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

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nation to become a "propagandist" of free principles without arraying
against it the combined powers of Europe, and that the result was
more likely to be the overthrow of republican liberty here than its
establishment there. History has been written in vain for those who
can doubt this. France had no sooner established a republican form of
government than she manifested a desire to force its blessings on all
the world. Her own historian informs us that, hearing of some petty
acts of tyranny in a neighboring principality, "the National Convention
declared that she would afford succor and fraternity to all nations
who wished to recover their liberty, and she gave it in charge to the
executive power to give orders to the generals of the French armies
to aid all citizens who might have been or should be oppressed in the
cause of liberty." Here was the false step which led to her subsequent
misfortunes. She soon found herself involved in war with all the rest
of Europe. In less than ten years her Government was changed from a
republic to an empire, and finally, after shedding rivers of blood,
foreign powers restored her exiled dynasty and exhausted Europe sought
peace and repose in the unquestioned ascendency of monarchical
principles. Let us learn wisdom from her example. Let us remember that
revolutions do not always establish freedom. Our own free institutions
were not the offspring of our Revolution. They existed before. They
were planted in the free charters of self-government under which the
English colonies grew up, and our Revolution only freed us from the
dominion of a foreign power whose government was at variance with
those institutions. But European nations have had no such training for
self-government, and every effort to establish it by bloody revolutions
has been, and must without that preparation continue to be, a failure.
Liberty unregulated by law degenerates into anarchy, which soon becomes
the most horrid of all despotisms. Our policy is wisely to govern
ourselves, and thereby to set such an example of national justice,
prosperity, and true glory as shall teach to all nations the blessings
of self-government and the unparalleled enterprise and success of a free
people.

We live in an age of progress, and ours is emphatically a country of
progress. Within the last half century the number of States in this
Union has nearly doubled, the population has almost quadrupled, and our
boundaries have been extended from the Mississippi to the Pacific. Our
territory is checkered over with railroads and furrowed with canals. The
inventive talent of our country is excited to the highest pitch, and the
numerous applications for patents for valuable improvements distinguish
this age and this people from all others. The genius of one American has
enabled our commerce to move against wind and tide and that of another
has annihilated distance in the transmission of intelligence. The
whole country is full of enterprise. Our common schools are diffusing
intelligence among the people and our industry is fast accumulating the
comforts and luxuries of life. This is in part owing to our peculiar
position, to our fertile soil and comparatively sparse population;
but much of it is also owing to the popular institutions under which
we live, to the freedom which every man feels to engage in any useful
pursuit according to his taste or inclination, and to the entire
confidence that his person and property will be protected by the laws.
But whatever may be the cause of this unparalleled growth in population,
intelligence, and wealth, one thing is clear--that the Government must
keep pace with the progress of the people. It must participate in their
spirit of enterprise, and while it exacts obedience to the laws and
restrains all unauthorized invasions of the rights of neighboring
states, it should foster and protect home industry and lend its powerful
strength to the improvement of such means of intercommunication as are
necessary to promote our internal commerce and strengthen the ties which
bind us together as a people.

It is not strange, however much it may be regretted, that such an
exuberance of enterprise should cause some individuals to mistake change
for progress and the invasion of the rights of others for national
prowess and glory. The former are constantly agitating for some change
in the organic law, or urging new and untried theories of human rights.
The latter are ever ready to engage in any wild crusade against a
neighboring people, regardless of the justice of the enterprise and
without looking at the fatal consequences to ourselves and to the cause
of popular government. Such expeditions, however, are often stimulated
by mercenary individuals, who expect to share the plunder or profit of
the enterprise without exposing themselves to danger, and are led on by
some irresponsible foreigner, who abuses the hospitality of our own
Government by, seducing the young and ignorant to join in his scheme of
personal ambition or revenge under the false and delusive pretense of
extending the area of freedom. These reprehensible aggressions but
retard the true progress of our nation and tarnish its fair fame. They
should therefore receive the indignant frowns of every good citizen who
sincerely loves his country and takes a pride in its prosperity and
honor.

