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

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of the warlike tribes around them and the intrusions of the whites. The
policy of the Government has given them a permanent home and guaranteed
to them its peaceful and undisturbed possession. It only remains to give
them a government and laws which will encourage industry and secure
to them the rewards of their exertions. The importance of some form
of government can not be too much insisted upon. The earliest effects
will be to diminish the causes and occasions for hostilities among
the tribes, to inspire an interest in the observance of laws to which
they will have themselves assented, and to multiply the securities of
property and the motives for self-improvement. Intimately connected with
this subject is the establishment of the military defenses recommended
by the Secretary of War, which have been already referred to. Without
them the Government will be powerless to redeem its pledge of protection
to the emigrating Indians against the numerous warlike tribes that
surround them and to provide for the safety of the frontier settlers
of the bordering States.

The case of the Seminoles constitutes at present the only exception to
the successful efforts of the Government to remove the Indians to the
homes assigned them west of the Mississippi. Four hundred of this tribe
emigrated in 1836 and 1,500 in 1837 and 1838, leaving in the country,
it is supposed, about 2,000 Indians. The continued treacherous conduct
of these people; the savage and unprovoked murders they have lately
committed, butchering whole families of the settlers of the Territory
without distinction of age or sex, and making their way into the very
center and heart of the country, so that no part of it is free from
their ravages; their frequent attacks on the light-houses along that
dangerous coast, and the barbarity with which they have murdered the
passengers and crews of such vessels as have been wrecked upon the reefs
and keys which border the Gulf, leave the Government no alternative but
to continue the military operations against them until they are totally
expelled from Florida. There are other motives which would urge the
Government to pursue this course toward the Seminoles. The United
States have fulfilled in good faith all their treaty stipulations with
the Indian tribes, and have in every other instance insisted upon a
like performance of their obligations. To relax from this salutary
rule because the Seminoles have maintained themselves so long in the
territory they had relinquished, and in defiance of their frequent and
solemn engagements still continue to wage a ruthless war against the
United States, would not only evince a want of constancy on our part,
but be of evil example in our intercourse with other tribes. Experience
has shown that but little is to be gained by the march of armies through
a country so intersected with inaccessible swamps and marshes, and
which, from the fatal character of the climate, must be abandoned at the
end of the winter. I recommend, therefore, to your attention the plan
submitted by the Secretary of War in the accompanying report, for the
permanent occupation of the portion of the Territory freed from the
Indians and the more efficient protection of the people of Florida from
their inhuman warfare.

From the report of the Secretary of the Navy herewith transmitted it
will appear that a large portion of the disposable naval force is either
actively employed or in a state of preparation for the purposes of
experience and discipline and the protection of our commerce. So
effectual has been this protection that so far as the information of
Government extends not a single outrage has been attempted on a vessel
carrying the flag of the United States within the present year, in any
quarter, however distant or exposed.

The exploring expedition sailed from Norfolk on the 19th of August last,
and information has been received of its safe arrival at the island of
Madeira. The best spirit animates the officers and crews, and there is
every reason to anticipate from its efforts results beneficial to
commerce and honorable to the nation.

It will also be seen that no reduction of the force now in commission is
contemplated. The unsettled state of a portion of South America renders
it indispensable that our commerce should receive protection in that
quarter; the vast and increasing interests embarked in the trade of the
Indian and China seas, in the whale fisheries of the Pacific Ocean, and
in the Gulf of Mexico require equal attention to their safety, and a
small squadron may be employed to great advantage on our Atlantic coast
in meeting sudden demands for the reenforcement of other stations, in
aiding merchant vessels in distress, in affording active service to an
additional number of officers, and in visiting the different ports of
the United States, an accurate knowledge of which is obviously of the
highest importance.

The attention of Congress is respectfully called to that portion of the
report recommending an increase in the number of smaller vessels, and
to other suggestions contained in that document. The rapid increase and
wide expansion of our commerce, which is every day seeking new avenues
of profitable adventure; the absolute necessity of a naval force for its
protection precisely in the degree of its extension; a due regard to the
national rights and honor; the recollection of its former exploits, and
the anticipation of its future triumphs whenever opportunity presents
itself, which we may rightfully indulge from the experience of the
past--all seem to point to the Navy as a most efficient arm of our
national defense and a proper object of legislative encouragement.

The progress and condition of the Post-Office Department will be seen
by reference to the report of the Postmaster-General. The extent of
post-roads covered by mail contracts is stated to be 134,818 miles,
and the annual transportation upon them 34,580,202 miles. The number
of post-offices in the United States is 12,553, and rapidly increasing.
The gross revenue for the year ending on the 30th day of June last
was $4,262,145; the accruing expenditures, $4,680,068; excess of
expenditures, $417,923. This has been made up out of the surplus
previously on hand. The cash on hand on the 1st instant was $314,068.
The revenue for the year ending June 30, 1838, was $161,540 more
than that for the year ending June 30, 1837. The expenditures of
the Department had been graduated upon the anticipation of a largely
increased revenue. A moderate curtailment of mail service consequently
became necessary, and has been effected, to shield the Department
against the danger of embarrassment. Its revenue is now improving, and
it will soon resume its onward course in the march of improvement.

Your particular attention is requested to so much of the
Postmaster-General's report as relates to the transportation of the
mails upon railroads. The laws on that subject do not seem adequate
to secure that service, now become almost essential to the public
interests, and at the same time protect the Department from combinations
and unreasonable demands.

Nor can I too earnestly request your attention to the necessity of
providing a more secure building for this Department. The danger of
destruction to which its important books and papers are continually
exposed, as well from the highly combustible character of the building
occupied as from that of others in the vicinity, calls loudly for prompt
action.

Your attention is again earnestly invited to the suggestions and
recommendations submitted at the last session in respect to the District
of Columbia.

I feel it my duty also to bring to your notice certain proceedings at
law which have recently been prosecuted in this District in the name
of the United States, on the relation of Messrs. Stockton & Stokes, of
the State of Maryland, against the Postmaster-General, and which have
resulted in the payment of money out of the National Treasury, for
the first time since the establishment of the Government, by judicial
compulsion exercised by the common-law writ of mandamus issued by the
circuit court of this District.

The facts of the case and the grounds of the proceedings will be
found fully stated in the report of the decision, and any additional
information which you may desire will be supplied by the proper
Department. No interference in the particular case is contemplated.
The money has been paid, the claims of the prosecutors have been
satisfied, and the whole subject, so far as they are concerned, is
finally disposed of; but it is on the supposition that the case may
be regarded as an authoritative exposition of the law as it now stands
that I have thought it necessary to present it to your consideration.

The object of the application to the circuit court was to compel the
Postmaster-General to carry into effect an award made by the Solicitor
of the Treasury, under a special act of Congress for the settlement of
certain claims of the relators on the Post-Office Department, which
award the Postmaster-General declined to execute in full until he should
receive further legislative direction on the subject. If the duty
imposed on the Postmaster-General by that law was to be regarded as
one of an official nature, belonging to his office as a branch of the
executive, then it is obvious that the constitutional competency of the
judiciary to direct and control him in its discharge was necessarily
drawn in question; and if the duty so imposed on the Postmaster-General
was to be considered as merely ministerial, and not executive, it yet
remained to be shown that the circuit court of this District had
authority to interfere by mandamus, such a power having never before
been asserted or claimed by that court. With a view to the settlement of
these important questions, the judgment of the circuit court was carried
by a writ of error to the Supreme Court of the United States. In the
opinion of that tribunal the duty imposed on the Postmaster-General was
not an official executive duty, but one of a merely ministerial nature.
The grave constitutional questions which had been discussed were
therefore excluded from the decision of the case, the court, indeed,
expressly admitting that with powers and duties properly belonging to
the executive no other department can interfere by the writ of mandamus;
and the question therefore resolved itself into this: Has Congress
conferred upon the circuit court of this District the power to issue
such a writ to an officer of the General Government commanding him to
perform a ministerial act? A majority of the court have decided that it
has, but have founded their decision upon a process of reasoning which
in my judgment renders further legislative provision indispensable to
the public interests and the equal administration of justice.

