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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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course of policy, we can not hope to escape the effects of a spirit of
jealousy on the part of both of the powers. Nor can this Government be
indifferent to the fact that a warfare such as is waged between those
two nations is calculated to weaken both powers and finally to render
them--and especially the weaker of the two--the subjects of interference
on the part of stronger and more powerful nations, who, intent only on
advancing their own peculiar views, may sooner or later attempt to bring
about a compliance with terms as the condition of their interposition
alike derogatory to the nation granting them and detrimental to the
interests of the United States. We could not be expected quietly to
permit any such interference to our disadvantage. Considering that Texas
is separated from the United States by a mere geographical line; that
her territory, in the opinion of many, down to a late period formed a
portion of the territory of the United States; that it is homogeneous
in its population and pursuits with the adjoining States, makes
contributions to the commerce of the world in the same articles with
them, and that most of her inhabitants have been citizens of the United
States, speak the same language, and live under similar political
institutions with ourselves, this Government is bound by every
consideration of interest as well as of sympathy to see that she shall
be left free to act, especially in regard to her domestic affairs,
unawed by force and unrestrained by the policy or views of other
countries. In full view of all these considerations, the Executive has
not hesitated to express to the Government of Mexico how deeply it
deprecated a continuance of the war and how anxiously it desired to
witness its termination. I can not but think that it becomes the United
States, as the oldest of the American Republics, to hold a language to
Mexico upon this subject of an unambiguous character. It is time that
this war had ceased. There must be a limit to all wars, and if the
parent state after an eight years' struggle has failed to reduce to
submission a portion of its subjects standing out in revolt against it,
and who have not only proclaimed themselves to be independent, but have
been recognized as such by other powers, she ought not to expect that
other nations will quietly look on, to their obvious injury, upon a
protraction of hostilities. These United States threw off their colonial
dependence and established independent governments, and Great Britain,
after having wasted her energies in the attempt to subdue them for a
less period than Mexico has attempted to subjugate Texas, had the wisdom
and justice to acknowledge their independence, thereby recognizing the
obligation which rested on her as one of the family of nations. An
example thus set by one of the proudest as well as most powerful nations
of the earth it could in no way disparage Mexico to imitate. While,
therefore, the Executive would deplore any collision with Mexico or
any disturbance of the friendly relations which exist between the two
countries, it can not permit that Government to control its policy,
whatever it may be, toward Texas, but will treat her--as by the
recognition of her independence the United States have long since
declared they would do--as entirely independent of Mexico. The high
obligations of public duty may enforce from the constituted authorities
of the United States a policy which the course persevered in by Mexico
will have mainly contributed to produce, and the Executive in such a
contingency will with confidence throw itself upon the patriotism of
the people to sustain the Government in its course of action.

Measures of an unusual character have recently been adopted by the
Mexican Government, calculated in no small degree to affect the trade
of other nations with Mexico and to operate injuriously to the United
States. All foreigners, by a decree of the 23d day of September, and
after six months from the day of its promulgation, are forbidden to
carry on the business of selling by retail any goods within the confines
of Mexico. Against this decree our minister has not failed to
remonstrate.

The trade heretofore carried on by our citizens with Santa Fe,
in which much capital was already invested and which was becoming of
daily increasing importance, has suddenly been arrested by a decree of
virtual prohibition on the part of the Mexican Government. Whatever may
be the right of Mexico to prohibit any particular course of trade to the
citizens or subjects of foreign powers, this late procedure, to say the
least of it, wears a harsh and unfriendly aspect.

The installments on the claims recently settled by the convention with
Mexico have been punctually paid as they have fallen due, and our
minister is engaged in urging the establishment of a new commission in
pursuance of the convention for the settlement of unadjusted claims.

With the other American States our relations of amity and good will have
remained uninterrupted. Our minister near the Republic of New Granada
has succeeded in effecting an adjustment of the claim upon that
Government for the schooner _By Chance_, which had been pending for many
years. The claim for the brig _Morris_, which had its origin during the
existence of the Republic of Colombia, and indemnification for which
since the dissolution of that Republic has devolved upon its several
members, will be urged with renewed zeal.

I have much pleasure in saying that the Government of Brazil has
adjusted the claim upon that Government in the case of the schooner
_John S. Bryan_, and that sanguine hopes are entertained that the same
spirit of justice will influence its councils in arriving at an early
decision upon the remaining claims, thereby removing all cause of
dissension between two powers whose interests are to some extent
interwoven with each other.

Our minister at Chili has succeeded in inducing a recognition by that
Government of the adjustment effected by his predecessor of the first
claim in the case of the _Macedonian_. The first installment has been
received by the claimants in the United States.

Notice of the exchange of ratifications of the treaty with Peru, which
will take place at Lima, has not yet reached this country, but is
shortly expected to be received, when the claims upon that Republic will
doubtless be liquidated and paid.

In consequence of a misunderstanding between this Government and that of
Buenos Ayres, occurring several years ago, this Government has remained
unrepresented at that Court, while a minister from it has been
constantly resident here. The causes of irritation have in a great
measure passed away, and it is in contemplation, in view of important
interests which have grown up in that country, at some early period
during the present session of Congress, with the concurrence of the
Senate, to restore diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Under the provisions of an act of Congress of the last session a
minister was dispatched from the United States to China in August of the
present year, who, from the latest accounts we have from him, was at
Suez, in Egypt, on the 25th of September last, on his route to China.

In regard to the Indian tribes residing within our jurisdictional
limits, the greatest vigilance of the Government has been exerted to
preserve them at peace among themselves and to inspire them with
feelings of confidence in the justice of this Government and to
cultivate friendship with the border inhabitants. This has happily
succeeded to a great extent, but it is a subject of regret that they
suffer themselves in some instances to be imposed upon by artful and
designing men, and this notwithstanding all efforts of the Government
to prevent it.

The receipts into the Treasury for the calendar year 1843, exclusive
of loans, were little more than $18,000,000, and the expenditures,
exclusive of the payments on the public debt, will have been about
$23,000,000. By the act of 1842 a new arrangement of the fiscal year was
made, so that it should commence on the 1st day of July in each year.
The accounts and estimates for the current fiscal year will show that
the loans and Treasury notes made and issued before the close of the
last Congress to meet the anticipated deficiency have not been entirely
adequate. Although on the 1st of October last there was a balance in the
Treasury, in consequence of the provisions thus made, of $3,914,082.77,
yet the appropriations already made by Congress will absorb that balance
and leave a probable deficiency of $2,000,000 at the close of the
present fiscal year. There are outstanding Treasury notes to about the
amount of $4,600,000, and should they be returned upon the Treasury
during the fiscal year they will require provision for their redemption.
I do not, however, regard this as probable, since they have obviously
entered into the currency of the country and will continue to form a
portion of it if the system now adopted be continued. The loan of 1841,
amounting to $5,672,976.88, falls due on the 1st day of January, 1845,
and must be provided for or postponed by a new loan; and unless the
resources of revenue should be materially increased by you there will be
a probable deficiency for the service of the fiscal year ending June 30,
1845, of upward of $4,000,000.

The delusion incident to an enormously excessive paper circulation,
which gave a fictitious value to everything and stimulated adventure and
speculation to an extravagant extent, has been happily succeeded by the
substitution of the precious metals and paper promptly redeemable in
specie; and thus false values have disappeared and a sounder condition
of things has been introduced. This transition, although intimately
connected with the prosperity of the country, has nevertheless been
attended with much embarrassment to the Government in its financial
concerns. So long as the foreign importers could receive payment for
their cargoes in a currency of greatly less value than that in Europe,
but fully available here in the purchase of our agricultural productions
(their profits being immeasurably augmented by the operation), the
shipments were large and the revenues of the Government became
superabundant. But the change in the character of the circulation from a
nominal and apparently real value in the first stage of its existence
to an obviously depreciated value in its second, so that it no longer
answered the purposes of exchange or barter, and its ultimate
substitution by a sound metallic and paper circulation combined, has
been attended by diminished importations and a consequent falling off
in the revenue. This has induced Congress, from 1837, to resort to the
expedient of issuing Treasury notes, and finally of funding them, in
order to supply deficiencies. I can not, however, withhold the remark
that it is in no way compatible with the dignity of the Government that
a public debt should be created in time of peace to meet the current
expenses of the Government, or that temporary expedients should be
resorted to an hour longer than it is possible to avoid them. The
Executive can do no more than apply the means which Congress places in
its hands for the support of Government, and, happily for the good of
the country and for the preservation of its liberties, it possesses
no power to levy exactions on the people or to force from them
contributions to the public revenue in any form. It can only recommend
such measures as may in its opinion be called for by the wants of the
public service to Congress, with whom alone rests the power to "lay and
collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises." This duty has upon several
occasions heretofore been performed. The present condition of things
gives flattering promise that trade and commerce are rapidly reviving,
and, fortunately for the country, the sources of revenue have only to
be opened in order to prove abundant.

