Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents: Polk by Compiled by James D. Richardson

Part 2 out of 9

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.0 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

of the army of occupation to make requisitions for additional forces
from several of the States nearest the Texan territory, and which could
most expeditiously furnish them, if in his opinion a larger force than
that under his command and the auxiliary aid which under like
circumstances he was authorized to receive from Texas should be
required. The contingency upon which the exercise of this authority
depended has not occurred. The circumstances under which two companies
of State artillery from the city of New Orleans were sent into Texas and
mustered into the service of the United States are fully stated in the
report of the Secretary of War. I recommend to Congress that provision
be made for the payment of these troops, as well as a small number of
Texan volunteers whom the commanding general thought it necessary to
receive or muster into our service.

During the last summer the First Regiment of Dragoons made extensive
excursions through the Indian country on our borders, a part of them
advancing nearly to the possessions of the Hudsons Bay Company in the
north, and a part as far as the South Pass of the Rocky Mountains and
the head waters of the tributary streams of the Colorado of the West.
The exhibition of this military force among the Indian tribes in those
distant regions and the councils held with them by the commanders of the
expeditions, it is believed, will have a salutary influence in
restraining them from hostilities among themselves and maintaining
friendly relations between them and the United States. An interesting
account of one of these excursions accompanies the report of the
Secretary of War. Under the directions of the War Department Brevet
Captain Fremont, of the Corps of Topographical Engineers, has been
employed since 1842 in exploring the country west of the Mississippi and
beyond the Rocky Mountains. Two expeditions have already been brought to
a close, and the reports of that scientific and enterprising officer
have furnished much interesting and valuable information. He is now
engaged in a third expedition, but it is not expected that this arduous
service will be completed in season to enable me to communicate the
result to Congress at the present session.

Our relations with the Indian tribes are of a favorable character.
The policy of removing them to a country designed for their permanent
residence west of the Mississippi, and without the limits of the
organized States and Territories, is better appreciated by them than it
was a few years ago, while education is now attended to and the habits
of civilized life are gaining ground among them.

Serious difficulties of long standing continue to distract the several
parties into which the Cherokees are unhappily divided. The efforts of
the Government to adjust the difficulties between them have heretofore
proved unsuccessful, and there remains no probability that this
desirable object can be accomplished without the aid of further
legislation by Congress. I will at an early period of your session
present the subject for your consideration, accompanied with an
exposition of the complaints and claims of the several parties into
which the nation is divided, with a view to the adoption of such
measures by Congress as may enable the Executive to do justice to them,
respectively, and to put an end, if possible, to the dissensions which
have long prevailed and still prevail among them.

I refer you to the report of the Secretary of the Navy for the present
condition of that branch of the national defense and for grave
suggestions having for their object the increase of its efficiency and a
greater economy in its management. During the past year the officers and
men have performed their duty in a satisfactory manner. The orders which
have been given have been executed with promptness and fidelity. A
larger force than has often formed one squadron under our flag was
readily concentrated in the Gulf of Mexico, and apparently without
unusual effort. It is especially to be observed that notwithstanding the
union of so considerable a force, no act was committed that even the
jealousy of an irritated power could construe as an act of aggression,
and that the commander of the squadron and his officers, in strict
conformity with their instructions, holding themselves ever ready
for the most active duty, have achieved the still purer glory of
contributing to the preservation of peace. It is believed that at all
our foreign stations the honor of our flag has been maintained and that
generally our ships of war have been distinguished for their good
discipline and order. I am happy to add that the display of maritime
force which was required by the events of the summer has been made
wholly within the usual appropriations for the service of the year, so
that no additional appropriations are required.

The commerce of the United States, and with it the navigating interests,
have steadily and rapidly increased since the organization of our
Government, until, it is believed, we are now second to but one power in
the world, and at no distant day we shall probably be inferior to none.
Exposed as they must be, it has been a wise policy to afford to these
important interests protection with our ships of war distributed in the
great highways of trade throughout the world. For more than thirty years
appropriations have been made and annually expended for the gradual
increase of our naval forces. In peace our Navy performs the important
duty of protecting our commerce, and in the event of war will be, as it
has been, a most efficient means of defense.

The successful use of steam navigation on the ocean has been followed by
the introduction of war steamers in great and increasing numbers into
the navies of the principal maritime powers of the world. A due regard
to our own safety and to an efficient protection to our large and
increasing commerce demands a corresponding increase on our part. No
country has greater facilities for the construction of vessels of this
description than ours, or can promise itself greater advantages from
their employment. They are admirably adapted to the protection of our
commerce, to the rapid transmission of intelligence, and to the coast
defense. In pursuance of the wise policy of a gradual increase of our
Navy, large supplies of live-oak timber and other materials for
shipbuilding have been collected and are now under shelter and in a
state of good preservation, while iron steamers can be built with great
facility in various parts of the Union. The use of iron as a material,
especially in the construction of steamers which can enter with safety
many of the harbors along our coast now inaccessible to vessels of
greater draft, and the practicability of constructing them in the
interior, strongly recommend that liberal appropriations should be made
for this important object. Whatever may have been our policy in the
earlier stages of the Government, when the nation was in its infancy,
our shipping interests and commerce comparatively small, our resources
limited, our population sparse and scarcely extending beyond the limits
of the original thirteen States, that policy must be essentially
different now that we have grown from three to more than twenty millions
of people, that our commerce, carried in our own ships, is found in
every sea, and that our territorial boundaries and settlements have been
so greatly expanded. Neither our commerce nor our long line of coast on
the ocean and on the Lakes can be successfully defended against foreign
aggression by means of fortifications alone. These are essential at
important commercial and military points, but our chief reliance for
this object must be on a well-organized, efficient navy. The benefits
resulting from such a navy are not confined to the Atlantic States. The
productions of the interior which seek a market abroad are directly
dependent on the safety and freedom of our commerce. The occupation of
the Balize below New Orleans by a hostile force would embarrass, if not
stagnate, the whole export trade of the Mississippi and affect the value
of the agricultural products of the entire valley of that mighty river
and its tributaries.

It has never been our policy to maintain large standing armies in time
of peace. They are contrary to the genius of our free institutions,
would impose heavy burdens on the people and be dangerous to public
liberty. Our reliance for protection and defense on the land must be
mainly on our citizen soldiers, who will be ever ready, as they ever
have been ready in times past, to rush with alacrity, at the call of
their country, to her defense. This description of force, however, can
not defend our coast, harbors, and inland seas, nor protect our commerce
on the ocean or the Lakes. These must be protected by our Navy.

Considering an increased naval force, and especially of steam vessels,
corresponding with our growth and importance as a nation, and
proportioned to the increased and increasing naval power of other
nations, of vast importance as regards our safety, and the great and
growing interests to be protected by it, I recommend the subject to the
favorable consideration of Congress.

The report of the Postmaster-General herewith communicated contains a
detailed statement of the operations of his Department during the past
year. It will be seen that the income from postages will fall short of
the expenditures for the year between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000. This
deficiency has been caused by the reduction of the rates of postage,
which was made by the act of the 3d of March last. No principle has been
more generally acquiesced in by the people than that this Department
should sustain itself by limiting its expenditures to its income.
Congress has never sought to make it a source of revenue for general
purposes except for a short period during the last war with Great
Britain, nor should it ever become a charge on the general Treasury. If
Congress shall adhere to this principle, as I think they ought, it will
be necessary either to curtail the present mail service so as to reduce
the expenditures, or so to modify the act of the 3d of March last as to
improve its revenues. The extension of the mail service and the
additional facilities which will be demanded by the rapid extension and
increase of population on our western frontier will not admit of such
curtailment as will materially reduce the present expenditures. In the
adjustment of the tariff of postages the interests of the people demand
that the lowest rates be adopted which will produce the necessary
revenue to meet the expenditures of the Department. I invite the
attention of Congress to the suggestions of the Postmaster-General on
this subject, under the belief that such a modification of the late law
may be made as will yield sufficient revenue without further calls on
the Treasury, and with very little change in the present rates of
postage. Proper measures have been taken in pursuance of the act of the
3d of March last for the establishment of lines of mail steamers between
this and foreign countries. The importance of this service commends
itself strongly to favorable consideration.

With the growth of our country the public business which devolves on the
heads of the several Executive Departments has greatly increased. In
some respects the distribution of duties among them seems to be
incongruous, and many of these might be transferred from one to another
with advantage to the public interests. A more auspicious time for the
consideration of this subject by Congress, with a view to system in the
organization of the several Departments and a more appropriate division
of the public business, will not probably occur.

The most important duties of the State Department relate to our foreign
affairs. By the great enlargement of the family of nations, the increase
of our commerce, and the corresponding extension of our consular system
the business of this Department has been greatly increased.