It has long since been decided by the Supreme Court that neither that
tribunal nor the circuit courts of the United States, held within the
respective States, possess the power in question; but it is now held
that this power, denied to both of these high tribunals (to the former
by the Constitution and to the latter by Congress), has been by its
legislation vested in the circuit court of this District. No such direct
grant of power to the circuit court of this District is claimed, but it
has been held to result by necessary implication from several sections
of the law establishing the court. One of these sections declares that
the laws of Maryland, as they existed at the time of the cession,
should be in force in that part of the District ceded by that State,
and by this provision the common law in civil and criminal cases, as
it prevailed in Maryland in 1801, was established in that part of the
District.

In England the court of king's bench--because the Sovereign, who,
according to the theory of the constitution, is the fountain of justice,
originally sat there in person, and is still deemed to be present in
construction of law--alone possesses the high power of issuing the writ
of mandamus, not only to inferior jurisdictions and corporations, but
also to magistrates and others, commanding them in the King's name to do
what their duty requires in cases where there is a vested right and no
other specific remedy. It has been held in the case referred to that as
the Supreme Court of the United States is by the Constitution rendered
incompetent to exercise this power, and as the circuit court of this
District is a court of general jurisdiction in cases at common law,
and the highest court of original jurisdiction in the District, the
right to issue the writ of mandamus is incident to its common-law
powers. Another ground relied upon to maintain the power in question
is that it was included by fair construction in the powers granted to
the circuit courts of the United States by the act "to provide for the
more convenient organization of the courts of the United States," passed
13th February, 1801; that the act establishing the circuit court of this
District, passed the 27th day of February, 1801, conferred upon that
court and the judges thereof the same powers as were by law vested in
the circuit courts of the United States and in the judges of the said
courts; that the repeal of the first-mentioned act, which took place in
the next year, did not divest the circuit court of this District of the
authority in dispute, but left it still clothed with the powers over the
subject which, it is conceded, were taken away from the circuit courts
of the United States by the repeal of the act of 13th February, 1801.

Admitting that the adoption of the laws of Maryland for a portion of
this District confers on the circuit court thereof, in that portion, the
transcendent extrajudicial prerogative powers of the court of king's
bench in England, or that either of the acts of Congress by necessary
implication authorizes the former court to issue a writ of mandamus to
an officer of the United States to compel him to perform a ministerial
duty, the consequences are in one respect the same. The result in either
case is that the officers of the United States stationed in different
parts of the United States are, in respect to the performance of
their official duties, subject to different laws and a different
supervision--those in the States to one rule, and those in the District
of Columbia to another and a very different one. In the District their
official conduct is subject to a judicial control from which in the
States they are exempt.

Whatever difference of opinion may exist as to the expediency of vesting
such a power in the judiciary in a system of government constituted
like that of the United States, all must agree that these disparaging
discrepancies in the law and in the administration of justice ought not
to be permitted to continue; and as Congress alone can provide the
remedy, the subject is unavoidably presented to your consideration.

M. VAN BUREN.

SPECIAL MESSAGES.

WASHINGTON, _December 6, 1838_.

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

The act of the 1st July, 1836, to enable the Executive to assert and
prosecute with effect the claim of the United States to the legacy
bequeathed to them by James Smithson, late of London, having received
its entire execution, and the amount recovered and paid into the
Treasury having, agreeably to an act of the last session, been invested
in State stocks, I deem it proper to invite the attention of Congress
to the obligation now devolving upon the United States to fulfill the
object of the bequest. In order to obtain such information as might
serve to facilitate its attainment, the Secretary of State was directed
in July last to apply to persons versed in science and familiar with the
subject of public education for their views as to the mode of disposing
of the fund best calculated to meet the intentions of the testator and
prove most beneficial to mankind. Copies of the circular letter written
in compliance with these directions, and of the answers to it received
at the Department of State, are herewith communicated for the
consideration of Congress.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _December 7, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives reports[38] from the
Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury, with accompanying
documents, in answer to the resolution of the House of the 9th of July
last.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 38: Transmitting communications, papers, documents, etc.,
elucidating the origin and objects of the Smithsonian bequest and the
origin, progress, and consummation of the process by which that bequest
was recovered, etc.]

WASHINGTON, _December 8, 1838_.

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

I herewith transmit a special report made to me by the Secretary of the
Treasury, for your consideration, in relation to the recently discovered
default of Samuel Swartwout, late collector of the customs at the port
of New York.

I would respectfully invite the early attention of Congress to the
adoption of the legal provisions therein suggested, or such other
measures as may appear more expedient, for increasing the public
security against similar defalcations hereafter.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _December 14, 1838_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

With the accompanying communication of the Secretary of War I transmit,
for the consideration and constitutional action of the Senate, a treaty
concluded with the Miami tribe of Indians on the 6th ultimo. Your
attention is invited to that section which reserves a tract of land for
the use of certain Indians, and to other reservations contained in the
treaty. All such reservations are objectionable, but for the reasons
given by the Secretary of War I submit to your consideration whether the
circumstances attending this negotiation, and the great importance of
removing the Miamies from the State of Indiana, will warrant a departure
in this instance from the salutary rule of excluding all reservations
from Indian treaties.

M. VAN BUREN.

WAR DEPARTMENT, _December 14, 1838_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR: I have the honor to lay before you, for submission to the Senate
for its action if approved by you, a treaty with the Miami tribe of
Indians concluded on the 6th ultimo. In doing so I beg to call your
attention to that section which reserves from the cession made by the
Miamies a tract of land supposed to contain 10 square miles, and to
other reservations according to a schedule appended to the treaty. The
commissioner who negotiated this treaty is of opinion that it could not
have been concluded if he had not so far departed from his instructions
as to admit these reservations. And it is to be feared that if the
rules adopted by the Department in this particular be insisted upon
on this occasion it will very much increase the difficulty, if it does
not render it impracticable to acquire this land and remove these
Indians--objects of so much importance to the United States and
especially to the State of Indiana.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

J.R. POINSETT.

WASHINGTON, _December 18, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit the accompanying documents, marked from 1 to 5,[39] in
reply to a resolution of yesterday's date, calling for copies of
correspondence between the Executive of the General Government and
the governor of Pennsylvania in relation to "a call of the latter for
an armed force of United States troops since the present session of
Congress," and requiring information "whether any officer of the United
States instigated or participated" in the riotous proceedings referred
to in the resolution, and "what measures, if any, the President has
taken to investigate and punish the said acts, and whether any such
officer still remains in the service of the United States."

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 39: Relating to the "Buckshot war."]

WASHINGTON, _December 20, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I have the honor to transmit herewith additional letters and
documents[40] embraced in the resolution of the House of Representatives
of the 17th instant.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 40: Relating to the "Buckshot war."]

WASHINGTON, _December 20, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

An important difference of opinion having arisen concerning the
construction of an act of Congress making a grant of land to the State
of Indiana,[41] and in which she feels a deep interest, I deem it proper
to submit all the material facts to your consideration, with a view to
procure such additional legislation as the facts of the case may appear
to render proper.

The report of the Secretary of the Treasury and the documents annexed
from the General Land Office will disclose all the circumstances deemed
material in relation to the subject, and are herewith presented.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 41: In aid of the construction of the Wabash and Erie Canal.]

WASHINGTON, _December 26, 1838_.

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

I transmit for your consideration the inclosed communication and
accompanying documents from the Secretary of War, relative to the
present state of the Pea Patch Island, in the Delaware River, and of
the operations going on there for the erection of defenses for that
important channel of commerce.

It will be seen from these documents that a complete stop has been put
to those operations in consequence of the island having been taken
possession of by the individual claimant under the decision, in his
favor, of the United States district court for the district of New
Jersey, and that unless early measures are taken to bring the island
within the jurisdiction of the Government great loss and injury will
result to the future operations for carrying on the works. The
importance of the subject would seem to render it worthy of the early
attention of Congress.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _December, 1838_.

_To the Senate_:

I transmit a letter from the Secretary of War, accompanied by a
communication from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, on the subject
of granting to the Chickasaw Indians subsistence for the further term
of seven months. Should it be the pleasure of the Senate to give its
sanction to the measure suggested by the Commissioner for this purpose,
my own will not be withheld.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _January 7, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 20th December
last, I communicate to the Senate reports from the several Executive
Departments, containing the information[42] called for by said
resolution.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 42: Copies of orders and instructions issued since April 14,
1836, relative to the kind of money and bank notes to be paid out on
account of the United States.]