While we can anticipate no considerable increase in the proceeds of the
sales of the public lands, for reasons perfectly obvious to all, for
several years to come, yet the public lands can not otherwise than be
regarded as the foundation of the public credit. With so large a body
of the most fertile lands in the world under the control and at the
disposal of this Government, no one can reasonably doubt the entire
ability to meet its engagements under every emergency. In seasons of
trial and difficulty similar to those through which we are passing the
capitalist makes his investments in the Government stocks with the most
assured confidence of ultimate reimbursement; and whatever may be said
of a period of great financial prosperity, such as existed for some
years after 1833, I should regard it as suicidal in a season of
financial embarrassment either to alienate the lands themselves or the
proceeds arising from their sales. The first and paramount duty of those
to whom may be intrusted the administration of public affairs is to
guard the public credit. In reestablishing the credit of this central
Government the readiest and most obvious mode is taken to restore
the credit of the States. The extremities can only be made sound by
producing a healthy action in the central Government, and the history of
the present day fully establishes the fact that an increase in the value
of the stocks of this Government will in a great majority of instances
be attended by an increase in the value of the stocks of the States. It
should therefore be a matter of general congratulation that amidst all
the embarrassments arising from surrounding circumstances the credit
of the Government should have been so fully restored that it has been
enabled to effect a loan of $7,000,000 to redeem that amount of Treasury
notes on terms more favorable than any that have been offered for many
years. And the 6 per cent stock which was created in 1842 has advanced
in the hands of the holders nearly 20 per cent above its par value. The
confidence of the people in the integrity of their Government has thus
been signally manifested. These opinions relative to the public lands
do not in any manner conflict with the observance of the most liberal
policy toward those of our fellow-citizens who press forward into the
wilderness and are the pioneers in the work of its reclamation. In
securing to all such their rights of preemption the Government performs
but an act of retributive justice for sufferings encountered and
hardships endured, and finds ample remuneration in the comforts which
its policy insures and the happiness which it imparts.

Should a revision of the tariff with a view to revenue become necessary
in the estimation of Congress, I doubt not you will approach the subject
with a just and enlightened regard to the interests of the whole Union.
The principles and views which I have heretofore had occasion to submit
remain unchanged. It can, however, never be too often repeated that the
prominent interest of every important pursuit of life requires for
success permanency and stability in legislation. These can only be
attained by adopting as the basis of action moderation in all things,
which is as indispensably necessary to secure the harmonious action of
the political as of the animal system. In our political organization no
one section of the country should desire to have its supposed interests
advanced at the sacrifice of all others, but union, being the great
interest, equally precious to all, should be fostered and sustained by
mutual concessions and the cultivation of that spirit of compromise from
which the Constitution itself proceeded.

You will be informed by the report from the Treasury Department of the
measures taken under the act of the last session authorizing the reissue
of Treasury notes in lieu of those then outstanding. The system adopted
in pursuance of existing laws seems well calculated to save the country
a large amount of interest, while it affords conveniences and obviates
dangers and expense in the transmission of funds to disbursing agents.
I refer you also to that report for the means proposed by the Secretary
to increase the revenue, and particularly to that portion of it which
relates to the subject of the warehousing system, which I earnestly
urged upon Congress at its last session and as to the importance of
which my opinion has undergone no change.

In view of the disordered condition of the currency at the time and
the high rates of exchange between different parts of the country,
I felt it to be incumbent on me to present to the consideration of
your predecessors a proposition conflicting in no degree with the
Constitution or with the rights of the States and having the sanction
(not in detail, but in principle) of some of the eminent men who have
preceded me in the Executive office. That proposition contemplated the
issuing of Treasury notes of denominations of not less than $5 nor more
than $100, to be employed in the payment of the obligations of the
Government in lieu of gold and silver at the option of the public
creditor, and to an amount not exceeding $15,000,000. It was proposed
to make them receivable everywhere and to establish at various points
depositories of gold and silver to be held in trust for the redemption
of such notes, so as to insure their convertibility into specie. No
doubt was entertained that such notes would have maintained a par value
with gold and silver, thus furnishing a paper currency of equal value
over the Union, thereby meeting the just expectations of the people and
fulfilling the duties of a parental government. Whether the depositories
should be permitted to sell or purchase bills under very limited
restrictions, together with all its other details, was submitted to
the wisdom of Congress and was regarded as of secondary importance.
I thought then and think now that such an arrangement would have been
attended with the happiest results. The whole matter of the currency
would have been placed where by the Constitution it was designed to be
placed--under the immediate supervision and control of Congress.
The action of the Government would have been independent of all
corporations, and the same eye which rests unceasingly on the specie
currency and guards it against adulteration would also have rested on
the paper currency, to control and regulate its issues and protect it
against depreciation. The same reasons which would forbid Congress from
parting with the power over the coinage would seem to operate with
nearly equal force in regard to any substitution for the precious metals
in the form of a circulating medium. Paper when substituted for specie
constitutes a standard of value by which the operations of society are
regulated, and whatsoever causes its depreciation affects society to an
extent nearly, if not quite, equal to the adulteration of the coin. Nor
can I withhold the remark that its advantages contrasted with a bank
of the United States, apart from the fact that a bank was esteemed as
obnoxious to the public sentiment as well on the score of expediency
as of constitutionalty, appeared to me to be striking and obvious.
The relief which a bank would afford by an issue of $15,000,000 of its
notes, judging from the experience of the late United States Bank, would
not have occurred in less than fifteen years, whereas under the proposed
arrangement the relief arising from the issue of $15,000,000 of Treasury
notes would have been consummated in one year, thus furnishing in
one-fifteenth part of the time in which a bank could have accomplished
it a paper medium of exchange equal in amount to the real wants of the
country at par value with gold and silver. The saving to the Government
would have been equal to all the interest which it has had to pay on
Treasury notes of previous as well as subsequent issues, thereby
relieving the Government and at the same time affording relief to the
people. Under all the responsibilities attached to the station which
I occupy, and in redemption of a pledge given to the last Congress
at the close of its first session, I submitted the suggestion to its
consideration at two consecutive sessions. The recommendation, however,
met with no favor at its hands. While I am free to admit that the
necessities of the times have since become greatly ameliorated and that
there is good reason to hope that the country is safely and rapidly
emerging from the difficulties and embarrassments which everywhere
surrounded it in 1841, yet I can not but think that its restoration to
a sound and healthy condition would be greatly expedited by a resort
to the expedient in a modified form.

The operations of the Treasury now rest upon the act of 1789 and the
resolution of 1816, and those laws have been so administered as to
produce as great a quantum of good to the country as their provisions
are capable of yielding. If there had been any distinct expression of
opinion going to show that public sentiment is averse to the plan,
either as heretofore recommended to Congress or in a modified form,
while my own opinion in regard to it would remain unchanged I should be
very far from again presenting it to your consideration. The Government
has originated with the States and the people, for their own benefit and
advantage, and it would be subversive of the foundation principles of
the political edifice which they have reared to persevere in a measure
which in their mature judgments they had either repudiated or condemned.
The will of our constituents clearly expressed should be regarded as the
light to guide our footsteps, the true difference between a monarchical
or aristocratical government and a republic being that in the first the
will of the few prevails over the will of the many, while in the last
the will of the many should be alone consulted.

The report of the Secretary of War will bring you acquainted with the
condition of that important branch of the public service. The Army may
be regarded, in consequence of the small number of the rank and file in
each company and regiment, as little more than a nucleus around which
to rally the military force of the country in case of war, and yet
its services in preserving the peace of the frontiers are of a most
important nature. In all cases of emergency the reliance of the country
is properly placed in the militia of the several States, and it may well
deserve the consideration of Congress whether a new and more perfect
organization might not be introduced, looking mainly to the volunteer
companies of the Union for the present and of easy application to the
great body of the militia in time of war.

The expenditures of the War Department have been considerably reduced in
the last two years. Contingencies, however, may arise which would call
for the filling up of the regiments with a full complement of men and
make it very desirable to remount the corps of dragoons, which by an act
of the last Congress was directed to be dissolved.

I refer you to the accompanying report of the Secretary for information
in relation to the Navy of the United States. While every effort has
been and will continue to be made to retrench all superfluities and lop
off all excrescences which from time to time may have grown up, yet it
has not been regarded as wise or prudent to recommend any material
change in the annual appropriations. The interests which are involved
are of too important a character to lead to the recommendation of any
other than a liberal policy. Adequate appropriations ought to be made to
enable the Executive to fit out all the ships that are now in a course
of building or that require repairs for active service in the shortest
possible time should any emergency arise which may require it. An
efficient navy, while it is the cheapest means of public defense,
enlists in its support the feelings of pride and confidence which
brilliant deeds and heroic valor have heretofore served to strengthen
and confirm.

