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lieving that this doctrine is the sentiment of the American people; and during the short period which remains in which it will be my duty to administer the executive department, it will be my aim to maintain its independence, and discharge its duties, without infringing upon the powers or duties of either of the other departments of the government.
The power of the executive veto was exercised by the first and most illustrious of my predecessors, and by four of his successors who preceded me in the administration of the government, and, it is believed, in no instance prejudicially to the public interests. It has never been, and there is but little danger that it ever can be abused. No President will ever desire, unnecessarily, to place his opinion in opposition to that of Congress. He must always exercise the power reluctantly, and only in cases where his convictions make it a matter of stern duty, which he cannot escape. Indeed, there is more danger that the President, from the repugnance he must always feel to come in collision with Congress, may fail to exercise it in cases where the preservation of the constitution from infraction, or the public good, may demand it, than that he will ever exercise it unnecessarily or wantonly.
During the period I have administered the executive department of the government, great and important questions of public policy, foreign and domestic, have arisen, upon which it was my duty to act. It may, indeed, be truly said that my administration has fallen upon eventful times. I have felt most sensibly the weight of the high responsibilities devolved upon me. With no other object than the public good, the enduring fame, and permanent prosperity of my country, I have pursued the convictions of my own best judgment. The impartial arbitrament of enlightened public opinion, present and future, will determine how far the public policy I have maintained, and the measures I have from time to time recommended, may have tended to advance or retard the public prosperity at home, and to elevate or depress the estimate of our national character abroad.
Invoking the blessings of the Almighty upon your deliberations at your present important session, my ardent hope is, that in a spirit of harmony and concord, you may be guided to wise results, and such as may redound to the happiness, the honor, and the glory of our beloved country.
WASHINGTON, December 5, 1848.
The message was read.
On motion by Mr. Breese,
JAMES K. POLK.
Ordered, That it be printed, with the accompanying documents; and that ten thousand additional copies, with the documents, be printed for the use of the Senate.
On motion by Mr. Johnson, of Louisiana,
Ordered, That Peter A. Carnes have leave to withdraw his petition and papers.
The Senate adjourned.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6, 1848.
Mr. Phelps presented the credentials of the honorable William Upham, elected a Senator by the Legislature of the State of Vermont, for the term of six years, from and after the third day of March, 1849; which were read.
The Vice President laid before the Senate a report of the Secretary of State, made agreeably to law, showing the disbursements from the contingent fund of that department for the year ending. June 30, 1848; the balances remaining unexpended for the same; the disbursements for all objects during the same period; the disbursements from the fund for contingent expenses of foreign intercourse, and the disbursements from the fund for contingent expenses of the missions abroad; which was read.
The Vice President laid before the Senate a communication from the Treasurer of the United States, accompanied by his accounts. with the United States for the third and fourth quarters of 1847 and the first and second quarters of 1848, as adjusted by the accounting officers; which was read.
On motion by Mr. Dickinson,
Ordered, That S. J. Bowen have leave to withdraw his petition and papers.
On motion by Mr. Davis, of Mississippi,
Ordered, That John Crawford have leave to withdraw his petition and papers.
The Senate proceeded to consider the resolution from the House of Representatives for the election of two chaplains of different denominations, one by each House, who shall interchange weekly; and Resolved, That they concur therein.
Ordered, That the Secretary notify the House of Representatives thereof.
On motion by Mr. Phelps,
Ordered, That Thomas Fillebrown have leave to withdraw his petition and papers.
The Senate adjourned.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7, 1848.
The honorable Thomas J. Rusk, from the State of Texas, and the honorable Solon Borland, from the State of Arkansas, attended.
On motion by Mr. Atherton,
Ordered, That when the Senate adjourn, it be to Monday next. Mr.. King submitted the following resolutions; which were considered by unanimous consent, and agreed to.
·Resolved, unanimously, That the Senate, from a sincere desire of showing every mark of respect due to the memory of the honorable Dixon H. Lewis, deceased, late a member thereof, will go into mourning by wearing crape on the left arm for thirty days.
Resolved, unanimously, That as an additional mark of respect for the memory of the honorable Dixon H. Lewis, the Senate do now adjourn.
Ordered, That the Secretary inform the House of Representatives thereof.
The Senate adjourned.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 11, 1848.
The honorable John M. Clayton, from the State of Delaware, and the honorable David Levy Yulee, from the State of Florida, attended.
Mr. King presented the credentials of the honorable Benjamin Fitzpatrick, appointed a Senator by the Executive of the State of Alabama, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the decease of the honorable Dixon H. Lewis; which were read: and the oath prescribed by law having been administered to Mr. Fitzpatrick, he took his seat in the Senate.
Mr. Felch presented the credentials of the honorable Solon Borland, chosen a Senator by the Legislature of the State of Arkansas, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of the honorable A. H. Sevier; which were read: and the oath prescribed by law was administered to Mr. Borland.'
The Vice President laid before the Senate a report of the Secretory of the Navy, accompanied by a statement prepared agreeably to law, of appropriations for the naval service for the year ending June 30, 1848; which was read.
The Vice President laid before the Senate the annual report of the Secretary of the Treasury on the state of the finances, made agreeably to law; which was read, and ordered to be printed.
On motion by Mr. Davis, of Mississippi, that twenty thousand additional copies be printed for the use of the Senate,
It was determined in the affirmative, Nays..............
