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

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and some of the causes of national complaint, and those of the most
offensive character, admitted of immediate, simple, and satisfactory
replies, it is only within a few days past that any specific
communication in answer to our last demand, made five months ago, has
been received from the Mexican minister. By the report of the Secretary
of State herewith presented and the accompanying documents it will be
seen that for not one of our public complaints has satisfaction been
given or offered, that but one of the cases of personal wrong has been
favorably considered, and that but four cases of both descriptions out
of all those formally presented and earnestly pressed have as yet been
decided upon by the Mexican Government.

Not perceiving in what manner any of the powers given to the Executive
alone could be further usefully employed in bringing this unfortunate
controversy to a satisfactory termination, the subject was by my
predecessor referred to Congress as one calling for its interposition.
In accordance with the clearly understood wishes of the Legislature,
another and formal demand for satisfaction has been made upon the
Mexican Government, with what success the documents now communicated
will show. On a careful and deliberate examination of their contents,
and considering the spirit manifested by the Mexican Government, it
has become my painful duty to return the subject as it now stands to
Congress, to whom it belongs to decide upon the time, the mode, and
the measure of redress. Whatever may be your decision, it shall be
faithfully executed, confident that it will be characterized by that
moderation and justice which will, I trust, under all circumstances
govern the councils of our country.

The balance in the Treasury on the 1st January, 1837, was $45,968,523.
The receipts during the present year from all sources, including
the amount of Treasury notes issued, are estimated at $23,499,981,
constituting an aggregate of $69,468,504. Of this amount about
$35,281,361 will have been expended at the end of the year on
appropriations made by Congress, and the residue, amounting to
$34,187,143, will be the nominal balance in the Treasury on the
1st of January next; but of that sum only $1,085,498 is considered as
immediately available for and applicable to public purposes. Those
portions of it which will be for some time unavailable consist chiefly
of sums deposited with the States and due from the former deposit banks.
The details upon this subject will be found in the annual report of the
Secretary of the Treasury. The amount of Treasury notes which it will be
necessary to issue during the year on account of those funds being
unavailable will, it is supposed, not exceed four and a half millions.
It seemed proper, in the condition of the country, to have the estimates
on all subjects made as low as practicable without prejudice to any
great public measures. The Departments were therefore desired to prepare
their estimates accordingly, and I am happy to find that they have been
able to graduate them on so economical a scale. In the great and often
unexpected fluctuations to which the revenue is subjected it is not
possible to compute the receipts beforehand with great certainty,
but should they not differ essentially from present anticipations,
and should the appropriations not much exceed the estimates, no
difficulty seems likely to happen in defraying the current expenses
with promptitude and fidelity.

Notwithstanding the great embarrassments which have recently
occurred in commercial affairs, and the liberal indulgence which in
consequence of these embarrassments has been extended to both the
merchants and the banks, it is gratifying to be able to anticipate that
the Treasury notes which have been issued during the present year will
be redeemed and that the resources of the Treasury, without any resort
to loans or increased taxes, will prove ample for defraying all charges
imposed on it during 1838.

The report of the Secretary of the Treasury will afford you a more
minute exposition of all matters connected with the administration of
the finances during the current year--a period which for the amount of
public moneys disbursed and deposited with the States, as well as the
financial difficulties encountered and overcome, has few parallels in
our history.

Your attention was at the last session invited to the necessity of
additional legislative provisions in respect to the collection,
safe-keeping, and transfer of the public money. No law having been then
matured, and not understanding the proceedings of Congress as intended
to be final, it becomes my duty again to bring the subject to your
notice.

On that occasion three modes of performing this branch of the public
service were presented for consideration. These were, the creation of
a national bank; the revival, with modifications, of the deposit system
established by the act of the 23d of June, 1836, permitting the use
of the public moneys by the banks; and the discontinuance of the use of
such institutions for the purposes referred to, with suitable provisions
for their accomplishment through the agency of public officers.
Considering the opinions of both Houses of Congress on the first two
propositions as expressed in the negative, in which I entirely concur,
it is unnecessary for me again to recur to them. In respect to the last,
you have had an opportunity since your adjournment not only to test
still further the expediency of the measure by the continued practical
operation of such parts of it as are now in force, but also to discover
what should ever be sought for and regarded with the utmost
deference--the opinions and wishes of the people.

The national will is the supreme law of the Republic, and on all
subjects within the limits of his constitutional powers should be
faithfully obeyed by the public servant. Since the measure in question
was submitted to your consideration most of you have enjoyed the
advantage of personal communication with your constituents. For one
State only has an election been held for the Federal Government;
but the early day at which it took place deprived the measure under
consideration of much of the support it might otherwise have derived
from the result. Local elections for State officers have, however,
been held in several of the States, at which the expediency of the plan
proposed by the Executive has been more or less discussed. You will,
I am confident, yield to their results the respect due to every
expression of the public voice. Desiring, however, to arrive at truth
and a just view of the subject in all its bearings, you will at the same
time remember that questions of far deeper and more immediate local
interest than the fiscal plans of the National Treasury were involved in
those elections. Above all, we can not overlook the striking fact that
there were at the time in those States more than one hundred and sixty
millions of bank capital, of which large portions were subject to actual
forfeiture, other large portions upheld only by special and limited
legislative indulgences, and most of it, if not all, to a greater or
less extent dependent for a continuance of its corporate existence upon
the will of the State legislatures to be then chosen. Apprised of this
circumstance, you will judge whether it is not most probable that the
peculiar condition of that vast interest in these respects, the extent
to which it has been spread through all the ramifications of society,
its direct connection with the then pending elections, and the feelings
it was calculated to infuse into the canvass have exercised a far
greater influence over the result than any which could possibly have
been produced by a conflict of opinion in respect to a question in the
administration of the General Government more remote and far less
important in its bearings upon that interest.

I have found no reason to change my own opinion as to the expediency
of adopting the system proposed, being perfectly satisfied that there
will be neither stability nor safety either in the fiscal affairs
of the Government or in the pecuniary transactions of individuals and
corporations so long as a connection exists between them which, like
the past, offers such strong inducements to make them the subjects
of political agitation. Indeed, I am more than ever convinced of
the dangers to which the free and unbiased exercise of political
opinion--the only sure foundation and safeguard of republican
government--would be exposed by any further increase of the already
overgrown influence of corporate authorities. I can not, therefore,
consistently with my views of duty, advise a renewal of a connection
which circumstances have dissolved.

The discontinuance of the use of State banks for fiscal purposes ought
not to be regarded as a measure of hostility toward those institutions.
Banks properly established and conducted are highly useful to the
business of the country, and will doubtless continue to exist in the
States so long as they conform to their laws and are found to be safe
and beneficial. How they should be created, what privileges they should
enjoy, under what responsibilities they should act, and to what
restrictions they should be subject are questions which, as I observed
on a previous occasion, belong to the States to decide. Upon their
rights or the exercise of them the General Government can have no motive
to encroach. Its duty toward them is well performed when it refrains
from legislating for their special benefit, because such legislation
would violate the spirit of the Constitution and be unjust to other
interests; when it takes no steps to impair their usefulness, but so
manages its own affairs as to make it the interest of those institutions
to strengthen and improve their condition for the security and welfare
of the community at large. They have no right to insist on a connection
with the Federal Government, nor on the use of the public money for
their own benefit. The object of the measure under consideration is to
avoid for the future a compulsory connection of this kind. It proposes
to place the General Government, in regard to the essential points of
the collection, safe-keeping, and transfer of the public money, in a
situation which shall relieve it from all dependence on the will of
irresponsible individuals or corporations; to withdraw those moneys from
the uses of private trade and confide them to agents constitutionally
selected and controlled by law; to abstain from improper interference
with the industry of the people and withhold inducements to improvident
dealings on the part of individuals; to give stability to the concerns
of the Treasury; to preserve the measures of the Government from the
unavoidable reproaches that flow from such a connection, and the banks
themselves from the injurious effects of a supposed participation in the
political conflicts of the day, from which they will otherwise find it
difficult to escape.

These are my views upon this important subject, formed after careful
reflection and with no desire but to arrive at what is most likely
to promote the public interest. They are now, as they were before,
submitted with unfeigned deference for the opinions of others. It was
hardly to be hoped that changes so important on a subject so interesting
could be made without producing a serious diversity of opinion; but
so long as those conflicting views are kept above the influence of
individual or local interests, so long as they pursue only the general
good and are discussed with moderation and candor, such diversity is a
benefit, not an injury. If a majority of Congress see the public welfare
in a different light, and more especially if they should be satisfied
that the measure proposed would not be acceptable to the people, I shall
look to their wisdom to substitute such as may be more conducive to
the one and more satisfactory to the other. In any event, they may
confidently rely on my hearty cooperation to the fullest extent to
which my views of the Constitution and my sense of duty will permit.

It is obviously important to this branch of the public service and to
the business and quiet of the country that the whole subject should in
some way be settled and regulated by law, and, if possible, at your
present session. Besides the plans above referred to, I am not aware
that any one has been suggested except that of keeping the public money
in the State banks in special deposit. This plan is to some extent in
accordance with the practice of the Government and with the present
arrangements of the Treasury Department, which, except, perhaps, during
the operation of the late deposit act, has always been allowed, even
during the existence of a national bank, to make a temporary use of the
State banks in particular places for the safe-keeping of portions of the
revenue. This discretionary power might be continued if Congress deem it
desirable, whatever general system be adopted. So long as the connection
is voluntary we need, perhaps, anticipate few of those difficulties and
little of that dependence on the banks which must attend every such
connection when compulsory in its nature and when so arranged as to make
the banks a fixed part of the machinery of government. It is undoubtedly
in the power of Congress so to regulate and guard it as to prevent the
public money from being applied to the use or intermingled with the
affairs of individuals. Thus arranged, although it would not give to
the Government that entire control over its own funds which I desire to
secure to it by the plan I have proposed, it would, it must be admitted,
in a great degree accomplish one of the objects which has recommended
that plan to my judgment--the separation of the fiscal concerns of the
Government from those of individuals or corporations.