I refer you particularly to that part of the Secretary's report which
has reference to recent experiments in the application of steam and in
the construction of our war steamers, made under the superintendence
of distinguished officers of the Navy. In addition to other manifest
improvements in the construction of the steam engine and application of
the motive power which has rendered them more appropriate to the uses of
ships of war, one of those officers has brought into use a power which
makes the steamship most formidable either for attack or defense. I can
not too strongly recommend this subject to your consideration and do not
hesitate to express my entire conviction of its great importance.

I call your particular attention also to that portion of the Secretary's
report which has reference to the act of the late session of Congress
which prohibited the transfer of any balance of appropriation from other
heads of appropriation to that for building, equipment, and repair.
The repeal of that prohibition will enable the Department to give
renewed employment to a large class of workmen who have been necessarily
discharged in consequence of the want of means to pay them--a
circumstance attended, especially at this season of the year, with much
privation and suffering.

It gives me great pain to announce to you the loss of the steamship
the _Missouri_ by fire in the Bay of Gibraltar, where she had stopped
to renew her supplies of coal on her voyage to Alexandria, with Mr.
Cushing, the American minister to China, on board. There is ground
for high commendation of the officers and men for the coolness and
intrepidity and perfect submission to discipline evinced under the most
trying circumstances. Surrounded by a raging fire, which the utmost
exertions could not subdue, and which threatened momentarily the
explosion of her well-supplied magazines, the officers exhibited no
signs of fear and the men obeyed every order with alacrity. Nor was she
abandoned until the last gleam of hope of saving her had expired. It is
well worthy of your consideration whether the losses sustained by the
officers and crew in this unfortunate affair should not be reimbursed
to them.

I can not take leave of this painful subject without adverting to the
aid rendered upon the occasion by the British authorities at Gibraltar
and the commander, officers, and crew of the British ship of the line
the _Malabar_, which was lying at the time in the bay. Everything that
generosity or humanity could dictate was promptly performed. It is by
such acts of good will by one to another of the family of nations that
fraternal feelings are nourished and the blessings of permanent peace
secured.

The report of the Postmaster-General will bring you acquainted with the
operations of that Department during the past year, and will suggest
to you such modifications of the existing laws as in your opinion
the exigencies of the public service may require. The change which
the country has undergone of late years in the mode of travel and
transportation has afforded so many facilities for the transmission of
mail matter out of the regular mail as to require the greatest vigilance
and circumspection in order to enable the officer at the head of the
Department to restrain the expenditures within the income. There is also
too much reason to fear that the franking privilege has run into great
abuse. The Department, nevertheless, has been conducted with the
greatest vigor, and has attained at the least possible expense all the
useful objects for which it was established.

In regard to all the Departments, I am quite happy in the belief that
nothing has been left undone which was called for by a true spirit of
economy or by a system of accountability rigidly enforced. This is in
some degree apparent from the fact that the Government has sustained no
loss by the default of any of its agents. In the complex, but at the
same time beautiful, machinery of our system of government, it is not
a matter of surprise that some remote agency may have failed for an
instant to fulfill its desired office; but I feel confident in the
assertion that nothing has occurred to interrupt the harmonious action
of the Government itself, and that, while the laws have been executed
with efficiency and vigor, the rights neither of States nor individuals
have been trampled on or disregarded.

In the meantime the country has been steadily advancing in all that
contributes to national greatness. The tide of population continues
unbrokenly to flow into the new States and Territories, where a refuge
is found not only for our native-born fellow-citizens, but for emigrants
from all parts of the civilized world, who come among us to partake of
the blessings of our free institutions and to aid by their labor to
swell the current of our wealth and power.

It is due to every consideration of public policy that the lakes and
rivers of the West should receive all such attention at the hands
of Congress as the Constitution will enable it to bestow. Works in
favorable and proper situations on the Lakes would be found to be as
indispensably necessary, in case of war, to carry on safe and successful
naval operations as fortifications on the Atlantic seaboard. The
appropriation made by the last Congress for the improvement of the
navigation of the Mississippi River has been diligently and efficiently
applied.

I can not close this communication, gentlemen, without recommending
to your most favorable consideration the interests of this District.
Appointed by the Constitution its exclusive legislators, and forming
in this particular the only anomaly in our system of government--of the
legislative body being elected by others than those for whose advantage
they are to legislate--you will feel a superadded obligation to look
well into their condition and to leave no cause for complaint or regret.
The seat of Government of our associated republics can not but be
regarded as worthy of your parental care.

In connection with its other interests, as well as those of the whole
country, I recommend that at your present session you adopt such
measures in order to carry into effect the Smithsonian bequest as in
your judgment will be best calculated to consummate the liberal intent
of the testator.

When, under a dispensation of Divine Providence, I succeeded to the
Presidential office, the state of public affairs was embarrassing and
critical. To add to the irritation consequent upon a long-standing
controversy with one of the most powerful nations of modern times,
involving not only questions of boundary (which under the most favorable
circumstances are always embarrassing), but at the same time important
and high principles of maritime law, border controversies between
the citizens and subjects of the two countries had engendered a
state of feeling and of conduct which threatened the most calamitous
consequences. The hazards incident to this state of things were greatly
heightened by the arrest and imprisonment of a subject of Great Britain,
who, acting (as it was alleged) as a part of a military force, had aided
in the commission of an act violative of the territorial jurisdiction of
the United States and involving the murder of a citizen of the State of
New York. A large amount of claims against the Government of Mexico
remained unadjusted and a war of several years' continuance with the
savage tribes of Florida still prevailed, attended with the desolation
of a large portion of that beautiful Territory and with the sacrifice of
many valuable lives. To increase the embarrassments of the Government,
individual and State credit had been nearly stricken down and confidence
in the General Government was so much impaired that loans of a small
amount could only be negotiated at a considerable sacrifice. As a
necessary consequence of the blight which had fallen on commerce and
mechanical industry, the ships of the one were thrown out of employment
and the operations of the other had been greatly diminished. Owing to
the condition of the currency, exchanges between different parts of
the country had become ruinously high and trade had to depend on a
depreciated paper currency in conducting its transactions. I shall
be permitted to congratulate the country that under an overruling
Providence peace was preserved without a sacrifice of the national
honor; the war in Florida was brought to a speedy termination; a large
portion of the claims on Mexico have been fully adjudicated and are in
a course of payment, while justice has been rendered to us in other
matters by other nations; confidence between man and man is in a great
measure restored and the credit of this Government fully and perfectly
reestablished; commerce is becoming more and more extended in its
operations and manufacturing and mechanical industry once more reap the
rewards of skill and labor honestly applied; the operations of trade
rest on a sound currency and the rates of exchange are reduced to their
lowest amount.

In this condition of things I have felt it to be my duty to bring to
your favorable consideration matters of great interest in their present
and ultimate results; and the only desire which I feel in connection
with the future is and will continue to be to leave the country
prosperous and its institutions unimpaired.

JOHN TYLER.

SPECIAL MESSAGES.

CITY OF WASHINGTON, _December 8, 1843_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of the Treasury,
exhibiting certain transfers of appropriations which have been made in
that Department in pursuance of the power vested in the President of the
United States by the act of Congress of the 3d March, 1809, entitled
"An act further to amend the several acts for the establishment and
regulation of the Treasury, War, and Navy Departments."

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _December 12, 1843_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith to the Senate, for their consideration in reference
to its ratification, a convention for the surrender of criminals between
the United States of America and His Majesty the King of the French,
signed at this place on the 9th day of November last by the Secretary
of State and the minister plenipotentiary _ad interim_ from the French
Government to the United States.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _December 16, 1843_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

The two Houses of Congress at their last session passed a joint
resolution, which originated in the House of Representatives,
"presenting the thanks of Congress to Samuel T. Washington for the
service sword of George Washington and the staff of Benjamin Franklin,
presented by him to Congress." This resolution (in consequence,
doubtless, of a merely accidental omission) did not reach me until after
the adjournment of Congress, and therefore did not receive my approval
and signature, which it would otherwise promptly have received. I
nevertheless felt myself at liberty and deemed it entirely proper to
communicate a copy of the resolution to Mr. Washington, as is manifested
by the accompanying copy of the letter which I addressed to him. The
joint resolution, together with a copy of the letter, is deposited in
the Department of State, and can be withdrawn and communicated to the
House if it see cause to require them.

JOHN TYLER.

[From Miscellaneous Letters, Department of State.]

SAMUEL T. WASHINGTON, Esq.

WASHINGTON, _April 27_.

DEAR SIR: I send you a copy of a joint resolution of the two Houses of
Congress expressive of the estimate which they place upon the presents
which you recently made to the United States of the sword used by your
illustrious relative, George Washington, in the military career of his
early youth in the Seven Years' War, and throughout the War of our
National Independence, and of the staff bequeathed by the patriot,
statesman, and sage Benjamin Franklin to the same leader of the armies
of freedom in the Revolutionary War, George Washington.

These precious relics have been accepted in the name of the nation, and
have been deposited among its archives.