WASHINGTON, _January 9, 1839_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR: I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of the Navy, in
answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 3d instant, calling for
information in regard to the examinations of inventions designed to
prevent the calamities resulting from the explosion of steam boilers,
directed by the acts of Congress of the 28th of June and the 9th of
July last.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _January 10, 1839_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I communicate to the House of Representatives, in compliance with
its resolution of the 3d instant, reports[43] from the Secretaries of State
and War, containing all the information called for by said resolution now
in possession of the Executive.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 43: Relating to the invasion of the southwestern frontier of
the United States by an armed force from the Republic of Texas.]

WASHINGTON, _January 11, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of War, in reply to the
resolution of the Senate of yesterday's date, calling for information
respecting the agreement between him and the United States Bank of
Pennsylvania on the subject of the sale or payment of certain bonds
of that institution held by the United States, and respecting the
disposition made of the proceeds thereof.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _January 15, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 9th of July last,
I transmit reports[44] from the several Departments of the Government
to which that resolution was referred.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 44: Transmitting statements of cases in which a per centum has
been allowed to public officers on disbursements of public moneys.]

WASHINGTON, _January 16, 1839_.

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

I lay before you a communication from the Secretary of War, which is
accompanied by one from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, suggesting
the propriety of setting apart a tract of country west of the
Mississippi for the Seminole Indians, so that they may be separate from
the Creeks, and representing the necessity of a small appropriation for
supplying the immediate wants of those who have been removed; and I
respectfully recommend these subjects for the early consideration and
favorable action of Congress.

M. VAN BUREN.

JANUARY 17, 1839.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I herewith communicate to Congress a letter from the Secretary of the
Treasury, in respect to the Florida claims under the treaty of 1819 and
the subsequent acts of Congress passed to enforce it.

The propriety of some additional legislation on this subject seems
obvious. The period when the evidence on the claims shall be closed
ought, in my opinion, to be limited, as they are already of long
standing, and, as a general consequence, the proof of their justice
every day becoming more and more unsatisfactory.

It seems also that the task of making the final examination into the
justice of the awards might advantageously be devolved upon some other
officer or tribunal than the Secretary of the Treasury, considering the
other responsible, laborious, and numerous duties imposed on him at the
present juncture.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _January 17, 1839_.

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

I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of the
Treasury, which presents for the consideration of Congress the propriety
of so changing the second section of the act of March 2, 1837, as that
the existing humane provisions of the laws for the relief of certain
insolvent debtors of the United States may be extended to such cases
of insolvency as shall have occurred on or before the 1st day of
January, 1839.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _January 17, 1839_.

The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
14th instant, calling for information as to the proceedings under the
act of Congress of the 28th of June last, providing for examinations
of inventions designed to prevent the explosion of steam boilers,
I transmit herewith a copy of a report of the Secretary of the Navy,
which was made to the Senate in answer to a similar call from that
body, as containing the information called for.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _January 18, 1839_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In addition to the information contained in a report from the Secretary
of State communicated with my message of the 30th April, 1838, I
transmit to the House of Representatives a report[45] from the Secretary
of War, dated the 16th instant, in answer to a resolution of the House
of the 19th March last, and containing so much of the information called
for by said resolution as could be furnished by his Department.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 45: Relating to the intermeddling of any foreign government,
or subjects or officers thereof, with the Indian tribes in Michigan,
Wisconsin, the territory beyond the Rocky Mountains, or elsewhere within
the limits of the United States, etc.]

WASHINGTON, _January 21, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith to the Senate, for their consideration in reference
to its ratification, a treaty of commerce and navigation between the
United States of America and His Majesty the King of the Netherlands,
signed at this place on the 19th instant by the Secretary of State and
the charge d'affaires of the Netherlands in the United States.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _January 21, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit for the consideration of the Senate with a view to its
ratification a convention for the adjustment of claims of citizens of
the United States upon the Government of the Mexican Republic, concluded
and signed in this city on the 10th of September last by John Forsyth,
Secretary of State of the United States, and Francisco Pizarro Martinez,
envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the Mexican
Republic, on the part of their respective Governments.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _January 21, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit a treaty negotiated with the New York Indians, which was
submitted to your body in June last and amended. The amendments have,
in pursuance of the requirement of the Senate, been submitted to each of
the tribes, assembled in council, for their free and voluntary assent
or dissent thereto. In respect to all the tribes except the Senecas the
result of this application has been entirely satisfactory. It will be
seen by the accompanying papers that of this tribe, the most important
of those concerned, the assent of only 42 out of 81 chiefs has been
obtained. I deem it advisable under these circumstances to submit the
treaty in its modified form to the Senate, for its advice in regard of
the sufficiency of the assent of the Senecas to the amendments proposed.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _January 24, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith to the Senate, for their consideration in reference
to its ratification, a treaty of commerce and navigation between the
United States of America and His Majesty the King of Sardinia, signed
at Genoa on the 26th of November last by the plenipotentiaries of the
contracting parties.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _January 25, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate a report[46] from the Secretary of State,
in answer to their resolution of the 22d instant.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 46: Stating that there has been no correspondence with Great
Britain in relation to the northeastern boundary since December 3, 1838.]

WASHINGTON, _January 26, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I lay before you, for your consideration, a treaty concluded with the
Omaha, Ioway, and Otoe tribes of Indians, and sanctioned by the Yancton
and Santie bands of Sioux, by which a tract of land situated on the
south side of the Missouri between the Great and Little Nemahaw rivers
has been ceded to the United States.

It appears that the consent of the half-breeds of the above-mentioned
tribes and bands is wanting to perfect the treaty. This tract of
land was ceded by the treaty of 15th July, 1830, to them by the
above-mentioned tribes and bands of Indians, and can not be taken from
them, even for such a valuable consideration as will relieve their
wants, without their assent. In order to avoid unnecessary delay,
I submit it to your consideration in order to receive an expression of
your opinion as to the manner of obtaining the assent of the minors,
whereby all unnecessary delay in the final action upon the treaty will
be avoided.

M. VAN BUREN.

JANUARY 28, 1839.

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

I transmit herewith a communication received from the Secretary of the
Treasury, on the subject of the balances reported on the books of the
Treasury against collecting and disbursing agents of the Government,
to which I beg leave to invite the early attention of Congress.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _January 30, 1839_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit a report from the Secretary of the Treasury, on the
subject of commissions claimed by agents or officers employed by the
General Government.

The propriety of new legislation regulating the whole matter by express
laws seems very apparent, and is urgently recommended to the early
attention of Congress.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _February 2, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, assigning reasons
which render it probable that the time limited for the exchange of the
ratifications of the convention for the adjustment of claims of citizens
of the United States on the Government of the Mexican Republic may
expire before that exchange can be effected, and suggesting that the
consent of the Senate be requested for an extension of that time. The
object of this communication, accordingly, is to solicit the approval
by the Senate of such an extension upon the conditions mentioned in the
report of the Secretary of State.

M. VAN BUREN.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, February 2, 1839_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:

The Secretary of State has the honor to report to the President that,
according to his instructions, Mr. Martinez, the Mexican minister
plenipotentiary, was invited to the Department of State in order to
ascertain if he had any recent information on the subject of the
convention between the United States and Mexico, transmitted by him to
Mexico for ratification by his Government. Mr. Martinez called yesterday
and stated that he was without definite information, but expected daily
to receive it. He supposed the delay was occasioned by the troubled
condition of Mexican affairs, and hoped we would make all due allowances
for unavoidable delays. When asked if he had power to enlarge the time
for the exchange of ratifications, he said that all his instructions had
been fulfilled on the signature of the treaty. The Secretary called his
attention to information just received at the Department from Mexico
that the treaty was about to be submitted to the Mexican Congress, and
he was requested to state what had changed the views of his Government
on the question of ratifying the convention, he himself having stated,
pending the negotiation, that the President, Bustamente, believed he
had full power under the decree of the 20th of May, 1837, to ratify
the convention without a reference of it to Congress. He replied that
he did not know the causes which had produced this change of opinion.
Mr. Martinez appeared to be very solicitous to have it understood
that he had done everything in his power to hasten the exchange of
ratifications, and to have every allowance made in consequence of the
disturbed state of Mexico and her pending war with France. From this
conversation and the accompanying extracts from two letters from the
consul of the United States at Mexico the President will see that it is
by no means improbable, if the ratification of the convention should
have been decreed by the Congress of Mexico, that the ratification may
not reach the city of Washington until after the 10th of February. The
Secretary therefore respectfully represents to the President whether
it is not advisable to ask the consent of the Senate to the exchange
of the ratifications after the expiration of the time limited, if such
exchange shall be offered by the Mexican Government by their agent duly
authorized for that purpose. Unless this authority can be granted, a new
convention will have to be negotiated and the whole subject passed over
until after the next session of Congress.

