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sphere. The first section of the constitution ordains that “all legislative powers therein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” The executive has authority to recommend (not to dictate) measures to Congress. Having performed that duty, the executive department of the government cannot rightfully control the decision of Congress on any subject of legislation, until that decision shall have been officially submitted to the President for approval. The check provided by the constitution in the clause conferring the qualified veto will never be exercised by me, except in the cases contemplated by the fathers of the republic. I view it as an extreme measure, to be resorted to only in extraordinary cases—as where it may become necessary to defend the executive against the encroachments of the legislative power, or to prevent hasty and inconsiderate or unconstitutional legislation. By cautiousl confining this remedy within the sphere prescribed to it in the contemporaneous expositions of the framers of the constitution, the will of the people, legitimately expressed on all subjects of legislation, through their constitutional organs, the senators and representatives of the United States, will have its full effect. As indispensable to the preservation of our system of self-government, the independence of the representatives of the States and the people is guarantied by the constitution; and they owe no responsibility to any human power but their constituents. By holding the representative responsible only to the people, and exempting him from all other influences, we elevate the character of the constituent, and quicken his sense of responsibility to his country. It is under these circumstances only that the elector can feel that, in the choice of the law-maker, he is himself truly a component part of the sovereign power of the nation. With equal care we should study to defend the rights of the executive and judicial departments. Our goyernment can only be preserved in its purity by the suppression and entire elimination of every claim or tendency of one co-ordinate branch to encroachment upon another. With the strict observance of this rule and the other injunctions of the constitution ; with a sedulous inculcation of that respect and love for the Union of the States, which our fathers cherished and enjoined upon their children ; and with the aid of that overruling Providence which has so long and so kindly guarded our liberties and institutions, we may reasonably expect to transmit them, with their innumerable blessings, to the remotest posterity.

But attachment to the Union of the States should be habitually fostered in every American heart. For more than half a century, during which kingdoms and empires, have fallen, this Union has stood unshaken. The patriots who formed it have long since descended to the grave; yet still it remains, the proudest monument to their memory, and the object of affection and admiration with every one worthy to bear the American name. In my judgment, its dissolution would be the greatest of calamities; and to avert that should be the study of every American. Upon its preservation must depend our own happiness and that of countless generations to come.

Whatever dangers may threaten it, I shall stand by it and maintain it in its integrity to the full extent of the obligations imposed and the power conferred upon me by the constitution.


JULY 10, 1850.

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and

House of Representatives : A GREAT man has fallen among us, and a whole community is called to an occasion of unexpected, deep, and general mourning. I recommend to the two Houses of Congress to adopt such measures as, in their discretion, may seem proper to perform with due solemnities the funeral obsequies of Zachary Taylor, late President of the United States, and thereby to signify the great and affectionate regard of the American people for the memory of one whose life has been devoted to the public service-whose career in arms has not been surpassed in usefulness or brilliancy

who has been so recently raised by the unsolicited voice of the people, to the highest civil authority in the government, which he administered with so much honor and advantage to his country, and by whose sudden death so many hopes of future usefulness are blighted forever. To you,

Senators and Representatives of a nation in tears, I can say nothing which can alleviate the sorrow with which you are op pressed. I appeal to you to aid me under the trying circumstances which surround me in the discharge of the duties, from which, however much I may be oppressed by them, I dare not shrink ; and I rely upon Him, who holds in his hands the destinies of nations, to endow me with the requisite strength for the task, and to avert from our country the evils apprehended from the heavy calamity which has befallen us.

I shall most readily concur in whatever measures the wisdom of the two houses may suggest as befitting this deep and melancholy occasion.


DECEMBER 2, 1850.

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and

of the House of Representatives : Being suddenly called, in the midst of the last session of Congress. by a painful dispensation of Divine Providence, to the responsible station which I now hold, I contented my. self with such communications to the legislature as the exigency of the moment seemed to require. The country was shrouded in mourning for the loss of its venerated Chief Magistrate, and all hearts were penetrated with grief. Neither the time nor the occasion appeared to require or to justify, on my part, any general expression of political opinions, or any announcement of the principles which would govern me in the discharge of the duties to the performance of which I had been so unexpectedly called. "I trust, therefore, that it may not be deemed inappropriate, if I avail myself of this opportunity of the reassembling of Congress to make known my sentiments, in a general manner, in regard to the policy which ought to be pursued by the

government, both in its intercourse with foreign nations and its management and administration of internal affairs.

Nations, like individuals in a state of nature, are equal and independent, possessing certain rights, and owing certain duties to each other, arising from their necessary and unavoidable relations; which rights and duties there is no common human authority to protect and enforce. Still

, they are rights and duties, binding in morals, in conscience, and in honor, although there is no tribunal to which an injured party can appeal but the disinterested judgment of mankind, and ultimately the arbitrament of the sword.

Among the acknowledged rights of nations is that which each possesses of establishing that form of government which it may deem most conducive to the happiness and prosperity of its own citizens; of changing that forin as circumstances may require ; and of managing its internal affairs according to its own will. The people of the United States claim this right for themselves, and they readily concede it to others. Hence it becomes an imperative duty not to interfere in the government or internal policy of other nations; and, although we may sympathize with the unfornate or the oppressed everywhere in their struggles for freedom, our principles forbid us from taking any part in such foreign contests. We make no wars to promote or to prevent successions to thrones; to maintain any theory of a balance of power; or to suppress the actual government which any country chooses to establish for itself. We instigate no revolutions, nor suffer any hostile military expeditions to be fitted out in the United States to invade ihe territory or provinces of a friendly nation. The great law of morality ought to have a national as well as a personal and individual application. We should act towards other nations as we wish them to act towards us; and justice and conscience should form the rule of conduct between governments, instead of mere power, self-interest, or the desire of aggrandizement. To maintain a strict neutrality in foreign wars, to cultivate friendly relations, to reciprocate every

noble and generous act, and to perform punctualiy and scrupulously every treaty obligations these are the duties which we owe to other states, and by the performance of which we best entitle ourselves to like treatment from them; or if that, in any case, be refused, we can enforce our own rights with justice and a clear conscience.

In our domestic policy, the constitution will be my guide; and, in questions of doubt, I shall look for its interpretation to the judicial decisions of that tribunal which was established to expound it, and to the usage of the government, sanctioned by the acquiescence of the country. I regard all its provisions as equally binding. In all its parts it is the will of the people, expressed in the most solemn form, and the constituted authorities are but agents to carry that will into effect. Every power which it has granted is to be exercised for the public good; but no pretence of utility, no honest conviction, even, of what might be expedient, can justify the assumption of any power not granted. The powers conferred upon the government, and their distribution to the several departments, are as clearly expressed in that sacred instrument as the imperfection of human language will allow; and I deem it my first duty not to question its wisdom, add to its provisions, evade its requirements, or nullify its commands.

Upon you, fellow-citizens, as the representatives of the States and the people, is wisely devolved the legislative power. I shall comply with my duty in laying before you from time to time any information calculated to enable you to discharge your high and responsible trust, for the benefit of our common constituents

My opinions will be frankly expressed upon the leading subjects of legislation ; and if-which I do not anticipateany act should pass the two houses of Congress, which should appear to me unconstitutional, and an encroachment on the just powers of other departments, or with provisions hastily adopted, and likely to produce consequences injurious and unforeseen, I should not shrink from the duty of returning it to you, with my reasons, for your further consideration. Beyond the due performance of these constitutional obligations, both my respect for the legislature and my sense of propriety will restrain me from any attempt to con

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