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

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States, to enforce by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings the
laws of the United States within any State or Territory, the Executive
in that case is authorized and required to secure their faithful
execution by the employment of the land and naval forces; and

Whereas impediments and obstructions, serious in their character, have
recently been interposed in the States of North Carolina and South
Carolina, hindering and preventing for a time a proper enforcement there
of the laws of the United States and of the judgments and decrees of a
lawful court thereof, in disregard of the command of the President of
the United States; and

Whereas reasonable and well-founded apprehensions exist that such
ill-advised and unlawful proceedings may be again attempted there or
elsewhere:

Now, therefore, I, Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, do
hereby warn all persons against obstructing or hindering in any manner
whatsoever the faithful execution of the Constitution and the laws; and
I do solemnly enjoin and command all officers of the Government, civil
and military, to render due submission and obedience to said laws and to
the judgments and decrees of the courts of the United States, and to
give all the aid in their power necessary to the prompt enforcement and
execution of such laws, decrees, judgments, and processes.

And I do hereby enjoin upon the officers of the Army and Navy to assist
and sustain the courts and other civil authorities of the United States
in a faithful administration of the laws thereof and in the judgments,
decrees, mandates, and processes of the courts of the United States; and
I call upon all good and well-disposed citizens of the United States
to remember that upon the said Constitution and laws, and upon the
judgments, decrees, and processes of the courts made in accordance with
the same, depend the protection of the lives, liberty, property, and
happiness of the people. And I exhort them everywhere to testify their
devotion to their country, their pride in its prosperity and greatness,
and their determination to uphold its free institutions by a hearty
cooperation in the efforts of the Government to sustain the authority of
the law, to maintain the supremacy of the Federal Constitution, and to
preserve unimpaired the integrity of the National Union.

In testimony whereof I have caused the seal of the United States to be
affixed to these presents and sign the same with my hand.

[SEAL.]

Done at the city of Washington, the 3d day of September, in the year
1867.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

By the President:
WILLIAM H. SEWARD,
_Secretary of State_.

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

A PROCLAMATION.

Whereas in the month of July, A.D. 1861, the two Houses of Congress,
with extraordinary unanimity, solemnly declared that the war then
existing was not waged on the part of the Government in any spirit of
oppression nor for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, nor purpose
of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established
institutions of the States, but to defend and maintain the supremacy
of the Constitution and to preserve the Union, with all the dignity,
equality, and rights of the several States unimpaired, and that as soon
as these objects should be accomplished the war ought to cease; and

Whereas the President of the United States, on the 8th day of December,
A.D. 1863, and on the 26th day of March, A.D. 1864, did, with the
objects of suppressing the then existing rebellion, of inducing all
persons to return to their loyalty, and of restoring the authority of
the United States, issue proclamations offering amnesty and pardon to
all persons who had, directly or indirectly, participated in the then
existing rebellion, except as in those proclamations was specified and
reserved; and

Whereas the President of the United States did on the 29th day of May,
A.D. 1865, issue a further proclamation, with the same objects before
mentioned, and to the end that the authority of the Government of the
United States might be restored and that peace, order, and freedom might
be established, and the President did by the said last-mentioned
proclamation proclaim and declare that he thereby granted to all persons
who had, directly or indirectly, participated in the then existing
rebellion, except as therein excepted, amnesty and pardon, with
restoration of all rights of property, except as to slaves, and except
in certain cases where legal proceedings had been instituted, but upon
condition that such persons should take and subscribe an oath therein
prescribed, which oath should be registered for permanent preservation;
and

Whereas in and by the said last-mentioned proclamation of the 29th
day of May, A.D. 1865, fourteen extensive classes of persons therein
specially described were altogether excepted and excluded from the
benefits thereof; and

Whereas the President of the United States did, on the 2d day of April,
A.D. 1866, issue a proclamation declaring that the insurrection was at
an end and was thenceforth to be so regarded; and

Whereas there now exists no organized armed resistance of misguided
citizens or others to the authority of the United States in the
States of Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee,
Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Florida, and Texas, and the
laws can be sustained and enforced therein by the proper civil
authority, State or Federal, and the people of said States are well and
loyally disposed, and have conformed, or, if permitted to do so, will
conform in their legislation to the condition of affairs growing out
of the amendment to the Constitution of the United States prohibiting
slavery within the limits and jurisdiction of the United States; and

Whereas there no longer exists any reasonable ground to apprehend within
the States which were involved in the late rebellion any renewal thereof
or any unlawful resistance by the people of said States to the
Constitution and laws of the United States; and

Whereas large standing armies, military occupation, martial law,
military tribunals, and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of
_habeas corpus_ and the right of trial by jury are in time of peace
dangerous to public liberty, incompatible with the individual rights of
the citizen, contrary to the genius and spirit of our free institutions,
and exhaustive of the national resources, and ought not, therefore,
to be sanctioned or allowed except in cases of actual necessity for
repelling invasion or suppressing insurrection or rebellion; and

Whereas a retaliatory or vindictive policy, attended by unnecessary
disqualifications, pains, penalties, confiscations, and disfranchisements,
now, as always, could only tend to hinder reconciliation among the people
and national restoration, while it must seriously embarrass, obstruct,
and repress popular energies and national industry and enterprise; and

Whereas for these reasons it is now deemed essential to the public
welfare and to the more perfect restoration of constitutional law and
order that the said last-mentioned proclamation so as aforesaid issued
on the 29th day of May, A.D. 1865, should be modified, and that the full
and beneficent pardon conceded thereby should be opened and further
extended to a large number of the persons who by its aforesaid
exceptions have been hitherto excluded from Executive clemency:

Now, therefore, be it known that I, Andrew Johnson, President of the
United States, do hereby proclaim and declare that the full pardon
described in the said proclamation of the 29th day of May, A.D. 1865,
shall henceforth be opened and extended to all persons who, directly or
indirectly, participated in the late rebellion, with the restoration
of all privileges, immunities, and rights of property, except as to
property with regard to slaves, and except in cases of legal proceedings
under the laws of the United States; but upon this condition,
nevertheless, that every such person who shall seek to avail himself of
this proclamation shall take and subscribe the following oath and shall
cause the same to be registered for permanent preservation in the same
manner and with the same effect as with the oath prescribed in the said
proclamation of the 29th day of May, 1865, namely:

I, ---- ----, do solemnly swear (or affirm), in presence of Almighty
God, that I will henceforth faithfully support, protect, and defend
the Constitution of the United States and the Union of the States
thereunder, and that I will in like manner abide by and faithfully
support all laws and proclamations which have been made during the late
rebellion with reference to the emancipation of slaves. So help me God.

The following persons, and no others, are excluded from the benefits of
this proclamation and of the said proclamation of the 29th day of May,
1865, namely:

First. The chief or pretended chief executive officers, including the
President, the Vice-President, and all heads of departments of the
pretended Confederate or rebel government, and all who were agents
thereof in foreign states and countries, and all who held or pretended
to hold in the service of the said pretended Confederate government a
military rank or title above the grade of brigadier-general or naval
rank or title above that of captain, and all who were or pretended to be
governors of States while maintaining, aiding, abetting, or submitting
to and acquiescing in the rebellion.

Second. All persons who in any way treated otherwise than as lawful
prisoners of war persons who in any capacity were employed or engaged in
the military or naval service of the United States.

Third. All persons who at the time they may seek to obtain the benefits
of this proclamation are actually in civil, military, or naval
confinement or custody, or legally held to bail, either before or after
conviction, and all persons who were engaged, directly or indirectly, in
the assassination of the late President of the United States or in any
plot or conspiracy in any manner therewith connected.

In testimony whereof I have signed these presents with my hand and have
caused the seal of the United States to be hereunto affixed.

[SEAL.]

Done at the city of Washington, the 7th day of September, A.D. 1867, and
of the Independence of the United States of America the ninety-second.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

By the President:
WILLIAM H. SEWARD,
_Secretary of State_.

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

A PROCLAMATION.

Whereas it has been ascertained that in the nineteenth paragraph of
the proclamation of the President of the United States of the 20th of
August, 1866, declaring the insurrection at an end which had theretofore
existed in the State of Texas, the previous proclamation of the 13th of
June, 1865, instead of that of the 2d day of April, 1866, was referred
to:

Now, therefore, be it known that I, Andrew Johnson, President of the
United States, do hereby declare and proclaim that the said words
"13th of June, 1865," are to be regarded as erroneous in the paragraph
adverted to, and that the words "2d day of April, 1866," are to be
considered as substituted therefor.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of
the United States to be affixed.

[SEAL.]

Done at the city of Washington, this 7th day of October, A.D. 1867, and
of the Independence of the United States of America the ninety-second.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

By the President:
WILLIAM H. SEWARD,
_Secretary of State_.

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

A PROCLAMATION.

In conformity with a recent custom that may now be regarded as
established on national consent and approval, I, Andrew Johnson,
President of the United States, do hereby recommend to my
fellow-citizens that Thursday, the 28th day of November next, be set
apart and observed throughout the Republic as a day of national
thanksgiving and praise to the Almighty Ruler of Nations, with whom are
dominion and fear, who maketh peace in His high places.

Resting and refraining from secular labors on that day, let us
reverently and devoutly give thanks to our Heavenly Father for the
mercies and blessings with which He has crowned the now closing year.
Especially let us remember that He has covered our land through all
its extent with greatly needed and very abundant harvests; that He has
caused industry to prosper, not only in our fields, but also in our
workshops, in our mines, and in our forests. He has permitted us to
multiply ships upon our lakes and rivers and upon the high seas, and at
the same time to extend our iron roads so far into the secluded places
of the continent as to guarantee speedy overland intercourse between
the two oceans. He has inclined our hearts to turn away from domestic
contentions and commotions consequent upon a distracting and desolating
civil war, and to walk more and more in the ancient ways of loyalty,
conciliation, and brotherly love. He has blessed the peaceful efforts
with which we have established new and important commercial treaties
with foreign nations, while we have at the same time strengthened our
national defenses and greatly enlarged our national borders.

