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

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commencing hostilities against the United States that Texas is still a
part of her territory.

But there are those who, conceding all this to be true, assume the
ground that the true western boundary of Texas is the Nueces instead of
the Rio Grande, and that therefore in marching our Army to the east bank
of the latter river we passed the Texan line and invaded the territory
of Mexico. A simple statement of facts known to exist will conclusively
refute such an assumption. Texas, as ceded to the United States by
France in 1803, has been always claimed as extending west to the Rio
Grande or Rio Bravo. This fact is established by the authority of our
most eminent statesmen at a period when the question was as well, if not
better, understood than it is at present. During Mr. Jefferson's
Administration Messrs. Monroe and Pinckney, who had been sent on a
special mission to Madrid, charged among other things with the
adjustment of boundary between the two countries, in a note addressed to
the Spanish minister of foreign affairs under date of the 28th of
January, 1805, assert that the boundaries of Louisiana, as ceded to the
United States by France, "are the river Perdido on the east and the
river Bravo on the west," and they add that "the facts and principles
which justify this conclusion are so satisfactory to our Government as
to convince it that the United States have not a better right to the
island of New Orleans under the cession referred to than they have to
the whole district of territory which is above described." Down to the
conclusion of the Florida treaty, in February, 1819, by which this
territory was ceded to Spain, the United States asserted and maintained
their territorial rights to this extent. In the month of June, 1818,
during Mr. Monroe's Administration, information having been received
that a number of foreign adventurers had landed at Galveston with the
avowed purpose of forming a settlement in that vicinity, a special
messenger was dispatched by the Government of the United States with
instructions from the Secretary of State to warn them to desist, should
they be found there, "or any other place north of the Rio Bravo, and
within the territory claimed by the United States." He was instructed,
should they be found in the country north of that river, to make known
to them "the surprise with which the President has seen possession thus
taken, without authority from the United States, of a place within their
territorial limits, and upon which no lawful settlement can be made
without their sanction." He was instructed to call upon them to "avow
under what national authority they profess to act," and to give them due
warning "that the place is within the United States, who will suffer no
permanent settlement to be made there under any authority other than
their own." As late as the 8th of July, 1842, the Secretary of State of
the United States, in a note addressed to our minister in Mexico,
maintains that by the Florida treaty of 1819 the territory as far west
as the Rio Grande was confirmed to Spain. In that note he states that--

By the treaty of the 22d of February, 1819, between the United States
and Spain, the Sabine was adopted as the line of boundary between the
two powers. Up to that period no considerable colonization had been
effected in Texas; but the territory between the Sabine and the Rio
Grande being confirmed to Spain by the treaty, applications were made
to that power for grants of land, and such grants or permissions of
settlement were in fact made by the Spanish authorities in favor of
citizens of the United States proposing to emigrate to _Texas_ in
numerous families before the declaration of independence by Mexico.

The Texas which was ceded to Spain by the Florida treaty of 1819
embraced all the country now claimed by the State of Texas between the
Nueces and the Rio Grande. The Republic of Texas always claimed this
river as her western boundary, and in her treaty made with Santa Anna in
May, 1836, he recognized it as such. By the constitution which Texas
adopted in March, 1836, senatorial and representative districts were
organized extending west of the Nueces. The Congress of Texas on the
19th of December, 1836, passed "An act to define the boundaries of the
Republic of Texas," in which they declared the Rio Grande from its mouth
to its source to be their boundary, and by the said act they extended
their "civil and political jurisdiction" over the country up to that
boundary. During a period of more than nine years which intervened
between the adoption of her constitution and her annexation as one of
the States of our Union Texas asserted and exercised many acts of
sovereignty and jurisdiction over the territory and inhabitants west of
the Nueces. She organized and defined the limits of counties extending
to the Rio Grande; she established courts of justice and extended her
judicial system over the territory; she established a custom-house and
collected duties, and also post-offices and post-roads, in it; she
established a land office and issued numerous grants for land within its
limits; a senator and a representative residing in it were elected to
the Congress of the Republic and served as such before the act of
annexation took place. In both the Congress and convention of Texas
which gave their assent to the terms of annexation to the United States
proposed by our Congress were representatives residing west of the
Nueces, who took part in the act of annexation itself. This was the
Texas which by the act of our Congress of the 29th of December, 1845,
was admitted as one of the States of our Union. That the Congress of the
United States understood the State of Texas which they admitted into the
Union to extend beyond the Nueces is apparent from the fact that on the
31st of December, 1845, only two days after the act of admission, they
passed a law "to establish a collection district in the State of Texas,"
by which they created a port of delivery at Corpus Christi, situated
west of the Nueces, and being the same point at which the Texas
custom-house under the laws of that Republic had been located, and
directed that a surveyor to collect the revenue should be appointed for
that port by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the
Senate. A surveyor was accordingly nominated, and confirmed by the
Senate, and has been ever since in the performance of his duties. All
these acts of the Republic of Texas and of our Congress preceded the
orders for the advance of our Army to the east bank of the Rio Grande.
Subsequently Congress passed an act "establishing certain post routes"
extending west of the Nueces. The country west of that river now
constitutes a part of one of the Congressional districts of Texas and is
represented in the House of Representatives. The Senators from that
State were chosen by a legislature in which the country west of that
river was represented. In view of all these facts it is difficult to
conceive upon what ground it can be maintained that in occupying the
country west of the Nueces with our Army, with a view solely to its
security and defense, we invaded the territory of Mexico. But it would
have been still more difficult to justify the Executive, whose duty it
is to see that the laws be faithfully executed, if in the face of all
these proceedings, both of the Congress of Texas and of the United
States, he had assumed the responsibility of yielding up the territory
west of the Nueces to Mexico or of refusing to protect and defend this
territory and its inhabitants, including Corpus Christi as well as the
remainder of Texas, against the threatened Mexican invasion.

But Mexico herself has never placed the war which she has waged upon the
ground that our Army occupied the intermediate territory between the
Nueces and the Rio Grande. Her refuted pretension that Texas was not in
fact an independent state, but a rebellious province, was obstinately
persevered in, and her avowed purpose in commencing a war with the
United States was to reconquer Texas and to restore Mexican authority
over the whole territory--not to the Nueces only, but to the Sabine. In
view of the proclaimed menaces of Mexico to this effect, I deemed it my
duty, as a measure of precaution and defense, to order our Army to
occupy a position on our frontier as a military post, from which our
troops could best resist and repel any attempted invasion which Mexico
might make. Our Army had occupied a position at Corpus Christi, west of
the Nueces, as early as August, 1845, without complaint from any
quarter. Had the Nueces been regarded as the true western boundary of
Texas, that boundary had been passed by our Army many months before it
advanced to the eastern bank of the Rio Grande. In my annual message of
December last I informed Congress that upon the invitation of both the
Congress and convention of Texas I had deemed it proper to order a
strong squadron to the coasts of Mexico and to concentrate an efficient
military force on the western frontier of Texas to protect and defend
the inhabitants against the menaced invasion of Mexico. In that message
I informed Congress that the moment the terms of annexation offered by
the United States were accepted by Texas the latter became so far a part
of our own country as to make it our duty to afford such protection and
defense, and that for that purpose our squadron had been ordered to the
Gulf and our Army to take a "position between the Nueces and the Del
Norte" or Rio Grande and to "repel any invasion of the Texan territory
which might be attempted by the Mexican forces."

It was deemed proper to issue this order, because soon after the
President of Texas, in April, 1845, had issued his proclamation
convening the Congress of that Republic for the purpose of submitting to
that body the terms of annexation proposed by the United States the
Government of Mexico made serious threats of invading the Texan
territory. These threats became more imposing as it became more apparent
in the progress of the question that the people of Texas would decide in
favor of accepting the terms of annexation, and finally they had assumed
such a formidable character as induced both the Congress and convention
of Texas to request that a military force should be sent by the United
States into her territory for the purpose of protecting and defending
her against the threatened invasion. It would have been a violation of
good faith toward the people of Texas to have refused to afford the aid
which they desired against a threatened invasion to which they had been
exposed by their free determination to annex themselves to our Union in
compliance with the overture made to them by the joint resolution of our
Congress. Accordingly, a portion of the Army was ordered to advance into
Texas. Corpus Christi was the position selected by General Taylor. He
encamped at that place in August, 1845, and the Army remained in that
position until the 11th of March, 1846, when it moved westward, and on
the 28th of that month reached the east bank of the Rio Grande opposite
to Matamoras. This movement was made in pursuance of orders from the War
Department, issued on the 13th of January, 1846. Before these orders
were issued the dispatch of our minister in Mexico transmitting the
decision of the council of government of Mexico advising that he should
not be received, and also the dispatch of our consul residing in the
City of Mexico, the former bearing date on the 17th and the latter on
the 18th of December, 1845, copies of both of which accompanied my
message to Congress of the 11th of May last, were received at the
Department of State. These communications rendered it highly probable,
if not absolutely certain, that our minister would not be received by
the Government of General Herrera. It was also well known that but
little hope could be entertained of a different result from General
Paredes in case the revolutionary movement which he was prosecuting
should prove successful, as was highly probable. The partisans of
Paredes, as our minister in the dispatch referred to states, breathed
the fiercest hostility against the United States, denounced the proposed
negotiation as treason, and openly called upon the troops and the people
to put down the Government of Herrera by force. The reconquest of Texas
and war with the United States were openly threatened. These were the
circumstances existing when it was deemed proper to order the Army under
the command of General Taylor to advance to the western frontier of
Texas and occupy a position on or near the Rio Grande.

The apprehensions of a contemplated Mexican invasion have been since
fully justified by the event. The determination of Mexico to rush into
hostilities with the United States was afterwards manifested from the
whole tenor of the note of the Mexican minister of foreign affairs to
our minister bearing date on the 12th of March, 1846. Paredes had then
revolutionized the Government, and his minister, after referring to the
resolution for the annexation of Texas which had been adopted by our
Congress in March, 1845, proceeds to declare that--

A fact such as this, or, to speak with greater exactness, so notable an
act of usurpation, created an imperious necessity that Mexico, for her
own honor, should repel it with proper firmness and dignity. The supreme
Government had beforehand declared that it would look upon such an act
as a _casus belli_, and as a consequence of this declaration negotiation
was by its very nature at an end, and war was the only recourse of the
Mexican Government.

It appears also that on the 4th of April following General Paredes,
through his minister of war, issued orders to the Mexican general in
command on the Texan frontier to "attack" our Army "by every means which
war permits." To this General Paredes had been pledged to the army and
people of Mexico during the military revolution which had brought him
into power. On the 18th of April, 1846, General Paredes addressed a
letter to the commander on that frontier in which he stated to him: "At
the present date I suppose you, at the head of that valiant army, either
fighting already or preparing for the operations of a campaign;" and,
"Supposing you already on the theater of operations and with all the
forces assembled, it is indispensable that hostilities be commenced,
yourself taking the initiative against the enemy."

The movement of our Army to the Rio Grande was made by the commanding
general under positive orders to abstain from all aggressive acts toward
Mexico or Mexican citizens, and to regard the relations between the two
countries as peaceful unless Mexico should declare war or commit acts of
hostility indicative of a state of war, and these orders he faithfully
executed. Whilst occupying his position on the east bank of the Rio
Grande, within the limits of Texas, then recently admitted as one of the
States of our Union, the commanding general of the Mexican forces, who,
in pursuance of the orders of his Government, had collected a large army
on the opposite shore of the Rio Grande, crossed the river, invaded our
territory, and commenced hostilities by attacking our forces. Thus,
after all the injuries which we had received and borne from Mexico, and
after she had insultingly rejected a minister sent to her on a mission
of peace, and whom she had solemnly agreed to receive, she consummated
her long course of outrage against our country by commencing an
offensive war and shedding the blood of our citizens on our own soil.

The United States never attempted to acquire Texas by conquest. On the
contrary, at an early period after the people of Texas had achieved
their independence they sought to be annexed to the United States. At a
general election in September, 1836, they decided with great unanimity
in favor of "annexation," and in November following the Congress of the
Republic authorized the appointment of a minister to bear their request
to this Government. This Government, however, having remained neutral
between Texas and Mexico during the war between them, and considering it
due to the honor of our country and our fair fame among the nations of
the earth that we should not at this early period consent to annexation,
nor until it should be manifest to the whole world that the reconquest
of Texas by Mexico was impossible, refused to accede to the overtures
made by Texas. On the 12th of April, 1844, after more than seven years
had elapsed since Texas had established her independence, a treaty was
concluded for the annexation of that Republic to the United States,
which was rejected by the Senate. Finally, on the 1st of March, 1845,
Congress passed a joint resolution for annexing her to the United States
upon certain preliminary conditions to which her assent was required.
The solemnities which characterized the deliberations and conduct of the
Government and people of Texas on the deeply interesting questions
presented by these resolutions are known to the world. The Congress, the
Executive, and the people of Texas, in a convention elected for that
purpose, accepted with great unanimity the proposed terms of annexation,
and thus consummated on her part the great act of restoring to our
Federal Union a vast territory which had been ceded to Spain by the
Florida treaty more than a quarter of a century before.

After the joint resolution for the annexation of Texas to the United
States had been passed by our Congress the Mexican minister at
Washington addressed a note to the Secretary of State, bearing date on
the 6th of March, 1845, protesting against it as "an act of aggression
the most unjust which can be found recorded in the annals of modern
history, namely, that of despoiling a friendly nation like Mexico of a
considerable portion of her territory," and protesting against the
resolution of annexation as being an act "whereby the Province of Texas,
an integral portion of the Mexican territory, is agreed and admitted
into the American Union;" and he announced that as a consequence his
mission to the United States had terminated, and demanded his passports,
which were granted. It was upon the absurd pretext, made by Mexico
(herself indebted for her independence to a successful revolution), that
the Republic of Texas still continued to be, notwithstanding all that
had passed, a Province of Mexico that this step was taken by the Mexican
minister.

Every honorable effort has been used by me to avoid the war which
followed, but all have proved vain. All our attempts to preserve peace
have been met by insult and resistance on the part of Mexico. My efforts
to this end commenced in the note of the Secretary of State of the 10th
of March, 1845, in answer to that of the Mexican minister. Whilst
declining to reopen a discussion which had already been exhausted, and
proving again what was known to the whole world, that Texas had long
since achieved her independence, the Secretary of State expressed the
regret of this Government that Mexico should have taken offense at the
resolution of annexation passed by Congress, and gave assurance that our
"most strenuous efforts shall be devoted to the amicable adjustment of
every cause of complaint between the two Governments and to the
cultivation of the kindest and most friendly relations between the
sister Republics." That I have acted in the spirit of this assurance
will appear from the events which have since occurred. Notwithstanding
Mexico had abruptly terminated all diplomatic intercourse with the
United States, and ought, therefore, to have been the first to ask for
its resumption, yet, waiving all ceremony, I embraced the earliest
favorable opportunity "to ascertain from the Mexican Government whether
they would receive an envoy from the United States intrusted With full
power to adjust all the questions in dispute between the two
Governments." In September, 1845, I believed the propitious moment for
such an overture had arrived. Texas, by the enthusiastic and almost
unanimous will of her people, had pronounced in favor of annexation.
Mexico herself had agreed to acknowledge the independence of Texas,
subject to a condition, it is true, which she had no right to impose and
no power to enforce. The last lingering hope of Mexico, if she still
could have retained any, that Texas would ever again become one of her
Provinces, must have been abandoned.

The consul of the United States at the City of Mexico was therefore
instructed by the Secretary of State on the 15th of September, 1845, to
make the inquiry of the Mexican Government. The inquiry was made, and
on the 15th of October, 1845, the minister of foreign affairs of the
Mexican Government, in a note addressed to our consul, gave a favorable
response, requesting at the same time that our naval force might be
withdrawn from Vera Cruz while negotiations should be pending. Upon the
receipt of this note our naval force was promptly withdrawn from Vera
Cruz. A minister was immediately appointed, and departed to Mexico.
Everything bore a promising aspect for a speedy and peaceful adjustment
of all our difficulties. At the date of my annual message to Congress in
December last no doubt was entertained but that he would be received by
the Mexican Government, and the hope was cherished that all cause of
misunderstanding between the two countries would be speedily removed.
In the confident hope that such would be the result of his mission,
I informed Congress that I forbore at that time to "recommend such
ulterior measures of redress for the wrongs and injuries we had so long
borne as it would have been proper to make had no such negotiation been
instituted." To my surprise and regret the Mexican Government, though
solemnly pledged to do so, upon the arrival of our minister in Mexico
refused to receive and accredit him. When he reached Vera Cruz, on
the 30th of November, 1845, he found that the aspect of affairs had
undergone an unhappy change. The Government of General Herrera, who was
at that time President of the Republic, was tottering to its fall.
General Paredes, a military leader, had manifested his determination to
overthrow the Government of Herrera by a military revolution, and one of
the principal means which he employed to effect his purpose and render
the Government of Herrera odious to the army and people of Mexico was by
loudly condemning its determination to receive a minister of peace from
the United States, alleging that it was the intention of Herrera, by a
treaty with the United States, to dismember the territory of Mexico by
ceding away the department of Texas. The Government of Herrera is
believed to have been well disposed to a pacific adjustment of existing
difficulties, but probably alarmed for its own security, and in order
to ward off the danger of the revolution led by Paredes, violated its
solemn agreement and refused to receive or accredit our minister; and
this although informed that he had been invested with full power to
adjust all questions in dispute between the two Governments. Among the
frivolous pretexts for this refusal, the principal one was that our
minister had not gone upon a special mission confined to the question of
Texas alone, leaving all the outrages upon our flag and our citizens
unredressed. The Mexican Government well knew that both our national
honor and the protection due to our citizens imperatively required that
the two questions of boundary and indemnity should be treated of
together, as naturally and inseparably blended, and they ought to have
seen that this course was best calculated to enable the United States to
extend to them the most liberal justice. On the 30th of December, 1845,
General Herrera resigned the Presidency and yielded up the Government to
General Paredes without a struggle. Thus a revolution was accomplished
solely by the army commanded by Paredes, and the supreme power in Mexico
passed into the hands of a military usurper who was known to be bitterly
hostile to the United States.

Although the prospect of a pacific adjustment with the new Government
was unpromising from the known hostility of its head to the United
States, yet, determined that nothing should be left undone on our part
to restore friendly relations between the two countries, our minister
was instructed to present his credentials to the new Government and ask
to be accredited by it in the diplomatic character in which he had been
commissioned. These instructions he executed by his note of the 1st of
March, 1846, addressed to the Mexican minister of foreign affairs, but
his request was insultingly refused by that minister in his answer of
the 12th of the same month. No alternative remained for our minister but
to demand his passports and return to the United States.

Thus was the extraordinary spectacle presented to the civilized world of
a Government, in violation of its own express agreement, having twice
rejected a minister of peace invested with full powers to adjust all
the existing differences between the two countries in a manner just
and honorable to both. I am not aware that modern history presents a
parallel case in which in time of peace one nation has refused even to
hear propositions from another for terminating existing difficulties
between them. Scarcely a hope of adjusting our difficulties, even at a
remote day, or of preserving peace with Mexico, could be cherished while
Paredes remained at the head of the Government. He had acquired the
supreme power by a military revolution and upon the most solemn pledges
to wage war against the United States and to reconquer Texas, which he
claimed as a revolted province of Mexico. He had denounced as guilty
of treason all those Mexicans who considered Texas as no longer
constituting a part of the territory of Mexico and who were friendly to
the cause of peace. The duration of the war which he waged against the
United States was indefinite, because the end which he proposed of the
reconquest of Texas was hopeless. Besides, there was good reason to
believe from all his conduct that it was his intention to convert the
Republic of Mexico into a monarchy and to call a foreign European prince
to the throne. Preparatory to this end, he had during his short rule
destroyed the liberty of the press, tolerating that portion of it only
which openly advocated the establishment of a monarchy. The better to
secure the success of his ultimate designs, he had by an arbitrary
decree convoked a Congress, not to be elected by the free voice of the
people, but to be chosen in a manner to make them subservient to his
will and to give him absolute control over their deliberations.

Under all these circumstances it was believed that any revolution in
Mexico founded upon opposition to the ambitious projects of Paredes
would tend to promote the cause of peace as well as prevent any
attempted European interference in the affairs of the North American
continent, both objects of deep interest to the United States. Any such
foreign interference, if attempted, must have been resisted by the
United States. My views upon that subject were fully communicated to
Congress in my last annual message. In any event, it was certain that no
change whatever in the Government of Mexico which would deprive Paredes
of power could be for the worse so far as the United States were
concerned, while it was highly probable that any change must be for the
better. This was the state of affairs existing when Congress, on the
13th of May last, recognized the existence of the war which had been
commenced by the Government of Paredes; and it became an object of much
importance, with a view to a speedy settlement of our difficulties and
the restoration of an honorable peace, that Paredes should not retain
power in Mexico.

Before that time there were symptoms of a revolution in Mexico, favored,
as it was understood to be, by the more liberal party, and especially by
those who were opposed to foreign interference and to the monarchical
form of government. Santa Anna was then in exile in Havana, having been
expelled from power and banished from his country by a revolution which
occurred in December, 1844; but it was known that he had still a
considerable party in his favor in Mexico. It was also equally well
known that no vigilance which could be exerted by our squadron would in
all probability have prevented him from effecting a landing somewhere
on the extensive Gulf coast of Mexico if he desired to return to his
country. He had openly professed an entire change of policy, had
expressed his regret that he had subverted the federal constitution of
1824, and avowed that he was now in favor of its restoration. He had
publicly declared his hostility, in strongest terms, to the
establishment of a monarchy and to European interference in the affairs
of his country. Information to this effect had been received, from
sources believed to be reliable, at the date of the recognition of the
existence of the war by Congress, and was afterwards fully confirmed by
the receipt of the dispatch of our consul in the City of Mexico, with
the accompanying documents, which are herewith transmitted. Besides, it
was reasonable to suppose that he must see the ruinous consequences to
Mexico of a war with the United States, and that it would be his
interest to favor peace.

It was under these circumstances and upon these considerations that it
was deemed expedient not to obstruct his return to Mexico should he
attempt to do so. Our object was the restoration of peace, and, with
that view, no reason was perceived why we should take part with Paredes
and aid him by means of our blockade in preventing the return of his
rival to Mexico. On the contrary, it was believed that the intestine
divisions which ordinary sagacity could not but anticipate as the fruit
of Santa Anna's return to Mexico, and his contest with Paredes, might
strongly tend to produce a disposition with both parties to restore and
preserve peace with the United States. Paredes was a soldier by
profession and a monarchist in principle. He had but recently before
been successful in a military revolution, by which he had obtained
power. He was the sworn enemy of the United States, with which he had
involved his country in the existing war. Santa Anna had been expelled
from power by the army, was known to be in open hostility to Paredes,
and publicly pledged against foreign intervention and the restoration of
monarchy in Mexico. In view of these facts and circumstances it was that
when orders were issued to the commander of our naval forces in the
Gulf, on the 13th day of May last, the same day on which the existence
of the war was recognized by Congress, to place the coasts of Mexico
under blockade, he was directed not to obstruct the passage of Santa
Anna to Mexico should he attempt to return.

A revolution took place in Mexico in the early part of August following,
by which the power of Paredes was overthrown, and he has since been
banished from the country, and is now in exile. Shortly afterwards Santa
Anna returned. It remains to be seen whether his return may not yet
prove to be favorable to a pacific adjustment of the existing
difficulties, it being manifestly his interest not to persevere in the
prosecution of a war commenced by Paredes to accomplish a purpose so
absurd as the reconquest of Texas to the Sabine. Had Paredes remained in
power, it is morally certain that any pacific adjustment would have been
hopeless.

Upon the commencement of hostilities by Mexico against the United States
the indignant spirit of the nation was at once aroused. Congress
promptly responded to the expectations of the country, and by the act of
the 13th of May last recognized the fact that war existed, by the act of
Mexico, between the United States and that Republic, and granted the
means necessary for its vigorous prosecution. Being involved in a war
thus commenced by Mexico, and for the justice of which on our part we
may confidently appeal to the whole world, I resolved to prosecute it
with the utmost vigor. Accordingly the ports of Mexico on the Gulf and
on the Pacific have been placed under blockade and her territory invaded
at several important points. The reports from the Departments of War and
of the Navy will inform you more in detail of the measures adopted in
the emergency in which our country was placed and of the gratifying
results which have been accomplished.

The various columns of the Army have performed their duty under great
disadvantages with the most distinguished skill and courage. The
victories of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma and of Monterey, won
against greatly superior numbers and against most decided advantages in
other respects on the part of the enemy, were brilliant in their
execution, and entitle our brave officers and soldiers to the grateful
thanks of their country. The nation deplores the loss of the brave
officers and men who have gallantly fallen while vindicating and
defending their country's rights and honor.

It is a subject of pride and satisfaction that our volunteer citizen
soldiers, who so promptly responded to their country's call, with an
experience of the discipline of a camp of only a few weeks, have borne
their part in the hard-fought battle of Monterey with a constancy and
courage equal to that of veteran troops and worthy of the highest
admiration. The privations of long marches through the enemy's country
and through a wilderness have been borne without a murmur. By rapid
movements the Province of New Mexico, with Santa Fe, its capital, has
been captured without bloodshed. The Navy has cooperated with the Army
and rendered important services; if not so brilliant, it is because the
enemy had no force to meet them on their own element and because of the
defenses which nature has interposed in the difficulties of the
navigation on the Mexican coast. Our squadron in the Pacific, with the
cooperation of a gallant officer of the Army and a small force hastily
collected in that distant country, has acquired bloodless possession of
the Californias, and the American flag has been raised at every
important point in that Province.

I congratulate you on the success which has thus attended our military
and naval operations. In less than seven months after Mexico commenced
hostilities, at a time selected by herself, we have taken possession of
many of her principal ports, driven back and pursued her invading army,
and acquired military possession of the Mexican Provinces of New Mexico,
New Leon, Coahuila, Tamaulipas, and the Californias, a territory larger
in extent than that embraced in the original thirteen States of the
Union, inhabited by a considerable population, and much of it more than
1,000 miles from the points at which we had to collect our forces and
commence our movements. By the blockade the import and export trade of
the enemy has been cut off. Well may the American people be proud of the
energy and gallantry of our regular and volunteer officers and soldiers.
The events of these few months afford a gratifying proof that our
country can under any emergency confidently rely for the maintenance of
her honor and the defense of her rights on an effective force, ready at
all times voluntarily to relinquish the comforts of home for the perils
and privations of the camp. And though such a force may be for the time
expensive, it is in the end economical, as the ability to command it
removes the necessity of employing a large standing army in time of
peace, and proves that our people love their institutions and are ever
ready to defend and protect them.

While the war was in a course of vigorous and successful prosecution,
being still anxious to arrest its evils, and considering that after the
brilliant victories of our arms on the 8th and 9th of May last the
national honor could not be compromitted by it, another overture was
made to Mexico, by my direction, on the 27th of July last to terminate
hostilities by a peace just and honorable to both countries. On the 31st
of August following the Mexican Government declined to accept this
friendly overture, but referred it to the decision of a Mexican Congress
to be assembled in the early part of the present month. I communicate to
you herewith a copy of the letter of the Secretary of State proposing to
reopen negotiations, of the answer of the Mexican Government, and of the
reply thereto of the Secretary of State.

The war will continue to be prosecuted with vigor as the best means of
securing peace. It is hoped that the decision of the Mexican Congress,
to which our last overture has been referred, may result in a speedy and
honorable peace. With our experience, however, of the unreasonable
course of the Mexican authorities, it is the part of wisdom not to relax
in the energy of our military operations until the result is made known.
In this view it is deemed important to hold military possession of all
the Provinces which have been taken until a definitive treaty of peace
shall have been concluded and ratified by the two countries.

The war has not been waged with a view to conquest, but, having been
commenced by Mexico, it has been carried into the enemy's country and
will be vigorously prosecuted there with a view to obtain an honorable
peace, and thereby secure ample indemnity for the expenses of the war,
as well as to our much-injured citizens, who hold large pecuniary
demands against Mexico.

By the laws of nations a conquered country is subject to be governed by
the conqueror during his military possession and until there is either a
treaty of peace or he shall voluntarily withdraw from it. The old civil
government being necessarily superseded, it is the right and duty of the
conqueror to secure his conquest and to provide for the maintenance of
civil order and the rights of the inhabitants. This right has been
exercised and this duty performed by our military and naval commanders
by the establishment of temporary governments in some of the conquered
Provinces of Mexico, assimilating them as far as practicable to the free
institutions of our own country. In the Provinces of New Mexico and of
the Californias little, if any, further resistance is apprehended from
the inhabitants to the temporary governments which have thus, from the
necessity of the case and according to the laws of war, been
established. It may be proper to provide for the security of these
important conquests by making an adequate appropriation for the purpose
of erecting fortifications and defraying the expenses necessarily
incident to the maintenance of our possession and authority over them.

Near the close of your last session, for reasons communicated to
Congress, I deemed it important as a measure for securing a speedy peace
with Mexico, that a sum of money should be appropriated and placed in
the power of the Executive, similar to that which had been made upon two
former occasions during the Administration of President Jefferson.

On the 26th of February, 1803, an appropriation of $2,000,000 was made
and placed at the disposal of the President. Its object is well known.
It was at that time in contemplation to acquire Louisiana from France,
and it was intended to be applied as a part of the consideration which
might be paid for that territory. On the 13th of February, 1806, the
same sum was in like manner appropriated, with a view to the purchase of
the Floridas from Spain. These appropriations were made to facilitate
negotiations and as a means to enable the President to accomplish the
important objects in view. Though it did not become necessary for the
President to use these appropriations, yet a state of things might have
arisen in which it would have been highly important for him to do so,
and the wisdom of making them can not be doubted. It is believed that
the measure recommended at your last session met with the approbation of
decided majorities in both Houses of Congress. Indeed, in different
forms, a bill making an appropriation of $2,000,000 passed each House,
and it is much to be regretted that it did not become a law. The reasons
which induced me to recommend the measure at that time still exist, and
I again submit the subject for your consideration and suggest the
importance of early action upon it. Should the appropriation be made and
be not needed, it will remain in the Treasury; should it be deemed
proper to apply it in whole or in part, it will be accounted for as
other public expenditures.

Immediately after Congress had recognized the existence of the war with
Mexico my attention was directed to the danger that privateers might be
fitted out in the ports of Cuba and Porto Rico to prey upon the commerce
of the United States, and I invited the special attention of the Spanish
Government to the fourteenth article of our treaty with that power of
the 27th of October, 1795, under which the citizens and subjects of
either nation who shall take commissions or letters of marque to act as
privateers against the other "shall be punished as pirates."

It affords me pleasure to inform you that I have received assurances
from the Spanish Government that this article of the treaty shall be
faithfully observed on its part. Orders for this purpose were
immediately transmitted from that Government to the authorities of Cuba
and Porto Rico to exert their utmost vigilance in preventing any
attempts to fit out privateers in those islands against the United
States. From the good faith of Spain I am fully satisfied that this
treaty will be executed in its spirit as well as its letter, whilst the
United States will on their part faithfully perform all the obligations
which it imposes on them.

Information has been recently received at the Department of State that
the Mexican Government has sent to Havana blank commissions to
privateers and blank certificates of naturalization signed by General
Salas, the present head of the Mexican Government. There is also reason
to apprehend that similar documents have been transmitted to other parts
of the world. Copies of these papers, in translation, are herewith
transmitted.

As the preliminaries required by the practice of civilized nations for
commissioning privateers and regulating their conduct appear not to have
been observed, and as these commissions are in blank, to be filled up
with the names of citizens and subjects of all nations who may be
willing to purchase them, the whole proceeding can only be construed as
an invitation to all the freebooters upon earth who are willing to pay
for the privilege to cruise against American commerce. It will be for
our courts of justice to decide whether under such circumstances these
Mexican letters of marque and reprisal shall protect those who accept
them, and commit robberies upon the high seas under their authority,
from the pains and penalties of piracy.

If the certificates of naturalization thus granted be intended by Mexico
to shield Spanish subjects from the guilt and punishment of pirates
under our treaty with Spain, they will certainly prove unavailing. Such
a subterfuge would be but a weak device to defeat the provisions of a
solemn treaty.

I recommend that Congress should immediately provide by law for the
trial and punishment as pirates of Spanish subjects who, escaping the
vigilance of their Government, shall be found guilty of privateering
against the United States. I do not apprehend serious danger from these
privateers. Our Navy will be constantly on the alert to protect our
commerce. Besides, in case prizes should be made of American vessels,
the utmost vigilance will be exerted by our blockading squadron to
prevent the captors from taking them into Mexican ports, and it is not
apprehended that any nation will violate its neutrality by suffering
such prizes to be condemned and sold within its jurisdiction.

I recommend that Congress should immediately provide by law for granting
letters of marque and reprisal against vessels under the Mexican flag.
It is true that there are but few, if any, commercial vessels of Mexico
upon the high seas, and it is therefore not probable that many American
privateers would be fitted out in case a law should pass authorizing
this mode of warfare. It is, notwithstanding, certain that such
privateers may render good service to the commercial interests of the
country by recapturing our merchant ships should any be taken by armed
vessels under the Mexican flag, as well as by capturing these vessels
themselves. Every means within our power should be rendered available
for the protection of our commerce.

The annual report of the Secretary of the Treasury will exhibit a
detailed statement of the condition of the finances. The imports for the
fiscal year ending on the 30th of June last were of the value of
$121,691,797, of which the amount exported was $11,346,623, leaving the
amount retained in the country for domestic consumption $110,345,174.
The value of the exports for the same period was $113,488,516, of which
$102,141,893 consisted of domestic productions and $11,346,623 of
foreign articles.

The receipts into the Treasury for the same year were $29,499,247.06, of
which there was derived from customs $26,712,667.87, from the sales of
public lands $2,694,452.48, and from incidental and miscellaneous
sources $92,126.71. The expenditures for the same period were
$28,031,114.20, and the balance in the Treasury on the 1st day of July
last was $9,126,439.08.

The amount of the public debt, including Treasury notes, on the 1st of
the present month was $24,256,494.60, of which the sum of $17,788,799.62
was outstanding on the 4th of March, 1845, leaving the amount incurred
since that time $6,467,694.98.

In order to prosecute the war with Mexico with vigor and energy, as the
best means of bringing it to a speedy and honorable termination, a
further loan will be necessary to meet the expenditures for the present
and the next fiscal year. If the war should be continued until the 30th
of June, 1848, being the end of the next fiscal year, it is estimated
that an additional loan of $23,000,000 will be required. This estimate
is made upon the assumption that it will be necessary to retain
constantly in the Treasury $4,000,000 to guard against contingencies.
If such surplus were not required to be retained, then a loan of
$19,000,000 would be sufficient. If, however, Congress should at the
present session impose a revenue duty on the principal articles now
embraced in the free list, it is estimated that an additional annual
revenue of about two millions and a half, amounting, it is estimated,
on the 30th of June, 1848, to $4,000,000, would be derived from that
source, and the loan required would be reduced by that amount. It is
estimated also that should Congress graduate and reduce the price of
such of the public lands as have been long in the market the additional
revenue derived from that source would be annually, for several years
to come, between half a million and a million dollars; and the loan
required may be reduced by that amount also. Should these measures be
adopted, the loan required would not probably exceed $18,000,000 or
$19,000,000, leaving in the Treasury a constant surplus of $4,000,000.
The loan proposed, it is estimated, will be sufficient to cover the
necessary expenditures both for the war and for all other purposes up
to the 30th of June, 1848, and an amount of this loan not exceeding
one-half may be required during the present fiscal year, and the greater
part of the remainder during the first half of the fiscal year
succeeding.

In order that timely notice may be given and proper measures taken to
effect the loan, or such portion of it as may be required, it is
important that the authority of Congress to make it be given at an early
period of your present session. It is suggested that the loan should be
contracted for a period of twenty years, with authority to purchase the
stock and pay it off at an earlier period at its market value out of any
surplus which may at any time be in the Treasury applicable to that
purpose. After the establishment of peace with Mexico, it is supposed
that a considerable surplus will exist, and that the debt may be
extinguished in a much shorter period than that for which it may be
contracted. The period of twenty years, as that for which the proposed
loan may be contracted, in preference to a shorter period, is suggested,
because all experience, both at home and abroad, has shown that loans
are effected upon much better terms upon long time than when they are
reimbursable at short dates.

Necessary as this measure is to sustain the honor and the interests of
the country engaged in a foreign war, it is not doubted but that
Congress will promptly authorize it.

The balance in the Treasury on the 1st July last exceeded $9,000,000,
notwithstanding considerable expenditures had been made for the war
during the months of May and June preceding. But for the war the whole
public debt could and would have been extinguished within a short
period; and it was a part of my settled policy to do so, and thus
relieve the people from its burden and place the Government in a
position which would enable it to reduce the public expenditures to that
economical standard which is most consistent with the general welfare
and the pure and wholesome progress of our institutions.

Among our just causes of complaint against Mexico arising out of her
refusal to treat for peace, as well before as since the war so unjustly
commenced on her part, are the extraordinary expenditures in which we
have been involved. Justice to our own people will make it proper that
Mexico should be held responsible for these expenditures.

Economy in the public expenditures is at all times a high duty which all
public functionaries of the Government owe to the people. This duty
becomes the more imperative in a period of war, when large and
extraordinary expenditures become unavoidable. During the existence of
the war with Mexico all our resources should be husbanded, and no
appropriations made except such as are absolutely necessary for its
vigorous prosecution and the due administration of the Government.
Objects of appropriation which in peace may be deemed useful or proper,
but which are not indispensable for the public service, may when the
country is engaged in a foreign war be well postponed to a future
period. By the observance of this policy at your present session large
amounts may be saved to the Treasury and be applied to objects of
pressing and urgent necessity, and thus the creation of a corresponding
amount of public debt may be avoided.

It is not meant to recommend that the ordinary and necessary
appropriations for the support of Government should be withheld; but it
is well known that at every session of Congress appropriations are
proposed for numerous objects which may or may not be made without
materially affecting the public interests, and these it is recommended
should not be granted.

The act passed at your last session "reducing the duties on imports" not
having gone into operation until the 1st of the present month, there has
not been time for its practical effect upon the revenue and the business
of the country to be developed. It is not doubted, however, that the
just policy which it adopts will add largely to our foreign trade and
promote the general prosperity. Although it can not be certainly
foreseen what amount of revenue it will yield, it is estimated that it
will exceed that produced by the act of 1842, which it superseded. The
leading principles established by it are to levy the taxes with a view
to raise revenue and to impose them upon the articles imported according
to their actual value.

The act of 1842, by the excessive rates of duty which it imposed on many
articles, either totally excluded them from importation or greatly
reduced the amount imported, and thus diminished instead of producing
revenue. By it the taxes were imposed not for the legitimate purpose of
raising revenue, but to afford advantages to favored classes at the
expense of a large majority of their fellow-citizens. Those employed in
agriculture, mechanical pursuits, commerce, and navigation were
compelled to contribute from their substance to swell the profits and
overgrown wealth of the comparatively few who had invested their capital
in manufactures. The taxes were not levied in proportion to the value of
the articles upon which they were imposed, but, widely departing from
this just rule, the lighter taxes were in many cases levied upon
articles of luxury and high price and the heavier taxes on those of
necessity and low price, consumed by the great mass of the people. It
was a system the inevitable effect of which was to relieve favored
classes and the wealthy few from contributing their just proportion for
the support of Government, and to lay the burden on the labor of the
many engaged in other pursuits than manufactures.

A system so unequal and unjust has been superseded by the existing
law, which imposes duties not for the benefit or injury of classes or
pursuits, but distributes and, as far as practicable, equalizes the
public burdens among all classes and occupations. The favored classes
who under the unequal and unjust system which has been repealed have
heretofore realized large profits, and many of them amassed large
fortunes at the expense of the many who have been made tributary to
them, will have no reason to complain if they shall be required to
bear their just proportion of the taxes necessary for the support of
Government. So far from it, it will be perceived by an examination of
the existing law that discriminations in the rates of duty imposed
within the revenue principle have been retained in their favor. The
incidental aid against foreign competition which they still enjoy gives
them an advantage which no other pursuits possess, but of this none
others will complain, because the duties levied are necessary for
revenue. These revenue duties, including freights and charges, which
the importer must pay before he can come in competition with the home
manufacturer in our markets, amount on nearly all our leading branches
of manufacture to more than one-third of the value of the imported
article, and in some cases to almost one-half its value. With such
advantages it is not doubted that our domestic manufacturers will
continue to prosper, realizing in well-conducted establishments even
greater profits than can be derived from any other regular business.
Indeed, so far from requiring the protection of even incidental revenue
duties, our manufacturers in several leading branches are extending
their business, giving evidence of great ingenuity and skill and of
their ability to compete, with increased prospect of success, for the
open market of the world. Domestic manufactures to the value of several
millions of dollars, which can not find a market at home, are annually
exported to foreign countries. With such rates of duty as those
established by the existing law the system will probably be permanent,
and capitalists who are made or shall hereafter make their investments
in manufactures will know upon what to rely. The country will be
satisfied with these rates, because the advantages which the
manufacturers still enjoy result necessarily from the collection of
revenue for the support of Government. High protective duties, from
their unjust operation upon the masses of the people, can not fail to
give rise to extensive dissatisfaction and complaint and to constant
efforts to change or repeal them, rendering all investments in
manufactures uncertain and precarious. Lower and more permanent rates of
duty, at the same time that they will yield to the manufacturer fair and
remunerating profits, will secure him against the danger of frequent
changes in the system, which can not fail to ruinously affect his
interests.

Simultaneously with the relaxation of the restrictive policy by the
United States, Great Britain, from whose example we derived the system,
has relaxed hers. She has modified her corn laws and reduced many other
duties to moderate revenue rates. After ages of experience the statesmen
of that country have been constrained by a stern necessity and by a
public opinion having its deep foundation in the sufferings and wants of
impoverished millions to abandon a system the effect of which was to
build up immense fortunes in the hands of the few and to reduce the
laboring millions to pauperism and misery. Nearly in the same ratio that
labor was depressed capital was increased and concentrated by the
British protective policy.

The evils of the system in Great Britain were at length rendered
intolerable, and it has been abandoned, but not without a severe
struggle on the part of the protected and favored classes to retain the
unjust advantages which they have so long enjoyed. It was to be expected
that a similar struggle would be made by the same classes in the United
States whenever an attempt was made to modify or abolish the same unjust
system here. The protective policy had been in operation in the United
States for a much shorter period, and its pernicious effects were not,
therefore, so clearly perceived and felt. Enough, however, was known of
these effects to induce its repeal.

It would be strange if in the face of the example of _Great Britain_,
our principal foreign customer, and of the evils of a system rendered
manifest in that country by long and painful experience, and in the face
of the immense advantages which under a more liberal commercial policy
we are already deriving, and must continue to derive, by supplying her
starving population with food, the United States should restore a policy
which she has been compelled to abandon, and thus diminish her ability
to purchase from us the food and other articles which she so much needs
and we so much desire to sell. By the simultaneous abandonment of the
protective policy by Great Britain and the United States new and
important markets have already been opened for our agricultural and
other products, commerce and navigation have received a new impulse,
labor and trade have been released from the artificial trammels which
have so long fettered them, and to a great extent reciprocity in the
exchange of commodities has been introduced at the same time by both
countries, and greatly for the benefit of both. Great Britain has been
forced by the pressure of circumstances at home to abandon a policy
which has been upheld for ages, and to open her markets for our immense
surplus of breadstuffs, and it is confidently believed that other powers
of Europe will ultimately see the wisdom, if they be not compelled by
the pauperism and sufferings of their crowded population, to pursue a
similar policy.

Our farmers are more deeply interested in maintaining the just and
liberal policy of the existing law than any other class of our citizens.
They constitute a large majority of our population, and it is well known
that when they prosper all other pursuits prosper also. They have
heretofore not only received none of the bounties or favors of
Government, but by the unequal operations of the protective policy have
been made by the burdens of taxation which it imposed to contribute to
the bounties which have enriched others.

When a foreign as well as a home market is opened to them, they must
receive, as they are now receiving, increased prices for their products.
They will find a readier sale, and at better prices, for their wheat,
flour, rice, Indian corn, beef, pork, lard, butter, cheese, and other
articles which they produce. The home market alone is inadequate to
enable them to dispose of the immense surplus of food and other articles
which they are capable of producing, even at the most reduced prices,
for the manifest reason that they can not be consumed in the country.
The United States can from their immense surplus supply not only the
home demand, but the deficiencies of food required by the whole world.

That the reduced production of some of the chief articles of food in
Great Britain and other parts of Europe may have contributed to increase
the demand for our breadstuffs and provisions is not doubted, but that
the great and efficient cause of this increased demand and of increased
prices consists in the removal of artificial restrictions heretofore
imposed is deemed to be equally certain. That our exports of food,
already increased and increasing beyond former example under the more
liberal policy which has been adopted, will be still vastly enlarged
unless they be checked or prevented by a restoration of the protective
policy can not be doubted. That our commercial and navigating interests
will be enlarged in a corresponding ratio with the increase of our trade
is equally certain, while our manufacturing interests will still be the
favored interests of the country and receive the incidental protection
afforded them by revenue duties; and more than this they can not justly
demand.

In my annual message of December last a tariff of revenue duties based
upon the principles of the existing law was recommended, and I have seen
no reason to change the opinions then expressed. In view of the probable
beneficial effects of that law, I recommend that the policy established
by it be maintained. It has but just commenced to operate, and to
abandon or modify it without giving it a fair trial would be inexpedient
and unwise. Should defects in any of its details be ascertained by
actual experience to exist, these may be hereafter corrected; but until
such defects shall become manifest the act should be fairly tested.

It is submitted for your consideration whether it may not be proper, as
a war measure, to impose revenue duties on some of the articles now
embraced in the free list. Should it be deemed proper to impose such
duties with a view to raise revenue to meet the expenses of the war with
Mexico or to avoid to that extent the creation of a public debt, they
may be repealed when the emergency which gave rise to them shall cease
to exist, and constitute no part of the permanent policy of the country.

The act of the 6th of August last, "to provide for the better
organization of the Treasury and for the collection, safe-keeping,
transfer, and disbursement of the public revenue," has been carried into
execution as rapidly as the delay necessarily arising out of the
appointment of new officers, taking and approving their bonds, and
preparing and securing proper places for the safe-keeping of the public
money would permit. It is not proposed to depart in any respect from the
principles or policy on which this great measure is founded. There are,
however, defects in the details of the measure, developed by its
practical operation, which are fully set forth in the report of the
Secretary of the Treasury, to which the attention of Congress is
invited. These defects would impair to some extent the successful
operation of the law at all times, but are especially embarrassing when
the country is engaged in a war, when the expenditures are greatly
increased, when loans are to be effected and the disbursements are to be
made at points many hundred miles distant, in some cases, from any
depository, and a large portion of them in a foreign country. The
modifications suggested in the report of the Secretary of the Treasury
are recommended to your favorable consideration.

In connection with this subject I invite your attention to the
importance of establishing a branch of the Mint of the United States at
New York. Two-thirds of the revenue derived from customs being collected
at that point, the demand for specie to pay the duties will be large,
and a branch mint where foreign coin and bullion could be immediately
converted into American coin would greatly facilitate the transaction of
the public business, enlarge the circulation of gold and silver, and be
at the same time a safe depository of the public money.

The importance of graduating and reducing the price of such of the
public lands as have been long offered in the market at the minimum rate
authorized by existing laws, and remain unsold, induces me again to
recommend the subject to your favorable consideration. Many millions of
acres of these lands have been offered in the market for more than
thirty years and larger quantities for more than ten or twenty years,
and, being of an inferior quality, they must remain unsalable for an
indefinite period unless the price at which they may be purchased shall
be reduced. To place a price upon them above their real value is not
only to prevent their sale, and thereby deprive the Treasury of any
income from that source, but is unjust to the States in which they lie,
because it retards their growth and increase of population, and because
they have no power to levy a tax upon them as upon other lands within
their limits, held by other proprietors than the United States, for the
support of their local governments.

The beneficial effects of the graduation principle have been realized by
some of the States owning the lands within their limits in which it has
been adopted. They have been demonstrated also by the United States
acting as the trustee of the Chickasaw tribe of Indians in the sale of
their lands lying within the States of Mississippi and Alabama. The
Chickasaw lands, which would not command in the market the minimum price
established by the laws of the United States for the sale of their
lands, were, in pursuance of the treaty of 1834 with that tribe,
subsequently offered for sale at graduated and reduced rates for limited
periods. The result was that large quantities of these lands were
purchased which would otherwise have remained unsold. The lands were
disposed of at their real value, and many persons of limited means were
enabled to purchase small tracts, upon which they have settled with
their families. That similar results would be produced by the adoption
of the graduation policy by the United States in all the States in which
they are the owners of large bodies of lands which have been long in the
market can not be doubted. It can not be a sound policy to withhold
large quantities of the public lands from the use and occupation of our
citizens by fixing upon them prices which experience has shown they will
not command. On the contrary, it is a wise policy to afford facilities
to our citizens to become the owners at low and moderate rates of
freeholds of their own instead of being the tenants and dependents of
others. If it be apprehended that these lands if reduced in price would
be secured in large quantities by speculators or capitalists, the sales
may be restricted in limited quantities to actual settlers or persons
purchasing for purposes of cultivation.

In my last annual message I submitted for the consideration of Congress
the present system of managing the mineral lands of the United States,
and recommended that they should be brought into market and sold upon
such terms and under such restrictions as Congress might prescribe. By
the act of the 11th of July last "the reserved lead mines and contiguous
lands in the States of Illinois and Arkansas and Territories of
Wisconsin and Iowa" were authorized to be sold. The act is confined in
its operation to "lead mines and contiguous lands." A large portion of
the public lands, containing copper and other ores, is represented to be
very valuable, and I recommend that provision be made authorizing the
sale of these lands upon such terms and conditions as from their
supposed value may in the judgment of Congress be deemed advisable,
having due regard to the interests of such of our citizens as may be
located upon them.

It will be important during your present session to establish a
Territorial government and to extend the jurisdiction and laws of the
United States over the Territory of Oregon. Our laws regulating trade
and intercourse with the Indian tribes east of the Rocky Mountains
should be extended to the Pacific Ocean; and for the purpose of
executing them and preserving friendly relations with the Indian tribes
within our limits, an additional number of Indian agencies will be
required, and should be authorized by law. The establishment of
custom-houses and of post-offices and post-roads and provision for the
transportation of the mail on such routes as the public convenience will
suggest require legislative authority. It will be proper also to
establish a surveyor-general's office in that Territory and to make the
necessary provision for surveying the public lands and bringing them
into market. As our citizens who now reside in that distant region have
been subjected to many hardships, privations, and sacrifices in their
emigration, and by their improvements have enhanced the value of the
public lands in the neighborhood of their settlements, it is recommended
that liberal grants be made to them of such portions of these lands as
they may occupy, and that similar grants or rights of preemption be made
to all who may emigrate thither within a limited period, prescribed by
law.

The report of the Secretary of War contains detailed information
relative to the several branches of the public service connected with
that Department. The operations of the Army have been of a satisfactory
and highly gratifying character. I recommend to your early and favorable
consideration the measures proposed by the Secretary of War for speedily
filling up the rank and file of the Regular Army, for its greater
efficiency in the field, and for raising an additional force to serve
during the war with Mexico.

Embarrassment is likely to arise for want of legal provision authorizing
compensation to be made to the agents employed in the several States and
Territories to pay the Revolutionary and other pensioners the amounts
allowed them by law. Your attention is invited to the recommendations
of the Secretary of War on this subject. These agents incur heavy
responsibilities and perform important duties, and no reason exists why
they should not be placed on the same footing as to compensation with
other disbursing officers.

Our relations with the various Indian tribes continue to be of a pacific
character. The unhappy dissensions which have existed among the
Cherokees for many years past have been healed. Since my last annual
message important treaties have been negotiated with some of the tribes,
by which the Indian title to large tracts of valuable land within the
limits of the States and Territories has been extinguished and
arrangements made for removing them to the country west of the
Mississippi. Between 3,000 and 4,000 of different tribes have been
removed to the country provided for them by treaty stipulations, and
arrangements have been made for others to follow.

In our intercourse with the several tribes particular attention has been
given to the important subject of education. The number of schools
established among them has been increased, and additional means provided
not only for teaching them the rudiments of education, but of
instructing them in agriculture and the mechanic arts.

I refer you to the report of the Secretary of the Navy for a
satisfactory view of the operations of the Department under his charge
during the past year. It is gratifying to perceive that while the war
with Mexico has rendered it necessary to employ an unusual number of our
armed vessels on her coasts, the protection due to our commerce in other
quarters of the world has not proved insufficient. No means will be
spared to give efficiency to the naval service in the prosecution of the
war; and I am happy to know that the officers and men anxiously desire
to devote themselves to the service of their country in any enterprise,
however difficult of execution.

I recommend to your favorable consideration the proposition to add to
each of our foreign squadrons an efficient sea steamer, and, as
especially demanding attention, the establishment at Pensacola of the
necessary means of repairing and refitting the vessels of the Navy
employed in the Gulf of Mexico.

There are other suggestions in the report which deserve and I doubt not
will receive your consideration.

The progress and condition of the mail service for the past year are
fully presented in the report of the Postmaster-General. The revenue for
the year ending on the 30th of June last amounted to $3,487,199, which
is $802,642.45 less than that of the preceding year. The payments for
that Department during the same time amounted to $4,084,297.22. Of this
sum $597,097.80 have been drawn from the Treasury. The disbursements for
the year were $236,434.77 less than those of the preceding year. While
the disbursements have been thus diminished, the mail facilities have
been enlarged by new mail routes of 5,739 miles, an increase of
transportation of 1,764,145 miles, and the establishment of 418 new
post-offices. Contractors, postmasters, and others engaged in this
branch of the service have performed their duties with energy and
faithfulness deserving commendation. For many interesting details
connected with the operations of this establishment you are referred to
the report of the Postmaster-General, and his suggestions for improving
its revenues are recommended to your favorable consideration. I repeat
the opinion expressed in my last annual message that the business of
this Department should be so regulated chat the revenues derived from it
should be made to equal the expenditures, and it is believed that this
may be done by proper modifications of the present laws, as suggested in
the report of the Postmaster-General, without changing the present rates
of postage.

With full reliance upon the wisdom and patriotism of your deliberations,
it, will be my duty, as it will be my anxious desire, to cooperate with
you in every constitutional effort to promote the welfare and maintain
the honor of our common country.

JAMES K. POLK.

SPECIAL MESSAGES.

WASHINGTON, _December 14, 1846_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for their consideration and advice with regard
to its ratification, a convention for the mutual surrender of criminals
between the United States and the Swiss Confederation, signed by their
respective plenipotentiaries on the 15th of September last at Paris.

I transmit also a copy of a dispatch from the plenipotentiary of the
United States, with the accompanying documents.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _December 22, 1846_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with the request contained in the resolution of the House
of Representatives of the 15th instant, I communicate herewith reports
from the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy, with the
documents which accompany them.

These documents contain all the "orders or instructions" to any
military, naval, or other officer of the Government "in relation to the
establishment or organization of civil government in any portion of the
territory of Mexico which has or might be taken possession of by the
Army or Navy of the United States."

These orders and instructions were given to regulate the exercise of the
rights of a belligerent engaged in actual war over such portions of the
territory of our enemy as by military conquest might be "taken
possession of" and be occupied by our armed forces--rights necessarily
resulting from a state of war and clearly recognized by the laws of
nations. This was all the authority which could be delegated to our
military and naval commanders, and its exercise was indispensable to the
secure occupation and possession of territory of the enemy which might
be conquered. The regulations authorized were temporary, and dependent
on the rights acquired by conquest. They were authorized as belligerent
rights, and were to be carried into effect by military or naval
officers. They were but the amelioration of martial law, which modern
civilization requires, and were due as well to the security of the
conquest as to the inhabitants of the conquered territory.

The documents communicated also contain the reports of several highly
meritorious officers of our Army and Navy who have conquered and taken
possession of portions of the enemy's territory.

Among the documents accompanying the report of the Secretary of War will
be found a "form of government" "established and organized" by the
military commander who conquered and occupied with his forces the
Territory of New Mexico. This document was received at the War
Department in the latter part of the last month, and, as will be
perceived by the report of the Secretary of War, was not, for the
reasons stated by that officer, brought to my notice until after my
annual message of the 8th instant was communicated to Congress.

It is declared on its face to be a "temporary government of the said
Territory," but there are portions of it which purport to "establish and
organize" a permanent Territorial government of the United States over
the Territory and to impart to its inhabitants political rights which
under the Constitution of the United States can be enjoyed permanently
only by citizens of the United States. These have not been "approved and
recognized" by me. Such organized regulations as have been established
in any of the conquered territories for the security of our conquest,
for the preservation of order, for the protection of the rights of the
inhabitants, and for depriving the enemy of the advantages of these
territories while the military possession of them by the forces of the
United States continues will be recognized and approved.

It will be apparent from the reports of the officers who have been
required by the success which has crowned their arms to exercise the
powers of temporary government over the conquered territories that if
any excess of power has been exercised the departure has been the
offspring of a patriotic desire to give to the inhabitants the
privileges and immunities so cherished by the people of our own country,
and which they believed calculated to improve their condition and
promote their prosperity. Any such excess has resulted in no practical
injury, but can and will be early corrected in a manner to alienate as
little as possible the good feelings of the inhabitants of the conquered
territory.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _December 29, 1846_.

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

In order to prosecute the war against Mexico with vigor and success,
it is necessary that authority should be promptly given by Congress
to increase the Regular Army and to remedy existing defects in its
organization. With this view your favorable attention is invited to the
annual report of the Secretary of War, which accompanied my message of
the 8th instant, in which he recommends that ten additional regiments
of regular troops shall be raised, to serve during the war.

Of the additional regiments of volunteers which have been called for
from several of the States, some have been promptly raised; but this
has not been the case in regard to all. The existing law, requiring
that they should be organized by the independent action of the State
governments, has in some instances occasioned considerable delay, and it
is yet uncertain when the troops required can be ready for service in
the field.

It is our settled policy to maintain in time of peace as small a Regular
Army as the exigencies of the public service will permit. In a state of
war, notwithstanding the great advantage with which our volunteer
citizen soldiers can be brought into the field, this small Regular Army
must be increased in its numbers in order to render the whole force more
efficient.

Additional officers as well as men then become indispensable. Under the
circumstances of our service a peculiar propriety exists for increasing
the officers, especially in the higher grades. The number of such
officers who from age and other causes are rendered incapable of active
service in the field has seriously impaired the efficiency of the Army.

From the report of the Secretary of War it appears that about two-thirds
of the whole number of regimental field officers are either permanently
disabled or are necessarily detached from their commands on other
duties. The long enjoyment of peace has prevented us from experiencing
much embarrassment from this cause, but now, in a state of war,
conducted in a foreign country, it has produced serious injury to the
public service.

An efficient organization of the Army, composed of regulars and
volunteers, whilst prosecuting the war in Mexico, it is believed would
require the appointment of a general officer to take the command of all
our military forces in the field. Upon the conclusion of the war the
services of such an officer would no longer be necessary, and should be
dispensed with upon the reduction of the Army to a peace establishment.

I recommend that provision be made by law for the appointment of such a
general officer to serve during the war.

It is respectfully recommended that early action should be had by
Congress upon the suggestions submitted for their consideration, as
necessary to insure active and efficient service in prosecuting the war,
before the present favorable season for military operations in the
enemy's country shall have passed away.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _January 4, 1847_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I communicate herewith a report of the Postmaster-General, which
contains the information called for by the resolution of the Senate of
the 16th instant, in relation to the means which have been taken for the
transmission of letters and papers to and from the officers and soldiers
now in the service of the United States in Mexico. In answer to the
inquiry whether any legislation is necessary to secure the speedy
transmission and delivery of such letters and papers, I refer you to the
suggestions of the Postmaster-General, which are recommended to your
favorable consideration.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _January 11, 1847_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 22d ultimo, calling for
information relative to the negotiation of the treaty of commerce with
the Republic of New Granada signed on the 20th of December, 1844, I
transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the documents by which
it was accompanied.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _January 19, 1847_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of War, with the
accompanying report from the Adjutant-General of the Army, made in
compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
5th instant, requesting the President to communicate to the House "the
whole number of volunteers which have been mustered into the service of
the United States since the 1st day of May last, designating the number
mustered for three months, six months, and twelve months; the number of
those who have been discharged before they served two months, number
discharged after two months' service, and the number of volunteer
officers who have resigned, and the dates of their resignations."

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _January 20, 1847_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I communicate herewith a letter received from the president of the
convention of delegates of the people of Wisconsin, transmitting a
certified copy of the constitution adopted by the delegates of the
people of Wisconsin in convention assembled, also a copy of the act of
the legislature of the Territory of Wisconsin providing for the calling
of said convention, and also a copy of the last census, showing the
number of inhabitants in said Territory, requesting the President to
"lay the same before the Congress of the United States with the request
that Congress act upon the same at its present session."

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _January 25, 1847_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I communicate herewith a report of the Secretary of the Treasury,
accompanied by a statement of the Register of the Treasury prepared in
compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 7th
instant, requesting the President "to furnish the House with a statement
showing the whole amount allowed and paid at the Treasury during the
year ending 30th June, 1846, for postages of the Executive Departments
of the Government and for the several officers and persons authorized by
the act approved 3d March, 1846, to send or receive matter through the
mails free, including the amount allowed or allowable, if charged in the
postages of any officers or agents, military, naval, or civil, employed
in or by any of said Departments." It will be perceived that said
statement is as full and accurate as can be made during the present
session of Congress.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _January 29, 1847_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I communicate herewith a report of the Secretary of War, together with
reports of the Adjutant-General and Paymaster-General of the Army, in
answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 20th
instant, requesting the President to communicate to the House "whether
any, and, if any, which, of the Representatives named in the list
annexed have held any office or offices under the United States since
the commencement of the Twenty-ninth Congress, designating the office or
offices held by each, and whether the same are now so held, and
including in said information the names of all who are now serving in
the Army of the United States as officers and receiving pay as such, and
when and by whom they were commissioned."

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _February 3, 1847_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I communicate herewith reports of the Secretary of War and the Secretary
of the Treasury, with accompanying documents, in answer to a resolution
of the Senate "requesting the President to inform the Senate whether any
funds of the Government, and, if any, what amount, have been remitted
from the Atlantic States to New Orleans or to the disbursing officers of
the American Army in Mexico since the 1st of September last, and, if any
remitted, in what funds remitted, whether in gold or silver coin,
Treasury notes, bank notes, or bank checks, and, if in whole or in part
remitted in gold and silver, what has been the expense to the Government
of each of said remittances."

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _February 10, 1847_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for their advice with regard to its
ratification, "a general treaty of peace, amity, navigation, and
commerce between the United States of America and the Republic of New
Granada," concluded at Bogota on the 12th December last by Benjamin A.
Bidlack, charge d'affaires of the United States, on their part, and by
Manuel Maria Mallarino, secretary of state and foreign relations, on the
part of that Republic.

It will be perceived by the thirty-fifth article of this treaty that New
Granada proposes to guarantee to the Government and citizens of the
United States the right of passage across the Isthmus of Panama over the
natural roads and over any canal or railroad which may be constructed to
unite the two seas, on condition that the United States shall make a
similar guaranty to New Granada of the neutrality of this portion of her
territory and her sovereignty over the same.

The reasons which caused the insertion of this important stipulation in
the treaty will be fully made known to the Senate by the accompanying
documents. From these it will appear that our charge d'affaires acted in
this particular upon his own responsibility and without instructions.
Under such circumstances it became my duty to decide whether I would
submit the treaty to the Senate, and after mature consideration I have
determined to adopt this course.

The importance of this concession to the commercial and political
interests of the United States can not easily be overrated. The route by
the Isthmus of Panama is the shortest between the two oceans, and from
the information herewith communicated it would seem to be the most
practicable for a railroad or canal.

The vast advantages to our commerce which would result from such a
communication, not only with the west coast of America, but with Asia
and the islands of the Pacific, are too obvious to require any detail.
Such a passage would relieve us from a long and dangerous navigation of
more than 9,000 miles around Cape Horn and render our communication with
our possessions on the northwest coast of America comparatively easy and
speedy.

The communication across the Isthmus has attracted the attention of the
Government of the United States ever since the independence of the South
American Republics. On the 3d of March, 1835, a resolution passed the
Senate in the following words:

_Resolved_, That the President of the United States be respectfully
requested to consider the expediency of opening negotiations with the
governments of other nations, and particularly with the Governments
of Central America and New Granada, for the purpose of effectually
protecting, by suitable treaty stipulations with them, such individuals
or companies as may undertake to open a communication between the
Atlantic and Pacific oceans by the construction of a ship canal across
the isthmus which connects North and South America, and of securing
forever by such stipulations the free and equal right of navigating such
canal to all nations on the payment of such reasonable tolls as may be
established to compensate the capitalists who may engage in such
undertaking and complete the work.

No person can be more deeply sensible than myself of the danger of
entangling alliances with any foreign nation. That we should avoid such
alliances has become a maxim of our policy consecrated by the most
venerated names which adorn our history and sanctioned by the unanimous
voice of the American people. Our own experience has taught us the
wisdom of this maxim in the only instance, that of the guaranty to
France of her American possessions, in which we have ever entered into
such an alliance. If, therefore, the very peculiar circumstances of the
present case do not greatly impair, if not altogether destroy, the force
of this objection, then we ought not to enter into the stipulation,
whatever may be its advantages. The general considerations which have
induced me to transmit the treaty to the Senate for their advice may be
summed up in the following particulars:

1. The treaty does not propose to guarantee a territory to a foreign
nation in which the United States will have no common interest with that
nation. On the contrary, we are more deeply and directly interested in
the subject of this guaranty than New Granada herself or any other
country.

2. The guaranty does not extend to the territories of New Granada
generally, but is confined to the single Province of the Isthmus of
Panama, where we shall acquire by the treaty a common and coextensive
right of passage with herself.

3. It will constitute no alliance for any political object, but for a
purely commercial purpose, in which all the navigating nations of the
world have a common interest.

4. In entering into the mutual guaranties proposed by the thirty-fifth
article of the treaty neither the Government of New Granada nor that of
the United States has any narrow or exclusive views. The ultimate
object, as presented by the Senate of the United States in their
resolution to which I have already referred, is to secure to all nations
the free and equal right of passage over the Isthmus. If the United
States, as the chief of the American nations, should first become a
party to this guaranty, it can not be doubted--indeed, it is confidently
expected by the Government of New Granada--that similar guaranties will
be given to that Republic by Great Britain and France. Should the
proposition thus tendered be rejected we may deprive the United States
of the just influence which its acceptance might secure to them and
confer the glory and benefits of being the first among the nations in
concluding such an arrangement upon the Government either of Great
Britain or France. That either of these Governments would embrace the
offer can not be doubted, because there does not appear to be any other
effectual means of securing to all nations the advantages of this
important passage but the guaranty of great commercial powers that the
Isthmus shall be neutral territory. The interests of the world at stake
are so important that the security of this passage between the two
oceans can not be suffered to depend upon the wars and revolutions which
may arise among different nations.

Besides, such a guaranty is almost indispensable to the construction of
a railroad or canal across the territory. Neither sovereign states nor
individuals would expend their capital in the construction of these
expensive works without some such security for their investments.

The guaranty of the sovereignty of New Granada over the Isthmus is a
natural consequence of the guaranty of its neutrality, and there does
not seem to be any other practicable mode of securing the neutrality of
this territory. New Granada would not consent to yield up this Province
in order that it might become a neutral state, and if she should it is
not sufficiently populous or wealthy to establish and maintain an
independent sovereignty. But a civil government must exist there in
order to protect the works which shall be constructed. New Granada is
a power which will not excite the jealousy of any nation. If Great
Britain, France, or the United States held the sovereignty over the
Isthmus, other nations might apprehend that in case of war the
Government would close up the passage against the enemy, but no such
fears can ever be entertained in regard to New Granada.

This treaty removes the heavy discriminating duties against us in the
ports of New Granada, which have nearly destroyed our commerce and
navigation with that Republic, and which we have been in vain
endeavoring to abolish for the last twenty years.

It may be proper also to call the attention of the Senate to the
twenty-fifth article of the treaty, which prohibits privateering in case
of war between the two Republics, and also to the additional article,
which nationalizes all vessels of the parties which "shall be provided
by the respective Governments with a patent issued according to its
laws," and in this particular goes further than any of our former
treaties.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _February 13, 1847_.

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

Congress, by the act of the 13th of May last, declared that "by the act
of the Republic of Mexico a state of war exists between that Government
and the United States" and "for the purpose of enabling the Government
of the United States to prosecute said war to a speedy and successful
termination" authority was vested in the President to employ the "naval
and military forces of the United States."

It has been my unalterable purpose since the commencement of hostilities
by Mexico and the declaration of the existence of war by Congress to
prosecute the war in which the country was unavoidably involved with the
utmost energy, with a view to its "speedy and successful termination" by
an honorable peace.

Accordingly all the operations of our naval and military forces have
been directed with this view. While the sword has been held in one hand
and our military movements pressed forward into the enemy's country and
its coasts invested by our Navy, the tender of an honorable peace has
been constantly presented to Mexico in the other.

Hitherto the overtures of peace which have been made by this Government
have not been accepted by Mexico. With a view to avoid a protracted war,
which hesitancy and delay on our part would be so well calculated to
produce, I informed you in my annual message of the 8th December last
that the war would "continue to be prosecuted with vigor, as the best
means of securing peace," and recommended to your early and favorable
consideration the measures proposed by the Secretary of War in his
report accompanying that message.

In my message of the 4th January last these and other measures deemed to
be essential to the "speedy and successful termination" of the war and
the attainment of a just and honorable peace were recommended to your
early and favorable consideration.

The worst state of things which could exist in a war with such a power
as Mexico would be a course of indecision and inactivity on our part.
Being charged by the Constitution and the laws with the conduct of the
war, I have availed myself of all the means at my command to prosecute
it with energy and vigor.

The act "to raise for a limited time an additional military force, and
for other purposes," and which authorizes the raising of ten additional
regiments to the Regular Army, to serve during the war and to be
disbanded at its termination, which was presented to me on the 11th
instant and approved on that day, will constitute an important part of
our military force. These regiments will be raised and moved to the seat
of war with the least practicable delay.

It will be perceived that this act makes no provision for the
organization into brigades and divisions of the increased force which it
authorizes, nor for the appointment of general officers to command it.
It will be proper that authority be given by law to make such
organization, and to appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the
Senate, such number of major-generals and brigadier-generals as the
efficiency of the service may demand. The number of officers of these
grades now in service are not more than are required for their
respective commands; but further legislative action during your present
session will, in my judgment, be required, and to which it is my duty
respectfully to invite your attention.

Should the war, contrary to my earnest desire, be protracted to the
close of the term of service of the volunteers now in Mexico, who
engaged for twelve months, an additional volunteer force will probably
become necessary to supply their place. Many of the volunteers now
serving in Mexico, it is not doubted, will cheerfully engage at the
conclusion of their present term to serve during the war. They would
constitute a more efficient force than could be speedily obtained by
accepting the services of any new corps who might offer their services.
They would have the advantage of the experience and discipline of a
year's service, and will have become accustomed to the climate and be
in less danger than new levies of suffering from the diseases of the
country. I recommend, therefore, that authority be given to accept the
services of such of the volunteers now in Mexico as the state of the
public service may require, and who may at the termination of their
present term voluntarily engage to serve during the war with Mexico,
and that provision be made for commissioning the officers. Should
this measure receive the favorable consideration of Congress, it is
recommended that a bounty be granted to them upon their voluntarily
extending their term of service. This would not only be due to these
gallant men, but it would be economy to the Government, because if
discharged at the end of the twelve months the Government would be bound
to incur a heavy expense in bringing them back to their homes and in
sending to the seat of war new corps of fresh troops to supply their
place.

By the act of the 13th of May last the President was authorized to
accept the services of volunteers "in companies, battalions, squadrons,
and regiments," but no provision was made for filling up vacancies which
might occur by death or discharges from the service on account of
sickness or other casualties. In consequence of this omission many of
the corps now in service have been much reduced in numbers. Nor was any
provision made for filling vacancies of regimental or company officers
who might die or resign. Information has been received at the War
Department of the resignation of more than 100 of these officers. They
were appointed by the State authorities, and no information has been
received except in a few instances that their places have been filled;
and the efficiency of the service has been impaired from this cause. To
remedy these defects, I recommend that authority be given to accept the
services of individual volunteers to fill up the places of such as may
die or become unfit for the service and be discharged, and that
provision be also made for filling the places of regimental and company
officers who may die or resign. By such provisions the volunteer corps
may be constantly kept full or may approximate the maximum number
authorized and called into service in the first instance.

While it is deemed to be our true policy to prosecute the war in the
manner indicated, and thus make the enemy feel its pressure and its
evils, I shall be at all times ready, with the authority conferred on
me by the Constitution and with all the means which may be placed at
my command by Congress, to conclude a just and honorable peace.

Of equal importance with an energetic and vigorous prosecution of the
war are the means required to defray its expenses and to uphold and
maintain the public credit.

In my annual message of the 8th December last I submitted for the
consideration of Congress the propriety of imposing, as a war measure,
revenue duties on some of the articles now embraced in the free list.
The principal articles now exempt from duty from which any considerable
revenue could be derived are tea and coffee. A moderate revenue duty on
these articles it is estimated would produce annually an amount
exceeding $2,500,000. Though in a period of peace, when ample means
could be derived from duties on other articles for the support of the
Government, it may have been deemed proper not to resort to a duty on
these articles, yet when the country is engaged in a foreign war and all
our resources are demanded to meet the unavoidable increased expenditure
in maintaining our armies in the field no sound reason is perceived why
we should not avail ourselves of the revenues which may be derived from
this source. The objections which have heretofore existed to the
imposition of these duties were applicable to a state of peace, when
they were not needed. We are now, however, engaged in a foreign war. We
need money to prosecute it and to maintain the public honor and credit.
It can not be doubted that the patriotic people of the United States
would cheerfully and without complaint submit to the payment of this
additional duty or any other that may be necessary to maintain the honor
of the country, provide for the unavoidable expenses of the Government,
and to uphold the public credit. It is recommended that any duties which
may be imposed on these articles be limited in their duration to the
period of the war.

An additional annual revenue, it is estimated, of between half a million
and a million of dollars would be derived from the graduation and
reduction of the price of such of the public lands as have been long
offered in the market at the minimum price established by the existing
laws and have remained unsold. And in addition to other reasons
commending the measure to favorable consideration, it is recommended as
a financial measure. The duty suggested on tea and coffee and the
graduation and reduction of the price of the public lands would secure
an additional annual revenue to the Treasury of not less than
$3,000,000, and would thereby prevent the necessity of incurring a
public debt annually to that amount, the interest on which must be paid
semiannually, and ultimately the debt itself by a tax on the people.

It is a sound policy and one which has long been approved by the
Government and people of the United States never to resort to loans
unless in cases of great public emergency, and then only for the
smallest amount which the public necessities will permit.

The increased revenues which the measures now recommended would produce
would, moreover, enable the Government to negotiate a loan for any
additional sum which may be found to be needed with more facility and at
cheaper rates than can be done without them.

Under the injunction of the Constitution which makes it my duty "from
time to time to give to Congress information of the state of the Union
and to recommend to their consideration such measures" as shall be
judged "necessary and expedient," I respectfully and earnestly invite
the action of Congress on the measures herein presented for their
consideration. The public good, as well as a sense of my responsibility
to our common constituents, in my judgment imperiously demands that I
should present them for your enlightened consideration and invoke
favorable action upon them before the close of your present session.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _February 13, 1847_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I nominate the officers named in the accompanying communication for
regular promotion in the Army of the United States, as proposed by the
Secretary of War.

JAMES K. POLK.

WAR DEPARTMENT,

_Washington, February 13, 1847_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR: I have the honor respectfully to propose for your approbation the
following-named captains[10] for promotion to the rank of major in the
existing regiments of the Army, in conformity with the third section of
the act approved February 11, 1847, which authorizes one additional
major to each of the regiments of dragoons, artillery, infantry, and
riflemen.

The promotions are all regular with one exception, that of Captain
Washington Seawell, of the Seventh Infantry, instead of Captain Edgar
Hawkins, of the same regiment, who stands at the head of the list of his
grade in the infantry arm. Captain Hawkins, who distinguished himself in
the defense of Fort Brown, is passed over on the ground of mental
alienation, it being officially reported that he is "insane," on which
account he was recently sent from the Army in Mexico. He is now in New
York, and is reported to be "unable to perform any duty." An officer
just returned from the Army in Mexico, and who had recently served with
Captain Hawkins, informed the Adjutant-General that he was quite
deranged, but that he had hopes of his recovery, as the malady was
probably caused by sickness. Should these hopes be realized at some
future day, Captain Hawkins will then of course be promoted without loss
of rank; meanwhile I respectfully recommend that he be passed over, as
the declared object of these additional majors (as set forth in the
Adjutant-General's report to this Department of the 30th of July last)
was to insure the presence of an adequate number of _efficient_ field
officers for duty with the marching regiments, which object would be
neutralized in part should Captain Hawkins now receive the appointment.

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

W.L. MARCY

[Footnote 10: List omitted.]

WASHINGTON, _February 20, 1847_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I communicate herewith a report of the Secretary of State, with the
accompanying documents, in answer to a resolution of the Senate of the
2d instant, requesting the President to communicate such information in
possession of the Executive Departments in relation to the importation
of foreign criminals and paupers as he may deem consistent with the
public interests to communicate.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _February 26, 1847_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I nominate the persons named in the accompanying list[11] 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 11: Omitted.]

WAR DEPARTMENT,
_February 26, 1847_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR: I have the honor respectfully to propose for your approbation the
annexed list[12] of officers for regular promotion and persons for
appointment in the Army of the United States.

It having been decided to be just and proper to restore Grafton D.
Hanson, late a lieutenant in the Eighth Infantry, to his former regiment
and rank, whose resignation was accepted in June, 1845, contrary to his
wish, he having in due time recalled the same, it will be seen that he
is reappointed accordingly. I deem it proper to state that the vacancy
of first lieutenant in the Eighth Infantry, now proposed to be filled by
Mr. Hanson's restoration and reappointment, has been occasioned by the
appointment of the senior captain of the regiment to be major under the
recent act authorizing an additional major to each regiment, being an
original vacancy, and therefore the less reason for any objection in
respect to the general principles and usages of the service, which
guarantee regular promotions to fill vacancies which occur by accident,
etc.

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

W.L. MARCY.

[Footnote 12: Omitted.]

WASHINGTON, _February 26, 1847_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I nominate the officers named in the accompanying list[13] for brevet
promotion in the Army of the United States, for gallant conduct in the
actions at Monterey.

JAMES K. POLK.

[Footnote 13: Omitted.]

WAR DEPARTMENT,
_February 19, 1847_.

The PRESIDENT.

SIR: I present to you the following list[14] of officers engaged in the
actions at Monterey, whose distinguished conduct therein entitles them,
in my judgment, to the promotion by brevet. This list has been prepared
after a particular and careful examination of all the documents in this
Department in relation to the military operations at that place.

Lieutenant-Colonel Garland and Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel Childs (then a
captain of the line) also behaved in the actions of Monterey in a manner
deserving of particular notice, but as their names are now before the
Senate for colonelcies by brevet, I have not presented them for further
promotion. I am not aware that any officer below the lineal rank of
colonel has ever been made a brigadier-general by brevet.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W.L. MARCY.

[Footnote 14: Omitted.]

WASHINGTON, _February 27, 1847_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I communicate herewith a report of the Secretary of War, with the
accompanying documents, in answer to the resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 1st instant, requesting the President "to
communicate to the House of Representatives all the correspondence with
General Taylor since the commencement of hostilities with Mexico which
has not yet been published, and the publication of which may not be
deemed detrimental to the public service; also the correspondence of the
Quartermaster-General in relation to transportation for General Taylor's
Army; also the reports of Brigadier-Generals Hamer and Quitman of the
operations of their respective brigades on the 21st of September last."

As some of these documents relate to military operations of our forces
which may not have been fully executed, I might have deemed it proper to
withhold parts of them under the apprehension that their publication at
this time would be detrimental to the public service; but I am satisfied
that these operations are now so far advanced and that the enemy has
already received so much information from other sources in relation to
the intended movements of our Army as to render this precaution
unnecessary.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, _March 2, 1847_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I communicate herewith a report of the Secretary of War, with the
accompanying documents, in answer to the resolution of the Senate of the
27th ultimo, requesting to be informed "why the name of Captain
Theophilus H. Holmes was not sent in for brevet promotion amongst the
other officers who distinguished themselves at the military operations
at Monterey."

The report of the Secretary of War discloses the reasons for the
omission of the name of Captain Holmes in the list of brevet promotions
in my message of the ____ ultimo. Upon the additional testimony in
Captain Holmes's case which has been received at the War Department, and
to which the Secretary of War refers in his report, I deem it proper to
nominate him for brevet promotion.

I therefore nominate Captain Theophilus H. Holmes, of the Seventh
Regiment of Infantry, to be major by brevet from the 23d September,
1846, in the Army of the United States.

JAMES K. POLK.

WAR DEPARTMENT,
_March,1 1847_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR: With a special reference to the resolution of the Senate of the
27th ultimo, requesting to be informed "why the name of Captain
Theophilus H. Holmes was not sent in for brevet promotion amongst the
other officers who distinguished themselves at the military operations
at Monterey," I have again examined the official reports of those
operations. I do not find that Captain Holmes is mentioned in General

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