Mexican ?-Where and when did the two armies again meet 1-How were the Mexicans posted ?

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