I avail myself of the opportunity afforded in the performance of this
pleasing task to tender you assurances of my high respect and esteem.

JOHN TYLER.

[From Pocketed Laws, Department of State.]

JOINT RESOLUTION presenting the thanks of Congress to Samuel T.
Washington for the service sword of George Washington and the staff of
Benjamin Franklin, presented by him to Congress.

_Resolved unanimously by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled_, That the thanks of this
Congress be presented to Samuel T. Washington, of Kanawha County, Va.,
for the present of the sword used by his illustrious relative, George
Washington, in the military career of his early youth in the Seven
Years' War, and throughout the War of our National Independence, and of
the staff bequeathed by the patriot, statesman, and sage Benjamin
Franklin to the same leader of the armies of freedom in the
Revolutionary War, George Washington.

That these precious relics are hereby accepted in the name of the
nation; that they be deposited for safe-keeping in the Department of
State of the United States; and that a copy of this resolution, signed
by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of
Representatives, be transmitted to the said Samuel T. Washington.

JOHN WHITE,
_Speaker of the House of Representatives_.

WILLIE P. MANGUM,
_President of the Senate pro tempore_.

WASHINGTON, _December 26, 1843_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a communication from the War Department, containing
all the information and correspondence in that Department "on the
subject of the 'mountain howitzer' taken by Lieutenant Fremont on the
expedition to the Oregon" [Territory], as requested by the resolution of
the Senate of the 18th instant.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _December 27, 1843_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I lay before the Senate a convention for the settlement of the claims
of the citizens and Government of the Mexican Republic against the
Government of the United States and of the citizens and Government of
the United States against the Government of the Mexican Republic, signed
in the City of Mexico on the 20th of last month.

I am happy to believe that this convention provides as fully as is
practicable for the adjustment of all claims of our citizens on the
Government of Mexico. That Government has thus afforded a gratifying
proof of its promptness and good faith in observing the stipulation of
the sixth article of the convention of the 30th of January last.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _January 8, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit a report[94] made by the Secretary of the Navy in
pursuance of the provisions of the act of the 3d March, 1843.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 94: Transmitting abstracts of proposals made to the Navy
Department and its several bureaus.]

WASHINGTON, _January 10, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit the accompanying letter[95] from the Secretary of State, and
copy of a correspondence between that officer and the minister from
Portugal near this Government, to which I invite the attention of
Congress.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 95: Relating to the duties levied on the wines of Portugal and
its possessions by tariff acts of the United States in violation of the
treaty of August 26, 1840.]

WASHINGTON, _January 16, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 10th
instant, requesting the President to communicate to that body "copies of
all correspondence with any foreign government relative to the title,
boundary, discovery, and settlement of the Territory of Oregon," I have
to state that the information called for by the House has been already
from time to time transmitted to Congress, with the exception of such
correspondence as has been held within the last few months between the
Department of State and our minister at London; that there is a prospect
of opening a negotiation on the subject of the northwestern boundary of
the United States immediately after the arrival at Washington of the
newly appointed British minister, now daily expected; and that under
existing circumstances it is deemed inexpedient, with a view to the
public interest, to furnish a copy of the correspondence above
mentioned.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON CITY, _January 17, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 26th ultimo, I
transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of War, with a copy of the
proceedings of the court-martial in the case of Second Lieutenant D.C.
Buell, Third Infantry, and of all orders and papers in relation thereto.

It will be perceived that at the date of the resolution the final action
of the Executive was not had upon the case. That action having since
taken place, it is communicated with the papers.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _January 19, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with your resolution of the 15th December, 1843,
requesting "such information as may be on file in any of the Departments
relative to the formation of a junction between the Atlantic and Pacific
oceans," I transmit herewith a letter from the Secretary of State, with
accompanying documents, in relation thereto.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _January 24, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I communicate to the House of Representatives a report from the
Secretary of State, under date of the 7th ultimo, accompanied by a copy
of a note from the Chevalier de Argaiz, on the subject of the schooner
_Amistad_.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _January 26, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of War and accompanying
papers, containing the information respecting the Indians remaining at
present in Florida, requested by a resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 10th instant.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _January 30, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit a report[96] of the War Department, prepared under a
resolution of the Senate of the 4th instant.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 96: Relating to the proceedings and conduct of the Choctaw
commission, sitting in the State of Mississippi, under the Dancing
Rabbit Creek treaty.]

WASHINGTON, _February 6, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
22d January, I herewith transmit a letter[97] from the Secretary of the
Navy, containing all the information in the possession of that
Department on the subject to which the resolution refers.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 97: Relating to appointments of masters' mates and the
postponement of the sailing of the frigate _Raritan_.]

WASHINGTON, _February 7, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate of the United States, in answer to their
resolution of the 9th of January last, a report[98] from the Secretary
of State and a report[99] from the Secretary of War.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 98: Stating that there has been no correspondence with the
British Government relative to presents, etc., by that Government to
Indians in the United States.]

[Footnote 99: Transmitting a letter from the Commissioner of Indian
Affairs relative to presents, etc., to Indians in the United States by
the British Government.]

WASHINGTON, _February 9, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 31st January, I
herewith transmit the accompanying letter[100] from the Secretary of the
Navy.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 100: Relating to a proposed extension of the duties of the
Home Squadron.]

WASHINGTON, _February 12, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate articles of agreement between the
Delawares and Wyandots, by which the Delawares propose to convey to the
Wyandots certain lands therein mentioned, for the ratification and
approval of the Senate, together with the accompanying documents, marked
A and B.

My mind is not clear of doubt as to the power of the Executive to act in
the matter, but being opposed to the assumption of any doubtful power,
I have considered it best to submit the agreement to your consideration.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _February 12, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a letter from the governor of Iowa, accompanied by
a memorial from the legislative assembly of that Territory, asking
admission as an independent State into the Union.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _February 12, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith the copy of a report made by Captain R.F. Stockton,
of the United States Navy, relative to the vessel of war the
_Princeton_, which has been constructed under his supervision and
direction, and recommend the same to the attentive consideration of
Congress.

JOHN TYLER.

FEBRUARY 15, 1844.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I communicate herewith a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury,
submitting a report from the Commissioner of the General Land Office and
accompanying papers, in answer to a resolution adopted by the Senate on
the 6th instant, requesting certain information respecting the receipt
by local land officers of fees not authorized by law and the measures
which have been adopted in reference thereto.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _February 15, 1844_.

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

In compliance with the request contained in the accompanying letter from
the governor of the State of Kentucky, I herewith transmit certain
resolutions[101] adopted by the legislature of that State, in relation
to a digest of the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 101: Asking the publication and distribution of a digest of
the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States.]

WASHINGTON, _February 20, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report[102] from the Secretary of War, containing
the information requested in the resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 29th ultimo.

In order to a full understanding of the matter I have deemed it proper
to transmit with the information requested a copy of the reply of the
Adjutant-General to Brevet Major-General Gaines, with the documents to
which it refers.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 102: Relating to the settlement of the accounts of
Major-General Gaines, etc.]

WASHINGTON, _February 20, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate a report[103] from the Secretary of State, with
accompanying documents, in answer to their resolution of the 31st of
January last.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 103: Relating to slaves committing crimes and escaping from
the United States to the British dominions since the ratification of the
treaty of 1842, and the refusal of the British authorities to give them
up, and to the construction which the British Government puts upon the
article of said treaty relative to slaves committing crimes in the
United States and taking refuge in the British dominions.]

WASHINGTON, _February 21, 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 16th instant, a report[104] from the Secretary of
State, with the correspondence therein referred to.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 104: Relating to a demand upon the British Government for
the surrender of certain fugitive criminals from Florida under the
provisions of the tenth article of the treaty of Washington.]

WASHINGTON, _February 23, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of the Navy,
to which I invite the particular attention of Congress. The act
entitled "An act to authorize the President of the United States to
direct transfers of appropriation in the naval service under certain
circumstances" has this day met with my approval, under no expectation
that it can be rendered available to the present wants of the service,
but as containing an exposition of the views of Congress as to the
entire policy of transfers from one head of appropriation to any
other in the naval service and as a guide to the Executive in the
administration of the duties of that Department. The restrictions
laid upon the power to transfer by the latter clauses of the act have
rendered its passage of no avail at the present moment.

It will, however, be perceived by the document accompanying the report
of the Secretary that there has been realized by recent sales of old
iron, copper, and other materials the sum of $116,922.79. These sales
were ordered for the express purpose of enabling the Executive to
complete certain ships now on the stocks, the completion of which is
called for by the economical wants of the service; and the doubt
existing as to the power of the Government to apply this sum to the
objects contemplated proceeds from the fact that the late Secretary of
the Navy directed them to be placed in the Treasury, although in doing
so he had no intention of diverting them from their intended head of
expenditure. The Secretary of the Treasury, however, has brought himself
to the opinion that they could only be entered under the head of
miscellaneous receipts, and therefore can only be withdrawn by authority
of an express act of Congress. I would suggest the propriety of the
passage of such an act without delay.

