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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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In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 5th December,
I herewith transmit copies of the proceedings in the case of the
inquiry into the official conduct of Silas Reed, principal surveyor
of Missouri and Illinois, together with all the complaints against
him and all the evidence taken in relation thereto. I did not consider
the irregularities into which the surveyor-general had fallen as of
sufficient magnitude to induce his dismissal from office at the time
that the papers reached me, having become convinced, upon inquiry of the
Commissioner of the General Land Office, of the ability, efficiency,
and fidelity of the surveyor-general in all things appertaining to his
office; but since the passage of the resolution by the Senate I regarded
the matter as so augmented in importance as to induce me to refer the
subject to the Commissioner of the General Land Office for a minute and
thorough examination. A copy of the report which he has made, and also
the defense of Dr. Reed, accompanies the papers. It has seemed to me
that the facts set forth by the report exhibit certain irregularities
which are properly reprehensible, but from which neither the
surveyor-general, in a pecuniary point of view, derived profit nor
the Government sustained loss, and which the reproof contained in the
Commissioner's report will in all future cases restrain; while the
high testimony borne by the Commissioner to the generally excellent
deportment in office of the surveyor-general has seemed to me to mark
the case more as one meriting disapproval and correction in future than
the severe punishment of dismissal.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _February 5, 1845_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives, in answer to its
resolution of the 31st ultimo, a report from the Secretary of State,
together with copies of documents[141] therein referred to.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 141: Correspondence relative to the surrender by Great Britain
of fugitive criminals from Florida under the treaty of Washington.]

WASHINGTON, _February 5, 1845_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 10th of December
last, requesting further correspondence touching the relations between
the United States and the Mexican Republic, I transmit herewith a report
from the Secretary of State and the documents which accompanied it.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _February 7, 1845_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith the report[142] requested by the resolution of the
Senate of the 2d of January last.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 142: Of Lieutenant H. Wager Halleck, of the Engineer Corps, on
the means of national defense.]

WASHINGTON, _February 7, 1845_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 4th instant, requesting
information relative to the employment of Mr. Duff Green in the service
of this Government, I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of
State.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _February 12, 1845_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a copy of the correspondence relating to the claims
of citizens of the United States upon the Mexican Republic, requested by
the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 10th of January,
1844.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _February 12, 1845_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a copy of the correspondence relative to claims of
citizens of the United States on the Mexican Republic, requested by the
resolution of the Senate of the 26th December, 1843.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON CITY, _February 13, 1845_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for the advice and approbation of the Senate, a
treaty with the Creek and Seminole tribes of Indians, concluded on the
4th day of January last.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _February 14, 1845_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit certain documents connected with the case of Silas
Reed,[143] and which were inadvertently omitted in the packet of papers
which accompanied my message to the Senate on this subject.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 143: Principal surveyor of Missouri and Illinois, official
conduct of.]

WASHINGTON, _February 17, 1845_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of
the 30th of December last, requesting information with reference to
indemnities for claims of citizens of the United States upon the Mexican
Government, I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State and
the documents which accompanied it.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _February 19, 1845_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 11th December, 1844,
requesting the President "to lay before the Senate, if in his judgment
that may be done without prejudice to the public interests, 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 day of March, 1841;
also a copy of any correspondence which may have passed between this
Government and that of Great Britain, or between either of the two
Governments and the minister of the other, in relation to that subject
since that time," I have to say that in my opinion, as the negotiation
is still pending, the information sought for cannot be communicated
without prejudice to the public service.

I deem it, however, proper to add that considerable progress has been
made in the discussion, which has been carried on in a very amicable
spirit between the two Governments, and that there is reason to hope
that it may be terminated and the negotiation brought to a close within
a short period.

I have delayed answering the resolution under the expectation expressed
in my annual message that the negotiation would have been terminated
before the close of the present session of Congress, and that the
information called for by the resolution of the Senate might be
communicated.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _February 20, 1845_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith communicate to the Senate a report[144] from the Secretary of
State, in reply to the inquiries contained in their resolution of the
17th instant.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 144: Relating to redress from the British Government for
the illegal capture of the fishing schooner _Argus_ and other American
vessels engaged in the fisheries, under a pretended infraction of the
convention of October 20, 1818.]

WASHINGTON, _February 20, 1845_.

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

I transmit herewith, for the information of Congress, copies of certain
dispatches recently received from Mr. Wise, our envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary at the Court of Brazil, upon the subject of the
slave trade, developing the means used and the devices resorted to in
order to evade existing enactments upon that subject.

