Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

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

Part 3 out of 7

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.8 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

application, and exclude a State which, acting upon the past practice
of the Government, has already formed its constitution, elected its
legislature and other officers, and is now prepared to enter the Union.

The rule ought to be adopted, whether we consider its bearing on the
people of the Territories or upon the people of the existing States.
Many of the serious dissensions which have prevailed in Congress and
throughout the country would have been avoided had this rule been
established at an earlier period of the Government.

Immediately upon the formation of a new Territory people from different
States and from foreign countries rush into it for the laudable purpose
of improving their condition. Their first duty to themselves is to open
and cultivate farms, to construct roads, to establish schools, to erect
places of religious worship, and to devote their energies generally
to reclaim the wilderness and to lay the foundations of a flourishing
and prosperous commonwealth. If in this incipient condition, with a
population of a few thousand, they should prematurely enter the Union,
they are oppressed by the burden of State taxation, and the means
necessary for the improvement of the Territory and the advancement of
their own interests are thus diverted to very different purposes.

The Federal Government has ever been a liberal parent to the Territories
and a generous contributor to the useful enterprises of the early
settlers. It has paid the expenses of their governments and legislative
assemblies out of the common Treasury, and thus relieved them from a
heavy charge. Under these circumstances nothing can be better calculated
to retard their material progress than to divert them from their useful
employments by prematurely exciting angry political contests among
themselves for the benefit of aspiring leaders. It is surely no hardship
for embryo governors, Senators, and Members of Congress to wait until
the number of inhabitants shall equal those of a single Congressional
district. They surely ought not to be permitted to rush into the Union
with a population less than one-half of several of the large counties
in the interior of some of the States. This was the condition of Kansas
when it made application to be admitted under the Topeka constitution.
Besides, it requires some time to render the mass of a population
collected in a new Territory at all homogeneous and to unite them on
anything like a fixed policy. Establish the rule, and all will look
forward to it and govern themselves accordingly.

But justice to the people of the several States requires that this
rule should be established by Congress. Each State is entitled to two
Senators and at least one Representative in Congress. Should the people
of the States fail to elect a Vice-President, the power devolves upon
the Senate to select this officer from the two highest candidates on the
list. In case of the death of the President, the Vice-President thus
elected by the Senate becomes President of the United States. On all
questions of legislation the Senators from the smallest States of the
Union have an equal vote with those from the largest. The same may be
said in regard to the ratification of treaties and of Executive
appointments. All this has worked admirably in practice, whilst it
conforms in principle with the character of a Government instituted
by sovereign States. I presume no American citizen would desire the
slightest change in the arrangement. Still, is it not unjust and unequal
to the existing States to invest some 40,000 or 50,000 people collected
in a Territory with the attributes of sovereignty and place them on an
equal footing with Virginia and New York in the Senate of the United
States?

For these reasons I earnestly recommend the passage of a general act
which shall provide that, upon the application of a Territorial
legislature declaring their belief that the Territory contains a number
of inhabitants which, if in a State, would entitle them to elect a
Member of Congress, it shall be the duty of the President to cause a
census of the inhabitants to be taken, and if found sufficient then by
the terms of this act to authorize them to proceed "in their own way"
to frame a State constitution preparatory to admission into the Union.
I also recommend that an appropriation may be made to enable the
President to take a census of the people of Kansas.

The present condition of the Territory of Utah, when contrasted with
what it was one year ago, is a subject for congratulation. It was then
in a state of open rebellion, and, cost what it might, the character of
the Government required that this rebellion should be suppressed and the
Mormons compelled to yield obedience to the Constitution and the laws.
In order to accomplish this object, as I informed you in my last annual
message, I appointed a new governor instead of Brigham Young, and other
Federal officers to take the place of those who, consulting their
personal safety, had found it necessary to withdraw from the Territory.

To protect these civil officers, and to aid them, as a _posse
comitatus_, in the execution of the laws in case of need, I ordered
a detachment of the Army to accompany them to Utah. The necessity for
adopting these measures is now demonstrated.

On the 15th of September, 1857, Governor Young issued his proclamation,
in the style of an independent sovereign, announcing his purpose to
resist by force of arms the entry of the United States troops into
our own Territory of Utah. By this he required all the forces in the
Territory to "hold themselves in readiness to march at a moment's notice
to repel any and all such invasion," and established martial law from
its date throughout the Territory. These proved to be no idle threats.
Forts Bridger and Supply were vacated and burnt down by the Mormons
to deprive our troops of a shelter after their long and fatiguing
march. Orders were issued by Daniel H. Wells, styling himself
"Lieutenant-General, Nauvoo Legion," to stampede the animals of the
United States troops on their march, to set fire to their trains, to
burn the grass and the whole country before them and on their flanks,
to keep them from sleeping by night surprises, and to blockade the
road by felling trees and destroying the fords of rivers, etc.

These orders were promptly and effectually obeyed. On the 4th of
October, 1857, the Mormons captured and burned, on Green River, three
of our supply trains, consisting of seventy-five wagons loaded with
provisions and tents for the army, and carried away several hundred
animals. This diminished the supply of provisions so materially that
General Johnston was obliged to reduce the ration, and even with this
precaution there was only sufficient left to subsist the troops until
the 1st of June.

Our little army behaved admirably in their encampment at Fort Bridger
under these trying privations. In the midst of the mountains, in a
dreary, unsettled, and inhospitable region, more than a thousand miles
from home, they passed the severe and inclement winter without a murmur.
They looked forward with confidence for relief from their country in due
season, and in this they were not disappointed.

The Secretary of War employed all his energies to forward them the
necessary supplies and to muster and send such a military force to Utah
as would render resistance on the part of the Mormons hopeless, and thus
terminate the war without the effusion of blood. In his efforts he
was efficiently sustained by Congress. They granted appropriations
sufficient to cover the deficiency thus necessarily created, and also
provided for raising two regiments of volunteers "for the purpose of
quelling disturbances in the Territory of Utah, for the protection of
supply and emigrant trains, and the suppression of Indian hostilities
on the frontiers." Happily, there was no occasion to call these
regiments into service. If there had been, I should have felt serious
embarrassment in selecting them, so great was the number of our brave
and patriotic citizens anxious to serve their country in this distant
and apparently dangerous expedition. Thus it has ever been, and thus
may it ever be.

The wisdom and economy of sending sufficient reenforcements to Utah are
established, not only by the event, but in the opinion of those who
from their position and opportunities are the most capable of forming
a correct judgment. General Johnston, the commander of the forces, in
addressing the Secretary of War from Fort Bridger under date of October
18, 1857, expresses the opinion that "unless a large force is sent here,
from the nature of the country a protracted war on their [the Mormons's]
part is inevitable." This he considered necessary to terminate the war
"speedily and more economically than if attempted by insufficient
means."

In the meantime it was my anxious desire that the Mormons should yield
obedience to the Constitution and the laws without rendering it
necessary to resort to military force. To aid in accomplishing
this object, I deemed it advisable in April last to dispatch two
distinguished citizens of the United States, Messrs. Powell and
McCulloch, to Utah. They bore with them a proclamation addressed by
myself to the inhabitants of Utah, dated on the 6th day of that month,
warning them of their true condition and how hopeless it was on their
part to persist in rebellion against the United States, and offering
all those who should submit to the laws a full pardon for their past
seditions and treasons. At the same time I assured those who should
persist in rebellion against the United States that they must expect no
further lenity, but look to be rigorously dealt with according to their
deserts. The instructions to these agents, as well as a copy of the
proclamation and their reports, are herewith submitted. It will be seen
by their report of the 3d of July last that they have fully confirmed
the opinion expressed by General Johnston in the previous October as to
the necessity of sending reenforcements to Utah. In this they state that
they "are firmly impressed with the belief that the presence of the
Army here and the large additional force that had been ordered to this
Territory were the chief inducements that caused the Mormons to abandon
the idea of resisting the authority of the United States. A less
decisive policy would probably have resulted in a long, bloody, and
expensive war."

These gentlemen conducted themselves to my entire satisfaction and
rendered useful services in executing the humane intentions of the
Government.

It also affords me great satisfaction to state that Governor Cumming has
performed his duty in an able and conciliatory manner and with the
happiest effect. I can not in this connection refrain from mentioning
the valuable services of Colonel Thomas L. Kane, who, from motives
of pure benevolence and without any official character or pecuniary
compensation, visited Utah during the last inclement winter for the
purpose of contributing to the pacification of the Territory.

I am happy to inform you that the governor and other civil officers of
Utah are now performing their appropriate functions without resistance.
The authority of the Constitution and the laws has been fully restored
and peace prevails throughout the Territory.

A portion of the troops sent to Utah are now encamped in Cedar Valley,
44 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, and the remainder have been
ordered to Oregon to suppress Indian hostilities.

The march of the army to Salt Lake City through the Indian Territory has
had a powerful effect in restraining the hostile feelings against the
United States which existed among the Indians in that region and in
securing emigrants to the far West against their depredations. This
will also be the means of establishing military posts and promoting
settlements along the route.

I recommend that the benefits of our land laws and preemption system be
extended to the people of Utah by the establishment of a land office in
that Territory.

I have occasion also to congratulate you on the result of our
negotiations with China.

You were informed by my last annual message that our minister had been
instructed to occupy a neutral position in the hostilities conducted
by Great Britain and France against Canton. He was, however, at the
same time directed to cooperate cordially with the British and French
ministers in all peaceful measures to secure by treaty those just
concessions to foreign commerce which the nations of the world had a
right to demand. It was impossible for me to proceed further than this
on my own authority without usurping the war-making power, which under
the Constitution belongs exclusively to Congress.

Besides, after a careful examination of the nature and extent of
our grievances, I did not believe they were of such a pressing and
aggravated character as would have justified Congress in declaring war
against the Chinese Empire without first making another earnest attempt
to adjust them by peaceful negotiation. I was the more inclined to this
opinion because of the severe chastisement which had then but recently
been inflicted upon the Chinese by our squadron in the capture and
destruction of the Barrier forts to avenge an alleged insult to our
flag.