As intimately associated with the means of public defense, I can not
forbear urging upon you the importance of constructing, upon the
principles which have been brought into use in the construction of the
_Princeton_, several ships of war of a larger class, better fitted than
that ship to the heavy armament which should be placed on board of them.
The success which has so eminently crowned this first experiment should
encourage Congress to lose no time in availing the country of all the
important benefits so obviously destined to flow from it. Other nations
will speedily give their attention to the subject, and it would be
criminal in the United States, the first to apply to practical purposes
the great power which has been brought into use, to permit others to
avail themselves of our improvements while we stood listlessly and
supinely by. In the number of steam vessels of war we are greatly
surpassed by other nations, and yet to Americans is the world indebted
for that great discovery of the means of successfully applying steam
power which has in the last quarter century so materially changed the
condition of the world. We have now taken another and even bolder step,
the results of which upon the affairs of nations remain still to be
determined, and I can not but flatter myself that it will be followed
up without loss of time to the full extent of the public demands. The
Secretary of the Navy will be instructed to lay before you suitable
estimates of the cost of constructing so many ships of such size and
dimensions as you may think proper to order to be built.

The application of steam power to ships of war no longer confines us to
the seaboard in their construction. The urgent demands of the service
for the Gulf of Mexico and the substitution of iron for wood in the
construction of ships plainly point to the establishment of a navy-yard
at some suitable place on the Mississippi. The coal fields and iron
mines of the extensive region watered by that noble river recommend such
an establishment, while high considerations of public policy would lead
to the same conclusion.

One of the complaints of the Western States against the actual operation
of our system of government is that while large and increasing
expenditures of public money are made on the Atlantic frontier the
expenditures in the interior are comparatively small. The time has now
arrived when this cause of complaint may be in a great measure removed
by adopting the legitimate and necessary policy which I have indicated,
thereby throwing around the States another bond of union.

I could not forego the favorable opportunity which has presented itself,
growing out of the communication from the Secretary of the Navy, to urge
upon you the foregoing recommendations.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _February 29, 1844_.

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

I have to perform the melancholy duty of announcing to the two Houses of
Congress the death of the Hon. Abel P. Upshur, late Secretary of State,
and the Hon. Thomas W. Gilmer, late Secretary of the Navy.

This most lamentable occurrence transpired on board the United States
ship of war the _Princeton_ on yesterday at about half past 4 o'clock in
the evening, and proceeded from the explosion of one of the large guns
of that ship.

The loss which the Government and the country have sustained by this
deplorable event is heightened by the death at the same time and by the
same cause of several distinguished persons and valuable citizens.

I shall be permitted to express my great grief at an occurrence
which has thus suddenly stricken from my side two gentlemen upon whose
advice I so confidently relied in the discharge of my arduous task of
administering the office of the executive department, and whose services
at this interesting period were of such vast importance.

In some relief of the public sorrow which must necessarily accompany
this most painful event, it affords me much satisfaction to say that
it was produced by no carelessness or inattention on the part of the
officers and crew of the _Princeton_, but must be set down as one of
those casualties which to a greater or less degree attend upon every
service, and which are invariably incident to the temporal affairs of
mankind. I will also add that it in no measure detracts from the value
of the improvement contemplated in the construction of the _Princeton_
or from the merits of her brave and distinguished commander and
projector.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _March 7, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit to the House of Representatives a report[105] from the Secretary
of State, with documents, containing the information requested by
their resolution of the 26th ultimo.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 105: Relating to the colony of Liberia, in Africa.]

WASHINGTON, _March 8, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of the
10th of January last, I communicate to that body a report[106] from the
Secretary of State _ad interim_, which embraces the information called
for by said resolution.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 106: Relating to the production, growth, and trade in tobacco.]

WASHINGTON, _March 8, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I communicate to the Senate a report,[107] with the documents
accompanying it, from the Secretary of State, in answer to a resolution
of that body of the 25th of January, 1844.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 107: Transmitting names, returns, etc., of consuls and
commercial agents of the United States.]

WASHINGTON, _March 9, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, in answer to their resolution of the 21st
ultimo, a report[108] from the Secretary of State, with accompanying
papers.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 108: Relating to the abuse of the United States flag in
subservience to the African slave trade, and to the taking away of
slaves the property of Portuguese subjects in vessels owned or
employed by citizens of the United States.]

WASHINGTON, _March 11, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with your resolution of the 26th ultimo, I herewith
transmit a report[109] from the Secretary of the Navy.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 109: Transmitting list of officers appointed in the Navy
since June 1, 1843.]

WASHINGTON, _March 12, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report[110] of the Secretary of War, prepared in
compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 26th
ultimo.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 110: Transmitting list of officers appointed in the Army
since June 1, 1843.]

WASHINGTON, D.C., _March 18, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report[111] from the Secretary of State, in answer
to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 18th of January
last.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 111: Transmitting list of persons employed by the Department
of State without express authority of law, etc., from March 4, 1837, to
December 31, 1843, inclusive.]

WASHINGTON, _March 19, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a letter[112] from the Secretary of State and
certain documents accompanying the same, in answer to the resolution
of the Senate of the 8th instant.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 112: Transmitting the commission appointing Caleb Cushing a
representative of the Government of the United States in China; papers,
etc., concerning the payment of $40,000, appropriated for sending a
commissioner, etc., to China.]

WASHINGTON, _March 20, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate a report from the Secretary of State, with
documents, containing the information[113] requested by their resolution
of the 23d ultimo.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 113: Relating to the interpretation of the tenth article
of the treaty of August 9, 1842, between the United States and Great
Britain.]

WASHINGTON, _March 20, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith to the House of Representatives a copy of the
convention concluded on the 17th day of March, 1841, between the United
States and the Republic of Peru, which has been duly ratified and of
which the ratifications have been exchanged.

The communication of this treaty is now made to the end that suitable
measures may be adopted to give effect to the first article thereof,
which provides for the distribution among the claimants of the sum of
$300,000, thereby stipulated to be paid.

JOHN TYLER.

[The same message was sent to the Senate.]

WASHINGTON CITY, _March 26, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith copies of the report and papers[114] referred to in
a resolution of the Senate of the 20th of February last.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 114: Relating to the survey of the harbor of St. Louis.]

WASHINGTON, _March 26, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I submit for the consideration of Congress the accompanying
communication from A. Pageot, minister plenipotentiary _ad interim_ of
the King of the French, upon the subject of the tonnage duties levied
on French vessels coming into the ports of the United States from
the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, and proposing to place our
commercial intercourse with those islands upon the same footing as now
exists with the islands of Martinique and Guadaloupe, as regulated by
the acts of the 9th of May, 1828, and of the 13th of July, 1832. No
reason is perceived for the discrimination recognized by the existing
law, and none why the provisions of the acts of Congress referred to
should not be extended to the commerce of the islands in question.

JOHN TYLER.

WASHINGTON, _March 27, 1844_.

_To the Senate_:

I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of the Treasury,
to whom I had referred the resolution of the Senate of the 27th December
last, showing that the information[115] called for by that resolution
can not be furnished from authentic data.

JOHN TYLER.

[Footnote 115: Statement of the expenditures of the Government each year
from its organization up to the present period, and when and for what
purpose these expenditures were made.]