In its present organization many duties of a domestic nature and
consisting of details are devolved on the Secretary of State, which do
not appropriately belong to the foreign department of the Government and
may properly be transferred to some other Department. One of these grows
out of the present state of the law concerning the Patent Office, which
a few years since was a subordinate clerkship, but has become a distinct
bureau of great importance. With an excellent internal organization, it
is still connected with the State Department. In the transaction of its
business questions of much importance to inventors and to the community
frequently arise, which by existing laws are referred for decision to a
board of which the Secretary of State is a member. These questions are
legal, and the connection which now exists between the State Department
and the Patent Office may with great propriety and advantage be
transferred to the Attorney-General.

In his last annual message to Congress Mr. Madison invited attention to
a proper provision for the Attorney-General as "an important improvement
in the executive establishment," This recommendation was repeated by
some of his successors. The official duties of the Attorney-General have
been much increased within a few years,' and his office has become one
of great importance. His duties may be still further increased with
advantage to the public interests. As an executive officer his residence
and constant attention at the seat of Government are required. Legal
questions involving important principles and large amounts of public
money are constantly referred to him by the President and Executive
Departments for his examination and decision. The public business under
his official management before the judiciary has been so augmented by
the extension of our territory and the acts of Congress authorizing
suits against the United States for large bodies of valuable public
lands as greatly to increase his labors and responsibilities. I
therefore recommend that the Attorney-General be placed on the same
footing with the heads of the other Executive Departments, with such
subordinate officers provided by law for his Department as may be
required to discharge the additional duties which have been or may be
devolved upon him.

Congress possess the power of exclusive legislation over the District of
Columbia, and I commend the interests of its inhabitants to your
favorable consideration. The people of this District have no legislative
body of their own, and must confide their local as well as their general
interests to representatives in whose election they have no voice and
over whose official conduct they have no control. Each member of the
National Legislature should consider himself as their immediate
representative, and should be the more ready to give attention to their
interests and wants because he is not responsible to them. I recommend
that a liberal and generous spirit may characterize your measures in
relation to them. I shall be ever disposed to show a proper regard for
their wishes and, within constitutional limits, shall at all times
cheerfully cooperate with you for the advancement of their welfare.

I trust it may not be deemed inappropriate to the occasion for me to
dwell for a moment on the memory of the most eminent citizen of our
country who during the summer that is gone by has descended to the tomb.
The enjoyment of contemplating, at the advanced age of near fourscore
years, the happy condition of his country cheered the last hours of
Andrew Jackson, who departed this life in the tranquil hope of a blessed
immortality. His death was happy, as his life had been eminently useful.
He had an unfaltering confidence in the virtue and capacity of the
people and in the permanence of that free Government which he had
largely contributed to establish and defend. His great deeds had secured
to him the affections of his fellow-citizens, and it was his happiness
to witness the growth and glory of his country, which he loved so well.
He departed amidst the benedictions of millions of freemen. The nation
paid its tribute to his memory at his tomb. Coming generations will
learn from his example the love of country and the rights of man. In his
language on a similar occasion to the present, "I now commend you,
fellow-citizens, to the guidance of Almighty God, with a full reliance
on His merciful providence for the maintenance of our free institutions,
and with an earnest supplication that whatever errors it may be my lot
to commit in discharging the arduous duties which have devolved on me
will find a remedy in the harmony and wisdom of your counsels."

JAMES K. POLK.

SPECIAL MESSAGES.

Washington, _December 9, 1845_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I communicate herewith a letter received from the President of the
existing Government of the State of Texas, transmitting duplicate copies
of the constitution formed by the deputies of the people of Texas in
convention assembled, accompanied by official information that the said
constitution had been ratified, confirmed, and adopted by the people of
Texas themselves, in accordance with the joint resolution for annexing
Texas to the United States, and in order that Texas might be admitted as
one of the States of that Union.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _December 10, 1845_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of War, in answer to a
resolution of the Senate of the 4th instant, calling for information
"with respect to the practicability and utility of a fort or forts on
Ship Island, on the coast of Mississippi, with a view to the protection
of said coast."

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _December 15, 1845_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith communicate to the Senate, for its consideration, a
convention signed on the 14th May of the present year by the minister
of the United States at Berlin with the minister of Saxony at the same
Court, for the mutual abolition of the _droit d'aubaine, droit de
detraction_, and taxes on emigration between the United States and
Saxony; and I communicate with the convention an explanatory dispatch
of the minister of the United States, dated on the 14th May, 1845, and
numbered 267.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _December 16, 1845_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith communicate to the Senate, for its consideration, a
convention concluded and signed at Berlin on the 29th day of January,
1845, between the United States and Prussia, together with certain other
German States, for the mutual extradition of fugitives from justice in
certain cases; and I communicate with the convention the correspondence
necessary to explain it.

In submitting this convention to the Senate I deem it proper to call
their attention to the third article, by which it is stipulated that
"none of the contracting parties shall be bound to deliver up its own
citizens or subjects under the stipulations of this convention."

No such reservation is to be found in our treaties of extradition with
Great Britain and France, the only two nations with whom we have
concluded such treaties. These provide for the surrender of all persons
who are fugitives from justice, without regard to the country to which
they may belong. Under this article, if German subjects of any of the
parties to the convention should commit crimes within the United States
and fly back to their native country from justice, they would not be
surrendered. This is clear in regard to all such Germans as shall not
have been naturalized under our laws. But even after naturalization
difficult and embarrassing questions might arise between the parties.
These German powers, holding the doctrine of perpetual allegiance, might
refuse to surrender German naturalized citizens, whilst we must ever
maintain the principle that the rights and duties of such citizens are
the same as if they had been born in the United States.

I would also observe that the fourth article of the treaty submitted
contains a provision not to be found in our conventions with Great
Britain and France.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _December 16, 1845_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit a report from the Secretary of State, containing the
information called for by the resolution of the Senate of the 8th of
January last, in relation to the claim of the owners of the brig
_General Armstrong_ against the Government of Portugal.[1]

JAMES K. POLK.

[Footnote 1: For failing to protect the American armed brig _General
Armstrong_, while lying in the port of Fayal, Azores, from attack by
British armed ships on September 26, 1814.]

WASHINGTON, _December 19, 1845_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I communicate to the House of Representatives, in reply to their
resolution of the 25th of February last, a report from the Secretary of
State, together with the correspondence of George W. Slacum, late consul
of the United States at Rio de Janeiro, with the Department of State,
relating to the African slave trade.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _December 22, 1845_.

_To the Congress of the United States_:

I transmit to Congress a communication from the Secretary of State, with
a statement of the expenditures from the appropriation made by the act
entitled "An act providing the means of future intercourse between the
United States and the Government of China," approved the 3d of March,
1843.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _January 3, 1846_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate a report of the Secretary of the Navy,
communicating the information called for by their resolution of the 18th
of December, 1845, in relation to the "number of agents now employed for
the preservation of timber, their salaries, the authority of law under
which they are paid, and the allowances of every description made within
the last twenty years in the settlement of the accounts of said agents."

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _January 6, 1846_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I communicate to the Senate the information called for by their
resolution of December 31, 1845, "requesting the President to cause to
be communicated to the Senate copies of the correspondence between the
Attorney-General and the Solicitor of the Treasury and the judicial
officers of Florida in relation to the authority of the Territorial
judges as Federal judges since the 3d of March, 1845."

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _January 12, 1846_.

_To the Senate of the United States:_

I nominate the persons named in the accompanying list[2] of promotions
and appointments in the Army of the United States to the several grades
annexed to their names, as proposed by the Secretary of War.

JAMES K. POLK.

[Footnote 2: Omitted.]

WAR DEPARTMENT, _January 8, 1846_.

_The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES._

SIR: I have the honor respectfully to propose for your approbation the
annexed list[3] of officers for promotion and persons for appointment
in the Army of the United States.

I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,

W.L. MARCY

[Footnote 3: Omitted.]

ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE,

_Washington, January 8, 1846_.

Hon. W.L. Marcy,
_Secretary of War_,

SIR: I respectfully submit the accompanying list[4] of promotions and
appointments to fill the vacancies in the Army which are known to have
happened since the date of the last list, December 12, 1845. The
promotions are all regular except that of Captain Martin Scott, Fifth
Infantry, whose name, agreeably to the decision of the President and
your instructions, is submitted to fill the vacancy of major in the
First Regiment of Infantry (_vice_ Dearborn, promoted), over the two
senior captains of Infantry, Captain John B. Clark, of the Third
Regiment, and Brevet Major Thomas Noel, of the Sixth. The reasons for
this departure from the ordinary course (as in other like cases of
disability) are set forth in the Adjutant-General's report of the 27th
ultimo and the General in Chief's indorsement thereon, of which copies
are herewith respectfully annexed, marked A.

I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,

R. JONES,
_Adjutant-General._

[Footnote 4: Omitted.]

A.

ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE,
_Washington, December 27, 1845_.

Major-General WINFIELD SCOTT,
_Commanding the Army_.

SIR: The death of Lieutenant-Colonel Hoffman, Seventh Infantry, on the
26th ultimo, having caused a vacancy in the grade of major, to which,
under the rule, Captain J.B. Clark, Third Infantry, would be entitled to
succeed, I deem it proper to submit the following statement, extracted
from the official returns of his regiment, touching his physical
capacity for the performance of military duty.

