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

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an exertion of military force, but they will, as at present advised,
consult their own discretion in adopting the measures of defense that
may be rendered necessary by the threats of a violent interruption to
the negotiation which have been used by all parties in Maine and which
the undersigned regrets to find confirmed by the language (as above
referred to) employed by the highest official authority in that State.

The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to the
Secretary of State of the United States the assurance of his
distinguished consideration.

H.S. FOX.

_Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Fox_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE.

_Washington, January 28, 1840_.

HENRY S. FOX, Esq., etc.:

The undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, has the
honor to reply, by direction of the President, to the note addressed
to him on the 26th instant by Mr. Fox, envoy extraordinary and minister
plenipotentiary of Great Britain.

The President derives great satisfaction from the information conveyed
by Mr. Fox's note that, with reference to the reported movements of
British troops within the territory in dispute, no actual change
has taken place in the attitude of Her Majesty's authorities in the
territory since the arrangements entered into by the two Governments
at the commencement of last year for the preservation of tranquillity
within its limits, and from his assurances that there exists no
intention on the part of Her Majesty's authorities to infringe the terms
of those arrangements so long as they are faithfully observed on the
side of the United States. The President, however, can not repress a
feeling of regret that the British colonial authorities, without graver
motives than the possibility of a departure from the arrangements
referred to by the State of Maine, should take upon themselves the
discretion, and along with it the fearful responsibility of probable
consequences, of being guided by circumstances liable, as these are,
to be misapprehended and misjudged in the adoption within the disputed
territory of measures of defense and precaution in manifest violation
of the understanding between the two countries whenever they may
imagine that acts of hostile aggression over the disputed territory are
meditated or threatened on the part of the State of Maine. The President
can not but hope that when Her Majesty's Government at home shall be
apprised of the position assumed in this regard by its colonial agents
proper steps will be taken to place the performance of express and
solemn agreements upon a more secure basis than colonial discretion,
to be exercised on apprehended disregard of such agreements on the part
of the State of Maine.

It is gratifying to the President to perceive that Mr. Fox entertains
the firm belief that the difficulty of conducting to an amicable issue
the pending negotiation for the adjustment of the question of boundary
is not so great as has by many persons been apprehended. As, under a
corresponding conviction, the United States have, with a view to the
final settlement of that exciting question, submitted a proposition
for the consideration of Her Majesty's Government, the President hopes
that the sentiments expressed by Mr. Fox have their foundation in an
expectation of his having it in his power at an early day to communicate
to this Government a result of the deliberations had by that of Her
Britannic Majesty upon the proposition alluded to which will present the
prospect of a prompt and satisfactory settlement, and which, when known
by the State of Maine, will put an end to all grounds of apprehensions
of intentions or disposition on her part to adopt any measures
calculated to embarrass the negotiation or to involve a departure from
the provisional arrangements. In the existence of those arrangements
the United States behold an earnest of the mutual desire of the two
Governments to divest a question abounding in causes of deep and growing
excitement of as much as possible of the asperity and hostile feeling it
is calculated to engender; but unless attended with the most scrupulous
observance of the spirit and letter of their provisions, it would prove
but one more cause added to the many already prevailing of enmity and
discord. Mr. Fox has already been made the channel of conveyance to his
Government of the desire and determination of the President that the
obligations of the country shall be faithfully discharged; that desire
is prompted by a sense of expediency as well as of justice, and by an
anxious wish to preserve the amicable relations now, so manifestly for
the advantage of both, subsisting between the United States and Great
Britain.

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

JOHN FORSYTH.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with two resolutions of the Senate, dated the 30th ultimo,
calling for information in relation to the disputed boundary between
the State of Missouri and the Territory of Iowa, I transmit a report
from the Secretary of State, which, with inclosures, contains all the
information in the executive department on the subject not already
communicated to Congress.

M. VAN BUREN.

JANUARY 31, 1840.

WASHINGTON, _February 4, 1840_.

_To the Honorable the House of Representatives_:

I lay before you a report from the Secretary of the Treasury, with
several documents annexed, by which it will be seen that judicial
constructions have been given to the existing laws for the collection
of imposts, affecting extensively and injuriously the accruing revenue.

They embrace, with many others, the important articles of linens,
woolens, and cottons, the last two of which are often treated as silks,
because that material constitutes a component part of them, and thus
exempted them from duty altogether. Assessments of duties which have
prevailed for years, and in some cases since the passage of the laws
themselves, are in this manner altered, and uncertainty and litigation
introduced in regard to the future.

The effects which these proceedings have already produced in diminishing
the amount of the revenue, and which are likely to increase hereafter,
deserve your early consideration.

I have therefore deemed it necessary to bring the matter to your notice,
with a view to such legislative action as the exigencies of the case may
in your judgment require. It is not believed that any law which can now
be passed upon the subject can affect the revenue favorably for several
months to come, and could not, therefore, be safely regarded as a
substitute for the early provision of certain and adequate means to
enable the Treasury to guard the public credit and meet promptly and
faithfully any deficiencies that may occur in the revenue, from whatever
cause they may arise.

The reasons in favor of the propriety of adopting at an early period
proper measures for that purpose were explained by the Secretary of
the Treasury in his annual report and recommended to your attention
by myself. The experience of the last two months, and especially the
recent decisions of the courts, with the continued suspension of
specie payments by the banks over large sections of the United States,
operating unfavorably upon the revenue, have greatly strengthened the
views then taken of the subject.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON CITY, _February 14, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I lay before you a communication from the Secretary of War, accompanied
by a report of the Commissioner of Pensions, showing the great
importance of early action on the bill from the Senate providing for the
continuance of the office of Commissioner of Pensions. The present law
will expire by its own limitation on the 4th day of the next month, and,
sensible of the suffering which would be experienced by the pensioners
from its suspension, I have deemed it my duty to bring the subject to
your notice and invite your early attention to it.

M. VAN BUREN.

FEBRUARY 17, 1840.

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

I submit to Congress a communication from the Secretary of the
Treasury, repeating suggestions contained in his annual report in regard
to the necessity of an early provision by law for the protection of
the Treasury against the fluctuations and contingencies to which its
receipts are exposed, with additional facts and reasons in favor of
the propriety of the legislation then desired.

The application assumes that although the means of the Treasury for the
whole year may be equal to the expenditures of the year, the Department
may, notwithstanding, be rendered unable to meet the claims upon it at
the times when they fall due.

This apprehension arises partly from the circumstance that the largest
proportion of the charges upon the Treasury, including the payment of
pensions and the redemption of Treasury notes, fall due in the early
part of this year, viz, in the months of March and May, while the
resources on which it might otherwise rely to discharge them can not be
made available until the last half of the year, and partly from the fact
that a portion of the means of the Treasury consists of debts due from
banks, for some of which delay has already been asked, and which may not
be punctually paid.

Considering the injurious consequences to the character, credit, and
business of the country which would result from a failure by the
Government for ever so short a period to meet its engagements; that the
happening of such a contingency can only be effectually guarded against
by the exercise of legislative authority; that the period when such
disability must arise, if at all, and which at the commencement of the
session was comparatively remote, has now approached so near as a few
days; and that the provision asked for is only intended to enable the
Executive to fulfill existing obligations, and chiefly by anticipating
funds not yet due, without making any additions to the public burdens,
I have deemed the subject of sufficient urgency and importance again to
ask for it your early attention.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _February 21, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of the
7th instant, I communicate a report[62] from the Secretary of State,
containing all the information in possession of the Executive respecting
the matters referred to in that resolution.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 62: Relating to the trade with China, etc.]

WASHINGTON, _February 27, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for their consideration 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 the city of Washington on the 11th of April last. I also
communicate, as explanatory of the motives to the adoption of a new
convention and illustrative of the course of the negotiation, the
correspondence between the Secretary of State and Mr. Martinez, the late
minister of Mexico accredited to this Government, and also such parts
of the correspondence between the former and Mr. Ellis as relate to
the same subject. By the letters of Mr. Ellis it will be seen that the
convention now transmitted to the Senate has been already ratified by
the Government of Mexico. As some of the papers are originals, it is
requested that they may be returned to the Department of State when the
convention shall have been disposed of by the Senate.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _March 4, 1840_.