With these observations I recommend the whole matter to your
dispassionate reflection, confidently hoping that some conclusion may
be reached by your deliberations which on the one hand shall give
safety and stability to the fiscal operations of the Government, and
be consistent, on the other, with the genius of our institutions and
with the interests and wishes of the great mass of our constituents.

It was my hope that nothing would occur to make necessary on
this occasion any allusion to the late national bank. There are
circumstances, however, connected with the present state of its affairs
that bear so directly on the character of the Government and the welfare
of the citizen that I should not feel myself excused in neglecting to
notice them. The charter which terminated its banking privileges on the
4th of March, 1836, continued its corporate power two years more for
the sole purpose of closing its affairs, with authority "to use the
corporate name, style, and capacity for the purpose of suits for a final
settlement and liquidation of the affairs and acts of the corporation,
and for the sale and disposition of their estate--real, personal, and
mixed--but for no other purpose or in any other manner whatsoever." Just
before the banking privileges ceased, its effects were transferred by
the bank to a new State institution, then recently incorporated, in
trust, for the discharge of its debts and the settlement of its affairs.
With this trustee, by authority of Congress, an adjustment was
subsequently made of the large interest which the Government had in the
stock of the institution. The manner in which a trust unexpectedly
created upon the act granting the charter, and involving such great
public interests, has been executed would under any circumstances be a
fit subject of inquiry; but much more does it deserve your attention
when it embraces the redemption of obligations to which the authority
and credit of the United States have given value. The two years allowed
are now nearly at an end. It is well understood that the trustee has
not redeemed and canceled the outstanding notes of the bank, but has
reissued and is actually reissuing, since the 3d of March, 1836, the
notes which have been received by it to a vast amount. According to its
own official statement, so late as the 1st of October last, nineteen
months after the banking privileges given by the charter had expired, it
had under its control uncanceled notes of the late Bank of the United
States to the amount of $27,561,866, of which $6,175,861 were in actual
circulation, $1,468,627 at State bank agencies, and $3,002,390 _in
transitu_, thus showing that upward of ten millions and a half of the
notes of the old bank were then still kept outstanding.

The impropriety of this procedure is obvious, it being the duty of the
trustee to cancel and not to put forth the notes of an institution whose
concerns it had undertaken to wind up. If the trustee has a right to
reissue these notes now, I can see no reason why it may not continue
to do so after the expiration of the two years. As no one could have
anticipated a course so extraordinary, the prohibitory clause of the
charter above quoted was not accompanied by any penalty or other special
provision for enforcing it, nor have we any general law for the
prevention of similar acts in future.

But it is not in this view of the subject alone that your interposition
is required. The United States in settling with the trustee for their
stock have withdrawn their funds from their former direct liability to
the creditors of the old bank, yet notes of the institution continue
to be sent forth in its name, and apparently upon the authority of the
United States. The transactions connected with the employment of the
bills of the old bank are of vast extent, and should they result
unfortunately the interests of individuals may be deeply compromised.
Without undertaking to decide how far or in what form, if any, the
trustee could be made liable for notes which contain no obligation on
its part, or the old bank for such as are put in circulation after the
expiration of its charter and without its authority, or the Government
for indemnity in case of loss, the question still presses itself upon
your consideration whether it is consistent with duty and good faith on
the part of the Government to witness this proceeding without a single
effort to arrest it.

The report of the Commissioner of the General Land Office, which will
be laid before you by the Secretary of the Treasury, will show how the
affairs of that office have been conducted for the past year. The
disposition of the public lands is one of the most important trusts
confided to Congress. The practicability of retaining the title and
control of such extensive domains in the General Government, and at the
same time admitting the Territories embracing them into the Federal
Union as coequals with the original States, was seriously doubted by
many of our wisest statesmen. All feared that they would become a source
of discord, and many carried their apprehensions so far as to see in
them the seeds of a future dissolution of the Confederacy. But happily
our experience has already been sufficient to quiet in a great degree
all such apprehensions. The position at one time assumed, that the
admission of new States into the Union on the same footing with the
original States was incompatible with a right of soil in the United
States and operated as a surrender thereof, notwithstanding the terms of
the compacts by which their admission was designed to be regulated, has
been wisely abandoned. Whether in the new or the old States, all now
agree that the right of soil to the public lands remains in the Federal
Government, and that these lands constitute a common property, to be
disposed of for the common benefit of all the States, old and new.
Acquiescence in this just principle by the people of the new States has
naturally promoted a disposition to adopt the most liberal policy in the
sale of the public lands. A policy which should be limited to the mere
object of selling the lands for the greatest possible sum of money,
without regard to higher considerations, finds but few advocates. On the
contrary, it is generally conceded that whilst the mode of disposition
adopted by the Government should always be a prudent one, yet its
leading object ought to be the early settlement and cultivation of the
lands sold, and that it should discountenance, if it can not prevent,
the accumulation of large tracts in the same hands, which must
necessarily retard the growth of the new States or entail upon them
a dependent tenantry and its attendant evils.

A question embracing such important interests and so well calculated
to enlist the feelings of the people in every quarter of the Union has
very naturally given rise to numerous plans for the improvement of
the existing system. The distinctive features of the policy that has
hitherto prevailed are to dispose of the public lands at moderate
prices, thus enabling a greater number to enter into competition for
their purchase and accomplishing a double object--of promoting their
rapid settlement by the purchasers and at the same time increasing the
receipts of the Treasury; to sell for cash, thereby preventing the
disturbing influence of a large mass of private citizens indebted to
the Government which they have a voice in controlling; to bring them
into market no faster than good lands are supposed to be wanted for
improvement, thereby preventing the accumulation of large tracts in few
hands; and to apply the proceeds of the sales to the general purposes of
the Government, thus diminishing the amount to be raised from the people
of the States by taxation and giving each State its portion of the
benefits to be derived from this common fund in a manner the most quiet,
and at the same time, perhaps, the most equitable, that can be devised.
These provisions, with occasional enactments in behalf of special
interests deemed entitled to the favor of the Government, have in their
execution produced results as beneficial upon the whole as could
reasonably be expected in a matter so vast, so complicated, and so
exciting. Upward of 70,000,000 acres have been sold, the greater part of
which is believed to have been purchased for actual settlement. The
population of the new States and Territories created out of the public
domain increased between 1800 and 1830 from less than 60,000 to upward
of 2,300,000 souls, constituting at the latter period about one-fifth
of the whole people of the United States. The increase since can not
be accurately known, but the whole may now be safely estimated at
over three and a half millions of souls, composing nine States, the
representatives of which constitute above one-third of the Senate and
over one-sixth of the House of Representatives of the United States.

Thus has been formed a body of free and independent landholders with a
rapidity unequaled in the history of mankind; and this great result has
been produced without leaving anything for future adjustment between
the Government and its citizens. The system under which so much has
been accomplished can not be intrinsically bad, and with occasional
modifications to correct abuses and adapt it to changes of circumstances
may, I think, be safely trusted for the future. There is in the
management of such extensive interests much virtue in stability; and
although great and obvious improvements should not be declined, changes
should never be made without the fullest examination and the clearest
demonstration of their practical utility. In the history of the past we
have an assurance that this safe rule of action will not be departed
from in relation to the public lands; nor is it believed that any
necessity exists for interfering with the fundamental principles of the
system, or that the public mind, even in the new States, is desirous
of any radical alterations. On the contrary, the general disposition
appears to be to make such modifications and additions only as will the
more effectually carry out the original policy of filling our new States
and Territories with an industrious and independent population.

The modification most perseveringly pressed upon Congress, which has
occupied so much of its time for years past, and will probably do so
for a long time to come, if not sooner satisfactorily adjusted, is
a reduction in the cost of such portions of the public lands as are
ascertained to be unsalable at the rate now established by law, and a
graduation according to their relative value of the prices at which they
may hereafter be sold. It is worthy of consideration whether justice may
not be done to every interest in this matter, and a vexed question set
at rest, perhaps forever, by a reasonable compromise of conflicting
opinions. Hitherto, after being offered at public sale, lands have been
disposed of at one uniform price, whatever difference there might be in
their intrinsic value. The leading considerations urged in favor of the
measure referred to are that in almost all the land districts, and
particularly in those in which the lands have been long surveyed and
exposed to sale, there are still remaining numerous and large tracts of
every gradation of value, from the Government price downward; that these
lands will not be purchased at the Government price so long as better
can be conveniently obtained for the same amount; that there are large
tracts which even the improvements of the adjacent lands will never
raise to that price, and that the present uniform price, combined with
their irregular value, operates to prevent a desirable compactness of
settlements in the new States and to retard the full development of that
wise policy on which our land system is founded, to the injury not only
of the several States where the lands lie, but of the United States as
a whole.

The remedy proposed has been a reduction of the prices according to the
length of time the lands have been in market, without reference to any
other circumstances. The certainty that the efflux of time would not
always in such cases, and perhaps not even generally, furnish a true
criterion of value, and the probability that persons residing in the
vicinity, as the period for the reduction of prices approached, would
postpone purchases they would otherwise make, for the purpose of
availing themselves of the lower price, with other considerations of a
similar character, have hitherto been successfully urged to defeat the
graduation upon time.