In May, 1836, Captain Clark went on the recruiting service, where he
remained till October 4, 1838, when he was granted a three months'
leave. He joined his company at Fort Towson in May, 1839, and continued
with it from that time till March, 1841, accompanying it meanwhile
(October, 1840) to Florida. He obtained a three months' leave on
surgeon's certificate of ill health March 23, 1841, but did not rejoin
till February 16, 1842. In the interim he was placed on duty for a
short time as a member of a general court-martial, which happened to be
convened at St. Louis, where he was then staying. He remained with his
company from February to November, 1842, when he again received a leave
for the benefit of his health, and did not return to duty till April 26,
1843 (after his regiment had been ordered to Florida), when he rejoined
it at Jefferson Barracks. He continued with it (with the exception of
one short leave) from April, 1843, till June, 1845, but the returns show
him to have been frequently on the sick report during that period. On
the 2d of June, 1845, his company being then encamped near Fort Jessup
in expectation of orders for Texas, he again procured a leave on account
of his health, and has not since been able to rejoin, reporting monthly
that his health unfitted him for the performance of duty. The signature
of his last report (not written by himself), of November 30
(herewith[5]), would seem to indicate great physical derangement or
decrepitude, approaching, perhaps, to paralysis.

From the foregoing it appears that during the last seven years (since
October, 1838) Captain Clark has been off duty two years and four
months, the greater part of the time on account of sickness, and that
even when present with his company his health is so much impaired that
very often he is unable to perform the ordinary garrison duties.

Under these circumstances it is respectfully submitted, for the
consideration of the proper authority, whether the senior captain of
infantry should not be passed over and (as Brevet Major Noel,[6] the
next in rank, is utterly disqualified) Captain Martin Scott, of the
Fifth Infantry, promoted to the vacant majority.

It is proper to state that Captain Clark has always been regarded as a
perfect gentleman, and as such, as far as I know, is equal to any
officer in the Army.

I am, sir, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. JONES,
_Adjutant-General._

[Remarks indorsed on the foregoing report by the General in Chief.]

DECEMBER 30, 1845.

This report presents grave points for consideration. It is highly
improbable that the Captain will ever be fit for the active duties of
his profession. The question, therefore, seems to be whether he shall be
a pensioner on full pay as captain or as major, for he has long been,
not in name, but in fact, a pensioner on full pay. We have no half pay
in the Army to relieve marching regiments of crippled and superannuated
officers. We have many such--Colonel Maury, of the Third Infantry
(superannuated), and Majors Cobb and McClintock, Fifth Infantry and
Third Artillery (crippled). Many others are fast becoming superannuated.
The three named are on indefinite leaves of absence, and so are Majors
Searle and Noel, permanent cripples from wounds. General Cass's
resolution of yesterday refers simply to age. A half pay or retired list
with half pay would be much better. There are some twenty officers who
ought at once to be placed on such list and their places filled by
promotion.

Upon the whole, I think it best that Captain M. Scott should be
promoted, _vice_ Dearborn, _vice_ Lieutenant-Colonel Hoffman.

Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War.

WINFIELD SCOTT.

[Footnote 5: Omitted.]

[Footnote 6: In 1839 Brevet Major Noel, Sixth Infantry, was severely
wounded (serving in the Florida War at the time) by the accidental
discharge of his own pistol. He left his company February 16, 1839, and
has ever since been absent from his regiment, the state of his wound and
great suffering rendering him utterly incapable of performing any kind
of duty whatever; nor is there any reason to hope he will ever be able
to resume his duties.]

R. JONES,
_Adjutant-General_.

JANUARY 8, 1846.

It appearing from the within statements of the Commanding General and
the Adjutant-General that the two officers proposed to be passed over
are physically unable to perform the duties of major, and their
inability is not temporary, I recommend that Captain Martin Scott be
promoted to the vacant majority 3d January, 1846.

W.L. MARCY.

WASHINGTON, _January 13, 1846_.

_To the Senate of the United States:_

I transmit to the Senate a report of the Secretary of War, with
accompanying papers, showing the measures which have been adopted in
relation to the transfer of certain stocks between the Chickasaw and
Choctaw Indians under the treaty between those tribes of the 24th March,
1837. The claim presented by the Choctaw General Council, if deemed to
be founded in equity, can not be adjusted without the previous advice
and consent of the Senate.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _January 20, 1846_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

On the 15th of January, 1846, I withdrew the nomination of James H.
Tate, of Mississippi, as consul at Buenos Ayres. The withdrawal was made
upon the receipt on that day of a letter addressed to me by the Senators
from the State of Mississippi advising it. I transmit their letter
herewith to the Senate. At that time I had not been furnished with a
copy of the Executive Journal of the Senate, and had no knowledge of
the pendency of the resolution before that body in executive session
in relation to this nomination. Having since been furnished by the
Secretary of the Senate with a copy of the Executive Journal containing
the resolution referred to, I deem it proper and due to the Senate to
reinstate the nomination in the condition in which it was before it was
withdrawn. And with that view I nominate James H. Tate, of Mississippi,
to be consul at Buenos Ayres.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _January 28, 1846_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith communicate to the Senate, for its consideration with regard
to its ratification, a treaty of commerce and navigation between the
United States and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, concluded and signed
on the 1st day of December last at Naples by the charge d'affaires of
the United States with the plenipotentiaries of His Majesty the King of
the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

And I communicate at the same time portions of the correspondence (so
far as it has been received) in explanation of the treaty.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _February 3, 1846_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith communicate to the Senate, for its consideration in reference
to its ratification, a treaty of commerce and navigation between the
United States and Belgium, concluded and signed on the 10th November
last at Brussels by the charge d'affaires of the United States with the
minister of foreign affairs of His Majesty the King of the Belgians.

And I communicate at the same time the correspondence and other papers
in explanation of the treaty,

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _February 5, 1846_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In pursuance with the request of the Senate in their resolution of the
4th instant, I "return" herewith, "for their further action, the
resolution advising and consenting to the appointment of Isaac H. Wright
as navy agent at Boston." It will be observed that the resolution of the
Senate herewith returned contains the advice and consent of that body to
the appointment of several other persons to other offices not embraced
in their resolution of the 4th instant, and it being impossible to
comply with the request of the Senate without communicating to them the
whole resolution, I respectfully request that so far as it relates to
the other cases than that of Mr. Wright it may be returned to me.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _February 7, 1846_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the request of the Senate in their resolution of the
29th January last, I herewith communicate a report from the Secretary of
State, with the accompanying correspondence, which has taken place
between the Secretary of State and the minister of the United States at
London and between the Government of the United States and that of
England on the "subject of Oregon" since my communication of the 2d of
December last was made to Congress.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _February 7, 1846_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with the request of the House of Representatives in their
resolution of the 3d instant, I herewith communicate a report from the
Secretary of State, with the accompanying "correspondence, which has
taken place" between the Secretary of State and the minister of the
United States at London and "between the Government of Great Britain and
this Government in relation to the country west of the Rocky Mountains
since the last annual message of the President" to Congress.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _February 9, 1846_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I communicate herewith, in answer to the resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 19th of December last, the report of the
Secretary of State inclosing "copies of correspondence between this
Government and Great Britain within the last two years in relation to
the Washington treaty, and particularly in relation to the free
navigation of the river St. John, and in relation to the
disputed-territory fund named in said treaty;" and also the accompanying
copies of documents filed in the Department of State, which embrace the
correspondence and information called for by the said resolution.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _February 9, 1846_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the request of the Senate in their resolution of the
5th instant, I herewith return "the resolution of the Senate advising
and consenting to the appointment of F.G. Mayson to be a second
lieutenant in the Marine Corps." As the same resolution which contains
the advice and consent of the Senate to the appointment of Mr. Mayson
contains also the advice and consent of that body to the appointment of
several other persons to other offices, to whom commissions have been
since issued, I respectfully request that the resolution, so far as it
relates to the persons other than Mr. Mayson, may be returned to me.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _February 12, 1846_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for the consideration and advice of the Senate with
regard to its ratification, a treaty concluded on the 14th day of
January last by Thomas H. Harvey and Richard W. Cummins, commissioners
on the part of the United States, and the chiefs and headmen of the
Kansas tribe of Indians, together with a report of the Commissioner of
Indian Affairs and other papers explanatory of the same.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _February 16, 1846_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit a communication from the Attorney-General relating
to a contract entered into by him with Messrs. Little & Brown for
certain copies of their proposed edition of the laws and treaties of the
United States, in pursuance of the joint resolution of the 3d March,
1845.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _February 16, 1846_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit a report from the Secretary of the Navy,
communicating the correspondence called for by the resolution of the
Senate of the 25th of February, 1845, between the commander of the East
India Squadrons and foreign powers or United States agents abroad during
the years 1842 and 1843, relating to the trade and other interests of
this Government.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _February 18, 1846_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with the request of the House of Representatives in their
resolution of the 12th instant, asking for information relative to the
Mexican indemnity, I communicate herewith a report from the Secretary of
State, with the paper accompanying it.