_To the Senate_:

I communicate a report from the Secretary of State, with documents[63]
accompanying it, in compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the
17th of February last.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 63: Containing information relative to the necessity of
amending the existing law regulating the transfer of property in
American vessels abroad.]

WASHINGTON, _March 9, 1840_.

_To the Senate_:

In addition to information already communicated in compliance with the
resolutions of the Senate of the 17th January last, I think it proper
to transmit to the Senate copies of two letters, with inclosures, since
received from the governor of Maine, and of a correspondence relative
thereto between the Secretary of State and the British minister.

M. VAN BUREN.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

_Augusta, February 15, 1840_.

His Excellency M. VAN BUREN,

_President United States_.

SIR: A communication from Mr. Fox, the British minister, to Mr. Forsyth,
Secretary of State, under date of January 26, contains the following
statement:

"It appears from _accurate_ information now in possession of the
undersigned that the governor of Maine and through him the President
and General Government of the United States have been misinformed as to
the facts. In the first place, no _reenforcement_ has been marched to
the British post at the Lake Temiscouata; the _only change_ occurring
there has been the relief of a detachment of Her Majesty's Twenty-fourth
Regiment by a detachment of _equal force_ of the Eleventh Regiment, this
force of _one company_ being now stationed at the Temiscouata post, as
it _always has been_, for the necessary purpose of protecting the stores
and accommodations provided for the use of Her Majesty's troops who may
be required, as heretofore, to march by that route to and from the
Provinces of Canada and New Brunswick. In the second place, it is not
true that the British authorities either have built or are building
barracks on both sides of the St. John River or at the mouth of the
Madawaska River; _no new barracks have in fact been built anywhere_"

This statement has been read by the citizens of this State with the
most profound astonishment, and however high may be the source from
which it emanates I must be permitted to say, in the language of that
high functionary, that "it is not true," though in justice to him
I should add that he has undoubtedly been misinformed. Though this
State, in the vindication of her rights and maintenance of her interests
relative to her territorial boundary, from past experience had no
reason to expect any material admissions of the truth on the part of
the British authorities, she was not prepared to meet such a positive
and unqualified denial of facts as the foregoing exhibits, especially
of facts so easily susceptible of proof. The "_accuracy_" of the
information alleged to be in the possession of the minister is only
equaled by the _justice_ of the pretensions heretofore set up in regard
to title.

But not to be bandying assertions where proof is abundant, I deem it my
duty to transmit to Your Excellency the depositions[64] of a number of
gentlemen, citizens of this State, of great respectability, and whose
statements are entitled to the most implicit confidence.

These depositions abundantly prove that up to May last, nearly
two months subsequent to the arrangement entered into through the
mediation of General Scott, _no troops_ whatever were stationed at
Temiscouata Lake; that in August, September, and October the number did
not exceed 25, while now it has been increased to about 200; that prior
to May no barracks had been erected at Temiscouata, but that since that
time two have been built at the head of the lake, besides some five
or six other buildings apparently adapted to the establishment of a
permanent military post, and at the foot of the lake two or more
buildings for barracks and other military purposes; that though no
_new_ barracks have been erected at Madawaska, certain buildings
heretofore erected have been engaged for use as such; that a road has
been constructed connecting the military post at the head and foot of
the lake, a tow-path made the whole length of the Madawaska River, the
road from the head of the lake to the military post at the river Des
Loup thoroughly repaired, transport boats built, etc.

I would further inform Your Excellency that an agent has been
dispatched to Temiscouata and Madawaska for the purpose of procuring
exact information of the state of things there at the present moment;
but having incidentally found some evidence of the state of things prior
to November last, I have thought best to forward it without delay for
the purpose of disabusing the Government and the country of the errors
into which they may have been led by the communication before alluded
to. The report of the agent will be transmitted as soon as received,
which may not be short of two weeks.

Under these circumstances, I have only to repeat my official call upon
the General Government for the protection of this State from _invasion_.

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

JOHN FAIRFIELD,

_Governor of Maine_.

[Footnote 64: Omitted.]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, February 27, 1840_.

His Excellency JOHN FAIRFIELD,

_Governor of Maine_.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt at this Department of
your excellency's letter to the President of the 15th instant, inclosing
three depositions of citizens of Maine in relation to certain movements
of British troops in the disputed territory. The depositions have been
informally communicated to the British minister by direction of the
President, who desires me to apprise your excellency of his intention to
cause an official communication to be addressed to the minister on the
subject so soon as the report of the agent dispatched by your order to
Temiscouata and Madawaska for the purpose of procuring exact information
as to the present state of things there shall have been received.

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

JOHN FORSYTH.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

_Augusta, February 27, 1840_.

His Excellency M. VAN BUREN,

_President United States_.

SIR: Having received the report of Benjamin Wiggin, esq., the agent
referred to in my last communication, dispatched by me to the disputed
territory to obtain exact information of British military movements in
that quarter and of the existing state of things, I hasten to lay the
same[65] before you, accompanied by his plan[65] of the British military
post at the head of Lake Temiscouata. It will be perceived that it goes
to confirm in every essential particular the evidence already forwarded
in the depositions of Messrs. Varnum, Bartlett, and Little, and is
directly opposed to the statement contained in the letter of Mr. Fox
to Mr. Forsyth under date of 26th of January last.

The course thus clearly proved to have been pursued by the British
Government upon the disputed territory is utterly inconsistent with
the arrangement heretofore subsisting, and evinces anything but a
disposition to submit to an _amicable_ termination of the question
relating to the boundary.

Permit me to add that the citizens of Maine are awaiting with deep
solicitude that action on the part of the General Government which shall
vindicate the national honor and be fulfilling in part a solemn
obligation to a member of the Union.

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

JOHN FAIRFIELD,

_Governor of Maine_.

_Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Fox_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, March 6, 1840_.

HENRY S. FOX, Esq., etc.:

By the directions of the President, the undersigned, Secretary of State
of the United States, communicates to Mr. Fox, envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary of Great Britain, the inclosed copy of a
report[65] made to the governor of the State of Maine by the agent
commissioned on the part of the authorities of that State to ascertain
the precise character and extent of the occupation of parts of the
disputed territory by troops of Her Britannic Majesty and of the
buildings and other public works constructed for their use and
accommodation.

By that report and the three depositions which the undersigned
informally communicated to Mr. Fox a few days since he will perceive
that there must be some extraordinary misapprehension on his part of the
facts in relation to the occupation by British troops of portions of
the disputed territory. The statements contained in these documents and
that given by Mr. Fox in his note of the 20th of January last exhibit a
striking discrepancy as to the number of troops now in the territory as
compared with those who were in it when the arrangement between Governor
Fairfield and Lieutenant-Governor Harvey was agreed upon, and also as
to the present and former state of the buildings there. The extensive
accommodations prepared and preparing at an old and at new stations, the
works finished and in the course of construction on the land and on the
water, are not in harmony with the assurance that the only object is
the preservation of a few unimportant buildings and storehouses for the
temporary protection of the number of troops Her Majesty's ordinary
service can require to pass on the road from New Brunswick to Canada.

The undersigned will abstain from any remarks upon these contradictory
statements until Mr. Fox shall have had an opportunity to obtain the
means of fully explaining them. How essential it is that this should be
promptly done, and that the steps necessary to a faithful observance
on the part of Her Majesty's colonial authorities of the existing
agreements between the two Governments should be immediately taken,
Mr. Fox can not fail fully to understand.

The undersigned avails himself of the occasion to renew to Mr. Fox
assurances of his high consideration.

JOHN FORSYTH.

[Footnote 65: Omitted.]

_Mr. Fox to Mr. Forsyth_.

WASHINGTON, _March 7, 1840_.

The undersigned, Her Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary, has the honor to acknowledge the receipt of
the official note of yesterday's date addressed to him by Mr. Forsyth,
Secretary of State of the United States, to which is annexed the copy of
a report from Mr. Benjamin Wiggin, an agent employed by the State of
Maine to visit the British military post at Lake Temiscouata, and in
which reference is made to other papers upon the same subject, which
were informally communicated to the undersigned by Mr. Forsyth a few
days before; and the attention of the undersigned is called by Mr.
Forsyth to different points upon which the information contained in the
said papers is considered to be materially at variance with that which
was conveyed to the United States Government by the undersigned in his
official note of the 26th of last January.