May not all reasonable desires upon this subject be satisfied without
encountering any of these objections? All will concede the abstract
principle that the price of the public lands should be proportioned to
their relative value, so far as can be accomplished without departing
from the rule heretofore observed requiring fixed prices in cases of
private entries. The difficulty of the subject seems to lie in the
mode of ascertaining what that value is. Would not the safest plan
be that which has been adopted by many of the States as the basis of
taxation--an actual valuation of lands and classification of them into
different rates? Would it not be practicable and expedient to cause the
relative value of the public lands in the old districts which have been
for a certain length of time in market to be appraised and classed into
two or more rates below the present minimum price by the officers now
employed in this branch of the public service or in any other mode
deemed preferable, and to make those prices permanent if upon the coming
in of the report they shall prove satisfactory to Congress? Could not
all the objects of graduation be accomplished in this way, and the
objections which have hitherto been urged against it avoided? It would
seem to me that such a step, with a restriction of the sales to limited
quantities and for actual improvement, would be free from all just
exception.

By the full exposition of the value of the lands thus furnished and
extensively promulgated persons living at a distance would be informed
of their true condition and enabled to enter into competition with those
residing in the vicinity; the means of acquiring an independent home
would be brought within the reach of many who are unable to purchase at
present prices; the population of the new States would be made more
compact, and large tracts would be sold which would otherwise remain on
hand. Not only would the land be brought within the means of a larger
number of purchasers, but many persons possessed of greater means would
be content to settle on a larger quantity of the poorer lands rather
than emigrate farther west in pursuit of a smaller quantity of better
lands. Such a measure would also seem to be more consistent with the
policy of the existing laws--that of converting the public domain into
cultivated farms owned by their occupants. That policy is not best
promoted by sending emigration up the almost interminable streams of
the West to occupy in groups the best spots of land, leaving immense
wastes behind them and enlarging the frontier beyond the means of the
Government to afford it adequate protection, but in encouraging it to
occupy with reasonable denseness the territory over which it advances,
and find its best defense in the compact front which it presents to
the Indian tribes. Many of you will bring to the consideration of the
subject the advantages of local knowledge and greater experience, and
all will be desirous of making an early and final disposition of every
disturbing question in regard to this important interest. If these
suggestions shall in any degree contribute to the accomplishment of
so important a result, it will afford me sincere satisfaction.

In some sections of the country most of the public lands have been sold,
and the registers and receivers have very little to do. It is a subject
worthy of inquiry whether in many cases two or more districts may not
be consolidated and the number of persons employed in this business
considerably reduced. Indeed, the time will come when it will be the
true policy of the General Government, as to some of the States, to
transfer to them for a reasonable equivalent all the refuse and unsold
lands and to withdraw the machinery of the Federal land offices
altogether. All who take a comprehensive view of our federal system and
believe that one of its greatest excellences consists in interfering as
little as possible with the internal concerns of the States look forward
with great interest to this result.

A modification of the existing laws in respect to the prices of the
public lands might also have a favorable influence on the legislation
of Congress in relation to another branch of the subject. Many who have
not the ability to buy at present prices settle on those lands with
the hope of acquiring from their cultivation the means of purchasing
under preemption laws from time to time passed by Congress. For this
encroachment on the rights of the United States they excuse themselves
under the plea of their own necessities; the fact that they dispossess
nobody and only enter upon the waste domain: that they give additional
value to the public lands in their vicinity, and their intention
ultimately to pay the Government price. So much weight has from time to
time been attached to these considerations that Congress have passed
laws giving actual settlers on the public lands a right of preemption to
the tracts occupied by them at the minimum price. These laws have in all
instances been retrospective in their operation, but in a few years
after their passage crowds of new settlers have been found on the public
lands for similar reasons and under like expectations, who have been
indulged with the same privilege. This course of legislation tends to
impair public respect for the laws of the country. Either the laws to
prevent intrusion upon the public lands should be executed, or, if that
should be impracticable or inexpedient, they should be modified or
repealed. If the public lands are to be considered as open to be
occupied by any, they should by law be thrown open to all. That which is
intended in all instances to be legalized should at once be made legal,
that those who are disposed to conform to the laws may enjoy at least
equal privileges with those who are not. But it is not believed to be
the disposition of Congress to open the public lands to occupancy
without regular entry and payment of the Government price, as such a
course must tend to worse evils than the credit system, which it was
found necessary to abolish.

It would seem, therefore, to be the part of wisdom and sound policy
to remove as far as practicable the causes which produce intrusions
upon the public lands, and then take efficient steps to prevent them
in future. Would any single measure be so effective in removing all
plausible grounds for these intrusions as the graduation of price
already suggested? A short period of industry and economy in any part of
our country would enable the poorest citizen to accumulate the means to
buy him a home at the lower prices, and leave him without apology for
settling on lands not his own. If he did not under such circumstances,
he would enlist no sympathy in his favor, and the laws would be readily
executed without doing violence to public opinion.

A large portion of our citizens have seated themselves on the public
lands without authority since the passage of the last preemption law,
and now ask the enactment of another to enable them to retain the lands
occupied upon payment of the minimum Government price. They ask that
which has been repeatedly granted before. If the future may be judged of
by the past, little harm can be done to the interests of the Treasury
by yielding to their request. Upon a critical examination it is found
that the lands sold at the public sales since the introduction of cash
payments, in 1820, have produced on an average the net revenue of only
6 cents an acre more than the minimum Government price. There is no
reason to suppose that future sales will be more productive. The
Government, therefore, has no adequate pecuniary interest to induce it
to drive these people from the lands they occupy for the purpose of
selling them to others.

Entertaining these views, I recommend the passage of a preemption law
for their benefit in connection with the preparatory steps toward the
graduation of the price of the public lands, and further and more
effectual provisions to prevent intrusions hereafter. Indulgence to
those who have settled on these lands with expectations that past
legislation would be made a rule for the future, and at the same time
removing the most plausible ground on which intrusions are excused and
adopting more efficient means to prevent them hereafter, appears to me
the most judicious disposition which can be made of this difficult
subject. The limitations and restrictions to guard against abuses in
the execution of a preemption law will necessarily attract the careful
attention of Congress, but under no circumstances is it considered
expedient to authorize floating claims in any shape. They have been
heretofore, and doubtless would be hereafter, most prolific sources of
fraud and oppression, and instead of operating to confer the favor of
the Government on industrious settlers are often used only to minister
to a spirit of cupidity at the expense of the most meritorious of that
class.

The accompanying report of the Secretary of War will bring to your view
the state of the Army and all the various subjects confided to the
superintendence of that officer.

The principal part of the Army has been concentrated in Florida, with a
view and in the expectation of bringing the war in that Territory to a
speedy close. The necessity of stripping the posts on the maritime and
inland frontiers of their entire garrisons for the purpose of assembling
in the field an army of less than 4,000 men would seem to indicate the
necessity of increasing our regular forces; and the superior efficiency,
as well as greatly diminished expense of that description of troops,
recommend this measure as one of economy as well as of expediency.
I refer to the report for the reasons which have induced the Secretary
of War to urge the reorganization and enlargement of the staff of the
Army, and of the Ordnance Corps, in which I fully concur.

It is not, however, compatible with the interests of the people to
maintain in time of peace a regular force adequate to the defense of
our extensive frontiers. In periods of danger and alarm we must rely
principally upon a well-organized militia, and some general arrangement
that will render this description of force more efficient has long
been a subject of anxious solicitude. It was recommended to the First
Congress by General Washington, and has been since frequently brought to
your notice, and recently its importance strongly urged by my immediate
predecessor. The provision in the Constitution that renders it necessary
to adopt a uniform system of organization for the militia throughout
the United States presents an insurmountable obstacle to an efficient
arrangement by the classification heretofore proposed, and I invite your
attention to the plan which will be submitted by the Secretary of War,
for the organization of volunteer corps and the instruction of militia
officers, as more simple and practicable, if not equally advantageous,
as a general arrangement of the whole militia of the United States.

A moderate increase of the corps both of military and topographical
engineers has been more than once recommended by my predecessor, and my
conviction of the propriety, not to say necessity, of the measure, in
order to enable them to perform the various and important duties imposed
upon them, induces me to repeat the recommendation.

The Military Academy continues to answer all the purposes of its
establishment, and not only furnishes well-educated officers to the
Army, but serves to diffuse throughout the mass of our citizens
individuals possessed of military knowledge and the scientific
attainments of civil and military engineering. At present the cadet is
bound, with consent of his parents or guardians, to remain in service
five years from the period of his enlistment, unless sooner discharged,
thus exacting only one year's service in the Army after his education is
completed. This does not appear to me sufficient. Government ought to
command for a longer period the services of those who are educated at
the public expense, and I recommend that the time of enlistment be
extended to seven years, and the terms of the engagement strictly
enforced.

The creation of a national foundry for cannon, to be common to the
service of the Army and Navy of the United States, has been heretofore
recommended, and appears to be required in order to place our ordnance
on an equal footing with that of other countries and to enable that
branch of the service to control the prices of those articles and
graduate the supplies to the wants of the Government, as well as to
regulate their quality and insure their uniformity. The same reasons
induce me to recommend the erection of a manufactory of gunpowder, to
be under the direction of the Ordnance Office. The establishment of a
manufactory of small arms west of the Alleghany Mountains, upon the
plan proposed by the Secretary of War, will contribute to extend
throughout that country the improvements which exist in establishments
of a similar description in the Atlantic States, and tend to a much more
economical distribution of the armament required in the western portion
of our Union.