JAMES K. POLK.

[A similar message was sent to the Senate in compliance with a request
of that body.]

WASHINGTON, _March 23, 1846_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit, for your consideration, a correspondence between the
minister of Her Britannic Majesty in Washington and the Secretary of
State, containing an arrangement for the adjustment and payment of the
claims of the respective Governments upon each other arising from the
collection of certain import duties in violation of the second article
of the commercial convention of 3d of July, 1815, between the two
countries, and I respectfully submit to Congress the propriety of making
provision to carry this arrangement into effect.

The second article of this convention provides that "no higher or other
duties shall be imposed on the importation into the United States of any
articles the growth, produce, or manufacture of His Britannic Majesty's
territories in Europe, and no higher or other duties shall be imposed on
the importation into the territories of His Britannic Majesty in Europe
of any articles the growth, produce, or manufacture of the United
States, than are or shall be payable on the like articles being the
growth, produce, or manufacture of any other foreign country."

Previous to the act of Parliament of the 13th of August, 1836, the duty
on foreign rough rice imported into Great Britain was 2s. 6d. sterling
per bushel. By this act the duty was reduced to 1 penny per quarter (of
8 bushels) on the rough rice "imported from the west coast of Africa."

Upon the earnest and repeated remonstrances of our ministers at London
in opposition to this discrimination against American and in favor of
African rice, as a violation of the subsisting convention, Parliament,
by the act of 9th July, 1842, again equalized the duty on all foreign
rough rice by fixing it at 7s. per quarter., In the intervening period,
however, of nearly six years large importations had been made into Great
Britain of American rough rice, which was subjected to a duty of 2s. 6d.
per bushel; but the importers, knowing their rights under the
convention, claimed that it should be admitted at the rate of 1 penny
per quarter, the duty imposed on African rice. This claim was resisted
by the British Government, and the excess of duty was paid, at the first
under protest, and afterwards, in consequence of an arrangement with the
board of customs, by the deposit of exchequer bills.

It seems to have been a clear violation both of the letter and spirit of
the convention to admit rough rice "the growth" of Africa at 1 penny per
quarter, whilst the very same article "the growth" of the United States
was charged with a duty of 2s. 6d. per bushel.

The claim of Great Britain, under the same article of the convention, is
founded on the tariff act of 30th August, 1842. Its twenty-fifth section
provides "that nothing in this act contained shall apply to goods
shipped in a vessel bound to any port of the United States, actually
having left her last port of lading eastward of the Cape of Good Hope or
beyond Cape Horn prior to the 1st day of September, 1842; and all legal
provisions and regulations existing immediately before the 30th day of
June, 1842, shall be applied to importations which may be made in
vessels which have left such last port of lading eastward of the Cape of
Good Hope or beyond Cape Horn prior to said 1st day of September, 1842."

The British Government contends that it was a violation of the second
article of the convention for this act to require that "articles the
growth, produce, or manufacture" of Great Britain, when imported into
the United States in vessels which had left their last port of lading in
Great Britain prior to the 1st day of September, 1842, should pay any
"higher or other duties" than were imposed on "like articles" "the
growth, produce, or manufacture" of countries beyond the Cape of Good
Hope and Cape Horn.

Upon a careful consideration of the subject I arrived at the conclusion
that this claim on the part of the British Government was well founded.
I deem it unnecessary to state my reasons at length for adopting this
opinion, the whole subject being fully explained in the letter of the
Secretary of the Treasury and the accompanying papers.

The amount necessary to satisfy the British claim can not at present be
ascertained with any degree of accuracy, no individual having yet
presented his case to the Government of the United States. It is not
apprehended that the amount will be large. After such examination of the
subject as it has been in his power to make, the Secretary of the
Treasury believes that it will not exceed $100,000.

On the other hand, the claims of the importers of rough rice into Great
Britain have been already ascertained, as the duties were paid either
under protest or in exchequer bills. Their amount is stated by Mr.
Everett, our late minister at London, in a dispatch dated June 1, 1843,
to be L88,886 16s. 10d. sterling, of which L60,006 4d. belong to
citizens of the United States.

As it may be long before the amount of the British claim can be
ascertained, and it would be unreasonable to postpone payment to the
American claimants until this can be adjusted, it has been proposed to
the British Government immediately to refund the excess of duties
collected by it on American rough rice. I should entertain a confident
hope that this proposal would be accepted should the arrangement
concluded be sanctioned by an act of Congress making provision for the
return of the duties in question. The claimants might then be paid as
they present their demands, properly authenticated, to the Secretary of
the Treasury.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _March 24, 1846_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the inquiry of the Senate contained in their resolution of
the 17th instant, whether in my "judgment any circumstances connected
with or growing out of the foreign relations of this country require at
this time an increase of our naval or military force," and, if so, "what
those circumstances are," I have to express the opinion that a wise
precaution demands such increase.

In my annual message of the 2d of December last I recommended to the
favorable consideration of Congress an increase of our naval force,
especially of our steam navy, and the raising of an adequate military
force to guard and protect such of our citizens as might think proper to
emigrate to Oregon. Since that period I have seen no cause to recall or
modify these recommendations. On the contrary, reasons exist which, in
my judgment, render it proper not only that they should be promptly
carried into effect, but that additional provision should be made for
the public defense.

The consideration of such additional provision was brought before
appropriate committees of the two Houses of Congress, in answer to calls
made by them, in reports prepared, with my sanction, by the Secretary of
War and the Secretary of the Navy on the 29th of December and the 8th of
January last--a mode of communication with Congress not unusual, and
under existing circumstances believed to be most eligible. Subsequent
events have confirmed me in the opinion that these recommendations were
proper as precautionary measures.

It was a wise maxim of the Father of his Country that "to be prepared
for war is one of the most efficient means of preserving peace," and
that, "avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace," we should
"remember also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger
frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it." The general
obligation to perform this duty is greatly strengthened by facts known
to the whole world. A controversy respecting the Oregon Territory now
exists between the United States and Great Britain, and while, as far
as we know, the relations of the latter with all European nations are
of the most pacific character, she is making unusual and extraordinary
armaments and warlike preparations, naval and military, both at home and
in her North American possessions.

It can not be disguised that, however sincere may be the desire of
peace, in the event of a rupture these armaments and preparations would
be used against our country. Whatever may have been the original purpose
of these preparations, the fact is undoubted that they are now
proceeding, in part at least, with a view to the contingent possibility
of a war with the United States. The general policy of making additional
warlike preparations was distinctly announced in the speech from the
throne as late as January last, and has since been reiterated by the
ministers of the Crown in both houses of Parliament. Under this aspect
of our relations with Great Britain, I can not doubt the propriety of
increasing our means of defense both by land and sea. This can give
Great Britain no cause of offense nor increase the danger of a rupture.
If, on the contrary, we should fold our arms in security and at last be
suddenly involved in hostilities for the maintenance of our just rights
without any adequate preparation, our responsibility to the country
would be of the gravest character. Should collision between the two
countries be avoided, as I sincerely trust it may be, the additional
charge upon the Treasury in making the necessary preparations will
not be lost, while in the event of such a collision they would be
indispensable for the maintenance of our national rights and national
honor.

I have seen no reason to change or modify the recommendations of my
annual message in regard to the Oregon question. The notice to abrogate
the treaty of the 6th of August, 1827, is authorized by the treaty
itself and can not be regarded as a warlike measure, and I can not
withhold my strong conviction that it should be promptly given. The
other recommendations are in conformity with the existing treaty, and
would afford to American citizens in Oregon no more than the same
measure of protection which has long since been extended to British
subjects in that Territory.

The state of our relations with Mexico is still in an unsettled
condition. Since the meeting of Congress another revolution has taken
place in that country, by which the Government has passed into the hands
of new rulers. This event has procrastinated, and may possibly defeat,
the settlement of the differences between the United States and that
country. The minister of the United States to Mexico at the date of
the last advices had not been received by the existing authorities.
Demonstrations of a character hostile to the United States continue to
be made in Mexico, which has rendered it proper, in my judgment, to keep
nearly two-thirds of our Army on our southwestern frontier. In doing
this many of the regular military posts have been reduced to a small
force inadequate to their defense should an emergency arise.

In view of these "circumstances," it is my "judgment" that "an increase
of our naval and military force is at this time required" to place the
country in a suitable state of defense. At the same time, it is my
settled purpose to pursue such a course of policy as may be best
calculated to preserve both with Great Britain and Mexico an honorable
peace, which nothing will so effectually promote as unanimity in our
councils and a firm maintenance of all our just rights.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _April 1, 1846_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a letter received from the governor of the State of
Ohio in answer to a communication addressed to him in compliance with
a resolution of the House of Representatives of January 30, 1846,
"requesting the President of the United States to apply to the governor
of the State of Ohio for information in regard to the present condition
of the Columbus and Sandusky turnpike road; whether the said road is
kept in such a state of repair as will enable the Federal Government
to realize in case of need the advantages contemplated by the act of
Congress approved March 3, 1827."