While thus rendering the unanimous and heartfelt tribute of national
praise and thanksgiving which is so justly due to Almighty God, let us
not fail to implore Him that the same divine protection and care which
we have hitherto so undeservedly and yet so constantly enjoyed may be
continued to our country and our people throughout all their generations
forever.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of
the United States to be affixed.

[SEAL.]

Done at the city of Washington, this 26th day of October, A.D. 1867, and
of the Independence of the United States the ninety-second.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

By the President:
WILLIAM H. SEWARD,
_Secretary of State_.

EXECUTIVE ORDERS.

GENERAL ORDERS, No. 10.

HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE,
_Washington, March 11, 1867_.

* * * * *

II. In pursuance of the act of Congress entitled "An act to provide for
the more efficient government of the rebel States," the President
directs the following assignments to be made:

First District, State of Virginia, to be commanded by Brevet
Major-General J.M. Schofield. Headquarters, Richmond, Va.

Second District, consisting of North Carolina and South Carolina, to be
commanded by Major-General D.E. Sickles. Headquarters, Columbia, S.C.

Third District, consisting of the States of Georgia, Florida, and
Alabama, to be commanded by Major-General G.H. Thomas. Headquarters,
Montgomery, Ala.

Fourth District, consisting of the States of Mississippi and Arkansas,
to be commanded by Brevet Major-General E.O.C. Ord. Headquarters,
Vicksburg, Miss.

Fifth District, consisting of the States of Louisiana and Texas, to be
commanded by Major-General P.H. Sheridan. Headquarters, New Orleans, La.

The powers of departmental commanders are hereby delegated to the
above-named district commanders.

By command of General Grant:

E.D. TOWNSEND,

_Assistant Adjutant-General_.

GENERAL ORDERS, No. 18.

HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE,
_Washington, March 15, 1867_.

The President directs that the following change be made, at the request
of Major-General Thomas, in the assignment announced in General Orders,
No. 10, of March 11, 1867, of commanders of districts, under the act of
Congress entitled "An act to provide for the more efficient government
of the rebel States," and of the Department of the Cumberland, created
in General Orders, No. 14, of March 12, 1867:

Brevet Major-General John Pope to command the Third District, consisting
of the States of Georgia, Florida, and Alabama; and Major-General George
H. Thomas to command the Department of the Cumberland

By command of General Grant:

E.D. TOWNSEND,

_Assistant Adjutant-General_.

WAR DEPARTMENT,
ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE,
_Washington, June 20, 1867_.

Whereas several commanders of military districts created by the acts of
Congress known as the reconstruction acts have expressed doubts as to
the proper construction thereof and in respect to some of their powers
and duties under said acts, and have applied to the Executive for
information in relation thereto; and

Whereas the said acts of Congress have been referred to the
Attorney-General for his opinion thereon, and the said acts and the
opinion of the Attorney-General have been fully and carefully considered
by the President in conference with the heads of the respective
Departments:

The President accepts the following as a practical interpretation of the
aforesaid acts of Congress on the points therein presented, and directs
the same to be transmitted to the respective military commanders for
their information, in order that there may be uniformity in the
execution of said acts:

1. The oath prescribed in the supplemental act defines all the
qualifications required, and every person who can take that oath is
entitled to have his name entered upon the list of voters.

2. The board of registration have no authority to administer any other
oath to the person applying for registration than this prescribed oath,
nor to administer an oath to any other person touching the
qualifications of the applicant or the falsity of the oath so taken by
him. The act, to guard against falsity in the oath, provides that if
false the person taking it shall be tried and punished for perjury.

No provision is made for challenging the qualifications of the applicant
or entering upon any trial or investigation of his qualifications,
either by witnesses or any other form of proof.

3. _As to citizenship and residence_:

The applicant for registration must be a citizen of the State and of the
United States, and must be a resident of a county or parish included in
the election district. He may be registered if he has been such citizen
for a period less than twelve months at the time he applies for
registration, but he can not vote at any election unless his citizenship
has _then_ extended to the full term of one year. As to such a person,
the exact length of his citizenship should be noted opposite his name on
the list, so that it may appear on the day of election, upon reference
to the list, whether the full term has then been accomplished.

4. An unnaturalized person can not take this oath, but an alien who has
been naturalized can take it, and no other proof of naturalization can
be required from him.

5. No one who is not 21 years of age at the time of registration can
take the oath, for he must swear that he has then attained that age.

6. No one who has been disfranchised for participation in any rebellion
against the United States or for felony committed against the laws of
any State or of the United States can take this oath.

The actual participation in a rebellion or the actual commission of a
felony does not amount to disfranchisement. The sort of disfranchisement
here meant is that which is declared by law passed by competent
authority, or which has been fixed upon the criminal by the sentence of
the court which tried him for the crime.

No law of the United States has declared the penalty of disfranchisement
for participation in rebellion alone; nor is it known that any such law
exists in either of these ten States, except, perhaps, Virginia, as to
which State special instructions will be given.

7. _As to disfranchisement arising from having held office followed by
participation in rebellion_:

This is the most important part of the oath, and requires strict
attention to arrive at its meaning. The applicant must swear or affirm
as follows:

That I have never been a member of any State legislature, nor held any
executive or judicial office in any State, and afterwards engaged in
an insurrection or rebellion against the United States or given aid or
comfort to the enemies thereof; that I have never taken an oath as a
member of Congress of the United States, or as an officer of the United
States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive
or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the
United States, and afterwards engaged in insurrection or rebellion
against the United States or given aid or comfort to the enemies
thereof.

Two elements must concur in order to disqualify a person under these
clauses: First, the office and official oath to support the Constitution
of the United States; second, engaging afterwards in rebellion. Both
must exist to work disqualification, and must happen in the order of
time mentioned.

A person who has held an office and taken the oath to support the
Federal Constitution and has not afterwards engaged in rebellion is not
disqualified. So, too, a person who has engaged in rebellion, but has
not theretofore held an office and taken that oath, is not disqualified.

8. _Officers of the United States_:

As to these the language is without limitation. The person who has at
any time prior to the rebellion held an office, civil or military, under
the United States, and has taken an official oath to support the
Constitution of the United States, is subject to disqualification.

9. _Militia officers_ of any State prior to the rebellion are not
subject to disqualification.

10. _Municipal officers_--that is to say, officers of incorporated
cities, towns, and villages, such as mayors, aldermen, town council,
police, and other city or town officers--are not subject to
disqualification.

11. Persons who have prior to the rebellion been members of the Congress
of the United States or members of a State legislature are subject to
disqualification, but those who have been members of conventions framing
or amending the Constitution of a State prior to the rebellion are not
subject to disqualification.

12. All the executive or judicial officers of any State who took an oath
to support the Constitution of the United States are subject to
disqualification, including county officers. They are subject to
disqualification if they were required to take as a part of their
official oath _the oath to support the Constitution of the United
States_.

13. Persons who exercised mere employment under State authority are not
disqualified; such as commissioners to lay out roads, commissioners of
public works, visitors of State institutions, directors of State
institutions, examiners of banks, notaries public, and commissioners to
take acknowledgments of deeds.

ENGAGING IN REBELLION.

Having specified what offices held by anyone prior to the rebellion come
within the meaning of the law, it is necessary next to set forth what
subsequent conduct fixes upon such person the offense of engaging in
rebellion. Two things must exist as to any person to disqualify him from
voting: First, the office held prior to the rebellion, and, afterwards,
participation in the rebellion.

14. An act to fix upon a person the offense of engaging in the rebellion
under this law must be an overt and voluntary act, done with the intent
of aiding or furthering the common unlawful purpose. A person forced
into the rebel service by conscription or under a paramount authority
which he could not safely disobey, and who would not have entered such
service if left to the free exercise of his own will, can not be held
to be disqualified from voting.

15. Mere acts of charity, where the intent is to relieve the wants of
the object of such charity, and not done in aid of the cause in which he
may have been engaged, do not disqualify; but organized contributions
of food and clothing for the general relief of persons engaged in the
rebellion, and not of a merely sanitary character, but contributed to
enable them to perform their unlawful object, may be classed with acts
which do disqualify.

Forced contributions to the rebel cause in the form of taxes or military
assessments, which a person was compelled to pay or contribute, do not
disqualify; but voluntary contributions to the rebel cause, even such
indirect contributions as arise from the voluntary loan of money to
rebel authorities or purchase of bonds or securities created to afford
the means of carrying on the rebellion, will work disqualification.

16. All those who in legislative or other official capacity were engaged
in the furtherance of the common unlawful purpose, where the duties of
the office necessarily had relation to the support of the rebellion,
such as members of the rebel conventions, congresses, and legislatures,
diplomatic agents of the rebel Confederacy, and other officials whose
offices were created for the purpose of more effectually carrying on
hostilities or whose duties appertained to the support of the rebel
cause, must be held to be disqualified.

But officers who during the rebellion discharged official duties not
incident to war, but only such duties as belong even to a state of peace
and were necessary to the preservation of order and the administration
of law, are not to be considered as thereby engaging in rebellion or as
disqualified. Disloyal sentiments, opinions, or sympathies would not
disqualify, but where a person has by speech or by writing incited
others to engage in rebellion he must come under the disqualification.

17. _The duties of the board appointed to superintend the elections_:

This board, having the custody of the list of registered voters in the
district for which it is constituted, must see that the name of the
person offering to vote is found upon the registration list, and if such
proves to be the fact it is the duty of the board to receive his vote if
then qualified by residence. They can not receive the vote of any person
whose name is not upon the list, though he may be ready to take the
registration oath, and although he may satisfy them that he was unable
to have his name registered at the proper time, in consequence of
absence, sickness, or other cause.

The board can not enter into any inquiry as to the qualifications of any
person whose name is not on the registration list, or as to the
qualifications of any person whose name is on the list.

18. _The mode of voting_ is provided in the act to be _by ballot_. The
board will keep a record and poll book of the election, showing the
votes, list of voters, and the persons elected by a plurality of the
votes cast at the election, and make returns of these to the commanding
general of the district.

19. The board appointed for registration and for superintending the
elections must take the oath prescribed by the act of Congress approved
July 2, 1862, entitled "An act to prescribe an oath of office."

By order of the President:

E.D. TOWNSEND,

_Assistant Adjutant-General_.