The system of removing the Indians west of the Mississippi, commenced
by Mr. Jefferson in 1804, has been steadily persevered in by every
succeeding President, and may be considered the settled policy of the
country. Unconnected at first with any well-defined system for their
improvement, the inducements held out to the Indians were confined
to the greater abundance of game to be found in the West; but when
the beneficial effects of their removal were made apparent a more
philanthropic and enlightened policy was adopted in purchasing their
lands east of the Mississippi. Liberal prices were given and provisions
inserted in all the treaties with them for the application of the funds
they received in exchange to such purposes as were best calculated to
promote their present welfare and advance their future civilization.
These measures have been attended thus far with the happiest results.

It will be seen by referring to the report of the Commissioner of Indian
Affairs that the most sanguine expectations of the friends and promoters
of this system have been realized. The Choctaws, Cherokees, and other
tribes that first emigrated beyond the Mississippi have for the most
part abandoned the hunter state and become cultivators of the soil.
The improvement in their condition has been rapid, and it is believed
that they are now fitted to enjoy the advantages of a simple form of
government, which has been submitted to them and received their
sanction; and I can not too strongly urge this subject upon the
attention of Congress.

Stipulations have been made with all the Indian tribes to remove them
beyond the Mississippi, except with the bands of the Wyandots, the Six
Nations in New York, the Menomonees, Munsees, and Stockbridges in
Wisconsin, and Miamies in Indiana. With all but the Menomonees it is
expected that arrangements for their emigration will be completed the
present year. The resistance which has been opposed to their removal by
some of the tribes even after treaties had been made with them to that
effect has arisen from various causes, operating differently on each
of them. In most instances they have been instigated to resistance
by persons to whom the trade with them and the acquisition of their
annuities were important, and in some by the personal influence of
interested chiefs. These obstacles must be overcome, for the Government
can not relinquish the execution of this policy without sacrificing
important interests and abandoning the tribes remaining east of the
Mississippi to certain destruction.

The decrease in numbers of the tribes within the limits of the States
and Territories has been most rapid. If they be removed, they can be
protected from those associations and evil practices which exert so
pernicious and destructive an influence over their destinies. They
can be induced to labor and to acquire property, and its acquisition
will inspire them with a feeling of independence. Their minds can be
cultivated, and they can be taught the value of salutary and uniform
laws and be made sensible of the blessings of free government and
capable of enjoying its advantages. In the possession of property,
knowledge, and a good government, free to give what direction they
please to their labor, and sharers in the legislation by which their
persons and the profits of their industry are to be protected and
secured, they will have an ever-present conviction of the importance of
union and peace among themselves and of the preservation of amicable
relations with us. The interests of the United States would also be
greatly promoted by freeing the relations between the General and State
Governments from what has proved a most embarrassing incumbrance by a
satisfactory adjustment of conflicting titles to lands caused by the
occupation of the Indians, and by causing the resources of the whole
country to be developed by the power of the State and General
Governments and improved by the enterprise of a white population.

Intimately connected with this subject is the obligation of the
Government to fulfill its treaty stipulations and to protect the Indians
thus assembled "at their new residences from all interruptions and
disturbances from any other tribes or nations of Indians or from any
other person or persons whatsoever," and the equally solemn obligation
to guard from Indian hostility its own border settlements, stretching
along a line of more than 1,000 miles. To enable the Government to
redeem this pledge to the Indians and to afford adequate protection to
its own citizens will require the continual presence of a considerable
regular force on the frontiers and the establishment of a chain of
permanent posts. Examinations of the country are now making, with a view
to decide on the most suitable points for the erection of fortresses and
other works of defense, the results of which will be presented to you by
the Secretary of War at an early day, together with a plan for the
effectual protection of the friendly Indians and the permanent defense
of the frontier States.

By the report of the Secretary of the Navy herewith communicated it
appears that unremitted exertions have been made at the different
navy-yards to carry into effect all authorized measures for the
extension and employment of our naval force. The launching and
preparation of the ship of the line _Pennsylvania_ and the complete
repairs of the ships of the line _Ohio, Delaware_, and _Columbus_ may
be noticed as forming a respectable addition to this important arm
of our national defense. Our commerce and navigation have received
increased aid, and protection during the present year. Our squadrons in
the Pacific and on the Brazilian station have been much increased, and
that in the Mediterranean, although small, is adequate to the present
wants of our commerce in that sea. Additions have been made to our
squadron on the West India station, where the large force under
Commodore Dallas has been most actively and efficiently employed in
protecting our commerce, in preventing the importation of slaves, and
in cooperating with the officers of the Army in carrying on the war
in Florida.

The satisfactory condition of our naval force abroad leaves at our
disposal the means of conveniently providing for a home squadron
for the protection of commerce upon our extensive coast. The amount
of appropriations required for such a squadron will be found in the
general estimates for the naval service for the year 1838.

The naval officers engaged upon our coast survey have rendered important
service to our navigation. The discovery of a new channel into the
harbor of New York, through which our largest ships may pass without
danger, must afford important commercial advantages to that harbor and
add greatly to its value as a naval station. The accurate survey of
Georges Shoals, off the coast of Massachusetts, lately completed, will
render comparatively safe a navigation hitherto considered dangerous.

Considerable additions have been made to the number of captains,
commanders, lieutenants, surgeons, and assistant surgeons in the Navy.
These additions were rendered necessary by the increased number of
vessels put in commission to answer the exigencies of our growing
commerce.

Your attention is respectfully invited to the various suggestions of the
Secretary for the improvement of the naval service.

The report of the Postmaster-General exhibits the progress and condition
of the mail service. The operations of the Post-Office Department
constitute one of the most active elements of our national prosperity,
and it is gratifying to observe with what vigor they are conducted. The
mail routes of the United States cover an extent of about 142,877 miles,
having been increased about 37,103 miles within the last two years. The
annual mail transportation on these routes is about 36,228,962 miles,
having been increased about 10,359,476 miles within the same period. The
number of post-offices has also been increased from 10,770 to 12,099,
very few of which receive the mails less than once a week, and a large
portion of them daily. Contractors and postmasters in general are
represented as attending to their duties with most commendable zeal and
fidelity. The revenue of the Department within the year ending on the
30th of June last was $4,137,056.59, and its liabilities accruing within
the same time were $3,380,847.75. The increase of revenue over that of
the preceding year was $708,166.41.

For many interesting details I refer you to the report of the
Postmaster-General, with the accompanying papers, Your particular
attention is invited to the necessity of providing a more safe and
convenient building for the accommodation of that Department.

I lay before Congress copies of reports submitted in pursuance of
a call made by me upon the heads of Departments for such suggestions
as their experience might enable them to make as to what further
legislative provisions may be advantageously adopted to secure the
faithful application of public moneys to the objects for which they
are appropriated, to prevent their misapplication or embezzlement by
those intrusted with the expenditure of them, and generally to increase
the security of the Government against losses in their disbursement.
It is needless to dilate on the importance of providing such new
safeguards as are within the power of legislation to promote these
ends, and I have little to add to the recommendations submitted in the
accompanying papers.

By law the terms of service of our most important collecting and
disbursing officers in the civil departments are limited to four years,
and when reappointed their bonds are required to be renewed. The safety
of the public is much increased by this feature of the law, and there
can be no doubt that its application to all officers intrusted with the
collection or disbursement of the public money, whatever may be the
tenure of their offices, would be equally beneficial. I therefore
recommend, in addition to such of the suggestions presented by the heads
of Departments as you may think useful, a general provision that all
officers of the Army or Navy, or in the civil departments, intrusted
with the receipt or payment of public money, and whose term of service
is either unlimited or for a longer time than four years, be required to
give new bonds, with good and sufficient sureties, at the expiration of
every such period.

A change in the period of terminating the fiscal year, from the 1st
of October to the 1st of April, has been frequently recommended, and
appears to be desirable.

The distressing casualties in steamboats which have so frequently
happened during the year seem to evince the necessity of attempting
to prevent them by means of severe provisions connected with their
customhouse papers. This subject was submitted to the attention of
Congress by the Secretary of the Treasury in his last annual report,
and will be again noticed at the present session, with additional
details. It will doubtless receive that early and careful consideration
which its pressing importance appears to require.

Your attention has heretofore been frequently called to the affairs of
the District of Columbia, and I should not again ask it did not their
entire dependence on Congress give them a constant claim upon its
notice. Separated by the Constitution from the rest of the Union,
limited in extent, and aided by no legislature of its own, it would seem
to be a spot where a wise and uniform system of local government might
have been easily adopted. This District has, however, unfortunately
been left to linger behind the rest of the Union. Its codes, civil
and criminal, are not only very defective, but full of obsolete or
inconvenient provisions. Being formed of portions of two States,
discrepancies in the laws prevail in different parts of the territory,
small as it is; and although it was selected as the seat of the General
Government, the site of its public edifices, the depository of its
archives, and the residence of officers intrusted with large amounts of
public property and the management of public business, yet it has never
been subjected to or received that special and comprehensive legislation
which these circumstances peculiarly demand. I am well aware of the
various subjects of greater magnitude and immediate interest that press
themselves on the consideration of Congress, but I believe there is not
one that appeals more directly to its justice than a liberal and even
generous attention to the interests of the District of Columbia and
a thorough and careful revision of its local government.

M. VAN BUREN

SPECIAL MESSAGES.

WASHINGTON, _December 6, 1837_.

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

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of the Treasury,
exhibiting a transfer of appropriation that has been made in that
Department in pursuance of the power vested in the President by the
first section of the act of Congress of the 3d of March, 1809, entitled
"An act further to amend the several acts for the establishment and
regulation of the Treasury, War, and Navy Departments."