WASHINGTON, D.C., _April 9, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of
the 23d of March last, requesting the President to lay before the House
"the authority and the true copies of all requests and applications upon
which he deemed it his duty to interfere with the naval and military
forces of the United States on the occasion of the recent attempt of the
people of Rhode Island to establish a free constitution in the place
of the old charter government of that State; also copies of the
instructions to and statements of the charter commissioners sent to him
by the then existing authorities of the State of Rhode Island; also
copies of the correspondence between the Executive of the United States
and the charter government of the State of Rhode Island, and all the
papers and documents connected with the same; also copies of the
correspondence, if any, between the heads of Departments and said
charter government or any person or persons connected with the said
government, and of any accompanying papers and documents; also copies
of all orders issued by the Executive of the United States, or any of
the Departments, to military officers for the movement or employment
of troops to or in Rhode Island; also copies of all orders to naval
officers to prepare steam or other vessels of the United States for
service in the waters of Rhode Island; also copies of all orders to the
officers of revenue cutters for the same service; also copies of any
instructions borne by the Secretary of War to Rhode Island on his visit
in 1842 to review the troops of the charter government; also copies of
any order or orders to any officer or officers of the Army or Navy to
report themselves to the charter government; and that he be requested
to lay before this House copies of any other papers or documents in
the possession of the Executive connected with this subject not above
specifically enumerated," I have to inform the House that the Executive
did not deem it his "duty to interfere with the naval and military
forces of the United States" in the late disturbances in Rhode Island;
that no orders were issued by the Executive or any of the Departments
to military officers for the movement or employment of troops to or in
Rhode Island other than those which accompany this message and which
contemplated the strengthening of the garrison at Fort Adams, which,
considering the extent of the agitation in Rhode Island, was esteemed
necessary and judicious; that no orders were issued to naval officers to
prepare steam or other vessels of the United States for service in the
waters of Rhode Island; that no orders were issued "to the officers of
the revenue cutters for said service;" that no instructions were borne
by "the Secretary of War to Rhode Island on his visit in 1842 _to review
the troops of the charter government_;" that no orders were given to any
officer or officers of the Army or Navy to report themselves to the
charter government; that "requests and applications" were made to the
Executive to fulfill the guaranties of the Constitution which impose on
the Federal Government the obligation to protect and defend each State
of the Union against "domestic violence and foreign invasion," but the
Executive was at no time convinced that the _casus foederis_ had arisen
which required the interposition of the military or naval power in the
controversy which unhappily existed between the people of Rhode Island.
I was in no manner prevented from so interfering by the inquiry whether
Rhode Island existed as an independent State of the Union under a
charter granted at an early period by the Crown of Great Britain or not.
It was enough for the Executive to know that she was recognized as a
sovereign State by Great Britain by the treaty of 1783; that at a later
day she had in common with her sister States poured out her blood and
freely expended her treasure in the War of the Revolution; that she was
a party to the Articles of Confederation; that at an after period she
adopted the Constitution of the United States as a free, independent,
and republican State; and that in this character she has always
possessed her full quota of representation in the Senate and House of
Representatives; and that up to a recent day she has conducted all her
domestic affairs and fulfilled all her obligations as a member of the
Union, in peace and war, under her _charter government_, as it is
denominated by the resolution of the House of the 23d March. I must be
permitted to disclaim entirely and unqualifiedly the right on the part
of the Executive to make any real or supposed defects existing in any
State constitution or form of government the pretext for a failure to
enforce the laws or the guaranties of the Constitution of the United
States in reference to any such State. I utterly repudiate the idea,
in terms as emphatic as I can employ, that those laws are not to be
enforced or those guaranties complied with because _the President_ may
believe that the right of suffrage or any other great popular right
is either too restricted or too broadly enlarged. I also with equal
strength resist the idea that it falls within the Executive competency
to decide in controversies of the nature of that which existed in Rhode
Island on which side is the majority of the people or as to the extent
of the rights of a mere numerical majority. For the Executive to assume
such a power would be to assume a power of the most dangerous character.
Under such assumptions the States of this Union would have no security
for peace or tranquillity, but might be converted into the mere
instruments of Executive will. Actuated by selfish purposes, he might
become the great agitator, fomenting assaults upon the State
constitutions and declaring the majority of to-day to be the minority
of to-morrow, and the minority, in its turn, the majority, before whose
decrees the established order of things in the State should be
subverted. Revolution, civil commotion, and bloodshed would be the
inevitable consequences. The provision in the Constitution intended for
the security of the States would thus be turned into the instrument
of their destruction. The President would become, in fact, the great
_constitution maker_ for the States, and all power would be vested
in his hands.

When, therefore, the governor of Rhode Island, by his letter of the
4th of April, 1842, made a requisition upon the Executive for aid to
put down the late disturbances, I had no hesitation in recognizing the
obligations of the Executive to furnish such aid upon the occurrence of
the contingency provided for by the Constitution and laws. My letter
of the 11th of April, in reply to the governor's letter of the 4th, is
herewith communicated, together with all correspondence which passed at
a subsequent day and the letters and documents mentioned in the schedule
hereunto annexed. From the correspondence between the Executive of the
United States and that of Rhode Island, it will not escape observation
that while I regarded it as my duty to announce the principles by which
I should govern myself in the contingency of an armed interposition on
the part of this Government being necessary to uphold the rights of the
State of Rhode Island and to preserve its domestic peace, yet that the
strong hope was indulged and expressed that all the difficulties would
disappear before an enlightened policy of conciliation and compromise.
In that spirit I addressed to Governor King the letter of the 9th of
May, 1842, marked "private and confidential," and received his reply
of the 12th of May of the same year. The desire of the Executive was
from the beginning to bring the dispute to a termination without the
interposition of the military power of the United States, and it will
continue to be a subject of self-congratulation that this leading
object of policy was finally accomplished. The Executive resisted
all entreaties, however urgent, to depart from this line of conduct.
Information from private sources had led the Executive to conclude that
little else was designed by Mr. Dorr and his adherents than mere menace
with a view to intimidation; nor was this opinion in any degree shaken
until the 22d of June, 1842, when it was strongly represented from
reliable sources, as will be seen by reference to the documents herewith
communicated, that preparations were making by Mr. Dorr, with a large
force in arms, to invade the State, which force had been recruited in
the neighboring States and had been already preceded by the collection
of military stores in considerable quantities at one or two points. This
was a state of things to which the Executive could not be indifferent.
Mr. Dorr speedily afterwards took up his headquarters at Chepachet and
assumed the command of what was reported to be a large force, drawn
chiefly from voluntary enlistments made in neighboring States. The
Executive could with difficulty bring itself to realize the fact that
the citizens of other States should have forgotten their duty to
themselves and the Constitution of the United States and have entered
into the highly reprehensible and indefensible course of interfering so
far in the concerns of a sister State as to have entered into plans of
invasion, conquest, and revolution; but the Executive felt it to be its
duty to look minutely into the matter, and therefore the Secretary of
War was dispatched to Rhode Island with instructions (a copy of which is
herewith transmitted), and was authorized, should a requisition be made
upon the Executive by the government of Rhode Island in pursuance of
law, and the invaders should not abandon their purposes, to call upon
the governors of Massachusetts and Connecticut for a sufficient number
of militia at once to arrest the invasion and to interpose such of the
regular troops as could be spared from Fort Adams for the defense of the
city of Providence in the event of its being attacked, as was strongly
represented to be in contemplation. Happily there was no necessity for
either issuing the proclamation or the requisition or for removing
the troops from Fort Adams, where they had been properly stationed.
Chepachet was evacuated and Mr. Dorr's troops dispersed without the
necessity of the interposition of any military force by this Government,
thus confirming me in my early impressions that nothing more had been
designed from the first by those associated with Mr. Dorr than to excite
fear and apprehension and thereby to obtain concessions from the
constituted authorities which might be claimed as a triumph over the
existing government.

With the dispersion of Mr. Dorr's troops ended all difficulties.
A convention was shortly afterwards called, by due course of law, to
amend the fundamental law, and a new constitution, based on more liberal
principles than that abrogated, was proposed, and adopted by the people.
Thus the great American experiment of a change in government under the
influence of opinion and not of force has been again crowned with
success, and the State and people of Rhode Island repose in safety under
institutions of their own adoption, unterrified by any future prospect
of necessary change and secure against domestic violence and invasion
from abroad. I congratulate the country upon so happy a termination of
a condition of things which seemed at one time seriously to threaten the
public peace. It may justly be regarded as worthy of the age and of the
country in which we live.

JOHN TYLER.

PROVIDENCE, _April 4, 1842_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR: The State of Rhode Island is threatened with domestic violence.
Apprehending that the legislature can not be convened in sufficient
season to apply to the Government of the United States for effectual
protection in this case, I hereby apply to you, as the executive of
the State of Rhode Island, for the protection which is required by the
Constitution of the United States. To communicate more fully with you
on this subject, I have appointed John Whipple, John Brown Francis, and
Elisha R. Potter, esqs., three of our most distinguished citizens, to
proceed to Washington and to make known to you in behalf of this State
the circumstances which call for the interposition of the Government
of the United States for our protection.

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

SAM. W. KING,
_Governor of Rhode Island_.

PROVIDENCE, _April 4, 1842_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR: For nearly a year last past the State of Rhode Island has been
agitated by revolutionary movements, and is now threatened with
domestic violence.

The report[116] of a joint committee of both branches of the legislature
of this State, with an act[116] and resolutions[116] accompanying the
same, herewith communicated, were passed unanimously by the senate, and
by a vote of 60 to 6 in the house of representatives. The legislature
adjourned to the first Tuesday of May next.

[Footnote 116: Omitted.]

It has become my duty by one of these resolutions to adopt such measures
as in my opinion may be necessary in the recess of the legislature to
execute the laws and preserve the State from domestic violence.

The provisions of the said act "in relation to offenses against the
sovereign power of this State" have created much excitement among that
portion of the people who have unequivocally declared their intention to
set up another government in this State and to put down the existing
government, and they threaten, individually and collectively, to resist
the execution of this act. The numbers of this party are sufficiently
formidable to threaten seriously our peace, and in some portions of the
State, and in this city particularly, may constitute a majority of the
physical force, though they are a minority of the people of the State.