The undersigned had already been made acquainted by the
lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick with the circumstance of Mr.
Wiggin's visit to the military post at Lake Temiscouata, where the
officer in command very properly furnished to Mr. Wiggin the requisite
information upon all matters connected with the British station which he
appeared desirous to inquire about.

The alleged points of variance, after deducting what is fanciful and
conjectural in the reports now produced and after comparing what is
there stated in contradiction to other reports before produced from the
same quarters, do not appear to the undersigned to be by any means so
material as they seem to have been considered by the Government of
the United States. The British military detachment stationed at Lake
Temiscouata, which the agents employed by the State of Maine had, in
the first instance with singular exaggeration represented as amounting
to two regiments, is now discovered by the same parties to amount to
175 men, which instead of two regiments is something less than two
companies. It is indeed true, should such a point be considered worth
discussing, that the undersigned might have used a more technically
correct expression in his note of the 26th of January if he had stated
the detachment in question to consist of from one to two companies
instead of stating it to consist of one company. But a detachment of Her
Majesty's troops has been stationed at the Lake Temiscouata from time to
time ever since the winter of 1837 and 1838, when the necessity arose
from marching reenforcements by that route from New Brunswick to Canada;
and it will be remembered that a temporary right of using that route for
the same purpose was expressly reserved to Great Britain in the
provisional agreement entered into at the beginning of last year.

It is not, therefore, true that the stationing a military force at
the Lake Temiscouata is a new measure on the part of Her Majesty's
authorities; neither is it true that that measure has been adopted for
other purposes than to maintain the security of the customary line of
communication and to protect the buildings, stores, and accommodations
provided for the use of Her Majesty's troops when on march by that
route; and it was with a view to correct misapprehensions which appeared
to exist upon these points, and thus to do away with one needless
occasion of dispute, that the undersigned conveyed to the United States
Government the information contained in his note of the 26th of January.

With regard again to the construction of barracks and other buildings
and the preserving them in an efficient state of repair and defense, a
similar degree of error and misapprehension appears still to prevail in
the minds of the American authorities.

The erection of those buildings within the portion of the disputed
territory now referred to, for the shelter of Her Majesty's troops while
on their march and for the safe lodgment of the stores, is no new act
on the part of Her Majesty's authorities. The buildings in question have
been in the course of construction from a period antecedent to the
provisional agreements of last year, and they are now maintained and
occupied along the line of march with a view to the same objects above
specified, for which the small detachments of troops also referred to
are in like manner there stationed.

The undersigned will not refrain from here remarking upon one point
of comparison exhibited in the present controversy. It is admitted by
the United States authorities that the armed bands stationed by the
government of Maine in the neighborhood of the Aroostook River have
fortified those stations with artillery, and it is now objected as
matter of complaint against the British authorities with reference
to the buildings at Lake Temiscouata, not that those buildings are
furnished with artillery, but only that they are defended by palisades
capable of resisting artillery. It would be difficult to adduce stronger
evidence of the acts on the one side being those of aggression and on
the other of defense.

The fact, shortly, is (and this is the essential point of the
argument) that Her Majesty's authorities have not as yet altered their
state of preparation or strengthened their military means within the
disputed territory with a view to settling the question of the boundary,
although the attitude assumed by the State of Maine with reference to
that question would be a clear justification of such measures, and it is
much to be apprehended that the adoption of such measures will sooner
or later become indispensable if the people of Maine be not compelled
to desist from the extensive system of armed aggression which they are
continuing to carry on in other parts of the same disputed territory.

The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to the
Secretary of State of the United States the assurance of his
distinguished consideration.

H.S. FOX.

WASHINGTON, _March 9, 1840_.

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

I transmit to Congress, for their consideration, copies and translations
of a correspondence between the Secretary of State and the Spanish
legation, growing out of an application on the part of Spain for a
reduction of tonnage duty on her vessels in certain cases.

By a royal order issued on the 29th of April, 1832, by the King of
Spain, in consequence of a representation made to his Government by
the minister of the United States against the discriminating tonnage
duty then levied in the ports of Spain upon American vessels, said duty
was reduced to 1 real de vellon, equal to 5 cents, per ton, without
reference to the place from whence the vessel came, being the same rate
as paid by those of all other nations, including Spain.

By the act approved on the 13th of July, 1832, a corresponding reduction
of tonnage duty upon Spanish vessels in ports of the United States was
authorized, but confined to vessels coming from ports in Spain; in
consequence of which said reduction has been applied to such Spanish
vessels only as came directly from ports in the Spanish Peninsula.

The application of the Spanish Government is for the extension of the
provisions of the act to vessels coming from other places, and I submit
for the consideration of Congress whether the principle of reciprocity
would not justify it in regard to all vessels owned in the Peninsula and
its dependencies of the Balearic and Canary islands, and coming from all
places other than the islands of Cuba, Porto Rico, and the Philippine,
and the repayment of such duties as may have been levied upon Spanish
vessels of that class which have entered our ports since the act of 1832
went into operation.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _March 10, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of
the 2d of March, 1839, I communicate reports[66] from the several
Departments, containing the information requested by the resolution.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 66: Transmitting lists of removals from office since March 3,
1789.]

WASHINGTON, _March 11, 1840_.

_To the Senate_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate dated the 4th of
February, 1840, I have the honor to transmit herewith copies of the
correspondence between the Department of War and Governor Call
concerning the war in Florida.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON CITY, _March, 1840_.

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

I lay before you for your consideration a communication of the Secretary
of War, accompanied by a report of the Surgeon-General of the Army, in
relation to sites for marine hospitals selected in conformity with the
provisions of the act of March 3, 1837, from which it will be seen that
some action on the subject by Congress seems to be necessary.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _March 12, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit to the House of Representatives, in answer to resolution of
that body dated on the 9th instant, the inclosed report of the Secretary
of State.

M. VAN BUREN.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, March 12, 1840_.

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 "whether any, and, if any, what, measures
have been taken since the rejection of the recommendation of the King
of Holland of a new line of boundary between the United States and
the Province of New Brunswick to obtain information in respect to the
topography of the territory in dispute by a survey or exploration of
the same on the part of the United States alone, and also whether any
measures have been adopted whereby the accuracy of the survey lately
made under the authority of the British Government, when communicated,
may be tested or examined," has the honor to report to the President
that no steps have been thought necessary by this Government since the
date above referred to to obtain topographical information regarding the
disputed territory, either by exploration or survey on its part alone,
nor has it thought proper to adopt any measures to test the accuracy of
the topographical examination recently made by a British commission, the
result of which has not been made public or communicated to the United
States.

Respectfully submitted,

JOHN FORSYTH.

WASHINGTON CITY, _March 19, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I submit herewith for your consideration and constitutional action the
treaty accompanying the inclosed communication of the Secretary of War,
made with the Shawnee Indians west of the Mississippi River, for the
purchase of a portion of their lands, with the view of procuring for
the Wyandot Indians of Ohio a satisfactory residence west.

M. VAN BUREN.

WAR DEPARTMENT, _March, 1840_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR: I have the honor to submit for your consideration, and, if it meets
your approbation, for transmission to the Senate, a treaty concluded
on the 18th December last with the Shawnee Indians by their chiefs,
headmen, and counselors, and an explanatory communication of the 17th
instant from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J.R. POINSETT.

WAR DEPARTMENT, OFFICE INDIAN AFFAIRS,

_March 17, 1840_.

Hon. J.R. POINSETT,

_Secretary of War_.