All which is respectfully submitted.

JOHN FORSYTH.

[Extract of a letter from the consul of the United States at Mexico,
dated November 17, 1838.]

On the 13th Mr. Basave did me the honor to call on me, and informed
me that he was requested by his excellency the minister of foreign
relations, Mr. Cuevas, to inform me that in consequence of his
having to go to Jalapa to meet Admiral Baudin, the French minister
plenipotentiary, he could not attend to the matters relating to the
American question in time for Mr. Basave to go back in the _Woodbury_,
and wished, therefore, that she might not be detained, as was intended,
for the purpose of conveying to the United States Messrs. Basave and
Murphy.

[Extract of a letter from the consul of the United States at Mexico,
dated December 31, 1838.]

On a visit to the minister of foreign relations yesterday he informed
me that he was writing a friendly letter to the President of the United
States and another to Mr. Forsyth, and said he was about to lay the
convention entered into between the two Governments before the new
Congress, and if ratified should request of me to procure for it a
conveyance to the United States by one of our men-of-war, the time
for its ratification being nearly expired.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _February 6, 1839_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit to the House of Representatives a report[47] from the
Secretary of State, with accompanying documents, in answer to a
resolution of that body bearing date on the 28th ultimo.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 47: Relating to the demand upon the British Government for
satisfaction for the burning of the steamboat _Caroline_ and murdering
of unarmed citizens on board, at Schlosser, N.Y., December 29, 1837.]

WASHINGTON, _February 6, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 19th December last,
I communicate to the Senate a report[48] from the Secretary of State,
accompanying copies of the correspondence called for by said resolution.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 48: Relating to the commerce and navigation carried on within
the Turkish dominions and in the Pashalic of Egypt.]

WASHINGTON, _February 6, 1839_.

The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

SIR: I transmit herewith the report of the commissioners appointed under
the act of 28th of June last and the supplementary act of July following
to test the usefulness of inventions to improve and render safe the
boilers of steam engines against explosions.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _February 9, 1839_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit herewith to the House of Representatives a report from the
Secretary of State, together with the documents which accompanied it,
in answer to the resolution of the 28th ultimo, requesting information
touching certain particulars in the territorial relations of the United
States and Great Britain on this continent.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _February 13, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate a report[49] from the Secretary of
State, with accompanying documents, in answer to their resolution of
the 1st instant.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 49: Relating to compensation by Great Britain in the cases of
the brigs _Enterprise, Encomium_, and _Comet_, slaves on board which
were forcibly seized and detained by local authorities of Bermuda and
Bahama islands.]

WASHINGTON, _February 16, 1839_.

_To the Senate_:

I transmit for the constitutional action of the Senate treaties recently
concluded with the Creek, Osage, and Iowa tribes of Indians, with
communications from the Department of War.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _February 19, 1839_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit a report from the War Department in relation to the
investigations had by the commissioners under the resolution of 1st
July, 1836, on the sales of reservations of deceased Creek Indians.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _February 21, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit for the constitutional action of the Senate articles
supplementary to the treaty with the Chippewas, for the purchase of
40 acres of land at the mouth of the Saginaw River, which are esteemed
necessary in the erection and use of a light-house at that point.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _February 22, 1839_.

The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

I herewith transmit a report from the Secretary of State, with
accompanying documents, on the subject of the blockades of the Mexican
coast and of the Rio de la Plata, in answer to the resolution of the
House of Representatives of the 11th instant.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _February 25, 1839_.

_To the Senate_:

I transmit for the constitutional action of the Senate a supplemental
article to the treaty with the Chippewas of Saganaw, which accompanied
my communication of the 21st instant, and explanatory papers from the
War Department.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _February 26, 1839_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I lay before Congress several dispatches from his excellency the
governor of Maine, with inclosures, communicating certain proceedings of
the legislature of that State, and a copy of the reply of the Secretary
of State, made by my direction, together with a note from H.S. Fox,
esq., envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of Great Britain,
with the answer of the Secretary of State to the same.

It will appear from those documents that a numerous band of lawless and
desperate men, chiefly from the adjoining British Provinces, but without
the authority or sanction of the provincial government, had trespassed
upon that portion of the territory in dispute between the United States
and Great Britain which is watered by the river Aroostook and claimed
to belong to the State of Maine, and that they had committed extensive
depredations there by cutting and destroying a very large quantity of
timber. It will further appear that the governor of Maine, having been
officially apprised of the circumstance, had communicated it to the
legislature with a recommendation of such provisions in addition to
those already existing by law as would enable him to arrest the course
of said depredations, disperse the trespassers, and secure the timber
which they were about carrying away; that, in compliance with a
resolve of the legislature passed in pursuance of his recommendation,
his excellency had dispatched the land agent of the State, with a
force deemed adequate to that purpose, to the scene of the alleged
depredations, who, after accomplishing a part of his duty, was seized
by a band of the trespassers at a house claimed to be within the
jurisdiction of Maine, whither he had repaired for the purpose of
meeting and consulting with the land agent of the Province of New
Brunswick, and conveyed as a prisoner to Frederickton, in that Province,
together with two other citizens of the State who were assisting him in
the discharge of his duty.

It will also appear that the governor and legislature of Maine,
satisfied that the trespassers had acted in defiance of the laws of
both countries, learning that they were in possession of arms, and
anticipating (correctly, as the result has proved) that persons of their
reckless and desperate character would set at naught the authority of
the magistrates without the aid of a strong force, had authorized the
sheriff and the officer appointed in the place of the land agent to
employ, at the expense of the State, an armed posse, who had proceeded
to the scene of these depredations with a view to the entire dispersion
or arrest of the trespassers and the protection of the public property.

In the correspondence between the governor of Maine and Sir John Harvey,
lieutenant-governor of the Province of New Brunswick, which has grown
out of these occurrences and is likewise herewith communicated, the
former is requested to recall the armed party advanced into the disputed
territory for the arrest of trespassers, and is informed that a strong
body of British troops is to be held in readiness to support and protect
the authority and subjects of Great Britain in said territory. In answer
to that request the provincial governor is informed of the determination
of the State of Maine to support the land agent and his party in the
performance of their duty, and the same determination, for the execution
of which provision is made by a resolve of the State legislature, is
communicated by the governor to the General Government.

The lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, in calling upon the governor
of Maine for the recall of the land agent and his party from the
disputed territory, and the British minister, in making a similar demand
upon the Government of the United States, proceed upon the assumption
that an agreement exists between the two nations conceding to Great
Britain, until the final settlement of the boundary question, exclusive
possession of and jurisdiction over the territory in dispute. The
important bearing which such an agreement, if it existed, would have
upon the condition and interests of the parties, and the influence it
might have upon the adjustment of the dispute, are too obvious to allow
the error upon which this assumption seems to rest to pass for a moment
without correction. The answer of the Secretary of State to Mr. Fox's
note will show the ground taken by the Government of the United States
upon this point. It is believed that all the correspondence which has
passed between the two Governments upon this subject has already been
communicated to Congress and is now on their files. An abstract of
it, however, hastily prepared, accompanies this communication. It is
possible that in thus abridging a voluminous correspondence, commencing
in 1825 and continuing to a very recent period, a portion may have been
accidentally overlooked; but it is believed that nothing has taken
place which would materially change the aspect of the question as
therein presented. Instead of sustaining the assumption of the British
functionaries, that correspondence disproves the existence of any such
agreement. It shows that the two Governments have differed not only in
regard to the main question of title to the territory in dispute, but
with reference also to the right of jurisdiction and the fact of the
actual exercise of it in different portions thereof.