EXECUTIVE MANSION,

_Washington, August 12, 1867_,

Hon. EDWIN M. STANTON,

_Secretary of War_.

SIR: By virtue of the power and authority vested in me as President by
the Constitution and laws of the United States, you are hereby suspended
from office as Secretary of War, and will cease to exercise any and all
functions pertaining to the same.

You will at once transfer to General Ulysses S. Grant, who has this day
been authorized and empowered to act as Secretary of War _ad interim_,
all records, books, and other property now in your custody and charge.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

EXECUTIVE MANSION,

_Washington, D.C., August 12, 1867_.

General ULYSSES S. GRANT,

_Washington, D.C._

SIR: The Hon. Edwin M. Stanton having been this day suspended as
Secretary of War, you are hereby authorized and empowered to act as
Secretary of War _ad interim_, and will at once enter upon the discharge
of the duties of the office.

The Secretary of War has been instructed to transfer to you all the
records, books, papers, and other public property now in his custody
and charge.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

EXECUTIVE MANSION,

_Washington, D.C., August 17, 1867_.

Major-General George H. Thomas is hereby assigned to the command of the
Fifth Military District, created by the act of Congress passed on the 2d
day of March, 1867.

Major-General P.H. Sheridan is hereby assigned to the command of the
Department of the Missouri.

Major-General Winfield S. Hancock is hereby assigned to the command of
the Department of the Cumberland.

The Secretary of War _ad interim_ will give the necessary instructions
to carry this order into effect.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

EXECUTIVE MANSION,

_Washington, D.C., August 26, 1867_.

General U.S. GRANT,

_Secretary of War ad interim_.

SIR: In consequence of the unfavorable condition of the health of
Major-General George H. Thomas, as reported to you in Surgeon Hasson's
dispatch of the 21st instant, my order dated August 17, 1867, is hereby
modified so as to assign Major-General Winfield S. Hancock to the
command of the Fifth Military District, created by the act of Congress
passed March 2, 1867, and of the military department comprising the
States of Louisiana and Texas. On being relieved from the command
of the Department of the Missouri by Major-General P. H. Sheridan,
Major-General Hancock will proceed directly to New Orleans, La.,
and, assuming the command to which he is hereby assigned, will, when
necessary to a faithful execution of the laws, exercise any and all
powers conferred by acts of Congress upon district commanders and any
and all authority pertaining to officers in command of military
departments.

Major-General P.H. Sheridan will at once turn over his present command
to the officer next in rank to himself, and, proceeding without delay
to Fort Leavenworth, Kans., will relieve Major-General Hancock of the
command of the Department of the Missouri.

Major-General George H. Thomas will until further orders remain in
command of the Department of the Cumberland.

Very respectfully, yours,

ANDREW JOHNSON.

EXECUTIVE MANSION,

_Washington, D.C., August 26, 1867_.

Brevet Major-General Edward R.S. Canby is hereby assigned to the command
of the Second Military District, created by the act of Congress of March
2, 1867, and of the Military Department of the South, embracing the
States of North Carolina and South Carolina. He will, as soon as
practicable, relieve Major-General Daniel E. Sickles, and, on assuming
the command to which he is hereby assigned, will, when necessary to a
faithful execution of the laws, exercise any and all powers conferred by
acts of Congress upon district commanders and any and all authority
pertaining to officers in command of military departments.

Major-General Daniel E. Sickles is hereby relieved from the command of
the Second Military District.

The Secretary of War _ad interim_ will give the necessary instructions
to carry this order into effect.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

EXECUTIVE MANSION,

_Washington, D.C., September 4, 1867_.

The heads of the several Executive Departments of the Government are
instructed to furnish each person holding an appointment in their
respective Departments with an official copy of the proclamation of the
President bearing date the 3d instant, with directions strictly to
observe its requirements for an earnest support of the Constitution of
the United States and a faithful execution of the laws which have been
made in pursuance thereof.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

[Note.--The Fortieth Congress, second session, met December 2, 1867, in
conformity to the Constitution of the United States, and on July 27,
1868, in accordance with the concurrent resolution of July 24, adjourned
to September 21; again met September 21, and adjourned to October 16;
again met October 16, and adjourned to November 10; again met November
10 and adjourned to December 7, 1868; the latter meetings and
adjournments being in accordance with the concurrent resolution of
September 21.]

THIRD ANNUAL MESSAGE.

WASHINGTON, _December 3, 1867_.

_Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives_:

The continued disorganization of the Union, to which the President has
so often called the attention of Congress, is yet a subject of profound
and patriotic concern. We may, however, find some relief from that
anxiety in the reflection that the painful political situation, although
before untried by ourselves, is not new in the experience of nations.
Political science, perhaps as highly perfected in our own time and
country as in any other, has not yet disclosed any means by which civil
wars can be absolutely prevented. An enlightened nation, however, with a
wise and beneficent constitution of free government, may diminish their
frequency and mitigate their severity by directing all its proceedings
in accordance with its fundamental law.

When a civil war has been brought to a close, it is manifestly the first
interest and duty of the state to repair the injuries which the war has
inflicted, and to secure the benefit of the lessons it teaches as fully
and as speedily as possible. This duty was, upon the termination of the
rebellion, promptly accepted, not only by the executive department, but
by the insurrectionary States themselves, and restoration in the first
moment of peace was believed to be as easy and certain as it was
indispensable. The expectations, however, then so reasonably and
confidently entertained were disappointed by legislation from which
I felt constrained by my obligations to the Constitution to withhold
my assent.

It is therefore a source of profound regret that in complying with the
obligation imposed upon the President by the Constitution to give to
Congress from time to time information of the state of the Union I am
unable to communicate any definitive adjustment, satisfactory to the
American people, of the questions which since the close of the rebellion
have agitated the public mind. On the contrary, candor compels me to
declare that at this time there is no Union as our fathers understood
the term, and as they meant it to be understood by us. The Union which
they established can exist only where all the States are represented in
both Houses of Congress; where one State is as free as another to
regulate its internal concerns according to its own will, and where the
laws of the central Government, strictly confined to matters of national
jurisdiction, apply with equal force to all the people of every section.
That such is not the present "state of the Union" is a melancholy fact,
and we must all acknowledge that the restoration of the States to their
proper legal relations with the Federal Government and with one another,
according to the terms of the original compact, would be the greatest
temporal blessing which God, in His kindest providence, could bestow
upon this nation. It becomes our imperative duty to consider whether
or not it is impossible to effect this most desirable consummation.

The Union and the Constitution are inseparable. As long as one is obeyed
by all parties, the other will be preserved; and if one is destroyed,
both must perish together. The destruction of the Constitution will be
followed by other and still greater calamities. It was ordained not only
to form a more perfect union between the States, but to "establish
justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense,
promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to
ourselves and our posterity." Nothing but implicit obedience to its
requirements in all parts of the country will accomplish these great
ends. Without that obedience we can look forward only to continual
outrages upon individual rights, incessant breaches of the public peace,
national weakness, financial dishonor, the total loss of our prosperity,
the general corruption of morals, and the final extinction of popular
freedom. To save our country from evils so appalling as these, we should
renew our efforts again and again.

To me the process of restoration seems perfectly plain and simple. It
consists merely in a faithful application of the Constitution and laws.
The execution of the laws is not now obstructed or opposed by physical
force. There is no military or other necessity, real or pretended, which
can prevent obedience to the Constitution, either North or South.
All the rights and all the obligations of States and individuals
can be protected and enforced by means perfectly consistent with the
fundamental law. The courts may be everywhere open, and if open their
process would be unimpeded. Crimes against the United States can be
prevented or punished by the proper judicial authorities in a manner
entirely practicable and legal. There is therefore no reason why the
Constitution should not be obeyed, unless those who exercise its powers
have determined that it shall be disregarded and violated. The mere
naked will of this Government, or of some one or more of its branches,
is the only obstacle that can exist to a perfect union of all the
States.

On this momentous question and some of the measures growing out of it
I have had the misfortune to differ from Congress, and have expressed
my convictions without reserve, though with becoming deference to the
opinion of the legislative department. Those convictions are not only
unchanged, but strengthened by subsequent events and further reflection.
The transcendent importance of the subject will be a sufficient excuse
for calling your attention to some of the reasons which have so strongly
influenced my own judgment. The hope that we may all finally concur in a
mode of settlement consistent at once with our true interests and with
our sworn duties to the Constitution is too natural and too just to be
easily relinquished.

It is clear to my apprehension that the States lately in rebellion are
still members of the National Union. When did they cease to be so? The
"ordinances of secession" adopted by a portion (in most of them a very
small portion) of their citizens were mere nullities. If we admit now
that they were valid and effectual for the purpose intended by their
authors, we sweep from under our feet the whole ground upon which we
justified the war. Were those States afterwards expelled from the Union
by the war? The direct contrary was averred by this Government to be its
purpose, and was so understood by all those who gave their blood and
treasure to aid in its prosecution. It can not be that a successful
war, waged for the preservation of the Union, had the legal effect of
dissolving it. The victory of the nation's arms was not the disgrace
of her policy; the defeat of secession on the battlefield was not the
triumph of its lawless principle. Nor could Congress, with or without
the consent of the Executive, do anything which would have the effect,
directly or indirectly, of separating the States from each other.
To dissolve the Union is to repeal the Constitution which holds it
together, and that is a power which does not belong to any department
of this Government, or to all of them united.

This is so plain that it has been acknowledged by all branches of the
Federal Government. The Executive (my predecessor as well as myself) and
the heads of all the Departments have uniformly acted upon the principle
that the Union is not only undissolved, but indissoluble. Congress
submitted an amendment of the Constitution to be ratified by the
Southern States, and accepted their acts of ratification as a necessary
and lawful exercise of their highest function. If they were not States,
or were States out of the Union, their consent to a change in the
fundamental law of the Union would have been nugatory, and Congress in
asking it committed a political absurdity. The judiciary has also given
the solemn sanction of its authority to the same view of the case. The
judges of the Supreme Court have included the Southern States in their
circuits, and they are constantly, _in banc_ and elsewhere, exercising
jurisdiction which does not belong to them unless those States are
States of the Union.