SIR: Negotiations with the Wyandots for a cession of their lands in
Ohio and removal to the country west of the Mississippi have been
pending for some years. During the past season two exploring parties
from that tribe have visited the West and were tolerably well pleased
with the district to which it was proposed to remove them, but expressed
a strong preference for a tract which the Shawnees and Delawares offered
to sell to the United States for them. The commissioner charged with the
business of treating with the Wyandots was of opinion that if this tract
could be procured there would be little difficulty in concluding a
treaty. He was therefore under these circumstances instructed to make
the purchase, subject to the ratification of the President and Senate
and dependent on the condition that the Wyandots will accept it, and on
the 18th of December last effected a treaty with the Shawnees by which
they ceded a tract of about 58,000 acres on those conditions at the
price of $1.50 per acre. No purchase has been made from the Delawares,
as they refuse to sell at a less price than $5 per acre, and it is
thought that the land ceded by the Shawnees will be amply sufficient
for the present.

I have the honor herewith to submit the treaty with the Shawnees,
to be laid, if you think proper, before the President and Senate for
ratification.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. HARTLEY CRAWFORD.

WASHINGTON, _March 24, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretaries of State, Treasury,
and Navy and the Postmaster-General, with the documents which
accompanied it, in compliance with the resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 5th instant, relative to the General Post-Office
building and the responsibilities of the architect and Commissioner of
the Public Buildings, etc.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _March 26, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate herewith copies of official notes which have
passed between the Secretary of State and the British minister since my
last message on the subject of the resolutions of the 17th of January.

M. VAN BUREN.

_Mr. Fox to Mr. Forsyth_.

WASHINGTON, _March 13, 1840_.

Hon. JOHN FORSYTH, etc.:

The undersigned, Her Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary, has been instructed by his Government to make
the following communication to the Secretary of State of the United
States in reference to the boundary negotiation and the affairs of the
disputed territory.

Her Majesty's Government have had under their consideration the official
note addressed to the undersigned by the Secretary of State of the
United States on the 24th of last December in reply to a note from the
undersigned of the 2d of November preceding, in which the undersigned
protested in the name of his Government against the extensive system
of aggression pursued by the people of the State of Maine within the
disputed territory, to the prejudice of the rights of Great Britain and
in manifest violation of the provisional agreements entered into between
the authorities of the two countries at the beginning of the last year.

Her Majesty's Government have also had their attention directed to the
public message transmitted by the governor of Maine to the legislature
of the State on the 3d of January of the present year.

Upon a consideration of the statements contained in these two official
documents, Her Majesty's Government regret to find that the principal
acts of encroachment which were denounced and complained of on the part
of Great Britain, so far from being either disproved or discontinued or
satisfactorily explained by the authorities of the State of Maine, are,
on the contrary, persisted in and publicly avowed.

Her Majesty's Government have consequently instructed the undersigned
once more formally to protest against those acts of encroachment and
aggression.

Her Majesty's Government claim and expect, from the good faith of the
Government of the United States, that the people of Maine shall replace
themselves in the situation in which they stood before the agreements
of last year were signed; that they shall, therefore, retire from the
valley of the St. John and confine themselves to the valley of the
Aroostook; that they shall occupy that valley in a temporary manner
only, for the purpose, as agreed upon, of preventing depredations; and
that they shall not construct fortifications nor make roads or permanent
settlements.

Until this be done by the people of the State of Maine, and so long
as that people shall persist in the present system of aggression, Her
Majesty's Government will feel it their duty to make such military
arrangements as may be required for the protection of Her Majesty's
rights. And Her Majesty's Government deem it right to declare that if
the result of the unjustifiable proceedings of the State of Maine should
be collision between Her Majesty's troops and the people of that State
the responsibility of all the consequences that may ensue therefrom,
be they what they may, will rest with the people and Government of the
United States.

The undersigned has been instructed to add to this communication that
Her Majesty's Government are only waiting for the detailed report of
the British commissioners recently employed to survey the disputed
territory, which report it was believed would be completed and delivered
to Her Majesty's Government by the end of the present month, in order to
transmit to the Government of the United States a reply to their last
proposal upon the subject of the boundary negotiation.

The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to the
Secretary of State of the United States the assurance of his
distinguished consideration.

H.S. FOX.

_Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Fox_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, March 25, 1840_.

HENRY S. FOX, Esq., etc.:

The undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, acknowledges
to have received Mr. Fox's communication of the 13th instant, in
reference to the boundary negotiation and the affairs of the disputed
territory. The information given in the closing part of it--that a reply
to the last proposition of the United States upon the subject of the
boundary may be expected in a short time--is highly gratifying to the
President, who has, however, given directions to the undersigned, in
making this acknowledgment, to accompany it with the expression of his
profound regret that Mr. Fox's note is in no other respect satisfactory.

After the arrangements which in the beginning of last year were
entered into on the part of the two Governments with regard to the
occupation of the disputed territory, the President had indulged the
hope that the causes of irritation which had grown out of this branch
of the subject could have been removed. Relying on the disposition of
Maine to cooperate with the Federal Government in all that could lead
to a pacific adjustment of the principal question, the President felt
confident that his determination to maintain order and peace on the
border would be fully carried out. He looked upon all apprehensions of
designs by the people of Maine to take possession of the territory as
without adequate foundation, deeming it improbable that on the eve of
an amicable adjustment of the question any portion of the American
people would without cause and without object jeopard the success of
the negotiation and endanger the peace of the country. A troublesome,
irritating, and comparatively unimportant, because subordinate, subject
being thus disposed of, the President hoped that the parties would be
left free at once to discuss and finally adjust the principal question.
In this he has been disappointed. While the proceedings of Her Majesty's
Government at home have been attended with unlooked-for delays, its
attention has been diverted from the great subject in controversy by
repeated complaints imputing to a portion of the people of the United
States designs to violate the engagements of their Government--designs
which have never been entertained, and which Mr. Fox knows would receive
no countenance from this Government.

It is to be regretted that at this late hour so much misapprehension
still exists on the side of the British Government as to the object and
obvious meaning of the existing arrangements respecting the disputed
territory. The ill success which appears to have attended the efforts
made by the undersigned to convey through Mr. Fox to Her Majesty's
Government more correct impressions respecting them calls for a
recurrence to the subject, and a brief review of the correspondence
which has grown out of it may tend to remove the erroneous views which
prevail as to the manner in which the terms of the arrangements referred
to have been observed.

As Mr. Fox had no authority to make any agreement respecting the
exercise of jurisdiction over the disputed territory, that between him
and the undersigned of the 27th of February, 1839. had for its object
some provisional arrangement for the restoration and preservation of
peace in the territory. To accomplish this object it provided that Her
Majesty's officers should not seek to expel by military force the armed
party which had been sent by Maine into the district bordering on the
Restook River, and that, on the other hand, the government of Maine
would voluntarily and without needless delay withdraw beyond the bounds
of the disputed territory any armed force then within them. Besides
this, the arrangement had other objects--the dispersion of notorious
trespassers and the protection of public property from depredation.
In case future necessity should arise for this, the operation was to
be conducted by concert, jointly or separately, according to agreement
between the governments of Maine and New Brunswick.

In this last-mentioned respect the agreement looked to some further
arrangement between Maine and New Brunswick. Through the agency of
General Scott one was agreed to on the 23d and 25th of March following,
by which Sir John Harvey bound himself not to seek, without renewed
instructions to that effect from his Government, to take military
possession of the territory or to expel from it by military force
the armed civil posse or the troops of Maine. On the part of Maine
it was agreed by her governor that no attempt should be made, without
renewed instructions from the legislature, to disturb by arms the
Province of New Brunswick in the possession of the Madawaska settlements
or interrupt the usual communications between that and the upper
Provinces. As to possession and jurisdiction, they were to remain
unchanged--each party holding, in fact, possession of part of the
disputed territory, but each denying the right of the other to do so.
With that understanding Maine was without unnecessary delay to withdraw
her military force, leaving only, under a land agent, a small civil
posse, armed or unarmed, to protect the timber recently cut and to
prevent further depredations.

In the complaints of infractions of the agreements by the State of Maine
addressed to the undersigned Mr. Fox has assumed two positions which are
not authorized by the terms of those agreements: First. Admitting the
right of Maine to maintain a civil posse in the disputed territory for
the purposes stated in the agreement, he does so with the restriction
that the action of the posse was to be confined within certain limits;
and, second, by making the advance of the Maine posse into the valley of
the Upper St. John the ground of his complaint of encroachment upon the
Madawaska settlement, he assumes to extend the limits of that settlement
beyond those it occupied at the date of the agreement.