Always aiming at an amicable adjustment of the dispute, both parties
have entertained and repeatedly urged upon each other a desire that each
should exercise its rights, whatever it considered them to be, in such
a manner as to avoid collision and allay to the greatest practicable
extent the excitement likely to grow out of the controversy. It was in
pursuance of such an understanding that Maine and Massachusetts, upon
the remonstrance of Great Britain, desisted from making sales of lands,
and the General Government from the construction of a projected military
road in a portion of the territory of which they claimed to have enjoyed
the exclusive possession; and that Great Britain on her part, in
deference to a similar remonstrance from the United States, suspended
the issue of licenses to cut timber in the territory in controversy and
also the survey and location of a railroad through a section of country
over which she also claimed to have exercised exclusive jurisdiction.

The State of Maine had a right to arrest the depredations complained of.
It belonged to her to judge of the exigency of the occasion calling for
her interference, and it is presumed that had the lieutenant-governor of
New Brunswick been correctly advised of the nature of the proceedings
of the State of Maine he would not have regarded the transaction as
requiring on his part any resort to force. Each party claiming a right
to the territory, and hence to the exclusive jurisdiction over it, it is
manifest that to prevent the destruction of the timber by trespassers,
acting against the authority of both, and at the same time avoid
forcible collision between the contiguous governments during the
pendency of negotiations concerning the title, resort must be had to the
mutual exercise of jurisdiction in such extreme cases or to an amicable
and temporary arrangement as to the limits within which it should be
exercised by each party. The understanding supposed to exist between the
United States and Great Britain has been found heretofore sufficient
for that purpose, and I believe will prove so hereafter if the parties
on the frontier directly interested in the question are respectively
governed by a just spirit of conciliation and forbearance. If it shall
be found, as there is now reason to apprehend, that there is, in the
modes of construing that understanding by the two Governments, a
difference not to be reconciled, I shall not hesitate to propose to
Her Britannic Majesty's Government a distinct arrangement for the
temporary and mutual exercise of jurisdiction by means of which similar
difficulties may in future be prevented.

But between an effort on the part of Maine to preserve the property in
dispute from destruction by intruders and a military occupation by that
State of the territory with a view to hold it by force while the
settlement is a subject of negotiation between the two Governments there
is an essential difference, as well in respect to the position of the
State as to the duties of the General Government. In a letter addressed
by the Secretary of State to the governor of Maine on the 1st of March
last, giving a detailed statement of the steps which had been taken by
the Federal Government to bring the controversy to a termination, and
designed to apprise the governor of that State of the views of the
Federal Executive in respect to the future, it was stated that while the
obligations of the Federal Government to do all in its power to effect
the settlement of the boundary question were fully recognized, it had,
in the event of being unable to do so specifically by mutual consent,
no other means to accomplish that object amicably than by another
arbitration, or by a commission, with an umpire, in the nature of an
arbitration; and that in the event of all other measures failing the
President would feel it his duty to submit another proposition to the
Government of Great Britain to refer the decision of the question to a
third power. These are still my views upon the subject, and until this
step shall have been taken I can not think it proper to invoke the
attention of Congress to other than amicable means for the settlement
of the controversy, or to cause the military power of the Federal
Government to be brought in aid of the State of Maine in any attempt
to effect that object by a resort to force.

On the other hand, if the authorities of New Brunswick should attempt
to enforce the claim of exclusive jurisdiction set up by them by means
of a military occupation on their part of the disputed territory,
I shall feel myself bound to consider the contingency provided by the
Constitution as having occurred, on the happening of which a State
has the right to call for the aid of the Federal Government to repel
invasion.

I have expressed to the British minister near this Government a
confident expectation that the agents of the State of Maine, who have
been arrested under an obvious misapprehension of the object of their
mission, will be promptly released, and to the governor of Maine that a
similar course will be pursued in regard to the agents of the Province
of New Brunswick. I have also recommended that any militia that may have
been brought together by the State of Maine from an apprehension of a
collision with the government or people of the British Province will be
voluntarily and peaceably disbanded.

I can not allow myself to doubt that the results anticipated from
these representations will be seasonably realized. The parties more
immediately interested can not but perceive that an appeal to arms
under existing circumstances will not only prove fatal to their present
interests, but would postpone, if not defeat, the attainment of the main
objects which they have in view. The very incidents which have recently
occurred will necessarily awaken the Governments to the importance
of promptly adjusting a dispute by which it is now made manifest that
the peace of the two nations is daily and imminently endangered. This
expectation is further warranted by the general forbearance which has
hitherto characterized the conduct of the Government and people on both
sides of the line. In the uniform patriotism of Maine, her attachment to
the Union, her respect for the wishes of the people of her sister States
(of whose interest in her welfare she can not be unconscious), and in
the solicitude felt by the country at large for the preservation of
peace with our neighbors, we have a strong guaranty that she will not
disregard the request that has been made of her.

As, however, the session of Congress is about to terminate and the
agency of the Executive may become necessary during the recess, it
is important that the attention of the Legislature should be drawn to
the consideration of such measures as may be calculated to obviate the
necessity of a call for an extra session. With that view I have thought
it my duty to lay the whole matter before you and to invite such action
thereon as you may think the occasion requires.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _February 27, 1839_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives, in answer to their
resolution of the 26th instant, a report from the Secretary of State,
with the document[50] therein referred to.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 50: Letter of Mr. Stevenson, minister to England, relative to
the duties and restrictions imposed by Great Britain upon the tobacco
trade of the United States.]

WASHINGTON, _February 27, 1839_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In further compliance with the resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 28th of January last, I communicate a report[51]
from the Secretary of War, which, with its inclosures, contains
additional information called for by said resolution.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 51: Relating to troubles in the British Provinces of Upper and
Lower Canada and to alleged violations of neutrality on the part of the
United States or Great Britain, and whether the authorities of Upper
Canada have undertaken to interdict or restrict the ordinary intercourse
between said Province and the United States, inconsistent with
subsisting treaties.]

WASHINGTON, _February 27, 1839_.

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

I transmit to Congress copies of various other documents received from
the governor of Maine, relating to the dispute between that State and
the Province of New Brunswick, which formed the subject of my message
of the 26th instant, and also a copy of a memorandum, signed by the
Secretary of State of the United States and Her Britannic Majesty's
envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary near the United States,
of the terms upon which it is believed that all hostile collision can be
avoided on the frontier consistently with and respecting the claims on
either side.

As the British minister acts without specific authority from his
Government, it will be observed that this memorandum has but the force
of recommendation on the provincial authorities and on the government
of the State.

M. VAN BUREN.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

_Augusta, February 22, 1839_.

His Excellency M. VAN BUREN,

_President United States_.

SIR: I have the honor to inclose herewith copies of letter from the
lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, under date of February 18, with my
reply thereto; letter from the solicitor-general of the Province of New
Brunswick to the Hon. Charles Jarvis, temporary land agent, under date
of the 17th instant, with Mr. Jarvis's reply; parole of honor given by
Messrs. McIntire, Cushman, Bartlett, and Webster, dated 18th February;
my message to the legislature of the 21st instant.

These papers will give Your Excellency all the additional information
of any importance not heretofore communicated that has been received
in relation to the state of affairs upon our eastern frontier. I can
not but persuade myself that Your Excellency will see that an attack
upon the citizens of this State by a British armed force is in all
human probability inevitable, and that the interposition of the General
Government at this momentous crisis should be promptly afforded.

I have the honor to be, with high respect, Your Excellency's obedient
servant,

JOHN FAIRFIELD,

_Governor of Maine_.

GOVERNMENT HOUSE,

_Frederickton, New Brunswick, February 18, 1839_.

His Excellency the GOVERNOR OF MAINE.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, by the hands of
Hon. Mr. Rogers, of your excellency's letter of the 15th instant.
Mr. McIntire and the gentlemen with him have been subjected to an
examination before Her Majesty's attorney-general of this Province, who
has reported to me that the offense of which they stand charged is one
rather against the law of nations and of treaties than against those of
this Province. They must accordingly be regarded as "state offenders."
In this view, their disposal rests exclusively with Her Majesty's
Government, to which I shall accordingly report the case. In the
meantime I have had pleasure in directing that they shall immediately be
allowed to return to the State of Maine upon pledging their parole of
honor to present themselves to the Government of this Province whenever
Her Majesty's decision may be received, or when required to do so. The
high respectability of their characters and situations and my desire to
act in all matters relating to the disputed territory in such a manner
as may evince the utmost forbearance consistent with the fulfillment of
my instructions have influenced me in my conduct toward these gentlemen;
but it is necessary that I should upon this occasion distinctly state
to your excellency--

First. That if it be the desire of the State of Maine that the
friendly relations subsisting between Great Britain and the United
States should not be disturbed, it is indispensable that the armed force
from that State now understood to be within the territory in dispute
be immediately withdrawn, as otherwise I have no alternative but to
take military occupation of that territory, with a view to protect Her
Majesty's subjects and to support the civil authorities in apprehending
all persons claiming to exercise jurisdiction within it.