On motion by Mr. Rusk,
The yeas and nays being desired by one-fifth of the Senators present, Those who voted in the affirmative are,
Messrs. Allen, Atchison, Atherton, Borland, Bradbury, Breese, Bright, Butler, Davis, of Mississippi, Dickinson, Dix, Dodge, Douglass, Downs, Felch, Fitzgerald, Fitzpatrick, Foote, Hamlin, Houston, Hunter, Johnson, of Georgia, King, Rusk, Sturgeon, Turney, Walker, Westcott, Yulee.
Those who voted in the negative are,
Messrs. Badger, Baldwin, Bell, Benton, Berrien, Cameron, Clarke, Clayton, Corwin, Davis, of Massachusetts, Dayton, Hale, Johnson, of Maryland, Johnson, of Louisiana, Metcalfe, Miller, Niles, Pearce, Spruance, Underwood, Upham.
So it was
Ordered, That twenty thousand additional copies of the said report be printed for the use of the Senate.
Mr. Dickinson submitted the following resolution; which was considered by unanimous consent, and agreed to:
Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury be requested to report to the Senate, as far as practicable, what portion of the transfers of the stocks of the United States are made for account of residents of the city of New York, or for whom said residents are acting as agents; and that he further report whether a transfer office, established in said city, would be of public convenience; and, if so, a plan for establishing the same.
Mr. Atherton submitted the following motion; which was considered by unanimous consent, and agreed to:
Ordered, That the orders passed at the close of the last session, discharging the Committees on Commerce, Pensions, Military Affairs, and Naval Affairs, from the business not reported on, be rescinded, so far as they include bills, resolutions, and reports embraced in the joint rule adopted by the Senate on the 14th of August last.
Mr. Westcott submitted the following resolution; which was considered by unanimous consent, and agreed to:
Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury communicate to the Senate such information as he may possess, with respect to the expediency of a speedy survey, by the coast survey, of the reefs and coasts of South Florida, and the making of authentic charts thereof; and also an estimate of such additional or special appropriation as may be necessary therefor..
Mr. Bradbury submitted the following resolution for consider
Resolved, That, until otherwise ordered, Thursday of each week be set apart for the consideration of private bills; and that at one o'clock, p. m., on Thursday next, the Senate will proceed to the consideration of those bills to the exclusion of all other business. Mr. Cameron submitted the following motion; which was considered by unanimous consent, and agreed to:
Ordered, That, until otherwise ordered, the usual numbers of documents and reports to be printed for the Senate, be 1,250; of the Journal, 1,200; and of bills and joint resolutions of the Senate, and such bills and joint resolutions of the House of Representatives as it may be necessary to print for the use of the Senate, 500 copies; to be distributed under the direction of the Secretary, as heretofore. Mr. Douglas presented the memorial of William H. Aspinwall, John L. Stephens, and Henry Chauncey, praying that the exclusive right may be granted them for a limited period, to transport government troops, munitions of war, supplies, and the public mails, on a railroad which they propose to construct across the isth nus of Panama.
On motion by Mr. Douglas,
Ordered, That the memorial be printed.
Mr. Badger presented a memorial of the Kehukee Primitive Baptist Association, in the State of North Carolina, praying the repeal of all laws authorizing the appointment of chaplains to Congress,
the army, navy, and other public stations, and that Congress will not further legislate on the subject of religion.
On motion by Mr. Badger,
Ordered, That it be printed.
Mr. Rusk presented the memorial of Marvin W. Fisher, praying compensation for the use, by the United States, of a machine of which he is the inventor, for charging percussion copper caps; and that his patent right therefor may be purchased by the United States. Ordered, That it lie on the table.
A message from the House of Representatives, by Mr. Campbell, their Clerk:
· Mr. President: I am directed to notify the Senate that the reverend R. R. Gurley has been elected chaplain of the House of Representatives for the present session.
Mr. Davis, of Mississippi, by unanimous consent, asked and obtained leave to bring in a resolution (S. R. 41) for the appointment of regents in the Smithsonian Institution, which was read the first. and second times by unanimous consent, and considered as in Committee of the Whole; and no amendment being made, it was reported to the Senate.
Ordered, That it be engrossed, and read a third time.
The said resolution was read a third time by unanimous consent. Resolved, That it pass, and that the title thereof be as aforesaid. Ordered, That the Secretary request the concurrence of the House of Representatives therein.
Mr. Douglas, by unanimous consent, asked and obtained leave to bring in a bill (S. 350) for the admission of California into the Union as a State; which was read, and passed to the second reading. On motion,
Ordered, That it be printed.
The Senate proceeded to the election of a chaplain on their part; and on counting the ballots, it appeared that the reverend Henry Slicer was duly elected.
On motion by Mr. King,
Ordered, That the Senate will, to-morrow at one o'clock, proceed to the appointment of the standing committees of the Senate. On motion,
The Senate adjourned.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 1848.
The honorable John C. Calhoun, from the State of South Carolina, attended.
The Vice President laid before the Senate a report of the Secretary of the Treasury, accompanied by a report of the superintendent of the coast survey, showing the progress which has been made in that work during the past year.
On motion by Mr. Baldwin,
Ordered, That it be printed, and that two thousand additional copies be printed for the use of the Senate, two hundred and fifty of which to be transmitted to the office of the coast survey.