M. VAN BUREN

WASHINGTON, _December, 1837_.

_To the Senate_:

I transmit, for the action of the Senate, treaties negotiated with the
following Indian tribes, viz:

(1) The Chippewas of the Mississippi; (2) the Kioways, Ka-ta-kas, and
Ta-wa-ka-ros; (3) the Sioux of the Mississippi; (4) the Sacs and Foxes
of the Mississippi; (5) the Sioux of the Missouri; (6) the Sacs and
Foxes of the Missouri; (7) the Winnebagoes; (8) the Ioways.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _December 11, 1837_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate a report[5] from the Secretary of
State, with accompanying documents, in pursuance of their resolution
of the 12th of October last.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 5: Relating to the capture and sequestration of the ship
_Mary_, of Baltimore, and her cargo by the Dutch Government at the
island of Curacoa in 1809.]

WASHINGTON, _December, 1837_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 13th of October
last, relative to claims of citizens of the United States on the
Government of the Mexican Republic, I transmit a report from the
Secretary of State and the documents by which it was accompanied.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _December 15, 1837_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of War and the
plans for marine hospitals on the Western waters, referred to by him,
which are connected with the annual report from the War Department.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _December 18, 1837_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report and accompanying documents[6] from the
Secretary of War, which contain the information called for by a
resolution of the 13th of October last.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 6: Relating to adjustment of claims to reservations of land
under the fourteenth article of the treaty of 1830 with the Choctaw
Indians.]

WASHINGTON, _December 21, 1837_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of the
last session, I transmit a report made to me by the architect of the
public buildings, with the accompanying documents, exhibiting a plan of
the Treasury building now in process of erection, showing its location
in reference to the adjacent streets and public square on which it is
located, its elevation, the number and size of the rooms it will afford
suitable for office business and the number and size of those suitable
only for the deposit of records, with a statement of the sum expended
on said building and an estimate of the sum that will be required to
complete the same. As the fifth section of the act of July 4, 1836,
under the authority of which this building has been commenced, provides
only for the erection of an edifice of such dimensions as may be
required for the present and future accommodation of the Treasury
Department, the size of the structure has been adapted to that purpose;
and it is not contemplated to appropriate any part of the building to
the use of any other Department. As it is understood, however, that the
plan of the edifice admits of its being completed either with or without
wings, and that if Congress should think proper accommodation may be
provided by means of wings consistently with the harmony of the original
design for the Department of State and the General Post-Office, it is
not thought that the public interest requires any change in the location
or plan, although it is believed that the convenience of the public
business would be promoted by including in the building the proposed
accommodations for the two other Departments just mentioned. The report
of the architect shows the supposed difference of the expense that would
be incurred in the event of the construction of the building with wings,
in taking down the edifice now occupied by the Department of State, or
repairing it so as to render it fireproof and make its outside conform
to the other parts of the new building.

I also transmit statements from the heads of the several Departments of
the number and size of the rooms that are necessary for their respective
Departments for office business and for the deposit of records.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _December 22, 1837_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate a report from the Secretary of State,
in answer to their resolution of the 16th of October last.

M. VAN BUREN.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_WASHINGTON, December 22, 1837_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:

The Secretary of State, to whom has been referred the resolution of
the Senate of the 16th of October last, requesting the President of
the United States to communicate to that body "at the next session
of Congress (if not inconsistent with the public interest) any
correspondence between the Government of the United States and any
foreign government relative to the occupation of the territory of the
United States west of the Rocky Mountains and bordering on the Pacific
Ocean, and whether any, and, if so, what, portion of the said territory
is in the possession of any foreign power," has the honor to report to
the President that no correspondence between this and any foreign
government on the subject referred to has passed since the negotiation
of the existing convention of 1827 with Great Britain, by which the
provisions of the third article of the convention of the 20th of
October, 1818, with His Britannic Majesty, leaving the territory claimed
by either power westward of the Rocky Mountains free and open to the
citizens and subjects of both, were extended and continued in force
indefinitely, but liable to be annulled at the will of either party, on
due notice of twelve months, at anytime after the 20th of October, 1828,
and that the papers relating to the negotiation to which allusion has
just been made were communicated to the Senate in confidence in the
early part of the first session of the Twentieth Congress.

With regard to the second clause of the resolution above cited, the
Secretary has to state that the trading establishment called "Astoria,"
at the mouth of the Columbia River, formerly belonging to John Jacob
Astor, of New York, was sold to, and therefore left in the possession
of, the British Northwest Company, which subsequently united with the
British Hudson Bay Company; that this company has now several depots in
the country, the principal of which is at Fort Vancouver, on the north
bank of the Columbia River, and about 80 or 100 miles from its mouth.
It appears that these posts have not been considered as being in
contravention of the third article of the convention of 1818, before
referred to; and if not, there is no portion of the territory claimed
by the United States west of the Stony Mountains known to be in the
exclusive possession of a foreign power. It is known, by information
recently obtained, that the English company have a steamboat on the
Columbia, and have erected a sawmill and are cutting timber on the
territory claimed by the United States, and shipping it in considerable
quantities to the Sandwich Islands.

Respectfully submitted,

JOHN FORSYTH

WASHINGTON, _December 26, 1837_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives a report from the
Secretary of State, in answer to their resolution of the 9th of October
last.

M. VAN BUREN.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_WASHINGTON, December 23, 1837_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:

The Secretary of State, to whom has been referred the resolution of the
House of Representatives of the 9th of October last, requesting the
President to communicate to that House "at its next session, so far as
in his judgment is consistent with the public interest, whether any
foreign power, or the subjects of any foreign power, have possession of
any portion of the territory of the United States on the Columbia River,
or are in the occupancy of the same, and, if so, in what way, by what
authority, and how long such possession or occupancy has been kept by
such persons," has the honor to report to the President that a trading
establishment called "Astoria" was founded at the mouth of the Columbia
River about the year 1811 by J.J. Astor, of New York; that his interest
was sold to the British Northwest Company during the late war between
the United States and Great Britain; that this company held it, and were
left in possession at the time the country was formally delivered to the
American commissioners, and that this company afterwards united with and
became a part of the Hudson Bay Company under that name, which company,
it is believed, have from the period of such union occupied the post in
question, now commonly called "Fort George." The Hudson Bay Company have
also several depots situated on water courses in the interior of the
country. The principal one is at Fort Vancouver, on the northern bank of
the Columbia River, about 80 or 100 miles from its mouth. It is known by
information recently obtained that the English company have a steamboat
on this river, and that they have erected a sawmill and are cutting
timber on the territory claimed by the United States, and are shipping
it in considerable quantities to the Sandwich Islands.

The original occupation was under the authority of the purchase of J.J.
Astor's interest, and it has been continued under the provisions of the
conventions of 1818 and 1827 with Great Britain. By the third article
of the first of these conventions it is stipulated that the territory
claimed by either power westward of the Rocky Mountains shall be free
and open for a term of years to the citizens and subjects of both. By
the second convention this stipulation is extended and continued in
force indefinitely, liable, however, to be annulled at any time after
the 20th of October, 1828, at the will of either party, on due notice
of twelve months.

Respectfully submitted,

JOHN FORSYTH.

WASHINGTON, _January 5, 1838_.

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

Recent experience on the southern boundary of the United States and the
events now daily occurring on our northern frontier have abundantly
shown that the existing laws are insufficient to guard against hostile
invasion from the United States of the territory of friendly and
neighboring nations.

The laws in force provide sufficient penalties for the punishment of
such offenses after they have been committed, and provided the parties
can be found, but the Executive is powerless in many cases to prevent
the commission of them, even when in possession of ample evidence of
an intention on the part of evil-disposed persons to violate our laws.

Your attention is called to this defect in our legislation. It is
apparent that the Executive ought to be clothed with adequate power
effectually to restrain all persons within our jurisdiction from the
commission of acts of this character. They tend to disturb the peace
of the country and inevitably involve the Government in perplexing
controversies with foreign powers. I recommend a careful revision of all
the laws now in force and such additional enactments as may be necessary
to vest in the Executive full power to prevent injuries being inflicted
upon neighboring nations by the unauthorized and unlawful acts of
citizens of the United States or of other persons who may be within our
jurisdiction and subject to our control.

In illustration of these views and to show the necessity of early action
on the part of Congress, I submit herewith a copy of a letter received
from the marshal of the northern district of New York, who had been
directed to repair to the frontier and take all authorized measures to
secure the faithful execution of existing laws.

M. VAN BUREN.

BUFFALO, _December 28, 1837_.

His Excellency M. VAN BUREN.

SIR: This frontier is in a state of commotion. I came to this city on
the 22d instant, by direction of the United States attorney for the
northern district of this State, for the purpose of serving process upon
individuals suspected of violating the laws of the United States enacted
with a view to maintain our neutrality. I learned on my arrival that
some 200 or 300 men, mostly from the district of country adjoining this
frontier and from this side of the Niagara, had congregated upon Navy
Island (Upper Canada), and were there in arms, with Rensselaer van
Rensselaer, of Albany, at their head as commander in chief. From that
time to the present they have received constant accessions of men,
munitions of war, provisions, etc., from persons residing within the
States. Their whole force is now about 1,000 strong, and, as is said,
are well supplied with arms, etc.

Warrants have been issued in some cases, but no arrests have as yet been
effected. This expedition was got up in this city soon after McKenzie's
arrival upon this side of the river, and the first company that landed
upon the island were organized, partially at least, before they crossed
from this side to the island.

From all that I can see and learn I am satisfied that if the Government
deem it their duty to prevent supplies being furnished from this side to
the army on the island, and also the augmentation of their forces from
among the citizens of the States, that an armed force stationed along
upon the line of the Niagara will be absolutely necessary to its
accomplishment.