If the Southern States are component parts of the Union, the
Constitution is the supreme law for them, as it is for all the other
States. They are bound to obey it, and so are we. The right of the
Federal Government, which is clear and unquestionable, to enforce the
Constitution upon them implies the correlative obligation on our part
to observe its limitations and execute its guaranties. Without the
Constitution we are nothing; by, through, and under the Constitution we
are what it makes us. We may doubt the wisdom of the law, we may not
approve of its provisions, but we can not violate it merely because it
seems to confine our powers within limits narrower than we could wish.
It is not a question of individual or class or sectional interest, much
less of party predominance, but of duty--of high and sacred duty--which
we are all sworn to perform. If we can not support the Constitution with
the cheerful alacrity of those who love and believe in it, we must give
to it at least the fidelity of public servants who act under solemn
obligations and commands which they dare not disregard.

The constitutional duty is not the only one which requires the States
to be restored. There is another consideration which, though of minor
importance, is yet of great weight. On the 22d day of July, 1861,
Congress declared by an almost unanimous vote of both Houses that the
war should be conducted solely for the purpose of preserving the Union
and maintaining the supremacy of the Federal Constitution and laws,
without impairing the dignity, equality, and rights of the States or of
individuals, and that when this was done the war should cease. I do not
say that this declaration is personally binding on those who joined in
making it; any more than individual members of Congress are personally
bound to pay a public debt created under a law for which they voted.
But it was a solemn, public, official pledge of the national honor,
and I can not imagine upon what grounds the repudiation of it is to
be justified. If it be said that we are not bound to keep faith with
rebels, let it be remembered that this promise was not made to rebels
only. Thousands of true men in the South were drawn to our standard by
it, and hundreds of thousands in the North gave their lives in the
belief that it would be carried out. It was made on the day after the
first great battle of the war had been fought and lost. All patriotic
and intelligent men then saw the necessity of giving such an assurance,
and believed that without it the war would end in disaster to our cause.
Having given that assurance in the extremity of our peril, the violation
of it now, in the day of our power, would be a rude rending of that good
faith which holds the moral world together; our country would cease to
have any claim upon the confidence of men; it would make the war not
only a failure, but a fraud.

Being sincerely convinced that these views are correct, I would be
unfaithful to my duty if I did not recommend the repeal of the acts of
Congress which place ten of the Southern States under the domination of
military masters. If calm reflection shall satisfy a majority of your
honorable bodies that the acts referred to are not only a violation of
the national faith, but in direct conflict with the Constitution, I dare
not permit myself to doubt that you will immediately strike them from
the statute book.

To demonstrate the unconstitutional character of those acts I need do no
more than refer to their general provisions. It must be seen at once
that they are not authorized. To dictate what alterations shall be made
in the constitutions of the several States; to control the elections of
State legislators and State officers, members of Congress and electors
of President and Vice-President, by arbitrarily declaring who shall
vote and who shall be excluded from that privilege; to dissolve State
legislatures or prevent them from assembling; to dismiss judges and
other civil functionaries of the State and appoint others without regard
to State law; to organize and operate all the political machinery of the
States; to regulate the whole administration of their domestic and local
affairs according to the mere will of strange and irresponsible agents,
sent among them for that purpose--these are powers not granted to the
Federal Government or to any one of its branches. Not being granted, we
violate our trust by assuming them as palpably as we would by acting in
the face of a positive interdict; for the Constitution forbids us to do
whatever it does not affirmatively authorize, either by express words or
by clear implication. If the authority we desire to use does not come to
us through the Constitution, we can exercise it only by usurpation, and
usurpation is the most dangerous of political crimes. By that crime the
enemies of free government in all ages have worked out their designs
against public liberty and private right. It leads directly and
immediately to the establishment of absolute rule, for undelegated
power is always unlimited and unrestrained.

The acts of Congress in question are not only objectionable for their
assumption of ungranted power, but many of their provisions are in
conflict with the direct prohibitions of the Constitution. The
Constitution commands that a republican form of government shall be
guaranteed to all the States; that no person shall be deprived of life,
liberty, or property without due process of law, arrested without a
judicial warrant, or punished without a fair trial before an impartial
jury; that the privilege of _habeas corpus_ shall not be denied in time
of peace, and that no bill of attainder shall be passed even against a
single individual. Yet the system of measures established by these acts
of Congress does totally subvert and destroy the form as well as the
substance of republican government in the ten States to which they
apply. It binds them hand and foot in absolute slavery, and subjects
them to a strange and hostile power, more unlimited and more likely to
be abused than any other now known among civilized men. It tramples down
all those rights in which the essence of liberty consists, and which a
free government is always most careful to protect. It denies the _habeas
corpus_ and the trial by jury. Personal freedom, property, and life, if
assailed by the passion, the prejudice, or the rapacity of the ruler,
have no security whatever. It has the effect of a bill of attainder or
bill of pains and penalties, not upon a few individuals, but upon whole
masses, including the millions who inhabit the subject States, and even
their unborn children. These wrongs, being expressly forbidden, can not
be constitutionally inflicted upon any portion of our people, no matter
how they may have come within our jurisdiction, and no matter whether
they live in States, Territories, or districts.

I have no desire to save from the proper and just consequences of their
great crime those who engaged in rebellion against the Government, but
as a mode of punishment the measures under consideration are the most
unreasonable that could be invented. Many of those people are perfectly
innocent; many kept their fidelity to the Union untainted to the last;
many were incapable of any legal offense; a large proportion even of the
persons able to bear arms were forced into rebellion against their will,
and of those who are guilty with their own consent the degrees of guilt
are as various as the shades of their character and temper. But these
acts of Congress confound them all together in one common doom.
Indiscriminate vengeance upon classes, sects, and parties, or upon whole
communities, for offenses committed by a portion of them against the
governments to which they owed obedience was common in the barbarous
ages of the world; but Christianity and civilization have made such
progress that recourse to a punishment so cruel and unjust would meet
with the condemnation of all unprejudiced and right-minded men. The
punitive justice of this age, and especially of this country, does not
consist in stripping whole States of their liberties and reducing all
their people, without distinction, to the condition of slavery. It deals
separately with each individual, confines itself to the forms of law,
and vindicates its own purity by an impartial examination of every case
before a competent judicial tribunal. If this does not satisfy all our
desires with regard to Southern rebels, let us console ourselves by
reflecting that a free Constitution, triumphant in war and unbroken in
peace, is worth far more to us and our children than the gratification
of any present feeling.

I am aware it is assumed that this system of government for the
Southern States is not to be perpetual. It is true this military
government is to be only provisional, but it is through this temporary
evil that a greater evil is to be made perpetual. If the guaranties
of the Constitution can be broken provisionally to serve a temporary
purpose, and in a part only of the country, we can destroy them
everywhere and for all time. Arbitrary measures often change, but they
generally change for the worse. It is the curse of despotism that it has
no halting place. The intermitted exercise of its power brings no sense
of security to its subjects, for they can never know what more they will
be called to endure when its red right hand is armed to plague them
again. Nor is it possible to conjecture how or where power, unrestrained
by law, may seek its next victims. The States that are still free may be
enslaved at any moment; for if the Constitution does not protect all, it
protects none.

It is manifestly and avowedly the object of these laws to confer upon
negroes the privilege of voting and to disfranchise such a number of
white citizens as will give the former a clear majority at all elections
in the Southern States. This, to the minds of some persons, is so
important that a violation of the Constitution is justified as a means
of bringing it about. The morality is always false which excuses a wrong
because it proposes to accomplish a desirable end. We are not permitted
to do evil that good may come. But in this case the end itself is evil,
as well as the means. The subjugation of the States to negro domination
would be worse than the military despotism under which they are now
suffering. It was believed beforehand that the people would endure any
amount of military oppression for any length of time rather than degrade
themselves by subjection to the negro race. Therefore they have been
left without a choice. Negro suffrage was established by act of
Congress, and the military officers were commanded to superintend the
process of clothing the negro race with the political privileges torn
from white men.

The blacks in the South are entitled to be well and humanely governed,
and to have the protection of just laws for all their rights of person
and property. If it were practicable at this time to give them a
Government exclusively their own, under which they might manage their
own affairs in their own way, it would become a grave question whether
we ought to do so, or whether common humanity would not require us to
save them from themselves. But under the circumstances this is only a
speculative point. It is not proposed merely that they shall govern
themselves, but that they shall rule the white race, make and administer
State laws, elect Presidents and members of Congress, and shape to a
greater or less extent the future destiny of the whole country. Would
such a trust and power be safe in such hands?

The peculiar qualities which should characterize any people who are fit
to decide upon the management of public affairs for a great state have
seldom been combined. It is the glory of white men to know that they
have had these qualities in sufficient measure to build upon this
continent a great political fabric and to preserve its stability for
more than ninety years, while in every other part of the world all
similar experiments have failed. But if anything can be proved by known
facts, if all reasoning upon evidence is not abandoned, it must be
acknowledged that in the progress of nations negroes have shown less
capacity for government than any other race of people. No independent
government of any form has ever been successful in their hands. On the
contrary, wherever they have been left to their own devices they have
shown a constant tendency to relapse into barbarism. In the Southern
States, however, Congress has undertaken to confer upon them the
privilege of the ballot. Just released from slavery, it may be doubted
whether as a class they know more than their ancestors how to organize
and regulate civil society. Indeed, it is admitted that the blacks of
the South are not only regardless of the rights of property, but so
utterly ignorant of public affairs that their voting can consist in
nothing more than carrying a ballot to the place where they are directed
to deposit it. I need not remind you that the exercise of the elective
franchise is the highest attribute of an American citizen, and that when
guided by virtue, intelligence, patriotism, and a proper appreciation of
our free institutions it constitutes the true basis of a democratic form
of government, in which the sovereign power is lodged in the body of the
people. A trust artificially created, not for its own sake, but solely
as a means of promoting the general welfare, its influence for good must
necessarily depend upon the elevated character and true allegiance of
the elector. It ought, therefore, to be reposed in none except those who
are fitted morally and mentally to administer it well; for if conferred
upon persons who do not justly estimate its value and who are
indifferent as to its results, it will only serve as a means of placing
power in the hands of the unprincipled and ambitious, and must eventuate
in the complete destruction of that liberty of which it should be the
most powerful conservator. I have therefore heretofore urged upon your
attention the great danger--