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _April 1, 1846_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the request of a delegation of the Tonawanda band of
the Seneca Indians now in this city, I herewith transmit, for your
consideration, a memorial addressed to the President and the Senate in
relation to the treaty of January 15, 1838, with the "Six Nations of New
York Indians," and that of May 20, 1842, with the "Seneca Nation of
Indians'"

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _April 3, 1846_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Acting Secretary of State, with
accompanying papers, in answer to the resolution of the Senate of the
23d ultimo, requesting the President to communicate to that body, "if
not incompatible with public interests, any correspondence which took
place between the Government of the United States and that of Great
Britain on the subject of the northeastern boundary between the 20th of
June, 1840, and the 4th of March, 1841."

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _April 13, 1846_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 11th instant, calling
for "copies of any correspondence that may have taken place between the
authorities of the United States and those of Great Britain since the
last documents transmitted to Congress in relation to the subject
of the Oregon Territory, or so much thereof as may be communicated
without detriment to the public interest," I have to state that no
correspondence in relation to the Oregon Territory has taken place
between the authorities of the United States and those of Great Britain
since the date of the last documents on the subject transmitted by me
to Congress.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _April 13, 1846_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

In my annual message of the 2d of December last it was stated that
serious difficulties of long standing continued to distract the several
parties into which the Cherokee tribe of Indians is unhappily divided;
that all the efforts of the Government to adjust these difficulties had
proved to be unsuccessful, and would probably remain so without the aid
of further legislation by Congress. Subsequent events have confirmed
this opinion.

I communicate herewith, for the information of Congress, a report of the
Secretary of War, transmitting a report of the Commissioner of Indian
Affairs, with accompanying documents, together with memorials which have
been received from the several bands or parties of the Cherokees
themselves. It will be perceived that internal feuds still exist which
call for the prompt intervention of the Government of the United States.

Since the meeting of Congress several unprovoked murders have been
committed by the stronger upon the weaker party of the tribe, which will
probably remain unpunished by the Indian authorities; and there is
reason to apprehend that similar outrages will continue to be
perpetrated unless restrained by the authorities of the United States.

Many of the weaker party have been compelled to seek refuge beyond the
limits of the Indian country and within the State of Arkansas, and are
destitute of the means for their daily subsistence. The military forces
of the United States stationed on the western frontier have been active
in their exertions to suppress these outrages and to execute the treaty
of 1835, by which it is stipulated that "the United States agree to
protect the Cherokee Nation from domestic strife and foreign enemies,
and against intestine wars between the several tribes."

These exertions of the Army have proved to a great extent unavailing,
for the reasons stated in the accompanying documents, including
communications from the officer commanding at Fort Gibson.

I submit, for the consideration of Congress, the propriety of making
such amendments of the laws regulating intercourse with the Indian
tribes as will subject to trial and punishment in the courts of the
United States all Indians guilty of murder and such other felonies as
may be designated, when committed on other Indians within the
jurisdiction of the United States.

Such a modification of the existing laws is suggested because if
offenders against the laws of humanity in the Indian country are left
to be punished by Indian laws they will generally, if not always, be
permitted to escape with impunity. This has been the case in repeated
instances among the Cherokees. For years unprovoked murders have been
committed, and yet no effort has been made to bring the offenders to
punishment. Should this state of things continue, it is not difficult to
foresee that the weaker party will be finally destroyed. As the guardian
of the Indian tribes, the Government of the United States is bound by
every consideration of duty and humanity to interpose to prevent such
a disaster.

From the examination which I have made into the actual state of things
in the Cherokee Nation I am satisfied that there is no probability that
the different bands or parties into which it is divided can ever again
live together in peace and harmony, and that the well-being of the whole
requires that they should be separated and live under separate
governments as distinct tribes.

That portion who emigrated to the west of the Mississippi prior to the
year 1819, commonly called the "Old Settlers," and that portion who made
the treaty of 1835, known as the "treaty party," it is believed would
willingly unite, and could live together in harmony. The number of
these, as nearly as can be estimated, is about one-third of the tribe.
The whole number of all the bands or parties does not probably exceed
20,000. The country which they occupy embraces 7,000,000 acres of land,
with the privilege of an outlet to the western limits of the United
States. This country is susceptible of division, and is large enough for
all.

I submit to Congress the propriety of either dividing the country which
they at present occupy or of providing by law a new home for the one or
the other of the bands or parties now in hostile array against each
other, as the most effectual, if not the only, means of preserving the
weaker party from massacre and total extermination. Should Congress
favor the division of the country as suggested, and the separation of
the Cherokees into two distinct tribes, justice will require that the
annuities and funds belonging to the whole, now held in trust for them
by the United States, should be equitably distributed among the parties,
according to their respective claims and numbers.

There is still a small number of the Cherokee tribe remaining within the
State of North Carolina, who, according to the stipulations of the
treaty of 1835, should have emigrated with their brethren to the west of
the Mississippi. It is desirable that they should be removed, and in the
event of a division of the country in the West, or of a new home being
provided for a portion of the tribe, that they be permitted to join
either party, as they may prefer, and be incorporated with them.

I submit the whole subject to Congress, that such legislative measures
may be adopted as will be just to all the parties or bands of the tribe.
Such measures, I am satisfied, are the only means of arresting the
horrid and inhuman massacres which have marked the history of the
Cherokees for the last few years, and especially for the last few
months.

The Cherokees have been regarded as among the most enlightened of the
Indian tribes, but experience has proved that they have not yet advanced
to such a state of civilization as to dispense with the guardian care
and control of the Government of the United States.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _April 14, 1846_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

In compliance with the act of the 3d of March, 1845, I communicate
herewith to Congress a report of the Secretaries of War and the Navy on
the subject of a fireproof building for the War and Navy Departments,
together with documents explaining the plans to which it refers and
containing an estimate of the cost of erecting the buildings proposed.

Congress having made no appropriation for the employment of an architect
to prepare and submit the necessary plans, none was appointed. Several
skillful architects were invited to submit plans and estimates, and from
those that were voluntarily furnished a selection has been made of such
as would furnish the requisite building for the accommodation of the War
and Navy Departments at the least expense.

All the plans and estimates which have been received are herewith
communicated, for the information of Congress.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _April 20, 1846_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I have considered the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
9th instant, by which I am requested "to cause to be furnished to that
House an account of all payments made on President's certificates
from the fund appropriated by law, through the agency of the State
Department, for the contingent expenses of foreign intercourse from the
4th of March, 1841, until the retirement of Daniel Webster from the
Department of State, with copies of all entries, receipts, letters,
vouchers, memorandums, or other evidence of such payments, to whom paid,
for what, and particularly all concerning the northeastern-boundary
dispute with Great Britain."

With an anxious desire to furnish to the House any information requested
by that body which may be in the Executive Departments, I have felt
bound by a sense of public duty to inquire how far I could with
propriety, or consistently with the existing laws, respond to their
call.

The usual annual appropriation "for the contingent expenses of
intercourse between the United States and foreign nations" has been
disbursed since the date of the act of May 1, 1810, in pursuance of
its provisions. By the third section of that act it is provided--

That when any sum or sums of money shall be drawn from the Treasury
under any law making appropriation for the contingent expenses of
intercourse between the United States and foreign nations the President
shall be, and he is hereby, authorized to cause the same to be duly
settled annually with the accounting officers of the Treasury in the
manner following; that is to say, by causing the same to be accounted
for specially in all instances wherein the expenditure thereof may in
his judgment be made public, and by making a certificate of the amount
of such expenditures as he may think it advisable not to specify; and
every such certificate shall be deemed a sufficient voucher for the sum
or sums therein expressed to have been expended.

Two distinct classes of expenditure are authorized by this law--the one
of a public and the other of a private and confidential character. The
President in office at the time of the expenditure is made by the law
the sole judge whether it shall be public or private. Such sums are to
be "accounted for specially in all instances wherein the expenditure
thereof may in his judgment be made public." All expenditures "accounted
for specially" are settled at the Treasury upon vouchers, and not on
"President's certificates," and, like all other public accounts, are
subject to be called for by Congress, and are open to public
examination. Had information as respects this class of expenditures been
called for by the resolution of the House, it would have been promptly
communicated.

Congress, foreseeing that it might become necessary and proper to apply
portions of this fund for objects the original accounts and vouchers for
which could not be "made public" without injury to the public interests,
authorized the President, instead of such accounts and vouchers, to make
a certificate of the amount "of such expenditures as he may think it
advisable not to specify," and have provided that "every such
certificate shall be deemed a sufficient voucher for the sum or sums
therein expressed to have been expended."

The law making these provisions is in full force. It is binding upon all
the departments of the Government, and especially upon the Executive,
whose duty it is "to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." In
the exercise of the discretion lodged by it in the Executive several of
my predecessors have made "certificates" of the amount "of such
expenditures as they have thought it advisable not to specify," and upon
these certificates as the only vouchers settlements have been made at
the Treasury.

