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

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JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _January 10, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for your constitutional action thereon, articles of
agreement and convention made and concluded on the 5th day of October,
1859, with the Kansas, and recommend that the same be ratified.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _January 10, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for your constitutional action thereon, articles of
agreement and convention made and concluded on the 1st day of October,
1859, with the Sacs and Foxes of the Mississippi, and recommend that the
same be ratified.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _January 10, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for your constitutional action thereon, articles of
agreement and convention made and concluded on the 15th day of April,
1859, with the Winnebagoes, and recommend that the same be ratified.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _January 12, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate in executive session of
the 10th instant, I transmit herewith the report of the Secretary of
State and the papers accompanying it, relating to the treaties lately
negotiated by Mr. McLane and to the condition of the existing Government
of Mexico.

It will be observed from the report that these papers are originals, and
that it is indispensable they should be restored to the files of the
Department when the subject to which they relate shall have been
disposed of.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _January 20, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for your constitutional action, articles of
agreement and convention made and concluded on the 16th day of July,
1859, with the Chippewas of Swan Creek and Black River and the Christian
Indians, and recommend that the same be ratified.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _January 23, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 12th instant,
requesting information respecting an alleged outrage upon an American
family at Perugia, in the Pontifical States, I transmit a report from
the Secretary of State and the documents by which it is accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _January 25, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 11th June, 1858,
requesting the President of the United States, if in his judgment
compatible with the public interests, to communicate to that body "such
information as the Executive Departments may afford of the contracts,
agreements, and arrangements which have been made and of proposals which
have been received for heating and ventilating the Capitol extension,
the Post-Office, and other public buildings in course of construction
under the management of Captain Meigs, and of the action of the
Secretary of War and Captain Meigs thereon," I transmit herewith all
the papers called for by the resolution.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _January 30, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of War, with accompanying
papers, in answer to the resolution of the 9th instant, requesting the
President "to communicate to the Senate the official correspondence of
Lieutenant-General Winfield Scott in reference to the island of San
Juan, and of Brigadier-General William S. Harney, in command of the
Department of Oregon."

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _February 6, 1860_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit a copy of a letter of the 22d of April last from the charge
d'affaires _ad interim_ of the United States in China, and of the
regulations for consular courts which accompanied it, for such revision
thereof as Congress may deem expedient, pursuant to the sixth section of
the act approved the 11th of August, 1848.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _February 9, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit for the approval of the Senate an informal convention with
the Republic of Venezuela for the adjustment of claims of citizens of
the United States on the Government of that Republic growing out of
their forcible expulsion by Venezuelan authorities from the guano island
of Aves, in the Caribbean Sea. Usually it is not deemed necessary to
consult the Senate in regard to similar instruments relating to private
claims of small amount when the aggrieved parties are satisfied with
their terms. In this instance, however, although the convention was
negotiated under the authority of the Venezuelan Executive and has
been approved by the National Convention of that Republic, there is
some reason to apprehend that, owing to the frequent changes in that
Government, the payments for which it provides may be refused or delayed
upon the pretext that the instrument has not received the constitutional
sanction of this Government. It is understood that if the payments
adverted to shall be made as stipulated the convention will be
acceptable to the claimants.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _February 9, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a treaty of peace, friendship, commerce, and navigation
between the United States and the Republic of Bolivia, signed by their
respective plenipotentiaries at La Paz on the 13th of May, 1858.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _February 20, 1860_.

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

Eight memorials numerously signed by our fellow-citizens, "residents for
the most part within the territorial limits of Kansas and Nebraska at
and near the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains," have been presented
to me, containing the request that I would submit the condition of
the memorialists to the two Houses of Congress in a special message.
Accordingly, I transmit four of these memorials to the Senate and four
to the House of Representatives.

These memorialists invoke the interposition of Congress and of the
Executive "for the early extinguishment of the Indian title, a
consequent survey and sale of the public land, and the establishment of
an assay office in the immediate and daily reach of the citizens of that
region." They also urge "the erection of a new Territory from contiguous
portions of New Mexico, Utah, Kansas, and Nebraska," with the boundaries
set forth in their memorial. They further state, if this request should
not be granted, "that (inasmuch as during this year a census is to be
taken) an enabling act be passed with provision upon condition that if
on the 1st day of July, 1860, 30,000 resident inhabitants be found
within the limits of the mineral region, then a Territorial government
is constituted by Executive proclamation; or if on the 1st day of
September, 1860, 150,000 shall be returned, then a State organization
to occur."

In transmitting these memorials to Congress I recommend that such
provision may be made for the protection and prosperity of our
fellow-citizens at and near the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains as
their distance and the exigencies of their condition may require for
their government.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _February 25, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
16th instant, requesting a copy of a letter of the Emperor of France
upon the subject of commerce and free trade, I transmit a report from
the Secretary of State, to whom the resolution was referred.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _February 29, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of yesterday, requesting
information with regard to the present condition of the work of marking
the boundary pursuant to the first article of the treaty between the
United States and Great Britain of the 15th of June, 1846, I transmit
a report from the Secretary of State and the papers by which it was
accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _March 1, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, in compliance with the resolution of the Senate
of the 1st of February, 1860, a report from the Secretary of War,
communicating the information desired relative to the payments,
agreements, arrangements, etc., in connection with the heating and
ventilating of the Capitol and Post-Office extensions.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _March 5, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 23d of February,
1860, I transmit to that body a communication[11] of the Secretary of
War, furnishing all the information requested in said resolution.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

[Footnote 11: Relating to disturbances on the Rio Grande between
citizens and military authorities of Mexico and Texas.]

WASHINGTON, _March 8, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State, together with
the papers accompanying it, in answer to the resolution of the Senate in
executive session of the 28th ultimo, calling for the instructions to
our minister or ministers in Mexico which resulted in the negotiation of
the treaty with that country now before the Senate.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _March 12, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 6th ultimo, requesting
copies of the instructions to and dispatches from the late and from the
present minister of the United States in China down to the period of the
exchange of ratifications of the treaty of Tien-tsin, and also a copy of
the instructions from the Department of State of February, 1857, to Mr.
Parker, former commissioner in China, I transmit a report from the
Secretary of State and the papers by which it was accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _March 15, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

Referring to my communication of the 5th instant to the Senate,
in answer to its resolution of the 23d February, calling for any
"communication which may have been received from the governor of Texas,
and the documents accompanying it, concerning alleged hostilities now
existing on the Rio Grande," I have the honor herewith to submit for
the consideration of that body the following papers:

Dispatch from the Secretary of War to the governor of Texas, dated 28th
February, 1860.

Dispatch from the governor of Texas to the Secretary of War, dated 8th
March, 1860.

Dispatch from Acting Secretary of War to the governor of Texas, dated
14th March, 1860.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _March 15, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution[12] of the Senate in executive session
on the 12th instant, I transmit a report from the Secretary of
State, with the accompanying copies of Mr. Churchwell's correspondence.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

[Footnote 12: Calling for the report of the agent sent to Mexico to
ascertain the condition of that country.]

WASHINGTON, _March 16, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Acting Secretary of War, with its
accompanying papers, communicating the information called for by the
resolution of the Senate of the 9th instant, respecting the marble
columns for the Capitol extension.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _March 16, 1860_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit a copy of the convention between the United States and
the Republic of Paraguay, concluded on the 4th February, 1859, and
proclaimed on the 12th instant, and invite the attention of Congress
to the expediency of such legislation as may be deemed necessary to
carry into effect the stipulations of the convention relative to the
organization of the commission provided for therein.