I have just received a communication from Colonel McNab, commanding His
Majesty's forces now at Chippewa, in which he strongly urges the public
authorities here to prevent supplies being furnished to the army on the
island, at the same time stating that if this can be effected the whole
affair could be closed without any effusion of blood.

McNab is about 2,500 strong and constantly increasing. I replied to
him that I should communicate with you immediately, as also with the
governor of this State, and that everything which could would be done
to maintain a strict neutrality.

I learn that persons here are engaged in dislodging one or more
steamboats from the ice, and, as is supposed, with a view to aid in the
patriot expedition.

I am, sir, with great consideration, your obedient servant,

N. GANON,

_United States Marshal, Northern District of New York_,

WASHINGTON, _January 8, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 5th
instant, respecting the capture[7] and restoration of the Mexican brig
of war the _General Urrea_, I transmit reports from the Secretaries of
State and the Navy.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 7: By the United States sloop of war _Natchez_ off the coast
of Texas.]

WASHINGTON, _January 8, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives a report,[8] and
accompanying documents, from the Secretary of State, in compliance with
a resolution of that body dated the 5th instant.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 8: Transmitting instructions and correspondence concerning the
preservation of the neutrality of the United States in the civil wars
and insurrections in Mexico and in any of the British Provinces north of
the United States since 1829.]

WASHINGTON, _January 8, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives a report from the
Secretary of State, in answer to a resolution[9] of that body dated the
5th instant.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 9: Calling for information of any acts endangering the
amicable relations with Great Britain.]

WASHINGTON, _January 8, 1838_.

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

In the highly excited state of feeling on the northern frontier,
occasioned by the disturbances in Canada, it was to be apprehended that
causes of complaint might arise on the line dividing the United States
from Her Britannic Majesty's dominions. Every precaution was therefore
taken on our part authorized by the existing laws, and as the troops of
the Provinces were embodied on the Canadian side it was hoped that no
serious violation of the rights of the United States would be permitted
to occur. I regret, however, to inform you that an outrage of a most
aggravated character has been committed, accompanied by a hostile though
temporary invasion of our territory, producing the strongest feelings of
resentment on the part of our citizens in the neighborhood and on the
whole border line, and that the excitement previously existing has been
alarmingly increased. To guard against the possible recurrence of any
similar act I have thought it indispensable to call out a portion of the
militia, to be posted on that frontier. The documents herewith presented
to Congress show the character of the outrage committed, the measures
taken in consequence of its occurrence, and the necessity for resorting
to them.

It will also be seen that the subject was immediately brought to the
notice of the British minister accredited to this country, and the
proper steps taken on our part to obtain the fullest information of
all the circumstances leading to and attendant upon the transaction,
preparatory to a demand for reparation. I ask such appropriations as the
circumstances in which our country is thus unexpectedly placed require.

M. VAN BUREN.

_Mr. Rogers to the President_.

BUFFALO, _December 30, 1837_.

His Excellency MARTIN VAN BUREN,

_President of the United States_.

SIR: Inclosed are copies of affidavits which I have prepared in great
haste, and which contain all that is material in relation to the gross
and extraordinary transaction to which they relate. Our whole frontier
is in commotion, and I fear it will be difficult to restrain our
citizens from revenging by a resort to arms this flagrant invasion
of our territory. Everything that can be done will be by the public
authorities to prevent so injudicious a movement. The respective
sheriffs of Erie and Niagara have taken the responsibility of calling
out the militia to guard the frontier and prevent any further
depredations.

I am, sir, with great consideration, your obedient servant,

H.W. ROGERS,

_District Attorney for Erie County, and Acting for the United States_.

STATE OF NEW YORK, _Niagara County, ss_:

Gilman Appleby, of the city of Buffalo, being sworn, says that he left
the port of Buffalo on the morning of the 29th instant in the steamboat
_Caroline_, owned by William Wells, of Buffalo, and bound for Schlosser,
upon the east side of the Niagara River and within the United States;
that this deponent commanded the said _Caroline_, and that she was
cleared from Buffalo with a view to run between said Buffalo and
Schlosser, carrying passengers, freight, etc.; that this deponent caused
the said _Caroline_ to be landed at Black Rock on her way down, and that
while at Black Rock this deponent caused the American flag to be run up,
and that soon after leaving Black Rock Harbor a volley of musketry was
discharged at the _Caroline_ from the Canada shore, but without injury;
that the said _Caroline_ continued her course down the Niagara River
unmolested and landed outside of certain scows or boats attached to Navy
Island, where a number of passengers disembarked and, as this deponent
supposes, certain articles of freight were landed; that from this point
the _Caroline_ ran to Schlosser, arriving there at 3 o'clock in the
afternoon; that between this time and dark the _Caroline_ made two
trips to Navy Island, landing as before; that at about 6 o'clock in
the evening this deponent caused the said _Caroline_ to be landed at
Schlosser and made fast with chains to the dock at that place; that the
crew and officers of the _Caroline_ numbered ten, and that in the course
of the evening twenty-three individuals, all of whom were citizens of
the United States, came on board of the _Caroline_ and requested this
deponent and other officers of the boat to permit them to remain on
board during the night, as they were unable to get lodgings at the
tavern near by; these requests were acceded to, and the persons thus
coming on board retired to rest, as did also the crew and officers of
the _Caroline_, except such as were stationed to watch during the night;
that about midnight this deponent was informed by one of the watch that
several boats filled with men were making toward the _Caroline_ from the
river, and this deponent immediately gave the alarm, and before he was
able to reach the dock the _Caroline_ was boarded by some seventy or
eighty men, all of whom were armed; that they immediately commenced a
warfare with muskets, swords, and cutlasses upon the defenseless crew
and passengers of the _Caroline_ under a fierce cry of "G--d d--n them,
give them no quarters; kill every man. Fire! fire!"; that the _Caroline_
was abandoned without resistance, and the only effort made by either the
crew or passengers seemed to be to escape slaughter; that this deponent
narrowly escaped, having received several wounds, none of which,
however, are of a serious character; that immediately after the
_Caroline_ fell into the hands of the armed force who boarded her she
was set on fire, cut loose from the dock, was towed into the current of
the river, there abandoned, and soon after descended the Niagara Falls;
that this deponent has made vigilant search after the individuals,
thirty-three in number, who are known to have been on the _Caroline_ at
the time she was boarded, and twenty-one only are to be found, one of
which, to wit, Amos Durfee, of Buffalo, was found dead upon the dock,
having received a shot from a musket, the ball of which penetrated the
back part of the head and came out at the forehead; James H. King and
Captain C.F. Harding were seriously though not mortally wounded; several
others received slight wounds; the twelve individuals who are missing,
this deponent has no doubt, were either murdered upon the steamboat or
found a watery grave in the cataract of the Falls; and this deponent
further says that immediately after the _Caroline_ was got into the
current of the stream and abandoned, as before stated, beacon lights
were discovered upon the Canada shore near Chippewa, and after
sufficient time had elapsed to enable the boats to reach that shore this
deponent distinctly heard loud and vociferous cheering at that point;
that this deponent has no doubt that the individuals who boarded the
_Caroline_ were a part of the British forces now stationed at Chippewa.

[Subscribed and sworn to before a commissioner, etc.]

STATE OF NEW YORK, _Niagara County, ss_:

Charles F. Harding, James H. King, Joshua H. Smith, William Seaman,
William Kennedy, William Wells, John Leonard, Sylvanus Staring, and John
Haggarty, being sworn, severally depose and say that they have heard
the foregoing affidavit of Gilman Appleby read; that they were on the
_Caroline_ at the time she was boarded as stated in said affidavit, and
that all the facts sworn to by said Appleby as occurring after the said
_Caroline_ was so boarded as aforesaid are correct and true.

[Subscribed and sworn to before a commissioner, etc.]

_Mr. Poinsett to General Scott_.

DEPARTMENT OF WAR, _January 5, 1838_.

Brevet Major-General WINFIELD SCOTT,

_Washington City_.

SIR: You will repair without delay to the Canada frontier of the United
States and assume the military command there.

Herewith you will receive duplicate letters to the governors of the
States of New York and Vermont, requesting them to call into the service
of the United States such a militia force as you may deem necessary for
the defense of that frontier of the United States.

This power has been confided to you in the full persuasion that you will
use it discreetly and extend the call only so far as circumstances may
seem to require.

It is important that the troops called into the service should be, if
possible, exempt from that state of excitement which the late violation
of our territory has created, and you will therefore impress upon the
governors of these border States the propriety of selecting troops from
a portion of the State distant from the theater of action.

The Executive possesses no legal authority to employ the military force
to restrain persons within our jurisdiction and who ought to be under
our control from violating the laws by making incursions into the
territory of neighboring and friendly nations with hostile intent. I can
give you, therefore, no instructions on that subject, but request that
you will use your influence to prevent such excesses and to preserve the
character of this Government for good faith and a proper regard for the
rights of friendly powers.

The militia will be called into the service for three months, unless
sooner discharged, and in your requisitions you will designate the
number of men and take care that the officers do not exceed a due
proportion.

It is deemed important that the administrative branch of the service
should be conducted wherever practicable by officers of the Regular
Army.

The disposition of the force with regard to the points to be occupied is
confided to your discretion, military skill, and intimate knowledge of
the country; and the amount of that force must depend upon the character
and duration of the contest now going on in Canada and the disposition
manifested by the people and the public authorities of that colony.

The President indulges a hope that outrages similar to that which lately
occurred at Schlosser will not be repeated, and that you will be able to
maintain the peace of that frontier without being called upon to use the
force which has been confided to you.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

J.R. POINSETT.

_Mr. Poinsett to Governor Marcy_.

DEPARTMENT OF WAR, _January 5, 1838_.

His Excellency W.L. MARCY,

_Governor of New York, Albany, N.Y._

SIR: The territory of the United States having been violated by a party
of armed men from the Canada shore, and apprehensions being entertained
from the highly excited feelings of both parties that similar outrages
may lead to an invasion of our soil, the President has thought proper to
exercise the authority vested in him by law and call out such militia
force as may be deemed necessary to protect the frontiers of the United
States.

I am, in consequence, instructed by the President to request you will
call into the service of the United States and place under the command
of Brevet Major-General Scott such militia force as he may require, to
be employed on the Canada frontier for the purpose herein set forth.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

J.R. POINSETT

[Same to His Excellency Silas H. Jennison, governor of Vermont,
Montpelier, Vt.]

_Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Fox_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_WASHINGTON, January 5, 1838_.

HENRY S. Fox, Esq., etc.

SIR: By the direction of the President of the United States I have the
honor to communicate to you a copy of the evidence furnished to this
Department of an extraordinary outrage committed from Her Britannic
Majesty's Province of Upper Canada on the persons and property of
citizens of the United States within the jurisdiction of the State of
New York. The destruction of the property and assassination of citizens
of the United States on the soil of New York at the moment when, as is
well known to you, the President was anxiously endeavoring to allay the
excitement and earnestly seeking to prevent any unfortunate occurrence
on the frontier of Canada has produced upon his mind the most painful
emotions of surprise and regret. It will necessarily form the subject of
a demand for redress upon Her Majesty's Government. This communication
is made to you under the expectation that through your instrumentality
an early explanation may be obtained from the authorities of Upper
Canada of all the circumstances of the transaction, and that by your
advice to those authorities such decisive precautions may be used as
will render the perpetration of similar acts hereafter impossible.
Not doubting the disposition of the government of Upper Canada to do
its duty in punishing the aggressors and preventing future outrage,
the President, notwithstanding, has deemed it necessary to order
a sufficient force on the frontier to repel any attempt of a like
character, and to make known to you that if it should occur he can not
be answerable for the effects of the indignation of the neighboring
people of the United States.

I take this occasion to renew to you the assurance of my distinguished
consideration.

JOHN FORSYTH.

WASHINGTON, _January 12, 1838_.

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

I transmit to Congress copies of a representation from a late grand jury
of the county of Washington, in this District, concurred in by two of
the judges of the circuit court, of the necessity of the erection of a
new jail and a lunatic asylum in this city. I also transmit copies of
certain proceedings of the circuit court for the county of Alexandria at
the last October term, and of a representation of the grand jury, made
with the approbation of the court, showing the unsafe condition of the
court-house of that county and the necessity for a new one.

I recommend these objects to the favorable consideration of Congress.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _January 12, 1838_.

The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

In answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 2d
instant, I transmit herewith a report[10] of the Secretary of War,
explanatory of the causes which have prevented a compliance with a
resolution of that branch of Congress of February 24, 1837.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 10: Relating to alleged frauds upon the Creek Indians in the
sale and purchase of their lands, etc.]

WASHINGTON, _January 13, 1838_.

_To the Senate_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its constitutional action, a treaty made
with the Chippewa Indians of Saganaw on the 20th of December, 1837.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _January 26, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I herewith communicate to the House of Representatives a report from the
Secretary of State, with accompanying documents, in answer to their
resolution of the 9th instant.

M. VAN BUREN.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_WASHINGTON, January 25, 1838_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:

The Secretary of State, to whom has been referred a resolution of
the House of Representatives, dated the 9th instant, requesting the
President to communicate to that body "what measures, if any, have
been taken by the Executive for the release of Mr. Greely, a citizen
of Maine, now imprisoned in the provincial jail of New Brunswick at
Frederickton for an alleged violation of the jurisdiction of said
Province over the territory claimed by the British Government; and also
to communicate any correspondence which the executive department may
have had with the British Government or the executive of Maine upon the
subject of said Greely's imprisonment, so far as a communication of the
same may be deemed by him not incompatible with the public interest;"
and likewise requesting the President, if not incompatible with the
public interests, to communicate to that House "any correspondence or
communication held between the Government of the United States and
that of Great Britain at different times respecting the wardenship,
occupation, or actual possession of that part of the territory of the
State of Maine which is claimed by Great Britain," has the honor to
report to the President the accompanying documents, which embrace the
information and correspondence not heretofore published by Congress
called for by the above-cited resolution.

Respectfully submitted,

JOHN FORSYTH.

_The governor of Maine to the President of the United States_.

STATE OF MAINE, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

_September 18, 1837_.

His Excellency MARTIN VAN BUREN,

_President of the United States_.

SIR: I lose no time in advising Your Excellency that Ebenezer S. Greely,
esq., a citizen of this State, while employed within its limits and
under its authority in taking an enumeration of the inhabitants of the
county of Penobscot residing north of the surveyed and located
townships, has been arrested a second time by the provincial authorities
of New Brunswick, and is now in confinement in the jail of Frederickton.

It becomes my duty to request that prompt measures be adopted by the
Government of the United States to effect the release of Mr. Greely.

I have the honor to be, etc.,

ROBERT P. DUNLAP.

_Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Dunlap_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, September 26, 1837_.

His Excellency ROBERT P. DUNLAP,

_Governor of Maine_.

SIR: I have the honor, by direction of the President, to acknowledge the
receipt of the letter addressed to him by your excellency on the 18th
instant, advising him that Ebenezer S. Greely, esq., a citizen of Maine,
while employed within its limits and under its authority in taking an
enumeration of the inhabitants of the county of Penobscot, has been
arrested a second time by the provincial authorities of New Brunswick,
and is now in confinement in the jail at Frederickton; and requesting
that prompt measures be adopted by the Government of the United States
to effect the release of Mr. Greely.

I hasten to assure you in reply that Mr. Stevenson, the minister of the
United States at London, will be immediately instructed to renew his
application to the British Government for the release of Mr. Greely, and
that the result, when obtained and communicated to this Department, will
be made known to your excellency without unnecessary delay.

Information was given at an early day to the executive of Maine of the
informal arrangement between the United States and Great Britain in
regard to the exercise of jurisdiction within the disputed territory,
and the President's desire was then expressed that the government and
people of that State would cooperate with the Federal Government in
carrying it into effect. In the letter addressed to your excellency from
this Department on the 17th ultimo you were informed of the continuance
of that arrangement and of the reasons for it. I am now instructed by
the President (who indulges the confident expectation that the executive
of Maine will still see in the gravity of the interests involved a
sufficient motive for his cordial concurrence in an arrangement which
offers the best prospect of an amicable and satisfactory adjustment
of the general question of boundary) to request your excellency's
cooperation in the conciliatory course adopted by the two Governments,
an adherence to which seems the more important at this time from the
consideration that an answer to the President's last proposition is
daily looked for, and to renew to you the assurance that no efforts
shall be spared on his part to bring the negotiation to a speedy
conclusion.

I have the honor to be, etc.,

JOHN FORSYTH.

_Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Stevenson_.

[Extract.]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, July 12, 1837_.

ANDREW STEVENSON, Esq., etc.

SIR: I inclose an extract[11] of a letter received at this Department
from the governor of Maine, by which you will perceive that a citizen of
that State, named Ebenezer S. Greely, while employed, in virtue of an
appointment under one of its laws, in making an enumeration of the
inhabitants upon a part of the territory claimed as being within the
limits of the State, was seized by order of the authorities of the
Province of New Brunswick on the 6th of June last and imprisoned in the
public jail of Frederickton, where he still remains. I also transmit a
copy of sundry documents relating to his arrest and detention.[12] This
outrage upon the personal liberty of one of its citizens has actually
caused great excitement in Maine, and has produced an urgent appeal to
the General Government for its intervention in procuring redress for
what is considered an unprovoked and unjustifiable aggression. This
arrest was made on a part of the territory in dispute between the
United States and Great Britain, and could only have been justified in
the existing state of that controversy by some plain infringement of
the understanding which exists between the parties, that until the
settlement of the question of right there shall be no extension of
jurisdiction on either side within the disputed limits. It is not
perceived how the simple enumeration of the inhabitants, about which
Mr. Greely was employed, could be construed as a breach of that
understanding, and it is expected that the Government of Great Britain
will promptly mark its disapproval of this act of violence committed
by the provincial authorities, so inconsistent with those amicable
feelings under which the negotiation respecting the controverted
boundary has been hitherto conducted, and so essential to bring it
to a happy termination. You are directed immediately upon the receipt
of this dispatch to bring the subject to the notice of His Majesty's
Government, and to demand as a matter of justice and right the prompt
release of Mr. Greely and a suitable indemnity for his imprisonment.

[Footnote 11: Omitted.]

[Footnote 12: Omitted.]

_Mr. Stevenson to Mr. Forsyth_.

[Extract.]

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

_London, August 21, 1837_.

SIR: I received by the last packet to Liverpool your dispatch of the
12th of July (No. 21), transmitting copies of the documents and
correspondence in relation to the arrest and imprisonment of Mr. Greely,
a citizen of Maine, by the authorities of New Brunswick.

In pursuance of your instructions, I lost no time in presenting the
subject to the consideration of the Government, and herewith transmit
to you a copy of my note to Lord Palmerston, to which no answer has yet
been received.

You will see that I waived for the present the discussion of the
question of right and jurisdiction, and contented myself with presenting
the facts of the case and demanding the immediate release of Mr. Greely
and indemnity for the injuries which he had sustained.

_Mr. Stevenson to Lord Palmerston_.

23 PORTLAND PLACE, _August 10, 1837_.

LORD PALMERSTON, etc.:

The undersigned, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary from
the United States, has the honor, in pursuance of instructions from his
Government, to transmit to Lord Palmerston, Her Majesty's principal
secretary of state for foreign affairs, copies of sundry official
documents detailing the circumstances under which a most unwarrantable
outrage has recently been committed by the authorities of the Province
of New Brunswick upon the rights and liberty of a citizen of the United
States.

From these papers it appears that Ebenezer S. Greely, a citizen of
the State of Maine, was duly appointed for the purpose of taking
an enumeration of the inhabitants of that State by an act of its
legislature; that on the 6th of June last, whilst Mr. Greely was engaged
in performing this duty and taking down the names of the inhabitants
residing in that part of the disputed territory claimed by the United
States as lying within the limits of Maine, he was forcibly arrested by
the authorities of New Brunswick, immediately transported in custody to
the town of Frederickton, and imprisoned in the public jail, where he
still remains. This proceeding by the authorities of New Brunswick,
having produced, as might justly have been expected, very deep
excitement in Maine, was followed by an immediate appeal from the
governor of that State to the Government of the United States for
intervention and redress.

This application on the part of Maine having received the special
consideration of the President, the undersigned has been instructed
to lose no time in presenting the subject to the early and earnest
attention of Her Majesty's Government, and demanding not only the
immediate liberation of Mr. Greely from imprisonment, but indemnity
for the injuries that he has sustained.

In fulfilling these instructions of his Government it is not the
purpose of the undersigned to open the general discussion of the
respective claims of Great Britain and the United States to the disputed
territory (within which Mr. Greely was arrested), or the right of either
Government to exercise jurisdiction within its limits. Whatever opinion
the undersigned may entertain as to the rightful claim of the State of
Maine to the territory in dispute, and however unanswerable he may
regard the arguments by which the claim may be sustained, he deems
it neither proper nor needful to urge them upon the consideration of
Her Majesty's Government in the decision of the present case; more
especially as the whole subject is elsewhere, and in another form,
matter of negotiation between the two Governments, where the discussion
of the question of right more appropriately belongs. The undersigned,
moreover, does not presume that pending the negotiation, and whilst
efforts are making for the peaceable and final adjustment of these
delicate and exciting questions, Her Majesty's Government can claim
the right of exclusive jurisdiction and sovereignty over the disputed
territory or the persons residing within its limits. In such a claim of
power on the part of Great Britain or its provincial authorities, the
undersigned need not repeat to Lord Palmerston (what he is already fully
apprised of) the Government of the United States can never consent to
acquiesce in the existing state of the controversy. On the contrary,
the mutual understanding which exists between the two Governments on
the subject and the moderation which both Governments have heretofore
manifested forbid the exercise by either of such high acts of sovereign
power as that which has been exerted in the present case by the
authorities of Her Majesty's provincial government.

The undersigned must therefore suppose that this arrest and imprisonment
of an American citizen under such circumstances and in the existing
state of the controversy could only have been justified by some supposed
infringement of the understanding existing between the parties in
relation to the question of jurisdiction within the disputed territory.
Such, however, was not the case. The correspondence between the governor
of Maine and the lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick shows that
the only act done by Mr. Greely was the simple enumeration of the
inhabitants, and it is not perceived how such an act could be construed
into a breach of the understanding between the two Governments.

It is proper also to remark that this was not the first time that the
inhabitants within this particular settlement had been enumerated under
the authority of the United States. It was done in the census of 1820
(as a portion of the State of Maine), and was at the time neither
objected to nor remonstrated against by the British Government or that
of New Brunswick.

Wherever, then, the right of jurisdiction and sovereignty over this
territory may dwell, the undersigned feels satisfied that Her Majesty's
Government can not fail to perceive that the arrest and imprisonment of
Mr. Greely under the circumstances of the case was not only a violation
of the rights of the United States, but was wholly irreconcilable with
that moderation and forbearance which it is peculiarly the duty of both
Governments to maintain until the question of right shall be
definitively settled.

It becomes the duty of the undersigned, therefore, in pursuance of
special instructions from his Government, to invite the early and
favorable consideration of Her Majesty's Government to the subject, and
to demand, as a matter of justice and right, the immediate discharge of
Mr. Greely from imprisonment, and a suitable indemnity for the wrongs
he has sustained.

Before closing this note 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, 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
controversy.

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

A. STEVENSON.

_Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Stevenson_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, September 28, 1837_.

ANDREW STEVENSON, Esq., etc.

SIR: You will receive herewith the copy of a note, dated the 18th
instant, recently received by the President from the governor of Maine,
who alleges that Ebenezer S. Greely, esq., a citizen of that State,
while employed within its limits and under its authority in enumerating
the inhabitants of Penobscot County, has been again arrested and
imprisoned by the provincial authorities of New Brunswick, and requests
that speedy measures be adopted by the Government of the United States
to procure the release of Mr. Greely.

Governor Dunlap has been assured, by the President's direction, that
steps would be immediately taken to effect that object, and you are
accordingly instructed, on the receipt of this dispatch, to bring the
subject without delay to the attention of the British secretary of state
for foreign affairs. You will remonstrate in a respectful but earnest
manner against this second violation of the rights of Maine in the
person of her agent, and demand the prompt release of Mr. Greely, with
such additional indemnification as the nature of the outrage calls for.

I am, etc.,

JOHN FORSYTH.

_Mr. Stevenson to Mr. Forsyth_.

[Extracts.]

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

_London, November 22, 1837_.

On my return to London, after an absence of a few weeks, I found your
dispatches Nos. 26 and 27, under date of the 8th and 28th of September.
In pursuance of your instructions I addressed an official note to Lord
Palmerston on the subject of the second arrest and imprisonment of Mr.
Greely by the provincial authority of New Brunswick, a copy of which
I have now the honor of transmitting to you.

No answer has yet been received to my first note, but I presume a
decision of the case may be soon expected.

_Mr. Stevenson to Lord Palmerston_.

23 PORTLAND PLACE, _November 8, 1837_.

The undersigned, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary
from the United States, had the honor on the 10th of August last
of addressing to Lord Viscount Palmerston, Her Majesty's principal
secretary of state for foreign affairs, an official note complaining
of the arrest and imprisonment of Ebenezer S. Greely, a citizen of
the United States, by the provincial authorities of New Brunswick,
and demanding, by order of his Government, the immediate release of
Mr. Greely from imprisonment, with suitable indemnity for the wrongs
he had sustained. To this communication a note was received from his
lordship, under date of the 22d of the same month, in which an assurance
was given that an early answer to the complaint might be expected.
No answer, however, has yet been received, and it is with unfeigned
regret that the undersigned finds himself constrained, in again inviting
the attention of Her Majesty's Government to the subject, to accompany
it with another complaint of a second outrage committed by the
authorities of New Brunswick upon the rights and liberty of this
individual.

From recent information received it appears that shortly after the first
arrest and imprisonment of Mr. Greely he was, by the orders of the
lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, released from confinement, but
was immediately thereafter again taken into custody by his authority and
recommitted to the jail of Frederickton, where he is now detained. This
fact having been communicated by the governor of Maine to the President
of the United States (in an official communication setting forth the
circumstances under which it was done, a copy of which is herewith
transmitted), the undersigned has received the special instructions of
his Government to bring the subject without delay to the notice of Her
Majesty's Government, in order that immediate steps may be taken for
the liberation of Mr. Greely and indemnity made for the injuries he
has suffered.

Having in the first note which he had the honor of addressing to Lord
Palmerston stated the grounds upon which the release of this individual
was demanded and the expectations of his Government in relation to the
subject, and having waived the discussion of the questions of right and
jurisdiction, which he still intends doing, it will not be needful to do
more on this occasion than express to his lordship the painful surprise
and regret with which the President has received information of this
second outrage on the part of the authorities of New Brunswick, and
to repeat the assurances heretofore given that such proceeding can
be regarded in no other light than a violation of the rights and
sovereignty of the United States, and entirely irreconcilable with that
mutual forbearance which it was understood would be practiced by both
Governments pending the negotiation.

The circumstances under which these recent attempts to enforce
jurisdiction have been made show that in the most favorable aspect in
which they can be regarded they were wholly indefensible.

The act for which Greely was arrested and imprisoned, so far from having
been committed within the acknowledged dominions of the British Crown,
and beyond the limits of the disputed territory, and therefore liable
to be treated as a violation of territorial jurisdiction, took place,
as appears by the statement of the governor of Maine, whilst he was
employed within the limits of that State, and under its authority,
in enumerating the inhabitants of the county of Penobscot.

By what authority, then, the provincial government of New Brunswick
felt itself justified in exercising such acts of sovereign power the
undersigned is at a loss to conceive, unless, indeed, upon the ground
that the jurisdiction and sovereignty over the disputed territory
pending the controversy rests exclusively with Great Britain. If such
should turn out to be the fact, it can hardly be necessary again to
repeat the assurances which have been heretofore given that in any such
claim of power the Government of the United States can not acquiesce.

Upon the consequences which would unavoidably result from attempting to
exercise such jurisdiction it is needless to enlarge. It must now be
apparent that all such attempts, if persevered in, can produce only
feuds and collisions of the most painful character, and besides
increasing the feelings of international discord which have already been
excited between the contending parties, they will close every avenue to
an amicable adjustment of a controversy which it is so much the desire
and interest of both Governments to accomplish. Ought it not, then, to

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