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Lincoln’s Spot Resolutions
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Lincoln’s spot resolution and speech condemns the pretexts for starting the war with Mexico. He requests proof from President Polk that American blood was shed on American soil and that the enemy provoked the Americans, and he asks if those Americans present were ordered there by the United States Army.

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN]. Newspaper. National Intelligencer, Thursday, December 23, 1847. Washington: Gales & Seaton . 4 pp. Offered with another issue of the National Intelligencer, January 20, 1848. 4 pp.

Inventory #22094.01 -.02       SOLD — please inquire about other items


December 23, 1847 issue

Page [2], bottom of first column to second column,

Mr. LINCOLN moved the following preamble and resolutions, which were read and laid over under the rule:

            Whereas, the President of the United States, in his message of May 11, 1846, has declared that “the Mexican Government not only refused to receive him, [the envoy of the United States,] or listen to his propositions, but, after a long-continued series of menaces, have, at last invaded our territory and shed the blood of our fellow citizens on our own soil.”

            And again, in his message of December 8, 1846, that “we had ample cause of war against Mexico long before the breaking out of hostilities; but even we forbore to take redress into our own hands until Mexico herself became the aggressor, by invading our soil in hostile array and shedding the blood of our citizens.”

            And yet again, in his message of December 7, 1847....

            Resolved by the House of Representatives, that the President of the United States be respectfully requested to inform this House—

            1st. Whether the spot on which the blood of our citizens was shed, as in his messages declared, was or was not within the territory of Spain, at least after the treaty of 1819 until the Mexican Revolution.

            2d. Whether that spot is or is not within the territory which was wrested from Spain by the revolutionary Government of Mexico.  

            3d. Whether that spot is or is not within a settlement of people, which settlement has existed ever since long before the Texas revolution, and until its inhabitants fled before the approach of the United States army.

            4th. Whether that settlement is or is not isolated from any and all other settlements by the Gulf and the Rio Grande on the south and west, and by wide uninhabited regions on the north and east.

            5th. Whether the people of that settlement, or a majority of them, have ever submitted themselves to the government or laws of Texas or of the United States, by consent or by compulsion, either by accepting office, or voting at elections, or paying tax, or serving on juries, or having process served upon them, or in any other way.

            6th . Whether the people of that settlement did or did not flee from the approach of the United States army, leaving unprotected their homes and their growing crops, before the blood was shed, as in the messages stated; and whether the first blood, so shed, was or was not shed within the enclosure of one of the people who had thus fled from it.

            7th. Whether our citizens, whose blood was shed, as in his messages declared, were or were not, at that time armed officers and soldiers, sent into that settlement by the military order of the President, through the Secretary of War.

            8th. Whether the military force of the United States was or was not so sent into that settlement after Gen. Taylor had more than once intimated to the War Department that, in his opinion, no such movement was necessary to the defense or protection of Texas.

            Several resolutions of inquiry were here offered my Messrs. GEORGE S. HOUSTON, W.P. HALL, PHELPS GREEN, McCLELLAND, and KAUFMAN, which are omitted for want of room.

January 20, 1848 issue: 

Page [2], bottom of 3rd column thru 6th column. In this lengthy address, Lincoln questions President Polk’s judgment regarding the aims and prosecution of the war in Mexico, putting it in the context of the American Revolution: “Texas revolutionized against Mexico and became the owner of something…if she got it in any way she got it by revolution; one of the most sacred of rights—the right which he believed was yet to emancipate the world; the right of a people, if they have a government they do not like, to rise and shake it off…He talked like an insane man. He did not propose to give Mexico any credit at all for the country we had already conquered; he proposed to take more than he asked for last fall…”

Additional news: page [2], middle of 4th column, prints a lively senatorial debate involving Jefferson Davis. Page [3], bottom of 2nd column, “Mr. LINCOLN, from the same committee, reported a bill for the relief of William Fuller and Orlando Saltmarsh. Read and committed.” Page [4], middle of 3rd column, “By Mr. LINCOLN: A bill to amend an act entitled ‘An Act to raise for a limited time an additional military force, and for other purposes,’ approved February 11, 1847.” This act gave the president permission to raise one regiment of dragoons, and nine regiments of infantry, to be used in the war with Mexico.  In addition, the act dealt with the logistics of each regiment, such as raising the pay for field surgeons, or adding a quartermaster to each regiment.[1]

[1] CHAP. VIII. -An Act to raise for a limited Time an additional military Force, and for other Purposes.