The commissioner on the part of Paraguay is now in this city, and is
prepared to enter upon the duties devolved upon the joint commission.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _March 21, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the request of the Senate contained in their
resolution of yesterday, the 20th instant, I return to them the
resolution of the 16th instant, "that the Senate do not advise and
consent to the ratification of the treaty of friendship and commerce
between the United States and Nicaragua, signed at Managua on the 16th
day of March, 1859." I also return the treaty itself, presuming that
the Senate so intended.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _March 22, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a convention concluded on the 21st instant between the
United States and His Majesty the King of Sweden and Norway for the
mutual surrender of fugitive criminals.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _March 29, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 21st of March,
1860, requesting the President of the United States "to inform the
Senate, if in his opinion it be not incompatible with the public
interest, if any instructions have been given to any of the officers of
the Navy of the United States by which, in any event, the naval force of
the United States or any part thereof were to take part in the civil war
now existing in Mexico, and if the recent capture of two war steamers of
Mexico by the naval force of the United States was done in pursuance
of orders issued by this Government, and also by what authority those
steamers have been taken in possession by the naval force of the United
States and the men on board made prisoners," I transmit the inclosed
report, with accompanying papers, from the Secretary of the Navy.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _March 29, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of War, with its
accompaniments, communicating the information called for by the
resolution of the House of Representatives of the 1st instant,
concerning the difficulties on the southwestern frontier.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _March 30, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to the resolution of the 26th instant, requesting information
touching the imprisonment of an American citizen in the island of Cuba,
I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the documents by
which it was accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _April 2, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 28th of February
last, relative to the uniform or costume of persons in the diplomatic or
consular service, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and
the papers by which it was accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON CITY, _April 3, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate a report of the Attorney-General, in
answer to a resolution of the Senate of the 21st of March, "that the
President be respectfully requested to communicate to the Senate the
correspondence between the judges of Utah and the Attorney-General or
the President with reference to the legal proceedings and condition of
affairs in the Territory of Utah."

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _April 5, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit, for the consideration of the Senate with a view to
ratification, a treaty of friendship, commerce, and navigation between
the United States and the Republic of Honduras, signed by the
plenipotentiaries of the parties in this city on the 28th day of last
month.

The fourteenth article of this treaty is an exact copy of the
supplemental article of the "treaty of friendship, commerce, and
navigation between Great Britain and the Republic of Honduras," dated
26th day of August, 1856, with the necessary changes in names and dates.
Under this article the Government and people of the United States will
enjoy in the fullest and most satisfactory manner the use of the
"Honduras Interoceanic Railway," in consideration of which the United
States recognizes the rights of sovereignty and property of Honduras
over the line of the road and guarantees its neutrality, and, when "the
road shall have been completed, equally engages, in conjunction with
Honduras, to protect the same from interruption, seizure, or unjust
confiscation, from whatever quarter the attempt may proceed."

This treaty is in accordance with the policy inaugurated by the
Government of the United States, and in an especial manner by the
Senate, in the year 1846, and several treaties have been concluded to
carry it into effect. It is simple, and may be embraced in a few words.
On the one side a grant of free and uninterrupted transit for the
Government and people of the United States over the transit routes
across the Isthmus, and on the other a guaranty of the neutrality and
protection of these routes, not only for the benefit of the Republics
through which they pass, but, in the language of our treaty with New
Granada, in order to secure to themselves the tranquil and constant
enjoyment of these inter-oceanic communications.

The first in the series of these treaties is that with New Granada
of the 12th December, 1846. This treaty was concluded before our
acquisition of California and when our interests on the Pacific Coast
were of far less magnitude than at the present day. For years before
this period, however, the routes across the Isthmus had attracted the
serious attention of this Government.

This treaty, after granting us the right of transit across the Isthmus
of Panama in the most ample terms, binds this Government to guarantee
to New Granada "the perfect neutrality of the before-mentioned 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 one respect it goes further than any of its successors, because it
not only guarantees the neutrality of the route itself, but "the rights
of sovereignty and property" of New Granada over the entire Province of
Panama. It is worthy of remark that when it was sent to the Senate it
was accompanied by a message of President Polk, dated February 10, 1847,
in which the attention of that body was especially called to these
important stipulations of the thirty-fifth article, and in which it was
stated, moreover, that our charge d'affaires who negotiated the treaty
"acted in this particular upon his own responsibility and without
instructions." Under these circumstances the treaty was approved by the
Senate and the transit policy to which I have referred was deliberately
adopted. A copy of the executive document (confidential), Twenty-ninth
Congress, second session, containing this message of President Polk and
the papers which accompanied it is hereto annexed.

The next in order of time of these treaties of transit and guaranty is
that of the 19th April, 1850, with Great Britain, commonly called the
Clayton and Bulwer treaty. This treaty, in affirmance of the policy of
the New Granada treaty, established a general principle which has ever
since, I believe, guided the proceedings of both Governments. The eighth
article of that treaty contains the following stipulations:

The Government of the United States having not only desired in entering
into this convention to accomplish a particular object, but also to
establish a general principle, they hereby agree to extend their
protection by treaty stipulations to any other practicable
communications, whether by canal or railway, across the isthmus which
connects North and South America, and especially to the interoceanic
communications, should the same prove to be practicable, whether by
canal or railway, which are now proposed to be established by the way of
Tehuantepec or Panama.

And that the said--

Canals or railways shall also be open on like terms to the citizens and
subjects of every other state which is willing to grant thereto such
protection as the United States and Great Britain propose to afford.

The United States, in a short time after the Clayton and Bulwer treaty
was concluded, carried this stipulation in regard to the Tehuantepec
route into effect by their treaty with Mexico of the 30th December,
1853. The eighth article of this treaty, after granting to us the
transit privileges therein mentioned, stipulates that "the Mexican
Government having agreed to protect with its whole power the
prosecution, preservation, and security of the work, the United States
may extend its protection as it shall judge wise, to use it when it may
feel sanctioned and warranted by the public or international law."

This is a sweeping grant of power to the United States, which no nation
ought to have conceded, but which, it is believed, has been confined
within safe limits by our treaty with Mexico now before the Senate.
Such was believed to be the established policy of the Government at
the commencement of this Administration, viz, the grant of transits in
our favor and the guaranty of our protection as an equivalent. This
guaranty can never be dangerous under our form of government, because
it can never be carried into execution without the express authority
of Congress. Still, standing on the face of treaties, as it does, it
deters all evil-disposed parties from interfering with these routes.

Under such circumstances the attention of the Executive was early turned
to the Nicaragua route as in many respects the most important and
valuable to the citizens of our country. In concluding a treaty to
secure our rights of transit over this route I experienced many
difficulties, which I need not now enumerate, because they are detailed
in different messages to Congress. Finally a treaty was negotiated
exactly in accordance with the established policy of the Government and
the views of the Executive, and clear from the embarrassments which
might arise under the phraseology of previous treaties. The fourteenth
article of the treaty contains a full, clear, and specific grant of
the right of transit to the United States and their citizens, and is
believed to be perfectly unexceptionable. The fifteenth article, instead
of leaving one equivalent duty of protection, general and unlimited, as
in our treaty with New Granada and in the Clayton and Bulwer treaty, or
instead of that general right assured to the Government in the Mexican
treaty of extending its protection as it shall itself judge wise, when
it may feel sanctioned and warranted by the public or international law,
confines the interference conceded within just and specific limits.

Under the sixteenth article of this treaty the Government of the United
States has no right to interpose for the protection of the Nicaragua
route except with the consent or at the request of the Government
of Nicaragua, or of the minister thereof at Washington, or of the
competent, legally appointed local authorities, civil or military; and
when in the opinion of the Government of Nicaragua the necessity ceases
such force shall be immediately withdrawn. Nothing can be more carefully
guarded than this provision. No force can be employed unless upon the
request of the Government of Nicaragua, and it must be immediately
withdrawn whenever in the opinion of that Government the necessity
ceases.

When Congress shall come to adopt the measures necessary to carry this
provision of the treaty into effect they can guard it from any abuses
which may possibly arise.

The general policy contained in these articles, although inaugurated by
the United States, has been fully adopted by the Governments of Great
Britain and France. The plenipotentiaries of both these Governments have
recently negotiated treaties with Nicaragua, which are but transcripts
of the treaty between the United States and Nicaragua now before the
Senate. The treaty with France has been ratified, it is understood, by
both the French and Nicaraguan Governments, and is now in operation.
That with Great Britain has been delayed by other negotiations in
Nicaragua, but it is believed that these are now concluded and that the
ratifications of the British treaty will soon, therefore, be exchanged.

It is presumed that no objection will be made to "the exceptional case"
of the sixteenth article, which is only intended to provide for the
landing of sailors or marines from our vessels which may happen to be
within reach of the point of difficulty, in order to protect the lives
and property of citizens of the United States from unforeseen and
imminent danger.