Our Constitution, though not perfect, is doubtless the best that ever
was formed. Therefore let every proposition to change it be well weighed
and, if found beneficial, cautiously adopted. Every patriot will rejoice
to see its authority so exerted as to advance the prosperity and honor
of the nation, whilst he will watch with jealousy any attempt to
mutilate this charter of our liberties or pervert its powers to acts
of aggression or injustice. Thus shall conservatism and progress blend
their harmonious action in preserving the form and spirit of the
Constitution and at the same time carry forward the great improvements
of the country with a rapidity and energy which freemen only can
display.

In closing this my last annual communication, permit me,
fellow-citizens, to congratulate you on the prosperous condition of
our beloved country. Abroad its relations with all foreign powers are
friendly, its rights are respected, and its high place in the family of
nations cheerfully recognized. At home we enjoy an amount of happiness,
public and private, which has probably never fallen to the lot of
any other people. Besides affording to our own citizens a degree of
prosperity of which on so large a scale I know of no other instance,
our country is annually affording a refuge and a home to multitudes,
altogether without example, from the Old World.

We owe these blessings, under Heaven, to the happy Constitution and
Government which were bequeathed to us by our fathers, and which it is
our sacred duty to transmit in all their integrity to our children. We
must all consider it a great distinction and privilege to have been
chosen by the people to bear a part in the administration of such a
Government. Called by an unexpected dispensation to its highest trust at
a season of embarrassment and alarm, I entered upon its arduous duties
with extreme diffidence. I claim only to have discharged them to the
best of an humble ability, with a single eye to the public good, and
it is with devout gratitude in retiring from office that I leave the
country in a state of peace and prosperity.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

SPECIAL MESSAGES.

WASHINGTON, _December 7, 1852_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a treaty of friendship, commerce, and navigation, between
the United States and the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, signed at
Montevideo on the 28th of August last.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _December 8, 1852_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, an additional article, signed in this city on the 16th
ultimo, to the convention for the mutual delivery of criminals fugitives
from justice in certain cases between the United States on the one part
and Prussia and other States of the Germanic Confederation on the other
part, concluded on the 15th of June, 1852.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _January 4, 1853_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 30th ultimo, requesting
information in regard to the establishment of a new British colony in
Central America, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and
the documents by which it was accompanied.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _January 4, 1853_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the Senate's resolution of the 3d instant, calling for
information relative to a proposed tripartite convention on the subject
of the island of Cuba, I transmit to the Senate a report from the
Secretary of State and the papers which accompanied it.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _January 12, 1853_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In pursuance of the eleventh article of the treaty with the Chickasaw
Indians signed on the 20th day of October, 1832, I herewith transmit a
recommendation from the Secretary of the Treasury for the investment
of a portion of the funds belonging to said nation, for the purpose of
obtaining the advice and consent of the Senate to make the investment
as therein recommended.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _January 12, 1853_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In reply to the resolution of your honorable body of the 5th instant,
I herewith communicate a report of the Secretary of the Interior giving
the information[27] required.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

[Footnote 27: Relating to the Mexican boundary commission.]

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate dated the 13th ultimo,
requesting further information in regard to the imprisonment of the
United States consul and of other American citizens in the castle at
Acapulco, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the
documents by which it is accompanied.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

JANUARY 17, 1853.

WASHINGTON, _January 17, 1853_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a communication lately received at the Department of
State from the minister of Her Most Catholic Majesty, accompanied by a
letter of instructions from the Spanish Government relative to the case
of the _Amistad_. In Mr. Calderon's communication reference is had to
former letters addressed by him to the Department of State on the same
subject, copies of which are herewith transmitted, and an earnest wish
is expressed that a final settlement of this long-pending claim should
be made. The tone of the letter of instructions from Mr. Manuel Bertran
de Lis is somewhat more peremptory than could be wished, but this
circumstance will not, probably, prevent Congress from giving his
suggestions the attention to which they may be entitled.