Under the dangers which now threaten us, I have appointed John Whipple,
John Brown Francis, and Elisha R. Potter, esqs., three of our most
distinguished citizens, to proceed to Washington and consult with you in
behalf of this State, with a view that such precautionary measures may
be taken by the Government of the United States as may afford us that
protection which the Constitution of the United States requires. There
is but little doubt that a proclamation from the President of the United
States and the presence here of a military officer to act under the
authority of the United States would destroy the delusion which is now
so prevalent, and convince the deluded that in a contest with the
government of this State they would be involved in a contest with the
Government of the United States, which could only eventuate in their
destruction.

As no State can keep troops in time of peace without the consent of
Congress, there is the more necessity that we should be protected by
those who have the means of protection. We shall do all we can for
ourselves. The Government of the United States has the power to
_prevent_ as well as to defend us from violence. The protection provided
by the Constitution of the United States will not be effectual unless
such precautionary measures may be taken as are necessary to prevent
lawless men from breaking out into violence, as well as to protect the
State from further violence after it has broken out. Preventive measures
are the most prudent and safe, and also the most merciful.

The protective power would be lamentably deficient if "the beginning
of strife," which "is like the letting out of waters," can not be
prevented, and no protection can be afforded the State until to many
it would be too late.

The above-named gentlemen are fully authorized to act in behalf of
the State of Rhode Island in this emergency, and carry with them
such documents and proof as will, no doubt, satisfy you that the
interposition of the authority of the Government of the United States
will be salutary and effectual.

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

SAM. W. KING,
_Governor of Rhode Island_.

APRIL 9, 1842.

MY DEAR SIR:[117] Will you do me the favor to see the committee from
Rhode Island as soon after the meeting of the Cabinet as may suit your
convenience?

[Footnote 117: Addressed to the President of the United States.]

I regret to learn from Mr. Francis that the leaning of your mind was
decidedly against any expression of opinion upon the subject, upon the
ground that _free suffrage_ must _prevail_. Undoubtedly it will. That
is not the question. The freeholders of Rhode Island have yielded that
point, and the _only_ question is between their constitution, providing
for an extension of suffrage, and ours, containing _substantially_ the
_same_ provision--whether their constitution shall be carried out by
_force of arms without_ a majority, or the present government be
supported _until_ a constitution can be agreed upon that will command
a majority. Neither their constitution nor ours has as yet received a
majority of the free white males over 21 years of age. _There is no
doubt upon that subject_, and I very much regret that your mind should
have been influenced (if it has) by the paper called the Express. Nearly
all the leaders who are professional men have abandoned them, on the
ground that a majority is not in favor of their constitution. I _know_
this to be true. I do hope that you will reconsider this vital question
and give us a full hearing before you decide.

With great respect, very truly and sincerely, yours,

JOHN WHIPPLE.

His Excellency JOHN TYLER,

_President of the United States_:

The undersigned, having been deputed by Samuel W. King, the governor
of the State of Rhode Island, to lay before you the present alarming
condition in which the people of that State are placed, and to request
from you the adoption of such prudential measures as in your opinion may
tend to prevent domestic violence, beg leave most respectfully to state
the following among the leading facts, to which your attention is more
particularly invited:

That the people of Rhode Island have no fundamental law except the
charter of King Charles II, granted in 1663, and the usage of the
legislature under it. Legislative usage under their charters has been
decided by the Supreme Court of the United States to be the fundamental
law both in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

That from the date of the Rhode Island charter down to the year 1841, a
period of nearly two hundred years, no person has been allowed to vote
for town or State offices unless possessed of competent estates and
admitted free in the several towns in which they resided.

That since the statute of 1728 no person could be admitted a freeman of
any town unless he owned a freehold estate of the value fixed by law
(now $134) or was the eldest son of such a freeholder.

That until the past year no attempt has been made, to our knowledge, to
establish any other fundamental law, by force, than the one under which
the people have lived for so long a period.

That at the January session of the legislature in 1841 a petition signed
by five or six hundred male inhabitants, praying for such an extension
of suffrage as the legislature might in their wisdom deem expedient to
propose, was presented.

That, influenced by that petition, as well as by other considerations,
the legislature at that session requested the qualified voters, or
freemen, as they are called with us, to choose delegates at their
regular town meetings to be holden in August, 1841, for a convention
to be holden in November, 1841, to frame a written constitution.

That the result of the last meeting of this legal convention in
February, 1842, was the constitution[118] accompanying this statement,
marked ----, which, in case of its adoption by the people, would have
been the supreme law of the State.

[Footnote 118: Omitted.]

Most of the above facts are contained in the printed report of a
numerous committee of the legislature at their session in March, 1842,
which report was adopted by the legislature.

That in May, 1841, after said legal convention had been provided for
by the legislature, and before the time appointed for the choice of
delegates by the qualified voters (August, 1841), a mass meeting was
held by the friends of an extension of suffrage at Newport, at which
meeting a committee was appointed, called the State committee, who were
authorized by said mass meeting to take measures for calling a
convention to frame a constitution.

That this committee, thus authorized, issued a request for a meeting
of the male citizens in the several towns to appoint delegates to the
proposed convention.

That meetings (of unqualified voters principally, as we believe) were
accordingly holden in the several towns, unauthorized by law, and
contrary to the invariable custom and usage of the State from 1663 down
to that period; that the aggregate votes appointing the delegates to
that convention were, according to their own estimate, about 7,200,
whereas the whole number of male citizens over 21 years of age, after
making a deduction for foreigners, paupers, etc., was, according to
their own estimate, over 22,000.

That this convention, thus constituted, convened in Providence in
October, 1841, and the constitution called the "people's constitution"
was the result of their deliberations.

That at subsequent meetings of portions of the people in December, 1841,
by the authority of this convention alone (elected, as its delegates had
been, by about one-third of the voters, according to their own standard
of qualification), all males over 21 years of age were admitted to vote
for the adoption of the people's constitution; that these meetings were
not under any presiding officer whose legal right or duty it was to
interpose any check or restraint as to age, residence, property, or
color.

By the fourteenth article of this constitution it was provided that
"this constitution shall be submitted to the people for their adoption
or rejection on Monday, the 27th of December next, and on the two
succeeding days;" "and every person entitled to vote as aforesaid who
from sickness or _other causes_ may be unable to attend and vote in the
town or ward meetings assembled for voting upon said constitution on the
days aforesaid is requested to write his name on a ticket, and to obtain
the signature upon the back of the same of a person who has given in his
vote, as a witness thereto, and the moderator or clerk of any town or
ward meeting convened for the purpose aforesaid shall receive such vote
on either of the three days next succeeding the three days before named
for voting for said constitution."

During the first three days about 9,000 votes were received from the
hands of the voters in the open meetings. By the privilege granted
to any and all friends of the constitution of _bringing into_ their
meetings the _names_ of voters during the three following days 5,000
votes more were obtained, making an aggregate of about 14,000 votes.

This constitution, thus originating and thus formed, was subsequently
declared by this convention to be the supreme law of the land. By its
provisions a government is to be organized under it, by the choice of
a governor, lieutenant-governor, senators and representatives, on the
Monday preceding the third Wednesday in April, 1842.

By the provisions of the "landholder's constitution," as the legal
constitution is called, every white native citizen possessing the
freehold qualification, and over 21 years of age, may vote upon a
residence of _one_ year, and without any freehold may vote upon a
residence of _two_ years, except in the case of votes for town taxes,
in which case the voter must possess the freehold qualification _or_
be taxed for other property of the value of $150.

By the "people's constitution" "every white male citizen of the United
States of the age of 21 years who has resided in this State for _one_
year and in the town where he votes for six months" shall be permitted
to vote, with the same exception as to voting for town taxes as is
contained in the other constitution.

The provision, therefore, in relation to the great subject in
dispute--the elective franchise--is substantially the same in the two
constitutions.

On the 21st, 22d, and 23d March last the legal constitution, by an
act of the legislature, was submitted to all the persons who by its
provisions would be entitled to vote under it after its adoption, for
their ratification. It was rejected by a majority of 676 votes, the
number of votes polled being over 16,000. It is believed that many
freeholders voted against it because they were attached to the old form
of government and were against any new constitution whatever. Both
parties used uncommon exertions to bring all their voters to the polls,
and the result of the vote was, under the scrutiny of opposing interests
in legal town meetings, that the friends of the people's constitution
brought to the polls probably not over 7,000 to 7,500 votes. The whole
vote against the legal constitution was about 8,600. If we allow 1,000
as the number of freeholders who voted against the legal constitution
because they are opposed to any constitution, it would leave the number
of the friends of the people's constitution 7,600, or about one-third of
the voters of the State under the new qualification proposed by either
constitution.

It seems incredible that there can be 14,000 friends of the people's
constitution in the State, animated as they are by a most extraordinary
and enthusiastic feeling; and yet upon this trial, in the usual open and
fair way of voting, they should have obtained not over 7,600 votes.