Anxiously desirous as are the United States to suppress a traffic so
revolting to humanity, in the efforts to accomplish which they have been
the pioneers of civilized states, it can not but be a subject of the
most profound regret that any portion of our citizens should be found
acting in cooperation with the subjects of other powers in opposition to
the policy of their own Government, thereby subjecting to suspicion and
to the hazard of disgrace the flag of their own country. It is true that
this traffic is carried on altogether in foreign parts and that our own
coasts are free from its pollution; but the crime remains the same
wherever perpetrated, and there are many circumstances to warrant the
belief that some of our citizens are deeply involved in its guilt. The
mode and manner of carrying on this trade are clearly and fearlessly set
forth in the accompanying documents, and it would seem that a regular
system has been adopted for the purpose of thwarting the policy and
evading the penalties of our laws. American vessels, with the knowledge,
as there are good reasons to believe, of the owners and masters, are
_chartered_, or rather purchased, by notorious slave dealers in Brazil,
aided by English brokers and capitalists, with this intent. The vessel
is only nominally chartered at so much per month, while in truth it is
actually sold, to be delivered on the coast of Africa; the charter party
binding the owners in the meantime to take on board _as passengers_ a
new crew in Brazil, who, when delivered on the coast, are to navigate
her back to the ports of Brazil with her cargo of slaves. Under this
agreement the vessel clears from the United States for some port in
Great Britain, where a cargo of merchandise known as "coast goods," and
designed especially for the African trade, is purchased, shipped, and
consigned, together with the vessel, either directly to the slave dealer
himself or to his agents or accomplices in Brazil. On her arrival a new
crew is put on board _as passengers_ and the vessel and cargo consigned
to an equally guilty factor or agent on the coast of Africa, where
the unlawful purpose originally designed is finally consummated. The
merchandise is exchanged for slaves, the vessel is delivered up, her
name obliterated, her papers destroyed, her American crew discharged, to
be provided for by the charterers, and the new or _passenger_ crew put
in command to carry back its miserable freight to the first contrivers
of the voyage, or their _employees_ in Brazil.

During the whole progress of this tortuous enterprise it is possible
that neither the American crew originally enlisted nor the _passenger_
crew put on board in the Brazilian ports are aware of the nature
of the voyage, and yet it is on these principally, ignorant if not
innocent, that the penalties of the law are inflicted, while the guilty
contrivers--the charterers, brokers, owners, and masters; in short, all
who are most deeply concerned in the crime and its rewards--for the most
part escape unpunished.

It will be seen from the examinations which have recently taken place
at Rio that the subjects of Her Britannic Majesty as well as our own
citizens are deeply implicated in this inhuman traffic. British factors
and agents, while they supply Africa with British fabrics in exchange
for slaves, are chiefly instrumental in the abuse of the American flag;
and the suggestions contained in the letter of Mr. Wise (whose judicious
and zealous efforts in the matter can not be too highly commended),
addressed to Mr. Hamilton, the British envoy, as to the best mode of
suppressing the evil, deserve your most deliberate consideration, as
they will receive, I doubt not, that of the British Government.

It is also worthy of consideration whether any other measures than those
now existing are necessary to give greater efficacy to the just and
humane policy of our laws, which already provide for the restoration to
Africa of slaves captured at sea by American cruisers. From time to time
provision has been made by this Government for their comfortable support
and maintenance during a limited period after their restoration, and it
is much to be regretted that this liberal policy has not been adopted by
Great Britain. As it is, it seems to me that the policy it has adopted
is calculated rather to perpetuate than to suppress the trade by
enlisting very large interests in its favor. Merchants and capitalists
furnish the means of carrying it on; manufactures, for which the negroes
are exchanged, are the products of her workshops; the slaves, when
captured, instead of being returned back to their homes are transferred
to her colonial possessions in the West Indies and made the means of
swelling the amount of their products by a system of apprenticeship for
a term of years; and the officers and crews who capture the vessels
receive on the whole number of slaves so many pounds sterling _per
capita_ by way of bounty.

It must be obvious that while these large interests are enlisted in
favor of its continuance it will be difficult, if not impossible, to
suppress the nefarious traffic, and that its results would be in effect
but a continuance of the slave trade in another and more cruel form; for
it can be but a matter of little difference to the African whether he is
torn from his country and transported to the West Indies as a slave in
the regular course of the trade, or captured by a cruiser, transferred
to the same place, and made to perform the same labor under the name of
an apprentice, which is at present the practical operation of the policy
adopted.

It is to be hoped that Her Britannic Majesty's Government will, upon a
review of all the circumstances stated in these dispatches, adopt more
efficient measures for the suppression of the trade, which she has so
long attempted to put down, with, as yet, so little success, and more
consonant with the original policy of restoring the captured African to
his home.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _February 21, 1845_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a treaty of peace, friendship, navigation, and commerce
between the United States and the Republic of New Granada, signed at
Bogota on the 20th of December last. A copy of the papers on file in
the Department of State relating to the treaty is also herewith
communicated, for the information of the Senate.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _February 21, 1845_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate, in answer to their resolution of
the 14th instant, a report of the Secretary of State, with the accompanying
papers.[145]

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 145: Instructions to Hon. Caleb Cushing, commissioner to China
and envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to the Court of
China, etc.]