Second. That it is my duty to require that all persons subjects of Her
Majesty who may have been arrested in the commission of acts of trespass
within the disputed territory be given up to the tribunals of this
Province, there to be proceeded against according to law.

Third. That in the event of the rumor which has just reached me relative
to the arrest, detention, or interruption of James Maclauchlan, esq.,
the warden of the disputed territory, being correct, that that officer
be enlarged and the grounds of his detention explained.

Mr. Rogers takes charge of this letter, of which a duplicate will be
placed in the hands of the Hon. Mr. McIntire, with both of whom I have
conversed and communicated to them my views in regard to the actual
position in which I shall be placed and the measures which will be
forced upon me if the several demands contained in this letter be not
complied with; and I have reason to believe that Mr. McIntire leaves me
fully impressed with the anxious desire which I feel to be spared the
necessity of acting as the letter of my instructions would both warrant
and prescribe.

With regard to trespasses upon the lands of the disputed territory,
I beg to assure you that the extent to which those trespasses appear
to have been carried, as brought to my knowledge by recent occurrences,
will lead me to adopt without any delay the strongest and most effectual
measures which may be in my power for putting a stop to and preventing
the recurrence of such trespasses.

With high respect, I have the honor to be, your excellency's most
obedient servant,

J. HARVEY,

_Major-General, Lieutenant-Governor_.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

_Augusta, February 21, 1839_.

His Excellency SIR JOHN HARVEY,

_Lieutenant-Governor New Brunswick_.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your excellency's
communication of the 18th instant, by the hand of Colonel J.P. Rogers.

To your demand for the discharge of the persons arrested by the
authorities of this State for being engaged in acts of trespass upon the
public lands of this State I have to say that the persons named are now
in the _custody of the law_. With that custody I have neither the
disposition nor the authority to interfere.

In regard to James Maclauchlan, esq., provincial land agent, and Mr.
Tibbets, his assistant, I have advised that they be released upon the
_same terms_ upon which the Hon. Rufus McIntire and his assistants were
released, to wit, upon their _parole of honor_ to return to Bangor
whenever they should be thereto required by the executive government of
this State, to answer to any charges that may be brought against them
for their acts and proceedings upon what your excellency is pleased to
call "the disputed territory."

For a reply to the remainder of your excellency's communication I must
refer you to my letter of the 18th instant, which you will receive by
the hand of R. English, esq.

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

JOHN FAIRFIELD,

_Governor of Maine_.

AT THE MOUTH OF THE ARESTOOK, RIVER ST. JOHN,

_Province of New Brunswick, February 17, 1839_.

The OFFICER COMMANDING THE ARMED FORCE ON THE DISPUTED TERRITORY.

SIR: I am directed by His Excellency Major-General Sir John Harvey,
lieutenant-governor and commander in chief of this Province, to express
to you his great surprise at the very extraordinary occurrence of an
armed force of the description now with you having entered upon the
disputed territory (so called) and attempted to exercise a jurisdiction
there foreign to the British Government, seizing upon and maltreating
British subjects and retaining many of them prisoners without having in
the first instance given any notice or made any communication whatever
to the government authorities of this Province of such your intention,
or the causes which have led to these acts of aggression. If you are
acting under any authority from your own government, the proceedings are
still more unjustifiable, being in direct defiance and breach of the
existing treaties between the Central Government of the United States
and England. If you have not any such authority, you and those with you
have placed yourselves in a situation to be treated by both Governments
as persons rebelling against the laws of either country. But be that as
it may, I am directed by his excellency to give you notice that unless
you immediately remove with the force you have with you from any part of
the disputed territory (so called) and discharge all British subjects
whom you have taken prisoners and at once cease attempting to exercise
any authority in the said territory not authorized by the British
Government every person of your party that can be found or laid hold of
will be taken by the British authorities in this Province and detained
as prisoners to answer for this offense, as his excellency is expressly
commanded by his Sovereign to hold this territory inviolate and to
defend it from any foreign aggression whatever until the two Governments
have determined the question of to whom it shall belong; and to enable
him to carry these commands into full effect, a large military force is
now assembling at this place, part of which has already arrived, and
will be shortly completed to any extent that the service may require.
In doing this his excellency is very desirous to avoid any collision
between Her Majesty's troops and any of the citizens of the United
States that might lead to bloodshed, and if you remove from the
territory peaceably and quietly without further opposition such
collision will be avoided, as in that case his excellency will not think
it necessary to move the British troops farther; but if you do not he
will, in the execution of the commands of the British Government, find
it necessary to take military possession of the territory in order to
defend it from such innovation; and the consequences must be upon your
own heads or upon the authority, if any, under which you act. The three
gentlemen who were with you, and were taken prisoners by some of our
people, have been forwarded on to Frederickton by the magistrates of the
country and will be detained (as all persons heretofore have been who
on former occasions were found endeavoring to set up or exercise any
foreign jurisdiction or authority in the territory in question). They
will, however, be well treated and every necessary attention paid to
their comfort; but I have no doubt they will be detained as prisoners,
to be disposed of as may hereafter be directed by the British
Government. The warden of the disputed territory, Mr. Maclauchlan, went
out, I understood, a few days since to explain all this to you; but
he not having returned we are led to suppose you have still further
violated the laws and treaties of the two nations by detaining him, who
was a mere messenger of communication, together with Mr. Tibbets, the
person who was employed to convey him. But as Mr. Maclauchlan was an
accredited officer, acknowledged by the American Government as well as
the British, and appointed for the very purpose of looking after this
territory, I trust you will on reflection see the great impropriety and
risk you run, even with your own government, by detaining him or his
attendant, Mr. Tibbets, any longer.

I shall await at this place to receive your answer to this.

I am, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,

GEO. FRED'K STREET,

_Solicitor-General of the Provinces_.

CONFLUENCE OF THE ST. CROIX, STREAM ARESTOOK RIVER,

_Township No. 10, State of Maine, February 19, 1839_.

GEO. FRED. STREET, Esq.,

_Solicitor-General of Province New Brunswick_.

SIR: Your communication of the 17th instant has been this moment
received. The solicitor-general of the Provinces must have been
misinformed as to the place where the force under my direction is now
located, or he would have been spared the impropriety of addressing such
a communication to me, a citizen of the State of Maine, one of the North
American Confederacy of United States.

It is also to be hoped, for the honor of the British Empire, that when
Major-General Sir John Harvey, lieutenant-governor and commander in
chief of the Province of New Brunswick, is made acquainted with the
place where the Hon. Rufus McIntire, land agent of the State of Maine,
and the two other gentlemen with him were forcibly arrested by a lawless
mob, that he will direct their immediate discharge and bring the
offenders to justice.

The officer to whom you allude and the person in company with him were
arrested for serving a precept on a citizen of Maine. He was sent on
immediately to Augusta, the seat of government, to be dealt with by the
authorities of the State. Their persons are not, therefore, in my power,
and application for their discharge must be made to the government of
the State.

If, however, I have been in error as to your being under a mistake as
to the place where I am now stationed, on land which was run out into
townships by the State of Massachusetts and covered by grants from
that State before Maine was separated from Massachusetts, and which
has therefore been under the jurisdiction of Maine since she has taken
her rank among the independent States of the North American Union,
therefore, as a citizen of Maine, in official capacity, I have but one
answer to return to the threat conveyed: I am here under the direction
of the executive of the State, and must remain until otherwise ordered
by the only authority recognized by me; and deeply as I should regret a
conflict between our respective countries, I shall consider the approach
to my station by an armed force as an act of hostility, which will be
met by me to the best of my ability.

I am, sir, your most obedient servant,

CHARLES JARVIS,

_Land Agent_.

FREDERICKTON, NEW BRUNSWICK, _February 18, 1839_.