The same considerations may be suggested with respect to the fifth
article of the treaty with Mexico, which is also pending before the
Senate. This article is an exact copy of the sixteenth article, just
referred to, of the treaty with Nicaragua.

The treaty with Honduras, which is now submitted to the Senate, follows
on this subject the language of the British treaty with that Republic,
and is not, therefore, identical in its terms with the Nicaraguan and
Mexican treaties. The same policy, however, has been adopted in all of
them, and it will not fail, I am persuaded, to receive from the Senate
all that consideration which it so eminently deserves. The importance to
the United States of securing free and safe transit routes across the
American Isthmus can not well be overestimated. These routes are of
great interest, of course, to all commercial nations, but they are
especially so to us from our geographical and political position as
an American State and because they furnish a necessary communication
between our Atlantic and Pacific States and Territories.

The Government of the United States can never permit these routes to be
permanently interrupted, nor can it safely allow them to pass under the
control of other rival nations. While it seeks no exclusive privileges
upon them for itself, it can never consent to be made tributary to their
use to any European power. It is worthy of consideration, however,
whether to some extent it would not necessarily become so if after Great
Britain and France have adopted our policy and made treaties with the
Isthmian Governments in pursuance of it we should ourselves reconsider
it and refuse to pursue it in the treaties of the United States. I might
add that the opening of these transit routes can not fail to extend the
trade and commerce of the United States with the countries through which
they pass; to afford an outlet and a market for our manufactures within
their territories; to encourage American citizens to develop their vast
stores of mining and mineral wealth for our benefit, and to introduce
among them a wholesome American influence calculated to prevent
revolutions and to render their governments stable.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _April 10, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I communicate herewith a report from the Secretary of State, in reply
to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 6th instant,
respecting the expulsion of American citizens from Mexico and the
confiscation of their property by General Miramon.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _April 10, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
23d of December, 1858, requesting information in regard to the duties on
tobacco in foreign countries, I transmit a report from the Secretary of
State and the documents by which it was accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _April 11, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of
March 26, 1860, requesting me "to transmit to the House all information
in the possession of the officer in charge of the Coast Survey showing
the practicability of making Harlem River navigable for commercial
purposes, and the expenses thereof," I herewith transmit a report from
the Secretary of the Treasury containing the desired information.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _April 11, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 2d February,
1859, requesting information in regard to the compulsory enlistment
of citizens of the United States in the army of Prussia, I transmit
a report from the Secretary of State and the documents by which it
was accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _April 12, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 23d of February
last, requesting information in regard to the occupation by American
citizens of the island of Navassa, in the West Indies, I transmit a
report from the Secretary of State and the documents by which it was
accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _April 12, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of War, with its
accompaniments, communicating the information called for by the
resolution of the House of Representatives of the 20th ultimo,
respecting Indian hostilities in New Mexico.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _April 16, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 4th instant,
requesting information not heretofore called for relating to the claim
of any foreign governments to the military services of naturalized
American citizens, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and
the documents by which it was accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _April 17, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for the information of the Senate, the Paris
Moniteur of the 4th February last, the official journal of the French
Government, containing an imperial decree promulgating a treaty of
friendship, commerce, and navigation, concluded on the 11th April, 1859,
between France and the Republic of Nicaragua. It will be found in all
respects similar to the treaty between the United States and Nicaragua
now pending in the Senate.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _April 20, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of the Navy, to whom was
referred the resolution of the House of Representatives of April 10,
1860, requesting the President to communicate to the House, in addition
to the information asked in the resolution adopted in reference to the
African slave trade, "the number of officers and men in the service of
the United States belonging to the African Squadron who have died in
that service since the date of the Ashburton treaty up to the present
time."

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _April 20, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives "that the
President be requested to communicate to the House, if not incompatible
with the public service, all such information as he may possess in
relation to the existence" of the Territory of Minnesota, he has to
state that he possesses no information upon the subject except what has
been derived from the acts of Congress and the proceedings of the House
itself. Since the date of the act of the 11th of May, 1858, admitting
a portion of the Territory of Minnesota as a State into the Union, no
act has been performed by the Executive either affirming or denying the
existence of such Territory. The question in regard to that portion of
the Territory without the limits of the existing State remains for the
decision of Congress, and is in the same condition it was when the State
was admitted into the Union.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _April 22, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I return to the Senate the original convention between the United States
and the Republic of New Granada, signed on the 10th September, 1857, and
ratified by me as amended by the Senate on the 12th March, 1859.

The amendments of the Senate were immediately transmitted to New Granada
for acceptance, but they arrived at Bogota three days after the
adjournment of the Congress of that Republic, notwithstanding the
session had been protracted for twenty days solely with a view to the
consideration of the convention after it should have received the
sanction of this Government.

At the earliest moment after the assembling of the New Granadian
Congress, on the 1st of February last, the convention as amended and
ratified was laid before that body, and on the 25th of the same month
it was approved with the amendments. Inasmuch, however, as the period
had expired within which by the third amendment of the Senate the
ratifications should have been exchanged, the Congress of New Granada
provided that "the convention should be ratified and the ratification
should be exchanged at whatever time the Governments of the two
Republics may deem convenient for the purpose, and therefore the period
has been extended which the Senate of the United States had fixed."

The expediency of authorizing the exchange of ratifications at such time
as may be convenient to the two Governments is consequently submitted to
the consideration of the Senate.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _April 23, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 18th instant,
requesting a copy of the instructions from the Department of State to
Mr. McLane when appointed minister to China, I transmit a report from
the Secretary of State, with the instructions which accompanied it.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _April 24, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with the resolutions of the House of Representatives of
the 2d March, 1859, and of the 26th ultimo, requesting information
relative to discriminations in Switzerland against citizens of the
United States of the Hebrew persuasion, I transmit a report of the
Secretary of State, with the documents by which it was accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _April 25, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 22d ultimo, calling
for information concerning the expulsion from Prussia of Eugene Dullye,
a naturalized citizen of the United States, I transmit a report from the
Secretary of State, dated the 24th instant.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _April 27, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of
March 26, 1860, requesting "copies of all official correspondence
between the civil and military officers stationed in Utah Territory with
the heads or bureaus of their respective Departments, or between any of
said officers, illustrating or tending to show the condition of affairs
in said Territory since the 1st day of October, 1857, and which may not
have been heretofore officially published," I transmit reports from the
Secretaries of State and War and the documents by which they were
accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _April 30, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 2d of February,
1859, requesting information in regard to the compulsory service of
citizens of the United States in the army of Prussia, I transmit an
additional report from the Secretary of State and the document by which
it is accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _May 1, 1860_.

_To the Senate_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate adopted March 19, 1860,
calling for the correspondence, etc., in relation to the Mountain Meadow
and other massacres in Utah Territory, I have the honor to transmit the
report, with the accompanying documents, of the Secretary of the
Interior, who was instructed to collect the information.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _May 3, 1860_.

_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 Spain for
the settlement of claims, signed at Madrid on the 5th of March last.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _May 19, 1860_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

On the 26th day of April last Lieutenant Craven, of the United States
steamer _Mohawk_, captured the slaver _Wildfire_ on the coast of Cuba,
with 507 African negroes on board. The prize was brought into Key West
on the 31st April and the negroes were delivered into the custody of
Fernando J. Moreno, marshal of the southern district of Florida.

The question which now demands immediate decision is, What disposition
shall be made of these Africans? In the annual message to Congress of
December 6, 1858, I expressed my opinion in regard to the construction
of the act of the 3d March, 1819, "in addition to the acts prohibiting
the slave trade," so far as the same is applicable to the present case.
From this I make the following extract:

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.

Adopting this construction of President Monroe, I entered into an
agreement with the Colonization Society, dated 7th September, 1858, to
receive the Africans which had been captured on the slaver _Echo_ from
the agent of the United States in Liberia, to furnish them during the
period of one year thereafter with comfortable shelter, clothing, and
provisions, and to cause them to be instructed in the arts of civilized
life suitable to their condition, at the rate of $150 for each
individual. It was believed that within that period they would be
prepared to become citizens of Liberia and to take care of themselves.

As Congress was not then in session and as there was no outstanding
appropriation applicable to this purpose, the society were obliged to
depend for payment on the future action of that body. I recommended
this appropriation, and $75,000 were granted by the act of 3d March,
1859 (the consular and diplomatic bill), "to enable the President of the
United States to carry into effect the act of Congress of 3d March, 1819,
and any subsequent acts now in force for the suppression of the slave
trade." Of this appropriation there remains unexpended the sum of
$24,350.90, after deducting from it an advance made by the Secretary
of the Interior out of the judiciary fund of $11,348.10.

I regret to say that under the mode adopted in regard to the Africans
captured on board the _Echo_ the expense will be large, but this seems
to a great extent to be inevitable without a violation of the laws of
humanity. The expenditure upon this scale for those captured on board
the _Wildfire_ will not be less than $100,000, and may considerably exceed
that sum. Still, it ought to be observed that 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 much greater
than that which I agreed to pay the Colonization Society.

But it will not be sufficient for Congress to limit the amount appropriated
to the case of the _Wildfire_. It is probable, judging from the
increased activity of the slave trade and the vigilance of our cruisers,
that several similar captures may be made before the end of the year.
An appropriation ought therefore to be granted large enough to cover
such contingencies.

The period has arrived when it is indispensable to provide some specific
legislation for the guidance of the Executive on this subject. With this
view I would suggest that Congress might authorize the President to
enter into a general agreement with the Colonization Society binding
them to receive on the coast of Africa, from an agent there, all the
captured Africans which may be delivered to him, and to maintain them
for a limited period, upon such terms and conditions as may combine
humanity toward these unfortunates with a just economy. This would
obviate the necessity of making a new bargain with every new capture
and would prevent delay and avoid expense in the disposition of the
captured. The law might then provide that in all cases where this may be
practicable the captor should carry the negroes directly to Africa and
deliver them to the American agent there, afterwards bringing the
captured vessel to the United States for adjudication.

The capturing officer, in case he should bring his prize directly to the
United States, ought to be required to land the negroes in some one or
more ports, to be designated by Congress, where the prevailing health
throughout the year is good. At these ports cheap but permanent
accommodations might be provided for the negroes until they could be
sent away, without incurring the expense of erecting such accommodations
at every port where the capturing officer may think proper to enter. On
the present occasion these negroes have been brought to Key West, and,
according to the estimate presented by the marshal of the southern
district of Florida to the Secretary of the Interior, the cost of
providing temporary quarters for them will be $2,500 and the aggregate
expenses for the single month of May will amount to $12,000. But this is
far from being the worst evil. Within a few weeks the yellow fever will
most probably prevail at Key West, and hence the marshal urges their
removal from their present quarters at an early day, which must be done,
in any event, as soon as practicable. For these reasons I earnestly
commend this subject to the immediate attention of Congress. I transmit
herewith a copy of the letter and estimate of Fernando J. Moreno,
marshal of the southern district of Florida, to the Secretary of the
Interior, dated 10th May, 1860, together with a copy of the letter of
the Secretary of the Interior to myself, dated 16th May.

It is truly lamentable that Great Britain and the United States should
be obliged to expend such a vast amount of blood and treasure for the
suppression of the African slave trade, and this when the only portions
of the civilized world where it is tolerated and encouraged are the
Spanish islands of Cuba and Porto Rico.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _May 22, 1860_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith the copy of a letter, dated yesterday, from the
Secretary of the Interior, communicating the copy of a letter addressed
to him on the 13th instant by Fernando J. Moreno, marshal of the
southern district of Florida. From this it appears that Lieutenant
Stanly, of the United States steamer _Wyandotte_, captured the bark
_William_, with about 550 African negroes on board, on the south side of
Cuba, near the Isle of Pines, and brought her into Key West on the 12th
instant. These negroes have doubtless been delivered to the marshal, and
with those captured on board the _Wildfire_ will make the number in his
custody about 1,000. More may be daily expected at Key West, which, both
on account of a deficiency of water and provisions and its exposure to
yellow fever, is one of the worst spots for an African negro depot which
could be found on the coast of the United States.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _May 22, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to the resolution passed on the 26th of March last, calling
for a detailed statement of the expenditures from the "appropriations
made during the first session of the Thirty-fourth Congress and the
first and second sessions of the Thirty-fifth Congress for legal
assistance and other necessary expenditures in the disposal of private
land claims in California and for the service of special counsel and
other extraordinary expenses of such land claims, amounting in all to
$114,000," I have the honor to transmit to the House of Representatives
a report of the Attorney-General, which, with the accompanying
documents, contains the information required.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _May 26, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
21st instant, requesting any information recently received respecting
the Chinese cooly trade which has not been heretofore communicated to
Congress, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, with the
documents which accompanied it.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _June 14, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I submit, for the consideration of the Senate, articles of agreement and
convention with the Delaware Indians, concluded May 13, 1860. I concur
in the recommendation of the Secretary of the Interior that the treaty
should be ratified, with the amendments suggested by the Commissioner
of Indian Affairs.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

JUNE 23, 1860

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_.

GENTLEMEN: I feel it my duty to communicate to you that it has been
found impracticable to conclude a contract for the transportation of the
mails between our Atlantic and Pacific ports on the terms authorized by
the fourth section of an act entitled "An act making appropriations for
the service of the Post-Office Department during the fiscal year ending
30th June, 1861," approved 15th June, 1860. The Postmaster-General has
offered the California mails to the several companies and shipowners
engaged in the trade with the Pacific via the Isthmus, but they have all
declined carrying them for the postages. They demand a higher rate of
compensation, and unless power is given to the Postmaster-General to
accede to this demand I am well satisfied that these mails can not
be forwarded. It should not be forgotten that, in consequence of the
diversion of a large part of the letter mail to the overland route,
the postages derived from the California service have been greatly
reduced and afford a wholly inadequate remuneration for the ocean
transportation. The weight of these mails, averaging from 12 to 15 tons
semimonthly, renders it, in view of the climate and character of the
road, manifestly impossible to forward them overland without involving
an expenditure which no wise administration of the Government would
impose upon the Treasury. I therefore earnestly recommend that the act
referred to be so modified as to empower the Postmaster-General to
provide for carrying the California mails at a rate of compensation
which may be deemed reasonable and just.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _June 25, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I have approved and signed the bill entitled "An act making
appropriation for sundry civil expenses of the Government for the year
ending the 30th of June, 1861."

In notifying the House of my approval of this bill I deem it proper,
under the peculiar circumstances of the case, to make a few explanatory
observations, so that my course may not hereafter be misunderstood.

Amid a great variety of important appropriations, this bill contains an
appropriation "for the completion of the Washington Aqueduct, $500,000,
to be expended according to the plans and estimates of Captain Meigs
and under his superintendence: _Provided_, That the office of engineer
of the Potomac Waterworks is hereby abolished and its duties shall
hereafter be discharged by the chief engineer of the Washington
Aqueduct." To this appropriation, for a wise and beneficial object,
I have not the least objection. It is true I had reason to believe when
the last appropriation was made of $800,000 on the 12th of June, 1858,
"_for the completion of the Washington Aqueduct_" this would have been
sufficient for the purpose. It is now discovered, however, that it will
require half a million more "_for the completion of the Washington
Aqueduct_" and this ought to be granted.

The Captain Meigs to whom the bill refers is Montgomery C. Meigs, a
captain in the Corps of Engineers of the Army of the United States, who
has superintended this work from its commencement under the authority
of the late and present Secretary of War.

Had this appropriation been made in the usual form, no difficulty could
have arisen upon it. This bill, however, annexes a declaration to the
appropriation that the money is to be expended under the superintendence
of Captain Meigs.

The first aspect in which this clause presented itself to my mind was
that it interfered with the right of the President to be "Commander in
Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States." If this had really
been the case, there would have been an end to the question. Upon
further examination I deemed it impossible that Congress could have
intended to interfere with the clear right of the President to command
the Army and to order its officers to any duty he might deem most
expedient for the public interest. If they could withdraw an officer
from the command of the President and select him for the performance
of an executive duty, they might upon the same principle annex to an
appropriation to carry on a war a condition requiring it not to be used
for the defense of the country unless a particular person of its own
selection should command the Army. It was impossible that Congress could
have had such an intention, and therefore, according to my construction
of the clause in question, it merely designated Captain Meigs as its
preference for the work, without intending to deprive the President of
the power to order him to any other army duty for the performance of
which he might consider him better adapted. Still, whilst this clause
may not be, and I believe is not, a violation of the Constitution,
yet how destructive it would be to all proper subordination and how
demoralizing its effect upon the morale of the Army if it should become
a precedent for future legislation! Officers might then be found,
instead of performing their appropriate duties, besieging the halls of
Congress for the purpose of obtaining special favors and choice places
by legislative enactment. Under these circumstances I have deemed it
but fair to inform Congress that whilst I do not consider the bill
unconstitutional, this is only because, in my opinion, Congress did not
intend by the language which they have employed to interfere with my
absolute authority to order Captain Meigs to any other service I might
deem expedient. My perfect right still remains, notwithstanding the
clause, to send him away from Washington to any part of the Union to
superintend the erection of a fortification or on any other appropriate
duty.

It has been alleged, I think without sufficient cause, that this
clause is unconstitutional because it has created a new office and has
appointed Captain Meigs to perform its duties. If it had done this, it
would have been a clear question, because Congress have no right to
appoint to any office, this being specially conferred upon the President
and Senate. It is evident that Congress intended nothing more by this
clause than to express a decided opinion that Captain Meigs should be
continued in the employment to which he had been previously assigned
by competent authority.

It is not improbable that another question of grave importance may arise
out of this clause. Is the appropriation conditional and will it fall
provided I do not deem it proper that it shall be expended under the
superintendence of Captain Meigs? This is a question which shall receive
serious consideration, because upon its decision may depend whether
the completion of the waterworks shall be arrested for another season.
It is not probable that Congress could have intended that this great
and important work should depend upon the various casualties and
vicissitudes incident to the natural or official life of a single
officer of the Army. This would be to make the work subordinate to the
man, and not the man to the work, and to reverse our great axiomatic
rule of "principles, not men." I desire to express no opinion upon the
subject. Should the question ever arise, it shall have my serious
consideration.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

VETO MESSAGES.[13]

[Footnote 13: The messages of February 1 and February 6, 1860, are
pocket vetoes.]

WASHINGTON CITY, _February 1, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

On the last day of the last Congress a bill, which had passed both
Houses, entitled "An act making an appropriation for deepening the
channel over the St. Clair flats, in the State of Michigan," was
presented to me for approval.

It is scarcely necessary to observe that during the closing hours of a
session it is impossible for the President on the instant to examine
into the merits or demerits of an important bill, involving, as this
does, grave questions both of expediency and of constitutional power,
with that care and deliberation demanded by his public duty as well as
by the best interests of the country. For this reason the Constitution
has in all cases allowed him ten days for deliberation, because if a
bill be presented to him within the last ten days of the session he is
not required to return it, either with an approval or a veto, but may
retain it, "in which case it shall not be a law." Whilst an occasion can
rarely occur when so long a period as ten days would be required to
enable the President to decide whether he should approve or veto a
bill, yet to deny him even two days on important questions before the
adjournment of each session for this purpose, as recommended by a former
annual message, would not only be unjust to him, but a violation of the
spirit of the Constitution. To require him to approve a bill when it is
impossible he could examine into its merits would be to deprive him of
the exercise of his constitutional discretion and convert him into
a mere register of the decrees of Congress. I therefore deem it a
sufficient reason for having retained the bill in question that it
was not presented to me until the last day of the session.

Since the termination of the last Congress I have made a thorough
examination of the questions involved in the bill to deepen the channel
over the St. Clair flats, and now proceed to express the opinions which I
have formed upon the subject; and

1. Even if this had been a mere question of expediency, it was, to say
the least, extremely doubtful whether the bill ought to have been
approved, because the object which Congress intended to accomplish
by the appropriation which it contains of $55,000 had been already
substantially accomplished. I do not mean to allege that the work had
been completed in the best manner, but it was sufficient for all
practical purposes.

The St. Clair flats are formed by the St. Clair River, which empties
into the lake of that name by several mouths, and which forms a bar or
shoal on which in its natural state there is not more than 6 or 7 feet
of water. This shoal is interposed between the mouth of the river and
the deep water of the lake, a distance of 6,000 feet, and in its natural
condition was a serious obstruction to navigation. The obvious remedy
for this was to deepen a channel through these flats by dredging, so
as to enable vessels which could navigate the lake and the river to
pass through this intermediate channel. This object had been already
accomplished by previous appropriations, but without my knowledge, when
the bill was presented to me. Captain Whipple, of the Topographical
Engineers, to whom the expenditure of the last appropriation of $45,000
for this purpose in 1856 was intrusted, in his annual report of the 1st
October, 1858, stated that the dredging was discontinued on the 26th
August, 1858, when a channel had been cut averaging 275 feet wide, with
a depth varying from 12 to 15-1/2 feet. He says:

So long as the lake retains its present height we may assume that the
depth in the channel will be at least 13-1/2 feet.

With this result, highly creditable to Captain Whipple, he observes
that if he has been correctly informed "all the lake navigators are
gratified." Besides, afterwards, and during the autumn of 1858, the
Canadian Government expended $20,000 in deepening and widening the inner
end of the channel excavated by the United States. No complaint had been
made previous to the passage of the bill of obstructions to the commerce
and navigation across the St. Clair flats. What, then, was the object of
the appropriation proposed by the bill?

It appears that the surface of the water in Lake St. Clair has been
gradually rising, until in 1858 it had attained an elevation of 4 feet
above what had been its level in 1841. It is inferred, whether correctly
or not it is not for me to say, that the surface of the water may
gradually sink to the level of 1841, and in that event the water, which
was, when the bill passed, 13-1/2 feet deep in the channel, might sink
to 9-1/2 feet, and thus obstruct the passage.

To provide for this contingency, Captain Whipple suggested "the
propriety of placing the subject before Congress, with an estimate for
excavating a cut through the center of the new channel 150 feet in width
and 4-1/2 feet deep, so as to obtain from the river to the lake a depth
of 18 feet during seasons of extreme high water and 12 feet at periods
of extreme low water." It was not alleged that any present necessity
existed for this narrower cut in the bottom of the present channel,
but it is inferred that for the reason stated it may hereafter become
necessary. Captain Whipple's estimate amounted to $50,000, but Congress
by the bill have granted $55,000. Now, if no other objection existed
against this measure, it would not seem necessary that the appropriation
should have been made for the purpose indicated. The channel was
sufficiently deep for all practical purposes; but from natural causes
constantly operating in the lake, which I need not explain, this channel
is peculiarly liable to fill up. What is really required is that it
should at intervals be dredged out, so as to preserve its present depth;
and surely the comparatively trifling expense necessary for this purpose
ought not to be borne by the United States. After an improvement has
been once constructed by appropriations from the Treasury it is not too
much to expect that it should be kept in repair by that portion of the
commercial and navigating interests which enjoys its peculiar benefits.

The last report made by Captain Whipple, dated on the 13th September
last, has been submitted to Congress by the Secretary of War, and to
this I would refer for information, which is, upon the whole, favorable,
in relation to the present condition of the channel through the St.
Clair flats.

2. But the far more important question is, Does Congress possess the
power under the Constitution to deepen the channels of rivers and to
create and improve harbors for purposes of commerce?

The question of the constitutional power of Congress to construct
internal improvements within the States has been so frequently and
so elaborately discussed that it would seem useless on this occasion
to repeat or to refute at length arguments which have been so often
advanced. For my own opinions on this subject I might refer to President
Polk's carefully considered message of the 15th December, 1847,
addressed to the House of Representatives whilst I was a member of
his Cabinet.

The power to pass the bill in question, if it exist at all, must be
derived from the power "to regulate commerce with foreign nations and
among the several States and with the Indian tribes."

The power "to regulate:" Does this ever embrace the power to create or
to construct? To say that it does is to confound the meaning of words
of well-known signification. The word "regulate" has several shades of
meaning, according to its application to different subjects, but never
does it approach the signification of creative power. The regulating
power necessarily presupposes the existence of something to be
regulated. As applied to commerce, it signifies, according to the
lexicographers, "to subject to rules or restrictions, as to regulate
trade," etc. The Constitution itself is its own best expounder of the
meaning of words employed by its framers. Thus, Congress have the power
"to coin money." This is the creative power. Then immediately follows
the power "to regulate the value thereof "--that is, of the coined money
thus brought into existence. The words "regulate," "regulation," and
"regulations" occur several times in the Constitution, but always with
this subordinate meaning. Thus, after the creative power "to raise and
support armies" and "to provide and maintain a navy" had been conferred
upon Congress, then follows the power "to make rules for the government
and regulation of the land and naval forces" thus called into being. So
the Constitution, acting upon the self-evident fact that "commerce with
foreign nations and among the several States and with the Indian tribes"
already existed, conferred upon Congress the power "to regulate" this
commerce. Thus, according to Chief Justice Marshall, the power to
regulate commerce "is the power to prescribe the rule by which commerce
is to be governed." And Mr. Madison, in his veto message of the 3d
March, 1817, declares that--

"The power to regulate commerce among the several States" can not
include a power to construct roads and canals and to improve the
navigation of water courses, in order to facilitate, promote, and
secure such commerce, without a latitude of construction departing
from the ordinary import of the terms, strengthened by the known
inconveniences which doubtless led to the grant of this remedial
power to Congress.

We know from the history of the Constitution what these inconveniences
were. Different States admitted foreign imports at different rates of
duty. Those which had prescribed a higher rate of duty for the purpose
of increasing their revenue were defeated in this object by the
legislation of neighboring States admitting the same foreign articles
at lower rates. Hence jealousies and dangerous rivalries had sprung up
between the different States. It was chiefly in the desire to provide
a remedy for these evils that the Federal Convention originated. The
Constitution, for this purpose, conferred upon Congress the power to
regulate commerce in such a manner that duties should be uniform in all
the States composing the Confederacy, and, moreover, expressly provided
that "no preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or
revenue to the ports of one State over those of another." If the
construction of a harbor or deepening the channel of a river be a
regulation of commerce, as the advocates of this power contend, this
would give the ports of the State within which these improvements were
made a preference over the ports of other States, and thus be a
violation of the Constitution.

It is not too much to assert that no human being in existence when the
Constitution was framed entertained the idea or the apprehension that
by conferring upon Congress the power to regulate commerce its framers
intended to embrace the power of constructing roads and canals and of
creating and improving harbors and deepening the channels of rivers
throughout our extensive Confederacy. Indeed, one important branch of
this very power had been denied to Congress in express terms by the
Convention. A proposition was made in the Convention to confer on
Congress the power "to provide for the cutting of canals when deemed
necessary." This was rejected by the strong majority of eight States to
three. Among the reasons given for this rejection was that "the expense
in such cases will fall on the United States and the benefits accrue
to the places where the canals may be cut."

To say that the simple power of regulating commerce embraces within
itself that of constructing harbors, of deepening the channels of
rivers--in short, of creating a system of internal improvements for the
purpose of facilitating the operations of commerce--would be to adopt
a latitude of construction under which all political power might be
usurped by the Federal Government. Such a construction would be in
conflict with the well-known jealousy against Federal power which
actuated the framers of the Constitution. It is certain that the power
in question is not enumerated among the express grants to Congress
contained in the instrument. In construing the Constitution we must then
next inquire, Is its exercise "necessary and proper"?--not whether it
may be convenient or useful "for carrying into execution" the power
to regulate commerce among the States. But the jealous patriots of
that day were not content even with this strict rule of construction.
Apprehending that a dangerous latitude of interpretation might be
applied in future times to the enumerated grants of power, they procured
an amendment to be made to the original instrument, which declares that
"the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor
prohibited by it to the States are reserved to the States respectively
or to the people."

The distinctive spirit and character which pervades the Constitution is
that the powers of the General Government are confined chiefly to our
intercourse with foreign nations, to questions of peace and war, and to
subjects of common interest to all the States, carefully leaving the
internal and domestic concerns of each individual State to be controlled
by its own people and legislature. Without specifically enumerating
these powers, it must be admitted that this well-marked distinction runs
through the whole instrument. In nothing does the wisdom of its framers
appear more conspicuously than in the care with which they sought to
avoid the danger to our institutions which must necessarily result from
the interference of the Federal Government with the local concerns
of the States. The jarring and collision which would occur from the
exercise by two separate governments of jurisdiction over the same
subjects could not fail to produce disastrous consequences. Besides,
the corrupting and seducing money influence exerted by the General
Government in carrying into effect a system of internal improvements
might be perverted to increase and consolidate its own power to the
detriment of the rights of the States.

If the power existed in Congress to pass the present bill, then taxes
must be imposed and money borrowed to an unlimited extent to carry such
a system into execution. Equality among the States is equity. This
equality is the very essence of the Constitution. No preference can
justly be given to one of the sovereign States over another. According
to the best estimate, our immense coast on the Atlantic, the Gulf of
Mexico, the Pacific, and the Ivakes embraces more than 9,500 miles,
and, measuring by its indentations and to the head of tide water on
the rivers, the distance is believed to be more than 33,000 miles.
This everywhere throughout its vast extent contains numerous rivers
and harbors, all of which may become the objects of Congressional
appropriation. You can not deny to one State what you have granted to
another. Such injustice would produce strife, jealousy, and alarming
dissensions among them. Even within the same State improvements may be
made in one river or harbor which would essentially injure the commerce
and industry of another river or harbor. The truth is that most of these
improvements are in a great degree local in their character and for
the especial benefit of corporations or individuals in their vicinity,
though they may have an odor of nationality on the principle that
whatever benefits any part indirectly benefits the whole.

From our past history we may have a small foretaste of the cost of
reviving the system of internal improvements.

For more than thirty years after the adoption of the Federal
Constitution the power to appropriate money for the construction of
internal improvements was neither claimed nor exercised by Congress.
After its commencement, in 1820 and 1821, by very small and modest
appropriations for surveys, it advanced with such rapid strides that
within the brief period of ten years, according to President Polk, "the
sum asked for from the Treasury for various projects amounted to more
than $200,000,000." The vetoes of General Jackson and several of his
successors have impeded the progress of the system and limited its
extent, but have not altogether destroyed it. The time has now arrived
for a final decision of the question. If the power exists, a general
system should be adopted which would make some approach to justice
among all the States, if this be possible.

What a vast field would the exercise of this power open for jobbing and
corruption! Members of Congress, from an honest desire to promote the
interest of their constituents, would struggle for improvements within
their own districts, and the body itself must necessarily be converted
into an arena where each would endeavor to obtain from the Treasury as
much money as possible for his own locality. The temptation would prove
irresistible. A system of "_logrolling_" (I know no word so expressive)
would be inaugurated, under which the Treasury would be exhausted and
the Federal Government be deprived of the means necessary to execute
those great powers clearly confided to it by the Constitution for the
purpose of promoting the interests and vindicating the honor of the
country.

Whilst the power over internal improvements, it is believed, was
"reserved to the States respectively," the framers of the Constitution
were not unmindful that it might be proper for the State legislatures to
possess the power to impose tonnage duties for the improvement of rivers
and harbors within their limits. The self-interest of the different
localities would prevent this from being done to such an extent as to
injure their trade. The Constitution, therefore, which had in a previous
clause provided that all duties should be uniform throughout the United
States, subsequently modified the general rule so far as to declare
that "no State shall without the consent of Congress levy any duty of
tonnage." The inference is therefore irresistible that with the consent
of Congress such a duty may be imposed by the States. Thus those
directly interested in the improvement may lay a tonnage duty for its
construction without imposing a tax for this purpose upon all the people
of the United States.

To this provision several of the States resorted until the period when
they began to look to the Federal Treasury instead of depending upon
their own exertions. Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania,
Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, with
the consent of Congress, imposed small tonnage duties on vessels at
different periods for clearing and deepening the channels of rivers
and improving harbors where such vessels entered. The last of these
legislative acts believed to exist is that of Virginia, passed on the
22d February, 1826, levying a tonnage duty on vessels for "improving
the navigation of James River from Warwick to Rocketts Landing." The
latest act of Congress on this subject was passed on the 24th of
February, 1843, giving its consent to the law of the legislature of
Maryland laying a tonnage duty on vessels for the improvement of the
harbor of Baltimore, and continuing it in force until 1st June, 1850.

Thus a clear constitutional mode exists by which the legislature of
Michigan may, in its discretion, raise money to preserve the channel
of the St. Clair River at its present depth or to render it deeper.
A very insignificant tonnage duty on American vessels using this channel
would be sufficient for the purpose; and as the St. Clair River is
the boundary line between the United States and the Province of Upper
Canada, the provincial British authorities would doubtless be willing
to impose a similar tonnage duty on British vessels to aid in the
accomplishment of this object. Indeed, the legislature of that Province
have already evinced their interest on this subject by having but
recently expended $20,000 on the improvement of the St. Clair flats.
Even if the Constitution of the United States had conferred upon
Congress the power of deepening the channel of the St. Clair River,
it would be unjust to impose upon the people of the United States the
entire burden, which ought to be borne jointly by the two parties having
an equal interest in the work. Whenever the State of Michigan shall
cease to depend on the Treasury of the United States, I doubt not that
she, in conjunction with Upper Canada, will provide the necessary means
for keeping this work in repair in the least expensive and most
effective manner and without being burdensome to any interest.

It has been contended in favor of the existence of the power to
construct internal improvements that Congress have from the beginning
made appropriations for light-houses, and that upon the same principle
of construction they possess the power of improving harbors and
deepening the channels of rivers. As an original question the authority
to erect light-houses under the commercial power might be considered
doubtful; but even were it more doubtful than it is I should regard
it as settled after an uninterrupted exercise of the power for
seventy years. Such a long and uniform practical construction of
the Constitution is entitled to the highest respect, and has finally
determined the question.

Among the first acts which passed Congress after the Federal

Government went into effect was that of August 7, 1789, providing "for
the establishment and support of light-houses, beacons, buoys, and
public piers." Under this act the expenses for the maintenance of
all such erections then in existence were to be paid by the Federal
Government and provision was made for the cession of jurisdiction over
them by the respective States to the United States. In every case since
before a light-house could be built a previous cession of jurisdiction
has been required. This practice doubtless originated from that clause
of the Constitution authorizing Congress "to exercise exclusive
legislation ... over all places purchased by the consent of the
legislature of the State in which the same shall be, for the erection of
forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other _needful buildings_."
Among these "_needful buildings_" light-houses must in fact have been
included.

The bare statement of these facts is sufficient to prove that no analogy
exists between the power to erect a light-house as a "needful building"
and that to deepen the channel of a river.

In what I have said I do not mean to intimate a doubt of the power of
Congress to construct such internal improvements as may be essentially
necessary for defense and protection against the invasion of a foreign
enemy. The power to declare war and, the obligation to protect each
State against invasion clearly cover such cases. It will scarcely be
claimed, however, that the improvement of the St. Clair River is within
this category. This river is the boundary line between the United States
and the British Province of Upper Canada. Any improvement of its
navigation, therefore, which we could make for purposes of war would
equally inure to the benefit of Great Britain, the only enemy which
could possibly confront us in that quarter. War would be a sad calamity
for both nations, but should it ever, unhappily, exist, the battles will
not be fought on the St. Clair River or on the lakes with which it
communicates.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _February 6, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

On the last day of the last session of Congress a resolution, which
had passed both Houses, "in relation to removal of obstructions to
navigation in the mouth of the Mississippi River" was presented to me
for approval. I have retained this resolution because it was presented
to me at a period when it was impossible to give the subject that
examination to which it appeared to be entitled. I need not repeat the
views on this point presented in the introductory portion of my message
to the Senate of the 2d [1st] instant.

In addition I would merely observe that although at different periods
sums, amounting in the aggregate to $690,000, have been appropriated by
Congress for the purpose of removing the bar and obstructions at the
mouth of the Mississippi, yet it is now acknowledged that this money
has been expended with but little, if any, practical benefit to its
navigation.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _April 17, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I return with my objections to the Senate, for their reconsideration,
the bill entitled "An act for the relief of Arthur Edwards and his
associates," presented to me on the 10th instant.

This bill directs the Postmaster-General "to audit and settle the
accounts of Arthur Edwards and his associates for transporting the
United States through mail on their steamers during the years 1849 and
1853 and intervening years" between Cleveland and Detroit, between
Sandusky and Detroit, and between Toledo and Detroit, and "to allow
and pay them not less than $28.60 for each and every passage of said
steamers between said places during the aforementioned time when the
mails were on board."

I have caused a statement to be made at the Post-Office Department of
the least sum which can be paid to Mr. Edwards and his associates under
the bill should it become a law, and from this it appears the amount
will be $80,405.23.

Mr. Edwards and his associates, in 1854, a short time after the alleged
services had been rendered, presented a claim to the Postmaster-General
for $25,180 as compensation for these services. This claim consisted of
nine items, setting forth specifically all the services embraced by the
present bill. It is fair to presume that the parties best knew the value
of their own services and that they would not by an underestimate do
themselves injustice. The whole claim of $25,180 was rejected by the
Postmaster-General for reasons which it is no part of my present purpose
to discuss.

The claimants next presented a petition to the Court of Claims in June,
1855, "for a reasonable compensation" for these services, and "pray the
judgment of your honorable court for the actual value of the service
rendered by them and received by the United States, which amounts to the
sum of $50,000." Thus the estimate which they placed upon their services
had nearly doubled between 1854 and 1855--had risen from $25,180 to
$50,000. On the ------, after a full hearing, the court decided against
the claim, and delivered an opinion in support of this decision which
can not, I think, be contested on legal principles. But they state in
the conclusion of the opinion that "for any compensation for their
services beyond what they have received they must depend upon the
discretion of Congress."

This decision of the Court of Claims was reported to Congress on the
1st of April, 1858, and from it the present bill has originated. The
amount granted by it is more by upward of $55,000 than the parties
themselves demanded from the Postmaster-General in 1854, and is more by
upward of $30,000 than they demanded when before the Court of Claims.
The enormous difference in their favor between their own original
demand and the amount granted by the present bill constitutes my chief
objection to it. In presenting this objection I do not propose to enter
into the question whether the claimants are entitled in equity to any
compensation for their services beyond that which it is alleged they
have already received, or, if so, what would be "a reasonable and fair
compensation." My sole purpose is to afford Congress an opportunity
of reconsidering this case on account of its peculiar circumstances.
I transmit to the Senate the reports of Horatio King, Acting
Postmaster-General, and of A.N. Zevely, Third Assistant
Postmaster-General, both dated on the 14th of April, 1860, on the
subject of this claim.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

WASHINGTON, _June 22, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I return with my objections to the Senate, in which it originated, the
bill entitled "An act to secure homesteads to actual settlers on the
public domain, and for other purposes," presented to me on the 20th
instant.

This bill gives to every citizen of the United States "who is the head
of a family," and to every person of foreign birth residing in the
country who has declared his intention to become a citizen, though he
may not be the head of a family, the privilege of appropriating to
himself 160 acres of Government land, of settling and residing upon it
for five years; and should his residence continue until the end of this
period, he shall then receive a patent on the payment of 25 cents per
acre, or one-fifth of the present Government price. During this period
the land is protected from all the debts of the settler.

This bill also contains a cession to the States of all the public lands
within their respective limits "which have been subject to sale at
private entry, and which remain unsold after the lapse of thirty years."
This provision embraces a present donation to the States of 12,229,731
acres, and will from time to time transfer to them large bodies of such
lands which from peculiar circumstances may not be absorbed by private
purchase and settlement.

To the actual settler this bill does not make an absolute donation,
but the price is so small that it can scarcely be called a sale. It is
nominally 25 cents per acre, but considering this is not to be paid
until the end of five years, it is in fact reduced to about 18 cents per
acre, or one-seventh of the present minimum price of the public lands.
In regard to the States, it is an absolute and unqualified gift.

1. This state of the facts raises the question whether Congress, under
the Constitution, has the power to give away the public lands either to
States or individuals. On this question I expressed a decided opinion
in my message to the House of Representatives of the 24th February,
1859, returning the agricultural-college bill. This opinion remains
unchanged. The argument then used applies as a constitutional objection
with greater force to the present bill. _There_ it had the plea of
consideration, growing out of a specific beneficial purpose; _here_
it is an absolute gratuity to the States, without the pretext of
consideration. I am compelled for want of time in these the last
hours of the session to quote largely from this message.

I presume the general proposition will be admitted that Congress does
not possess the power to make donations of money already in the
Treasury, raised by taxes on the people, either to States or
individuals.

But it is contended that the public lands are placed upon a different
footing from money raised by taxation and that the proceeds arising from
their sale are not subject to the limitations of the Constitution, but
may be appropriated or given away by Congress, at its own discretion,
to States, corporations, or individuals for any purpose they may deem
expedient.

The advocates of this bill attempt to sustain their position upon the
language of the second clause of the third section of the fourth article
of the Constitution, which declares that "the Congress shall have power
to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting
the territory or other property belonging to the United States." They
contend that by a fair interpretation of the words "dispose of" in this
clause Congress possesses the power to make this gift of public lands to
the States for purposes of education.

It would require clear and strong evidence to induce the belief that the
framers of the Constitution, after having limited the powers of Congress
to certain precise and specific objects, intended by employing the words
"dispose of" to give that body unlimited power over the vast public
domain. It would be a strange anomaly indeed to have created two
funds--the one by taxation, confined to the execution of the enumerated
powers delegated to Congress, and the other from the public lands,
applicable to all subjects, foreign and domestic, which Congress might
designate; that this fund should be "disposed of," not to pay the debts
of the United States, nor "to raise and support armies," nor "to provide
and maintain a navy," nor to accomplish any one of the other great
objects enumerated in the Constitution, but be diverted from them to
pay the debts of the States, to educate their people, and to carry into
effect any other measure of their domestic policy. This would be to
confer upon Congress a vast and irresponsible authority utterly at war
with the well-known jealousy of Federal power which prevailed at the
formation of the Constitution. The natural intendment would be that
as the Constitution confined Congress to well-defined specific powers,
the funds placed at their command, whether in land or money, should be
appropriated to the performance of the duties corresponding with these
powers. If not, a Government has been created with all its other powers
carefully limited, but without any limitation in respect to the public
lands.

But I can not so read the words "dispose of" as to make them embrace
the idea of "giving away." The true meaning of words is always to be
ascertained by the subject to which they are applied and the known
general intent of the lawgiver. Congress is a trustee under the
Constitution for the people of the United States to "dispose of" their
public lands, and I think I may venture to assert with confidence that
no case can be found in which a trustee in the position of Congress has
been authorized to "_dispose of_" property by its owner where it has
been held that these words authorized such trustee to give away the
fund intrusted to his care. No trustee, when called upon to account for
the disposition of the property placed under his management before any
judicial tribunal, would venture to present such a plea in his defense.
The true meaning of these words is clearly stated by Chief Justice Taney
in delivering the opinion of the court (19 Howard, p. 436). He says in
reference to this clause of the Constitution: "It begins its enumeration
of powers by that of disposing; in other words, making sale of the lands
or raising money from them, which, as we have already said, was the main
object of the cession (from the States), and which is the first thing
provided for in the article." It is unnecessary to refer to the history
of the times to establish the known fact that this statement of the
Chief Justice is perfectly well founded. That it never was intended by
the framers of the Constitution that these lands should be given away
by Congress is manifest from the concluding portion of the same clause.
By it Congress has power not only "to dispose of" the territory, but of
the "other property of the United States." In the language of the Chief
Justice (p. 437): "And the same power of making needful rules respecting
the territory is in precisely the same language applied to the other
property of the United States, associating the power over the territory
in this respect with the power over movable or personal property; that
is, the ships, arms, or munitions of war, which then belonged in common
to the State sovereignties."

The question is still clearer in regard to the public lands in the
States and Territories within the Louisiana and Florida purchases. These
lands were paid for out of the public Treasury from money raised by
taxation. Now if Congress had no power to appropriate the money with
which these lands were purchased, is it not clear that the power over
the lands is equally limited? The mere conversion of this money into
land could not confer upon Congress new power over the disposition
of land which they had not possessed over money. If it could, then a
trustee, by changing the character of the fund intrusted to his care for
special objects from money into land, might give the land away or devote
it to any purpose he thought proper, however foreign from the trust.
The inference is irresistible that this land partakes of the very same
character with the money paid for it, and can be devoted to no objects
different from those to which the money could have been devoted. If
this were not the case, then by the purchase of a new territory from a
foreign government out of the public Treasury Congress could enlarge
their own powers and appropriate the proceeds of the sales of the land
thus purchased, at their own discretion, to other and far different
objects from what they could have applied the purchase money which had
been raised by taxation.

2. It will prove unequal and unjust in its operation among the actual
settlers themselves.

The first settlers of a new country are a most meritorious class. They
brave the dangers of savage warfare, suffer the privations of a frontier
life, and with the hand of toil bring the wilderness into cultivation.
The "old settlers," as they are everywhere called, are public
benefactors. This class have all paid for their lands the Government
price, or $1.25 per acre. They have constructed roads, established
schools, and laid the foundation of prosperous commonwealths. Is it
just, is it equal, that after they have accomplished all this by their
labor new settlers should come in among them and receive their farms at
the price of 25 or 18 cents per acre? Surely the old settlers, as a
class, are entitled to at least equal benefits with the new. If you give
the new settlers their land for a comparatively nominal price, upon
every principle of equality and justice you will be obliged to refund
out of the common Treasury the difference which the old have paid above
the new settlers for their land.

3. This bill will do great injustice to the old soldiers who have
received land warrants for their services in fighting the battles of
their country. It will greatly reduce the market value of these
warrants. Already their value has sunk for 160-acre warrants to 67 cents
per acre under an apprehension that such a measure as this might become
a law. What price would they command when any head of a family may take
possession of a quarter section of land and not pay for it until the end
of five years, and then at the rate of only 25 cents per acre? The
magnitude of the interest to be affected will appear in the fact that
there are outstanding unsatisfied land warrants reaching back to the
last war with Great Britain, and even Revolutionary times, amounting
in round numbers to seven and a half millions of acres.

4. This bill will prove unequal and unjust in its operation, because
from its nature it is confined to one class of our people. It is a boon
exclusively conferred upon the cultivators of the soil. Whilst it is
cheerfully admitted that these are the most numerous and useful class
of our fellow-citizens and eminently deserve all the advantages which
our laws have already extended to them, yet there should be no new
legislation which would operate to the injury or embarrassment of the
large body of respectable artisans and laborers. The mechanic who
emigrates to the West and pursues his calling must labor long before
he can purchase a quarter section of land, whilst the tiller of the
soil who accompanies him obtains a farm at once by the bounty of the
Government. The numerous body of mechanics in our large cities can not,
even by emigrating to the West, take advantage of the provisions of this
bill without entering upon a new occupation for which their habits of
life have rendered them unfit.

5. This bill is unjust to the old States of the Union in many respects;
and amongst these States, so far as the public lands are concerned, we
may enumerate every State east of the Mississippi with the exception of
Wisconsin and a portion of Minnesota.

It is a common belief within their limits that the older States of the
Confederacy do not derive their proportionate benefit from the public
lands. This is not a just opinion. It is doubtful whether they could be
rendered more beneficial to these States under any other system than
that which at present exists. Their proceeds go into the common Treasury
to accomplish the objects of the Government, and in this manner all
the States are benefited in just proportion. But to give this common
inheritance away would deprive the old States of their just proportion
of this revenue without holding out any the least corresponding
advantage. Whilst it is our common glory that the new States have become
so prosperous and populous, there is no good reason why the old States
should offer premiums to their own citizens to emigrate from them to the
West. That land of promise presents in itself sufficient allurements to
our young and enterprising citizens without any adventitious aid. The
offer of free farms would probably have a powerful effect in encouraging
emigration, especially from States like Illinois, Tennessee, and
Kentucky, to the west of the Mississippi, and could not fail to reduce
the price of property within their limits. An individual in States thus

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