to be apprehended from an untimely extension of the elective franchise
to any new class in our country, especially when the large majority of
that class, in wielding the power thus placed in their hands, can not be
expected correctly to comprehend the duties and responsibilities which
pertain to suffrage. Yesterday, as it were, 4,000,000 persons were held
in a condition of slavery that had existed for generations; to-day they
are freemen and are assumed by law to be citizens. It can not be
presumed, from their previous condition of servitude, that as a class
they are as well informed as to the nature of our Government as the
intelligent foreigner who makes our land the home of his choice. In the
case of the latter neither a residence of five years and the knowledge
of our institutions which it gives nor attachment to the principles of
the Constitution are the only conditions upon which he can be admitted
to citizenship; he must prove in addition a good moral character, and
thus give reasonable ground for the belief that he will be faithful to
the obligations which he assumes as a citizen of the Republic. Where
a people--the source of all political power--speak by their suffrages
through the instrumentality of the ballot box, it must be carefully
guarded against the control of those who are corrupt in principle and
enemies of free institutions, for it can only become to our political
and social system a safe conductor of healthy popular sentiment when
kept free from demoralizing influences. Controlled through fraud and
usurpation by the designing, anarchy and despotism must inevitably
follow. In the hands of the patriotic and worthy our Government will be
preserved upon the principles of the Constitution inherited from our
fathers. It follows, therefore, that in admitting to the ballot box
a new class of voters not qualified for the exercise of the elective
franchise we weaken our system of government instead of adding to its
strength and durability.

* * * * *

I yield to no one in attachment to that rule of general suffrage which
distinguishes our policy as a nation. But there is a limit, wisely
observed hitherto, which makes the ballot a privilege and a trust,
and which requires of some classes a time suitable for probation
and preparation. To give it indiscriminately to a new class, wholly
unprepared by previous habits and opportunities to perform the trust
which it demands, is to degrade it, and finally to destroy its power,
for it may be safely assumed that no political truth is better
established than that such indiscriminate and all-embracing extension
of popular suffrage must end at last in its destruction.

I repeat the expression of my willingness to join in any plan within
the scope of our constitutional authority which promises to better the
condition of the negroes in the South, by encouraging them in industry,
enlightening their minds, improving their morals, and giving protection
to all their just rights as freedmen. But the transfer of our political
inheritance to them would, in my opinion, be an abandonment of a duty
which we owe alike to the memory of our fathers and the rights of our
children.

The plan of putting the Southern States wholly and the General
Government partially into the hands of negroes is proposed at a time
peculiarly unpropitious. The foundations of society have been broken
up by civil war. Industry must be reorganized, justice reestablished,
public credit maintained, and order brought out of confusion. To
accomplish these ends would require all the wisdom and virtue of the
great men who formed our institutions originally. I confidently believe
that their descendants will be equal to the arduous task before them,
but it is worse than madness to expect that negroes will perform it for
us. Certainly we ought not to ask their assistance till we despair of
our own competency.

The great difference between the two races in physical, mental,
and moral characteristics will prevent an amalgamation or fusion
of them together in one homogeneous mass. If the inferior obtains the
ascendency over the other, it will govern with reference only to its own
interests--for it will recognize no common interest--and create such a
tyranny as this continent has never yet witnessed. Already the negroes
are influenced by promises of confiscation and plunder. They are taught
to regard as an enemy every white man who has any respect for the rights
of his own race. If this continues it must become worse and worse, until
all order will be subverted, all industry cease, and the fertile fields
of the South grow up into a wilderness. Of all the dangers which our
nation has yet encountered, none are equal to those which must result
from the success of the effort now making to Africanize the half of
our country.

I would not put considerations of money in competition with justice and
right; but the expenses incident to "reconstruction" under the system
adopted by Congress aggravate what I regard as the intrinsic wrong of
the measure itself. It has cost uncounted millions already, and if
persisted in will add largely to the weight of taxation, already too
oppressive to be borne without just complaint, and may finally reduce
the Treasury of the nation to a condition of bankruptcy. We must not
delude ourselves. It will require a strong standing army and probably
more than $200,000,000 per annum to maintain the supremacy of negro
governments after they are established. The sum thus thrown away would,
if properly used, form a sinking fund large enough to pay the whole
national debt in less than fifteen years. It is vain to hope that
negroes will maintain their ascendency themselves. Without military
power they are wholly incapable of holding in subjection the white
people of the South.

I submit to the judgment of Congress whether the public credit may not
be injuriously affected by a system of measures like this. With our debt
and the vast private interests which are complicated with it, we can not
be too cautious of a policy which might by possibility impair the
confidence of the world in our Government. That confidence can only be
retained by carefully inculcating the principles of justice and honor
on the popular mind and by the most scrupulous fidelity to all our
engagements of every sort. Any serious breach of the organic law,
persisted in for a considerable time, can not but create fears for the
stability of our institutions. Habitual violation of prescribed rules,
which we bind ourselves to observe, must demoralize the people. Our only
standard of civil duty being set at naught, the sheet anchor of our
political morality is lost, the public conscience swings from its
moorings and yields to every impulse of passion and interest. If we
repudiate the Constitution, we will not be expected to care much for
mere pecuniary obligations. The violation of such a pledge as we made on
the 22d day of July, 1861, will assuredly diminish the market value of
our other promises. Besides, if we acknowledge that the national debt
was created, not to hold the States in the Union, as the taxpayers were
led to suppose, but to expel them from it and hand them over to be
governed by negroes, the moral duty to pay it may seem much less clear.
I say it may _seem_ so, for I do not admit that this or any other
argument in favor of repudiation can be entertained as sound; but
its influence on some classes of minds may well be apprehended. The
financial honor of a great commercial nation, largely indebted and with
a republican form of government administered by agents of the popular
choice, is a thing of such delicate texture and the destruction of it
would be followed by such unspeakable calamity that every true patriot
must desire to avoid whatever might expose it to the slightest danger.

The great interests of the country require immediate relief from these
enactments. Business in the South is paralyzed by a sense of general
insecurity, by the terror of confiscation, and the dread of negro
supremacy. The Southern trade, from which the North would have derived
so great a profit under a government of law, still languishes, and can
never be revived until it ceases to be fettered by the arbitrary power
which makes all its operations unsafe. That rich country--the richest in
natural resources the world ever saw--is worse than lost if it be not
soon placed under the protection of a free constitution. Instead of
being, as it ought to be, a source of wealth and power, it will become
an intolerable burden upon the rest of the nation.

Another reason for retracing our steps will doubtless be seen by
Congress in the late manifestations of public opinion upon this subject.
We live in a country where the popular will always enforces obedience
to itself, sooner or later. It is vain to think of opposing it with
anything short of legal authority backed by overwhelming force. It can
not have escaped your attention that from the day on which Congress
fairly and formally presented the proposition to govern the Southern
States by military force, with a view to the ultimate establishment of
negro supremacy, every expression of the general sentiment has been more
or less adverse to it. The affections of this generation can not be
detached from the institutions of their ancestors. Their determination
to preserve the inheritance of free government in their own hands and
transmit it undivided and unimpaired to their own posterity is too
strong to be successfully opposed. Every weaker passion will disappear
before that love of liberty and law for which the American people are
distinguished above all others in the world.

How far the duty of the President "to preserve, protect, and defend
the Constitution" requires him to go in opposing an unconstitutional
act of Congress is a very serious and important question, on which
I have deliberated much and felt extremely anxious to reach a proper
conclusion. Where an act has been passed according to the forms of the
Constitution by the supreme legislative authority, and is regularly
enrolled among the public statutes of the country, Executive resistance
to it, especially in times of high party excitement, would be likely to
produce violent collision between the respective adherents of the two
branches of the Government. This would be simply civil war, and civil
war must be resorted to only as the last remedy for the worst of evils.
Whatever might tend to provoke it should be most carefully avoided.
A faithful and conscientious magistrate will concede very much to honest
error, and something even to perverse malice, before he will endanger
the public peace; and he will not adopt forcible measures, or such as
might lead to force, as long as those which are peaceable remain open to
him or to his constituents. It is true that cases may occur in which the
Executive would be compelled to stand on its rights, and maintain them
regardless of all consequences. If Congress should pass an act which is
not only in palpable conflict with the Constitution, but will certainly,
if carried out, produce immediate and irreparable injury to the organic
structure of the Government, and if there be, neither judicial remedy
for the wrongs it inflicts nor power in the people to protect themselves
without the official aid of their elected defender--if, for instance,
the legislative department should pass an act even through all the forms
of law to abolish a coordinate department of the Government--in such a
case the President must take the high responsibilities of his office and
save the life of the nation at all hazards. The so-called reconstruction
acts, though as plainly unconstitutional as any that can be imagined,
were not believed to be within the class last mentioned. The people were
not wholly disarmed of the power of self-defense. In all the Northern
States they still held in their hands the sacred right of the ballot,
and it was safe to believe that in due time they would come to the
rescue of their own institutions. It gives me pleasure to add that the
appeal to our common constituents was not taken in vain, and that my
confidence in their wisdom and virtue seems not to have been misplaced.