WASHINGTON, _February 21, 1845_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with your resolution of the 23d January last, asking
information "if any, and what, officers of the United States have been
guilty of embezzlement of public money since the 19th August, 1841, and,
further, whether such officers have been criminally prosecuted for such
embezzlement, and, if not, that the reasons why they have not been
so prosecuted be communicated," I herewith transmit letters from
the Secretaries of the Treasury, War, and Navy Departments and the
Postmaster-General, and from various heads of bureaus, from which it
will be seen that no case of embezzlement by any person holding office
under the Government is known to have occurred since the 19th August,
1841, unless exceptions are to be found in the cases of the postmaster
at Tompkinsville, Ky., who was instantly removed from office, and all
papers necessary for his prosecution were transmitted to the United
States district attorney, and John Flanagan, superintendent of lead
mines of the Upper Mississippi, who was also removed, and whose place of
residence, as will be seen by the letter of the head of the Ordnance
Bureau, has been, and still is, unknown.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _February 24, 1845_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith communicate to the Senate, for its consideration, a
convention concluded by the minister of the United States at Berlin with
the Kingdom of Bavaria, dated on the 21st day of January, 1845, for
the mutual abolition of the _droit d'aubaine_ and taxes on emigration
between that Government and the United States, and also a copy of a
dispatch from the minister explanatory of the sixth article of the same.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _February 26, 1845_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of the Treasury,
inclosing reports from the Commissioner of the General Land Office,
dated the 25th instant, and accompanying papers, in compliance with your
resolution of the 17th instant, asking for information relative to
reservations of mineral lands in the State of Illinois south of the base
line and west of the third principal meridian.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _February 26, 1845_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith communicate a dispatch recently received, and an extract
from one of a prior date, from our minister at Mexico, which I deem
it important to lay confidentially before the Senate.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _February 26, 1845_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 3d instant,
I herewith transmit the information[146] called for.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 146: Operations of the United States squadron on the west
coast of Africa, the growth, condition, and influence of the American
colonies there, and the nature, extent, and progress of the commerce
of the United States with the same.]

WASHINGTON, _February 26, 1845_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate, for its approval, an additional
article to the treaty of extradition between the United States and
France of the 9th of November, 1843. It will be found to contain the
amendments suggested by the resolution of the Senate of the 15th of
June last.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _February 28, 1845_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith to the Senate, in answer to its resolution of the
17th instant, a report[147] from the Secretary of State, together with
the copies of papers therein referred to.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 147: Relating to redress from the British Government for the
illegal capture of the fishing schooner _Argus_ and other American
vessels engaged in the fisheries, under a pretended infraction of the
convention of October 20, 1818.]

VETO MESSAGE.

WASHINGTON, _February 20, 1845_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith return the bill entitled "An act relating to revenue cutters
and steamers," with the following objections to its becoming a law:

The Executive has found it necessary and esteemed it important to the
public interests to direct the building of two revenue boats, to be
propelled by wind or steam, as occasion may require--the one for the
coast of Georgia and the other for Mobile Bay, to be used as dispatch
vessels if necessary. The models have been furnished by the Navy
Department and side wheels have been ordered, as being best tested and
least liable to failure. The one boat is directed to be built at
Richmond, Va., the other at Pittsburg, Pa., and contracts have been
regularly entered into for their construction. The contractors have made
and are making all necessary arrangements in procuring materials and
sites for building, etc., and have doubtless been at considerable
expense in the necessary preparations for completing their engagements.
It was no part of the intention of the Senate in originating the bill,
I am well convinced, to violate the sanctity of contracts regularly
entered into by the Government. The language of the act, nevertheless,
is of a character to produce in all probability that effect. Its
language is "that no revenue cutter or revenue steamer shall hereafter
be built _(excepting such as are now in the course of building or
equipment_) nor purchased unless an appropriation be first made by law
therefor." The _building_ of the two cutters under contract can not be
said properly to have commenced, although preparations have been made
for building; but even if the construction be ambiguous, it is better
that all ambiguity should be removed and thus the hazard of violating
the pledged faith of the country be removed along with it.

I am free to confess that, existing contracts being guarded and
protected, the law to operate _in futuro_ would be regarded as both
proper and wise.

With these objections, I return the bill to the House in which it
originated for its final constitutional action.

JOHN TYLER.

PROCLAMATION.

[From Senate Journal, Twenty-eighth Congress, second session, p. 271.]

WASHINGTON, _January 8, 1845_.

_To the Senators of the United States, respectively_.

SIR: Objects interesting to the United States requiring that the Senate
should be in session on Tuesday, the 4th of March next, to receive and
act upon such communications as may be made to it on the part of the
Executive, your attendance in the Senate Chamber, in this city, on that
day at 10 o'clock in the forenoon is accordingly requested.

JOHN TYLER.

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