Hon. RUFUS McINTIRE, GUSTAVUS G. CUSHMAN, THOMAS BARTLETT, and EBENEZER
WEBSTER, Esqs.:

Whereas the offense wherewith you stand charged has been pronounced
by the law officers of this Province as one rather against the law
of nations and of treaties than against the municipal laws of this
country, and as such must be referred for the decision of Her Majesty's
Government, you are hereby required to pledge your parole of honor to
present yourselves at Frederickton, in this Province of New Brunswick,
whenever such decision shall be communicated, or you shall be otherwise
required by or on the part of this government; and for this purpose you
shall make known the place or places to which such requisition shall be
sent.

J. HARVEY.

FEBRUARY 18, 1839.

We have no hesitation in giving, and hereby do give, the parole of honor
above referred to.

Witness:

W. EARL.

COUNCIL CHAMBER, _February 21, 1839_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

Under the order of the House of Representatives of the 19th instant,
I herewith, lay before you certain correspondence since had with the
lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, and the correspondence between
Geo. Frederick Street, esq., solicitor-general for the Province of New
Brunswick, and Charles Jarvis, esq., provisional land agent of this
State.

The reply of Mr. Jarvis to the inadmissible and preposterous claims and
pretensions of Her Majesty's solicitor-general for the Province of New
Brunswick must, I think, command the unqualified approbation of everyone
having a just regard for the honor of his State. It is in the true
spirit, and I have every reason to believe that the same spirit animates
the whole body of our citizens. While it prevails, though success will
be deserved, defeat can bring no disgrace.

You will see by the accompanying papers (and I take great pleasure in
communicating the fact) that Mr. McIntire and his assistants have been
released. It was, however, upon their parole of honor to return when
thereto required by the government of that Province. Immediately
upon the receipt of this information I advised the release of James
Maclauchlan, esq., provincial land agent, and his assistant, _upon
the same terms_.

Since my last communication the land agent's forces at the Aroostook
have been reenforced by about 600 good and effective men, making the
whole force now about 750.

I have a letter from Mr. Jarvis dated the 19th, before the reenforcement
had arrived, and when his company consisted of only 100 men. He says he
found the men in good spirits and that they had been active in making
temporary but most effectual defenses of logs, etc.

After describing his defenses, he says: "By to-morrow noon a force
of 100 men would make good our position against 500. _Retreating,
therefore, is out of the question_. We shall make good our stand against
any force that we can reasonably expect would be brought against us."
He says further: "I take pleasure in saying to you that a finer looking
set of men I never saw than those now with me, and that the honor of our
State, so far as they are concerned, is in safe-keeping."

The draft of 1,000 men from the third division has been made with great
dispatch. The troops, I understand, arrived promptly at the place of
rendezvous at the time appointed in good spirits and anxious for the
order to march to the frontier. The detachment from this second division
will be ordered to march at the earliest convenient day--probably on
Monday next. Other military movements will be made, which it is
unnecessary to communicate to you at this time.

The mission of Colonel Rogers to the lieutenant-governor of New
Brunswick has resulted successfully so far as relates to the release of
the land agent and his assistants, and has been conducted in a manner
highly satisfactory.

JOHN FAIRFIELD.

[Memorandum.]

WASHINGTON, _February 27, 1839_.

Her Majesty's authorities consider it to have been understood and agreed
upon by the two Governments that the territory in dispute between Great
Britain and the United States on the northeastern frontier should remain
exclusively under British jurisdiction until the final settlement of the
boundary question.

The United States Government have not understood the above agreement
in the same sense, but consider, on the contrary, that there has been
no agreement whatever for the exercise by Great Britain of exclusive
jurisdiction over the disputed territory or any portion thereof, but
a mutual understanding that pending the negotiation the jurisdiction
then exercised by either party over small portions of the territory
in dispute should not be enlarged, but be continued merely for the
preservation of local tranquillity and the public property, both
forbearing, as far as practicable, to exert any authority, and when
any should be exercised by either placing upon the conduct of each
other the most favorable construction.

A complete understanding upon the question thus placed at issue of
present jurisdiction can only be arrived at by friendly discussion
between the Governments of the United States and Great Britain, and as
it is confidently hoped that there will be an early settlement of the
general question, this subordinate point of difference can be of but
little moment.

In the meantime the government of the Province of New Brunswick and the
government of the State of Maine will act as follows: Her Majesty's
officers will not seek to expel by military force the armed party which
has been sent by Maine into the district bordering on the Restook River,
but the government of Maine will voluntarily and without needless delay
withdraw beyond the bounds of the disputed territory any armed force
now within them; and if future necessity shall arise for dispersing
notorious trespassers or protecting public property from depredation
by armed force, the operation shall be conducted by concert, jointly or
separately, according to agreement between the governments of Maine and
New Brunswick.

The civil officers in the service, respectively, of New Brunswick and
Maine who have been taken into custody by the opposite parties shall be
released.

Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to fortify or to weaken
in any respect whatever the claim of either party to the ultimate
possession of the disputed territory.

The minister plenipotentiary of Her Britannic Majesty having no specific
authority to make any arrangement on this subject, the undersigned can
only recommend, as they now earnestly do, to the governments of New
Brunswick and Maine to regulate their future proceedings according to
the terms hereinbefore set forth until the final settlement of the
territorial dispute or until the Governments of the United States and
Great Britain shall come to some definite conclusion on the subordinate
point upon which they are now at issue.

JOHN FORSYTH,

_Secretary of State of the United States of North America_.

H.S. FOX,

_Her Britannic Majesty's Envoy Extraordinary and Minister
Plenipotentiary_.

WASHINGTON, _February 27, 1839_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of
the 22d instant, requesting information on the subject of the existing
relations between the United States and the Mexican Republic, I transmit
a report from the Secretary of State, to whom the resolution was
referred, and the documents by which the report was accompanied.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _February 28, 1839_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of the Treasury,
accompanied by a letter from the Commissioner of the General Land
Office, and other documents therein referred to, touching certain
information directed to be communicated to the House of Representatives
by a resolution dated the 7th of July last.[52]

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 52: Relating to attempts to keep down the price of public
lands.]

WASHINGTON, _February 28, 1839_.

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

I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of War,
respecting the importance of requiring the officers who may be employed
to take the next general census to make a return of the names and ages
of pensioners, and, for the reasons given by the Secretary of War,
I recommend the subject for your favorable consideration.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _March 1, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

Understanding from the decision of the Senate that the regulation of the
Navy Department requiring that a commander "shall serve in active employ
as such one year before he can be promoted to a captain" does not under
the circumstances of the case constitute an objection to the promotion
of Commander Robert F. Stockton, I nominate him to be a captain in the
Navy from the 8th of December, 1838, at the same time renominating
Commanders Isaac McKeever and John P. Zantzingers to be captains in the
Navy, the former from the 8th of December, 1838, and the latter from the
22d of December, 1838, and withdrawing the nomination of Commander
William D. Salter.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _March 1, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I have received the resolution of the Senate of this day, upon the
subject of a communication made to you by the Postmaster-General on the
27th ultimo,[53] and have the satisfaction of laying before the Senate
the accompanying letter from that officer, in which he fully disclaims
any intended disrespect to the Senate in the communication referred to.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 53: Stating that the only reason he had not sent an answer to
a resolution of the Senate was because it was not ready, which was
considered disrespectful.]

WASHINGTON, _March 2, 1839_.

The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES.

I transmit herewith reports of the Secretaries of the State, Treasury,
War, and Navy Departments, in reply to a resolution of the 28th ultimo,
calling for information respecting the amounts paid to persons concerned
in negotiating treaties with the Indians since the year 1829, and in
regard to the disbursement of public money by clerks in the above
Departments and the bureaus and offices thereof.

M. VAN BUREN.

VETO MESSAGE.[54]

[Footnote 54: Pocket veto.]

MARCH 5, 1839.

The annexed joint resolution was presented to me by Messrs. Foster and
Merrick, of the Senate, on the 4th of March at half past 3 o'clock a.m.
at the President's house, after a joint committee had informed me at
the Capitol that the two Houses had completed their business and were
ready to adjourn, and had communicated my answer that I had no
further communication to make to them. The committee of the Senate, on
presenting the joint resolution for my signature, stated in explanation
of the circumstance that they were not attended by the Committee on
Enrolled Bills of the House of Representatives (as is required by the
joint rules of the two Houses); that that body had adjourned about two
hours before.

The joint resolution is not certified by the clerk of the House in which
it originated, as is likewise required by the joint rules. Under these
circumstances, and without reference to its provisions, I withheld my
approval from the joint resolution.