The United States can not acquiesce in either of these positions.

In the first place, nothing is found in the agreement subscribed to
by Governor Fairfield and Sir John Harvey defining any limits in the
disputed territory within which the operations of the civil posse of
Maine were to be circumscribed. The task of preserving the timber
recently cut and of preventing further depredations _within the disputed
territory_ was assigned to the State of Maine after her military force
should have been withdrawn from it, and it was to be accomplished by a
civil posse, armed or unarmed, which was to continue in the territory
and to operate in every part of it where its agency might be required
to protect the timber already cut and prevent further depredations,
without any limitation whatever or any restrictions except such as
might be construed into an attempt to disturb by arms the Province
of New Brunswick in her possession of the Madawaska settlement or
interrupt the usual communication between the Provinces.

It is thus, in the exercise of a legitimate right and in the
conscientious discharge of an obligation imposed upon her by a
solemn compact, that the State of Maine has done those acts which have
given rise to complaints for which no adequate cause is perceived.
The undersigned feels confident that when those acts shall have been
considered by Her Majesty's Government at home as explained in his note
to Mr. Fox of the 24th of December last and in connection with the
foregoing remarks they will no longer be viewed as calculated to excite
the apprehensions of Her Majesty's Government that the faith of existing
arrangements is to be broken on the part of the United States.

With regard to the second position assumed by Mr. Fox--that the advance
of the Maine posse along the valley of the Restook to the mouth of Fish
River and into the valley of the Upper St. John is at variance with the
terms and spirit of the agreements--the undersigned must observe that if
at variance with any of their provisions it could only be with those
which secure Her Majesty's Province of New Brunswick against any attempt
to disturb the possession of the Madawaska settlements and to interrupt
the usual communications between New Brunswick and the upper Provinces.
The agreement could only have reference to the Madawaska settlements as
confined within their actual limits at the time it was subscribed. The
undersigned in his note of the 24th of December last stated the reasons
why the mouth of Fish River and the portion of the valley of the St.
John through which it passes could in no proper sense be considered as
embraced in the Madawaska settlements. Were the United States to admit
the pretension set up on the part of Great Britain to give to the
Madawaska settlements a degree of constructive extension that might at
this time suit the purposes of Her Majesty's colonial authorities, those
settlements might soon be made with like justice to embrace any portions
of the disputed territory, and the right given to the Province of New
Brunswick to occupy them temporarily and for a special purpose might
by inference quite as plausible give the jurisdiction exercised by Her
Majesty's authorities an extent which would render the present state
of the question, so long as it could be maintained, equivalent to a
decision on the merits of the whole controversy in favor of Great
Britain. If the small settlement at Madawaska on the north side of the
St. John means the whole valley of that river, if a boom across the Fish
River and a station of a small posse on the south side of the St. John
at the mouth of Fish River is a disturbance of that settlement, which
is 25 miles below, within the meaning of the agreement, it is difficult
to conceive that there are any limitations to the pretensions of Her
Majesty's Government under it or how the State of Maine could exercise
the preventive power with regard to trespassers, which was on her part
the great object of the temporary arrangement. The movements of British
troops lately witnessed in the disputed territory and the erection
of military works for their protection and accommodation, of which
authentic information recently received at the Department of State has
been communicated to Mr. Fox, impart a still graver aspect to the matter
immediately under consideration. The fact of those military operations,
established beyond a doubt, left unexplained or unsatisfactorily
accounted for by Mr. Fox's note of the 7th instant, continues an
abiding cause of complaint on the part of the United States against
Her Majesty's colonial agents as inconsistent with arrangements whose
main object was to divest a question already sufficiently perplexed
and complicated from such embarrassments as those with which the
proceedings of the British authorities can not fail to surround it.

If, as Mr. Fox must admit, the objects of the late agreements were the
removal of all military force and the preservation of the property from
further spoliations, leaving the possession and jurisdiction as they
stood before the State of Maine found itself compelled to act against
the trespassers, the President can not but consider that the conduct of
the American local authorities strongly and most favorably contrasts
with that of the colonial authorities of Her Majesty's Government. While
the one, promptly withdrawing its military force, has confined itself to
the use of the small posse, armed as agreed upon, and has done no act
not necessary to the accomplishment of the conventional objects, every
measure taken or indicated by the other party is essentially military in
its character, and can be justified only by a well-founded apprehension
that hostilities must ensue.

With such feelings and convictions the President could not see without
painful surprise the attempt of Mr. Fox, under instructions from his
Government, to give to the existing state of things a character not
warranted by the friendly disposition of the United States or the
conduct of the authorities and people of Maine; much more is he
surprised to find it alleged as a ground for strengthening a military
force and preparing for a hostile collision with the unarmed inhabitants
of a friendly State, pursuing within their own borders their peaceful
occupations or exerting themselves in compliance with their agreements
to protect the property in dispute from unauthorized spoliation.

The President wishes that he could dispel the fear that these dark
forebodings can be realized. Unless Her Majesty's Government shall
forthwith arrest all military interference in the question, unless it
shall apply to the subject more determined efforts than have hitherto
been made to bring the dispute to a certain and pacific adjustment, the
misfortunes predicted by Mr. Fox in the name of his Government may most
unfortunately happen.

But no apprehension of the consequences alluded to by Mr. Fox can
be permitted to divert the Government and people of the United States
from the performance of their duty to the State of Maine. That duty is
as simple as it is imperative. The construction which is given by her
to the treaty of 1783 has been again and again, and in the most solemn
manner, asserted also by the Federal Government, and must be maintained
unless Maine freely consents to a new boundary or unless that
construction of the treaty is found to be erroneous by the decision of
a disinterested and independent tribunal selected by the parties for its
final adjustment. The President on assuming the duties of his station
avowed his determination, all other means of negotiation failing, to
submit a proposition to the Government of Great Britain to refer the
decision of the question once more to a third party.

In all the subsequent steps which have been taken upon the subject by
his direction he has been actuated by the same spirit. Neither his
dispositions in the matter nor his opinion as to the propriety of that
course has undergone any change. Should the fulfillment of his wishes
be defeated, either by an unwillingness on the part of Her Majesty's
Government to meet the offer of the United States in the spirit in
which it is made or from adverse circumstances of any description,
the President will in any event derive great satisfaction from the
consciousness that no effort on his part has been spared to bring the
question to an amicable conclusion, and that there has been nothing in
the conduct either of the Governments and people of the United States or
of the State of Maine to justify the employment of Her Majesty's forces
as indicated by Mr. Fox's letter. The President can not under such
circumstances apprehend that the responsibility for any consequences
which may unhappily ensue will by the just judgment of an impartial
world be imputed to the United States.

The undersigned avails himself, etc.

JOHN FORSYTH.

_Mr. Fox to Mr. Forsyth_.

WASHINGTON, _March 26, 1840_.

Hon. JOHN FORSYTH, etc.:

The undersigned, Her Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary, has had the honor to receive the official note
of yesterday's date addressed to him by Mr. Forsyth, Secretary of State
of the United States, in reply to a note dated the 13th instant, wherein
the undersigned, in conformity with instructions received from his
Government, had anew formally protested against the acts of encroachment
and aggression which are still persisted in by armed bands in the
employment of the State of Maine within certain portions of the disputed
territory.

It will be the duty of the undersigned immediately to transmit Mr.
Forsyth's note to Her Majesty's Government in England, and until the
statements and propositions which it contains shall have received the
due consideration of Her Majesty's Government the undersigned will not
deem it right to add any further reply thereto excepting to refer to and
repeat, as he now formally and distinctly does, the several declarations
which it has from time to time been his duty to make to the Government
of the United States with reference to the existing posture of affairs
in the disputed territory, and to record his opinion that an inflexible
adherence to the resolutions that have been announced by Her Majesty's
Government for the defense of Her Majesty's rights pending the
negotiation of the boundary question offers to Her Majesty's Government
the only means of protecting those rights from being in a continually
aggravated manner encroached upon and violated.

The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to the
Secretary of State of the United States the assurance of his
distinguished consideration.

H.S. FOX.

WASHINGTON, _March 28, 1840_.