The event has proved the wisdom of our neutrality. Our minister has
executed his instructions with eminent skill and ability. In conjunction
with the Russian plenipotentiary, he has peacefully, but effectually,
cooperated with the English and French plenipotentiaries, and each of
the four powers has concluded a separate treaty with China of a highly
satisfactory character. The treaty concluded by our own plenipotentiary
will immediately be submitted to the Senate.

I am happy to announce that through the energetic yet conciliatory
efforts of our consul-general in Japan a new treaty has been concluded
with that Empire, which may be expected materially to augment our trade
and intercourse in that quarter and remove from our countrymen the
disabilities which have heretofore been imposed upon the exercise of
their religion. The treaty shall be submitted to the Senate for approval
without delay.

It is my earnest desire that every misunderstanding with the Government
of Great Britain should be amicably and speedily adjusted. It has been
the misfortune of both countries, almost ever since the period of the
Revolution, to have been annoyed by a succession of irritating and
dangerous questions, threatening their friendly relations. This has
partially prevented the full development of those feelings of mutual
friendship between the people of the two countries so natural in
themselves and so conducive to their common interest. Any serious
interruption of the commerce between the United States and Great Britain
would be equally injurious to both. In fact, no two nations have ever
existed on the face of the earth which could do each other so much good
or so much harm.

Entertaining these sentiments, I am gratified to inform you that the
long-pending controversy between the two Governments in relation to the
question of visitation and search has been amicably adjusted. The claim
on the part of Great Britain forcibly to visit American vessels on the
high seas in time of peace could not be sustained under the law of
nations, and it had been overruled by her own most eminent jurists.
This question was recently brought to an issue by the repeated acts of
British cruisers in boarding and searching our merchant vessels in the
Gulf of Mexico and the adjacent seas. These acts were the more injurious
and annoying, as these waters are traversed by a large portion of
the commerce and navigation of the United States and their free and
unrestricted use is essential to the security of the coastwise trade
between the different States of the Union. Such vexatious interruptions
could not fail to excite the feelings of the country and to require
the interposition of the Government. Remonstrances were addressed
to the British Government against these violations of our rights of
sovereignty, and a naval force was at the same time ordered to the Cuban
waters with directions "to protect all vessels of the United States
on the high seas from search or detention by the vessels of war of
any other nation." These measures received the unqualified and even
enthusiastic approbation of the American people. Most fortunately,
however, no collision took place, and the British Government promptly
avowed its recognition of the principles of international law upon this
subject as laid down by the Government of the United States in the note
of the Secretary of State to the British minister at Washington of April
10, 1858, which secure the vessels of the United States upon the high
seas from visitation or search in time of peace under any circumstances
whatever. The claim has been abandoned in a manner reflecting honor
on the British Government and evincing a just regard for the law of
nations, and can not fail to strengthen the amicable relations between
the two countries.

The British Government at the same time proposed to the United States
that some mode should be adopted, by mutual arrangement between the two
countries, of a character which may be found effective without being
offensive, for verifying the nationality of vessels suspected on good
grounds of carrying false colors. They have also invited the United
States to take the initiative and propose measures for this purpose.
Whilst declining to assume so grave a responsibility, the Secretary of
State has informed the British Government that we are ready to receive
any proposals which they may feel disposed to offer having this object
in view, and to consider them in an amicable spirit. A strong opinion
is, however, expressed that the occasional abuse of the flag of
any nation is an evil far less to be deprecated than would be the
establishment of any regulations which might be incompatible with the
freedom of the seas. This Government has yet received no communication
specifying the manner in which the British Government would propose to
carry out their suggestion, and I am inclined to believe that no plan
which can be devised will be free from grave embarrassments. Still,
I shall form no decided opinion on the subject until I shall have
carefully and in the best spirit examined any proposals which they
may think proper to make.

I am truly sorry I can not also inform you that the complications
between Great Britain and the United States arising out of the Clayton
and Bulwer treaty of April, 1850, have been finally adjusted.

At the commencement of your last session I had reason to hope that,
emancipating themselves from further unavailing discussions, the two
Governments would proceed to settle the Central American questions in
a practical manner, alike honorable and satisfactory to both; and this
hope I have not yet abandoned. In my last annual message I stated that
overtures had been made by the British Government for this purpose in
a friendly spirit, which I cordially reciprocated. Their proposal was
to withdraw these questions from direct negotiation between the two
Governments, but to accomplish the same object by a negotiation between
the British Government and each of the Central American Republics whose
territorial interests are immediately involved. The settlement was to be
made in accordance with the general tenor of the interpretation placed
upon the Clayton and Bulwer treaty by the United States, with certain
modifications. As negotiations are still pending upon this basis, it
would not be proper for me now to communicate their present condition.
A final settlement of these questions is greatly to be desired, as this
would wipe out the last remaining subject of dispute between the two
countries.

Our relations with the great Empires of France and Russia, as well as
with all other Governments on the continent of Europe, except that of
Spain, continue to be of the most friendly character.

With Spain our relations remain in an unsatisfactory condition. In my
message of December last I informed you that our envoy extraordinary
and minister plenipotentiary to Madrid had asked for his recall, and it
was my purpose to send out a new minister to that Court with special
instructions on all questions pending between the two Governments, and
with a determination to have them speedily and amicably adjusted if that
were possible. This purpose has been hitherto defeated by causes which
I need not enumerate.

The mission to Spain has been intrusted to a distinguished citizen of
Kentucky, who will proceed to Madrid without delay and make another and
a final attempt to obtain justice from that Government.

Spanish officials under the direct control of the Captain-General of
Cuba have insulted our national flag and in repeated instances have
from time to time inflicted injuries on the persons and property of our
citizens. These have given birth to numerous claims against the Spanish
Government, the merits of which have been ably discussed for a series
of years by our successive diplomatic representatives. Notwithstanding
this, we have not arrived at a practical result in any single instance,
unless we may except the case of the _Black Warrior_, under the late
Administration, and that presented an outrage of such a character as
would have justified an immediate resort to war. All our attempts
to obtain redress have been baffled and defeated. The frequent and
oft-recurring changes in the Spanish ministry have been employed as
reasons for delay. We have been compelled to wait again and again until
the new minister shall have had time to investigate the justice of our
demands.

Even what have been denominated "the Cuban claims," in which more
than 100 of our citizens are directly interested, have furnished no
exception. These claims were for the refunding of duties unjustly
exacted from American vessels at different custom-houses in Cuba so
long ago as the year 1844. The principles upon which they rest are so
manifestly equitable and just that, after a period of nearly ten years,
in 1854 they were recognized by the Spanish Government. Proceedings were
afterwards instituted to ascertain their amount, and this was finally
fixed, according to their own statement (with which we were satisfied),
at the sum of $128,635.54. Just at the moment, after a delay of fourteen
years, when we had reason to expect that this sum would be repaid with
interest, we have received a proposal offering to refund one-third of
that amount ($42,878.41), but without interest, if we would accept this
in full satisfaction. The offer is also accompanied by a declaration
that this indemnification is not founded on any reason of strict
justice, but is made as a special favor.

One alleged cause for procrastination in the examination and adjustment
of our claims arises from an obstacle which it is the duty of the
Spanish Government to remove. Whilst the Captain-General of Cuba is
invested with general despotic authority in the government of that
island, the power is withheld from him to examine and redress wrongs
committed by officials under his control on citizens of the United
States. Instead of making our complaints directly to him at Havana, we
are obliged to present them through our minister at Madrid. These are
then referred back to the Captain-General for information, and much
time is thus consumed in preliminary investigations and correspondence
between Madrid and Cuba before the Spanish Government will consent
to proceed to negotiation. Many of the difficulties between the two
Governments would be obviated and a long train of negotiation avoided
if the Captain-General were invested with authority to settle questions
of easy solution on the spot, where all the facts are fresh and
could be promptly and satisfactorily ascertained. We have hitherto in
vain urged upon the Spanish Government to confer this power upon the
Captain-General, and our minister to Spain will again be instructed to
urge this subject on their notice. In this respect we occupy a different
position from the powers of Europe. Cuba is almost within sight of our
shores; our commerce with it is far greater than that of any other
nation, including Spain itself, and our citizens are in habits of daily
and extended personal intercourse with every part of the island. It is
therefore a great grievance that when any difficulty occurs, no matter
how unimportant, which might be readily settled at the moment, we should
be obliged to resort to Madrid, especially when the very first step to
be taken there is to refer it back to Cuba.

The truth is that Cuba, in its existing colonial condition, is a
constant source of injury and annoyance to the American people. It is
the only spot in the civilized world where the African slave trade is
tolerated, and we are bound by treaty with Great Britain to maintain a
naval force on the coast of Africa, at much expense both of life and
treasure, solely for the purpose of arresting slavers bound to that
island. The late serious difficulties between the United States and
Great Britain respecting the right of search, now so happily terminated,
could never have arisen if Cuba had not afforded a market for slaves.
As long as this market shall remain open there can be no hope for the
civilization of benighted Africa. Whilst the demand for slaves continues
in Cuba wars will be waged among the petty and barbarous chiefs in
Africa for the purpose of seizing subjects to supply this trade. In such
a condition of affairs it is impossible that the light of civilization
and religion can ever penetrate these dark abodes.

It has been made known to the world by my predecessors that the United
States have on several occasions endeavored to acquire Cuba from Spain
by honorable negotiation. If this were accomplished, the last relic of
the African slave trade would instantly disappear. We would not, if we
could, acquire Cuba in any other manner. This is due to our national
character. All the territory which we have acquired since the origin of
the Government has been by fair purchase from France, Spain, and Mexico
or by the free and voluntary act of the independent State of Texas in
blending her destinies with our own. This course we shall ever pursue,
unless circumstances should occur which we do not now anticipate,
rendering a departure from it clearly justifiable under the imperative
and overruling law of self-preservation.