The claim of the Spanish Government on behalf of its subjects interested
in the _Amistad_ was the subject of discussion during the Administration
of President Tyler between the Spanish minister and Mr. Webster, then
Secretary of State. In an elaborate letter of the latter, addressed to
the Chevalier d'Argais on the 1st of September, 1841, the opinion is
confidently maintained that the claim is unfounded. The Administration
of President Polk took a different view of the matter. The justice of
the claim was recognized in a letter from the Department of State to the
Spanish minister of the 19th of March, 1847, and in his annual message
of the same year the President recommended its payment.

Under these circumstances the attention of Congress is again invited to
the subject. Respect to the Spanish Government demands that its urgent
representation should be candidly and impartially weighed. If Congress
should be of opinion that the claim is just, every consideration points
to the propriety of its prompt recognition and payment, and if the two
Houses should come to the opposite conclusion it is equally desirable
that the result should be announced without unnecessary delay.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _January 18, 1853_.

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

I have the honor herewith to transmit a report from the Secretary of
the Interior, from which it appears that the efforts of that Department
to induce the Indians remaining in Florida to migrate to the country
assigned to their tribe west of the Mississippi have been entirely
unsuccessful. The only alternative that now remains is either to compel
them by force to comply with the treaty made with the tribe in May,
1832, by which they agreed to migrate within three years from that
date, or allow the arrangement made with them in 1842, referred to in
the Secretary's report, by which they were permitted to remain in the
temporary occupancy of a portion of the peninsula until the Government
should see fit to remove them, to continue.

It can not be denied that the withholding so large a portion of her
territory from settlement is a source of injury to the State of Florida;
and although, ever since the arrangement above referred to, the Indians
have manifested a desire to remain at peace with the whites, the
presence of a people who may at any time and upon any real or fancied
provocation be driven to acts of hostility is a source of constant
anxiety and alarm to the inhabitants on that border.

There can be no doubt, also, that the welfare of the Indians would be
promoted by their removal from a territory where frequent collisions
between them and their more powerful neighbors are daily becoming more
inevitable.

On the other hand, there is every reason to believe that any
manifestation of a design to remove them by force or to take possession
of the territory allotted to them would be immediately retaliated by
acts of cruelty on the defenseless inhabitants.

The number of Indians now remaining in the State is, it is true, very
inconsiderable (not exceeding, it is believed, 500), but owing to the
extent of the country occupied by them and its adaptation to their
peculiar mode of warfare, a force very disproportioned to their numbers
would be necessary to capture them, or even to protect the white
settlements from their incursions. The military force now stationed in
that State would be inadequate to these objects, and if it should be
determined to enforce their removal or to survey the territory allotted
to them some addition to it would be necessary, as the Government has
but a small force available for that service. Additional appropriations
for the support of the Army would also, in that event, be necessary.

For these reasons I have deemed it proper to submit the whole matter to
Congress, for such action as they may deem best.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _January 19, 1853_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 27th
ultimo, requesting information relative to the claims on Spain in the
cases of the bark _Georgiana_ and the brig _Susan Loud, I_ transmit a
report from the Secretary of State, to whom the resolution was referred.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _January 21, 1853_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 10th instant,
requesting certain correspondence relative to Central America, I
transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the documents by
which it was accompanied.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _January 24, 1853_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In obedience to a resolution of your honorable body of December 27,
1852, in reference to claims of custom-house officers for additional
pay, I have the honor herewith to transmit a report from the Secretary
of the Treasury giving the desired information; and in answer to the
seventh interrogatory, asking "whether in my opinion further legislation
is necessary or advisable either to protect the Treasury from unjust
claims or to secure to the claimants their just rights," I would state
that in my opinion no further legislation is necessary to effect either
object. My views on this subject will be more fully seen on reference to
an opinion given by me to the Secretary of the Treasury, a copy of which
is annexed to his report.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _January 24, 1853_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 14th instant, relative
to the award of the Emperor Louis Napoleon, of France, in the case of
the brig _General Armstrong_, I transmit a report from the Secretary of
State and the documents by which it was accompanied.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _January 27, 1853_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 13th instant,
requesting a copy of correspondence and other documents relative
to Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and the territory claimed by the Mosquito
Indians, I transmit a report of the Secretary of State, to whom the
resolution was referred.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _January 27, 1853_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

