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the question I here suggest be considered speculative merely, let me be indulged a moment in trying to show they are not.

The war has gone on some twenty months; for the expenses of which, together with an inconsiderable old score, the President now claims about one-half of the Mexican territory, and that by far the better half, so far as concerns our ability to make anything out of it. It is comparatively uninhabited; so that we could establish land offices in it, and raise some money in that way. But the other half is already inhabited, as I understand it, tolerably densely for the nature of the country; and all its lands, or all that are valuable, already appropriated as private property. How, then, are we to make any thing out of these lands with this incumbrance on them, or how remove the incumbrance? I suppose no one will say we should kill the people, or drive them out, or make slaves of them, or even confiscate their property! How, then, can we make much out of this part of the territory? If the prosecution of the war has, in expenses, already equaled the better half of the country, how long its future prosecution will be in equaling the less. valuable half is not a speculative but a practical question, pressing closely upon us; and yet it is a question which the President seems never to have thought of.

As to the mode of terminating the war and securing peace, the President is equally wandering and indefinite. First, it is to be done by a more vigorous prosecution of the war in the vital parts of the enemy's country; and, after apparently talking himself tired on this point, the President drops down into a half despairing tone, and tells us that, "with a people distracted and divided by contending factions, and a government subject to constant changes, by successive revolutions, the continued success of our arms may fail to obtain a satisfactory peace." Then he suggests the propriety of wheedling the Mexican people to desert the counsels of their own leaders, and, trusting in our protection, to set up a government from which we can secure a satisfactory peace, telling us that "this may become the only mode of obtaining such a peace." But soon he falls into doubt of this, too, and then drops back on to the already half-abandoned ground of more vigorous prosecution." All this shows that the President is in no wise satisfied with his own positions. First, he takes up one, and, in attempting to argue us into it, he argues himself out of it; then seizes another, and goes through the same process; and then, confused at being able to think of nothing new, he snatches up the old one again, which he has some time before cast off. His mind, tasked beyond its power, is running

hither and thither, like some tortured creature on a burning surface, finding no position on which it can settle down and be at ease.

Again, it is a singular omission in this message that it nowhere intimates when the President expects the war to terminate. At its beginning, General Scott was, by this same President, driven into disfavor, if not disgrace, for intimating that peace_could not be conquered in less than three or four months. But now at the end of about twenty months, during which time our arms have given us the most splendid successes-every department, and every part, land and water, officers and privates, regulars and volunteers, doing all that men could do, and hundreds of things which it had ever before been thought that men could not do; after all this, this same President gives us a long message without showing us that, as to the end, he has himself even an imaginary conception. As I have before said, he knows not where he is. He is a bewildered, confounded, and miserably-perplexed man. God grant he may be able to show that there is not something about his conscience more painful than all his mental perplexity.

Mr. Lincoln was an industrious member of the Committee on Post-offices, and Post-roads, and thoroughly acquainted himself with the details of that prominent branch of the public service. On the 5th of January, 1848, he made a clear and pertinent speech in regard to a question of temporary interest which then excited considerable attention, the "Great Southern Mail" contract. Some of the Virginia Whig members had taken issue with the Postmaster-General, in regard to his action on this question, and there were indications of an attempt to give a partisan turn to the affair. Mr. Lincoln sustained the action of that Democratic official, insisting that his construction of the law in this instance, which was the more economical, was also the more correct one. It is unnecessary to enter into the details of the case here. We subjoin two or three paragraphs from the speech, which was purely a practical one, for the purpose of showing the general spirit and tenor of Mr. Lincoln's mode of dealing with business matters :

I think that abundant reasons have been given to show that the construction put upon the law by the PostmasterGeneral is the right construction, and that subsequent acts of Congress have confirmed it. I have already said that the

grievance complained of ought to be remedied. But it is said that the sum of money about which all this difficulty has arisen is exceedingly small-not more than $2,700. I admit it is very small; and if nothing else were involved, it would not be worth the dispute. But there is a principle involved; and if we once yield to a wrong principle, that concession will be the prolific source of endless mischief. It is for this reason, and not for the sake of saving $2,700, that I am unwilling to yield what is demanded. If I had no apprehensions that the ghost of this yielding would rise and appear in various distant places, I would say, pay the money, and let us have no more fuss about it. But I have such apprehensions. I do believe, that if we yield this, our act will be the source of other claims equally unjust, and therefore I can not vote to make the allowance.

Mr. L. insisted that the true and great point to which the attention of this House or the committee should be directed was, what is a just compensation? Inasmuch as this railroad and steamboat company could afford greater facilities than any other line, the service ought to be done upon this route; but it ought to be done on just and fair principles. If it could not be done at what had been offered, let it be shown that a greater amount was just. But, until it was shown, he was opposed to increasing it. He had seen many things in the report of the Postmaster-General and elsewhere that stood out against the river route. Now, the daily steamboat transportation between Troy and New York was performed for less than one hundred dollars per mile. This company was dissatisfied with two hundred and twelve or two hundred and thirteen dollars per mile. It had not been shown, and he thought it could not be shown to them why this company was entitled to more, or so much more, than the other received. It was true, they had to encounter the ice, but was there not more ice further north? There might possibly be shown some reason why the Virginia line should have more; but was there any reason why they should have so much more? Again, the price paid between Cincinnati and Louisville for daily transportation was not two hundred and thirteen dollars per mile, or one hundred dollars, or fifty; it was less than twenty-eight dollars per mile. Now, he did not insist that there might not be some peculiar reasons connected with this route between this city and Richmond that entitled it to more than was paid on the routes between Cincinnati and Louisville, and Troy and New York. But, if there were reasons, they ought to be shown. And was it supposed that there could be any, or so peculiar reasons as to justify so great a difference in compen

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Where Mr. Lincoln was Ferryman for Nine Months.

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