The island of Cuba, from its geographical position, commands the
mouth of the Mississippi and the immense and annually increasing
trade, foreign and coastwise, from the valley of that noble river,
now embracing half the sovereign States of the Union. With that island
under the dominion of a distant foreign power this trade, of vital
importance to these States, is exposed to the danger of being destroyed
in time of war, and it has hitherto been subjected to perpetual injury
and annoyance in time of peace. Our relations with Spain, which ought
to be of the most friendly character, must always be placed in jeopardy
whilst the existing colonial government over the island shall remain in
its present condition.

Whilst the possession of the island would be of vast importance to the
United States, its value to Spain is comparatively unimportant. Such
was the relative situation of the parties when the great Napoleon
transferred Louisiana to the United States. Jealous as he ever was of
the national honor and interests of France, no person throughout the
world has imputed blame to him for accepting a pecuniary equivalent
for this cession.

The publicity which has been given to our former negotiations upon this
subject and the large appropriation which may be required to effect the
purpose render it expedient before making another attempt to renew the
negotiation that I should lay the whole subject before Congress. This
is especially necessary, as it may become indispensable to success that
I should be intrusted with the means of making an advance to the Spanish
Government immediately after the signing of the treaty, without awaiting
the ratification of it by the Senate. I am encouraged to make this
suggestion by the example of Mr. Jefferson previous to the purchase of
Louisiana from France and by that of Mr. Polk in view of the acquisition
of territory from Mexico. I refer the whole subject to Congress and
commend it to their careful consideration.

I repeat the recommendation made in my message of December last in favor
of an appropriation "to be paid to the Spanish Government for the
purpose of distribution among the claimants in the _Amistad_ case."
President Polk first made a similar recommendation in December, 1847,
and it was repeated by my immediate predecessor in December, 1853. I
entertain no doubt that indemnity is fairly due to these claimants under
our treaty with Spain of October 27, 1795; and whilst demanding justice
we ought to do justice. An appropriation promptly made for this purpose
could not fail to exert a favorable influence on our negotiations with
Spain.

Our position in relation to the independent States south of us on this
continent, and especially those within the limits of North America, is
of a peculiar character. The northern boundary of Mexico is coincident
with our own southern boundary from ocean to ocean, and we must
necessarily feel a deep interest in all that concerns the well-being and
the fate of so near a neighbor. We have always cherished the kindest
wishes for the success of that Republic, and have indulged the hope that
it might at last, after all its trials, enjoy peace and prosperity
under a free and stable government. We have never hitherto interfered,
directly or indirectly, with its internal affairs, and it is a duty
which we owe to ourselves to protect the integrity of its territory
against the hostile interference of any other power. Our geographical
position, our direct interest in all that concerns Mexico, and our
well-settled policy in regard to the North American continent render
this an indispensable duty.

Mexico has been in a state of constant revolution almost ever since it
achieved its independence. One military leader after another has usurped
the Government in rapid succession, and the various constitutions from
time to time adopted have been set at naught almost as soon as they
were proclaimed. The successive Governments have afforded no adequate
protection, either to Mexican citizens or foreign residents, against
lawless violence. Heretofore a seizure of the capital by a military
chieftain has been generally followed by at least the nominal submission
of the country to his rule for a brief period, but not so at the present
crisis of Mexican affairs. A civil war has been raging for some time
throughout the Republic between the central Government at the City of
Mexico, which has endeavored to subvert the constitution last framed
by military power, and those who maintain the authority of that
constitution. The antagonist parties each hold possession of different
States of the Republic, and the fortunes of the war are constantly
changing. Meanwhile the most reprehensible means have been employed by
both parties to extort money from foreigners, as well as natives, to
carry on this ruinous contest. The truth is that this fine country,
blessed with a productive soil and a benign climate, has been reduced
by civil dissension to a condition of almost hopeless anarchy and
imbecility. It would be vain for this Government to attempt to enforce
payment in money of the claims of American citizens, now amounting to
more than $10,000,000, against Mexico, because she is destitute of all
pecuniary means to satisfy these demands.

Our late minister was furnished with ample powers and instructions for
the adjustment of all pending questions with the central Government of
Mexico, and he performed his duty with zeal and ability. The claims of
our citizens, some of them arising out of the violation of an express
provision of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and others from gross
injuries to persons as well as property, have remained unredressed
and even unnoticed. Remonstrances against these grievances have been
addressed without effect to that Government. Meantime in various
parts of the Republic instances have been numerous of the murder,
imprisonment, and plunder of our citizens by different parties claiming
and exercising a local jurisdiction; but the central Government,
although repeatedly urged thereto, have made no effort either to
punish the authors of these outrages or to prevent their recurrence.
No American citizen can now visit Mexico on lawful business without
imminent danger to his person and property. There is no adequate
protection to either, and in this respect our treaty with that Republic
is almost a dead letter.

This state of affairs was brought to a crisis in May last by the
promulgation of a decree levying a contribution _pro rata_ upon all the
capital in the Republic between certain specified amounts, whether held
by Mexicans or foreigners. Mr. Forsyth, regarding this decree in the
light of a "forced loan," formally protested against its application
to his countrymen and advised them not to pay the contribution, but to
suffer it to be forcibly exacted. Acting upon this advice, an American
citizen refused to pay the contribution, and his property was seized by
armed men to satisfy the amount. Not content with this, the Government
proceeded still further and issued a decree banishing him from the
country. Our minister immediately notified them that if this decree
should be carried into execution he would feel it to be his duty
to adopt "the most decided measures that belong to the powers and
obligations of the representative office." Notwithstanding this warning,
the banishment was enforced, and Mr. Forsyth promptly announced to the
Government the suspension of the political relations of his legation
with them until the pleasure of his own Government should be
ascertained.

This Government did not regard the contribution imposed by the decree
of the 15th May last to be in strictness a "forced loan," and as such
prohibited by the tenth article of the treaty of 1826 between Great
Britain and Mexico, to the benefits of which American citizens are
entitled by treaty; yet the imposition of the contribution upon
foreigners was considered an unjust and oppressive measure. Besides,
internal factions in other parts of the Republic were at the same
time levying similar exactions upon the property of our citizens and
interrupting their commerce. There had been an entire failure on the
part of our minister to secure redress for the wrongs which our citizens
had endured, notwithstanding his persevering efforts. And from the
temper manifested by the Mexican Government he had repeatedly assured
us that no favorable change could be expected until the United States
should "give striking evidence of their will and power to protect their
citizens," and that "severe chastening is the only earthly remedy
for our grievances." From this statement of facts it would have been
worse than idle to direct Mr. Forsyth to retrace his steps and resume
diplomatic relations with that Government, and it was therefore deemed
proper to sanction his withdrawal of the legation from the City
of Mexico.

Abundant cause now undoubtedly exists for a resort to hostilities
against the Government still holding possession of the capital. Should
they succeed in subduing the constitutional forces, all reasonable hope
will then have expired of a peaceful settlement of our difficulties.

On the other hand, should the constitutional party prevail and their
authority be established over the Republic, there is reason to hope that
they will be animated by a less unfriendly spirit and may grant that
redress to American citizens which justice requires so far as they
may possess the means. But for this expectation I should at once have
recommended to Congress to grant the necessary power to the President
to take possession of a sufficient portion of the remote and unsettled
territory of Mexico, to be held in pledge until our injuries shall be
redressed and our just demands be satisfied. We have already exhausted
every milder means of obtaining justice. In such a case this remedy of
reprisals is recognized by the law of nations, not only as just in
itself, but as a means of preventing actual war.

But there is another view of our relations with Mexico, arising from the
unhappy condition of affairs along our southwestern frontier, which
demands immediate action. In that remote region, where there are but few
white inhabitants, large bands of hostile and predatory Indians roam
promiscuously over the Mexican States of Chihuahua and Sonora and our
adjoining Territories. The local governments of these States are
perfectly helpless and are kept in a state of constant alarm by the
Indians. They have not the power, if they possessed the will, even
to restrain lawless Mexicans from passing the border and committing
depredations on our remote settlers. A state of anarchy and violence
prevails throughout that distant frontier. The laws are a dead letter
and life and property wholly insecure. For this reason the settlement of
Arizona is arrested, whilst it is of great importance that a chain of
inhabitants should extend all along its southern border sufficient for
their own protection and that of the United States mail passing to and
from California. Well-founded apprehensions are now entertained that
the Indians and wandering Mexicans, equally lawless, may break up the
important stage and postal communication recently established between
our Atlantic and Pacific possessions. This passes very near to the
Mexican boundary throughout the whole length of Arizona. I can imagine
no possible remedy for these evils and no mode of restoring law and
order on that remote and unsettled frontier but for the Government of
the United States to assume a temporary protectorate over the northern
portions of Chihuahua and Sonora and to establish military posts within
the same; and this I earnestly recommend to Congress. This protection
may be withdrawn as soon as local governments shall be established in
these Mexican States capable of performing their duties to the United
States, restraining the lawless, and preserving peace along the border.

I do not doubt that this measure will be viewed in a friendly spirit by
the governments and people of Chihuahua and Sonora, as it will prove
equally effectual for the protection of their citizens on that remote
and lawless frontier as for citizens of the United States.

And in this connection permit me to recall your attention to the
condition of Arizona. The population of that Territory, numbering, as is
alleged, more than 10,000 souls, are practically without a government,
without laws, and without any regular administration of justice. Murder
and other crimes are committed with impunity. This state of things calls
loudly for redress, and I therefore repeat my recommendation for the
establishment of a Territorial government over Arizona.