M. VAN BUREN.

To be placed on file in the State Department.

M.V.B.

A RESOLUTION for the distribution in part of the Madison Papers.

_Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled_, That the Secretary of the
Senate and Clerk of the House of Representatives be, and they are
hereby, directed to distribute by mail, or otherwise, to each member
of the Senate and House of Representatives and Delegates of the
Twenty-fifth Congress one copy of the compilation now in progress of
execution under the act entitled "An act authorizing the printing of the
Madison Papers," when the same shall have been completed; and that of
the said compilation there be deposited in the Library of Congress ten
copies, in the Library of the House of Representatives twenty copies,
and in the office of the Secretary of the Senate ten copies, and one
copy in each of the committee rooms of the Senate; and that the residue
of said copies shall remain under the care of the said officers subject
to the future disposition of Congress.

JAMES K. POLK,

_Speaker of the House of Representatives_.

W.R. KING,

_President of the Senate pro tempore_.

I certify that this resolution did originate in the Senate.

----------,

_Secretary_.

THIRD ANNUAL MESSAGE.

WASHINGTON, _December 2, 1839_.

_Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I regret that I can not on this occasion congratulate you that the past
year has been one of unalloyed prosperity. The ravages of fire and
disease have painfully afflicted otherwise flourishing portions of our
country, and serious embarrassments yet derange the trade of many of our
cities. But notwithstanding these adverse circumstances, that general
prosperity which has been heretofore so bountifully bestowed upon us
by the Author of All Good still continues to call for our warmest
gratitude. Especially have we reason to rejoice in the exuberant
harvests which have lavishly recompensed well-directed industry and
given to it that sure reward which is vainly sought in visionary
speculations. I can not, indeed, view without peculiar satisfaction the
evidences afforded by the past season of the benefits that spring from
the steady devotion of the husbandman to his honorable pursuit. No
means of individual comfort is more certain and no source of national
prosperity is so sure. Nothing can compensate a people for a dependence
upon others for the bread they eat, and that cheerful abundance on which
the happiness of everyone so much depends is to be looked for nowhere
with such sure reliance as in the industry of the agriculturist and the
bounties of the earth.

With foreign countries our relations exhibit the same favorable aspect
which was presented in my last annual message, and afford continued
proof of the wisdom of the pacific, just, and forbearing policy adopted
by the first Administration of the Federal Government and pursued by its
successors. The extraordinary powers vested in me by an act of Congress
for the defense of the country in an emergency, considered so far
probable as to require that the Executive should possess ample means to
meet it, have not been exerted. They have therefore been attended with
no other result than to increase, by the confidence thus reposed in
me, my obligations to maintain with religious exactness the cardinal
principles that govern our intercourse with other nations. Happily,
in our pending questions with Great Britain, out of which this unusual
grant of authority arose, nothing has occurred to require its exertion,
and as it is about to return to the Legislature I trust that no future
necessity may call for its exercise by them or its delegation to another
Department of the Government.

For the settlement of our northeastern boundary the proposition promised
by Great Britain for a commission of exploration and survey has been
received, and a counter project, including also a provision for the
certain and final adjustment of the limits in dispute, is now before the
British Government for its consideration. A just regard to the delicate
state of this question and a proper respect for the natural impatience
of the State of Maine, not less than a conviction that the negotiation
has been already protracted longer than is prudent on the part of either
Government, have led me to believe that the present favorable moment
should on no account be suffered to pass without putting the question
forever at rest. I feel confident that the Government of Her Britannic
Majesty will take the same view of this subject, as I am persuaded it
is governed by desires equally strong and sincere for the amicable
termination of the controversy.

To the intrinsic difficulties of questions of boundary lines, especially
those described in regions unoccupied and but partially known, is to
be added in our country the embarrassment necessarily arising out of
our Constitution by which the General Government is made the organ of
negotiating and deciding upon the particular interests of the States
on whose frontiers these lines are to be traced. To avoid another
controversy in which a State government might rightfully claim to have
her wishes consulted previously to the conclusion of conventional
arrangements concerning her rights of jurisdiction or territory, I have
thought it necessary to call the attention of the Government of Great
Britain to another portion of our conterminous dominion of which the
division still remains to be adjusted. I refer to the line from the
entrance of Lake Superior to the most northwestern point of the Lake of
the Woods, stipulations for the settlement of which are to be found in
the seventh article of the treaty of Ghent. The commissioners appointed
under that article by the two Governments having differed in their
opinions, made separate reports, according to its stipulations, upon the
points of disagreement, and these differences are now to be submitted
to the arbitration of some friendly sovereign or state. The disputed
points should be settled and the line designated before the Territorial
government of which it is one of the boundaries takes its place in the
Union as a State, and I rely upon the cordial cooperation of the British
Government to effect that object.

There is every reason to believe that disturbances like those which
lately agitated the neighboring British Provinces will not again prove
the sources of border contentions or interpose obstacles to the
continuance of that good understanding which it is the mutual interest
of Great Britain and the United States to preserve and maintain.

Within the Provinces themselves tranquillity is restored, and on our
frontier that misguided sympathy in favor of what was presumed to be a
general effort in behalf of popular rights, and which in some instances
misled a few of our more inexperienced citizens, has subsided into a
rational conviction strongly opposed to all intermeddling with the
internal affairs of our neighbors. The people of the United States feel,
as it is hoped they always will, a warm solicitude for the success of
all who are sincerely endeavoring to improve the political condition
of mankind. This generous feeling they cherish toward the most distant
nations, and it was natural, therefore, that it should be awakened
with more than common warmth in behalf of their immediate neighbors;
but it does not belong to their character as a community to seek the
gratification of those feelings in acts which violate their duty as
citizens, endanger the peace of their country, and tend to bring upon
it the stain of a violated faith toward foreign nations. If, zealous to
confer benefits on others, they appear for a moment to lose sight of the
permanent obligations imposed upon them as citizens, they are seldom
long misled. From all the information I receive, confirmed to some
extent by personal observation, I am satisfied that no one can now hope
to engage in such enterprises without encountering public indignation,
in addition to the severest penalties of the law.

Recent information also leads me to hope that the emigrants from Her
Majesty's Provinces who have sought refuge within our boundaries are
disposed to become peaceable residents and to abstain from all attempts
to endanger the peace of that country which has afforded them an asylum.
On a review of the occurrences on both sides of the line it is
satisfactory to reflect that in almost every complaint against our
country the offense may be traced to emigrants from the Provinces who
have sought refuge here. In the few instances in which they were aided
by citizens of the United States the acts of these misguided men were
not only in direct contravention of the laws and well-known wishes of
their own Government, but met with the decided disapprobation of the
people of the United States.

I regret to state the appearance of a different spirit among Her
Majesty's subjects in the Canadas. The sentiments of hostility to our
people and institutions which have been so frequently expressed there,
and the disregard of our rights which has been manifested on some
occasions, have, I am sorry to say, been applauded and encouraged by
the people, and even by some of the subordinate local authorities, of
the Provinces. The chief officers in Canada, fortunately, have not
entertained the same feeling, and have probably prevented excesses that
must have been fatal to the peace of the two countries.

I look forward anxiously to a period when all the transactions which
have grown out of this condition of our affairs, and which have been
made the subjects of complaint and remonstrance by the two Governments,
respectively, shall be fully examined, and the proper satisfaction given
where it is due from either side.

Nothing has occurred to disturb the harmony of our intercourse with
Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Naples, Portugal, Prussia, Russia,
or Sweden. The internal state of Spain has sensibly improved, and a
well-grounded hope exists that the return of peace will restore to
the people of that country their former prosperity and enable the
Government to fulfill all its obligations at home and abroad. The
Government of Portugal, I have the satisfaction to state, has paid
in full the eleventh and last installment due to our citizens for
the claims embraced in the settlement made with it on the 3d of
March, 1837.

I lay before you treaties of commerce negotiated with the Kings of
Sardinia and of the Netherlands, the ratifications of which have been
exchanged since the adjournment of Congress. The liberal principles
of these treaties will recommend them to your approbation. That with
Sardinia is the first treaty of commerce formed by that Kingdom, and
it will, I trust, answer the expectations of the present Sovereign by
aiding the development of the resources of his country and stimulating
the enterprise of his people. That with the Netherlands happily
terminates a long-existing subject of dispute and removes from our

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