_To the Senate_:

I communicate to the Senate, in compliance with their resolution of the
12th instant, a report from the Secretary of War, containing information
on the subject of that resolution.

M. VAN BUREN.

WAR DEPARTMENT, _March 27, 1840_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR: The resolution of the Senate of the 12th instant, "that the
President of the United States be requested to communicate to the
Senate, if in his judgment compatible with the public interest, any
information which may be in the possession of the Government, or which
can be conveniently obtained, of the military and naval preparations of
the British authorities on the northern frontier of the United States
from Lake Superior to the Atlantic Ocean, designating the permanent
from the temporary and field works, and particularly by noting those
which are within the claimed limits of the United States," having been
referred by you to this Department, it was immediately referred to
Major-General Scott and other officers who have been stationed on the
frontier referred to for such information on the subjects as they
possessed and could readily procure, and an examination is now in
progress for such as may be contained in the files of this Department.
General Scott is the only officer yet heard from, and a copy of his
report is herewith submitted, together with a copy of that to which he
refers, made upon the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
9th instant. As soon as the other officers who have been called upon
are heard from and the examination of the files of the Department is
completed, any further information which may be thus acquired will be
immediately laid before you.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

J.R. POINSETT.

HEADQUARTERS, EASTERN DIVISION,

_Elizabethtown, N.J., March 23, 1840_.

Brigadier-General R. JONES,

_Adjutant-General United States Army_.

SIR: I have received from your office copies of two resolutions, passed,
respectively, the 12th and 9th instant, one by the Senate and the other
by the House of Representatives, and I am asked for "any information on
the subject of both or either of the resolutions that may be in [my]
possession."

In respect to the naval force recently maintained upon the American
lakes by Great Britain, I have just had the honor to report to the
Secretary of War, by whom the resolution of the House of Representatives
(of the 9th instant) was directly referred to me.

I now confine myself to the Senate's resolution, respecting "military
[I omit _naval_] preparations of the British authorities on the northern
frontiers of the United States from Lake Superior to the Atlantic Ocean,
distinguishing the permanent from the temporary and field works, and
particularly noting those which are within the claimed limits of the
United States."

I will here remark that however well my duties have made me acquainted
with the greater part of the line in question, I have paid but slight
attention to the forts and barracks erected by the British authorities
near the borders of Maine _above_ Frederickton, in New Brunswick, or in
Upper Canada _above_ Cornwall, being of the fixed opinion (which need
not here be developed) that all such structures would be of little or
no military value to either of the parties in the event of a new war
between the United States and Great Britain.

I was last summer at the foot of Lake Superior, and neither saw nor
heard of any British fort or barrack on the St. Marys River, the outlet
of that lake.

Between Lakes Huron and Erie the British have three sets of
barracks--one at Windsor, opposite to Detroit; one at Sandwich, a little
lower down; and the third at Maiden, 18 miles from the first--all built
of sawed logs, strengthened by blockhouses, loopholes, etc. Maiden
has long been a military post, with slight defenses. These have been
recently strengthened. The works at Sandwich and Windsor have also,
I think, been erected within the last six or eight months.

Near the mouth of the Niagara the British have two small forts--George
and Mississauga; both existed during the last war. The latter may be
termed a permanent work. Slight barracks have been erected within the
last two years on the same side near the Falls and at Chippewa, with
breastworks at the latter place, but nothing, I believe, above the
works first named on the Niagara which can be termed a fort.

Since the commencement of recent troubles in the Canadas and (consequent
thereupon) within our limits Fort William Henry, at Kingston, and Fort
Wellington, opposite to Ogdensburg (old works), have both been
strengthened within themselves, besides the addition of dependencies.
These forts may be called permanent.

On the St. Lawrence below Prescott, and confronting our territory,
I know of no other military post. Twelve miles above, at Brockville,
there may be temporary barracks and breastworks. I know that of late
Brockville has been a military station.

In the system of defenses on the approaches to Montreal the Isle aux
Noix, a few miles below our line, and in the outlet of Lake Champlain,
stands at the head. This island contains within itself a system of
permanent works of great strength. On them the British Government has
from time to time since the peace of 1815 expended much skill and labor.

Odletown, near our line, on the western side of Lake Champlain, has been
a station for a body of Canadian militia for two years, to guard the
neighborhood from refugee incendiaries from our side. I think that
barracks have been erected there for the accommodation of those troops,
and also at a station, with the like object, near Alburgh, in Vermont.

It is believed that there are no important British forts or extensive
British barracks on our borders from Vermont to Maine.

In respect to such structures on _the disputed territory_, Governor
Fairfield's published letters contain fuller information than has
reached me through any other channel. I have heard of no new military
preparations by the British authorities on the St. Croix or
Passamaquoddy Bay.

Among such preparations, perhaps I ought not to omit the fact that Great
Britain, besides numerous corps of well-organized and well-instructed
militia, has at this time within her North American Provinces more than
20,000 of her best regular troops. The whole of those forces might be
brought to the verge of our territory in a few days. Two-thirds of that
regular force has arrived out since the spring of 1838.

I remain, sir, with great respect, your most obedient servant,

WINFIELD SCOTT.

WASHINGTON, _March 28, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I communicate to the House of Representatives, in compliance with their
resolution of the 9th instant, reports[67] from the Secretaries of State
and War, with documents, which contain information on the subject of
that resolution.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 67: Relating to the British naval armament on the American
lakes, etc.]

WASHINGTON, _March 31, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I communicate to the House of Representatives a report[68] from the
Secretary of State, with documents, containing the information called
for by their resolution of the 23d instant.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 68: Relating to the demand of the minister of Spain for the
surrender of the schooner _Amistad_, with Africans on board, detained by
the American brig of war _Washington_, etc.]

WASHINGTON CITY, _April 3, 1840_.

Hon. R.M.T. HUNTER,

_Speaker of the House of Representatives_.

SIR: In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of
the 9th ultimo, I communicate herewith, accompanied by a report from
the Secretary of War, "copies of the arrangement entered into between
the governor of Maine and Sir John Harvey, lieutenant-governor of New
Brunswick, through the mediation of Major-General Scott, in the month
of March last (1839), together with copies of the instructions given to
General Scott and of all correspondence with him relating to the subject
of controversy between the State of Maine and the Province of New
Brunswick."

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _April 10, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of
the 23d March last, I transmit a report[69] from the Secretary of State,
which, with the documents accompanying it, contains the information in
possession of the Department in relation to the subject of the resolution.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 69: Relating to the seizure and condemnation by British
authorities of American vessels engaged in the fisheries.]

WASHINGTON, _April, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit herewith communications from the Secretary of War and
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, giving the information "in possession of
the Government respecting the assemblage of Indians on the northwestern
frontier, and especially as to the interference of the officers or
agents of any foreign power with the Indians of the United States in the
vicinity of the Great Lakes," which I was requested to communicate by
the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 9th ultimo.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _April 14, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit to the House of Representatives a report[70] from the
Secretary of State, with documents, containing the information required
by their resolution of the 9th March last.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 70: Relating to the tobacco trade between the United States
and foreign countries.]

APRIL 15, 1840.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In further compliance with a resolution of the Senate passed December
30, 1839, I herewith submit reports[71] from the Secretary of the Navy
and the Postmaster-General, together with a supplemental statement
from the Secretary of the Treasury, and the correspondence annexed.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 71: Relating to the sale or exchange of Government drafts
for bank notes and the payment of Government creditors in depreciated
currency.]

WASHINGTON, _April 15, 1840_.

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

I transmit a copy of a convention for the adjustment of claims of
citizens of the United States upon the Government of the Mexican
Republic, for such legislative action on the part of Congress as may
be necessary to carry the engagements of the United States under the
convention into full effect.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON CITY, _April 18, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of War,
accompanied by a letter from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,
indicating the importance of an extension of the authority given by
the sixteenth clause of the first section of the act entitled "An act
providing for the salaries of certain officers therein named, and for
other purposes," approved 9th May, 1836.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON CITY, _April 24, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report and accompanying documents from the
Secretary of War, which furnish the information in relation to that
portion of the defenses[72] of the country intrusted to the charge and
direction of the Department of War, called for by the resolution of the
Senate of the 2d of March, 1839.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 72: Military and naval.]