It appears that within the period specified in the resolution of the
House certificates were given by my immediate predecessor, upon which
settlements have been made at the Treasury, amounting to $5,460. He has
solemnly determined that the objects and items of these expenditures
should not be made public, and has given his certificates to that
effect, which are placed upon the records of the country. Under the
direct authority of an existing law, he has exercised the power of
placing these expenditures under the seal of confidence, and the whole
matter was terminated before I came into office. An important question
arises, whether a subsequent President, either voluntarily or at the
request of one branch of Congress, can without a violation of the spirit
of the law revise the acts of his predecessor and expose to public view
that which he had determined should not be "made public." If not a
matter of strict duty, it would certainly be a safe general rule that
this should not be done. Indeed, it may well happen, and probably would
happen, that the President for the time being would not be in possession
of the information upon which his predecessor acted, and could not,
therefore, have the means of judging whether he had exercised his
discretion wisely or not. The law requires no other voucher but the
President's certificate, and there is nothing in its provisions which
requires any "entries, receipts, letters, vouchers, memorandums, or
other evidence of such payments" to be preserved in the executive
department. The President who makes the "certificate" may, if he
chooses, keep all the information and evidence upon which he acts in his
own possession. If, for the information of his successors, he shall
leave the evidence on which he acts and the items of the expenditures
which make up the sum for which he has given his "certificate" on the
confidential files of one of the Executive Departments, they do not in
any proper sense become thereby public records. They are never seen or
examined by the accounting officers of the Treasury when they settle an
account on the "President's certificate." The First Congress of the
United States on the 1st of July, 1790, passed an act "providing the
means of intercourse between the United States and foreign nations," by
which a similar provision to that which now exists was made for the
settlement of such expenditures as in the judgment of the President
ought not to be made public. This act was limited in its duration. It
was continued for a limited term in 1793, and between that time and the
date of the act of May 1, 1810, which is now in force, the same
provision was revived and continued. Expenditures were made and settled
under Presidential certificates in pursuance of these laws.

If the President may answer the present call, he must answer similar
calls for every such expenditure of a confidential character, made under
every Administration, in war and in peace, from the organization of the
Government to the present period. To break the seal of confidence
imposed by the law, and heretofore uniformly preserved, would be
subversive of the very purpose for which the law was enacted, and might
be productive of the most disastrous consequences. The expenditures of
this confidential character, it is believed, were never before sought to
be made public, and I should greatly apprehend the consequences of
establishing a precedent which would render such disclosures hereafter
inevitable.

I am fully aware of the strong and correct public feeling which exists
throughout the country against secrecy of any kind in the administration
of the Government, and especially in reference to public expenditures;
yet our foreign negotiations are wisely and properly confined to the
knowledge of the Executive during their pendency. Our laws require the
accounts of every particular expenditure to be rendered and publicly
settled at the Treasury Department. The single exception which exists is
not that the amounts embraced under President's certificates shall be
withheld from the public, but merely that the items of which these are
composed shall not be divulged. To this extent, and no further, is
secrecy observed.

The laudable vigilance of the people in regard to all the expenditures
of the Government, as well as a sense of duty on the part of the
President and a desire to retain the good opinion of his
fellow-citizens, will prevent any sum expended from being accounted for
by the President's certificate unless in cases of urgent necessity. Such
certificates have therefore been resorted to but seldom throughout our
past history.

For my own part, I have not caused any account whatever to be settled on
a Presidential certificate. I have had no occasion rendering it
necessary in my judgment to make such a certificate, and it would be an
extreme case which would ever induce me to exercise this authority; yet
if such a case should arise it would be my duty to assume the
responsibility devolved on me by the law.

During my Administration all expenditures for contingent expenses of
foreign intercourse in which the accounts have been closed have been
settled upon regular vouchers, as all other public accounts are settled
at the Treasury.

It may be alleged that the power of impeachment belongs to the House of
Representatives, and that, with a view to the exercise of this power,
that House has the right to investigate the conduct of all public
officers under the Government. This is cheerfully admitted. In such a
case the safety of the Republic would be the supreme law, and the power
of the House in the pursuit of this object would penetrate into the most
secret recesses of the Executive Departments. It could command the
attendance of any and every agent of the Government, and compel them to
produce all papers, public or private, official or unofficial, and to
testify on oath to all facts within their knowledge. But even in a case
of that kind they would adopt all wise precautions to prevent the
exposure of all such matters the publication of which might injuriously
affect the public interest, except so far as this might be necessary to
accomplish the great ends of public justice. If the House of
Representatives, as the grand inquest of the nation, should at any time
have reason to believe that there has been malversation in office by an
improper use or application of the public money by a public officer, and
should think proper to institute an inquiry into the matter, all the
archives and papers of the Executive Departments, public or private,
would be subject to the inspection and control of a committee of their
body and every facility in the power of the Executive be afforded to
enable them to prosecute the investigation.

The experience of every nation on earth has demonstrated that
emergencies may arise in which it becomes absolutely necessary for the
public safety or the public good to make expenditures the very object of
which would be defeated by publicity. Some governments have very large
amounts at their disposal, and have made vastly greater expenditures
than the small amounts which have from time to time been accounted for
on President's certificates. In no nation is the application of such
sums ever made public. In time of war or impending danger the situation
of the country may make it necessary to employ individuals for the
purpose of obtaining information or rendering other important services
who could never be prevailed upon to act if they entertained the least
apprehension that their names or their agency would in any contingency
be divulged. So it may often become necessary to incur an expenditure
for an object highly useful to the country; for example, the conclusion
of a treaty with a barbarian power whose customs require on such
occasions the use of presents. But this object might be altogether
defeated by the intrigues of other powers if our purposes were to be
made known by the exhibition of the original papers and vouchers to the
accounting officers of the Treasury. It would be easy to specify other
cases which may occur in the history of a great nation, in its
intercourse with other nations, wherein it might become absolutely
necessary to incur expenditures for objects which could never be
accomplished if it were suspected in advance that the items of
expenditure and the agencies employed would be made public.

Actuated undoubtedly by considerations of this kind, Congress provided
such a fund, coeval with the organization of the Government, and
subsequently enacted the law of 1810 as the permanent law of the land.
While this law exists in full force I feel bound by a high sense of
public policy and duty to observe its provisions and the uniform
practice of my predecessors under it.

With great respect for the House of Representatives and an anxious
desire to conform to their wishes, I am constrained to come to this
conclusion.

If Congress disapprove the policy of the law, they may repeal its
provisions.

In reply to that portion of the resolution of the House which calls for
"copies of whatever communications were made from the Secretary of State
during the last session of the Twenty-seventh Congress, particularly
February, 1843, to Mr. Cushing and Mr. Adams, members of the Committee
of this House on Foreign Affairs, of the wish of the President of the
United States to institute a special mission to Great Britain," I have
to state that no such communications or copies of them are found in the
Department of State.

"Copies of all letters on the books of the Department of State to any
officer of the United States or any person in New York concerning
Alexander McLeod," which are also called for by the resolution, are
herewith communicated.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _April 20, 1846_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate, in answer to their resolution of the
8th instant, a report from the Secretary of State, with accompanying
papers, containing the information and correspondence referred to in
that resolution, relative to the search of American vessels by British
cruisers subsequent to the date of the treaty of Washington.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _April 27, 1846_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith the information called for by a resolution of the
Senate of the 3d December last, relating to "claims arising under the
fourteenth article of the treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek" with the
Choctaw tribe of Indians, concluded in September, 1830.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _April 27, 1846_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of War and accompanying
papers, containing the information called for by the resolution of the
House of Representatives of December 19, 1845, relating to certain
claims of the Chickasaw tribe of Indians.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _April 27, 1846_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report and accompanying papers from the Secretary
of War, in reply to the resolution of the House of Representatives of
the 31st of December last, in relation to claims arising under the
Choctaw treaty of 1830 which have been presented to and allowed or
rejected by commissioners appointed in pursuance of the acts of 3d of
March, 1837, and 23d of August, 1842.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _May 6, 1846_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith reports from the Secretary of War and the Secretary
of the Treasury, with additional papers, relative to the claims of
certain Chickasaw Indians, which, with those heretofore communicated to
Congress, contain all the information called for by the resolution of
the House of Representatives of the 19th of December last.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _May 6, 1846_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State, with
accompanying papers, in answer to a resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 8th ultimo, requesting the President to
communicate to that body, "if not incompatible with the public interest,
copies of the correspondence of George William Gordon, late consul of
the United States at Rio de Janeiro, with the Department of State,
relating to the slave trade in vessels and by citizens of the United
States between the coast of Africa and Brazil."

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _May 6, 1846_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of War, in answer to the
resolution of the House of Representatives of the 4th instant, calling
for information "whether any soldier or soldiers of the Army of the
United States have been shot for desertion, or in the act of deserting,
and, if so, by whose order and under what authority."

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _May 11, 1846_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

The existing state of the relations between the United States and Mexico
renders it proper that I should bring the subject to the consideration
of Congress. In my message at the commencement of your present session
the state of these relations, the causes which led to the suspension of
diplomatic intercourse between the two countries in March, 1845, and the
long-continued and unredressed wrongs and injuries committed by the
Mexican Government on citizens of the United States in their persons and
property were briefly set forth.