Since my last message to your honorable body, communicating a report
from the Treasury Department, in answer to your resolution of the 3d
instant [27th ultimo?], in reference to the compensation of weighers and
gangers, further communications on that subject have been received from
New Orleans, which have just been reported to me by the Secretary of the
Treasury and which I deem it my duty to communicate to the House.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _February 3, 1853_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith to the Senate in a new draft the convention with the
Swiss Confederation, originally negotiated at Berne and concluded in
that city on the 25th of November, 1850. On the 7th of March, 1851, it
was considered by the Senate of the United States, whose assent was
given to it with certain amendments, as will appear from the Journal of
the Senate of that day. The convention was sent back to Switzerland with
these alterations, which were taken into consideration by the Government
of that Confederation, whose action in the premises will be learned by a
letter from its President of the 5th of July, 1852.

The modifications which the Government of the Swiss Confederation are
desirous of introducing into the amendments made by the Senate of the
United States and the articles affected by them are not inconsistent
with the object and spirit of those amendments, and appear to me to
proceed upon a reasonable principle of compromise.

I have thought it expedient, in submitting them to the Senate with a
view to their advice and consent to the ratification of the treaty in
its present form, to have the entire instrument taken into a continuous
draft, as well the portions--by far the greater part--already assented
to by the Senate as the modifications proposed by the Government of the
Swiss Confederation in reference to these amendments. In preparing the
new draft a few slight alterations have been made in the modifications
proposed by the Swiss Government.

Should the convention receive the approbation of the Senate in its
present form, it will be immediately transmitted to Switzerland for
ratification by the Swiss Confederation.

The delays which have taken place in the negotiation of this treaty have
been principally caused by the want of a resident diplomatic agent of
the United States at Berne, and are among the reasons for which an
appropriation for a charge d'affaires to that Government has recently,
by my direction, been recommended in a letter from the Department of
State to the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the
Senate.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _February 3, 1853_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 11th ultimo,
asking for information with regard to the execution of the postal
convention between the United States and Great Britain, I transmit a
report from the Secretary of State and the documents which accompanied
it.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _February 7, 1853_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

Having in my message to Congress at the opening of the session adverted
to the pending negotiations between this Government and that of Great
Britain relative to the fisheries and commercial reciprocity with the
British American Provinces, I transmit for the information of Congress
the accompanying report from the Department of State on the present
state of the negotiations, and I respectfully invite the attention of
the two Houses to the suggestion in the latter part of the report.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _February 9, 1853_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of the Navy,
accompanied by the first part of Lieutenant Herndon's report of the
exploration of the valley of the Amazon and its tributaries, made by him
in connection with lieutenant Gardner Gibbon, under instructions from
the Navy Department.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _February 14, 1853_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith communicate to the Senate, for its consideration with a
view to ratification, a convention on the subject of the extradition
of fugitives from justice between the United States and Belgium,
concluded and signed in this city on the 11th instant by the respective
plenipotentiaries.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _February 18, 1853_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, embodying the substance
of recent communications made by the minister of Her Britannic Majesty
to the Department of State on the subject of the interoceanic canal by
the Nicaragua route, which formed the chief object of the treaty between
the United States and Great Britain of the 19th April, 1850, and the
relations of Great Britain to the protectorate of Mosquito, which she
expresses herself desirous of relinquishing on terms consistent with
her honorable engagements to the Indians of that name.