WASHINGTON, _April 27, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I lay before the Senate a report[73] of the Postmaster-General,
in further compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 30th
December, 1839.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 73: Relating to the sale or exchange of Government drafts,
etc.]

WASHINGTON, _May 2, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate a report[74] from the Secretary of State, which,
with the papers accompanying it, contains in part the information
requested by a resolution of the Senate of the 30th December last.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 74: Relating to bonds of the Territory of Florida.]

WASHINGTON, _May 9, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I communicate to the House of Representatives a report[75] from the
Secretary of State, which, with the documents accompanying it, furnishes
the information requested by their resolution of the 23d of March last.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 75: Transmitting correspondence with France, Sweden, Denmark,
and Prussia relating to the surrender to the United States of persons
charged with piracy and murder on board the United States schooner
_Plattsburg_ in 1817; correspondence relating to the demand by the
charge d'affaires of Great Britain for the surrender of a mutineer in
the British armed ship _Lee_ in 1819; opinion of the Attorney-General
with regard to the right of the President of the United States or the
governor of a State to deliver up, on the demand of any foreign
government, persons charged with crimes committed without the
jurisdiction of the United States.]

MAY 11, 1840.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In part compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 29th of
December last, I herewith submit a report[76] from the Secretary of the
Treasury, with the documents therein referred to.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 76: Relating to the sale or exchange of Government drafts,
etc.]

WASHINGTON, _May 12, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I communicate to the Senate a copy of a letter[77] from the secretary
of the Territory of Florida, with documents accompanying it, received
at the Department of State since my message of the 2d instant and
containing additional information on the subject of the resolution
of the Senate of the 30th of December last.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _May 16, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit the report of the Secretary of War furnishing a statement of
the amounts paid to persons concerned in negotiating Indian treaties
since 1829, etc., which completes the information called for by the
resolution of the House of Representatives dated the 28th January, 1839,
upon that subject and the disbursing officers in the War Department.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _May 18, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I communicate to the Senate a copy of a letter[77] from the governor of
Florida to the Secretary of State, containing, with the documents
accompanying it, further information on the subject of the resolution of
the Senate of the 30th of December last.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 77: Relating to bonds of the Territory of Florida.]

WASHINGTON, _May 21, 1840_.

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

I communicate to Congress sundry papers, from which it will be perceived
that the Imaum of Muscat has transmitted to this country and, through
the agency of the commander of one of his vessels, offered for my
acceptance a present, consisting of horses, pearls, and other articles
of value. The answer of the Secretary of State to a letter from the
agents of the vessel communicating the offer of the present, and my
own letter to the Imaum in reply to one which he addressed to me, were
intended to make known in the proper quarter the reasons which had
precluded my acceptance of the proffered gift. Inasmuch, however, as the
commander of the vessel, with the view, as he alleges, of carrying out
the wishes of his Sovereign, now offers the presents to the Government
of the United States, I deem it my duty to lay the proposition before
Congress for such disposition as they may think fit to make of it; and
I take the opportunity to suggest for their consideration the adoption
of legislative provisions pointing out the course which they may deem
proper for the Executive to pursue in any future instances where offers
of presents by foreign states, either to the Government, its legislative
or executive branches, or its agents abroad, may be made under
circumstances precluding a refusal without the risk of giving offense.

The correspondence between the Department of State and our consul at
Tangier will acquaint Congress with such an instance, in which every
proper exertion on the part of the consul to refrain from taking charge
of an intended present proved unavailing. The animals constituting it
may consequently, under the instructions from the Secretary of State,
be expected soon to arrive in the United States, when the authority of
Congress as to the disposition to be made of them will be necessary.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _May 23, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, together with the
papers therein referred to, relative to the proceedings instituted under
a resolution of Congress to try the title to the Pea Patch Island,
in the Delaware River, and recommend that Congress pass a special act
giving to the circuit court of the district of Maryland jurisdiction
to try the cause.

M. VAN BUREN.

JUNE 4, 1840.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I herewith submit a report from the Secretary of the Treasury, showing
the progress made in complying with the requirements of a resolution
passed February 6, 1839, concerning mineral lands of the United States.

The documents he communicates contain much important information on the
subject of those lands, and a plan for the sale of them is in a course
of preparation and will be presented as soon as completed.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _June 5, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate dated the 30th December,
1839, I transmit herewith the report[78] of the Secretary of War,
furnishing so much of the information called for by said resolution
as relates to the Executive Department under his charge.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 78: Relating to the refusal of banks to pay the Government
demands in specie since the general resumption in 1838, and the payment
of Government creditors in depreciated currency.]

WASHINGTON, _June 5, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 30th December,
1839, I communicate the report[79] of the Secretary of War, containing
the information called for by that resolution as far as it relates to
the Department under his charge.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 79: Relating to the manner in which the public funds have been
paid out by disbursing officers and agents during 1838 and 1839.]

WASHINGTON, _June 6, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I herewith submit a report from the Secretary of the Treasury, in
relation to certain lands falling within the Chickasaw cession which
have been sold at Chocchuma and Columbus, in Mississippi, and invite the
attention of Congress to the subject of further legislation in relation
to them.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _June 13, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I communicate to the House of Representatives a report[80] from the
Secretary of State, with documents, containing the information requested
by their resolution of the 26th of May last.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 80: Relating to charges preferred by Dr. John Baldwin, of
Louisiana, against Marmaduke Burroughs, consul at Vera Cruz.]

WASHINGTON, _June 19, 1840_.

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

SIR: I transmit a communication from the Secretary of the Navy,
suggesting that an appropriation of $50,000 be made by Congress to meet
claims of navy pensioners, payable on the 1st of July next, reimbursable
by a transfer of stocks belonging to the fund at their nominal value to
the amount so appropriated, and respectfully recommend the measure to
the consideration and action of Congress.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _June 22, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I lay before you, for your consideration, a treaty of commerce and
navigation between the United States of America and His Majesty the King
of Hanover, signed by their ministers on the 20th day of May last.

M. VAN BUREN.

WASHINGTON, _June 27, 1840_.

_To the Senate_:

The importance of the subject to the tranquillity of our country makes
it proper that I should communicate to the Senate, in addition to the
information heretofore transmitted in reply to their resolution of the
17th of January last, the copy of a letter just received from Mr. Fox,
announcing the determination of the British Government to consent to the
principles of our last proposition for the settlement of the question of
the northeastern boundary, with a copy of the answer made to it by the
Secretary of State. I can not doubt that, with the sincere disposition
which actuates both Governments to prevent any other than an amicable
termination of the controversy, it will be found practicable so to
arrange the details of a conventional agreement on the principles
alluded to as to effect that object.

The British commissioners, in their report communicated by Mr. Fox,
express an opinion that the true line of the treaty of 1783 is
materially different from that so long contended for by Great Britain.
The report is altogether _ex parte_ in its character, and has not yet,
as far as we are informed, been adopted by the British Government. It
has, however, assumed a form sufficiently authentic and important to
justify the belief that it is to be used hereafter by the British
Government in the discussion of the question of boundary; and as
it differs essentially from the line claimed by the United States,
an immediate preparatory exploration and survey on our part, by
commissioners appointed for that purpose, of the portions of the
territory therein more particularly brought into view would, in my
opinion, be proper. If Congress concur with me in this view of the
subject, a provision by them to enable the Executive to carry it into
effect will be necessary.

M. VAN BUREN.

_Mr. Fox to Mr. Forsyth_.

WASHINGTON, _June 22, 1840_.

Hon. JOHN FORSYTH, etc.:

The undersigned, Her Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary, has the honor to transmit to the Secretary of
State of the United States, by order of his Government, the accompanying
printed copies of a report and map which have been presented to Her
Majesty's Government by Colonel Mudge and Mr. Featherstonhaugh, the
commissioners employed during the last season to survey the disputed
territory.