The political condition of the narrow isthmus of Central America,
through which transit routes pass between the Atlantic and Pacific
oceans, presents a subject of deep interest to all commercial nations.
It is over these transits that a large proportion of the trade and
travel between the European and Asiatic continents is destined to pass.
To the United States these routes are of incalculable importance as a
means of communication between their Atlantic and Pacific possessions.
The latter now extend throughout seventeen degrees of latitude on the
Pacific coast, embracing the important State of California and the
flourishing Territories of Oregon and Washington. All commercial nations
therefore have a deep and direct interest that these communications
shall be rendered secure from interruption. If an arm of the sea
connecting the two oceans penetrated through Nicaragua and Costa Rica,
it could not be pretended that these States would have the right to
arrest or retard its navigation to the injury of other nations. The
transit by land over this narrow isthmus occupies nearly the same
position. It is a highway in which they themselves have little interest
when compared with the vast interests of the rest of the world. Whilst
their rights of sovereignty ought to be respected, it is the duty of
other nations to require that this important passage shall not be
interrupted by the civil wars and revolutionary outbreaks which have
so frequently occurred in that region. The stake is too important to
be left at the mercy of rival companies claiming to hold conflicting
contracts with Nicaragua. The commerce of other nations is not to
stand still and await the adjustment of such petty controversies. The
Government of the United States expect no more than this, and they will
not be satisfied with less. They would not, if they could, derive any
advantage from the Nicaragua transit not common to the rest of the
world. Its neutrality and protection for the common use of all nations
is their only object. They have no objection that Nicaragua shall demand
and receive a fair compensation from the companies and individuals who
may traverse the route, but they insist that it shall never hereafter
be closed by an arbitrary decree of that Government. If disputes arise
between it and those with whom they may have entered into contracts,
these must be adjusted by some fair tribunal provided for the purpose,
and the route must not be closed pending the controversy. This is our
whole policy, and it can not fail to be acceptable to other nations.

All these difficulties might be avoided if, consistently with the good
faith of Nicaragua, the use of this transit could be thrown open to
general competition, providing at the same time for the payment of a
reasonable rate to the Nicaraguan Government on passengers and freight.

In August, 1852, the Accessory Transit Company made its first
inter-oceanic trip over the Nicaraguan route, and continued in
successful operation, with great advantage to the public, until the 18th
February, 1856, when it was closed and the grant to this company as well
as its charter were summarily and arbitrarily revoked by the Government
of President Rivas. Previous to this date, however, in 1854, serious
disputes concerning the settlement of their accounts had arisen between
the company and the Government, threatening the interruption of the
route at any moment. These the United States in vain endeavored to
compose. It would be useless to narrate the various proceedings which
took place between the parties up till the time when the transit was
discontinued. Suffice it to say that since February, 1856, it has
remained closed, greatly to the prejudice of citizens of the United
States. Since that time the competition has ceased between the rival
routes of Panama and Nicaragua, and in consequence thereof an unjust and
unreasonable amount has been exacted from our citizens for their passage
to and from California. A treaty was signed on the 16th day of November,
1857, by the Secretary of State and minister of Nicaragua, under the
stipulations of which the use and protection of the transit route would
have been secured, not only to the United States, but equally to all
other nations. How and on what pretext this treaty has failed to receive
the ratification of the Nicaraguan Government will appear by the papers
herewith communicated from the State Department. The principal objection
seems to have been to the provision authorizing the United States to
employ force to keep the route open in case Nicaragua should fail
to perform her duty in this respect. From the feebleness of that
Republic, its frequent changes of government, and its constant internal
dissensions, this had become a most important stipulation, and one
essentially necessary, not only for the security of the route, but for
the safety of American citizens passing and repassing to and from our
Pacific possessions. Were such a stipulation embraced in a treaty
between the United States and Nicaragua, the knowledge of this fact
would of itself most probably prevent hostile parties from committing
aggressions on the route, and render our actual interference for its
protection unnecessary.

The executive government of this country in its intercourse with foreign
nations is limited to the employment of diplomacy alone. When this fails
it can proceed no further. It can not legitimately resort to force
without the direct authority of Congress, except in resisting and
repelling hostile attacks. It would have no authority to enter the
territories of Nicaragua even to prevent the destruction of the transit
and protect the lives and property of our own citizens on their passage.
It is true that on a sudden emergency of this character the President
would direct any armed force in the vicinity to march to their relief,
but in doing this he would act upon his own responsibility.

Under these circumstances I earnestly recommend to Congress the passage
of an act authorizing the President, under such restrictions as they may
deem proper, to employ the land and naval forces of the United States
in preventing the transit from being obstructed or closed by lawless
violence, and in protecting the lives and property of American citizens
traveling thereupon, requiring at the same time that these forces shall
be withdrawn the moment the danger shall have passed away. Without such
a provision our citizens will be constantly exposed to interruption in
their progress and to lawless violence.

A similar necessity exists for the passage of such an act for the
protection of the Panama and Tehuantepec routes.

In reference to the Panama route, the United States, by their existing
treaty with New Granada, expressly guarantee the neutrality of the
Isthmus, "with the view that the free transit from the one to the other
sea may not be interrupted or embarrassed in any future time while this
treaty exists."

In regard to the Tehuantepec route, which has been recently opened
under the most favorable auspices, our treaty with Mexico of the 30th
December, 1853, secures to the citizens of the United States a right
of transit over it for their persons and merchandise and stipulates
that neither Government shall "interpose any obstacle" thereto. It
also concedes to the United States the "right to transport across the
Isthmus, in closed bags, the mails of the United States not intended for
distribution along the line of the communication; also the effects of
the United States Government and its citizens which may be intended for
transit and not for distribution on the Isthmus, free of custom-house
or other charges by the Mexican Government."

These treaty stipulations with New Granada and Mexico, in addition to
the considerations applicable to the Nicaragua route, seem to require
legislation for the purpose of carrying them into effect.

The injuries which have been inflicted upon our citizens in Costa Rica
and Nicaragua during the last two or three years have received the
prompt attention of this Government. Some of these injuries were of the
most aggravated character. The transaction at Virgin Bay in April, 1856,
when a company of unarmed Americans, who were in no way connected with
any belligerent conduct or party, were fired upon by the troops of
Costa Rica and numbers of them killed and wounded, was brought to the
knowledge of Congress by my predecessor soon after its occurrence, and
was also presented to the Government of Costa Rica for that immediate
investigation and redress which the nature of the case demanded. A
similar course was pursued with reference to other outrages in these
countries, some of which were hardly less aggravated in their character
than the transaction at Virgin Bay. At the time, however, when our
present minister to Nicaragua was appointed, in December, 1857, no
redress had been obtained for any of these wrongs and no reply even had
been received to the demands which had been made by this Government upon
that of Costa Rica more than a year before. Our minister was instructed,
therefore, to lose no time in expressing to those Governments the deep
regret with which the President had witnessed this inattention to the
just claims of the United States and in demanding their prompt and
satisfactory adjustment. Unless this demand shall be complied with at an
early day it will only remain for this Government to adopt such other
measures as may be necessary in order to obtain for itself that justice
which it has in vain attempted to secure by peaceful means from the
Governments of Nicaragua and Costa Rica. While it has shown, and will
continue to show, the most sincere regard for the rights and honor of
these Republics, it can not permit this regard to be met by an utter
neglect on their part of what is due to the Government and citizens of
the United States.

Against New Granada we have long-standing causes of complaint, arising
out of the unsatisfied claims of our citizens upon that Republic, and
to these have been more recently added the outrages committed upon our
citizens at Panama in April, 1856. A treaty for the adjustment of these
difficulties was concluded by the Secretary of State and the minister
of New Granada in September, 1857, which contained just and acceptable
provisions for that purpose. This treaty was transmitted to Bogota
and was ratified by the Government of New Granada, but with certain
amendments. It was not, however, returned to this city until after
the close of the last session of the Senate. It will be immediately
transmitted to that body for their advice and consent, and should this
be obtained it will remove all our existing causes of complaint against
New Granada on the subject of claims.

Questions have arisen between the two Governments as to the right of New
Granada to levy a tonnage duty upon the vessels of the United States in
its ports of the Isthmus and to levy a passenger tax upon our citizens
arriving in that country, whether with a design to remain there or to
pass from ocean to ocean by the transit route; and also a tax upon the
mail of the United States transported over the Panama Railroad. The
Government of New Granada has been informed that the United States would
consider the collection of either of these taxes as an act in violation
of the treaty between the two countries, and as such would be resisted
by the United States. At the same time, we are prepared to discuss these
questions in a spirit of amity and justice and with a sincere desire to
adjust them in a satisfactory manner. A negotiation for that purpose has
already been commenced. No effort has recently been made to collect
these taxes nor is any anticipated under present circumstances.

With the Empire of Brazil our relations are of the most friendly
character. The productions of the two countries, and especially those
of an agricultural nature, are such as to invite extensive mutual
exchanges. A large quantity of American flour is consumed in Brazil,
whilst more than treble the amount in value of Brazilian coffee is
consumed in the United States. Whilst this is the case, a heavy duty has
been levied until very recently upon the importation of American flour
into Brazil. I am gratified, however, to be able to inform you that in
September last this has been reduced from $1.32 to about 49 cents per
barrel, and the duties on other articles of our production have been
diminished in nearly the same proportion.

I regret to state that the Government of Brazil still continues to levy
an export duty of about 11 per cent on coffee, notwithstanding this
article is admitted free from duty in the United States. This is a heavy
charge upon the consumers of coffee in our country, as we purchase
half of the entire surplus crop of that article raised in Brazil. Our
minister, under instructions, will reiterate his efforts to have this
export duty removed, and it is hoped that the enlightened Government
of the Emperor will adopt this wise, just, and equal policy. In that
event, there is good reason to believe that the commerce between the
two countries will greatly increase, much to the advantage of both.

The claims of our citizens against the Government of Brazil are not in
the aggregate of very large amount; but some of these rest upon plain
principles of justice and their settlement ought not to be longer
delayed. A renewed and earnest, and I trust a successful, effort will
be made by our minister to procure their final adjustment.