It is well and publicly known that enormous frauds have been perpetrated
on the Treasury and that colossal fortunes have been made at the public
expense. This species of corruption has increased, is increasing, and
if not diminished will soon bring us into total ruin and disgrace. The
public creditors and the taxpayers are alike interested in an honest
administration of the finances, and neither class will long endure the
large-handed robberies of the recent past. For this discreditable state
of things there are several causes. Some of the taxes are so laid as
to present an irresistible temptation to evade payment. The great sums
which officers may win by connivance at fraud create a pressure which is
more than the virtue of many can withstand, and there can be no doubt
that the open disregard of constitutional obligations avowed by some of
the highest and most influential men in the country has greatly weakened
the moral sense of those who serve in subordinate places. The expenses
of the United States, including interest on the public debt, are more
than six times as much as they were seven years ago. To collect and
disburse this vast amount requires careful supervision as well as
systematic vigilance. The system, never perfected, was much disorganized
by the "tenure-of-office bill," which has almost destroyed official
accountability. The President may be thoroughly convinced that an
officer is incapable, dishonest, or unfaithful to the Constitution, but
under the law which I have named the utmost he can do is to complain to
the Senate and ask the privilege of supplying his place with a better
man. If the Senate be regarded as personally or politically hostile to
the President, it is natural, and not altogether unreasonable, for the
officer to expect that it will take his part as far as possible, restore
him to his place, and give him a triumph over his Executive superior.
The officer has other chances of impunity arising from accidental
defects of evidence, the mode of investigating it, and the secrecy of
the hearing. It is not wonderful that official malfeasance should become
bold in proportion as the delinquents learn to think themselves safe.
I am entirely persuaded that under such a rule the President can not
perform the great duty assigned to him of seeing the laws faithfully
executed, and that it disables him most especially from enforcing that
rigid accountability which is necessary to the due execution of the
revenue laws.

The Constitution invests the President with authority to _decide_
whether a removal should be made in any given case; the act of Congress
declares in substance that he shall only _accuse_ such as he supposes to
be unworthy of their trust. The Constitution makes him _sole judge_ in
the premises, but the statute takes away his jurisdiction, transfers
it to the Senate, and leaves him nothing but the odious and sometimes
impracticable duty of becoming a _prosecutor_. The prosecution is to be
conducted before a tribunal whose members are not, like him, responsible
to the whole people, but to separate constituent bodies, and who may
hear his accusation with great disfavor. The Senate is absolutely
without any known standard of decision applicable to such a case. Its
judgment can not be anticipated, for it is not governed by any rule.
The law does not define what shall be deemed good cause for removal.
It is impossible even to conjecture what may or may not be so considered
by the Senate. The nature of the subject forbids clear proof. If the
charge be incapacity, what evidence will support it? Fidelity to the
Constitution may be understood or misunderstood in a thousand different
ways, and by violent party men, in violent party times, unfaithfulness
to the Constitution may even come to be considered meritorious. If the
officer be accused of dishonesty, how shall it be made out? Will it be
inferred from acts unconnected with public duty, from private history,
or from general reputation, or must the President await the commission
of an actual misdemeanor in office? Shall he in the meantime risk the
character and interest of the nation in the hands of men to whom he
can not give his confidence? Must he forbear his complaint until the
mischief is done and can not be prevented? If his zeal in the public
service should impel him to anticipate the overt act, must he move at
the peril of being tried himself for the offense of slandering his
subordinate? In the present circumstances of the country someone must be
held responsible for official delinquency of every kind. It is extremely
difficult to say where that responsibility should be thrown if it be
not left where it has been placed by the Constitution. But all just men
will admit that the President ought to be entirely relieved from such
responsibility if he can not meet it by reason of restrictions placed
by law upon his action.

The unrestricted power of removal from office is a very great one to be
trusted even to a magistrate chosen by the general suffrage of the whole
people and accountable directly to them for his acts. It is undoubtedly
liable to abuse, and at some periods of our history perhaps has been
abused. If it be thought desirable and constitutional that it should be
so limited as to make the President merely a common informer against
other public agents, he should at least be permitted to act in that
capacity before some open tribunal, independent of party politics, ready
to investigate the merits of every case, furnished with the means of
taking evidence, and bound to decide according to established rules.
This would guarantee the safety of the accuser when he acts in good
faith, and at the same time secure the rights of the other party. I
speak, of course, with all proper respect for the present Senate, but it
does not seem to me that any legislative body can be so constituted as
to insure its fitness for these functions.

It is not the theory of this Government that public offices are the
property of those who hold them. They are given merely as a trust for
the public benefit, sometimes for a fixed period, sometimes during good
behavior, but generally they are liable to be terminated at the pleasure
of the appointing power, which represents the collective majesty and
speaks the will of the people. The forced retention in office of a
single dishonest person may work great injury to the public interests.
The danger to the public service comes not from the power to remove,
but from the power to appoint. Therefore it was that the framers of the
Constitution left the power of removal unrestricted, while they gave
the Senate a right to reject all appointments which in its opinion were
not fit to be made. A little reflection on this subject will probably
satisfy all who have the good of the country at heart that our best
course is to take the Constitution for our guide, walk in the path
marked out by the founders of the Republic, and obey the rules made
sacred by the observance of our great predecessors.

The present condition of our finances and circulating medium is one to
which your early consideration is invited.

The proportion which the currency of any country should bear to
the whole value of the annual produce circulated by its means is a
question upon which political economists have not agreed. Nor can it
be controlled by legislation, but must be left to the irrevocable laws
which everywhere regulate commerce and trade. The circulating medium
will ever irresistibly flow to those points where it is in greatest
demand. The law of demand and supply is as unerring as that which
regulates the tides of the ocean; and, indeed, currency, like the
tides, has its ebbs and flows throughout the commercial world.

At the beginning of the rebellion the bank-note circulation of the
country amounted to not much more than $200,000,000; now the circulation
of national-bank notes and those known as "legal-tenders" is nearly
seven hundred millions. While it is urged by some that this amount
should be increased, others contend that a decided reduction is
absolutely essential to the best interests of the country. In view of
these diverse opinions, it may be well to ascertain the real value of
our paper issues when compared with a metallic or convertible currency.
For this purpose let us inquire how much gold and silver could be
purchased by the seven hundred millions of paper money now in
circulation. Probably not more than half the amount of the latter,
showing that when our paper currency is compared with gold and silver
its commercial value is compressed into three hundred and fifty
millions. This striking fact makes it the obvious duty of the
Government, as early as may be consistent with the principles of sound
political economy, to take such measures as will enable the holder of
its notes and those of the national banks to convert them without loss
into specie or its equivalent. A reduction of our paper circulating
medium need not necessarily follow. This, however, would depend upon
the law of demand and supply, though it should be borne in mind that
by making legal-tender and bank notes convertible into coin or its
equivalent their present specie value in the hands of their holders
would be enhanced 100 per cent.

Legislation for the accomplishment of a result so desirable is demanded
by the highest public considerations. The Constitution contemplates that
the circulating medium of the country shall be uniform in quality and
value. At the time of the formation of that instrument the country had
just emerged from the War of the Revolution, and was suffering from the
effects of a redundant and worthless paper currency. The sages of that
period were anxious to protect their posterity from the evils that they
themselves had experienced. Hence in providing a circulating medium they
conferred upon Congress the power to coin money and regulate the value
thereof, at the same time prohibiting the States from making anything
but gold and silver a tender in payment of debts.

The anomalous condition of our currency is in striking contrast with
that which was originally designed. Our circulation now embraces, first,
notes of the national banks, which are made receivable for all dues to
the Government, excluding imposts, and by all its creditors, excepting
in payment of interest upon its bonds and the securities themselves;
second, legal-tender notes, issued by the United States, and which the
law requires shall be received as well in payment of all debts between
citizens as of all Government dues, excepting imposts; and, third, gold
and silver coin. By the operation of our present system of finance,
however, the metallic currency, when collected, is reserved only for one
class of Government creditors, who, holding its bonds, semiannually
receive their interest in coin from the National Treasury. They are thus
made to occupy an invidious position, which may be used to strengthen
the arguments of those who would bring into disrepute the obligations
of the nation. In the payment of all its debts the plighted faith of
the Government should be inviolably maintained. But while it acts with
fidelity toward the bondholder who loaned his money that the integrity
of the Union might be preserved, it should at the same time observe good
faith with the great masses of the people, who, having rescued the Union
from the perils of rebellion, now bear the burdens of taxation, that the
Government may be able to fulfill its engagements. There is no reason
which will be accepted as satisfactory by the people why those who
defend us on the land and protect us on the sea; the pensioner upon the
gratitude of the nation, bearing the scars and wounds received while
in its service; the public servants in the various Departments of the
Government; the farmer who supplies the soldiers of the Army and the
sailors of the Navy; the artisan who toils in the nation's workshops,
or the mechanics and laborers who build its edifices and construct
its forts and vessels of war, should, in payment of their just and
hard-earned dues, receive depreciated paper, while another class of
their countrymen, no more deserving, are paid in coin of gold and
silver. Equal and exact justice requires that all the creditors of the
Government should be paid in a currency possessing a uniform value.
This can only be accomplished by the restoration of the currency to the
standard established by the Constitution; and by this means we would
remove a discrimination which may, if it has not already done so, create
a prejudice that may become deep rooted and widespread and imperil the
national credit.

The feasibility of making our currency correspond with the
constitutional standard may be seen by reference to a few facts derived
from our commercial statistics.

The production of precious metals in the United States from 1849
to 1857, inclusive, amounted to $579,000,000; from 1858 to 1860,
inclusive, to $137,500,000, and from 1861 to 1867, inclusive, to
$457,500,000--making the grand aggregate of products since 1849
$1,174,000,000. The amount of specie coined from 1849 to 1857 inclusive,
was $439,000,000; from 1858 to 1860, inclusive, $125,000,000, and from
1861 to 1867, inclusive, $310,000,000--making the total coinage since
1849 $874,000,000. From 1849 to 1857, inclusive, the net exports of
specie amounted to $271,000,000; from 1858 to 1860, inclusive, to
$148,000,000, and from 1861 to 1867, inclusive, $322,000,000--making the
aggregate of net exports since 1849 $741,000,000. These figures show an
excess of product over net exports of $433,000,000. There are in the
Treasury $111,000,000 in coin, something more than $40,000,000 in
circulation on the Pacific Coast, and a few millions in the national
and other banks--in all about $160,000,000. This, however, taking into
account the specie in the country prior to 1849, leaves more than
$300,000,000 which have not been accounted for by exportation, and
therefore may yet remain in the country.