The undersigned is instructed to say that it will of course have become
the duty of Her Majesty's Government to lay the said report and map
before Parliament; but Her Majesty's Government have been desirous, as a
mark of courtesy and consideration toward the Government of the United
States, that documents bearing upon a question of so much interest
and importance to the two countries should in the first instance be
communicated to the President. The documents had been officially placed
in the hands of Her Majesty's Government only a few days previously
to the date of the instruction addressed to the undersigned.

Her Majesty's Government feel an unabated desire to bring the
long-pending questions connected with the boundary between the United
States and the British possessions in North America to a final and
satisfactory settlement, being well aware that questions of this nature,
as long as they remain open between two countries, must be the source of
frequent irritation on both sides and are liable at any moment to lead
to events that may endanger the existence of friendly relations.

It is obvious that the questions at issue between Great Britain and
the United States must be beset with various and really existing
difficulties, or else those questions would not have remained open ever
since the year 1783, notwithstanding the frequent and earnest endeavors
made by each Government to bring them to an adjustment; but Her
Majesty's Government do not relinquish the hope that the sincere desire
which is felt by both parties to arrive at an amicable settlement will
at length be attended with success.

The best clew to guide the two Governments in their future proceedings
may perhaps be obtained by an examination of the causes of past failure;
and the most prominent amongst these causes has certainly been a want of
correct information as to the topographical features and physical
character of the district in dispute.

This want of adequate information may be traced as one of the
difficulties which embarrassed the Netherlands Government in its
endeavors to decide the points submitted to its arbitration in 1830.
The same has been felt by the Government in England; it has been felt
and admitted by the Government of the United States, and even by the
local government of the contiguous State of Maine.

The British Government and the Government of the United States agreed,
therefore, two years ago that a survey of the disputed territory by a
joint commission would be the measure best calculated to elucidate and
solve the questions at issue. The President proposed such a commission
and Her Majesty's Government consented to it, and it was believed by
Her Majesty's Government that the general principles upon which the
commission was to be guided in its local operations had been settled by
mutual agreement, arrived at by means of a correspondence which took
place between the two Governments in 1837 and 1838. Her Majesty's
Government accordingly transmitted in April of last year, for the
consideration of the President, the draft of a convention to regulate
the proceedings of the proposed commission. The preamble of that draft
recited textually the agreement that had been come to by means of notes
which had been exchanged between the two Governments, and the articles
of the draft were framed, as Her Majesty's Government considered, in
strict conformity with that agreement.

But the Government of the United States did not think proper to assent
to the convention so proposed.

The United States Government did not, indeed, allege that the
proposed convention was at variance with the result of the previous
correspondence between the two Governments, but it thought that the
convention would establish a commission of "mere exploration and
survey," and the President was of opinion that the step next to be taken
by the two Governments should be to contract stipulations bearing upon
the face of them the promise of a final settlement under some form or
other and within a reasonable time.

The United States Government accordingly transmitted to the undersigned,
for communication to Her Majesty's Government, in the month of July last
a counter draft of convention varying considerably in some parts (as the
Secretary of State of the United States admitted in his letter to the
undersigned of the 29th of July last) from the draft proposed by Great
Britain, but the Secretary of State added that the United States
Government did not deem it necessary to comment upon the alterations
so made, as the text itself of the counter draft would be found
sufficiently perspicuous.

Her Majesty's Government might certainly well have expected that
some reasons would have been given to explain why the United States
Government declined to confirm an arrangement which was founded upon
propositions made by that Government itself and upon modifications to
which that Government had agreed, or that if the American Government
thought the draft of convention thus proposed was not in conformity with
the previous agreement it would have pointed out in what respect the two
were considered to differ.

Her Majesty's Government, considering the present state of the boundary
question, concur with the Government of the United States in thinking
that it is on every account expedient that the next measure to be
adopted by the two Governments should contain arrangements which will
necessarily lead to a final settlement, and they think that the
convention which they proposed last year to the President, instead of
being framed so as to constitute a mere commission of exploration and
survey, did, on the contrary, contain stipulations calculated to lead
to the final ascertainment of the boundary between the two countries.

There was, however, undoubtedly one essential difference between
the British draft and the American counter draft. The British draft
contained no provision embodying the principle of arbitration; the
American counter draft did contain such a provision.

The British draft contained no provision for arbitration, because the
principle of arbitration had not been proposed on either side during the
negotiations upon which that draft was founded, and because, moreover,
it was understood at that time that the principle of arbitration would
be decidedly objected to by the United States.

But as the United States Government have now expressed a wish to embody
the principle of arbitration in the proposed convention, Her Majesty's
Government are perfectly willing to accede to that wish.

The undersigned is accordingly instructed to state officially to Mr.
Forsyth that Her Majesty's Government consent to the two principles
which form the main foundation of the American counter draft, namely:
First, that the commission to be appointed shall be so constituted as
necessarily to lead to a final settlement of the questions of boundary
at issue between the two countries, and, secondly, that in order to
secure such a result the convention by which the commission is to be
created shall contain a provision for arbitration upon points as to
which the British and American commissioners may not be able to agree.

The undersigned is, however, instructed to add that there are many
matters of detail in the American counter draft which Her Majesty's
Government can not adopt. The undersigned will be furnished from his
Government, by an early opportunity, with an amended draft in conformity
with the principles above stated, to be submitted to the consideration
of the President. And the undersigned expects to be at the same time
furnished with instructions to propose to the Government of the
United States a fresh, local, and temporary convention for the better
prevention of incidental border collisions within the disputed territory
during the time that may be occupied in carrying through the operations
of survey or arbitration.

The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to the
Secretary of State the assurance of his distinguished consideration.

H.S. FOX.

_Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Fox_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, June 26, 1840_.

H.S. FOX, Esq., etc.:

The undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, has had the
honor to receive a note addressed to him on the 22d instant by Mr. Fox,
envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of Great Britain,
inclosing printed copies of the report and map laid before the British
Government by the commissioners employed during the last season
to survey the territory in dispute between the two countries, and
communicating the consent of Her Britannic Majesty's Government to the
two principles which form the main foundation of the counter proposition
of the United States for the adjustment of the question.

The undersigned, having laid Mr. Fox's note before the President, is
instructed to say in answer that the President duly appreciates the
motives of courtesy which prompted the British Government to communicate
to that of the United States the documents referred to, and that he
derives great satisfaction from the announcement that Her Majesty's
Government do not relinquish the hope that the sincere desire which is
felt by both parties to arrive at an amicable settlement will at length
be attended with success, and from the prospect held out by Mr. Fox of
his being accordingly furnished by an early opportunity with the draft
of a proposition amended in conformity with the principles to which Her
Majesty's Government has acceded, to be submitted to the consideration
of this Government.

Mr. Fox states that his Government might have expected that when the
American counter draft was communicated to him some reasons would have
been given to explain why the United States Government declined
accepting the British draft of convention, or that if it thought the
draft was not in conformity with previous agreement it would have
pointed out in what respect the two were considered to differ.

In the note which the undersigned addressed to Mr. Fox on the 29th July
of last year, transmitting the American counter draft, he stated that in
consequence of the then recent events on the frontier and the danger of
collision between the citizens and subjects of the two Governments a
mere commission of exploration and survey would be inadequate to the
exigencies of the occasion and fall behind the just expectations of the
people of both countries, and referred to the importance of having the
measure next adopted bear upon its face stipulations which must result
in a final settlement under some form and in a reasonable time. These
were the reasons which induced the President to introduce in the new
project the provisions which he thought calculated for the attainment
of so desirable an object, and which in his opinion rendered obviously
unnecessary any allusion to the previous agreements referred to by Mr.
Fox. The President is gratified to find that a concurrence in those
views has brought the minds of Her Majesty's Government to a similar
conclusion, and from this fresh indication of harmony in the wishes of
the two cabinets he permits himself to anticipate the most satisfactory
result from the measure under consideration.

The undersigned avails himself of the opportunity to offer to Mr. Fox
renewed assurances of his distinguished consideration.

JOHN FORSYTH.

WASHINGTON, _June 29, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit, in answer to a resolution of the Senate of the 12th of March
last, a communication of the Secretary of War, accompanied by such
information as could be obtained in relation to the military and naval
preparations of the British authorities on the northern frontier of the
United States from Lake Superior to the Atlantic Ocean.

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