As the facts and opinions which were then laid before you were carefully
considered, I can not better express my present convictions of the
condition of affairs up to that time than by referring you to that
communication.

The strong desire to establish peace with Mexico on liberal and
honorable terms, and the readiness of this Government to regulate and
adjust our boundary and other causes of difference with that power on
such fair and equitable principles as would lead to permanent relations
of the most friendly nature, induced me in September last to seek the
reopening of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Every
measure adopted on our part had for its object the furtherance of these
desired results. In communicating to Congress a succinct statement of
the injuries which we had suffered from Mexico, and which have been
accumulating during a period of more than twenty years, every expression
that could tend to inflame the people of Mexico or defeat or delay a
pacific result was carefully avoided. An envoy of the United States
repaired to Mexico with full powers to adjust every existing difference.
But though present on the Mexican soil by agreement between the two
Governments, invested with full powers, and bearing evidence of the most
friendly dispositions, his mission has been unavailing. The Mexican
Government not only refused to receive him 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.

It now becomes my duty to state more in detail the origin, progress, and
failure of that mission. In pursuance of the instructions given in
September last, an inquiry was made on the 13th of October, 1845, in the
most friendly terms, through our consul in Mexico, of the minister for
foreign affairs, whether the Mexican Government "would receive an envoy
from the United States intrusted with full powers to adjust all the
questions in dispute between the two Governments," with the assurance
that "should the answer be in the affirmative such an envoy would be
immediately dispatched to Mexico." The Mexican minister on the 15th of
October gave an affirmative answer to this inquiry, requesting at the
same time that our naval force at Vera Cruz might be withdrawn, lest its
continued presence might assume the appearance of menace and coercion
pending the negotiations. This force was immediately withdrawn. On the
10th of November, 1845, Mr. John Slidell, of Louisiana, was commissioned
by me as envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United
States to Mexico, and was intrusted with full powers to adjust both the
questions of the Texas boundary and of indemnification to our citizens.
The redress of the wrongs of our citizens naturally and inseparably
blended itself with the question of boundary. The settlement of the one
question in any correct view of the subject involves that of the other.
I could not for a moment entertain the idea that the claims of our
much-injured and long-suffering citizens, many of which had existed for
more than twenty years, should be postponed or separated from the
settlement of the boundary question.

Mr. Slidell arrived at Vera Cruz on the 30th of November, and was
courteously received by the authorities of that city. But the Government
of General Herrera was then tottering to its fall. The revolutionary
party had seized upon the Texas question to effect or hasten its
overthrow. Its determination to restore friendly relations with the
United States, and to receive our minister to negotiate for the
settlement of this question, was violently assailed, and was made the
great theme of denunciation against it. The Government of General
Herrera, there is good reason to believe, was sincerely desirous to
receive our minister; but it yielded to the storm raised by its enemies,
and on the 21st of December refused to accredit Mr. Slidell upon the
most frivolous pretexts. These are so fully and ably exposed in the note
of Mr. Slidell of the 24th of December last to the Mexican minister of
foreign relations, herewith transmitted, that I deem it unnecessary to
enter into further detail on this portion of the subject.

Five days after the date of Mr. Slidell's note General Herrera yielded
the Government to General Paredes without a struggle, and on the 30th of
December resigned the Presidency. This revolution was accomplished
solely by the army, the people having taken little part in the contest;
and thus the supreme power in Mexico passed into the hands of a military
leader.

Determined to leave no effort untried to effect an amicable adjustment
with Mexico, I directed Mr. Slidell to present his credentials to the
Government of General Paredes and ask to be officially received by him.
There would have been less ground for taking this step had General
Paredes come into power by a regular constitutional succession. In that
event his administration would have been considered but a mere
constitutional continuance of the Government of General Herrera, and the
refusal of the latter to receive our minister would have been deemed
conclusive unless an intimation had been given by General Paredes of his
desire to reverse the decision of his predecessor. But the Government of
General Paredes owes its existence to a military revolution, by which
the subsisting constitutional authorities had been subverted. The form
of government was entirely changed, as well as all the high
functionaries by whom it was administered.

Under these circumstances, Mr. Slidell, in obedience to my direction,
addressed a note to the Mexican minister of foreign relations, under
date of the 1st of March last, asking to be received by that Government
in the diplomatic character to which he had been appointed. This
minister in his reply, under date of the 12th of March, reiterated the
arguments of his predecessor, and in terms that may be considered as
giving just grounds of offense to the Government and people of the
United States denied the application of Mr. Slidell. Nothing therefore
remained for our envoy but to demand his passports and return to his own
country.

Thus the Government of Mexico, though solemnly pledged by official acts
in October last to receive and accredit an American envoy, violated
their plighted faith and refused the offer of a peaceful adjustment of
our difficulties. Not only was the offer rejected, but the indignity of
its rejection was enhanced by the manifest breach of faith in refusing
to admit the envoy who came because they had bound themselves to receive
him. Nor can it be said that the offer was fruitless from the want of
opportunity of discussing it; our envoy was present on their own soil.
Nor can it be ascribed to a want of sufficient powers; our envoy had
full powers to adjust every question of difference. Nor was there room
for complaint that our propositions for settlement were unreasonable;
permission was not even given our envoy to make any proposition
whatever. Nor can it be objected that we, on our part, would not listen
to any reasonable terms of their suggestion; the Mexican Government
refused all negotiation, and have made no proposition of any kind.

In my message at the commencement of the present session I informed you
that upon the earnest appeal both of the Congress and convention of
Texas I had ordered an efficient military force to take a position
"between the Nueces and the Del Norte." This had become necessary to
meet a threatened invasion of Texas by the Mexican forces, for which
extensive military preparations had been made. The invasion was
threatened solely because Texas had determined, in accordance with a
solemn resolution of the Congress of the United States, to annex herself
to our Union, and under these circumstances it was plainly our duty to
extend our protection over her citizens and soil.

This force was concentrated at Corpus Christi, and remained there until
after I had received such information from Mexico as rendered it
probable, if not certain, that the Mexican Government would refuse to
receive our envoy.

Meantime Texas, by the final action of our Congress, had become an
integral part of our Union. The Congress of Texas, by its act of
December 19, 1836, had declared the Rio del Norte to be the boundary of
that Republic. Its jurisdiction had been extended and exercised beyond
the Nueces. The country between that river and the Del Norte had been
represented in the Congress and in the convention of Texas, had thus
taken part in the act of annexation itself, and is now included within
one of our Congressional districts. Our own Congress had, moreover, with
great unanimity, by the act approved December 31, 1845, recognized the
country beyond the Nueces as a part of our territory by including it
within our own revenue system, and a revenue officer to reside within
that district has been appointed by and with the advice and consent of
the Senate. It became, therefore, of urgent necessity to provide for the
defense of that portion of our country. Accordingly, on the 13th of
January last instructions were issued to the general in command of these
troops to occupy the left bank of the Del Norte. This river, which is
the southwestern boundary of the State of Texas, is an exposed frontier.
From this quarter invasion was threatened; upon it and in its immediate
vicinity, in the judgment of high military experience, are the proper
stations for the protecting forces of the Government. In addition to
this important consideration, several others occurred to induce this
movement. Among these are the facilities afforded by the ports at Brazos
Santiago and the mouth of the Del Norte for the reception of supplies by
sea, the stronger and more healthful military positions, the convenience
for obtaining a ready and a more abundant supply of provisions, water,
fuel, and forage, and the advantages which are afforded by the Del Norte
in forwarding supplies to such posts as may be established in the
interior and upon the Indian frontier.

The movement of the troops to the Del Norte was made by the commanding
general under positive instructions to abstain from all aggressive acts
toward Mexico or Mexican citizens and to regard the relations between
that Republic and the United States as peaceful unless she should
declare war or commit acts of hostility indicative of a state of war. He
was specially directed to protect private property and respect personal
rights.

The Army moved from Corpus Christi on the 11th of March, and on the 28th
of that month arrived on the left bank of the Del Norte opposite to
Matamoras, where it encamped on a commanding position, which has since
been strengthened by the erection of fieldworks. A depot has also been
established at Point Isabel, near the Brazos Santiago, 30 miles in rear
of the encampment. The selection of his position was necessarily
confided to the judgment of the general in command.

The Mexican forces at Matamoras assumed a belligerent attitude, and on
the 12th of April General Ampudia, then in command, notified General
Taylor to break up his camp within twenty-four hours and to retire
beyond the Nueces River, and in the event of his failure to comply with
these demands announced that arms, and arms alone, must decide the
question. But no open act of hostility was committed until the 24th of
April. On that day General Arista, who had succeeded to the command of
the Mexican forces, communicated to General Taylor that "he considered
hostilities commenced and should prosecute them." A party of dragoons of
63 men and officers were on the same day dispatched from the American
camp up the Rio del Norte, on its left bank, to ascertain whether the
Mexican troops had crossed or were preparing to cross the river, "became
engaged with a large body of these troops, and after a short affair, in
which some 16 were killed and wounded, appear to have been surrounded
and compelled to surrender."