In consequence of these communications and other considerations stated
in the report, it is deemed advisable by the Department that our
diplomatic relations with the States of Central America should be placed
on a higher and more efficient footing, and this measure meets my
approbation. The whole subject is one of so much delicacy and importance
that I should have preferred, so near the close of my Administration,
not to make it the subject of an Executive communication. But inasmuch
as the measure proposed can not, even if deemed expedient by my
successor, take effect for near a twelvemonth unless an appropriation is
made by this Congress, I have thought it my duty to submit the report of
the Department to the two Houses. The importance of the measure seemed
to require an exposition somewhat in detail of the grounds on which it
is recommended.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _February 18, 1853_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, with the view to its ratification, a
convention which was yesterday concluded between the United States
and Great Britain for the establishment of international copyright.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _February 19, 1853_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 14th instant, relative
to the fisheries on the coasts of Florida, I transmit herewith a report
from the Secretary of State and the documents which accompanied it.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _February 21, 1853_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with your resolution of the 19th of February instant,
I herewith communicate a report from the Secretary of War, containing
the report of Lieutenant Meigs, of the Engineer Corps, on the surveys,
projects, and estimates for supplying the cities of Washington and
Georgetown with an unfailing and abundant supply of water.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _February 21, 1853_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I have the honor to transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of
the Treasury of the 21st instant, in reference to the reinvestment of
certain moneys belonging to the Chickasaw Nation of Indians which will
come into the Treasury during the succeeding vacation of the Senate,
and I respectfully concur in the recommendation made by the Secretary.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _February 23, 1853_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for advice and consent with a view to
ratification, a convention between the United States and Her Britannic
Majesty for the adjustment of certain claims of citizens of the United
States on the British Government and of British subjects on the
Government of the United States, signed in London on the 8th instant.
Although it is stipulated by the terms of the first article of the
convention that the commissioner on the part of this Government shall be
appointed by the President of the United States, it is not understood
that this stipulation was intended to dispense with the concurrence of
the Senate in such appointment.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _February 25, 1853_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a consular convention concluded in this city on the
23d instant between the United States and His Majesty the Emperor
of the French.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _February 26, 1853_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit a copy of a proclamation of yesterday, which I deemed it
advisable to issue, relative to an extraordinary session of the Senate
on the 4th of March next.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _February 28, 1853_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 17th January last,
requesting information in regard to the fisheries on the coasts of the
British North American Provinces, I transmit a report from the Secretary
of State and the documents which accompanied it.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, _February 28, 1853_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit, for the consideration and advice of the Senate, a
treaty recently entered into with the Apache Indians in New Mexico by
Colonel Stunner and Mr. Greiner, acting on behalf of the United States,
together with the letter of Colonel Sumner on the subject of the treaty
and reports thereon from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs and the
Secretary of the Interior.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

PROCLAMATION.

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

A PROCLAMATION.

The attention of the President having been called to the proceedings of
Congress at the close of its session on the 4th of March, 1851, from
which it appears that the constitutional term of that body was held
not to have expired until 12 o'clock at noon of that day, and a notice
having been issued, agreeably to former usage, to convene the Senate at
11 o'clock a. m. on the 4th of March next, it is apparent that such call
is in conflict with the decision aforesaid:

Now, therefore, as well for the purpose of removing all doubt as to the
legality of such call as of establishing a precedent of what is deemed
a proper mode of convening the Senate, I, Millard Fillmore, President
of the United States, have considered it to be my duty to issue this
my proclamation, revoking said call and hereby declaring that an
extraordinary occasion requires the Senate of the United States to
convene for the transaction of business at the Capitol, in the city of
Washington, on Friday, the 4th day of March next, at 12 o'clock at noon
of that day, of which all who shall at that time be entitled to act as
members of that body are hereby required to take notice.

[SEAL.]

Given under my hand and the seal of the United States, at Washington,
this 25th day of February, A.D. 1853, and of the Independence Of the
United States the seventy-seventh.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

By the President:
EDWARD EVERETT,
_Secretary of State_.

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