These are important facts and show how completely the inferior currency
will supersede the better, forcing it from circulation among the masses
and causing it to be exported as a mere article of trade, to add to the
money capital of foreign lands. They show the necessity of retiring our
paper money, that the return of gold and silver to the avenues of trade
may be invited and a demand created which will cause the retention
at home of at least so much of the productions of our rich and
inexhaustible gold-bearing fields as may be sufficient for purposes
of circulation. It is unreasonable to expect a return to a sound
currency so long as the Government by continuing to issue irredeemable
notes fills the channels of circulation with depreciated paper.
Notwithstanding a coinage by our mints, since 1849, of $874,000,000,
the people are now strangers to the currency which was designed for
their use and benefit, and specimens of the precious metals bearing
the national device are seldom seen, except when produced to gratify
the interest excited by their novelty. If depreciated paper is to be
continued as the permanent currency of the country, and all our coin is
to become a mere article of traffic and speculation, to the enhancement
in price of all that is indispensable to the comfort of the people, it
would be wise economy to abolish our mints, thus saving the nation the
care and expense incident to such establishments, and let all our
precious metals be exported in bullion. The time has come, however, when
the Government and national banks should be required to take the most
efficient steps and make all necessary arrangements for a resumption
of specie payments at the earliest practicable period. Specie payments
having been once resumed by the Government and banks, all notes or bills
of paper issued by either of a less denomination than $20 should by law
be excluded from circulation, so that the people may have the benefit
and convenience of a gold and silver currency which in all their
business transactions will be uniform in value at home and abroad.

Every man of property or industry, every man who desires to preserve
what he honestly possesses or to obtain what he can honestly earn, has a
direct interest in maintaining a safe circulating medium--such a medium
as shall be real and substantial, not liable to vibrate with opinions,
not subject to be blown up or blown down by the breath of speculation,
but to be made stable and secure. A disordered currency is one of the
greatest political evils. It undermines the virtues necessary for the
support of the social system and encourages propensities destructive of
its happiness; it wars against industry, frugality, and economy, and it
fosters the evil spirits of extravagance and speculation.

It has been asserted by one of our profound and most gifted statesmen
that--

Of all the contrivances for cheating the laboring classes of mankind,
none has been more effectual than that which deludes them with paper
money. This is the most effectual of inventions to fertilize the rich
man's fields by the sweat of the poor man's brow. Ordinary tyranny,
oppression, excessive taxation--these bear lightly on the happiness of
the mass of the community compared with a fraudulent currency and the
robberies committed by depreciated paper. Our own history has recorded
for our instruction enough, and more than enough, of the demoralizing
tendency, the injustice, and the intolerable oppression on the virtuous
and well disposed of a degraded paper currency authorized by law or in
any way countenanced by government.

It is one of the most successful devices, in times of peace or war,
expansions or revulsions, to accomplish the transfer of all the precious
metals from the great mass of the people into the hands of the few,
where they are hoarded in secret places or deposited in strong boxes
under bolts and bars, while the people are left to ensure all the
inconvenience, sacrifice, and demoralization resulting from the use
of a depreciated and worthless paper money.

The condition of our finances and the operations of our revenue
system are set forth and fully explained in the able and instructive
report of the Secretary of the Treasury. On the 30th of June, 1866,
the public debt amounted to $2,783,425,879; on the 30th of June last
it was $2,692,199,215, showing a reduction during the fiscal year of
$91,226,664. During the fiscal year ending June 30, 1867, the receipts
were $490,634,010 and the expenditures $346,729,129, leaving an
available surplus of $143,904,880. It is estimated that the receipts for
the fiscal year ending June 30, 1868, will be $417,161,928 and that the
expenditures will reach the sum of $393,269,226, leaving in the Treasury
a surplus of $23,892,702. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 1869, it
is estimated that the receipts will amount to $381,000,000 and that the
expenditures will be $372,000,000, showing an excess of $9,000,000 in
favor of the Government.

The attention of Congress is earnestly invited to the necessity of a
thorough revision of our revenue system. Our internal-revenue laws and
impost system should be so adjusted as to bear most heavily on articles
of luxury, leaving the necessaries of life as free from taxation as
may be consistent with the real wants of the Government, economically
administered. Taxation would not then fall unduly on the man of moderate
means; and while none would be entirely exempt from assessment, all, in
proportion to their pecuniary abilities, would contribute toward the
support of the State. A modification of the internal-revenue system, by
a large reduction in the number of articles now subject to tax, would
be followed by results equally advantageous to the citizen and the
Government. It would render the execution of the law less expensive and
more certain, remove obstructions to industry, lessen the temptations to
evade the law, diminish the violations and frauds perpetrated upon its
provisions, make its operations less inquisitorial, and greatly reduce
in numbers the army of taxgatherers created by the system, who "take
from the mouth of honest labor the bread it has earned." Retrenchment,
reform, and economy should be carried into every branch of the public
service, that the expenditures of the Government may be reduced and the
people relieved from oppressive taxation; a sound currency should be
restored, and the public faith in regard to the national debt sacredly
observed. The accomplishment of these important results, together with
the restoration of the Union of the States upon the principles of
the Constitution, would inspire confidence at home and abroad in the
stability of our institutions and bring to the nation prosperity,
peace, and good will.

The report of the Secretary of War _ad interim_ exhibits the operations
of the Army and of the several bureaus of the War Department. The
aggregate strength of our military force on the 30th of September
last was 56,315. The total estimate for military appropriations is
$77,124,707, including a deficiency in last year's appropriation of
$13,600,000. The payments at the Treasury on account of the service
of the War Department from January 1 to October 29, 1867--a period of
ten months--amounted to $109,807,000. The expenses of the military
establishment, as well as the numbers of the Army, are now three
times as great as they have ever been in time of peace, while the
discretionary power is vested in the Executive to add millions to this
expenditure by an increase of the Army to the maximum strength allowed
by the law.

The comprehensive report of the Secretary of the Interior furnishes
interesting information in reference to the important branches of the
public service connected with his Department. The menacing attitude of
some of the warlike bands of Indians inhabiting the district of country
between the Arkansas and Platte rivers and portions of Dakota Territory
required the presence of a large military force in that region.
Instigated by real or imaginary grievances, the Indians occasionally
committed acts of barbarous violence upon emigrants and our frontier
settlements; but a general Indian war has been providentially averted.
The commissioners under the act of 20th July, 1867, were invested with
full power to adjust existing difficulties, negotiate treaties with the
disaffected bands, and select for them reservations remote from the
traveled routes between the Mississippi and the Pacific. They entered
without delay upon the execution of their trust, but have not yet made
any official report of their proceedings. It is of vital importance that
our distant Territories should be exempt from Indian outbreaks, and
that the construction of the Pacific Railroad, an object of national
importance, should not be interrupted by hostile tribes. These objects,
as well as the material interests and the moral and intellectual
improvement of the Indians, can be most effectually secured by
concentrating them upon portions of country set apart for their
exclusive use and located at points remote from our highways and
encroaching white settlements.

Since the commencement of the second session of the Thirty-ninth
Congress 510 miles of road have been constructed on the main line
and branches of the Pacific Railway. The line from Omaha is rapidly
approaching the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains, while the terminus
of the last section of constructed road in California, accepted by the
Government on the 24th day of October last, was but 11 miles distant
from the summit of the Sierra Nevada. The remarkable energy evinced by
the companies offers the strongest assurance that the completion of the
road from Sacramento to Omaha will not be long deferred.

During the last fiscal year 7,041,114 acres of public land were
disposed of, and the cash receipts from sales and fees exceeded by
one-half million dollars the sum realized from those sources during the
preceding year. The amount paid to pensioners, including expenses of
disbursements, was $18,619,956, and 36,482 names were added to the
rolls. The entire number of pensioners on the 30th of June last was
155,474. Eleven thousand six hundred and fifty-five patents and designs
were issued during the year ending September 30, 1867, and at that
date the balance in the Treasury to the credit of the patent fund
was $286,607.

The report of the Secretary of the Navy states that we have seven
squadrons actively and judiciously employed, under efficient and able
commanders, in protecting the persons and property of American citizens,
maintaining the dignity and power of the Government, and promoting the
commerce and business interests of our countrymen in every part of the
world. Of the 238 vessels composing the present Navy of the United
States, 56, carrying 507 guns, are in squadron service. During the year
the number of vessels in commission has been reduced 12, and there
are 13 less on squadron duty than there were at the date of the last
report. A large number of vessels were commenced and in the course of
construction when the war terminated, and although Congress had made the
necessary appropriations for their completion, the Department has either
suspended work upon them or limited the slow completion of the steam
vessels, so as to meet the contracts for machinery made with private
establishments. The total expenditures of the Navy Department for the
fiscal year ending June 30, 1867, were $31,034,011. No appropriations
have been made or required since the close of the war for the
construction and repair of vessels, for steam machinery, ordnance,
provisions and clothing, fuel, hemp, etc., the balances under these
several heads having been more than sufficient for current expenditures.
It should also be stated to the credit of the Department that, besides
asking no appropriations for the above objects for the last two years,
the Secretary of the Navy, on the 30th of September last, in accordance
with the act of May 1, 1820, requested the Secretary of the Treasury to
carry to the surplus fund the sum of $65,000,000, being the amount
received from the sales of vessels and other war property and the
remnants of former appropriations.

The report of the Postmaster-General shows the business of the
Post-Office Department and the condition of the postal service in a
very favorable light, and the attention of Congress is called to its
practical recommendations. The receipts of the Department for the
year ending June 30, 1867, including all special appropriations for
sea and land service and for free mail matter, were $19,978,693. The
expenditures for all purposes were $19,235,483, leaving an unexpended
balance in favor of the Department of $743,210, which can be applied
toward the expenses of the Department for the current year. The increase
of postal revenue, independent of specific appropriations, for the year
1867 over that of 1866 was $850,040. The increase of revenue from the
sale of stamps and stamped envelopes was $783,404. The increase of
expenditures for 1867 over those of the previous year was owing chiefly
to the extension of the land and ocean mail service. During the past
year new postal conventions have been ratified and exchanged with the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands,
Switzerland, the North German Union, Italy, and the colonial government
at Hong Kong, reducing very largely the rates of ocean and land postages
to and from and within those countries.

The report of the Acting Commissioner of Agriculture concisely presents
the condition, wants, and progress of an interest eminently worthy the
fostering care of Congress, and exhibits a large measure of useful
results achieved during the year to which it refers.

The reestablishment of peace at home and the resumption of extended
trade, travel, and commerce abroad have served to increase the number
and variety of questions in the Department for Foreign Affairs. None of
these questions, however, have seriously disturbed our relations with
other states.

The Republic of Mexico, having been relieved from foreign intervention,
is earnestly engaged in efforts to reestablish her constitutional system
of government. A good understanding continues to exist between our
Government and the Republics of Hayti and San Domingo, and our cordial
relations with the Central and South American States remain unchanged.
The tender, made in conformity with a resolution of Congress, of the
good offices of the Government with a view to an amicable adjustment
of peace between Brazil and her allies on one side and Paraguay on the
other, and between Chile and her allies on the one side and Spain on the
other, though kindly received, has in neither case been fully accepted
by the belligerents. The war in the valley of the Parana is still
vigorously maintained. On the other hand, actual hostilities between
the Pacific States and Spain have been more than a year suspended.
I shall, on any proper occasion that may occur, renew the conciliatory
recommendations which have been already made. Brazil, with enlightened
sagacity and comprehensive statesmanship, has opened the great channels
of the Amazon and its tributaries to universal commerce. One thing more
seems needful to assure a rapid and cheering progress in South America.
I refer to those peaceful habits without which states and nations can
not in this age well expect material prosperity or social advancement.

The Exposition of Universal Industry at Paris has passed, and seems to
have fully realized the high expectations of the French Government. If
due allowance be made for the recent political derangement of industry
here, the part which the United States has borne in this exhibition of
invention and art may be regarded with very high satisfaction. During
the exposition a conference was held of delegates from several nations,
the United States being one, in which the inconveniences of commerce and
social intercourse resulting from the diverse standards of money value
were very fully discussed, and plans were developed for establishing
by universal consent a common principle for the coinage of gold. These
conferences are expected to be renewed, with the attendance of many
foreign states not hitherto represented. A report of these interesting
proceedings will be submitted to Congress, which will, no doubt, justly
appreciate the great object and be ready to adopt any measure which may
tend to facilitate its ultimate accomplishment.

On the 25th of February, 1862, Congress declared by law that Treasury
notes, without interest, authorized by that act should be legal tender
in payment of all debts, public and private, within the United States.
An annual remittance of $30,000, less stipulated expenses, accrues
to claimants under the convention made with Spain in 1834. These
remittances, since the passage of that act, have been paid in such
notes. The claimants insist that the Government ought to require
payment in coin. The subject may be deemed worthy of your attention.

No arrangement has yet been reached for the settlement of our claims
for British depredations upon the commerce of the United States. I have
felt it my duty to decline the proposition of arbitration made by
Her Majesty's Government, because it has hitherto been accompanied by
reservations and limitations incompatible with the rights, interest, and
honor of our country. It is not to be apprehended that Great Britain
will persist in her refusal to satisfy these just and reasonable claims,
which involve the sacred principle of nonintervention--a principle
henceforth not more important to the United States than to all other
commercial nations.

The West India islands were settled and colonized by European States
simultaneously with the settlement and colonization of the American
continent. Most of the colonies planted here became independent nations
in the close of the last and the beginning of the present century. Our
own country embraces communities which at one period were colonies of
Great Britain, France, Spain, Holland, Sweden, and Russia. The people
in the West Indies, with the exception of those of the island of Hayti,
have neither attained nor aspired to independence, nor have they become
prepared for self-defense. Although possessing considerable commercial
value, they have been held by the several European States which
colonized or at some time conquered them, chiefly for purposes of
military and naval strategy in carrying out European policy and designs
in regard to this continent. In our Revolutionary War ports and harbors
in the West India islands were used by our enemy, to the great injury
and embarrassment of the United States. We had the same experience in
our second war with Great Britain. The same European policy for a long
time excluded us even from trade with the West Indies, while we were at
peace with all nations. In our recent civil war the rebels and their
piratical and blockade-breaking allies found facilities in the same
ports for the work, which they too successfully accomplished, of
injuring and devastating the commerce which we are now engaged in
rebuilding. We labored especially under this disadvantage, that
European steam vessels employed by our enemies found friendly shelter,
protection, and supplies in West Indian ports, while our naval
operations were necessarily carried on from our own distant shores.
There was then a universal feeling of the want of an advanced naval
outpost between the Atlantic coast and Europe. The duty of obtaining
such an outpost peacefully and lawfully, while neither doing nor
menacing injury to other states, earnestly engaged the attention of the
executive department before the close of the war, and it has not been
lost sight of since that time. A not entirely dissimilar naval want
revealed itself during the same period on the Pacific coast. The
required foothold there was fortunately secured by our late treaty with
the Emperor of Russia, and it now seems imperative that the more obvious
necessities of the Atlantic coast should not be less carefully provided
for. A good and convenient port and harbor, capable of easy defense,
will supply that want. With the possession of such a station by the
United States, neither we nor any other American nation need longer
apprehend injury or offense from any transatlantic enemy. I agree with
our early statesmen that the West Indies naturally gravitate to, and
may be expected ultimately to be absorbed by, the continental States,
including our own. I agree with them also that it is wise to leave the
question of such absorption to this process of natural political
gravitation. The islands of St. Thomas and St. John, which constitute
a part of the group called the Virgin Islands, seemed to offer us
advantages immediately desirable, while their acquisition could be
secured in harmony with the principles to which I have alluded. A treaty
has therefore been concluded with the King of Denmark for the cession of
those islands, and will be submitted to the Senate for consideration.

It will hardly be necessary to call the attention of Congress to the
subject of providing for the payment to Russia of the sum stipulated in
the treaty for the cession of Alaska. Possession having been formally
delivered to our commissioner, the territory remains for the present in
care of a military force, awaiting such civil organization as shall be
directed by Congress.

The annexation of many small German States to Prussia and the
reorganization of that country under a new and liberal constitution have
induced me to renew the effort to obtain a just and prompt settlement of
the long-vexed question concerning the claims of foreign states for
military service from their subjects naturalized in the United States.

In connection with this subject the attention of Congress is
respectfully called to a singular and embarrassing conflict of laws.
The executive department of this Government has hitherto uniformly held,
as it now holds, that naturalization in conformity with the Constitution
and laws of the United States absolves the recipient from his native
allegiance. The courts of Great Britain hold that allegiance to the
British Crown is indefeasible, and is not absolved by our laws of
naturalization. British judges cite courts and law authorities of the
United States in support of that theory against the position held by the
executive authority of the United States. This conflict perplexes the
public mind concerning the rights of naturalized citizens and impairs
the national authority abroad. I called attention to this subject in my
last annual message, and now again respectfully appeal to Congress to
declare the national will unmistakably upon this important question.

The abuse of our laws by the clandestine prosecution of the African
slave trade from American ports or by American citizens has altogether
ceased, and under existing circumstances no apprehensions of its renewal
in this part of the world are entertained. Under these circumstances
it becomes a question whether we shall not propose to Her Majesty's
Government a suspension or discontinuance of the stipulations for
maintaining a naval force for the suppression of that trade.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

SPECIAL MESSAGES.

WASHINGTON, _December 3, 1867_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit, for consideration with a view to ratification, a treaty
between the United States and His Majesty the King of Denmark,
stipulating for the cession of the islands of St. Thomas and St. John,
in the West Indies.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _December 3, 1867_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit, for consideration with a view to ratification, a treaty of
friendship, commerce, and navigation between the United States and the
Republic of Nicaragua, signed at the city of Managua on the 21st day of
June last. This instrument has been framed pursuant to the amendments
of the Senate of the United States to the previous treaty between the
parties of the 16th of March, 1859.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _December 4, 1867_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a final report from the Attorney-General, additional
to the reports submitted by him December 31, 1866, March 2, 1867, and
July 8, 1867, in reply to a resolution of the House of Representatives
December 10, 1866, requesting "a list of the names of all persons
engaged in the late rebellion against the United States Government who
have been pardoned by the President from April 15, 1865, to this date;
that said list shall also state the rank of each person who has been
so pardoned, if he has been engaged in the military service of the
so-called Confederate government, and the position if he shall have held
any civil office under said so-called Confederate government; and shall
also state whether such person has at anytime prior to April 14, 1861,
held any office under the United States Government, and, if so, what
office, together with the reason for granting such pardon, and also the
names of the person or persons at whose solicitation such pardon was
granted."

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _December 4, 1867_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, in answer to their resolution of the 26th
ultimo, a report[30] from the Secretary of State, with accompanying papers.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

[Footnote 30: Relating to the removal of J. Lothrop Motley from his post
as minister of the United States at Vienna.]

WASHINGTON, _December 5, 1867_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
17th July last, requesting me to communicate all information received
at the several Departments of the Government touching the organization
within or near the territory of the United States of armed bodies of men
for the purpose of avenging the death of the Archduke Maximilian or of
intervening in Mexican affairs, and what measures have been taken to
prevent the organization or departure of such organized bodies for the
purpose of carrying out such objects, I transmit a report from the
Secretary of State and the papers accompanying it.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _December 5, 1867_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I submit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a commercial treaty between the United States of America
and Her Majesty the Queen of Madagascar, signed at Antananarivo on the
14th of February last.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _December 10, 1867_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, in answer to their resolution of the 25th
ultimo, a report[31] from the Secretary of State, with accompanying
papers.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

[Footnote 31: Relating to the formation and the functions of the
Government of the united States of North Germany.]

WASHINGTON, _December 10, 1867_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit a copy of a dispatch of the 17th of July last, addressed to
the Secretary of State, and of the papers which accompanied it, from
Anson Burlingame, esq., minister of the United States to China, relating
to a proposed modification of the existing treaty between this
Government and that of China.

The Senate is aware that the original treaty is chiefly _ex parte_
in its character. The proposed modification, though not of sufficient
importance to warrant all the usual forms, does not seem to be
objectionable; but it can not be legally accepted by the executive
government without the advice and consent of the Senate. If this
should be given, it may be indicated by a resolution, upon the adoption
of which the United States minister to China will be instructed to
inform the Government of that country that the modification has been
assented to.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

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