The unanimity of the subsequent action of the legislature, comprehending
as it did both the great political parties--the house of representatives
giving a vote of 60 in favor of maintaining the existing government of
the State and only 6 on the other side, with a unaminimous vote in the
senate--the unanimous and decided opinion of the supreme court declaring
this extraordinary movement to be illegal in all its stages (see
----[119]), a majority of that court being of the Democratic party, with
other facts of a similar character, have freed this question of a mere
party character and enabled us to present it as a great constitutional
question.

Without presuming to discuss the elementary and fundamental principles
of government, we deem it our duty to remind you of the fact that the
existing government of Rhode Island is _the_ government that adopted the
Constitution of the United States, became a member of this Confederacy,
and has ever since been represented in the Senate and House of
Representatives. It is at this moment the existing government of Rhode
Island, both _de facto_ and _dejure_, and is the only government in that
State entitled to the protection of the Constitution of the United
States.

It is that government which now calls upon the General Government for
its interference; and even if the legal effect of there being an
ascertained majority of unqualified voters against the existing
government was as is contended for by the opposing party, yet, upon
their own principle, ought not that majority in point of fact to be
clearly ascertained, not by assertion, but by proof, in order to justify
the General Government in withdrawing its legal and moral influence to
prevent domestic violence?

That a domestic war of the most furious character will speedily ensue
unless prevented by a prompt expression of opinion here can not be
doubted. In relation to this, we refer to the numerous resolutions
passed at meetings of the friends of the people's constitution, and more
especially to the Cumberland resolutions[119] herewith presented, and
the affidavits,[119] marked ----, and to repeated expressions of similar
reliance upon the judgment of the Chief Magistrate of the nation.

[Footnote 119: Omitted.]

All which is respectfully submitted by--

JOHN WHIPPLE.
JOHN BROWN FRANCIS.
ELISHA R. POTTER.

WASHINGTON, _April 11, 1842_.

His Excellency the GOVERNOR OF RHODE ISLAND.

SIR: Your letter dated the 4th instant was handed me on Friday by Mr.
Whipple, who, in company with Mr. Francis and Mr. Potter, called upon me
on Saturday and placed me, both verbally and in writing, in possession
of the prominent facts which have led to the present unhappy condition
of things in Rhode Island--a state of things which every lover of peace
and good order must deplore. I shall not adventure the expression of an
opinion upon those questions of domestic policy which seem to have given
rise to the unfortunate controversies between a portion of the citizens
and the existing government of the State. They are questions of
municipal regulation, the adjustment of which belongs exclusively to the
people of Rhode Island, and with which this Government can have nothing
to do. For the regulation of my conduct in any interposition which I may
be called upon to make between the government of a State and any portion
of its citizens who may assail it with domestic violence, or may be in
actual insurrection against it, I can only look to the Constitution and
laws of the United States, which plainly declare the obligations of the
executive department and leave it no alternative as to the course it
shall pursue.

By the fourth section of the fourth article of the Constitution of the
United States it is provided that "the United States shall guarantee to
every State in this Union a republican form of government, and shall
protect each of them against invasion, and, on application of the
legislature or executive (when the legislature can not be convened),
_against domestic violence_." And by the act of Congress approved on the
28th February, 1795, it is declared "that in case of an insurrection in
any State _against the government thereof_ it shall be lawful for the
President of the United States, upon application of the legislature
of such State or by the executive (when the legislature can not be
convened), to call forth such numbers of the militia of any other State
or States as may be applied for, as he may judge sufficient to suppress
such insurrection." By the third section of the same act it is provided
"that whenever it may be necessary, in the judgment of the President, to
use the military force hereby directed to be called forth, the President
shall forthwith, by proclamation, command such insurgents to disperse
and retire peaceably to their respective abodes within a reasonable
time." By the act of March 3, 1807, it is provided "that in all cases of
insurrection or obstruction to the laws, either of the United States
or of any individual State or Territory where it is lawful for the
President of the United States to call forth the militia for the purpose
of suppressing such insurrection or of causing the laws to be duly
executed, it shall be lawful for him to employ for the same purposes
such part of the land or naval force of the United States as shall be
judged necessary, having first observed all the prerequisites of the
law in that respect."

This is the first occasion, so far as the government of a State and its
people are concerned, on which it has become necessary to consider of
the propriety of exercising those high and most important of
constitutional and legal functions.

By a careful consideration of the above-recited acts of Congress your
excellency will not fail to see that no power is vested in the Executive
of the United States to anticipate insurrectionary movements against the
government of Rhode Island so as to sanction the interposition of the
military authority, but that there must be an actual insurrection,
manifested by lawless assemblages of the people or otherwise, to whom
a proclamation may be addressed and who may be required to betake
themselves to their respective abodes. I have, however, to assure your
excellency that should the time arrive--and my fervent prayer is
that it may never come--when an insurrection shall exist _against the
government_ of Rhode Island, and a requisition shall be made upon the
Executive of the United States to furnish that protection which is
guaranteed to each State by the Constitution and laws, I shall not be
found to shrink from the performance of a duty which, while it would be
the most painful, is at the same time the most imperative. I have also
to say that in such a contingency the Executive could not look into real
or supposed defects of the existing government in order to ascertain
whether some other plan of government proposed for adoption was better
suited to the wants and more in accordance with the wishes of any
portion of her citizens. To throw the Executive power of this Government
into any such controversy would be to make the President the armed
arbitrator between the people of the different States and their
constituted authorities, and might lead to a usurped power dangerous
alike to the stability of the State governments and the liberties of the
people. It will be my duty, on the contrary, to respect the requisitions
of that government which has been recognized as the existing government
of the State through all time past until I shall be advised in regular
manner that it has been altered and abolished and another substituted in
its place by legal and peaceable proceedings adopted and pursued by the
authorities and people of the State. Nor can I readily bring myself
to believe that any such contingency will arise as shall render the
interference of this Government at all necessary. The people of the
State of Rhode Island have been too long distinguished for their love
of order and of regular government to rush into revolution in order to
obtain a redress of grievances, real or supposed, which a government
under which their fathers lived in peace would not in due season
redress. No portion of her people will be willing to drench her fair
fields with the blood of their own brethren in order to obtain a redress
of grievances which their constituted authorities can not for any length
of time resist if properly appealed to by the popular voice. None of
them will be willing to set an example, in the bosom of this Union, of
such frightful disorder, such needless convulsions of society, such
danger to life, liberty, and property, and likely to bring so much
discredit on the character of popular governments. My reliance on the
virtue, intelligence, and patriotism of her citizens is great and
abiding, and I will not doubt but that a spirit of conciliation will
prevail over rash councils, that all actual grievances will be promptly
redressed by the existing government, and that another bright example
will be added to the many already prevailing among the North American
Republics of change without revolution and a redress of grievances
without force or violence.

I tender to your excellency assurances of my high respect and
consideration.

JOHN TYLER.

NEWPORT, R.I., _May 4, 1842_.

His Excellency JOHN TYLER,

_President of the United States_.

SIR: I transmit herewith certain resolutions passed by the general
assembly of this State at their session holden at Newport on the first
Wednesday of May instant.

You are already acquainted with some of the circumstances which have
rendered necessary the passage of these resolutions. Any further
information that may be desired will be communicated by the bearers, the
Hon. Richard K. Randolph, speaker of the house of representatives, and
Elisha R. Potter, esq., a member of the senate of this State.

I can not allow myself to doubt but that the assistance to which this
State is entitled under the Constitution of the United States, to
protect itself against domestic violence, will be promptly rendered by
the General Government of the Union.

With great respect, I am, Your Excellency's humble servant,

SAM. W. KING,
_Governor of Rhode Island_.

STATE OF RHODE ISLAND AND PROVIDENCE PLANTATIONS,
_In General Assembly, May Session, 1842_.

Whereas a portion of the people of this State, for the purpose of
subverting the laws and existing government thereof, have framed a
pretended constitution, and for the same unlawful purposes have met in
lawless assemblages and elected officers for the future government of
this State; and

Whereas the persons so elected in violation of law, but in conformity to
the said pretended constitution, have, on the 3d day of May instant,
organized themselves into executive and legislative departments of
government, and under oath assumed the duties and exercise of said
powers; and

Whereas in order to prevent the due execution of the laws a strong
military force was called out and did array themselves to protect the
said unlawful organization of government and to set at defiance the due
enforcement of law: Therefore,

_Resolved by the general assembly_, That there now exists in this State
an insurrection against the laws and constituted authorities thereof,
and that, in pursuance of the Constitution and laws of the United
States, a requisition be, and hereby is, made by this legislature upon
the President of the United States forthwith to interpose the authority
and power of the United States to suppress such insurrectionary and
lawless assemblages, to support the existing government and laws, and
protect the State from domestic violence.

_Resolved_, That his excellency the governor be requested immediately to
transmit a copy of these resolutions to the President of the United
States.

True copy.

Witness: HENRY BOWEN,
_Secretary of State_.

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