On the 2d of June last Congress passed a joint resolution authorizing
the President "to adopt such measures and use such force as in his
judgment may be necessary and advisable" "for the purpose of adjusting
the differences between the United States and the Republic of Paraguay
in connection with the attack on the United States steamer _Water Witch_
and with other measures referred to" in his annual message, and on the
12th of July following they made an appropriation to defray the expenses
and compensation of a commissioner to that Republic should the President
deem it proper to make such an appointment.

In compliance with these enactments, I have appointed a commissioner,
who has proceeded to Paraguay with full powers and instructions to
settle these differences in an amicable and peaceful manner if this be
practicable. His experience and discretion justify the hope that he may
prove successful in convincing the Paraguayan Government that it is due
both to honor and justice that they should voluntarily and promptly make
atonement for the wrongs which they have committed against the United
States and indemnify our injured citizens whom they have forcibly
despoiled of their property.

Should our commissioner prove unsuccessful after a sincere and earnest
effort to accomplish the object of his mission, then no alternative will
remain but the employment of force to obtain "just satisfaction" from
Paraguay. In view of this contingency, the Secretary of the Navy, under
my direction, has fitted out and dispatched a naval force to rendezvous
near Buenos Ayres, which, it is believed, will prove sufficient for the
occasion. It is my earnest desire, however, that it may not be found
necessary to resort to this last alternative.

When Congress met in December last the business of the country had
just been crushed by one of those periodical revulsions which are the
inevitable consequence of our unsound and extravagant system of bank
credits and inflated currency. With all the elements of national wealth
in abundance, our manufactures were suspended, our useful public and
private enterprises were arrested, and thousands of laborers were
deprived of employment and reduced to want. Universal distress prevailed
among the commercial, manufacturing, and mechanical classes. This
revulsion was felt the more severely in the United States because
similar causes had produced the like deplorable effects throughout the
commercial nations of Europe. All were experiencing sad reverses at the
same moment. Our manufacturers everywhere suffered severely, not because
of the recent reduction in the tariff of duties on imports, but because
there was no demand at any price for their productions. The people were
obliged to restrict themselves in their purchases to articles of prime
necessity. In the general prostration of business the iron manufacturers
in different States probably suffered more than any other class, and
much destitution was the inevitable consequence among the great number
of workmen who had been employed in this useful branch of industry.
There could be no supply where there was no demand. To present an
example, there could be no demand for railroad iron after our
magnificent system of railroads, extending its benefits to every
portion of the Union, had been brought to a dead pause. The same
consequences have resulted from similar causes to many other branches
of useful manufactures. It is self-evident that where there is no
ability to purchase manufactured articles these can not be sold, and
consequently must cease to be produced.

No government, and especially a government of such limited powers as
that of the United States, could have prevented the late revulsion. The
whole commercial world seemed for years to have been rushing to this
catastrophe. The same ruinous consequences would have followed in the
United States whether the duties upon foreign imports had remained as
they were under the tariff of 1846 or had been raised to a much higher
standard. The tariff of 1857 had no agency in the result. The general
causes existing throughout the world could not have been controlled by
the legislation of any particular country.

The periodical revulsions which have existed in our past history must
continue to return at intervals so long as our present unbounded system
of bank credits shall prevail. They will, however, probably be the less
severe in future, because it is not to be expected, at least for many
years to come, that the commercial nations of Europe, with whose
interests our own are so materially involved, will expose themselves to
similar calamities. But this subject was treated so much at large in
my last annual message that I shall not now pursue it further. Still,
I respectfully renew the recommendation in favor of the passage of a
uniform bankrupt law applicable to banking institutions. This is all the
direct power over the subject which I believe the Federal Government
possesses. Such a law would mitigate, though it might not prevent,
the evil. The instinct of self-preservation might produce a wholesome
restraint upon their banking business if they knew in advance that
a suspension of specie payments would inevitably produce their civil
death.

But the effects of the revulsion are now slowly but surely passing away.
The energy and enterprise of our citizens, with our unbounded resources,
will within the period of another year restore a state of wholesome
industry and trade. Capital has again accumulated in our large cities.
The rate of interest is there very low. Confidence is gradually
reviving, and so soon as it is discovered that this capital can be
profitably employed in commercial and manufacturing enterprises and in
the construction of railroads and other works of public and private
improvement prosperity will again smile throughout the land. It is
vain, however, to disguise the fact from ourselves that a speculative
inflation of our currency without a corresponding inflation in other
countries whose manufactures come into competition with our own must
ever produce disastrous results to our domestic manufactures. No tariff
short of absolute prohibition can prevent these evil consequences.

In connection with this subject it is proper to refer to our financial
condition. The same causes which have produced pecuniary distress
throughout the country have so reduced the amount of imports from
foreign countries that the revenue has proved inadequate to meet
the necessary expenses of the Government. To supply the deficiency,
Congress, by the act of December 23, 1857, authorized the issue of
$20,000,000 of Treasury notes; and this proving inadequate, they
authorized, by the act of June 14, 1858, a loan of $20,000,000,
"to be applied to the payment of appropriations made by law."

No statesman would advise that we should go on increasing the national
debt to meet the ordinary expenses of the Government. This would be
a most ruinous policy. In case of war our credit must be our chief
resource, at least for the first year, and this would be greatly
impaired by having contracted a large debt in time of peace. It is our
true policy to increase our revenue so as to equal our expenditures.
It would be ruinous to continue to borrow. Besides, it may be proper to
observe that the incidental protection thus afforded by a revenue tariff
would at the present moment to some extent increase the confidence of
the manufacturing interests and give a fresh impulse to our reviving
business. To this surely no person will object.

In regard to the mode of assessing and collecting duties under a
strictly revenue tariff, I have long entertained and often expressed
the opinion that sound policy requires this should be done by specific
duties in cases to which these can be properly applied. They are well
adapted to commodities which are usually sold by weight or by measure,
and which from their nature are of equal or of nearly equal value. Such,
for example, are the articles of iron of different classes, raw sugar,
and foreign wines and spirits.

In my deliberate judgment specific duties are the best, if not the only,
means of securing the revenue against false and fraudulent invoices,
and such has been the practice adopted for this purpose by other
commercial nations. Besides, specific duties would afford to the
American manufacturer the incidental advantages to which he is fairly
entitled under a revenue tariff. The present system is a sliding scale
to his disadvantage. Under it, when prices are high and business
prosperous, the duties rise in amount when he least requires their
aid. On the contrary, when prices fall and he is struggling against
adversity, the duties are diminished in the same proportion, greatly
to his injury.

Neither would there be danger that a higher rate of duty than that
intended by Congress could be levied in the form of specific duties. It
would be easy to ascertain the average value of any imported article for
a series of years, and, instead of subjecting it to an _ad valorem_ duty
at a certain rate _per centum_, to substitute in its place an equivalent
specific duty.

By such an arrangement the consumer would not be injured. It is true
he might have to pay a little more duty on a given article in one year,
but, if so, he would pay a little less in another, and in a series of
years these would counterbalance each other and amount to the same
thing so far as his interest is concerned. This inconvenience would be
trifling when contrasted with the additional security thus afforded
against frauds upon the revenue, in which every consumer is directly
interested.

I have thrown out these suggestions as the fruit of my own observation,
to which Congress, in their better judgment, will give such weight as
they may justly deserve.

The report of the Secretary of the Treasury will explain in detail the
operations of that Department of the Government. The receipts into the
Treasury from all sources during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1858,
including the Treasury notes authorized by the act of December 23, 1857,
were $70,273,869.59, which amount, with the balance of $17,710,114.27
remaining in the Treasury at the commencement of the year, made an
aggregate for the service of the year of $87,983,983.86.

The public expenditures during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1858,
amounted to $81,585,667.76, of which $9,684,537.99 were applied to the
payment of the public debt and the redemption of Treasury notes with the
interest thereon, leaving in the Treasury on July 1, 1858, being the
commencement of the present fiscal year, $6,398,316.10.

The receipts into the Treasury during the first quarter of the present
fiscal year, commencing the 1st of July, 1858, including one-half of the
loan of $20,000,000, with the premium upon it, authorized by the act
of June 14, 1858, were $25,230,879.46, and the estimated receipts for
the remaining three quarters to the 30th of June, 1859, from ordinary
sources are $38,500,000, making, with the balance before stated, an
aggregate of $70,129,195.56.

The expenditures during the first quarter of the present fiscal
year were $21,708,198.51, of which $1,010,142.37 were applied to the
payment of the public debt and the redemption of Treasury notes and the
interest thereon. The estimated expenditures during the remaining three
quarters to June 30, 1859, are $52,357,698.48, making an aggregate of
$74,065,896.99, being an excess of expenditure beyond the estimated
receipts into the Treasury from ordinary sources during the fiscal year
to the 30th of June, 1859, of $3,936,701.43. Extraordinary means are
placed by law within the command of the Secretary of the Treasury, by
the reissue of Treasury notes redeemed and by negotiating the balance
of the loan authorized by the act of June 14, 1858, to the extent
of $11,000,000, which, if realized during the present fiscal year,
will leave a balance in the Treasury on the 1st day of July, 1859,
of $7,063,298.57.

The estimated receipts during the next fiscal year, ending June 30,
1860, are $62,000,000, which, with the above-estimated balance of
$7,063,298.57 make an aggregate for the service of the next fiscal year
of $69,063,298.57. The estimated expenditures during the next fiscal
year, ending June 30, 1860, are $73,139,147.46, which leaves a deficit
of estimated means, compared with the estimated expenditures, for that
year, commencing on July 1, 1859, of $4,075,848.89.

In addition to this sum the Postmaster-General will require from the
Treasury for the service of the Post-Office Department $3,838,728, as
explained in the report of the Secretary of the Treasury, which will
increase the estimated deficit on June 30, 1860, to $7,914,576.89.
To provide for the payment of this estimated deficiency, which will
be increased by such appropriations as may be made by Congress not
estimated for in the report of the Treasury Department, as well as to
provide for the gradual redemption from year to year of the outstanding
Treasury notes, the Secretary of the Treasury recommends such a revision
of the present tariff as will raise the required amount. After what
I have already said I need scarcely add that I concur in the opinion
expressed in his report--that the public debt should not be increased
by an additional loan--and would therefore strongly urge upon Congress
the duty of making at their present session the necessary provision
for meeting these liabilities.

The public debt on July 1, 1858, the commencement of the present fiscal
year, was $25,155,977.66.

During the first quarter of the present year the sum of $10,000,000 has
been negotiated of the loan authorized by the act of June 14, 1858,
making the present outstanding public debt, exclusive of Treasury notes,
$35,155,977.66. There was on the 1st of July, 1858, of Treasury notes
issued by authority of the act of December 23, 1857, unredeemed, the sum
of $19,754,800, making the amount of actual indebtedness at that date
$54,910,777.66. To this will be added $10,000,000 during the present
fiscal year, this being the remaining half of the loan of $20,000,000
not yet negotiated.

The rapid increase of the public debt and the necessity which exists
for a modification of the tariff to meet even the ordinary expenses of
the Government ought to admonish us all, in our respective spheres of
duty, to the practice of rigid economy. The objects of expenditure
should be limited in number, as far as this may be practicable, and the
appropriations necessary to carry them into effect ought to be disbursed
under the strictest accountability. Enlightened economy does not
consist in the refusal to appropriate money for constitutional purposes
essential to the defense, progress, and prosperity of the Republic, but
in taking care that none of this money shall be wasted by mismanagement
in its application to the objects designated by law.

Comparisons between the annual expenditure at the present time and what
it was ten or twenty years ago are altogether fallacious. The rapid
increase of our country in extent and population renders a corresponding
increase of expenditure to some extent unavoidable. This is constantly
creating new objects of expenditure and augmenting the amount required
for the old. The true questions, then, are, Have these objects been
unnecessarily multiplied, or has the amount expended upon any or all
of them been larger than comports with due economy? In accordance with
these principles, the heads of the different Executive Departments of
the Government have been instructed to reduce their estimates for the
next fiscal year to the lowest standard consistent with the efficiency
of the service, and this duty they have performed in a spirit of
just economy. The estimates of the Treasury, War, Navy, and Interior
Departments have each been in some degree reduced, and unless a sudden
and unforeseen emergency should arise it is not anticipated that a
deficiency will exist in either within the present or the next fiscal
year. The Post-Office Department is placed in a peculiar position,
different from the other Departments, and to this I shall hereafter
refer.

I invite Congress to institute a rigid scrutiny to ascertain whether the
expenses in all the Departments can not be still further reduced, and
I promise them all the aid in my power in pursuing the investigation.

I transmit herewith the reports made to me by the Secretaries of War,
of the Navy, of the Interior, and of the Postmaster-General. They each
contain valuable information and important recommendations, to which
I invite the attention of Congress.

In my last annual message I took occasion to recommend the immediate
construction of ten small steamers of light draft, for the purpose
of increasing the efficiency of the Navy. Congress responded to the
recommendation by authorizing the construction of eight of them. The
progress which has been made in executing this authority is stated
in the report of the Secretary of the Navy. I concur with him in the
opinion that a greater number of this class of vessels is necessary for
the purpose of protecting in a more efficient manner the persons and
property of American citizens on the high seas and in foreign countries,
as well as in guarding more effectually our own coasts. I accordingly
recommend the passage of an act for this purpose.

The suggestions contained in the report of the Secretary of the
Interior, especially those in regard to the disposition of the public
domain, the pension and bounty-land system, the policy toward the
Indians, and the amendment of our patent laws, are worthy of the serious
consideration of Congress.

The Post-Office Department occupies a position very different from
that of the other Departments. For many years it was the policy of the
Government to render this a self-sustaining Department; and if this can
not now be accomplished, in the present condition of the country, we
ought to make as near an approach to it as may be practicable.

The Postmaster-General is placed in a most embarrassing position by the
existing laws. He is obliged to carry these into effect. He has no other
alternative. He finds, however, that this can not be done without heavy
demands upon the Treasury over and above what is received for postage,
and these have been progressively increasing from year to year until
they amounted for the last fiscal year, ending on the 30th of June,
1858, to more than $4,500,000, whilst it is estimated that for the
present fiscal year they will amount to $6,290,000. These sums are
exclusive of the annual appropriation of $700,000 for "compensation for
the mail service performed for the two Houses of Congress and the other
Departments and officers of the Government in the transmission of free
matter."

The cause of these large deficits is mainly attributable to the
increased expense of transporting the mails. In 1852 the sum paid for
this service was but a fraction above four millions and a quarter. Since
that year it has annually increased, until in 1858 it has reached more
than eight millions and a quarter, and for the service of 1859 it is
estimated that it will amount to more than $10,000,000.

The receipts of the Post-Office Department can be made to approach or to
equal its expenditure only by means of the legislation of Congress. In
applying any remedy care should be taken that the people shall not be
deprived of the advantages which they are fairly entitled to enjoy from
the Post-Office Department. The principal remedies recommended to the
consideration of Congress by the Postmaster-General are to restore the
former rate of postage upon single letters to 5 cents; to substitute
for the franking privilege the delivery to those now entitled to enjoy
it of post-office stamps for their correspondence, and to direct the
Department in making contracts for the transportation of the mail to
confine itself to the payment of the sum necessary for this single
purpose, without requiring it to be transported in post coaches or
carriages of any particular description. Under the present system the
expense to the Government is greatly increased by requiring that the
mail shall be carried in such vehicles as will accommodate passengers.
This will be done, without pay from the Department, over all roads
where the travel will remunerate the contractors.

These recommendations deserve the grave consideration of Congress.

I would again call your attention to the construction of a Pacific
railroad. Time and reflection have but served to confirm me in the truth
and justice of the observations which I made on this subject in my last
annual message, to which I beg leave respectfully to refer.

It is freely admitted that it would be inexpedient for this Government
to exercise the power of constructing the Pacific railroad by its own
immediate agents. Such a policy would increase the patronage of the
Executive to a dangerous extent, and introduce a system of jobbing and
corruption which no vigilance on the part of Federal officials could
either prevent or detect. This can only be done by the keen eye and
active and careful supervision of individual and private interest. The
construction of this road ought therefore to be committed to companies
incorporated by the States or other agencies whose pecuniary interests
would be directly involved. Congress might then assist them in the
work by grants of land or of money, or both, under such conditions and
restrictions as would secure the transportation of troops and munitions
of war free from any charge and that of the United States mail at a fair
and reasonable price.

The progress of events since the commencement of your last session has
shown how soon difficulties disappear before a firm and determined
resolution. At that time such a road was deemed by wise and patriotic
men to be a visionary project. The great distance to be overcome and the
intervening mountains and deserts in the way were obstacles which, in
the opinion of many, could not be surmounted. Now, after the lapse of
but a single year, these obstacles, it has been discovered, are far
less formidable than they were supposed to be, and mail stages with
passengers now pass and repass regularly twice in each week, by a common
wagon road, between San Francisco and St. Louis and Memphis in less than
twenty-five days. The service has been as regularly performed as it was
in former years between New York and this city.

Whilst disclaiming all authority to appropriate money for the
construction of this road, except that derived from the war-making power
of the Constitution, there are important collateral considerations
urging us to undertake the work as speedily as possible.

The first and most momentous of these is that such a road would be a
powerful bond of union between the States east and west of the Rocky
Mountains. This is so self-evident as to require no illustration.

But again, in a commercial point of view, I consider this the great
question of the day. With the eastern front of our Republic stretching
along the Atlantic and its western front along the Pacific, if all the
parts should be united by a safe, easy, and rapid intercommunication we
must necessarily command a very large proportion of the trade both of
Europe and Asia. Our recent treaties with China and Japan will open
these rich and populous Empires to our commerce; and the history of the
world proves that the nation which has gained possession of the trade
with eastern Asia has always become wealthy and powerful. The peculiar
geographical position of California and our Pacific possessions invites
American capital and enterprise into this fruitful field. To reap the
rich harvest, however, it is an indispensable prerequisite that we shall
first have a railroad to convey and circulate its products throughout
every portion of the Union. Besides, such a railroad through our
temperate latitude, which would not be impeded by the frosts and snows
of winter nor by the tropical heats of summer, would attract to itself
much of the travel and the trade of all nations passing between Europe
and Asia.

On the 21st of August last Lieutenant J.N. Maffit, of the United States
brig _Dolphin_, captured the slaver _Echo_ (formerly the _Putnam_, of
New Orleans) near Kay Verde, on the coast of Cuba, with more than 300
African negroes on board. The prize, under the command of Lieutenant
Bradford, of the United States Navy, arrived at Charleston on the 27th
August, when the negroes, 306 in number, were delivered into the custody
of the United States marshal for the district of South Carolina. They
were first placed in Castle Pinckney, and afterwards in Fort Sumter, for
safe-keeping, and were detained there until the 19th September, when the
survivors, 271 in number, were delivered on board the United States
steamer _Niagara_ to be transported to the coast of Africa under the
charge of the agent of the United States, pursuant to the provisions of
the act of the 3d March, 1819, "in addition to the acts prohibiting the
slave trade." Under the second section of this act the President is
"authorized to make such regulations and arrangements as he may deem
expedient for the safe-keeping, support, and removal beyond the limits
of the United States of all such negroes, mulattoes, or persons of
color" captured by vessels of the United States as may be delivered to
the marshal of the district into which they are brought, "and to appoint
a proper person or persons residing upon the coast of Africa as agent or
agents for receiving the negroes, mulattoes, or persons of color
delivered from on board vessels seized in the prosecution of the slave
trade by commanders of United States armed vessels."

A doubt immediately arose as to the true construction of this act. It is
quite clear from its terms that the President was authorized to provide
"for the safe-keeping, support, and removal" of these negroes up till
the time of their delivery to the agent on the coast of Africa, but no
express provision was made for their protection and support after they
had reached the place of their destination. Still, an agent was to be
appointed to receive them in Africa, and it could not have been supposed
that Congress intended he should desert them at the moment they were
received and turn them loose on that inhospitable coast to perish for
want of food or to become again the victims of the slave trade. Had this
been the intention of Congress, the employment of an agent to receive
them, who is required to reside on the coast, was unnecessary, and they
might have been landed by our vessels anywhere in Africa and left
exposed to the sufferings and the fate which would certainly await them.

Mr. Monroe, in his special message of December 17, 1819, at the first
session after the act was passed, announced to Congress what in his
opinion was its true construction. He believed it to be his duty under
it to follow these unfortunates into Africa and make provision for
them there until they should be able to provide for themselves. In
communicating this interpretation of the act to Congress he stated that
some doubt had been entertained as to its true intent and meaning, and
he submitted the question to them so that they might, "should it be
deemed advisable, amend the same before further proceedings are had
under it." Nothing was done by Congress to explain the act, and Mr.
Monroe proceeded to carry it into execution according to his own
interpretation. This, then, became the practical construction. When
the Africans from on board the _Echo_ were delivered to the marshal at
Charleston, it became my duty to consider what disposition ought to be
made of them under the law. For many reasons it was expedient to remove
them from that locality as speedily as possible. Although the conduct of
the authorities and citizens of Charleston in giving countenance to the
execution of the law was just what might have been expected from their
high character, yet a prolonged continuance of 300 Africans in the
immediate vicinity of that city could not have failed to become a source
of inconvenience and anxiety to its inhabitants. Where to send them was
the question. There was no portion of the coast of Africa to which they
could be removed with any regard to humanity except to Liberia. Under
these circumstances an agreement was entered into with the Colonization
Society on the 7th of September last, a copy of which is herewith
transmitted, under which the society engaged, for the consideration of
$45,000, to receive these Africans in Liberia from the agent of the
United States and furnish them during the period of one year thereafter
with comfortable shelter, clothing, provisions, and medical attendance,
causing the children to receive schooling, and all, whether children or
adults, to be instructed in the arts of civilized life suitable to their
condition. This aggregate of $45,000 was based upon an allowance of $150
for each individual; and as there has been considerable mortality among
them and may be more before they reach Africa, the society have agreed,
in an equitable spirit, to make such a deduction from the amount as
under the circumstances may appear just and reasonable. This can not
be fixed until we shall ascertain the actual number which may become
a charge to the society.

It was also distinctly agreed that under no circumstances shall this
Government be called upon for any additional expenses.

The agents of the society manifested a laudable desire to conform to the
wishes of the Government throughout the transaction. They assured me
that after a careful calculation they would be required to expend the
sum of $150 on each individual in complying with the agreement, and they
would have nothing left to remunerate them for their care, trouble, and
responsibility. At all events, I could make no better arrangement, and
there was no other alternative. During the period when the Government
itself, through its own agents, undertook the task of providing for
captured negroes in Africa the cost per head was very much greater.

There having been no outstanding appropriation applicable to this
purpose, I could not advance any money on the agreement. I therefore
recommend that an appropriation may be made of the amount necessary
to carry it into effect.

Other captures of a similar character may, and probably will, be made
by our naval forces, and I earnestly recommend that Congress may amend
the second section of the act of March 3, 1819, so as to free its
construction from the ambiguity which has so long existed and render
the duty of the President plain in executing its provisions.

I recommend to your favorable regard the local interests of the District
of Columbia. As the residence of Congress and the Executive Departments
of the Government, we can not fail to feel a deep concern in its
welfare. This is heightened by the high character and the peaceful
and orderly conduct of its resident inhabitants.

I can not conclude without performing the agreeable duty of expressing
my gratification that Congress so kindly responded to the recommendation
of my last annual message by affording me sufficient time before the
close of their late session for the examination of all the bills
presented to me for approval. This change in the practice of Congress
has proved to be a wholesome reform. It exerted a beneficial influence
on the transaction of legislative business and elicited the general
approbation of the country. It enabled Congress to adjourn with that
dignity and deliberation so becoming to the representatives of this
great Republic, without having crowded into general appropriation bills
provisions foreign to their nature and of doubtful constitutionality
and expediency. Let me warmly and strongly commend this precedent
established by themselves as a guide to their proceedings during the
present session.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

SPECIAL MESSAGES.

WASHINGTON, _December 7, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a treaty of amity and commerce between the United States
and Japan, concluded at the city of Yeddo on the 29th of July last.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _December 7, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a treaty between the United States and China, signed at
Tien-tsin by the plenipotentiaries of the parties on the 18th day of
June last.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _December 10, 1858_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE.

SIR: In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of June 12, 1858,
I herewith communicate a report from the Secretary of the Interior,
showing "the amount of money paid for pensions in each of the States
and Territories since the commencement of the present Government."

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _December 10, 1858_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit to Congress a copy of the treaty between the United States
and the Kingdom of Siam, concluded on the 29th of May, 1856, and
proclaimed on the 16th of August last, and call the attention of that
body to the necessity of an act for carrying into effect the provisions
of Article II of the said treaty, conferring certain judicial powers
upon the consul of the United States who may be appointed to reside at
Bangkok. I would also suggest that the extension to the Kingdom of Siam
of the provisions of the act approved August 11, 1848, entitled "An
act to carry into effect certain provisions in the treaties between
the United States and China and the Ottoman Porte, giving certain
judicial powers to ministers and consuls of the United States in those
countries," might obviate the necessity of any other legislation upon
the subject.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

EXECUTIVE OFFICE,

_Washington, December 15, 1858_.

Hon. JAMES L. ORR,

_Speaker of the House of Representatives_.

SIR: In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of
the 13th instant, requesting the President of the United States, if not
inconsistent with the public interest, "to communicate all information
in his possession, or which may shortly come into his possession,
respecting the reported recent acts of visitation by officers of the
British navy of American vessels in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico,"
I transmit the accompanying reports from the Secretaries of State and
the Navy. The report from the Secretary of State is not in strictness
embraced by the terms of the resolution, but I deem it advisable to
communicate to the House the information therein contained.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _December 20, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, with accompanying
documents, in answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 7th of
January last, calling for all the official dispatches and correspondence
of the Hon. Robert M. McLane and of the Hon. Peter Parker, late
commissioners of the United States in China, with the Department of
State.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _December 20, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

The Senate will learn from the thirty-five naval nominations herewith
submitted the result of my investigations under the resolutions of
Congress of March 10 and May 11, 1858. In compliance with these
resolutions, I have carefully examined the records of the courts of
inquiry in fifty-eight cases, and have arrived at the conclusion that
twenty-three of the officers ought to remain in the positions where
they have been fixed by the courts of inquiry.

The records are very voluminous and the labor of examination, in which
I have been materially assisted by the Secretary of the Navy, the
Attorney-General, and the Commissioner of Patents, has consumed much
time.

Under the act of January 17, 1857, the courts of inquiry were directed
to investigate "the physical, mental, professional, and moral fitness"
of each officer who applied to them for relief. These investigations it
was my duty to review. They have been very extensive and searching, as
the Senate will perceive from an examination of the records, embracing
in many instances almost the entire professional life of the individual
from his first entrance into the service.

In the performance of my duty I found the greatest difficulty in
deciding what should be considered as "moral fitness" for the Navy.
Physical, mental, and professional fitness may be decided with a
considerable degree of accuracy by a naval court of inquiry, but the
question of moral fitness is of a very different character. There has
been but one perfect standard of morality on earth, and how far a
departure from His precepts and example must proceed in order to
disqualify an officer for the naval service is a question on which a
great difference of honest opinion must always exist. On this question
I have differed in several instances from the courts of inquiry.

There is one nomination which I regret that I have not the power to
present to the Senate, and this is in the case of Commodore Stewart.
His name stood on the Register at the head of the list of captains in
the Navy until it was removed from this well-earned position by the
retiring board and placed on the list of retired officers. The deeply
wounded feelings of this veteran officer, who had contributed so much
to the efficiency and glory of the Navy from its infancy, prevented him
from applying for restoration to his rank and submitting to a court of
inquiry composed of his junior officers the question of his "physical,
mental, professional, and moral fitness" for the naval service. I would
ere this have recommended to Congress the passage of a joint resolution
to restore him to his former rank had I not believed this would more
appropriately emanate from the legislative branch of Government.

I transmit herewith to the Senate the original records in the
fifty-eight cases to which I have referred. After they shall have been
examined by the Senate I would respectfully request that they might be
returned to the Navy Department.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _December 22, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a convention between the United States and Belgium for
regulating the commerce and navigation between the two countries,
signed in this city on the 17th of July last.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _December 23, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit for the consideration of the Senate a convention with New
Granada, signed on the 10th day of September, 1857, and a translation of
the decree of the President of that Republic ratifying and confirming
the same with certain modifications and explanations.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _December 27, 1858_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit a copy of a letter of the 8th of April last from the minister
of the United States in China, and of the decree and regulation which
accompanied it, for such revision thereof as Congress may deem
expedient, pursuant to the sixth section of the act approved 11th
August, 1848.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _January_ 4, _1859_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives the report of the
Secretary of the Treasury, with the accompanying documents, containing
the information called for by the resolution of the House of the 23d
December, 1858, concerning the correspondence in reference to the
clearance of vessels at the port of Mobile.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _January 5, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for the constitutional action of the Senate, the
articles of agreement and convention made and concluded on the 19th day
of June last with the Mendawakanton and Wahpakoota bands of the Dakota
or Sioux Indians.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _January 5, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for the constitutional action of the Senate, the
articles of agreement and convention made and concluded on the 19th day
of June last (1858) with the Sisseeton and Wahpaton bands of the Dakota
or Sioux Indians, with accompanying papers from the Department of the
Interior.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _January 5, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith to the Senate, for its consideration with a view
to ratification, a convention between the United States and the Republic
of Chili, signed by the plenipotentiaries of the parties on the 10th
day of November last, providing for the reference to an arbiter of
the questions which have long been in controversy between the two
Governments relative to a sum of money, the proceeds of the cargo of
the brig _Macedonia_, alleged to have belonged to citizens of the
United States, which was seized in the Valley of Sitana, in Peru,
by orders of an officer in the service of the Republic of Chili.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON CITY, _January 6, 1859_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives a report from the
Secretary of the Navy, with accompanying papers, in compliance with
a resolution adopted December 23, 1858, requesting the President of
the United States "to communicate to the House, if not deemed by him
incompatible with the public interest, the instructions which have been
given to our naval commanders in the Gulf of Mexico."

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _January 7, 1859_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit reports from the Secretary of the Treasury and
Postmaster-General, with the accompanying papers, in compliance with
the resolution of the House adopted December 23, 1858, requesting the
President of the United States to report "what action, if any, has been
taken under the sixth section of the Post-Office appropriation act approved
August 18, 1856, for the adjustment of the damages due Carmick
& Ramsey, and if the said section of said law yet remains unexecuted
that the President report the reasons therefor."

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _January 11, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In reply to the resolution of the Senate passed on the 16th ultimo,
requesting me to communicate, if in my opinion not incompatible with
the public interest, any information in my possession in relation to
the landing of the bark _Wanderer_ on the coast of Georgia with a
cargo of slaves, I herewith communicate the report made to me by the
Attorney-General, to whom the resolution was referred. From that report
it will appear that the offense referred to in the resolution has been
committed and that effective measures have been taken to see the laws
faithfully executed. I concur with the Attorney-General in the opinion
that it would be incompatible with the public interest at this time to
communicate the correspondence with the officers of the Government at
Savannah or the instructions which they have received. In the meantime
every practicable effort has been made, and will be continued, to
discover all the guilty parties and to bring them to justice.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON CITY, _January 13, 1859_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit a report from the Comptroller, with a copy of the
letter of Messrs. Johnson and Williams, in relation to the decision upon
the Carmick & Ramsey claim.

This should have accompanied the papers which have already been
transmitted to the House, but was omitted by mistake.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _January 15, 1859_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, in answer to
the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 10th instant,
requesting a communication of the correspondence between this Government
and France and England respecting the acquisition of Cuba by the United
States.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _January 19, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 14th of June
last, requesting a list of claims of citizens of the United States on
foreign governments, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State,
with the documents which accompanied it.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON CITY, _January 21, 1859_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I have this day transmitted to the Senate a digest of the statistics of
manufactures, according to the returns of the Seventh Census, prepared
under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior in accordance
with a provision contained in the first section of an act of Congress
approved June 12, 1858, entitled "An act making appropriations for
sundry civil expenses of the Government for the year ending the 30th of
June, 1859." The magnitude of the work has prevented the preparation of
another copy.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON CITY, _January 21, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State, in answer
to the resolution of the Senate of the 18th instant, requesting the
President, if not incompatible with the public interest, "to communicate
to the Senate any and all correspondence between the Government of the
United States and the Government of Her Catholic Majesty relating to any
proposition for the purchase of the island of Cuba, which correspondence
has not been furnished to either House of Congress." From this it
appears that no such correspondence has taken place which has not
already been communicated to Congress. In my late annual message I
stated in reference to the purchase of Cuba that "the publicity which
has been given to our former negotiations on this subject and the large
appropriation which may be required to effect the purpose render it
expedient before making another attempt to renew the negotiation that
I should lay the whole subject before Congress." I still entertain the
same opinion, deeming it highly important, if not indispensable to the
success of any negotiation which I might institute for this purpose,
that the measure should receive the previous sanction of Congress.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _January 21, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate a digest of the statistics of
manufactures according to the returns of the Seventh Census, prepared
under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior in accordance with
a provision in the first section of an act of Congress approved June 12,
1858, entitled "An act making appropriations for sundry civil expenses
of the Government for the year ending the 30th of June, 1859."

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _January 26, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit another report from the Secretary of State, in answer to
the resolution of the Senate of the 14th of June last, requesting
information on the subject of claims of citizens of the United States
against foreign governments.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _January 26, 1859_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit to Congress a report, dated the 25th instant, with the
accompanying papers, received from the Secretary of State, in compliance
with the requirement of the eighteenth section of the act entitled
"An act to regulate the diplomatic and consular systems of the United
States," approved August 18, 1856.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _January 29, 1859_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of War, with the accompanying
documents, recommending the repayment to Governor Douglas, of Vancouvers
Island, of the sum of $7,000, advanced by him to Governor Stevens, of
Washington Territory, which was applied to the purchase of ammunition
and subsistence stores for the forces of the United States in time of
need and at a critical period of the late Indian war in that Territory.

As this advance was made by Governor Douglas out of his own private
means and from friendly motives toward the United States, I recommend
that an appropriation may be made for its immediate payment, with
interest.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _January 29, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 25th instant, I
transmit a copy of the report of the special agent of the United States
recently sent to Vancouvers Island and British Columbia.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _February 5, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In reply to the resolution of the Senate of the 4th ultimo, I transmit a
report from the Secretary of State, together with the papers[9] therein
referred to.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

[Footnote 9: Correspondence with the United States minister to Peru and
others relative to the guano trade.]

WASHINGTON CITY, _February 8, 1859_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of the Navy, in
compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives adopted
on the 24th of January, requesting the President of the United States
to communicate to the House "the aggregate expenditure, of whatsoever
nature, including all salaries, whether special or by virtue of official
position in the Army or Navy or otherwise, on account of the preparation
and publication of the work known as Wilkes's Exploring Expedition;"
also, what number of copies of the said work have been ordered, how they
have been distributed, what number of persons are now employed thereon,
how long they have been employed, respectively, and the amount of the
appropriation now remaining undrawn.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _February 12, 1859_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State, with
accompanying papers, in answer to the resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 14th of June last, requesting the communication
of all information and correspondence which may have been received in
regard to any consular officer engaged in business in violation of law.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON CITY, _February 15, 1859_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Attorney-General, in reply to
the resolution of the House of Representatives adopted on the 22d
ultimo, requesting the President of the United States to "report what
information has been received by him, if any, in regard to the recent
importation of Africans into the State of Georgia or any other State
of this Union, and what steps have been taken to bring to trial and
punishment the persons engaged in this inhuman violation of the laws
of the United States and to prevent similar violations hereafter."

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _February 18, 1859_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

The brief period which remains of your present session and the great
urgency and importance of legislative action before its termination for
the protection of American citizens and their property whilst in transit
across the Isthmus routes between our Atlantic and Pacific possessions
render it my duty again to recall this subject to your notice. I have
heretofore presented it in my annual messages, both in December, 1857
and 1858, to which I beg leave to refer. In the latter I state that--

The executive government of this country in its intercourse with
foreign nations is limited to the employment of diplomacy alone. When
this fails it can proceed no further. It can not legitimately resort
to force without the direct authority of Congress, except in resisting
and repelling hostile attacks. It would have no authority to enter the
territories of Nicaragua even to prevent the destruction of the transit
and protect the lives and property of our own citizens on their
passage. It is true that on a sudden emergency of this character the
President would direct any armed force in the vicinity to march
to their relief, but in doing this he would act upon his own
responsibility.

Under these circumstances I earnestly recommend to Congress the
passage of an act authorizing the President, under such restrictions
as they may deem proper, to employ the land and naval forces of the
United States in preventing the transit from being obstructed or
closed by lawless violence and in protecting the lives and property of
American citizens traveling thereupon, requiring at the same time that
these forces shall be withdrawn the moment the danger shall have passed
away. Without such a provision our citizens will be constantly exposed
to interruption in their progress and to lawless violence.

A similar necessity exists for the passage of such an act for the
protection of the Panama and Tehuantepee routes.

Another subject, equally important, commanded the attention of the
Senate at the last session of Congress.

The Republics south of the United States on this continent have,
unfortunately, been frequently in a state of revolution and civil
war ever since they achieved their independence. As one or the other
party has prevailed and obtained possession of the ports open to foreign
commerce, they have seized and confiscated American vessels and their
cargoes in an arbitrary and lawless manner and exacted money from
American citizens by forced loans and other violent proceedings to
enable them to carry on hostilities. The executive governments of Great
Britain, France, and other countries, possessing the war-making power,
can promptly employ the necessary means to enforce immediate redress for
similar outrages upon their subjects. Not so the executive government
of the United States.

If the President orders a vessel of war to any of these ports to demand
prompt redress for outrages committed, the offending parties are
well aware that in case of refusal the commander can do no more than
remonstrate. He can resort to no hostile act. The question must then be
referred to diplomacy, and in many cases adequate redress can never be
obtained. Thus American citizens are deprived of the same protection
under the flag of their country which the subjects of other nations
enjoy. The remedy for this state of things can only be supplied by
Congress, since the Constitution has confided to that body alone the
power to make war. Without the authority of Congress the Executive can
not lawfully direct any force, however near it may be to the scene of
difficulty, to enter the territory of Mexico, Nicaragua, or New Granada
for the purpose of defending the persons and property of American
citizens, even though they may be violently assailed whilst passing in
peaceful transit over the Tehuantepec, Nicaragua, or Panama routes. He
can not, without transcending his constitutional power, direct a gun to
be fired into a port or land a seaman or marine to protect the lives
of our countrymen on shore or to obtain redress for a recent outrage
on their property. The banditti which infest our neighboring Republic
of Mexico, always claiming to belong to one or other of the hostile
parties, might make a sudden descent on Vera Cruz or on the Tehuantepec
route, and he would have no power to employ the force on shipboard in
the vicinity for their relief, either to prevent the plunder of our
merchants or the destruction of the transit.

Book of the day: