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

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necessary to defer them.

But in the present altered condition of the country--the national debt
paid off at a season of universal peace and unexampled prosperity, with
an overburthened Treasury, and when it is deemed necessary to dispose
of it to resort to measures which many eminent statesmen consider
unwarranted by the Constitution and which a great portion of the people
of the Union consider of doubtful policy--at such a period and under
such circumstances it is difficult to perceive the justice of longer
withholding suitable appropriations for the defense of Maine, and to
our view it can only be withheld by doing violence to the principles
of equal rights and by neglecting a plain constitutional duty.

Your committee therefore submit the following resolutions.




RESOLVE relating to the fortification of frontier States.

_Resolved_, That the obligation of the Federal Government, under
the Constitution, when it has the means to erect suitable fortifications
for the defense of the frontier of the States, is a practical duty not
justly to be denied, evaded, neglected, or delayed.

_Resolved_, That our Senators in Congress be instructed and our
Representatives requested to use their influence to obtain liberal
appropriations for the defense of Maine and the Union.

_Resolved_, That the governor be requested to transmit copies of
the above report and resolutions to the President and Vice-President,
the Secretaries of State, Navy, and War, and to each of our Senators
and Representatives in Congress.

[Passed by both Houses and approved March 30, 1837.]


_Augusta, April 30, 1837_.

His Excellency MARTIN VAN BUREN,

_President of the United States_.

SIR: In compliance with a request of the legislature of this State, I
have the honor to transmit to Your Excellency the accompanying report
and resolutions:

In behalf of the State of Maine, I would respectfully, yet urgently,
call on the President of the United States to cause the northeastern
boundary of this State to be explored and surveyed and monuments erected
in accordance with the request contained in the resolutions which are
herewith communicated. As the subject is one in which the people of
Maine have a deep interest, I feel a confidence it will commend itself
to your early attention.

With high consideration, I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,



_FEBRUARY 2, 1837_.

The joint committee to whom was referred so much of the governor's
message as relates to the northeastern boundary, and the documents and
evidence, together with an order of the two houses instructing the
committee "to inquire into the expediency of providing by law for the
appointment of commissioners on the part of this State, by the consent
of the Government of the United States, to survey the line between this
State and the Province of New Brunswick according to the treaty of 1783,
to establish monuments in such places as shall be fixed by said
commissioners and by commissioners to be appointed on the part of the
Government of Great Britain, have attended to the duties assigned them
with the industry and solicitude which the importance of the subject
demanded. Could the committee have spared the time and had the means
to obtain documents not within the jurisdiction of the State, and
consequently out of its power, a more clear, methodical, and perfect
view of the subject would have been presented; but as there had been
hitherto so much procrastination and the impatience of the public,
already great, was becoming more and more intense, your committee
without further preamble or apology ask leave to present the following

The legislature and people of Maine, we believe, will not contend that
the treaty-making power of the United States does not extend to a final
adjustment of a disputed and undefined line of boundary between a State
and a foreign nation; _but we do insist_ that no power is granted by the
Constitution of the United States to _limit_ or _change the boundary
of a State or cede a part of its territory without its consent_. It is
even by no means certain how far _such consent_ would enable the treaty
authority to exert its powers. _Citizens_ might be made the subjects of
a treaty transfer, and these citizens owing allegiance to the State and
to the Union, and allegiance and protection being reciprocally binding,
the right to transfer a citizen to a foreign government, to _sell_ him,
might well be questioned as being inconsistent with the spirit of our
free institutions. But be this as it may, Maine will never concede the
principle that the President and two-thirds of the Senate can transfer
its territory, much less its citizens, without its permission, given by
its constitutional organs.

Your committee, however, deem it but fair to admit that they have
discovered no inclination in the General Government, or any department
of it, to assume this power. On the contrary, the President has
repeatedly declined the adoption of a conventional line deviating from
the treaty of 1783, upon the express ground that it could not be done
without the consent of Maine.

It is due, nevertheless, to the State of Maine to say that the committee
have no evidence that any conventional line has been proposed to them
for their consent. It indeed appears that the consent of Maine had not
been given to the adoption of any other boundary than that prescribed
by the treaty of 1783 up to the 29th February, 1836, and we are well
assured that no proposition for a different boundary has since that
time been made to any department of the government of this State.

The President of the United States on the 15th June last
communicated to the Senate, in compliance with their resolution, a
copy of the correspondence relative to the northeastern boundary. This
correspondence embraced a period from the 21st July, 1832, to the 5th
March, 1836.

The opinion and advice of the King of the Netherlands, to whom the
controversy was referred by the provisions of the treaty of Ghent, was
made on the 10th January, 1831, and of the three questions submitted,
viz, _the northeastern boundary, the northwesternmost head of Connecticut
River_, and _the forty-fifth parallel of latitude_, he seems to have
determined _but one_. He did decide that the source of the stream
running into and through Connecticut Lake is the true northwest head of
that river as intended by the treaty of 1783; and as to the rest, he
_advises_ that it will be _convenient (il conviendra)_ to adopt the
"Thalweg," the deepest channel of the St. John and St. Francis, for the
north line, and that the forty-fifth degree is to be measured in order
to mark out the boundary to the St. Lawrence, with a deviation so as to
include Rouses Point within the United States. As to _the convenience_
of establishing the St. John and St. Francis as the northern boundary of
Maine, we have only to observe that however "convenient" it may be to
Great Britain to obtain so large a portion of our territory and waters,
it would certainly be very _inconvenient_ to us, and inasmuch as we are
probably capable of judging of our own "convenience," and have never
solicited _the advice_ of anyone on this point, it is scarcely to be
expected that we shall be _advised_ to adopt a line so preposterous
and injurious.

It was in this view and in strict conformity with the Constitution
conferring the treaty power that the President on the 7th December,
1831, submitted to the Senate this "award" and "advice" of the King
of the Netherlands. Senators were divided on a principal point, some
insisting that to carry the award or opinion into effect was only _in
execution_ of the treaty, and it therefore belonged exclusively to the
President "to take care" that this "supreme law" was faithfully executed
or to reject it altogether.

But the prevailing opinion was that this "award" or "advice" was
_perfecting an unfinished_ treaty, and that therefore it could not be
effected by the President without "the advice and consent of the Senate,
two-thirds of the members present concurring therein." So far from the
concurrence of two-thirds _for_ the measure, there were _thirty-four_
to _eight against_ it, and it was consequently rejected, and a
recommendation to the President was adopted to open a new negotiation
to determine the line of boundary according to the treaty of 1783.

It is insisted by the British ministers that a due north line from the
monument at the source of the St. Croix will intersect no highlands
described in the treaty of 1783. Now this is an assumption by Great
Britain totally unwarranted by any evidence. The boundaries bearing upon
the question are thus given: "From the northwest angle of Nova Scotia,
to wit, that angle which is formed by a line drawn due north from the
source of the St. Croix River to the highlands; along the said highlands
which divide _the rivers_ that empty themselves into the St. Lawrence
from those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean, to the north westernmost
head of Connecticut River"; "east by a line to be drawn along the middle
of the river St. Croix from its mouth, in the Bay of Fundy, to its
source, and from its source directly north to the aforesaid highlands
which divide the rivers that fall into the Atlantic Ocean from those
which fall into the St. Lawrence."

The first object, starting place, or _terminus a quo_, is this
_northwest angle of Nova Scotia_. It is the corner of the British
Province _designated by themselves_. It was presumed, and it is still
believed, that they knew the identical spot; we have a right to demand
of them to define it. In the treaty of 1783 they were disposed to define
it, and hence they say it is _that angle which is formed by a line drawn
due north from the source of the St. Croix to those highlands which
divide the rivers that flow into the St. Lawrence from those which flow
into the Atlantic Ocean_.

Nothing can be more clear than that the British negotiators of the
treaty of 1783 had reference to their east and west line between Canada
and Nova Scotia. This in 1755-56 was matter of controversy between
France and England, the French claiming that it was far south and the
British strenuously contending that these very highlands were even more
north than we have endeavored to fix them.

The controversy resulted in a war, which, after the capture of Quebec,
was terminated by the peace of 1763, whereby Great Britain obtained both
sides of the line, and she then established the north line of Nova
Scotia about where we contend it should be. So far from admitting that
a due north line from the monument will not intersect the highlands
intended by the treaty of 1783, the State of Maine has always insisted,
and still insists, that no known obstacle exists to the ascertaining and
accurately defining them, and thus establishing the _terminus a quo, to
wit, the northwest angle of Nova Scotia_. It would seem strange, indeed,
that this line, so fully discussed and controverted between the English
and French in 1755-56, should have been left unsettled still when both
Provinces became British. It is impossible to imagine such ignorance of
so important a point as this northwest angle, so often referred to and
spoken of as a notorious monument.

The peace of 1783 was considered by Great Britain as _a grant by metes
and bounds_. The boundaries were prescribed, and this northwest angle
was _the commencement_. Twenty years only before this (1763) Nova Scotia
had been organized as a distinct Province, then including what are now
Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and this angle was referred to as a
boundary without hesitancy or doubt. Indeed, the treaty itself, as if
to make assurance doubly sure, fixed it where a due north line from the
source of the St. Croix will intersect those highlands which divide
the rivers which flow into the _river_ St. Lawrence from those which
flow into the Atlantic Ocean. This source of the St. Croix has been
determined and a monument fixed there by the commissioners under the
fifth article of the treaty of 1795 (Jay's). Now the assumption that the
north line from this monument will intersect or meet no such highlands
is entirely gratuitous.

The treaty does not speak of mountains nor even hills, but of
"highlands" that divide rivers flowing different ways. It was well known
that rivers did fall into the St. Lawrence and into the Atlantic, that
these rivers would run _down_ and not _up_, and it was consequently
inferred that the _land_ from whence these _rivers_ flowed must of
necessity be _high_, and unless there are to be found in that region
_geological phenomena_ which exist nowhere else on the face of the globe
this inference is irresistible.

The truth is that these highlands have been known and well understood by
the British themselves ever since the grant of James I to Sir William
Alexander, in 1621. The portion of the boundary there given which
relates to this controversy is "from the western spring head of the St.
Croix, by an imaginary line conceived to run through the land northward
to the next road of Ships River or Spring discharging itself into the
great river of Canada, and proceeding thence _eastward_ along the shores
of the sea of the said river of Canada to the road, haven, or shore
commonly called _Gaspeck_" (Gaspe).

The cession of Canada by France made it necessary to define the limits
of the Province of Quebec, and accordingly His Britannic Majesty, by his
proclamation of 7th October, 1763, is thus explicit as to what affects
this question: "Passing along the highlands which divide _the rivers_
that empty themselves into the said _river_ St. Lawrence from those
which fall into _the_ sea, and also _along the north coast of the Bay
de Chaleurs_ and the coast of the _Gulf_ of the St. Lawrence to _Cape
Rosiers_" etc.

The act of Parliament of the fourteenth George III (1774) defines thus
the south line of Canada: "South by a line from the Bay de Chaleurs
along the highlands which divide the rivers that empty themselves into
the river St. Lawrence from those which flow into _the sea_." The north
line of the grant to Alexander is from the source of the St. Croix to
the "spring head" or source of some river or stream which falls into
the river St. Lawrence, and thence _eastward_ to Gaspe Bay, which
communicates with the Gulf of St. Lawrence in latitude 49 deg. 30', and
would make nearly an east and west line. The proclamation of 1763
defines the _south_ line of the Province of Quebec as passing along the
highlands which divide the rivers that fall into the St. Lawrence from
those which fall into the sea, and also along the north coast of the
Bay de Chaleurs to _the Gulf_ of St. Lawrence. This is the _south_
boundary, and consequently in an _east_ and _west direction_; but it
passes _north_ of Bay de Chaleurs, wherefore the south boundary of the
Province must of necessity be north of Bay de Chaleurs. The eastern
boundary is northerly by the Gulf of _Cape Rosiers_, in about latitude
50 deg., longitude 64 deg. north of Gaspe Bay, and at the mouth of the river
St. Lawrence, where it communicates with the gulf or sea. And the act
of Parliament makes _this south side_ from this same bay along those
highlands, and it must _inevitably run west_ or _it is no south_
boundary. Now no one can doubt that in the proclamation of 1763 it
was the intent to adopt Sir William Alexander's _northern_ for this
_southern_ boundary of the Province of Quebec.

Indeed, it appears in every commission to the governor of Nova Scotia
and New Brunswick from 1763 to 1784, and after the treaty of peace of
1783, that the Province of Nova Scotia extended to the southern boundary
of the Province of Quebec. It then irresistibly and inevitably follows
that a west line from the Bay de Chaleurs, intersecting a due north line
from the monument, is the identical northwest angle. Now a line from
Mars Hill direct to Cape Rosiers, instead of being _easterly_, would be
north of northeast, _crossing_ the Bay de Chaleurs. But passing along
its north coast, as the proclamation provides, the line from this Mars
Hill must be more northerly still. Indeed, the pretense that a pyramidal
spur or peak, such as this hill, should constitute the range of
highlands mentioned in the treaty is so utterly visionary that it is
entitled to _no sort of respect_.

We may now by these facts and reflections give this inquiry a right
direction, _to wit,_ to the ascertainment of the north boundary of Nova
Scotia, which is the southern boundary of Canada. We have always been
lured from this by the British negotiators to the _left_ or _west_ of
this north line from the monument.

No one who is in the least conversant with the subject can suppose for a
moment that this northwest angle can be found in such a direction. The
question for us is, Are there any highlands north of the Bay de Chaleurs
extending _in a western direction toward_ a north line drawn from the
monument? If this line westerly from the bay be not distinctly marked so
far as to intersect this north line, the principle is to extend it in
the same direction to the place of intersection; that is, if the line
between Nova Scotia and Canada is _west_ to within, say, 30 miles of the
north line from the monument, and the rest of the way is indefinite or
obscure, extend it on in the same direction until you form a point of
intersection, and this will be the northwest angle of Nova Scotia. But
the truth is, _the highlands are there_, and have been found in running
due north from the monument. The elevations were taken by the British
surveyor from the source of the St. Croix, at the monument, to the first
waters of the Restigouche; and at Mars Hill, 40 miles, the summit of
this isolated sugar loaf was 1,100 feet, and at the termination of the
survey at the Restigouche waters, 100 miles farther, the elevation was
I,600 feet; consequently the summit of Mars Hill, 1,100 feet above the
waters of the St. Croix, is 500 feet lower than the lands at the
Restigouche. And yet the pretense is that there are no highlands but
this detached spur, Mars Hill! Still further, the highest position
surveyed is nearly 50 miles short of the Melis, which falls into the St.
Lawrence, and we do not perceive that the elevations have been taken
there at all, but we do find it is here that _the waters separate_, and
consequently the land must be still higher.

In failure of highlands (_assumed_ not to exist), the British
negotiators claim a line which, instead of dividing the St. Lawrence
and Atlantic waters, would actually extend between two rivers, _both
of which fall into the Atlantic_.

To say nothing of the absurdity, not to say ignorance, of such a claim,
it is enough that it is in the teeth of the treaty itself. It is painful
to repeat the argument that no other highlands were intended, for all
others were expressly excluded but those which divide the waters that
flow in those different directions. The effect of their construction,
as we all know, is to give them the whole of the St. John, with all its
tributaries, and a tract of territory south of that river equal at least
to 75 miles square.

Whether from the peaceful spirit of our Government, the Christian
patience of Maine, or the "modest assurance" of the British
negotiators--any or all--certain it is that His Britannic Majesty's
pretensions _are growing every day_. It is not only an afterthought,
but one very recently conceived, that we were to be driven south of
the St. John.

His Britannic Majesty's agent, Mr. Chipman, who has been lately urging
us south of that river, was also agent to the commission, under the
treaty of 1795, to ascertain the true St. Croix, and in insisting on
a more _western_ branch of this river gives as a reason that a line
due north will cross the St, John _farther up_, whereas if you take an
_eastern_ branch such line will cross near Frederickton, the seat of
government of New Brunswick, and materially infringe upon His Majesty's
Province. He not only admits, but contends, that this north line _must_
cross the river. Here are his words: "This north line must of necessity
cross the river St. John." Mr. Liston, the British minister, in a
private letter to Mr. Chipman of 23d October, 1798, recommends a
modification of the powers of the commissioners for the reason that _it
might give Great Britain a greater extent of navigation on the St. John
River_. The same agent, Mr. Chipman, was also agent under the fourth
article of the treaty of Ghent, and we find him contending there "that
the northwest angle of Nova Scotia is the same designated in the grant
to Sir William Alexander in 1621, subject only to such alterations as
were occasioned by the erection of the Province of Quebec in 1763." Now
we have already seen that this south line of the Province of Quebec, so
far from _altering_ this northwest angle, in fact confirms it.

In perfect accordance with this disposition to encroach is a proposition
of the British minister (Mr. Vaughan) that inasmuch as the highlands can
not be found by a due north direction from the monument we should _vary
west_ until we should intersect them, _but not_ EAST. Now that in case a
monument can not be found in the course prescribed you should look for
it _at the left, but not to the right_, seems to us a very _sinister_
proposition. We have shown, and, as we think, conclusively, that the
range of highlands is to be looked for on British ground, and nowhere
else, because it is their own boundary, and a line which must, with an
ascertained north line, form the angle of one of their own Provinces.
And yet we are not to examine there at all; we have never explored the
country there, and are expected to yield to such arrogant, extravagant,
and baseless pretensions!

We would ask why, in what justice, if we can not find the object
in the route prescribed, are we to be thus trammeled? Where is the
_reciprocity_ of such a proposition, so degrading to the dignity and
insulting to the rights and liberties of this State? No; the people of
Maine will not now, and we trust they never will, tamely submit to such
a _one-sided_ measure.

The next restriction or limitation with which this negotiation is to be
clogged is an admission that the Restigouche and St. John are not
Atlantic rivers, because one flows into the Bay de Chaleurs and the
other into the Bay of Fundy; yet neither falls into the river St.
Lawrence. They would then find those highlands between the St. John and
the Penobscot. There can not be a more arrogant pretension or palpable
absurdity. Suppose the waters of both these rivers are excluded as
flowing _neither way_, still the waters that flow _each way_ are so far
separated as to leave a tract of country which, if equally divided,
would carry us far beyond the St. John. But we admit no such hypothesis.
The _Atlantic_ and the _sea_ are used in the charters as synonymous
terms. The Restigouche, uniting with the Bay de Chaleurs, which
communicates with the sea, and the St. John, uniting with the Bay of
Fundy, which also communicates with the sea, and that, too, by a mouth
90 miles wide, are both Atlantic rivers. These rivers were known by the
negotiators not to be _St. Lawrence rivers;_ they were known to exist,
for they were rivers of the first class. If they were neither St.
Lawrence nor Atlantic, why were they not excepted? They were not of
the former, therefore they must be included in the latter description.
Indeed, if rivers uniting with Atlantic bays are not Atlantic rivers,
the Penobscot and Kennebec, which unite with the respective bays of
Penobscot and Sagadahock, would not be Atlantic rivers, and then where
are those highlands which divide the waters referred to in the treaty
of 1783? Should we leave this question unsettled a little longer, and
the British claims continue to increase, we might very soon find these
highlands south of the Connecticut, and all the intermediate country
would be _recolonized_ by "construction." We therefore invoke the
sympathy of all New England, with New York besides, to unite against
this progressive claim--this avalanche which threatens to overwhelm
_them as well as ourselves_.

Again, if this Mars Hill (and we confess we can not speak of the
pretension with any patience) _is the northwest angle_, and the north
boundary of Nova Scotia and the south boundary of the Province of Quebec
are the same, and north of the Bay de Chaleurs, then there is indeed
_no_ northwest angle, for a line due north from the monument, passing by
Mars Hill, must pursue nearly the same direction to get to the north of
that bay without crossing it; and who ever thought of an angle at the
side of a continuous line? Now, according to the British maps taken in
this very case, you must run a course of north about 14 deg. east to obtain
the north side of the bay without crossing it, and the distance would
be in this almost due north direction more than 100 miles, while that
from the monument to Mars Hill would be little more than 40. Now when we
consider that this northerly line must form nearly a right angle to pass
along the north shore of the Bay de Chaleurs, that this is 100 miles
farther north than Mars Hill, where instead of an angle there can be
only an inclination of 14 deg., can there be a greater absurdity than the
British claim founded on these facts?

We will now present some facts and remarks in regard to the surveys and
explorings made by the commission under the fifth article of the treaty
of Ghent, and the first fact that occurs is that the elevations taken
by the British surveyor stop far short of where the waters divide, and
we find no proof that these elevations were carried through by our own
surveyors. If the British surveyor, after ascertaining _he was still
ascending_ and had in fact arrived at the lands at _a branch of a river_
elevated 500 feet above the summit of Mars Hill, _found it prudent to
stop short_, we see no good reason why the American agent did _not
proceed on_ and take accurate elevations at a place where the waters
divide. If such a survey was made, the committee have not been able to
obtain the evidence. It is not in the maps or documents in the library
or office of the Secretary of State, and the committee believe that no
such elevations have been taken northerly of the first waters of the
Restigouche. It is, indeed, a little singular that we have so little
evidence, not only in regard to this height of land, but also of the
rivers which flow into the St. Lawrence _to the left_, and _especially
to the right_, of the north line from the monument.

We know some of them, to be sure, such as the _Oelle Kamouska, Verte,
Trois Pistoles, Remouskey_, and _Metis_ on the left, and the _Blanche,
Louis, Magdalen_, and others on the right of this line, but we know them
chiefly as _on maps_ and as transcribed from older maps, but very little
from actual survey or even exploration. An examination of the sources of
those rivers at the right of this north line, with the important natural
boundary, the north shore of the Bay de Chaleurs, would accurately
define the divisional line between the Province of Quebec and Nova
Scotia, which extending west would intersect the due north line and thus
form the northwest angle of Nova Scotia.

It moreover appears that little or no exploration has been made of the
lands _east_ of the due north line. It seems strange to us, although it
may be satisfactorily explained, why we should have been drawn away from
this very important region. It is, indeed, the true source of inquiry.
In this direction the evidence is to be found, and Maine can never be
satisfied until it is looked for here.

An extraordinary method of adjusting this question, though in
perfect accordance with other pretensions, has been proposed by
Great Britain--that the disputed territory should be divided in equal
portions, each party being satisfied of the justice of its claims.
To this proposition we can not subscribe. It is equally unjust between
nations and individuals. Whether a party in controversy is satisfied
or not with the justice of his claims is what is only known to himself,
and consequently the one whose claims are most exorbitant, however
unjust, will always get the best end of the bargain. But such a rule
would in this case apply most unfortunately to Maine. We are limited at
farthest to the St. Lawrence, and to a very narrow point there, while
the British may extend their claims to the south and west indefinitely.
Establish this principle and we shall soon find their claims, already
so progressive, stretched over to the Piscataqua, and then if we are
to divide equally both as to _quantity and quality_ the divisional line
then would fall south of the Kennebec. If the want of the consent of
Maine is the obstacle to such an adjustment, we trust it will always
remain an insuperable one. Indeed, we protest against the application
to us of such a rule as manifestly unequal and unjust.

We come now to the recent transactions of the British colonial
authorities, sanctioned, as it appears, by the Government at home, and
we regret to perceive in them also those strong indications of continual
and rapid encroachment which have characterized that Government in the
whole of this controversy. Mr. Livingston, in his letter of 21st July,
1832, proposes that "until the matter be brought to a final conclusion
both parties should refrain from the exercise of jurisdiction," and
Mr. Vaughan, in reply of 14th April, 1833, in behalf of his Government,
"entirely concurs." Here, then, the faith of the two Governments _is
pledged to_ abstain from acts of jurisdiction until all is settled. Now,
how are the facts? We understand, and indeed it appears by documents
herewith exhibited, that an act has passed the legislature of New
Brunswick "incorporating the St. Andrews and Quebec Railroad Company,"
that the King has granted, L10,000 to aid the enterprise, and that the
legislature of Lower Canada, by its resolutions of both houses, has
approved the scheme and promised its cooperation. It may be that the
Government at home was not aware that this railroad must inevitably
cross the disputed territory.

But this ignorance of the subject seems incredible. A railroad from St.
Andrews to Quebec would be _impossible_ unless it crossed the territory
in question, even next to impossible and totally useless were it to pass
at the north of the St. John. It seems, therefore, extraordinary indeed
that the British Government, even in the incipient stages of this
enterprise, should make an appropriation which is in direct violation
of its solemn pledge. To give to a railroad corporation powers over our
rights and property is the strongest act of sovereignty. It is an act of
delegated power which we ourselves give to our own citizens with extreme
caution and with guarded restrictions and reservations. This railroad
_must_ not only cross the disputed territory, but it crosses it 50 miles
south of the St. John and almost to the southerly extremity of the
British claim, extravagant as it is. By the map herewith exhibited of
the survey of the route it appears that the road crosses our due north
line at Mars Hill, thence doubling round it toward the south it crosses
the _Roostic_ between the Great and Little _Machias_, the _Allegwash_
at the outlet of _First Lake_, a branch of the St. John south of _Black
River_, and passes into Canada between "Spruce Hills" on the right and
"Three Hills" on the left, thus crossing a tract of country south of the
St. John 100 by 50 miles. We have not a copy of the act of incorporation
of New Brunswick, and can not, therefore, say that the route there
defined is the same as on the map. Be this as it may, certain it is, as
anyone will see, that no possible route can be devised which will not
cross the territory in question. It is, then, a deliberate act of power,
palpable and direct, claiming and exercising sovereignty far south even
of the line recommended by the King of the Netherlands.

In all our inquiries and examinations of this subject there has been
great negligence in regard to this northwest angle. Judge Benson, one of
the commissioners under Jay's treaty, in a letter to the President of
the United States expressly and clearly defines this angle. He states
distinctly that the due north line from the source of the St. Croix is
_the west-side line_, and the highlands are _the north-side line_ which
form this angle, and this had never been questioned by the British

This due north line, viz, the west-side line, was established by the
commission of which Judge Benson was a member, and the British have made
the north side line to be north of the Bay de Chaleurs, and yet with
these postulates to pretend that the points of intersection can not be
found is one of the greatest of their absurdities; and another absurdity
quite equal is that after passing west along the north shore of this
bay they would fall down nearly south more than 100 miles to Mars Hill,
about 60 miles from the south shore of the Province, at the Bay of
Passamaquoddy, which is part of the Bay of Fundy, and this point, too,
of so little inclination that it is a palpable perversion of language
to call it _an angle_, much more a northwest angle.

It is, indeed, time for us to begin to search, and in the right places,
too, in order to put a stop to these perpetual encroachments upon our
territory and rights. Our first object should be to ascertain and trace
the north boundary of Nova Scotia, which is the south boundary of the
Province of Quebec, and see if Canada comes as far down as Mars Hill.
And we should proceed to finish taking the elevations on the due north
line to some point where the waters divide. The General Government
should be immediately called on to execute the work, with the
cooperation of Massachusetts and Maine. Notice should be given to the
British authorities to unite in the undertaking, and if they refuse
our Government ought to proceed _ex parte_. The act would be entirely
pacific, as the object would be _to ascertain facts_--much more pacific
than the survey, _without notice_, of the St. Andrews and Quebec
Railroad through our territory, not for the purpose of ascertaining
a boundary, but to assume jurisdiction.

Your committee have gone through this tedious investigation with all the
deliberation, exactness, and candor which our time, means, and feelings
would allow. Our animadversions may in some instances have been strong,
and even severe, but we think we have expressed the sentiments and
feelings of the people of Maine, suffering under protracted injuries.
This State should take a firm, deliberate, and dignified stand, and one
which it will not retract. While it awards to the General Government
all its legitimate powers, it will not be forgetful of its own. We call
upon the President and Congress. We invoke that aid and sympathy of our
sister States which Maine has always accorded to them. We ask, nay we
demand, in the name of justice, HOW LONG we are to be thus trampled down
by a foreign people? And we trust we shall meet a cordial and patriotic
response in the heart of every republican of the Union.

Your committee therefore submit the following resolutions:


RESOLVES relative to the northeastern boundary.

_Resolved_, That we view with much solicitude the British usurpations
and encroachments on the northeastern part of the territory of this

_Resolved_, That pretensions so groundless and extravagant indicate a
spirit of hostility which we had no reason to expect from a nation with
whom we are at peace.

_Resolved_, That vigilance, resolution, firmness, and union on the part
of this State are necessary in this state of the controversy.

_Resolved_, That the governor be authorized and requested to call on the
President of the United States to cause the northeastern boundary of
this State to be explored and surveyed and monuments erected according
to the _treaty_ of 1783.

_Resolved_, That the cooperation of Massachusetts be requested.

_Resolved_, That our Senators in Congress be _instructed_ and our
Representatives _requested_ to endeavor to obtain a _speedy_ adjustment
of the controversy.

_Resolved_, That copies of this report and resolution be transmitted to
the governor of Massachusetts, the President of the United States, to
each of our Senators and Representatives in Congress, and other Senators
in Congress, and the governors of the several States.

[Passed house March 24, 1837; passed Senate and approved March 25, 1837.]


_Augusta, June 27, 1837_.

His Excellency MARTIN VAN BUREN,

_President of the United States_.

SIR: I lose no time in communicating to Your Excellency a copy of a
letter from Sir John Harvey, lieutenant-governor of the Province of New
Brunswick, and also of a letter from J.A. Maclauchlan to Sir John
Harvey, in relation to the arrest and imprisonment of Ebenezer S.