The grievous wrongs perpetrated by Mexico upon our citizens throughout a
long period of years remain unredressed, and solemn treaties pledging
her public faith for this redress have been disregarded. A government
either unable or unwilling to enforce the execution of such treaties
fails to perform one of its plainest duties.

Our commerce with Mexico has been almost annihilated. It was formerly
highly beneficial to both nations, but our merchants have been deterred
from prosecuting it by the system of outrage and extortion which the
Mexican authorities have pursued against them, whilst their appeals
through their own Government for indemnity have been made in vain. Our
forbearance has gone to such an extreme as to be mistaken in its
character. Had we acted with vigor in repelling the insults and
redressing the injuries inflicted by Mexico at the commencement, we
should doubtless have escaped all the difficulties in which we are now
involved.

Instead of this, however, we have been exerting our best efforts to
propitiate her good will. Upon the pretext that Texas, a nation as
independent as herself, thought proper to unite its destinies with our
own, she has affected to believe that we have severed her rightful
territory, and in official proclamations and manifestoes has repeatedly
threatened to make war upon us for the purpose of reconquering Texas. In
the meantime we have tried every effort at reconciliation. The cup of
forbearance had been exhausted even before the recent information from
the frontier of the Del Norte. But now, after reiterated menaces, Mexico
has passed the boundary of the United States, has invaded our territory
and shed American blood upon the American soil. She has proclaimed that
hostilities have commenced, and that the two nations are now at war.

As war exists, and, notwithstanding all our efforts to avoid it, exists
by the act of Mexico herself, we are called upon by every consideration
of duty and patriotism to vindicate with decision the honor, the rights,
and the interests of our country.

Anticipating the possibility of a crisis like that which has arrived,
instructions were given in August last, "as a precautionary measure"
against invasion or threatened invasion, authorizing General Taylor, if
the emergency required, to accept volunteers, not from Texas only, but
from the States of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and
Kentucky, and corresponding letters were addressed to the respective
governors of those States. These instructions were repeated, and in
January last, soon after the incorporation of "Texas into our Union of
States," General Taylor was further "authorized by the President to make
a requisition upon the executive of that State for such of its militia
force as may be needed to repel invasion or to secure the country
against apprehended invasion." On the 2d day of March he was again
reminded, "in the event of the approach of any considerable Mexican
force, promptly and efficiently to use the authority with which he was
clothed to call to him such auxiliary force as he might need." War
actually existing and our territory having been invaded, General Taylor,
pursuant to authority vested in him by my direction, has called on the
governor of Texas for four regiments of State troops, two to be mounted
and two to serve on foot, and on the governor of Louisiana for four
regiments of infantry to be sent to him as soon as practicable.

In further vindication of our rights and defense of our territory, I
invoke the prompt action of Congress to recognize the existence of the
war, and to place at the disposition of the Executive the means of
prosecuting the war with vigor, and thus hastening the restoration of
peace. To this end I recommend that authority should be given to call
into the public service a large body of volunteers to serve for not less
than six or twelve months unless sooner discharged. A volunteer force is
beyond question more efficient than any other description of citizen
soldiers, and it is not to be doubted that a number far beyond that
required would readily rush to the field upon the call of their country.
I further recommend that a liberal provision be made for sustaining our
entire military force and furnishing it with supplies and munitions of
war.

The most energetic and prompt measures and the immediate appearance in
arms of a large and overpowering force are recommended to Congress as
the most certain and efficient means of bringing the existing collision
with Mexico to a speedy and successful termination.

In making these recommendations I deem it proper to declare that it is
my anxious desire not only to terminate hostilities speedily, but to
bring all matters in dispute between this Government and Mexico to an
early and amicable adjustment; and in this view I shall be prepared to
renew negotiations whenever Mexico shall be ready to receive
propositions or to make propositions of her own.

I transmit herewith a copy of the correspondence between our envoy to
Mexico and the Mexican minister for foreign affairs, and so much of the
correspondence between that envoy and the Secretary of State and between
the Secretary of War and the general in command on the Del Norte as is
necessary to a full understanding of the subject.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _May 12, 1846_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit to Congress a copy of a communication[7] from the
officer commanding the Army in Texas, with the papers which accompanied
it. They were received by the Southern mail of yesterday, some hours
after my message of that date had been transmitted, and are of a prior
date to one of the communications from the same officer which
accompanied that message.

JAMES K. POLK.

[Footnote 7: Relating to the operations of the Army near Matamoras,
Mexico.]

WASHINGTON, _May 19, 1846_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of War, in answer to a
resolution of the Senate of the 4th of December last, which contains the
information called for "with respect to the practicability and utility
of a fort or forts on Ship Island, on the coast of Mississippi, with a
view to the protection of said coast."

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _May 26, 1846_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

A convention was concluded at Lima on 17th March, 1841, between the
United States and the Republic of Peru, for the adjustment of claims
of our citizens upon that Republic. It was stipulated by the seventh
article of this convention that "it shall be ratified by the contracting
parties, and the ratifications shall be exchanged within two years from
its date, or sooner if possible, after having been approved by the
President and Senate of the United States and by the Congress of Peru."

This convention was transmitted by the President to the Senate for their
consideration during the extra session of 1841, but it did not receive
their approbation until the 5th January, 1843. This delay rendered it
impracticable that the convention should reach Lima before the 17th
March, 1843, the last day when the ratifications could be exchanged
under the terms of its seventh article. The Senate therefore extended
the time for this purpose until the 20th December, 1843.

In the meantime, previous to the 17th March, 1843, General Menendez,
the constitutional President of Peru, had ratified the convention,
declaring, however, in the act of ratification itself (which is without
date), that "the present convention and ratification are to be submitted
within the time stipulated in the seventh article for the final
approbation of the National Congress." This was, however, rendered
impossible from the fact that no Peruvian Congress assembled from the
date of the convention until the year 1845.

When the convention arrived at Lima General Menendez had been deposed
by a revolution, and General Vivanco had placed himself at the head of
the Government. On the 16th July, 1843, the convention was ratified
by him in absolute terms without the reference to Congress which the
constitution of Peru requires, because, as the ratification states,
"under existing circumstances the Government exercises the legislative
powers demanded by the necessities of the State." The ratifications were
accordingly exchanged at Lima on the 22d July, 1843, and the convention
itself was proclaimed at Washington by the President on the 21st day of
February, 1844.

In the meantime General Vivanco was deposed, and on the 12th October,
1843, the Government then in existence published a decree declaring all
his administrative acts to be null and void, and notwithstanding the
earnest and able remonstrances of Mr. Pickett, our charge d'affaires at
Lima, the Peruvian Government have still persisted in declaring that the
ratification of the convention by Vivanco was invalid.

After the meeting of the Peruvian Congress in 1845 the convention was
submitted to that body, by which it was approved on the 21st of October
last, "with the condition, however, that the first installment of
$30,000 on account of the principal of the debt thereby recognized, and
to which the second article relates, should begin from the 1st day of
January, 1846, and the interest on this annual sum, according to article
3, should be calculated and paid from the 1st day of January, 1842,
following in all other respects besides this modification the terms of
the convention."

I am not in possession of the act of the Congress of Peru containing
this provision, but the information is communicated through a note under
date of the 15th of November, 1845, from the minister of foreign affairs
of Peru to the charge d'affaires of the United States at Lima. A copy of
this note has been transmitted to the Department of State both by our
charge d'affaires at Lima and by the Peruvian minister of foreign
affairs, and a copy of the same is herewith transmitted.

Under these circumstances I submit to the Senate, for their
consideration, the amendment to the convention thus proposed by the
Congress of Peru, with a view to its ratification. It would have been
more satisfactory to have submitted the act itself of the Peruvian
Congress, but, on account of the great distance, if I should wait until
its arrival another year might be consumed, whilst the American
claimants have already been too long delayed in receiving the money
justly due to them. Several of the largest of these claimants would,
I am informed, be satisfied with the modification of the convention
adopted by the Peruvian Congress.

A difficulty may arise in regard to the form of any proceeding which the
Senate might think proper to adopt, from the fact that the original
convention approved by them was sent to Peru and was exchanged for the
other original, ratified by General Vivanco, which is now in the
Department of State. In order to obviate this difficulty as far as may
be in my power, I transmit a copy of the convention, under the seal of
the United States, on which the Senate might found any action they may
deem advisable.

I would suggest that should the Senate advise the adoption of the
amendment proposed by the Peruvian Congress the time for exchanging the
ratifications of the amended convention ought to be extended for a
considerable period, so as to provide against all accidents in its
transmission to Lima.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _May 27, 1846_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with the request contained in the resolution of the House
of Representatives of this date, I transmit copies of all the official
dispatches which have been received from General Taylor, commanding the
army of occupation on the Rio Grande, relating to the battles[8] of the
8th and 9th instant.

JAMES K. POLK.

[Footnote 8: Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma.]

Book of the day: