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

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the Secretary of State by the diplomatic agents of the Republic of Texas
accredited to this Government, I transmit a report from the Secretary of
State, to whom the resolution was referred.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _June 5, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate, with reference to previous Executive
communications to that body relating to the same subject, the copy of a
letter[130] recently received at the Department of State from the
minister of the United States in London.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 130: Relating to the treaty of annexation with Texas.]

WASHINGTON, _June 7, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives the copy of a letter
recently addressed to the Secretary of State by the British minister at
Washington, with the view of ascertaining "whether it would be agreeable
to this Government that an arrangement should be concluded for the
transmission through the United States of the mails to and from Canada
and England which are now landed at Halifax and thence forwarded through
the British dominions to their destination."

It will be perceived that this communication has been referred to the
Postmaster-General, and his opinion respecting the proposition will
accordingly be found in his letter to the Department of State of the 5th
instant, a copy of which is inclosed. I lose no time in recommending the
subject to the favorable consideration of the House and in bespeaking
for it early attention.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _June 8, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of the
29th of April last, I communicate to that body a report[131] from the
Secretary of State, which embraces the information called for by that
resolution.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 131: Transmitting correspondence from 1816 to 1820, inclusive,
between United States ministers to Spain and the Department of State,
between those ministers and Spanish secretaries of state, and between
the Department of State and the Spanish ministers accredited to the
United States.]

WASHINGTON, _June 10, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

The treaty negotiated by the Executive with the Republic of Texas,
without a departure from any form of proceeding customarily observed in
the negotiations of treaties for the annexation of that Republic to the
United States, having been rejected by the Senate, and the subject
having excited on the part of the people no ordinary degree of interest,
I feel it to be my duty to communicate, for your consideration, the
rejected treaty, together with all the correspondence and documents
which have heretofore been submitted to the Senate in its executive
sessions. The papers communicated embrace not only the series already
made public by orders of the Senate, but others from which the veil
of secrecy has not been removed by that body, but which I deem to be
essential to a just appreciation of the entire question. While the
treaty was pending before the Senate I did not consider it compatible
with the just rights of that body or consistent with the respect
entertained for it to bring this important subject before you. The
power of Congress is, however, fully competent in some other form of
proceeding to accomplish everything that a formal ratification of the
treaty could have accomplished, and I therefore feel that I should but
imperfectly discharge my duty to yourselves or the country if I failed
to lay before you everything in the possession of the Executive which
would enable you to act with full light on the subject if you should
deem it proper to take any action upon it.

I regard the question involved in these proceedings as one of vast
magnitude and as addressing itself to interests of an elevated and
enduring character. A Republic coterminous in territory with our own, of
immense resources, which require only to be brought under the influence
of our confederate and free system in order to be fully developed,
promising at no distant day, through the fertility of its soil, nearly,
if not entirely, to duplicate the exports of the country, thereby making
an addition to the carrying trade to an amount almost incalculable
and giving a new impulse of immense importance to the commercial,
manufacturing, agricultural, and shipping interests of the Union, and at
the same time affording protection to an exposed frontier and placing
the whole country in a condition of security and repose; a territory
settled mostly by emigrants from the United States, who would bring back
with them in the act of reassociation an unconquerable love of freedom
and an ardent attachment to our free institutions--such a question could
not fail to interest most deeply in its success those who under the
Constitution have become responsible for the faithful administration of
public affairs. I have regarded it as not a little fortunate that the
question involved was no way sectional or local, but addressed itself to
the interests of every part of the country and made its appeal to the
glory of the American name.

It is due to the occasion to say that I have carefully reconsidered the
objections which have been urged to immediate action upon the subject
without in any degree having been struck by their force. It has been
objected that the measure of annexation should be preceded by the
consent of Mexico. To preserve the most friendly relations with Mexico;
to concede to her, not grudgingly, but freely, all her rights; to
negotiate fairly and frankly with her as to the question of boundary;
to render her, in a word, the fullest and most ample recompense for any
loss she might convince us she had sustained, fully accords with the
feelings and views the Executive has always entertained.

But negotiation in advance of annexation would prove not only abortive,
but might be regarded as offensive to Mexico and insulting to Texas.
Mexico would not, I am persuaded, give ear for a moment to an attempt
at negotiation in advance except for the whole territory of Texas.
While all the world beside regards Texas as an independent power, Mexico
chooses to look upon her as a revolted province. Nor could we negotiate
with Mexico for Texas without admitting that our recognition of her
independence was fraudulent, delusive, or void. It is only after
acquiring Texas that the question of boundary can arise between the
United States and Mexico--a question purposely left open for negotiation
with Mexico as affording the best opportunity for the most friendly and
pacific arrangements. The Executive has dealt with Texas as a power
independent of all others, both _de facto_ and _de jure_. She was an
independent State of the Confederation of Mexican Republics. When by
violent revolution Mexico declared the Confederation at an end, Texas
owed her no longer allegiance, but claimed and has maintained the right
for eight years to a separate and distinct position. During that period
no army has invaded her with a view to her reconquest; and if she has
not yet established her right to be treated as a nation independent _de
facto_ and _de jure_, it would be difficult to say at what period she
will attain to that condition.

Nor can we by any fair or any legitimate inference be accused of
violating any treaty stipulations with Mexico. The treaties with Mexico
give no guaranty of any sort and are coexistent with a similar treaty
with Texas. So have we treaties with most of the nations of the earth
which are equally as much violated by the annexation of Texas to the
United States as would be our treaty with Mexico. The treaty is merely
commercial and intended as the instrument for more accurately defining
the rights and securing the interests of the citizens of each country.
What bad faith can be implied or charged upon the Government of the
United States for successfully negotiating with an independent power
upon any subject not violating the stipulations of such treaty I confess
my inability to discern.

The objections which have been taken to the enlargement of our territory
were urged with much zeal against the acquisition of Louisiana, and yet
the futility of such has long since been fully demonstrated. Since that
period a new power has been introduced into the affairs of the world,
which has for all practical purposes brought Texas much nearer to the
seat of Government than Louisiana was at the time of its annexation.
Distant regions are by the application of the steam engine brought
within a close proximity.

With the views which I entertain on the subject, I should prove
faithless to the high trust which the Constitution has devolved upon me
if I neglected to invite the attention of the representatives of the
people to it at the earliest moment that a due respect for the Senate
would allow me so to do. I should find in the urgency of the matter a
sufficient apology, if one was wanting, since annexation is to encounter
a great, if not certain, hazard of final defeat if something be not
_now_ done to prevent it. Upon this point I can not too impressively
invite your attention to my message of the 16th of May and to the
documents which accompany it, which have not heretofore been made
public. If it be objected that the names of the writers of some of the
private letters are withheld, all that I can say is that it is done
for reasons regarded as altogether adequate, and that the writers are
persons of the first respectability and citizens of Texas, and have such
means of obtaining information as to entitle their statements to full
credit. Nor has anything occurred to weaken, but, on the contrary, much
to confirm, my confidence in the statements of General Jackson, and
my own statement, made at the close of that message, in the belief,
amounting almost to certainty, "that instructions have already been
given by the Texan Government to propose to the Government of Great
Britain, forthwith on the failure [of the treaty], to enter into a
treaty of commerce and an alliance offensive and defensive."

I also particularly invite your attention to the letter from Mr.
Everett, our envoy at London, containing an account of a conversation in
the House of Lords which lately occurred between Lord Brougham and Lord
Aberdeen in relation to the question of annexation. Nor can I do so
without the expression of some surprise at the language of the minister
of foreign affairs employed upon the occasion. That a Kingdom which is
made what it now is by repeated acts of annexation--beginning with the
time of the heptarchy and concluding with the annexation of the Kingdoms
of Ireland and Scotland--should perceive any principle either novel or
serious in the late proceedings of the American Executive in regard to
Texas is well calculated to excite surprise. If it be pretended that
because of commercial or political relations which may exist between the
two countries neither has a right to part with its sovereignty, and that
no third power can change those relations by a voluntary treaty of union
or annexation, then it would seem to follow that an annexation to be
achieved by force of arms in the prosecution of a just and necessary war
could in no way be justified; and yet it is presumed that Great Britain
would be the last nation in the world to maintain any such doctrine.
The commercial and political relations of many of the countries of Europe
have undergone repeated changes by voluntary treaties, by conquest,
and by partitions of their territories without any question as to the
right under the public law. The question, in this view of it, can be
considered as neither "serious" nor "novel." I will not permit myself to
believe that the British minister designed to bring himself to any such
conclusion, but it is impossible for us to be blind to the fact that
the statements contained in Mr. Everett's dispatch are well worthy of
serious consideration. The Government and people of the United States
have never evinced nor do they feel any desire to interfere in public
questions not affecting the relations existing between the States of the
American continent. We leave the European powers exclusive control over
matters affecting their continent and the relations of their different
States; the United States claim a similar exemption from any such
interference on their part. The treaty with Texas was negotiated from
considerations of high public policy, influencing the conduct of the
two Republics. We have treated with Texas as an independent power
solely with a view of bettering the condition of the two countries. If
annexation in any form occur, it will arise from the free and unfettered
action of the people of the two countries; and it seems altogether
becoming in me to say that the honor of the country, the dignity of the
American name, and the permanent interests of the United States would
forbid acquiescence in any such interference. No one can more highly
appreciate the value of peace to both Great Britain and the United
States and the capacity of each to do injury to the other than myself,
but peace can best be preserved by maintaining firmly the rights which
belong to us as an independent community.

So much have I considered it proper for me to say; and it becomes me
only to add that while I have regarded the annexation to be accomplished
by treaty as the most suitable form in which it could be effected,
should Congress deem it proper to resort to any other expedient
compatible with the Constitution and likely to accomplish the object
I stand prepared to yield my most prompt and active cooperation.

The great question is not as to the manner in which it shall be done,
but whether it shall be accomplished or not.

The responsibility of deciding this question is now devolved upon you.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _June 10, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 7th instant, upon the
subject of the supposed employment of Mr. Duff Green in Europe by the
Executive of the United States, I transmit a report from the Secretary
of State, to whom the resolution was referred.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _June 12, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 4th instant,
calling for a correspondence[132] between the late minister of the
United States in Mexico and the minister for foreign affairs of that
Republic, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the
documents by which it was accompanied.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 132: On the subject of an order issued by the Mexican
Government expelling all natives of the United States from Upper
California and other departments of the Mexican Republic, and of
the order prohibiting foreigners the privilege of the retail trade
in Mexico.]

WASHINGTON, _June, 12, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_;

The resolution of the Senate of the 3d instant, requesting the
President to lay before that body, confidentially, "a copy of any
instructions which may have been given by the Executive to the American
minister in England on the subject of the title to and occupation of the
Territory of Oregon since the 4th of March, 1841; also a copy of any
correspondence which may have passed between this Government and that
of Great Britain in relation to the subject since that time," has been
received.

In reply I have to state that in the present state of the subject-matter
to which the resolution refers it is deemed inexpedient to communicate
the information requested by the Senate.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _June 15, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives, in answer to their
resolution of the 4th instant, a report from the Secretary of State, with
the correspondence[133] therein referred to.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 133: With Great Britain relative to the duties exacted by that
Government on rough rice exported from the United States, contrary to
the treaty of 1815.]

WASHINGTON, _June 17, 1844_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State, in answer
to a resolution of the 12th instant. Although the contingent fund for
foreign intercourse has for all time been placed at the disposal of the
President, to be expended for the purposes contemplated by the fund
without any requisition upon him for a disclosure of the names of
persons employed by him, the objects of their employment, or the amount
paid to any particular person, and although any such disclosures might
in many cases disappoint the objects contemplated by the appropriation
of that fund, yet in this particular instance I feel no desire to
withhold the fact that Mr. Duff Green was employed by the Executive to
collect such information, from private or other sources, as was deemed
important to assist the Executive in undertaking a negotiation then
contemplated, but afterwards abandoned, upon an important subject, and
that there was paid to him through the hands of the Secretary of State
$1,000, in full for all such service. It is proper to say that Mr. Green
afterwards presented a claim for an additional allowance, which has been
neither allowed nor recognized as correct.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _June 17, 1844_.

_To the Senate_:

I have learned that the Senate has laid on the table the nomination,
heretofore made, of Reuben H. Walworth to be an associate justice of the
Supreme Court, in the place of Smith Thompson, deceased. I am informed
that a large amount of business has accumulated in the second district,
and that the immediate appointment of a judge for that circuit is
essential to the administration of justice. Under these circumstances I
feel it my duty to withdraw the name of Mr. Walworth, whose appointment
the Senate by their action seems not now prepared to confirm, in the
hope that another name may be more acceptable.

The circumstances under which the Senate heretofore declined to advise
and consent to the nomination of John C. Spencer have so far changed as
to justify me in my again submitting his name to their consideration.

I therefore nominate John C. Spencer, of New York, to be appointed an
associate justice of the Supreme Court, in the place of Smith Thompson,
deceased.

JOHN TYLER.

VETO MESSAGES.[134]

[Footnote 134: The first is a pocket veto.]

WASHINGTON, _December 18, 1843_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I received within a few hours of the adjournment of the last Congress a
resolution "directing payment of the certificates or awards issued by
the commissioners under the treaty with the Cherokee Indians." Its
provisions involved principles of great importance, in reference to
which it required more time to obtain the necessary information than
was allowed.

The balance of the fund provided by Congress for satisfying claims under
the seventeenth article of the Cherokee treaty, referred to in the
resolution, is wholly insufficient to meet the claims still pending. To
direct the payment, therefore, of the whole amount of those claims which
happened to be first adjudicated would prevent a ratable distribution of
the fund among those equally entitled to its benefits. Such a violation
of the individual rights of the claimants would impose upon the
Government the obligation of making further appropriations to indemnify
them, and thus Congress would be obliged to enlarge a provision, liberal
and equitable, which it had made for the satisfaction of all the demands
of the Cherokees. I was unwilling to sanction a measure which would thus
indirectly overturn the adjustment of our differences with the
Cherokees, accomplished with so much difficulty, and to which time is
reconciling those Indians.

If no such indemnity should be provided, then a palpable and very gross
wrong would be inflicted upon the claimants who had not been so
fortunate as to have their claims taken up in preference to others.
Besides, the fund having been appropriated by law to a specific purpose,
in fulfillment of the treaty, it belongs to the Cherokees, and the
authority of this Government to direct its application to particular
claims is more than questionable.

The direction in the joint resolution, therefore, to pay the awards
of the commissioners to the amount of $100,000 seemed to me quite
objectionable, and could not be approved.

The further direction that the certificates required to be issued by the
treaty, and in conformity with the practice of the board heretofore,
shall be proper and sufficient vouchers, upon which payments shall be
made at the Treasury, is a departure from the system established soon
after the adoption of the Constitution and maintained ever since. That
system requires that payments under the authority of any Department
shall be made upon its requisition, countersigned by the proper Auditor
and Comptroller. The greatest irregularity would ensue from the mode of
payment prescribed by the resolution.

I have deemed it respectful and proper to lay before the House of
Representatives these reasons for having withheld my approval of the
above-mentioned joint resolution.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _June 11, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I return to the House of Representatives, in which it originated, the
bill entitled "An act making appropriations for the improvement of
certain harbors and rivers," with the following objections to its
becoming a law:

At the adoption of the Constitution each State was possessed of a
separate and independent sovereignty and an exclusive jurisdiction
over all streams and water courses within its territorial limits.
The Articles of Confederation in no way affected this authority or
jurisdiction, and the present Constitution, adopted for the purpose of
correcting the defects which existed in the original Articles, expressly
reserves to the States all powers not delegated. No such surrender of
jurisdiction is made by the States to this Government by any express
grant, and if it is possessed it is to be deduced from the clause in the
Constitution which invests Congress with authority "to make all laws
which are necessary and proper for carrying into execution" the granted
powers. There is, in my view of the subject, no pretense whatever for
the claim to power which the bill now returned substantially sets up.
The inferential power, in order to be legitimate, must be clearly and
plainly incidental to some granted power and necessary to its exercise.
To refer it to the head of convenience or usefulness would be to throw
open the door to a boundless and unlimited discretion and to invest
Congress with an unrestrained authority. The power to remove
obstructions from the water courses of the States is claimed under the
granted power "to regulate commerce with foreign nations, _among the
several States_, and with the Indian tribes;" but the plain and obvious
meaning of this grant is that Congress may adopt rules and regulations
prescribing the terms and conditions on which the citizens of the United
States may carry on commercial operations with foreign states or
kingdoms, and on which the citizens or subjects of foreign states or
kingdoms may prosecute trade with the United States or either of them.
And so the power to regulate commerce _among the several States_ no more
invests Congress with jurisdiction over the water courses of the States
than the first branch of the grant does over the water courses of
foreign powers, which would be an absurdity.

The right of common use of the people of the United States to the
navigable waters of each and every State arises from the express
stipulation contained in the Constitution that "the citizens of each
State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in
the several States." While, therefore, the navigation of any river in
any State is by the laws of such State allowed to the citizens thereof,
the same is also secured by the Constitution of the United States on the
same terms and conditions to the citizens of every other State; and so
of any other privilege or immunity.

The application of the revenue of this Government, if the power to do
so was admitted, to improving the navigation of the rivers by removing
obstructions or otherwise would be for the most part productive only of
local benefit. The consequences might prove disastrously ruinous to as
many of our fellow-citizens as the exercise of such power would benefit.
I will take one instance furnished by the present bill--out of no
invidious feeling, for such it would be impossible for me to feel, but
because of my greater familiarity with locations--in illustration of the
above opinion: Twenty thousand dollars are proposed to be appropriated
toward improving the harbor of Richmond, in the State of Virginia. Such
improvement would furnish advantages to the city of Richmond and add to
the value of the property of its citizens, while it might have a most
disastrous influence over the wealth and prosperity of Petersburg, which
is situated some 25 miles distant on a branch of James River, and which
now enjoys its fair portion of the trade. So, too, the improvement of
James River to Richmond and of the Appomattox to Petersburg might, by
inviting the trade to those two towns, have the effect of prostrating
the town of Norfolk. This, too, might be accomplished without adding a
single vessel to the number now engaged in the trade of the Chesapeake
Bay or bringing into the Treasury a dollar of additional revenue. It
would produce, most probably, the single effect of concentrating the
commerce now profitably enjoyed by three places upon one of them. This
case furnishes an apt illustration of the effect of this bill in several
other particulars.

There can not, in fact, be drawn the slightest discrimination between
the improving the streams of a State under the power to regulate
commerce and the most extended system of internal improvements on land.
The excavating a canal and paving a road are equally as much incidents
to such claim of power as the removing obstructions from water courses;
nor can such power be restricted by any fair course of reasoning to the
mere fact of making the improvement. It reasonably extends also to the
right of seeking a return of the means expended through the exaction of
tolls and the levying of contributions. Thus, while the Constitution
denies to this Government the privilege of acquiring a property in the
soil of any State, even for the purpose of erecting a necessary
fortification, without a grant from such State, this claim to power
would invest it with control and dominion over the waters and soil of
each State without restriction. Power so incongruous can not exist in
the same instrument.

The bill is also liable to a serious objection because of its blending
appropriations for numerous objects but few of which agree in their
general features. This necessarily produces the effect of embarrassing
Executive action. Some of the appropriations would receive my sanction
if separated from the rest, however much I might deplore the
reproduction of a system which for some time past has been permitted
to sleep with apparently the acquiescence of the country. I might
particularize the Delaware Breakwater as an improvement which looks
to the security from the storms of our extended Atlantic seaboard of
the vessels of all the country engaged either in the foreign or the
coastwise trade, as well as to the safety of the revenue; but when, in
connection with that, the same bill embraces improvements of rivers at
points far in the interior, connected alone with the trade of such river
and the exertion of mere local influences, no alternative is left me but
to use the qualified veto with which the Executive is invested by the
Constitution, and to return the bill to the House in which it originated
for its ultimate reconsideration and decision.

In sanctioning a bill of the same title with that returned, for the
improvement of the Mississippi and its chief tributaries and certain
harbors on the Lakes, if I bring myself apparently in conflict with any
of the principles herein asserted it will arise on my part exclusively
from the want of a just appreciation of localities. The Mississippi
occupies a footing altogether different from the rivers and water
courses of the different States. No one State or any number of States
can exercise any other jurisdiction over it than for the punishment of
crimes and the service of civil process. It belongs to no particular
State or States, but of common right, by express reservation, to all
the States. It is reserved as a great common highway for the commerce
of the whole country. To have conceded to Louisiana, or to any other
State admitted as a new State into the Union, the exclusive jurisdiction,
and consequently the right to make improvements and to levy tolls on
the segments of the river embraced within its territorial limits, would
have been to have disappointed the chief object in the purchase of
Louisiana, which was to secure the free use of the Mississippi to all
the people of the United States. Whether levies on commerce were made
by a foreign or domestic government would have been equally burdensome
and objectionable. The United States, therefore, is charged with
its improvement for the benefit of all, and the appropriation of
governmental means to its improvement becomes indispensably necessary
for the good of all.

As to the harbors on the Lakes, the act originates no new improvements,
but makes appropriations for the continuance of works already begun.

It is as much the duty of the Government to construct good harbors,
without reference to the location or interests of cities, for the
shelter of the extensive commerce of the Lakes as to build breakwaters
on the Atlantic coast for the protection of the trade of that ocean.
These great inland seas are visited by destructive storms, and the
annual loss of ships and cargoes, and consequently of revenue to the
Government, is immense. If, then, there be any work embraced by that act
which is not required in order to afford shelter and security to the
shipping against the tempests which so often sweep over those great
inland seas, but has, on the contrary, originated more in a spirit of
speculation and local interest than in one of the character alluded to,
the House of Representatives will regard my approval of the bill more as
the result of misinformation than any design to abandon or modify the
principles laid down in this message. Every system is liable to run into
abuse, and none more so than that under consideration; and measures can
not be too soon taken by Congress to guard against this evil.

JOHN TYLER.

EXECUTIVE ORDERS.

CIRCULAR[135]

[Footnote 135: Sent to all diplomatic and consular officers of the
United States.]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, February 29, 1844_.

SIR: It has become my most painful duty to announce to you the sudden
and violent death of the Hon. Abel P. Upshur, late Secretary of State
of the United States. This afflicting dispensation occurred on the
afternoon of yesterday, from the bursting of one of the great guns on
board the Government steamship _Princeton_, near Alexandria, on her
return from an excursion of pleasure down the river Potomac. By this
most unfortunate accident several of our distinguished citizens, amongst
whom were the Secretaries of State and of the Navy, were immediately
killed, and many other persons mortally wounded or severely injured.
It is the wish of the President that the diplomatic and consular agents
of the United States, and all other officers connected with the State
Department, either at home or abroad, shall wear the usual badge of
mourning, in token of their grief and of respect for the memory of
Mr. Upshur, during thirty days from the time of receiving this order.

In consequence of this event, the President has been pleased to charge
me _ad interim_ with the direction of the Department of State, and I
have accordingly this day entered upon the duties of this appointment.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, sir, your obedient servant,

JNO. NELSON.

GENERAL ORDERS.

WAR DEPARTMENT, _February 29, 1844_.

In the deepest grief the President of the United States has instructed
the undersigned to announce to the Army that from the accidental
explosion of a gun yesterday on board the United States steamship
_Princeton_ the country and its Government lost at the same moment the
Secretary of State, the Hon. A.P. Upshur, and the Secretary of the Navy,
the Hon. T.W. Gilmer.

Called but a few days since to preside over the administration of the
War Department, it is peculiarly painful to the undersigned that his
first official communication to the Army should be the announcement of a
calamity depriving the country of the public services of two of our most
accomplished statesmen and popular and deeply esteemed fellow-citizens.
Their virtues, talents, and patriotic services will ever be retained in
the grateful recollection of their countrymen and perpetuated upon the
pages of the history of our common country.

Deep as may be the gloom which spreads over the community, it has
pleased the Almighty Disposer of Events to add another shade to it
by blending in this melancholy catastrophe the deaths of an eminent
citizen, Virgil Maxcy, esq., lately charge d'affaires to Belgium; a
gallant and meritorious officer of the Navy, a chief of a bureau,
Captain B. Kennon, and a private citizen of New York of high and
estimable character, besides others, citizens and sailors, either
killed or wounded.

As appropriate honors to the memory of these distinguished Secretaries,
half-hour guns will be fired at every military post furnished with the
proper ordnance the day after the receipt of this order from sunrise to
sunset. The national flag will be displayed at half-staff during the
same time. And all officers of the Army will wear for three months the
customary badge of mourning.

WM. WILKINS
_Secretary of War_.

GENERAL ORDER.

NAVY DEPARTMENT, _February 29, 1844_.

As a mark of respect to the memory of the late Hon. Thomas W. Gilmer,
Secretary of the Navy, whose career at his entrance upon the duties of
his office, would have been nobly maintained by that ability and vigor
of which his whole previous life had been the guaranty, the flags of all
vessels in commission, navy-yards, and stations are to be hoisted at
half-mast on the day after the receipt of this order, minute guns to the
number of seventeen are to be fired between sunrise and sunset, and
crape is to be worn on the left arm and upon the sword for the space of
three months.

By command of the President:

L. WARRINGTON,
_Secretary of the Navy ad interim_.

FOURTH ANNUAL MESSAGE.

WASHINGTON, _December 3, 1844_.

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

We have continued cause for expressing our gratitude to the Supreme
Ruler of the Universe for the benefits and blessings which our country,
under His kind providence, has enjoyed during the past year.
Notwithstanding the exciting scenes through which we have passed,
nothing has occurred to disturb the general peace or to derange the
harmony of our political system. The great moral spectacle has been
exhibited of a nation approximating in number to 20,000,000 people
having performed the high and important function of electing their Chief
Magistrate for the term of four years without the commission of any acts
of violence or the manifestation of a spirit of insubordination to the
laws. The great and inestimable right of suffrage has been exercised by
all who were invested with it under the laws of the different States in
a spirit dictated alone by a desire, in the selection of the agent, to
advance the interests of the country and to place beyond jeopardy the
institutions under which it is our happiness to live. That the deepest
interest has been manifested by all our countrymen in the result of
the election is not less true than highly creditable to them. Vast
multitudes have assembled from time to time at various places for the
purpose of canvassing the merits and pretensions of those who were
presented for their suffrages, but no armed soldiery has been necessary
to restrain within proper limits the popular zeal or to prevent violent
outbreaks. A principle much more controlling was found in the love of
order and obedience to the laws, which, with mere individual exceptions,
everywhere possesses the American mind, and controls with an influence
far more powerful than hosts of armed men. We can not dwell upon this
picture without recognizing in it that deep and devoted attachment on
the part of the people to the institutions under which we live which
proclaims their perpetuity. The great objection which has always
prevailed against the election by the people of their chief executive
officer has been the apprehension of tumults and disorders which might
involve in ruin the entire Government. A security against this is found
not only in the fact before alluded to, but in the additional fact that
we live under a Confederacy embracing already twenty-six States, no one
of which has power to control the election. The popular vote in each
State is taken at the time appointed by the laws, and such vote is
announced by the electoral college without reference to the decision of
other States. The right of suffrage and the mode of conducting the
election are regulated by the laws of each State, and the election is
distinctly federative in all its prominent features. Thus it is that,
unlike what might be the results under a consolidated system, riotous
proceedings, should they prevail, could only affect the elections
in single States without disturbing to any dangerous extent the
tranquillity of others. The great experiment of a political
confederation each member of which is supreme as to all matters
appertaining to its local interests and its internal peace and
happiness, while by a voluntary compact with others it confides to
the united power of all the protection of its citizens in matters not
domestic has been so far crowned with complete success. The world has
witnessed its rapid growth in wealth and population, and under the guide
and direction of a superintending Providence the developments of the
past may be regarded but as the shadowing forth of the mighty future.
In the bright prospects of that future we shall find, as patriots and
philanthropists, the highest inducements to cultivate and cherish a love
of union and to frown down every measure or effort which may be made to
alienate the States or the people of the States in sentiment and feeling
from each other. A rigid and close adherence to the terms of our
political compact and, above all, a sacred observance of the guaranties
of the Constitution will preserve union on a foundation which can not
be shaken, while personal liberty is placed beyond hazard or jeopardy.
The guaranty of religious freedom, of the freedom of the press, of the
liberty of speech, of the trial by jury, of the habeas corpus, and of
the domestic institutions of each of the States, leaving the private
citizen in the full exercise of the high and ennobling attributes of his
nature and to each State the privilege (which can only be judiciously
exerted by itself) of consulting the means best calculated to advance
its own happiness--these are the great and important guaranties of the
Constitution which the lovers of liberty must cherish and the advocates
of union must ever cultivate. Preserving these and avoiding all
interpolations by forced construction under the guise of an imagined
expediency upon the Constitution, the influence of our political system
is destined to be as actively and as beneficially felt on the distant
shores of the Pacific as it is now on those of the Atlantic Ocean.
The only formidable impediments in the way of its successful expansion
(time and space) are so far in the progress of modification by the
improvements of the age as to render no longer speculative the ability
of representatives from that remote region to come up to the Capitol, so
that their constituents shall participate in all the benefits of Federal
legislation. Thus it is that in the progress of time the inestimable
principles of civil liberty will be enjoyed by millions yet unborn
and the great benefits of our system of government be extended to now
distant and uninhabited regions. In view of the vast wilderness yet to
be reclaimed, we may well invite the lover of freedom of every land to
take up his abode among us and assist us in the great work of advancing
the standard of civilization and giving a wider spread to the arts and
refinements of cultivated life. Our prayers should evermore be offered
up to the Father of the Universe for His wisdom to direct us in the
path of our duty so as to enable us to consummate these high purposes.

One of the strongest objections which has been urged against
confederacies by writers on government is the liability of the members
to be tampered with by foreign governments or the people of foreign
states, either in their local affairs or in such as affected the peace
of others or endangered the safety of the whole confederacy. We can not
hope to be entirely exempt from such attempts on our peace and safety.
The United States are becoming too important in population and resources
not to attract the observation of other nations. It therefore may in the
progress of time occur that opinions entirely abstract in the States
in which they may prevail and in no degree affecting their domestic
institutions may be artfully but secretly encouraged with a view to
undermine the Union. Such opinions may become the foundation of
political parties, until at last the conflict of opinion, producing an
alienation of friendly feeling among the people of the different States,
may involve in general destruction the happy institutions under which we
live. It should ever be borne in mind that what is true in regard to
individuals is equally so in regard to states. An interference of one in
the affairs of another is the fruitful cause of family dissensions and
neighborhood disputes, and the same cause affects the peace, happiness,
and prosperity of states. It may be most devoutly hoped that the good
sense of the American people will ever be ready to repel all such
attempts should they ever be made.

There has been no material change in our foreign relations since my last
annual message to Congress. With all the powers of Europe we continue
on the most friendly terms. Indeed, it affords me much satisfaction to
state that at no former period has the peace of that enlightened and
important quarter of the globe ever been, apparently, more firmly
established. The conviction that peace is the true policy of nations
would seem to be growing and becoming deeper amongst the enlightened
everywhere, and there is no people who have a stronger interest in
cherishing the sentiments and adopting the means of preserving and
giving it permanence than those of the United States. Amongst these, the
first and most effective are, no doubt, the strict observance of justice
and the honest and punctual fulfillment of all engagements. But it is
not to be forgotten that in the present state of the world it is no less
necessary to be ready to enforce their observance and fulfillment in
reference to ourselves than to observe and fulfill them on our part in
regard to others.

Since the close of your last session a negotiation has been formally
entered upon between the Secretary of State and Her Britannic Majesty's
minister plenipotentiary and envoy extraordinary residing at Washington
relative to the rights of their respective nations in and over the
Oregon Territory. That negotiation is still pending. Should it during
your session be brought to a definitive conclusion, the result will
be promptly communicated to Congress. I would, however, again call
your attention to the recommendations contained in previous messages
designed to protect and facilitate emigration to that Territory. The
establishment of military posts at suitable points upon the extended
line of land travel would enable our citizens to emigrate in comparative
safety to the fertile regions below the Falls of the Columbia, and make
the provision of the existing convention for the joint occupation of the
territory by subjects of Great Britain and the citizens of the United
States more available than heretofore to the latter. These posts would
constitute places of rest for the weary emigrant, where he would be
sheltered securely against the danger of attack from the Indians and
be enabled to recover from the exhaustion of a long line of travel.
Legislative enactments should also be made which should spread over him
the aegis of our laws, so as to afford protection to his person and
property when he shall have reached his distant home. In this latter
respect the British Government has been much more careful of the
interests of such of her people as are to be found in that country than
the United States. She has made necessary provision for their security
and protection against the acts of the viciously disposed and lawless,
and her emigrant reposes in safety under the panoply of her laws.
Whatever may be the result of the pending negotiation, such measures
are necessary. It will afford me the greatest pleasure to witness a
happy and favorable termination to the existing negotiation upon terms
compatible with the public honor, and the best efforts of the Government
will continue to be directed to this end.

It would have given me the highest gratification in this my last annual
communication to Congress to have been able to announce to you the
complete and entire settlement and adjustment of other matters in
difference between the United States and the Government of Her Britannic
Majesty, which were adverted to in a previous message. It is so
obviously the interest of both countries, in respect to the large
and valuable commerce which exists between them, that all causes
of complaint, however inconsiderable, should be with the greatest
promptitude removed that it must be regarded as cause of regret that any
unnecessary delays should be permitted to intervene. It is true that
in a pecuniary point of view the matters alluded to are altogether
insignificant in amount when compared with the ample resources of that
great nation, but they nevertheless, more particularly that limited
class which arise under seizures and detentions of American ships on the
coast of Africa upon the mistaken supposition indulged in at the time
the wrong was committed of their being engaged in the slave trade,
deeply affect the sensibilities of this Government and people. Great
Britain, having recognized her responsibility to repair all such wrongs
by her action in other cases, leaves nothing to be regretted upon the
subject as to all cases arising prior to the treaty of Washington than
the delay in making suitable reparation in such of them as fall plainly
within the principle of others which she has long since adjusted. The
injury inflicted by delays in the settlement of these claims falls with
severity upon the individual claimants and makes a strong appeal to her
magnanimity and sense of justice for a speedy settlement. Other matters
arising out of the construction of existing treaties also remain
unadjusted, and will continue to be urged upon her attention.

The labors of the joint commission appointed by the two Governments
to run the dividing line established by the treaty of Washington were,
unfortunately, much delayed in the commencement of the season by the
failure of Congress at its last session to make a timely appropriation
of funds to meet the expenses of the American party, and by other
causes.

The United States commissioner, however, expresses his expectation that
by increased diligence and energy the party will be able to make up for
lost time.

We continue to receive assurances of the most friendly feelings on the
part of all the other European powers, with each and all of whom it is
so obviously our interest to cultivate the most amicable relations; nor
can I anticipate the occurrence of any event which would be likely in
any degree to disturb those relations. Russia, the great northern power,
under the judicious sway of her Emperor, is constantly advancing in the
road of science and improvement, while France, guided by the counsels of
her wise Sovereign, pursues a course calculated to consolidate the
general peace. Spain has obtained a breathing spell of some duration
from the internal convulsions which have through so many years marred
her prosperity, while Austria, the Netherlands, Prussia, Belgium, and
the other powers of Europe reap a rich harvest of blessings from the
prevailing peace.

I informed the two Houses of Congress in my message of December last
that instructions had been given to Mr. Wheaton, our minister at Berlin,
to negotiate a treaty with the Germanic States composing the Zollverein
if it could be done, stipulating, as far as it was practicable to
accomplish it, for a reduction of the heavy and onerous duties levied on
our tobacco and other leading articles of agricultural production, and
yielding in return on our part a reduction of duties on such articles
the product of their industry as should not come into competition,
or but a limited one, with articles the product of our manufacturing
industry. The Executive in giving such instructions considered itself as
acting in strict conformity with the wishes of Congress as made known
through several measures which it had adopted, all directed to the
accomplishment of this important result. The treaty was therefore
negotiated, by which essential reductions were secured in the duties
levied by the Zollverein on tobacco, rice, and lard, accompanied by a
stipulation for the admission of raw cotton free of duty; in exchange
for which highly important concessions a reduction of duties imposed by
the laws of the United States on a variety of articles, most of which
were admitted free of all duty under the act of Congress commonly known
as the compromise law, and but few of which were produced in the United
States, was stipulated for on our part. This treaty was communicated to
the Senate at an early day of its last session, but not acted upon until
near its close, when, for the want (as I am bound to presume) of full
time to consider it, it was laid upon the table. This procedure had
the effect of virtually rejecting it, in consequence of a stipulation
contained in the treaty that its ratifications should be exchanged on or
before a day which has already passed. The Executive, acting upon the
fair inference that the Senate did not intend its absolute rejection,
gave instructions to our minister at Berlin to reopen the negotiation so
far as to obtain an extension of time for the exchange of ratifications.
I regret, however, to say that his efforts in this respect have been
unsuccessful. I am nevertheless not without hope that the great
advantages which were intended to be secured by the treaty may yet
be realized.

I am happy to inform you that Belgium has, by an "_arrete royale_"
issued in July last, assimilated the flag of the United States to her
own, so far as the direct trade between the two countries is concerned.
This measure will prove of great service to our shipping interest, the
trade having heretofore been carried on chiefly in foreign bottoms.
I flatter myself that she will speedily resort to a modification of her
system relating to the tobacco trade, which would decidedly benefit the
agriculture of the United States and operate to the mutual advantage of
both countries.

No definitive intelligence has yet been received from our minister of
the conclusion of a treaty with the Chinese Empire, but enough is known
to induce the strongest hopes that the mission will be crowned with
success.

With Brazil our relations continue on the most friendly footing. The
commercial intercourse between that growing Empire and the United States
is becoming daily of greater importance to both, and it is to the
interest of both that the firmest relations of amity and good will
should continue to be cultivated between them.

The Republic of New Granada still withholds, notwithstanding the most
persevering efforts have been employed by our charge d'affaires, Mr.
Blackford, to produce a different result, indemnity in the case of the
brig _Morris_; and the Congress of Venezuela, although an arrangement
has been effected between our minister and the minister of foreign
affairs of that Government for the payment of $18,000 in discharge of
its liabilities in the same case, has altogether neglected to make
provision for its payment. It is to be hoped that a sense of justice
will soon induce a settlement of these claims.

Our late minister to Chili, Mr. Pendleton, has returned to the United
States without having effected an adjustment in the second claim of the
_Macedonian_, which is delayed on grounds altogether frivolous and
untenable. Mr. Pendleton's successor has been directed to urge the claim
in the strongest terms, and, in the event of a failure to obtain a
prompt adjustment, to report the fact to the Executive at as early a day
as possible, so that the whole matter may be communicated to Congress.

At your last session I submitted to the attention of Congress the
convention with the Republic of Peru of the 17th March, 1841, providing
for the adjustment of the claims of citizens of the United States
against that Republic, but no definitive action was taken upon the
subject. I again invite to it your attention and prompt action.

In my last annual message I felt it to be my duty to make known to
Congress, in terms both plain and emphatic, my opinion in regard to the
war which has so long existed between Mexico and Texas, which since the
battle of San Jacinto has consisted altogether of predatory incursions,
attended by circumstances revolting to humanity. I repeat now what I
then said, that after eight years of feeble and ineffectual efforts to
reconquer Texas it was time that the war should have ceased. The United
States have a direct interest in the question. The contiguity of the
two nations to our territory was but too well calculated to involve our
peace. Unjust suspicions were engendered in the mind of one or the other
of the belligerents against us, and as a necessary consequence American
interests were made to suffer and our peace became daily endangered; in
addition to which it must have been obvious to all that the exhaustion
produced by the war subjected both Mexico and Texas to the interference
of other powers, which, without the interposition of this Government,
might eventuate in the most serious injury to the United States. This
Government from time to time exerted its friendly offices to bring about
a termination of hostilities upon terms honorable alike to both the
belligerents. Its efforts in this behalf proved unavailing. Mexico
seemed almost without an object to persevere in the war, and no other
alternative was left the Executive but to take advantage of the
well-known dispositions of Texas and to invite her to enter into
a treaty for annexing her territory to that of the United States.

Since your last session Mexico has threatened to renew the war, and has
either made or proposes to make formidable preparations for invading
Texas. She has issued decrees and proclamations, preparatory to the
commencement of hostilities, full of threats revolting to humanity,
and which if carried into effect would arouse the attention of all
Christendom. This new demonstration of feeling, there is too much reason
to believe, has been produced inconsequence of the negotiation of the
late treaty of annexation with Texas. The Executive, therefore, could
not be indifferent to such proceedings, and it felt it to be due as well
to itself as to the honor of the country that a strong representation
should be made to the Mexican Government upon the subject. This was
accordingly done, as will be seen by the copy of the accompanying
dispatch from the Secretary of State to the United States envoy at
Mexico. Mexico has no right to jeopard the peace of the world by urging
any longer a useless and fruitless contest. Such a condition of things
would not be tolerated on the European continent. Why should it be on
this? A war of desolation, such as is now threatened by Mexico, can not
be waged without involving our peace and tranquillity. It is idle to
believe that such a war could be looked upon with indifference by our
own citizens inhabiting adjoining States; and our neutrality would be
violated in despite of all efforts on the part of the Government to
prevent it. The country is settled by emigrants from the United States
under invitations held out to them by Spain and Mexico. Those emigrants
have left behind them friends and relatives, who would not fail to
sympathize with them in their difficulties, and who would be led by
those sympathies to participate in their struggles, however energetic
the action of the Government to prevent it. Nor would the numerous
and formidable bands of Indians--the most warlike to be found in any
land--which occupy the extensive regions contiguous to the States of
Arkansas and Missouri, and who are in possession of large tracts of
country within the limits of Texas, be likely to remain passive. The
inclinations of those numerous tribes lead them invariably to war
whenever pretexts exist.

Mexico had no just ground of displeasure against this Government or
people for negotiating the treaty. What interest of hers was affected by
the treaty? She was despoiled of nothing, since Texas was forever lost
to her. The independence of Texas was recognized by several of the
leading powers of the earth. She was free to treat, free to adopt her
own line of policy, free to take the course which she believed was best
calculated to secure her happiness.

Her Government and people decided on annexation to the United States,
and the Executive saw in the acquisition of such a territory the means
of advancing their permanent happiness and glory. What principle of good
faith, then, was violated? What rule of political morals trampled under
foot? So far as Mexico herself was concerned, the measure should have
been regarded by her as highly beneficial. Her inability to reconquer
Texas had been exhibited, I repeat, by eight (now nine) years of
fruitless and ruinous contest. In the meantime Texas has been growing
in population and resources. Emigration has flowed into her territory
from all parts of the world in a current which continues to increase
in strength. Mexico requires a permanent boundary between that young
Republic and herself. Texas at no distant day, if she continues separate
and detached from the United States, will inevitably seek to consolidate
her strength by adding to her domain the contiguous Provinces of Mexico.
The spirit of revolt from the control of the central Government has
heretofore manifested itself in some of those Provinces, and it is
fair to infer that they would be inclined to take the first favorable
opportunity to proclaim their independence and to form close alliances
with Texas. The war would thus be endless, or if cessations of
hostilities should occur they would only endure for a season. The
interests of Mexico, therefore, could in nothing be better consulted
than in a peace with her neighbors which would result in the
establishment of a permanent boundary. Upon the ratification of the
treaty the Executive was prepared to treat with her on the most liberal
basis. Hence the boundaries of Texas were left undefined by the treaty.
The Executive proposed to settle these upon terms that all the world
should have pronounced just and reasonable. No negotiation upon that
point could have been undertaken between the United States and Mexico in
advance of the ratification of the treaty. We should have had no right,
no power, no authority, to have conducted such a negotiation, and to
have undertaken it would have been an assumption equally revolting
to the pride of Mexico and Texas and subjecting us to the charge of
arrogance, while to have proposed in advance of annexation to satisfy
Mexico for any contingent interest she might have in Texas would have
been to have treated Texas not as an independent power, but as a mere
dependency of Mexico. This assumption could not have been acted on by
the Executive without setting at defiance your own solemn declaration
that that Republic was an independent State. Mexico had, it is true,
threatened War against the United States in the event the treaty of
annexation was ratified. The Executive could not permit itself to be
influenced by this threat. It represented ill this the spirit of our
people, who are ready to sacrifice much for peace, but nothing to
intimidation. A war under any circumstances is greatly to be deplored,
and the United States is the last nation to desire it; but if, as the
condition of peace, it be required of us to forego the unquestionable
right of treating with an independent power of our own continent upon
matters highly interesting to both, and that upon a naked and
unsustained pretension of claim by a third power to control the free
will of the power with whom we treat, devoted as we may be to peace
and anxious to cultivate friendly relations with the whole world, the
Executive does not hesitate to say that the people of the United States
would be ready to brave all consequences sooner than submit to such
condition. But no apprehension of war was entertained by the Executive,
and I must express frankly the opinion that had the treaty been ratified
by the Senate it would have been followed by a prompt settlement, to the
entire satisfaction of Mexico, of every matter in difference between the
two countries. Seeing, then, that new preparations for hostile invasion
of Texas were about to be adopted by Mexico, and that these were brought
about because Texas had adopted the suggestions of the Executive upon
the subject of annexation, it could not passively have folded its arms
and permitted a war, threatened to be accompanied by every act that
could mark a barbarous age, to be waged against her because she had
done so.

Other considerations of a controlling character influenced the course
of the Executive. The treaty which had thus been negotiated had failed
to receive the ratification of the Senate. One of the chief objections
which was urged against it was found to consist in the fact that the
question of annexation had not been submitted to the ordeal of public
opinion in the United States. However untenable such an objection was
esteemed to be, in view of the unquestionable power of the Executive to
negotiate the treaty and the great and lasting interests involved in
the question, I felt it to be my duty to submit the whole subject to
Congress as the best expounders of popular sentiment. No definitive
action having been taken on the subject by Congress, the question
referred itself directly to the decision of the States and people.
The great popular election which has just terminated afforded the best
opportunity of ascertaining the will of the States and the people upon
it. Pending that issue it became the imperative duty of the Executive
to inform Mexico that the question of annexation was still before the
American people, and that until their decision was pronounced any
serious invasion of Texas would be regarded as an attempt to forestall
their judgment and could not be looked upon with indifference. I am most
happy to inform you that no such invasion has taken place; and I trust
that whatever your action may be upon it Mexico will see the importance
of deciding the matter by a resort to peaceful expedients in preference
to those of arms. The decision of the people and the States on this
great and interesting subject has been decisively manifested.
The question of annexation has been presented nakedly to their
consideration. By the treaty itself all collateral and incidental issues
which were calculated to divide and distract the public councils were
carefully avoided. These were left to the wisdom of the future to
determine. It presented, I repeat, the isolated question of annexation,
and in that form it has been submitted to the ordeal of public
sentiment. A controlling majority of the people and a large majority of
the States have declared in favor of immediate annexation. Instructions
have thus come up to both branches of Congress from their respective
constituents in terms the most emphatic. It is the will of both the
people and the States that Texas shall be annexed to the Union promptly
and immediately. It may be hoped that in carrying into execution the
public will thus declared all collateral issues may be avoided. Future
Legislatures can best decide as to the number of States which should be
formed out of the territory when the time has arrived for deciding that
question. So with all others. By the treaty the United States assumed
the payment of the debts of Texas to an amount not exceeding
$10,000,000, to be paid, with the exception of a sum falling short of
$400,000, exclusively out of the proceeds of the sales of her public
lands. We could not with honor take the lands without assuming the full
payment of all incumbrances upon them.

Nothing has occurred since your last session to induce a doubt
that the dispositions of Texas remain unaltered. No intimation of an
altered determination on the part of her Government and people has been
furnished to the Executive. She still desires to throw herself under
the protection of our laws and to partake of the blessings of our
federative system, while every American interest would seem to require
it. The extension of our coastwise and foreign trade to an amount almost
incalculable, the enlargement of the market for our manufactures, a
constantly growing market for our agricultural productions, safety to
our frontiers, and additional strength and stability to the Union--these
are the results which would rapidly develop themselves upon the
consummation of the measure of annexation. In such event I will not
doubt but that Mexico would find her true interest to consist in meeting
the advances of this Government in a spirit of amity. Nor do I apprehend
any serious complaint from any other quarter; no sufficient ground
exists for such complaint. We should interfere in no respect with the
rights of any other nation. There can not be gathered from the act any
design on our part to do so with their possessions on this continent.
We have interposed no impediments in the way of such acquisitions of
territory, large and extensive as many of them are, as the leading
powers of Europe have made from time to time in every part of the world.
We seek no conquest made by war. No intrigue will have been resorted to
or acts of diplomacy essayed to accomplish the annexation of Texas. Free
and independent herself, she asks to be received into our Union. It is
a question for our own decision whether she shall be received or not.

The two Governments having already agreed through their respective
organs on the terms of annexation, I would recommend their adoption by
Congress in the form of a joint resolution or act to be perfected and
made binding on the two countries when adopted in like manner by the
Government of Texas.

In order that the subject may be fully presented in all its bearings,
the correspondence which has taken place in reference to it since the
adjournment of Congress between the United States, Texas, and Mexico is
herewith transmitted.

The amendments proposed by the Senate to the convention concluded
between the United States and Mexico on the 20th of November, 1843, have
been transmitted through our minister for the concurrence of the Mexican
Government, but, although urged thereto, no action has yet been had on
the subject, nor has any answer been given which would authorize a
favorable conclusion in the future.

The decree of September, 1843, in relation to the retail trade, the
order for the expulsion of foreigners, and that of a more recent date
in regard to passports--all which are considered as in violation of
the treaty of amity and commerce between the two countries--have led
to a correspondence of considerable length between the minister for
foreign relations and our representatives at Mexico, but without any
satisfactory result. They remain still unadjusted, and many and serious
inconveniences have already resulted to our citizens in consequence of
them.

Questions growing out of the act of disarming a body of Texan troops
under the command of Major Snively by an officer in the service of
the United States, acting under the orders of our Government, and the
forcible entry into the custom-house at Bryarlys Landing, on Red River,
by certain citizens of the United States, and taking away therefrom the
goods seized by the collector of the customs as forfeited under the laws
of Texas, have been adjusted so far as the powers of the Executive
extend. The correspondence between the two Governments in reference
to both subjects will be found amongst the accompanying documents.
It contains a full statement of all the facts and circumstances, with
the views taken on both sides and the principles on which the questions
have been adjusted. It remains for Congress to make the necessary
appropriation to carry the arrangement into effect, which I respectfully
recommend.

The greatly improved condition of the Treasury affords a subject for
general congratulation. The paralysis which had fallen on trade and
commerce, and which subjected the Government to the necessity of
resorting to loans and the issue of Treasury notes to a large amount,
has passed away, and after the payment of upward of $7,000,000 on
account of the interest, and in redemption of more than $5,000,000 of
the public debt which falls due on the 1st of January next, and setting
apart upward of $2,000,000 for the payment of outstanding Treasury notes
and meeting an installment of the debts of the corporate cities of the
District of Columbia, an estimated surplus of upward of $7,000,000 over
and above the existing appropriations will remain in the Treasury at the
close of the fiscal year. Should the Treasury notes continue outstanding
as heretofore, that surplus will be considerably augmented. Although
all interest has ceased upon them and the Government has invited their
return to the Treasury, yet they remain outstanding, affording great
facilities to commerce, and establishing the fact that under a
well-regulated system of finance the Government has resources within
itself which render it independent in time of need, not only of private
loans, but also of bank facilities.

The only remaining subject of regret is that the remaining stocks of the
Government do not fall due at an earlier day, since their redemption
would be entirely within its control. As it is, it may be well worthy
the consideration of Congress whether the law establishing the sinking
fund (under the operation of which the debts of the Revolution and last
war with Great Britain were to a great extent extinguished) should not,
with proper modifications, so as to prevent an accumulation of
surpluses, and limited in amount to a specific sum, be reenacted. Such
provision, which would authorize the Government to go into the market
for a purchase of its own stock on fair terms, would serve to maintain
its credit at the highest point and prevent to a great extent those
fluctuations in the price of its securities which might under other
circumstances affect its credit. No apprehension of this sort is at this
moment entertained, since the stocks of the Government, which but two
years ago were offered for sale to capitalists at home and abroad at a
depreciation, and could find no purchasers, are now greatly above par in
the hands of the holders; but a wise and prudent forecast admonishes us
to place beyond the reach of contingency the public credit.

It must also be a matter of unmingled gratification that under the
existing financial system (resting upon the act of 1789 and the
resolution of 1816) the currency of the country has attained a state of
perfect soundness; and the rates of exchange between different parts
of the Union, which in 1841 denoted by their enormous amount the great
depreciation and, in fact, worthlessness of the currency in most of
the States, are now reduced to little more than the mere expense of
transporting specie from place to place and the risk incident to the
operation. In a new country like that of the United States, where so
many inducements are held out for speculation, the depositories of the
surplus revenue, consisting of banks of any description, when it reaches
any considerable amount, require the closest vigilance on the part of
the Government. All banking institutions, under whatever denomination
they may pass, are governed by an almost exclusive regard to the
interest of the stockholders. That interest consists in the augmentation
of profits in the form of dividends, and a large surplus revenue
intrusted to their custody is but too apt to lead to excessive loans
and to extravagantly large issues of paper. As a necessary consequence
prices are nominally increased and the speculative mania very soon
seizes upon the public mind. A fictitious state of prosperity for a
season exists, and, in the language of the day, money becomes plenty.
Contracts are entered into by individuals resting on this unsubstantial
state of things, but the delusion speedily passes away and the country
is overrun with an indebtedness so weighty as to overwhelm many and to
visit every department of industry with great and ruinous embarrassment.
The greatest vigilance becomes necessary on the part of Government to
guard against this state of things. The depositories must be given
distinctly to understand that the favors of the Government will be
altogether withdrawn, or substantially diminished, if its revenues shall
be regarded as additions to their banking capital or as the foundation
of an enlarged circulation.

The Government, through its revenue, has at all times an important part
to perform in connection with the currency, and it greatly depends upon
its vigilance and care whether the country be involved in embarrassments
similar to those which it has had recently to encounter, or, aided by
the action of the Treasury, shall be preserved in a sound and healthy
condition.

The dangers to be guarded against are greatly augmented by too large a
surplus of revenue. When that surplus greatly exceeds in amount what
shall be required by a wise and prudent forecast to meet unforeseen
contingencies, the Legislature itself may come to be seized with a
disposition to indulge in extravagant appropriations to objects many
of which may, and most probably would, be found to conflict with the
Constitution. A fancied expediency is elevated above constitutional
authority, and a reckless and wasteful extravagance but too certainly
follows.

The important power of taxation, which when exercised in its most
restricted form is a burthen on labor and production, is resorted to
under various pretexts for purposes having no affinity to the motives
which dictated its grant, and the extravagance of Government stimulates
individual extravagance until the spirit of a wild and ill-regulated
speculation involves one and all in its unfortunate results. In view of
such fatal consequences, it may be laid down as an axiom founded in
moral and political truth that no greater taxes should be imposed than
are necessary for an economical administration of the Government, and
that whatever exists beyond should be reduced or modified. This doctrine
does in no way conflict with the exercise of a sound discrimination in
the selection of the articles to be taxed, which a due regard to the
public weal would at all times suggest to the legislative mind. It
leaves the range of selection undefined; and such selection should
always be made with an eye to the great interests of the country.
Composed as is the Union of separate and independent States, a patriotic
Legislature will not fail in consulting the interests of the parts to
adopt such course as will be best calculated to advance the harmony
of the whole, and thus insure that permanency in the policy of the
Government without which all efforts to advance the public prosperity
are vain and fruitless.

This great and vitally important task rests with Congress, and the
Executive can do no more than recommend the general principles which
should govern in its execution.

I refer you to the report of the Secretary of War for an exhibition of
the condition of the Army, and recommend to you as well worthy your best
consideration many of the suggestions it contains. The Secretary in no
degree exaggerates the great importance of pressing forward without
delay in the work of erecting and finishing the fortifications to which
he particularly alludes. Much has been done toward placing our cities
and roadsteads in a state of security against the hazards of hostile
attack within the last four years; but considering the new elements
which have been of late years employed in the propelling of ships
and the formidable implements of destruction which have been brought
into service, we can not be too active or vigilant in preparing and
perfecting the means of defense. I refer you also to his report for
a full statement of the condition of the Indian tribes within our
jurisdiction. The Executive has abated no effort in carrying into effect
the well-established policy of the Government which contemplates a
removal of all the tribes residing within the limits of the several
States beyond those limits, and it is now enabled to congratulate the
country at the prospect of an early consummation of this object. Many of
the tribes have already made great progress in the arts of civilized
life, and through the operation of the schools established among them,
aided by the efforts of the pious men of various religious denominations
who devote themselves to the task of their improvement, we may fondly
hope that the remains of the formidable tribes which were once masters
of this country will in their transition from the savage state to a
condition of refinement and cultivation add another bright trophy to
adorn the labors of a well-directed philanthropy.

The accompanying report of the Secretary of the Navy will explain to you
the situation of that branch of the service. The present organization of
the Department imparts to its operations great efficiency, but I concur
fully in the propriety of a division of the Bureau of Construction,
Equipment, Increase, and Repairs into two bureaus. The subjects as now
arranged are incongruous, and require to a certain extent information
and qualifications altogether dissimilar.

The operations of the squadron on the coast of Africa have been
conducted with all due attention to the object which led to its
origination, and I am happy to say that the officers and crews have
enjoyed the best possible health under the system adopted by the officer
in command. It is believed that the United States is the only nation
which has by its laws subjected to the punishment of death as pirates
those who may be engaged in the slave trade. A similar enactment on the
part of other nations would not fail to be attended by beneficial
results.

In consequence of the difficulties which have existed in the way of
securing titles for the necessary grounds, operations have not yet been
commenced toward the establishment of the navy-yard at Memphis. So soon
as the title is perfected no further delay will be permitted to
intervene. It is well worthy of your consideration whether Congress
should not direct the establishment of a ropewalk in connection with the
contemplated navy-yard, as a measure not only of economy, but as highly
useful and necessary. The only establishment of the sort now connected
with the service is located at Boston, and the advantages of a similar
establishment convenient to the hemp-growing region must be apparent to
all.

The report of the Secretary presents other matters to your consideration
of an important character in connection with the service.

In referring you to the accompanying report of the Postmaster-General it
affords me continued cause of gratification to be able to advert to the
fact that the affairs of the Department for the last four years have
been so conducted as from its unaided resources to meet its large
expenditures. On my coming into office a debt of nearly $500,000 existed
against the Department, which Congress discharged by an appropriation
from the Treasury. The Department on the 4th of March next will be
found, under the management of its present efficient head, free of debt
or embarrassment, which could only have been done by the observance and
practice of the greatest vigilance and economy. The laws have
contemplated throughout that the Department should be self-sustained,
but it may become necessary, with the wisest regard to the public
interests, to introduce amendments and alterations in the system.

There is a strong desire manifested in many quarters so to alter the
tariff of letter postage as to reduce the amount of tax at present
imposed. Should such a measure be carried into effect to the full extent
desired, it can not well be doubted but that for the first years of its
operation a diminished revenue would be collected, the supply of which
would necessarily constitute a charge upon the Treasury. Whether such
a result would be desirable it will be for Congress in its wisdom
to determine. It may in general be asserted as true that radical
alterations in any system should rather be brought about gradually than
by sudden changes, and by pursuing this prudent policy in the reduction
of letter postage the Department might still sustain itself through the
revenue which would accrue by the increase of letters. The state and
condition of the public Treasury has heretofore been such as to have
precluded the recommendation of any material change. The difficulties
upon this head have, however, ceased, and a larger discretion is now
left to the Government.

I can not too strongly urge the policy of authorizing the establishment
of a line of steamships regularly to ply between this country and
foreign ports and upon our own waters for the transportation of the
mail. The example of the British Government is well worthy of imitation
in this respect. The belief is strongly entertained that the emoluments
arising from the transportation of mail matter to foreign countries
would operate of itself as an inducement to cause individual enterprise
to undertake that branch of the task, and the remuneration of the
Government would consist in the addition readily made to our steam navy
in case of emergency by the ships so employed. Should this suggestion
meet your approval, the propriety of placing such ships under the
command of experienced officers of the Navy will not escape your
observation. The application of steam to the purposes of naval warfare
cogently recommends an extensive steam marine as important in estimating
the defenses of the country. Fortunately this may be obtained by us
to a great extent without incurring any large amount of expenditure.
Steam vessels to be engaged in the transportation of the mails on our
principal water courses, lakes, and ports of our coast could also be so
constructed as to be efficient as war vessels when needed, and would of
themselves constitute a formidable force in order to repel attacks from
abroad. We can not be blind to the fact that other nations have already
added large numbers of steamships to their naval armaments and that this
new and powerful agent is destined to revolutionize the condition of
the world. It becomes the United States, therefore, looking to their
security, to adopt a similar policy, and the plan suggested will enable
them to do so at a small comparative cost.

I take the greatest pleasure in bearing testimony to the zeal and
untiring industry which has characterized the conduct of the members of
the Executive Cabinet. Each in his appropriate sphere has rendered me
the most efficient aid in carrying on the Government, and it will not,
I trust, appear out of place for me to bear this public testimony. The
cardinal objects which should ever be held in view by those intrusted
with the administration of public affairs are rigidly, and without favor
or affection, so to interpret the national will expressed in the laws as
that injustice should be done to none, justice to all. This has been the
rule upon which they have acted, and thus it is believed that few cases,
if any, exist wherein our fellow-citizens, who from time to time have
been drawn to the seat of Government for the settlement of their
transactions with the Government, have gone away dissatisfied. Where the
testimony has been perfected and was esteemed satisfactory their claims
have been promptly audited, and this in the absence of all favoritism or
partiality. The Government which is not just to its own people can
neither claim their affection nor the respect of the world. At the same
time, the closest attention has been paid to those matters which relate
more immediately to the great concerns of the country. Order and
efficiency in each branch of the public service have prevailed,
accompanied by a system of the most rigid responsibility on the part of
the receiving and disbursing agents. The fact, in illustration of the
truth of this remark, deserves to be noticed that the revenues of the
Government, amounting in the last four years to upward of $120,000,000,
have been collected and disbursed through the numerous governmental
agents without the loss by default of any amount worthy of serious
commentary.

The appropriations made by Congress for the improvement of the rivers of
the West and of the harbors on the Lakes are in a course of judicious
expenditure under suitable agents, and are destined, it is to be hoped,
to realize all the benefits designed to be accomplished by Congress.
I can not, however, sufficiently impress upon Congress the great
importance of withholding appropriations from improvements which are not
ascertained by previous examination and survey to be necessary for the
shelter and protection of trade from the dangers of storms and tempests.
Without this precaution the expenditures are but too apt to inure to the
benefit of individuals, without reference to the only consideration
which can render them constitutional--the public interests and the
general good.

I can not too earnestly urge upon you the interests of this District,
over which by the Constitution Congress has exclusive jurisdiction. It
would be deeply to be regretted should there be at any time ground to
complain of neglect on the part of a community which, detached as it is
from the parental care of the States of Virginia and Maryland, can only
expect aid from Congress as its local legislature. Amongst the subjects
which claim your attention is the prompt organization of an asylum for
the insane who may be found from time to time sojourning within the
District. Such course is also demanded by considerations which apply to
branches of the public service. For the necessities in this behalf I
invite your particular attention to the report of the Secretary of the
Navy.

I have thus, gentlemen of the two Houses of Congress, presented you
a true and faithful picture of the condition of public affairs, both
foreign and domestic. The wants of the public service are made known
to you, and matters of no ordinary importance are urged upon your
consideration. Shall I not be permitted to congratulate you on the happy
auspices under which you have assembled and at the important change in
the condition of things which has occurred in the last three years?
During that period questions with foreign powers of vital importance to
the peace of our country have been settled and adjusted. A desolating
and wasting war with savage tribes has been brought to a close. The
internal tranquillity of the country, threatened by agitating questions,
has been preserved. The credit of the Government, which had experienced
a temporary embarrassment, has been thoroughly restored. Its coffers,
which for a season were empty, have been replenished. A currency nearly
uniform in its value has taken the place of one depreciated and almost
worthless. Commerce and manufactures, which had suffered in common with
every other interest, have once more revived, and the whole country
exhibits an aspect of prosperity and happiness. Trade and barter, no
longer governed by a wild and speculative mania, rest upon a solid
and substantial footing, and the rapid growth of our cities in every
direction bespeaks most strongly the favorable circumstances by which we
are surrounded. My happiness in the retirement which shortly awaits me
is the ardent hope which I experience that this state of prosperity is
neither deceptive nor destined to be short lived, and that measures
which have not yet received its sanction, but which I can not but regard
as closely connected with the honor, the glory, and still more enlarged
prosperity of the country, are destined at an early day to receive
the approval of Congress. Under these circumstances and with these
anticipations I shall most gladly leave to others more able than myself
the noble and pleasing task of sustaining the public prosperity. I shall
carry with me into retirement the gratifying reflection that as my sole
object throughout has been to advance the public good I may not entirely
have failed in accomplishing it; and this gratification is heightened in
no small degree by the fact that when under a deep and abiding sense of
duty I have found myself constrained to resort to the qualified veto it
has neither been followed by disapproval on the part of the people nor
weakened in any degree their attachment to that great conservative
feature of our Government.

JOHN TYLER.

SPECIAL MESSAGES.

WASHINGTON, _December 10, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I have great pleasure in submitting to the Senate, for its ratification
and approval, a treaty which has been concluded between Mr. Cushing, the
United States commissioner, and the Chinese Empire.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _December 10, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I submit copies of two private and confidential letters addressed by Mr.
Fay, acting in his place during the absence of Mr. Wheaton from Berlin,
from which it appears that should the Senate see cause to ratify the
treaty with the States composing the Zollverein without reference to the
fact that the time limited for the exchange of its ratification had
expired the Germanic States would regard the time fixed for the exchange
of ratifications as immaterial and would give by their action upon
it vitality and force to the treaty. I submit it to your mature
consideration whether, in view of the important benefits arising from
the treaty to the trade and commerce of the United States and to their
agriculture, it would not comport with sound policy to adopt that
course.

The Executive, not regarding the action of the Senate upon the treaty
as expressive of its decisive opinion, deemed it proper to reopen
the negotiations so far as to obtain an extension of time for the
interchange of ratifications. The negotiation failed, however, in this
particular, out of no disinclination to abide by the terms of the treaty
on the part of the Zollverein, but from a belief that it would not fully
comport with its dignity to do so.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _December 10, 1844_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I communicate to you an extract of a dispatch from Mr. Hall to the
Secretary of State, which has been received by me since my message of
the 3d instant, containing the pleasing intelligence that the indemnity
assumed to be paid by the Republic of Venezuela in the case of the brig
_Morris_ has been satisfactorily arranged.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _December 18, 1844_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith copies of dispatches received from our minister at
Mexico since the commencement of your present session, which claim from
their importance, and I doubt not will receive, your calm and deliberate
consideration. The extraordinary and highly offensive language which
the Mexican Government has thought proper to employ in reply to the
remonstrance of the Executive, through Mr. Shannon, against the renewal
of the war with Texas while the question of annexation was pending
before Congress and the people, and also the proposed manner of
conducting that war, will not fail to arrest your attention. Such
remonstrance, urged in no unfriendly spirit to Mexico, was called for by
considerations of an imperative character, having relation as well to
the peace of this country and honor of this Government as to the cause
of humanity and civilization. Texas had entered into the treaty of
annexation upon the invitation of the Executive, and when for that act
she was threatened with a renewal of the war on the part of Mexico she
naturally looked to this Government to interpose its efforts to ward
off the threatened blow. But one course was left the Executive, acting
within the limits of its constitutional competency, and that was to
protest in respectful, but at the same time strong and decided, terms
against it. The war thus threatened to be renewed was promulgated by
edicts and decrees, which ordered on the part of the Mexican military
the desolation of whole tracts of country and the destruction without
discrimination of all ages, sexes, and conditions of existence. Over the
manner of conducting war Mexico possesses no exclusive control. She has
no right to violate at pleasure the principles which an enlightened
civilization has laid down for the conduct of nations at war, and
thereby retrograde to a period of barbarism, which happily for the world
has long since passed away. All nations are interested in enforcing an
observance of those principles, and the United States, the oldest of
the American Republics and the nearest of the civilized powers to the
theater on which these enormities were proposed to be enacted, could not
quietly content themselves to witness such a state of things. They had
through the Executive on another occasion, and, as was believed, with
the approbation of the whole country, remonstrated against outrages
similar but even less inhuman than those which by her new edicts and
decrees she has threatened to perpetrate, and of which the late inhuman
massacre at Tabasco was but the precursor.

The bloody and inhuman murder of Fannin and his companions, equaled only
in savage barbarity by the usages of the untutored Indian tribes, proved
how little confidence could be placed on the most solemn stipulations of
her generals, while the fate of others who became her captives in
war--many of whom, no longer able to sustain the fatigues and privations
of long journeys, were shot down by the wayside, while their companions
who survived were subjected to sufferings even more painful than
death--had left an indelible stain on the page of civilization. The
Executive, with the evidence of an intention on the part of Mexico to
renew scenes so revolting to humanity, could do no less than renew
remonstrances formerly urged. For fulfilling duties so imperative Mexico
has thought proper, through her accredited organs, because she has had
represented to her the inhumanity of such proceedings, to indulge in
language unknown to the courtesy of diplomatic intercourse and offensive
in the highest degree to this Government and people. Nor has she
offended in this only. She has not only violated existing conventions
between the two countries by arbitrary and unjust decrees against our
trade and intercourse, but withholds installments of debt due to our
citizens which she solemnly pledged herself to pay under circumstances
which are fully explained by the accompanying letter from Mr. Green, our
secretary of legation. And when our minister has invited the attention
of her Government to wrongs committed by her local authorities, not only
on the property but on the persons of our fellow-citizens engaged in
prosecuting fair and honest pursuits, she has added insult to injury
by not even deigning for months together to return an answer to his
representations. Still further to manifest her unfriendly feelings
toward the United States, she has issued decrees expelling from some
of her Provinces American citizens engaged in the peaceful pursuits of
life, and now denies to those of our citizens prosecuting the whale
fishery on the northwest coast of the Pacific the privilege, which has
through all time heretofore been accorded to them, of exchanging goods
of a small amount in value at her ports in California for supplies
indispensable to their health and comfort.

Nor will it escape the observation of Congress that in conducting a
correspondence with a minister of the United States, who can not and
does not know any distinction between the geographical sections of the
Union, charges wholly unfounded are made against particular States, and
an appeal to others for aid and protection against supposed wrongs. In
this same connection, sectional prejudices are attempted to be excited
and the hazardous and unpardonable effort is made to foment divisions
amongst the States of the Union and thereby imbitter their peace. Mexico
has still to learn that however freely we may indulge in discussion
among ourselves, the American people will tolerate no interference in
their domestic affairs by any foreign government, and in all that
concerns the constitutional guaranties and the national honor the people
of the United States have but one mind and one heart.

The subject of annexation addresses itself, most fortunately, to every
portion of the Union. The Executive would have been unmindful of its
highest obligations if it could have adopted a course of policy dictated
by sectional interests and local feelings. On the contrary, it was
because the question was neither local nor sectional, but made its
appeal to the interests of the whole Union, and of every State in the
Union, that the negotiation, and finally the treaty of annexation, was
entered into; and it has afforded me no ordinary pleasure to perceive
that so far as demonstrations have been made upon it by the people they
have proceeded from all portions of the Union. Mexico may seek to excite
divisions amongst us by uttering unjust denunciations against particular
States, but when she comes to know that the invitations addressed to our
fellow-citizens by Spain, and afterwards by herself, to settle Texas
were accepted by emigrants from all the States, and when, in addition to
this, she refreshes her recollection with the fact that the first effort
which was made to acquire Texas was during the Administration of a
distinguished citizen from an Eastern State, which was afterwards
renewed under the auspices of a President from the Southwest, she will
awake to a knowledge of the futility of her present purpose of sowing
dissensions among us or producing distraction in our councils by attacks
either on particular States or on persons who are now in the retirement
of private life.

Considering the appeal which she now makes to eminent citizens by name,
can she hope to escape censure for having ascribed to them, as well as
to others, a design, as she pretends now for the first time revealed, of
having originated negotiations to despoil her by duplicity and falsehood
of a portion of her territory? The opinion then, as now, prevailed with
the Executive that the annexation of Texas to the Union was a matter
of vast importance. In order to acquire that territory before it
had assumed a position among the independent powers of the earth,
propositions were made to Mexico for a cession of it to the United
States. Mexico saw in these proceedings at the time no cause of
complaint. She is now, when simply reminded of them, awakened to the
knowledge of the fact, which she, through her secretary of state,
promulgates to the whole world as true, that those negotiations were
founded in deception and falsehood and superinduced by unjust and
iniquitous motives. While Texas was a dependency of Mexico the United
States opened negotiations with the latter power for the cession of her
then acknowledged territory, and now that Texas is independent of Mexico
and has maintained a separate existence for nine years, during which
time she has been received into the family of nations and is represented
by accredited ambassadors at many of the principal Courts of Europe, and
when it has become obvious to the whole world that she is forever lost
to Mexico, the United States is charged with deception and falsehood in
all relating to the past, and condemnatory accusations are made against
States which have had no special agency in the matter, because the
Executive of the whole Union has negotiated with free and independent
Texas upon a matter vitally important to the interests of both
countries; and after nine years of unavailing war Mexico now announces
her intention, through her secretary of foreign affairs, never to
consent to the independence of Texas or to abandon the effort to
reconquer that Republic. She thus announces a perpetual claim, which
at the end of a century will furnish her as plausible a ground for
discontent against any nation which at the end of that time may enter
into a treaty with Texas as she possesses at this moment against the
United States. The lapse of time can add nothing to her title to
independence. A course of conduct such as has been described on the part
of Mexico, in violation of all friendly feeling and of the courtesy
which should characterize the intercourse between the nations of the
earth, might well justify the United States in a resort to any measures
to vindicate their national honor; but, actuated by a sincere desire
to preserve the general peace, and in view of the present condition
of Mexico, the Executive, resting upon its integrity, and not fearing
but that the judgment of the world will duly appreciate its motives,
abstains from recommending to Congress a resort to measures of redress
and contents itself with reurging upon that body prompt and immediate
action on the subject of annexation. By adopting that measure the United
States will be in the exercise of an undoubted right; and if Mexico,
not regarding their forbearance, shall aggravate the injustice of her
conduct by a declaration of war against them, upon her head will rest
all the responsibility.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _December 23, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

The messenger who lately bore to Berlin the ratified copy of the
convention for the mutual abolition of the _droit d'aubaine_ and taxes
on emigration between the United States of America and the Grand Duchy
of Hesse, has just returned to Washington, bearing with him the exchange
copy of said convention. It appears that the exchange of ratifications
did not take place until the 16th day of October, twenty days after
the period fixed by the convention itself for that purpose. This
informality, which it would seem was occasioned by the absence from
Berlin of the plenipotentiary from Hesse and by the time necessarily
required for the preparation of the document, has been waived by the
representative of that Government.

This subject is now submitted for the consideration of the Senate.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _December 23, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit a letter from the Secretary of State, accompanied by
copies of the correspondence[136] asked for by your resolution of the
12th instant.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 136: Extracts from the instructions of the Department of State
to the United States minister to France relative to the proposed
annexation of Texas, etc.]

WASHINGTON, _January 2, 1845_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a letter from the Secretary of State, accompanied
by a copy of a letter[137] from Mr. Raymond, secretary of legation and
charge d'affaires _ad interim_ of the Republic of Texas, in answer to
the Senate's resolution of the 16th December last.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 137: Relating to the public debt and public lands of the
Republic of Texas.]

WASHINGTON, _January 2, 1845_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to your resolution of the 19th December last, I herewith
transmit a letter[138] from the Secretary of State and the accompanying
documents.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 138: Transmitting copies of treaties between the Republic of
Texas and Great Britain and France.]

WASHINGTON, _January 9, 1845_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives, in reply to their
resolution of the 14th of June last, a report from the Secretary of State,
with accompanying papers.[139]

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 139: Copy of the instructions to George W. Erving upon his
appointment as minister to Spain in 1814 and during his mission to
that Court.]

WASHINGTON, _January 9, 1845_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith additional documents having relation to the treaty
with China, which may enable the Senate more satisfactorily to act upon
it.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _January 22, 1845_.

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

I communicate herewith an abstract of the treaty between the United
States of America and the Chinese Empire concluded at Wang-Hiya on the
3d of July last, and ratified by the Senate on the 16th instant, and
which, having also been ratified by the Emperor of China, now awaits
only the exchange of the ratifications in China, from which it will be
seen that the special mission authorized by Congress for this purpose
has fully succeeded in the accomplishment so far of the great objects
for which it was appointed, and in placing our relations with China on a
new footing eminently favorable to the commerce and other interests of
the United States.

In view of the magnitude and importance of our national concerns, actual
and prospective, in China, I submit to the consideration of Congress
the expediency of providing for the preservation and cultivation of the
subsisting relations of amity between the United States and the Chinese
Government, either by means of a permanent minister or commissioner
with diplomatic functions, as in the case of certain of the Mohammedan
States. It appears by one of the extracts annexed that the establishment
of the British Government in China consists both of a plenipotentiary
and also of paid consuls for all the five ports, one of whom has the
title and exercises the functions of consul-general; and France has also
a salaried consul-general, and the interests of the United States seem
in like manner to call for some representative in China of a higher
class than an ordinary commercial consulate.

I also submit to the consideration of Congress the expediency of making
some special provision by law for the security of the independent and
honorable position which the treaty of Wang-Hiya confers on citizens
of the United States residing or doing business in China. By the
twenty-first and twenty-fifth articles of the treaty (copies of which
are subjoined _in extenso_) citizens of the United States in China are
wholly exempted, as well in criminal as in civil matters, from the local
jurisdiction of the Chinese Government and made amenable to the laws and
subject to the jurisdiction of the appropriate authorities of the United
States alone. Some action on the part of Congress seems desirable in
order to give full effect to these important concessions of the Chinese
Government.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _January 29, 1845_.

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

In compliance with the request of the governor of the State of Illinois,
I transmit herewith a copy of certain resolutions[140] adopted by the
general assembly of that State.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 140: Asking the publication and distribution of the decisions
of the Supreme Court of the United States.]

WASHINGTON, _February 3, 1845_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 2d ultimo, calling
for information in reference to the indemnities stipulated to be paid
pursuant to the convention between the United States and the Mexican
Republic of the 30th of January, 1843, I transmit herewith reports from
the Secretaries of State and of the Treasury and the documents which
accompanied them.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _February 3, 1845_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 23d
ultimo, requesting information upon the subject of embezzlement of
public money, I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _February 3, 1845_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 16th
ultimo, calling for information upon the subject of the boundaries, of
the Republic of Texas and for copies of treaties between that Republic
and other powers, I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of
State and the documents which accompanied it.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _February 4, 1845_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

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