I have the honor to be, with high consideration, your obedient servant,



_Frederickton, New Brunswick, June 12, 1837_


SIR: Since I had the honor of addressing your excellency under date the
6th instant, announcing my assumption of the administration of this
government, a report has been laid before me by the warden of the
disputed territory, copy of which I feel it to be an act of courtesy
toward your excellency to lose no time in communicating to you.

In including the territory within the limits of the British claim in the
census which "Ebenezer Greely"' appears to have been instructed to take
of the population of the county of "Penobscot" he has evidently acted in
ignorance or under a misconception of the subsisting relations betwixt
England and the United States of America, which I can not allow myself
to doubt that your excellency will lose no time in causing to be
explained and removed. Though necessarily committed to confinement,
I have desired that every regard may be shown to Greely's personal
convenience consistent with the position in which he has _voluntarily_
placed himself. I use this expression because, as your excellency will
observe, Greely was informed by the warden that if he would desist from
the act in which he was engaged and the language which he was holding
to the people of the Madawaska settlement (acts constituting not only
an interference with the acknowledged rights of jurisdiction of this
Province, but the positive exercise within its limits of actual
jurisdiction, however unauthorized on the part of the State of Maine)
and would withdraw from this district he should be allowed to do so;
otherwise that in the discharge of the duties imposed upon him by his
office he (the warden), who is in the commission of the peace, must
be under the necessity of apprehending, in order to make him amenable
to the laws of the Province. This proposal Greely rejected, and was
accordingly committed to jail to be dealt with according to law. In the
meantime, as an evidence of my desire to cultivate the most friendly
understanding with the government of the State of which Greely is a
citizen, I lose no time in saying that upon receiving an assurance from
your excellency that your authority shall be exerted in restraining this
or any other citizen of the State of Maine from adopting proceedings
within the British limits (as claimed) calculated to infringe the
authority and jurisdiction of this Province and to disturb and unsettle
the minds of that portion of its inhabitants residing in the disputed
territories until the question in dispute be brought to a final
settlement Greely shall immediately be enlarged.

Trusting that your excellency will see in this proposition an anxious
desire on my part to redeem the pledge given in my communication of the
6th instant, I have the honor to be, your excellency's most obedient,
humble servant,


_Major-General, Lieutenant-Governor, etc_.


His Excellency Major-General SIR JOHN HARVEY, K.C.H.,

_Lieutenant-Governor, etc._:

May it please your excellency: In obedience to your excellency's
instructions, communicated to me through the advocate-general in the
absence of the attorney and solicitor generals, I have now the honor to
report for the information of your excellency that I proceeded with the
least possible delay to the Madawaska settlement. On my arrival at the
Great Falls, 130 miles from hence, I was informed the American citizen
Ebenezer S. Greely had passed up the day previous for the purpose of
again proceeding with the census of the inhabitants of Madawaska under
authority from the State of Maine. Aware of the probable excitement
that would naturally arise between the two governments from this
circumstance, and at the same time fully convinced that His Majesty's
Government would but regret any unnecessary misunderstanding during the
pending negotiation, I thought it advisable to call upon Mr. Coombs,
a magistrate residing 12 miles above the Falls, and request him to
accompany me, which he readily did, to witness the conversation between
Mr. Greely and myself.

We then proceeded and overtook Mr. Greely a short distance above
Green River, about 24 miles from the Falls, having ascertained by the
inhabitants, as he passed up the river, that Mr. Greely was the whole
of the previous day employed in taking down their names, number of each
family, and stating they would shortly receive from the State of Maine a
sum of money not exceeding $3 for each head of family out of the surplus
revenue of the United States.

I required Mr. Greely to show me his instructions for exercising
authority in Madawaska, when he handed me a document, a copy of which
I beg to inclose your excellency, and after perusing the same I returned
it with my opinion that I really thought he (Mr. Greely) had mistaken
the intention of his instructions, as no allusion was made either to
that settlement or the territory in dispute, and therefore if he would
then desist in taking the census I would take no notice of what had
passed. Moreover, in reply to my advice and request, he (Mr. Greely)
remonstrated and attempted to make it appear that he would be fully
borne out by his government in what he had done, and it was also his
intention to complete the census if he was not prevented; this reply
I regret having left me no alternative but to make him a prisoner, which
I did on Wednesday, the 7th instant. On Friday evening I arrived in
Frederickton, and this morning (Saturday), by the advice of the
advocate-generals, I committed him to the gaol of the county of York.

I have the honor to be, your excellency's most obedient, humble servant,


_Warden of the Disputed Territory_.


_JUNE 19, 1837_.

His Excellency MARTIN VAN BUREN,

_President of the United States_.

SIR: I have the honor to inclose to Your Excellency the copy of a letter
which came to hand by the last mail, by which it appears that Ebenezer
S. Greely, esq., the agent employed by the county commissioners for the
county of Penobscot to take the census of the town of Madawaska, has
been arrested by the authorities of the Province of New Brunswick and is
now incarcerated in the jail at Frederickton.

In this state of things it becomes my painful duty to make this
communication to Your Excellency and to insist that prompt measures
be adopted by the Government of the United States to effect the early
release of the aforementioned citizen.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,



_June 12, 1837_.


_Governor of Maine_.

SIR: On the 15th of May last I was appointed by the county
commissioners of Penobscot County to take the census of Madawaska. On
the 6th of June instant I was arrested by Mr. Maclauchlan, from this
place, and committed to jail by him, and there I now remain--in the
prison at Frederickton. I was committed on the 10th instant. I addressed
a letter to you on the 10th, which has gone by the way of St. Andrews.
Fearing that letter will not arrive soon, I write again to-day by way
of Houlton. I have described my arrest more particularly in my first
letter, which you will undoubtedly receive before long; therefore I
only give the facts in this, having a chance, by the assistance of
Mr. Lombard, of Hallowell, of forwarding this to Houlton privately.
I was employed in business of the State, and do expect my Government
will intercede and liberate me from prison in a foreign and adjacent
Province. I shall be pleased to receive a line from you expressing your
opinion, direction, etc.

I remain, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,



_Washington, June 26, 1837_.

His Excellency ROBERT P. DUNLAP, Esq.,

_Governor of Maine_.

SIR: I have the honor, by direction of the President, to acknowledge the
receipt of your letter to him of the 19th instant, inclosing the copy of
a communication dated the 12th of the same month addressed to you by
Ebenezer S. Greely, esq., the agent employed by the county commissioners
for the county of Penobscot to take the census of the town of Madawaska,
from which it appears that he has been arrested by the authorities of
the Province of New Brunswick and is now in confinement in the jail at
Frederickton, and insisting that prompt measures be adopted by the
Government of the United States to effect the early release of the
above-named citizen.

The circumstances attending this outrage as given in Mr. Greely's
letter are not sufficient, in the view of the President, to warrant
the interference of the Government at present. For what cause, at
what place, and by what authority the arrest was made is not stated.
The necessary explanations may be found, perhaps, in the previous
communication which Mr. Greely refers to as having been addressed to you
by him on the 10th June; if not, it is probable that you will easily be
able to obtain explicit information from other sources and communicate
it to this Department. It is indispensable that a full knowledge of
all the facts illustrative of the case should be in possession of the
Government before any formal application for redress can be properly

In the meantime I have in conversation unofficially called the
attention of Mr. Fox, the British minister at Washington, to this
complaint, and he has given me an assurance that he will immediately
address a representation on the subject to the governor of New Brunswick
requesting, unless there shall be some very extraordinary reasons
against it, that Mr. Greely may be set at liberty.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,



_Augusta, June 27, 1837_.


_Secretary of State of the United States_.

SIR: I would respectfully solicit copies of all documents and papers
in the Department of State of the United States in relation to the
subject of the northeastern boundary, with the exception of such as were
furnished this department by the General Government in the year 1827. It
is understood that copies have been furnished relative to this subject
down to the respective statements submitted by the two Governments to
the King of the Netherlands, but the arguments we have not been
furnished with.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,



_July 3, 1837_.


_Secretary of State of United States_.

SIR: I have had the honor to receive yours of the 26th of June last,
in which, by direction of the President, you indicate that the
circumstances detailed in Mr. Greely's letter relative to his arrest
and imprisonment are not of themselves without further explanation
sufficient to justify the interference of the Government of the United
States. This information is received with some surprise and much
regret--surprise because I had understood Mr. Greely's communication to
show that while employed within the limits of this State and under its
authority on a business intrusted to him by the laws of the State he
was, without being charged or suspected of any other offense, seized and
transported to a foreign jail; regret inasmuch as the feelings of the
people of this State have been strongly excited by this outrage upon the
honor and sovereignty of Maine, and each additional day's confinement
which that unoffending citizen endures is adding to the indignation of
our citizens. I therefore hasten to lay before you a summary of the
transactions connected with this subject as they are gathered from
Mr. Greely's communications to this department. The facts are to be
considered the less indisputable because they are in the main confirmed
by the statements contained in the letter of the lieutenant-governor of
the Province of New Brunswick, by whose order the imprisonment was made,
and a copy of which I recently had the honor of transmitting to the

On the 8th day of March last the legislature of this State passed an act
relative to the surplus revenue, a copy of which is inclosed,[2] to the
eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth sections of which I beg leave to refer
your attention. An additional act was passed on the 29th day of March
last, a copy of which I also inclose.[2] By this last-named act it
became the duty of the county commissioners of Penobscot County to cause
an enumeration to be taken of the inhabitants of said county residing
north of the surveyed and located townships. The tract thus defined
comprised the town of Madawaska, which was incorporated by this State
on the 15th of March, 1831. Pursuant to that requirement, the county
commissioners of said county appointed Ebenezer S. Greely to perform
that service, and, being duly commissioned, he forthwith proceeded to
the place designated and entered upon the required operations. Being
thus employed, he was on the 29th day of May last arrested by the
authorities of the Province of New Brunswick and conveyed to Woodstock,
in the county of Carleton, in said Province, but the sheriff of the
county refused to commit him to jail, and he was accordingly discharged.
He immediately returned to the Madawaska settlements to enter again upon
the duty intrusted to him. On the 6th day of June last he was arrested
a second time by the same authorities and committed to the jail at
Frederickton. It is for this act of obedience to the laws of his
government that Mr. Greely now lies incarcerated in a public jail in the
Province of New Brunswick. Is not redress urgently called for? Must not
this unoffending citizen be immediately released?

Permit me, sir, to add my confident belief that the President on this
presentation of the facts relative to this outrage upon the national as
well as the State rights will not fail to demand the immediate release
of Ebenezer S. Greely and to interpose suitable claims of indemnity for
the wrongs so wantonly enforced upon him.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


[Footnote 2: Omitted.]


_Washington, July 14, 1837_.


_Governor of the State of Maine_.

SIR: Your letter of the 3d instant has been received. The surprise you
express that the information contained in the letter of Mr. Greely which
accompanied your former communication was not considered sufficient
to enable the President to make a formal application to the British
Government for his release has probably arisen from your not having
adverted particularly to the defects of his statement. It was not
expressly mentioned for what offense the arrest was made nor where it
took place--upon the territory in dispute between the United States and
Great Britain or beyond it. The character of the charge and the place at
which the offense was committed might have been inferred from what was
stated, but you must perceive the impropriety of a formal complaint
from one government to another founded upon inference when the means of
ascertaining and presenting the facts distinctly were within the power
of the party complaining; but although this Department felt itself
constrained by these considerations to delay a formal application to
the British Government for the release of Mr. Greely, it lost no time,
as has been already stated, in procuring the interference to that
end of the British minister near this Government; and I have now the
satisfaction to inform you that I have learnt from him that he has
opened a correspondence with the lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick,
which it is expected will lead to the release of Greely from confinement
without waiting for the decision of His Britannic Majesty's Government
on the whole question.

The information communicated to the Department since the receipt of
your letter of the 3d instant is sufficiently explicit, and a note
founded upon it has been, by direction of the President, addressed to
Mr. Stevenson, instructing him to demand the immediate liberation of
Mr. Greely and indemnity for his imprisonment.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


P.S.--The papers asked for in your letter of the 27th ultimo will be
sent to you.


_Washington, July 19, 1837_.


_Governor of Maine_.

SIR: In compliance with the request contained in your letter of the
27th ultimo, I have the honor to transmit to you a printed volume
containing a statement on the part of the United States of the case
referred, in pursuance of the convention of the 29th September, 1827,
between the said States and Great Britain to the King of the Netherlands
for his decision thereon, and to refer you for such other papers and
documents in relation to the northeastern boundary as have not been
specially furnished by this Department to the executive of Maine to the
following numbers in the volumes of documents of the Senate and House
of Representatives distributed under a resolution of Congress, and
which have been from time to time transmitted to the several State
governments, including that of Maine:

Documents of the House of Representatives: First session Twentieth
Congress, Nos. 217, 218; second session Twentieth Congress, No. 90;
second session Twenty-third Congress, No. 62. Documents of the Senate:
First session Twenty-fourth Congress, No. 414.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,



_July 28, 1837_.

His Excellency MARTIN VAN BUREN,

_President of the United States_.

SIR: Impelled by a sense of duty arising from the oversight committed to
me of the rights and interests of this State, I beg leave to invite the
attention of Your Excellency to the subject of the northeastern boundary
of Maine. By the federal compact the obligation of defending each State
against foreign invasion and of protecting it in the exercise of its
jurisdictional rights up to its extreme line of boundary is devolved
upon the National Government. Permit me respectfully to inform the
President that in the opinion of the people of Maine the justice due
to this State in this respect has not been rendered.

Let it not be suspected that the discontents which are moving strongly
and deeply through the public mind flow from any deficiency of
attachment or practical adhesion to our National Government. Without
appealing to the blood so freely poured out in war by the citizens of
Maine, to the privations so cheerfully endured while the restrictive
measures of the Government were prostrating the most important interests
of this commercial people, or to the support of the Union so cordially
given through every vicissitude up to the present hour, such a
suspicion, if it could arise, would be sufficiently refuted by merely
adverting to the forbearance with which they have so long endured the
aggressions by a foreign government upon their sovereignty, their
citizens, and their soil.

It would be easy to prove that the territory of Maine extends to the
highlands north of the St. John; but that point, having been not only
admitted, but successful; demonstrated, by the Federal Government,
needs not now to be discussed. Candor, however, requires me to say that
this conceded and undeniable position ill accords with the proceedings
in which the British authorities have for many years been indulged, and
by which the rightful jurisdiction of Maine has been subverted, her
lands ravaged of their most valuable products, and her citizens dragged
beyond the limits of the State to undergo the sufferings and ignominies
of a foreign jail. These outrages have been made known to the Federal
Government; they have been the subject of repeated remonstrances by the
State, and these remonstrances seem as often to have been contemned. It
can not be deemed irrelevant for me here to ask, amid all these various
impositions, and while Maine has been vigorously employed in sustaining
the Union and in training her children to the same high standard of
devotion to the political institutions of the country, what relief has
been brought to us by the Federal Government. The invaders have not been
expelled. The sovereignty and soil of the State are yet stained by the
hostile machinations of resident emissaries of a foreign government. The
territory and the jurisdiction of 6,000,000 acres, our title to which
the Government of the United States has pronounced to be perfect, have,
without the knowledge of Maine, been once put entirely at hazard. Grave
discussions, treaty arrangements, and sovereign arbitration have been
resorted to, in which Maine was not permitted to speak, and they have
resulted not in removing the fictitious pretensions, but in supplying
new encouragements to the aggressors. Diplomatic ingenuity, the only
foundation of the British claim, has been arrayed against the perfect
right. In the meantime a stipulation made by the Executive of the
nation, without the knowledge of Maine, purported to preclude her
from reclaiming her rightful jurisdiction until the slow process of a
negotiation should be brought to a close. Whatever the real force of
that stipulation might be, made as it was without the concurrence of the
two branches of the treaty-making power, it was hoped when it expired
by the closing up of that negotiation that a measure fraught with such
hurtful consequences to Maine would not again be attempted; but that
hope was to be disappointed, and now, by a compact of similar character,
a writ of protection appears to have been spread by our own Government
over the whole mass of British aggressions. What, then, has the Federal
Government done for this State? May it not be said, in the language of
another, "Maine has not been treated as she endeavored to deserve"?

On the 22d day of April last I had the honor to transmit to Your
Excellency certain resolves passed by the legislature of this State
relative to the northeastern boundary, and in behalf of the State to
call upon the President of the United States to cause the line to be
explored and surveyed and monuments thereof erected. That this call,
made by direction of the legislature, did not extend to the expulsion
of invaders, but merely to the ascertainment of the treaty line, will,
I trust, be viewed as it was designed to be, not only as an evidence
of the continued forbearance of Maine, but as a testimonial of the
confidence she cherished that the Federal Executive would protect
the territory after its limitation should be ascertained. That this
application would meet with favor from the Federal Executive was
expected, more especially as Congress had made a specific appropriation
for the purpose. I will not attempt to conceal the mortification I have
realized that no reply has been made to that communication nor any
measures taken, so far as my information extends, for effecting the
object proposed.

It now remains that in the exercise of that faithfulness for which
I stand solemnly pledged to the people of Maine I should again commend
to the attention of the National Executive this apparently unwelcome but
really important subject.

I have, therefore, the honor again to request that the President will
cause the treaty line upon the northeastern limits of Maine to be run
and marked, and I can not but hope that on a reexamination of the
subject Your Excellency will concur with this State in relation to the
rightfulness and the necessity of the measure proposed, as well as to
all the remedies to be adopted for restoring to Maine the invaluable
rights from which she has so long been debarred.

I have the honor to be, with high consideration, your obedient servant,



_Washington, August 17, 1837_.

His Excellency ROBERT P. DUNLAP,

_Governor of the State of Maine_.

SIR: Your letter of the 28th ultimo to the President was duly received.
It has been referred to this Department with instructions to make a
suitable reply.

Your excellency is of opinion that the Federal Government has for a
series of years failed to protect the State of Maine in the exercise of
her jurisdictional rights to the extent of her boundary, and complains
that these rights have been in consequence thereof subverted, the lands
of the State ravaged of their most valuable productions, and her
citizens subjected to imprisonment in a foreign jail. Your excellency
particularly objects to the course of the Federal Government for having,
without the knowledge of the State, put entirely at hazard the title of
Maine, admitted by the Government of the United States to be perfect,
to the territory in question by the resort to diplomatic discussions,
treaty arrangements, and foreign arbitration in which Maine was not
permitted to speak; for having entered into a stipulation without her
consent purporting to preclude the State from retaining her rightful
jurisdiction pending a negotiation, and for the continuance of it
after that negotiation was supposed to have been concluded, and for
an omission on the part of the Executive of the United States to comply
with an application of the State made through her legislature to
have the boundary line between Maine and the British North American
possessions explored, surveyed, and monuments erected thereon in
pursuance of the authority conferred on the President by Congress and
of a request made by your excellency, which is now renewed.

The views which your excellency has been pleased to take of the subject
at this time embrace measures some of which have long since ceased to be
operative and reach back to the propriety of the stipulations entered
into by the treaty of Ghent, also of the subsequent negotiation designed
to bring those stipulations to a satisfactory result in the mode
prescribed by that treaty--that of arbitrament. It being, as your
excellency states, the opinion of Maine that those proceedings were
unjust and unwise, it is, in a matter in which she is so deeply
interested, her undoubted right to say so; yet the President thinks
that he can not be mistaken in believing that no practical good can at
this time be expected from discussion between the Federal and State
Governments upon those points. That the measures referred to have not
been as fortunate in their results as was hoped is entirely true, but
your excellency may nevertheless be assured that they had their origin
in a sincere desire on the part of the Federal Government to discharge
all its duties toward the State of Maine as a member of the Union, and
were resorted to in the full belief that her just rights would be
promoted by their adoption.

In speaking of the restrictions imposed upon Maine in reclaiming her
rightful jurisdiction your excellency doubtlessly refers to the
understanding between the Federal Government and that of Great Britain
that each party should abstain from the exercise of jurisdiction over
the disputed territory during the pendency of negotiation. Unless it
be correct to say that the controversy was one that did not admit of
negotiation, and that the duty of the Federal Government consisted only
in an immediate resort to maintain the construction put by itself upon
its own rights and those of the State of Maine, there would seem to
be no reasonable objection to such an arrangement as that alluded to,
whether it be viewed in respect to the interests or the pacific and just
characters of the respective Governments. That this arrangement was
not abrogated at the period at which your excellency is understood to
suppose that it ought to have been done, viz, upon the failure of a
settlement of the controversy by arbitration, is explained by events of
subsequent occurrence. When the award of the arbitrator was submitted by
the late President to the Senate of the United States, that body refused
its advice and consent to the execution of the award, and passed a
resolution recommending to him to open a new negotiation with Great
Britain for the ascertainment of the boundary according to the treaty
of peace of 1783. That negotiation was forthwith entered upon by the
Executive, is still pending, and has been prosecuted with unremitting
assiduity. It is under such circumstances that the Federal Executive has
decided upon a continued compliance with the arrangement referred to,
and has insisted also upon its observance on the part of Great Britain.

Considerations of a similar nature have induced the President to refrain
hitherto from exercising the discretionary authority with which he is
invested to cause the boundary line in dispute to be explored, surveyed,
and monuments to be erected thereon. Coinciding with the government of
Maine on the question of the true boundary between the British Provinces
and the State, the President is yet bound by duty to consider the claim
which has been set up by a foreign power in amity with the United States
and the circumstances under which the negotiation for the adjustment
of that claim has been transmitted to him. It could not be useful
to examine the foundation of the British claim in a letter to your
excellency. Respect for the authorities of a friendly nation compels us
to admit that they have persuaded themselves that their claim is justly
grounded. However that may be, the present President of the United
States upon entering on the discharge of the duties of his office found
that a distinct proposition had been made by his predecessor for the
purpose of amicably settling this long-disputed controversy, to which no
answer has yet been received. Under such circumstances the President was
not able to satisfy himself, however anxious to gratify the people and
the legislature of Maine, that a step like that recommended by them
could be usefully or properly taken.

The clause containing the specific appropriation made by the last
Congress for exploring, surveying, and marking certain portions of the
northeastern boundary of the United States, to which your excellency
alludes, is by no means imperative in its character. The simple
legislative act of placing a sum of money under the control of the
Executive for a designated object is not understood to be a direction
that it must in any event be immediately applied to the prosecution of
that object. On the contrary, so far from implying that the end in view
is to be attained at all hazards, it is believed that it merely vests a
discretionary power in the President to carry out the views of Congress
on his own responsibility should contingencies arise to render expedient
the proposed expenditure.

Under existing circumstances the President deems it proper to wait for
the definitive answer of the British Government to the last proposition
offered by the United States. When received, a further communication to
your excellency may be found proper, and if so will be made without
unnecessary delay.

It can not be necessary to assure your excellency that the omission
to reply to your communication forwarding to this Department the
resolutions of the legislature of Maine did not in any degree arise
either from a want of respect for their wishes or for the wishes of your
excellency, or from indifference to the interests of the State. When
these resolutions were received, there was every reason at no distant
day to expect what is now daily looked for--a definitive answer to the
proposition just alluded to, to which the attention of the British
Government had been again forcibly invited about the time those
resolutions were on their passage. Under this expectation a reply to
the application from Maine was temporarily delayed; the more readily as
about the time of its reception the Representatives of Maine, acting in
reference to one of those resolutions, had a full and free conversation
with the President. The most recent proceedings relative to the question
of boundary were shown to them in this Department by his directions, and
the occasion thus afforded was cheerfully embraced of offering frank and
unreserved explanations of the President's views.

Of the recent events which have called the attention of the State of
Maine to the question of the northeastern boundary, and which have
been brought by it to the notice of the President, one--the arrest
and imprisonment of Mr. Greely--has already been made the subject of
communication with your excellency. All that it was competent for the
Federal Executive to do has been done. Redress has been demanded, will
be insisted upon, and is expected from that authority from whom alone
redress can properly be sought. The President has followed the same
course that was pursued by one of his predecessors and which was
understood to be satisfactory to the State of Maine under circumstances
of a somewhat similar character. In respect to the other--the projected
construction of a railroad between St. Andrews and Quebec--a
representation has been addressed to the British Government stating that
the proposed measure is inconsistent with the understanding between the
two Governments to preserve the _status quo_ in the disputed territory
until the question of boundary be satisfactorily adjusted, remonstrating
against the project as contrary to the American claim and demanding a
suspension of all further movements in execution of it. No answer has
yet been received to this communication. From an informal conversation
between the British minister at Washington and myself at the Department
of State, the President is, however, firm in the conviction that the
attempt to make the road in question will not be further prosecuted.

I am, in conclusion, directed to inform you that however unbounded may
be the confidence of the legislature and people of Maine in the justice
of their claim to the boundary contended for by the United States, the
President's is not less so; and your excellency may rest assured that
no exertions have been or shall be spared on his part to bring to a
favorable and speedy termination a question involving interests so
highly important to Maine and to the Union.

I have the honor to be, with high consideration, your excellency's
obedient servant,



_Washington, August 25, 1837_.

His Excellency ROBERT P. DUNLAP,

_Governor of Maine_.

SIR: I have the honor to transmit to your excellency, by direction
of the President, the copy of a note from the British minister
at Washington, dated yesterday, stating that the Government of
Her Britannic Majesty has been pleased to direct the immediate
discontinuance by the colonial authorities of Lower Canada and New
Brunswick, respectively, of all operations connected with the projected
railroad between the cities of Quebec and St. Andrews.

Mr. Fox took occasion on Wednesday last to inform me that Mr. Greely
had been discharged from imprisonment at Frederickton, a fact of which
doubtlessly your excellency has been some time since apprised.

I have the honor to be, with high consideration, your excellency's
obedient servant,



_Washington, March 23, 1837_.

HENRY S. FOX, Esq., etc.:

The undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, has the honor,
by direction of the President, to invite the attention of Mr. Fox, His
Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary,
to a subject which from its high importance demands the prompt
consideration of His Majesty's Government.

It appears from representations and documents recently received at the
Department of State that a number of inhabitants of the town of St.
Andrews, in New Brunswick, associated themselves together in the year
1835, by the name of the St. Andrews and Quebec Railroad Association,
for the purpose of bringing into public notice the practicability of
constructing a railway between those ports, and that sundry resolutions
were passed in furtherance of this object; that the project was
sanctioned and patronized by the governor in chief of British North
America, the lieutenant-governors of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and
the legislatures and people of the Provinces of Lower Canada and New
Brunswick; that the route of the proposed railroad had been explored as
far as the head waters of the St. John River by surveyors employed by
the association; that an act has actually passed the legislature of
New Brunswick incorporating this company, and that a similar act was
expected to be passed in Lower Canada; that letters were addressed to
the boards of trade of Quebec and Montreal requesting their cooperation;
that these communications were favorably received, and that petitions
had been forwarded to His Britannic Majesty, signed by committees of the
association and by inhabitants of the cities of Quebec and Montreal,
soliciting the construction of a railway between the ports above named,
or the extension of royal aid and protection to the petitioners in the
proposed undertaking.

Without allowing himself for a moment to believe that His Britannic
Majesty's Government will in any manner countenance the projected
railroad from St. Andrews to Quebec when the slightest inspection of the
map of the country which it crosses will show that its intended location
would be for a great portion of the route an encroachment upon the
territory in dispute between the United States and Great Britain, the
President yet sees cause for painful surprise and deep regret in the
fact that the civil authorities of His Majesty's Provinces on our
northeastern borders should have lent their encouragement to or should
in any wise have promoted an undertaking which if persevered in will
inevitably lead to the most disastrous consequences. The object of the
association from its inception was objectionable, since it could only be
effected by entering upon territory the title to which was controverted
and unsettled--a proceeding which could not fail to be offensive to the
Government and people of the United States. Still more unjustifiable was
the act of sovereignty giving to this company corporate powers over
property known to be claimed by citizens of a friendly and neighboring
State, and which constituted at the time the subject of an amicable
negotiation between the Government of His Majesty and that of the
United States. The President regrets to see in this step on the part of
His Majesty's provincial authorities and subjects a most exceptionable
departure from the principle of continuing to abstain during the
progress of negotiation from any extension of the exercise of
jurisdiction within the disputed territory on either side, the propriety
of which has been hitherto so sedulously inculcated and so distinctly
acquiesced in by both parties. An understanding that this principle
should be observed by them was the natural result of the respective
positions and pacific intentions of the two Governments, and could alone
prevent the exercise of asserted rights by force. Without it the end of
all negotiation on the subject would have been defeated. If, therefore,
nothing had been said by either party relative to such an understanding,
it would have been proper to infer that a tacit agreement to that effect
existed between the two Governments. But the correspondence between them
is sufficiently full and explicit to prevent all misconception. The
views of both Governments in respect to it will be found in the letters
of the Secretary of State to the minister of Great Britain dated the
18th of January, 1826, 9th of January, 11th of March, and 11th of May,
1829, and of the British minister to the Secretary of State dated 15th
of November and 2d of December, 1825; 16th of January, 1827; 18th of
February and 25th of March, 1828, and 14th of April, 1833, as well as
in other communications, which it is deemed needless now to designate.

The undersigned is directed by the President to inform Mr. Fox that
the prosecution of the enterprise above referred to will be regarded
by this Government as a deliberate infringement of the rights of the
United States to the territory in question and as an unwarrantable
assumption of jurisdiction therein by the British Government, and the
undersigned is instructed to urge the prompt adoption of such measures
as may be deemed most appropriate by His Majesty's Government to suspend
any further movements in execution of the proposed railroad from St.
Andrews to Quebec during the continuance of the pending negotiations
between the two Governments relative to the northeastern boundary of
the United States.

The proceedings above alluded to, considered in connection with
incidents on other parts of the disputed boundary line well known to
His Majesty's ministers, would seem to render it indispensable to the
maintenance of those liberal and friendly relations between the two
countries which both Governments are so sincerely anxious to preserve
that they should come to a speedy adjustment of the subject. The recent
resolutions of the State of Maine, to which the projected railroad from
St. Andrews to Quebec gave rise, requesting the President of the United
States to cause the line established by the treaty of 1783 to be run and
monuments to be established thereon, and the appropriation of $20,000
by Congress at their late session to enable the Executive to carry that
request into effect, with a subsequent earnest application from the
Representatives of Maine for an immediate compliance with it, afford
additional incentives to exertion to bring this controversy to a
conclusion not to be disregarded by the President of the United States.

The President therefore awaits with great anxiety the decision of His
Majesty's Government on the proposition made by the undersigned to His
Majesty's charge d'affaires at Washington in February, 1836, suggesting
the river St. John, from its mouth to its source, as an eligible and
convenient line of boundary. No small degree of disappointment has been
felt that this decision, already long expected, has not been given, but
the hope is entertained that the result of this protracted deliberation
will prove favorable to the wishes of the President, and that even
if that proposition be not acceded to by His Britannic Majesty some
definitive offer looking to a prompt termination of the controversy
will be made without further delay.

The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to Mr. Fox the
assurance of his distinguished consideration.


WASHINGTON, _March 28, 1837_.
Hon. JOHN FORSYTH, etc.:

The undersigned, His Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary, has had the honor to receive the official note
addressed to him under date of the 23d instant by Mr. Forsyth, Secretary
of State of the United States, upon the subject of information received
by the United States Government of a projected railroad between the
cities of Quebec and St. Andrews, and upon certain other matters
connected with the question of the boundary line between the United
States and the British possessions in North America.

The undersigned, in accordance with the wishes of the President
signified in Mr. Forsyth's official note, will not fail immediately
to convey that note to the knowledge of his Government at home; and he
entertains no doubt that His Majesty's Government will proceed to the
consideration of the several matters therein contained with the serious
and ready attention that their importance deserves.

The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to Mr. Forsyth
the assurance of his high esteem and consideration.


WASHINGTON, _August 24, 1837_.


SIR: With reference to the official note which, by direction of the
President, you addressed to me on the 23d of March last, respecting a
projected railroad between the cities of Quebec and St. Andrews, which
it was apprehended would, if carried into effect, traverse a part of
the territory at present in dispute between Great Britain and the
United States, I am now enabled to inform you that, in consideration of
the arguments and observations contained in your note, Her Majesty's
Government has been pleased to direct the colonial authorities of
Lower Canada and New Brunswick, respectively, to cause all operations
connected with the above-mentioned project within the limits of the
disputed territory to be immediately discontinued.

I have the honor to be, sir, with high respect and consideration, your
most obedient and humble servant,


_Mr. Stevenson to Lord Palmerston_.


23 PORTLAND PLACE, _August 10, 1837_.

The undersigned will avail himself of the occasion to remind Lord
Palmerston of the urgency which exists for the immediate and final
adjustment of this long-pending controversy [respecting the northeastern
boundary] and the increased obstacles which will be thrown in the way
of its harmonious settlement by these repeated collisions of authority
and the exercise of exclusive jurisdiction by either party within the
disputed territory.

He begs leave also to repeat to his lordship assurances of the
earnest and unabated desire which the President feels that the
controversy should be speedily and amicably settled, and to express the
anxiety with which the Government of the United States is waiting the
promised decision of Her Majesty's Government upon the proposition
submitted to it as far back as July, 1836, and which the undersigned
had been led to believe would long since have been given; and he has
been further directed to say that should this proposition be disapproved
the President entertains the hope that some new one, on the part of
Her Majesty's Government, will immediately be made for the final and
favorable termination of this protracted and deeply exciting

The undersigned begs Lord Palmerston to receive renewed assurances of
his distinguished consideration.


WASHINGTON, _September 26, 1837_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with that part of the resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 9th of January last which relates to the
diplomatic correspondence of the late William Tudor while charge
d'affaires of the United States to Brazil, I transmit a report from
the Secretary of State, together with the documents by which it was


WASHINGTON, _September 30, 1837_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
United States of the 13th instant, respecting an annexation of Texas to
the United States, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and
the documents by which it was accompanied.


WASHINGTON, _September 30, 1837_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit to the House of Representatives a report of the Secretary of
State, containing the information requested by their resolution of the
19th instant, together with the documents by which the report was



_Washington, September 29, 1837_.


The Secretary of State, to whom was referred a resolution of the House
of Representatives of the 19th instant, requesting the President to
communicate to that House what measures have been adopted since the
adjournment of the last Congress in relation to the tobacco trade
between the United States and foreign countries, also such information
as he may have received from our ministers or other agents abroad in
relation to the same, has the honor to report that since the adjournment
of the last Congress instructions have been given to the diplomatic
representatives of this country at the Courts of Great Britain, France,
Russia, Prussia, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, and Belgium directing them
to endeavor to procure from the respective Governments to which they
are accredited the abolition or modification of the existing duties
and restrictions upon tobacco imported from the United States, and that
special agents have been appointed to collect information respecting
the importation, the cultivation, the manufacture, and consumption of
tobacco in the various States of Germany to which the United States have
not accredited representatives, and to prepare the way for negotiations
for the promotion of the interests of the tobacco trade with those
countries. A copy of the dispatches of the representatives of the United
States received upon this subject is herewith communicated.[3]

The special agents have proceeded to the execution of their duties, but
no report has as yet been received from either of them.

All which is respectfully submitted.


[Footnote 3: Omitted.]

WASHINGTON CITY, _October 2, 1837_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for the consideration of the Senate, a treaty
concluded with the Miami tribe of Indians by General Marshall in 1834,
with, explanatory documents from the Department of War, and ask its
advice in regard to the ratification of the original treaty with the
amendments proposed by the Secretary of War; the treaty, with the
amendments, in the event of its ratification by the United States,
to be again submitted to the chiefs and warriors of the Miami tribes
for their sanction or rejection.


WASHINGTON, _October 2, 1837_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
13th ultimo, concerning the boundary between the United States and the
Mexican Republic and a cession of territory belonging to the Mexican
Confederation to the United States, I transmit a report from the
Secretary of State and the documents by which it was accompanied.


WASHINGTON, _October, 1837_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I have the honor, in compliance with the resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 4th instant, to transmit the proceedings of the
court of inquiry in the case of Brevet Brigadier-General Wool.[4]


[Footnote 4: Respecting transactions in the Cherokee country.]




Whereas by an act of Congress of the United States of the 25th of May,
1832, entitled "An act to exempt the vessels of Portugal from the
payment of duties of tonnage," it was enacted as follows: "No duties
upon tonnage shall be hereafter levied or collected of the vessels of
the Kingdom of Portugal: _Provided, always_, That whenever the President
of the United States shall be satisfied that the vessels of the United
States are subjected in the ports of the Kingdom of Portugal to payment
of any duties of tonnage, he shall by proclamation declare the fact, and
the duties now payable by vessels of that Kingdom shall be levied and
paid as if this act had not been passed;" and

Whereas satisfactory evidence has been received by me not only that
the vessels of the United States are subjected in the ports of the
said Kingdom of Portugal to payment of duties of tonnage, but that a
discrimination exists in respect to those duties against the vessels
of the United States:

Now, therefore, I, Martin Van Buren, President of the United States
of America, do hereby declare that fact and proclaim that the duties
payable by vessels of the said Kingdom of Portugal on the 25th day of
May, 1832, shall henceforth be levied and paid as if the said act of
the 25th of May, 1832, had not been passed.

Given under my hand, at the city of Washington, the 11th day of October,
1837, and of the Independence of the United States the sixty-second.


By the President:
_Secretary of State_.


WASHINGTON, _December 5, 1837_.

_Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives_:

We have reason to renew the expression of our devout gratitude to the
Giver of All Good for His benign protection. Our country presents on
every side the evidences of that continued favor under whose auspices
it has gradually risen from a few feeble and dependent colonies to a
prosperous and powerful confederacy. We are blessed with domestic
tranquillity and all the elements of national prosperity. The pestilence
which, invading for a time some flourishing portions of the Union,
interrupted the general prevalence of unusual health has happily been
limited in extent and arrested in its fatal career. The industry and
prudence of our citizens are gradually relieving them from the pecuniary
embarrassments under which portions of them have labored; judicious
legislation and the natural and boundless resources of the country have
afforded wise and timely aid to private enterprise, and the activity
always characteristic of our people has already in a great degree
resumed its usual and profitable channels.

The condition of our foreign relations has not materially changed since
the last annual message of my predecessor. We remain at peace with all
nations, and no efforts on my part consistent with the preservation of
our rights and the honor of the country shall be spared to maintain a
position so consonant to our institutions. We have faithfully sustained
the foreign policy with which the United States, under the guidance of
their first President, took their stand in the family of nations--that
of regulating their intercourse with other powers by the approved
principles of private life; asking and according equal rights and equal
privileges; rendering and demanding justice in all cases; advancing
their own and discussing the pretensions of others with candor,
directness, and sincerity; appealing at all times to reason, but never
yielding to force nor seeking to acquire anything for themselves by
its exercise.

A rigid adherence to this policy has left this Government with scarcely
a claim upon its justice for injuries arising from acts committed by
its authority. The most imposing and perplexing of those of the United
States upon foreign governments for aggressions upon our citizens were
disposed of by my predecessor. Independently of the benefits conferred
upon our citizens by restoring to the mercantile community so many
millions of which they had been wrongfully divested, a great service
was also rendered to his country by the satisfactory adjustment of so
many ancient and irritating subjects of contention; and it reflects no
ordinary credit on his successful administration of public affairs that
this great object was accomplished without compromising on any occasion
either the honor or the peace of the nation.

With European powers no new subjects of difficulty have arisen, and
those which were under discussion, although not terminated, do not
present a more unfavorable aspect for the future preservation of that
good understanding which it has ever been our desire to cultivate.

Of pending questions the most important is that which exists with the
Government of Great Britain in respect to our northeastern boundary. It
is with unfeigned regret that the people of the United States must look
back upon the abortive efforts made by the Executive, for a period of
more than half a century, to determine what no nation should suffer long
to remain in dispute--the true line which divides its possessions from
those of other powers. The nature of the settlements on the borders of
the United States and of the neighboring territory was for a season such
that this, perhaps, was not indispensable to a faithful performance of
the duties of the Federal Government. Time has, however, changed this
state of things, and has brought about a condition of affairs in which
the true interests of both countries imperatively require that this
question should be put at rest. It is not to be disguised that, with
full confidence, often expressed, in the desire of the British
Government to terminate it, we are apparently as far from its adjustment
as we were at the time of signing the treaty of peace in 1783. The sole
result of long-pending negotiations and a perplexing arbitration appears
to be a conviction on its part that a conventional line must be adopted,
from the impossibility of ascertaining the true one according to the
description contained in that treaty. Without coinciding in this
opinion, which is not thought to be well founded, my predecessor gave
the strongest proof of the earnest desire of the United States to
terminate satisfactorily this dispute by proposing the substitution
of a conventional line if the consent of the States interested in the
question could be obtained. To this proposition no answer has as yet
been received. The attention of the British Government has, however,
been urgently invited to the subject, and its reply can not, I am
confident, be much longer delayed. The general relations between Great
Britain and the United States are of the most friendly character, and
I am well satisfied of the sincere disposition of that Government to
maintain them upon their present footing. This disposition has also,
I am persuaded, become more general with the people of England than
at any previous period. It is scarcely necessary to say to you how
cordially it is reciprocated by the Government and people of the United
States. The conviction, which must be common to all, of the injurious
consequences that result from keeping open this irritating question, and
the certainty that its final settlement can not be much longer deferred,
will, I trust, lead to an early and satisfactory adjustment. At your
last session I laid before you the recent communications between the two
Governments and between this Government and that of the State of Maine,
in whose solicitude concerning a subject in which she has so deep an
interest every portion of the Union participates.

The feelings produced by a temporary interruption of those harmonious
relations between France and the United States which are due as well
to the recollections of former times as to a correct appreciation of
existing interests have been happily succeeded by a cordial disposition
on both sides to cultivate an active friendship in their future
intercourse. The opinion, undoubtedly correct, and steadily entertained
by us, that the commercial relations at present existing between the
two countries are susceptible of great and reciprocally beneficial
improvements is obviously gaining ground in France, and I am assured
of the disposition of that Government to favor the accomplishment of
such an object. This disposition shall be met in a proper spirit on our
part. The few and comparatively unimportant questions that remain to
be adjusted between us can, I have no doubt, be settled with entire
satisfaction and without difficulty.

Between Russia and the United States sentiments of good will continue to
be mutually cherished. Our minister recently accredited to that Court
has been received with a frankness and cordiality and with evidences of
respect for his country which leave us no room to doubt the preservation
in future of those amicable and liberal relations which have so long
and so uninterruptedly existed between the two countries. On the few
subjects under discussion between us an early and just decision is
confidently anticipated.

A correspondence has been opened with the Government of Austria for the
establishment of diplomatic relations, in conformity with the wishes of
Congress as indicated by an appropriation act of the session of 1837,
and arrangements made for the purpose, which will be duly carried
into effect.

With Austria and Prussia and with the States of the German Empire (now
composing with the latter the Commercial League) our political relations
are of the most friendly character, whilst our commercial intercourse is
gradually extending, with benefit to all who are engaged in it.

Civil war yet rages in Spain, producing intense suffering to its own
people, and to other nations inconvenience and regret. Our citizens
who have claims upon that country will be prejudiced for a time by the
condition of its treasury, the inevitable consequence of long-continued
and exhausting internal wars. The last installment of the interest of
the debt due under the convention with the Queen of Spain has not been
paid and similar failures may be expected to happen until a portion of
the resources of her Kingdom can be devoted to the extinguishment of
its foreign debt.

Having received satisfactory evidence that discriminating tonnage
duties were charged upon the vessels of the United States in the ports
of Portugal, a proclamation was issued on the 11th day of October last,
in compliance with the act of May 25, 1832, declaring that fact, and the
duties on foreign tonnage which were levied upon Portuguese vessels in
the United States previously to the passage of that act are accordingly

The act of July 4, 1836, suspending the discriminating duties upon
the produce of Portugal imported into this country in Portuguese
vessels, was passed, upon the application of that Government through its
representative here, under the belief that no similar discrimination
existed in Portugal to the prejudice of the United States. I regret to
state that such duties are now exacted in that country upon the cargoes
of American vessels, and as the act referred to vests no discretion in
the Executive, it is for Congress to determine upon the expediency of
further legislation on the subject. Against these discriminations
affecting the vessels of this country and their cargoes seasonable
remonstrance was made, and notice was given to the Portuguese Government
that unless they should be discontinued the adoption of countervailing
measures on the part of the United States would become necessary; but
the reply of that Government, received at the Department of State
through our charge d'affaires at Lisbon in the month of September last,
afforded no ground to hope for the abandonment of a system so little in
harmony with the treatment shown to the vessels of Portugal and their
cargoes in the ports of this country and so contrary to the expectations
we had a right to entertain.

With Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Naples, and Belgium a friendly
intercourse has been uninterruptedly maintained.

With the Government of the Ottoman Porte and its dependencies on the
coast of the Mediterranean peace and good will are carefully cultivated,
and have been fostered by such good offices as the relative distance and
the condition of those countries would permit.

Our commerce with Greece is carried on under the laws of the two
Governments, reciprocally beneficial to the navigating interests of
both; and I have reason to look forward to the adoption of other
measures which will be more extensively and permanently advantageous.

Copies of the treaties concluded with the Governments of Siam and Muscat
are transmitted for the information of Congress, the ratifications
having been received and the treaties made public since the close of the
last annual session. Already have we reason to congratulate ourselves on
the prospect of considerable commercial benefit; and we have, besides,
received from the Sultan of Muscat prompt evidence of his desire to
cultivate the most friendly feelings, by liberal acts toward one of
our vessels, bestowed in a manner so striking as to require on our part
a grateful acknowledgment.

Our commerce with the islands of Cuba and Porto Rico still labors under
heavy restrictions, the continuance of which is a subject of regret. The
only effect of an adherence to them will be to benefit the navigation of
other countries at the expense of both the United States and Spain.

The independent nations of this continent have ever since they
emerged from the colonial state experienced severe trials in their
progress to the permanent establishment of liberal political
institutions. Their unsettled condition not only interrupts their own
advances to prosperity, but has often seriously injured the other powers
of the world. The claims of our citizens upon Peru, Chili, Brazil, the
Argentine Republic, the Governments formed out of the Republics of
Colombia and Mexico, are still pending, although many of them have
been presented for examination more than twenty years. New Granada,
Venezuela, and Ecuador have recently formed a convention for the purpose
of ascertaining and adjusting claims upon the Republic of Colombia,
from which it is earnestly hoped our citizens will ere long receive
full compensation for the injuries inflicted upon them and for the delay
in affording it.

An advantageous treaty of commerce has been concluded by the
United States with the Peru-Bolivian Confederation, which wants only
the ratification of that Government. The progress of a subsequent
negotiation for the settlement of claims upon Peru has been unfavorably
affected by the war between that power and Chili and the Argentine
Republic, and the same event is also likely to produce delays in the
settlement of our demands on those powers.

The aggravating circumstances connected with our claims upon Mexico and
a variety of events touching the honor and integrity of our Government
led my predecessor to make at the second session of the last Congress a
special recommendation of the course to be pursued to obtain a speedy
and final satisfaction of the injuries complained of by this Government
and by our citizens. He recommended a final demand of redress, with a
contingent authority to the Executive to make reprisals if that demand
should be made in vain. From the proceedings of Congress on that
recommendation it appeared that the opinion of both branches of the
Legislature coincided with that of the Executive, that any mode of
redress known to the law of nations might justifiably be used. It was
obvious, too, that Congress believed with the President that another
demand should be made, in order to give undeniable and satisfactory
proof of our desire to avoid extremities with a neighboring power, but
that there was an indisposition to vest a discretionary authority in
the Executive to take redress should it unfortunately be either denied
or unreasonably delayed by the Mexican Government.

So soon as the necessary documents were prepared, after entering upon
the duties of my office, a special messenger was sent to Mexico to make
a final demand of redress, with the documents required by the provisions
of our treaty. The demand was made on the 20th of July last. The reply,
which bears date the 29th of the same month, contains assurances of a
desire on the part of that Government to give a prompt and explicit
answer respecting each of the complaints, but that the examination of
them would necessarily be deliberate; that in this examination it
would be guided by the principles of public law and the obligation
of treaties; that nothing should be left undone that might lead to
the most speedy and equitable adjustment of our demands, and that its
determination in respect to each case should be communicated through
the Mexican minister here.

Since that time an envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary
has been accredited to this Government by that of the Mexican Republic.
He brought with him assurances of a sincere desire that the pending
differences between the two Governments should be terminated in
a manner satisfactory to both. He was received with reciprocal
assurances, and a hope was entertained that his mission would lead
to a speedy, satisfactory, and final adjustment of all existing subjects
of complaint. A sincere believer in the wisdom of the pacific policy by
which the United States have always been governed in their intercourse
with foreign nations, it was my particular desire, from the proximity
of the Mexican Republic and well-known occurrences on our frontier,
to be instrumental in obviating all existing difficulties with that
Government and in restoring to the intercourse between the two Republics
that liberal and friendly character by which they should always be
distinguished. I regret, therefore, the more deeply to have found in the
recent communications of that Government so little reason to hope that
any future efforts of mine for the accomplishment of those desirable
objects would be successful.

Although the larger number--and many of them aggravated cases of
personal wrongs--have been now for years before the Mexican Government,

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