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

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FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 8: Communications from the American legation at Constantinople
respecting the seizure of Martin Koszta by Austrian authorities at
Smyrna.]

WASHINGTON, _March 1, 1854_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In accordance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of
the 13th instant, requesting information respecting negotiations with
Peru for the removal of restrictions upon the exportation of guano,
I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State, with the
correspondence therein referred to.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _March 1, 1854_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives
of the 23d January last, "that the President of the United States
be respectfully requested to furnish this House with copies of all
contracts made by and correspondence subsequently with the Chief of
the Bureau of Topographical Engineers for furnishing materials of wood
and stone for improving the harbors and rivers on Lake Michigan, under
and by virtue of the act making appropriations for the improvement of
certain harbors and rivers," approved August 30, 1852, I transmit
a letter of the Secretary of War submitting a report of the Colonel
of Topographical Engineers inclosing copies of the contracts and
correspondence called for.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _March 1, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 7th of December last,
requesting me to present to the Senate the plan referred to in my annual
message to Congress, and recommended therein, for the enlargement and
modification of the present judicial system of the United States,
I transmit a report from the Attorney-General, to whom the resolution
was referred.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _March 1, 1854_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report of the Attorney-General, in answer to
the resolutions of the House of the 22d of December, requesting me to
communicate to the House the plan for the modification and enlargement
of the judicial system of the United States, recommended in my annual
message to Congress.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _March 7, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State and the
documents[9] therein referred to, in answer to the resolution of the
Senate of the 26th March, 1853.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 9: Correspondence with R.C. Schenck, United States minister to
Brazil, relative to the African slave trade.]

WASHINGTON, _March 7, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State and the
documents[10] therein referred to, in answer to the resolution of the
Senate in executive session of the 3d January, 1854.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 10: Correspondence with the Mexican Republic touching the
eleventh article of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and copies of
instructions on that subject to the United States minister to Mexico.]

WASHINGTON, _March 11, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith to the Senate a report of the Secretary of State,
with accompanying documents,[11] in compliance with their resolution of
the 9th of March, 1853.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 11: Correspondence relative to the imprisonment, etc., of James
H. West in the island of Cuba.]

WASHINGTON, _March 14, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In transmitting to the Senate the report of the Secretary of
State, together with the documents therein referred to, being the
correspondence called for by the resolution of that body of the 9th of
January last, I deem it proper to state briefly the reasons which have
deterred me from sending to the Senate for ratification the proposed
convention between the United States of America and the United Mexican
States, concluded by the respective plenipotentiaries of the two
Governments on the 21st day of March, 1853, on the subject of a transit
way across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.

Without adverting to the want of authority on the part of the American
minister to conclude any such convention, or to the action of this
Government in relation to the rights of certain of its citizens under
the grant for a like object originally made to Jose Garay, the
objections to it upon its face are numerous, and should, in my judgment,
be regarded as conclusive.

Prominent among these objections is the fact that the convention binds
us to a foreign Government, to guarantee the contract of a private
company with that Government for the construction of the contemplated
transit way, "to protect the persons engaged and property employed in
the construction of the said work from the commencement thereof to
its completion against all confiscation, spoliation, or violence of
whatsoever nature," and to guarantee the entire security of the capital
invested therein during the continuance of the contract. Such is the
substance of the second and third articles.

Hence it will be perceived that the obligations which this Government is
asked to assume are not to terminate in a few years, or even with the
present generation.

And again: "If the regulations which may be prescribed concerning the
traffic on said transit way shall be clearly contrary to the spirit and
intention of this convention," even then this Government is not to be at
liberty to withdraw its "protection and guaranty" without first giving
one year's notice to the Mexican Government.

When the fact is duly considered that the responsibility of this
Government is thus pledged for a long series of years to the interests
of a private company established for purposes of internal improvement,
in a foreign country, and that country peculiarly subject to civil wars
and other public vicissitudes, it will be seen how comprehensive and
embarrassing would be those engagements to the Government of the United
States.

Not less important than this objection is the consideration that the
United States can not agree to the terms of this convention without
disregarding the provisions of the eighth article of the convention
which this Government entered into with Great Britain on April 19, 1850,
which expressly includes any interoceanic communication whatever by the
Isthmus of Tehuantepec. However inconvenient may be the conditions of
that convention, still they exist, and the obligations of good faith
rest alike upon the United States and Great Britain.

Without enlarging upon these and other questionable features of the
proposed convention which will suggest themselves to your minds, I will
only add that after the most careful consideration I have deemed it my
duty not to ask for its ratification by the Senate.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _March 15, 1854_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
10th instant, I herewith transmit a report of the Secretary of State,
containing all the information received at the Department in relation to
the seizure of the _Black Warrior_ at Havana on the 28th ultimo.

There have been in the course of a few years past many other instances
of aggression upon our commerce, violations of the rights of American
citizens, and insults to the national flag by the Spanish authorities in
Cuba, and all attempts to obtain redress have led to protracted, and as
yet fruitless, negotiations.

The documents in these cases are voluminous, and when prepared will be
sent to Congress.

Those now transmitted relate exclusively to the seizure of the _Black
Warrior_, and present so clear a case of wrong that it would be
reasonable to expect full indemnity therefor as soon as this
unjustifiable and offensive conduct shall be made known to Her Catholic
Majesty's Government; but similar expectations in other cases have not
been realized.

The offending party is at our doors with large powers for aggression,
but none, it is alleged, for reparation. The source of redress is in
another hemisphere, and the answers to our just complaints made to the
home Government are but the repetition of excuses rendered by inferior
officials to their superiors in reply to representations of misconduct.
The peculiar situation of the parties has undoubtedly much aggravated
the annoyances and injuries which our citizens have suffered from the
Cuban authorities, and Spain does not seem to appreciate to its full
extent her responsibility for the conduct of these authorities. In
giving very extraordinary powers to them she owes it to justice and
to her friendly relations with this Government to guard with great
vigilance against the exorbitant exercise of these powers, and in case
of injuries to provide for prompt redress.

I have already taken measures to present to the Government of Spain the
wanton injury of the Cuban authorities in the detention and seizure of
the _Black Warrior_, and to demand immediate indemnity for the injury
which has thereby resulted to our citizens.

In view of the position of the island of Cuba, its proximity to our
coast, the relations which it must ever bear to our commercial and
other interests, it is vain to expect that a series of unfriendly
acts infringing our commercial rights and the adoption of a policy
threatening the honor and security of these States can long consist
with peaceful relations.

In case the measures taken for amicable adjustment of our difficulties
with Spain should, unfortunately, fail, I shall not hesitate to use the
authority and means which Congress may grant to insure the observance of
our just rights, to obtain redress for injuries received, and to
vindicate the honor of our flag.

In anticipation of that contingency, which I earnestly hope may not
arise, I suggest to Congress the propriety of adopting such provisional
measures as the exigency may seem to demand.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

EXECUTIVE OFFICE,

_Washington, March 17, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I communicate to the Senate herewith, for its constitutional action, two
treaties recently negotiated by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, as
commissioner on the part of the United States, with the delegates now at
the seat of Government representing the confederated tribes of Otoes and
Missourias and the Omaha Indians, for the extinguishment of their titles
to lands west of the Missouri River.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

EXECUTIVE OFFICE,

_Washington, March 18. 1854_.

Hon. LINN BOYD,

_Speaker of the House of Representatives_.

SIR: I transmit to you herewith a report of the present date from the
Secretary of the Interior, accompanied by a tabular statement containing
the information[12] called for by resolution of the House of
Representatives adopted the 13th ultimo.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 12: Area of each State and Territory; extent of the public
domain remaining in each State and Territory, and the extent alienated
by sales, grants, etc.]

WASHINGTON, _March 21, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 15th instant, adopted
in executive session, I transmit confidentially a report from the
Secretary of State and the documents[13] by which it was accompanied.
Pursuant to the suggestion in the report, it is desirable that such of
the papers as may be originals should be returned to the Department of
State.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 13: Instructions and correspondence relative to the negotiation
of the treaty with Mexico of December 30, 1853, etc.]

EXECUTIVE OFFICE,

_March 25, 1854_.

Hon. LENN BOYD,

_Speaker of the House of Representatives_:

I communicate to the House of Representatives herewith a report from the
Secretary of the Interior, dated the 24th instant, containing so much of
the information called for by the resolution of the 17th instant as it
is practicable or compatible with the public interest to furnish at
the present time, respecting the proceedings which have been had and
negotiations entered into for the extinguishment of the Indian titles
to lands west of the States of Missouri and Iowa.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _March 29, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 21st instant, adopted
in executive session, relative to the claims of the Mexican Government
and of citizens of the Mexican Republic on this Government, and of
citizens of the United States on the Government of that Republic, I
transmit a report from the Secretary of State, to whom the resolution
was referred.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _March 31, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 13th instant,
requesting a confidential communication of information touching the
expedition under the authority of this Government for the purpose of
opening trade with Japan, I transmit a report from the Secretary of
State, to whom the resolution was referred.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _April 1, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith the report of the Secretary of State in reply to the
resolution of the Senate of the 27th ultimo.

That part of the document which purports to recite my official
instructions is strictly correct; that which is avowedly unofficial and
unauthorized, it can hardly be necessary for me to say, in view of the
documents already before the Senate, does not convey a correct
impression of my "views and wishes."

At no time after an intention was entertained of sending Mr. Ward as
special agent to Mexico was either the Garay grant or the convention
entered into by Mr. Conkling alluded to otherwise than as subjects which
might embarrass the negotiation of the treaty, and were consequently not
included in the instructions.

While the departure of Mr. Ward, under any circumstances or in any
respect, from the instructions committed to him is a matter of regret,
it is just to say that, although he failed to convey in his letter to
General Gadsden the correct import of remarks made by me anterior to his
appointment as special agent, I impute to him no design of
misrepresentation.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _April 5, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate a report of the Secretary of State, with
accompanying documents,[14] in compliance with their resolution of
the 14th ultimo.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 14: Correspondence relative to the seizure of Martin Koszta
by Austrian authorities at Smyrna.]

WASHINGTON, _April 5, 1854_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit herewith to the House of Representatives a report of the
Secretary of State, with accompanying documents,[15] in further compliance
with their resolution of the 10th of March, 1854.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 15: Relating to violations of the rights of American citizens
by Spanish authorities and their refusal to allow United States vessels
to enter ports of Cuba, etc.]

WASHINGTON, _April 5, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report[16] from the Secretary of State, in answer
to the resolution of the Senate in executive session of the 3d instant.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 16: Relating to expeditions organized in California for the
invasion of Sonora, Mexico.]

WASHINGTON, _April 8, 1854_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith to the House of Representatives a report[17] of the
Secretary of State, in answer to their resolution of the 3d instant.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 17: Stating that the correspondence relative to the refusal
by the authorities of Cuba to permit the United States mail steamer
_Crescent City_ to land mail and passengers at Havana had been
transmitted with the message to the House of April 5, 1854.]

WASHINGTON, _April 10, 1854_

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I communicate to the Senate herewith a communication from the Secretary
of the Interior, accompanied by the articles of a convention recently
entered into for an exchange of country for the future residence of the
Winnebago Indians, and recommend their ratification with the amendment
suggested by the Secretary of the Interior.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _April 11, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report[18] from the Secretary of State, in reply
to the Senate's resolution of yesterday passed in executive session.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 18: Relating to claims growing out of the eleventh article of
the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.]

WASHINGTON, _April 12, 1854_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State, with
accompanying documents,[19] in compliance with the resolution of the
House of Representatives of the 4th instant.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 19: Correspondence relative to the seizure of Martin Koszta
by Austrian authorities at Smyrna.]

WASHINGTON, _April 13, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report[20] from the Secretary of State, in reply
to the resolution of the Senate adopted in executive session yesterday.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 20: Relating to the abrogation of the eleventh article of the
treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, etc.]

WASHINGTON, _April 24, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I have the honor to transmit herewith a report of the Attorney-General,
suggesting modifications in the manner of conducting the legal business
of the Government, which are respectfully commended to your favorable
consideration.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[The same message was also addressed to the Speaker of the House of
Representatives.]

WASHINGTON, _April 27, 1834_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit to Congress a copy of a correspondence between the Secretary
of State and Her Britannic Majesty's minister accredited to this
Government, and between the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the
Treasury, relative to the expediency of further measures for the safety,
health, and comfort of immigrants to the United States by sea. As it is
probable that further legislation may be necessary for the purpose of
securing those desirable objects, I commend the subject to the
consideration of Congress.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _May 2, 1854_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit the report[21] of the Secretary of State in compliance with a
resolution of the House of Representatives of the 5th ultimo.

It is presumed that the omission from the resolution of the usual
clause giving the Executive a discretion in its answer was accidental, and
as there does not appear to be anything in the accompanying papers
which upon public considerations should require them to be withheld,
they are communicated accordingly.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 21: Relating to the application of Rev. James Cook Richmond for
redress of wrongs alleged to have been committed by Austrian authorities
in Pest, and to the refusal to grant an exequatur upon the commission of
the United States consul appointed for Trieste.]

WASHINGTON, _May 5, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State, with accompanying
documents,[22] in compliance with the resolution of the Senate of
the 12th ultimo.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 22: Correspondence relative to the arrest and detention at
Bremen of Conrad Schmidt, and arrest and maltreatment at Heidelberg of
E.T. Dana, W.B. Dingle, and David Ramsay, all citizens of the United
States; correspondence with the King of Prussia relative to religious
toleration.]

WASHINGTON, _May 5, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report[23] from the Secretary of State, together
with the documents therein referred to, in compliance with the resolution
of the Senate of the 12th January last.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 23: Relating to the impressment of seamen from the United
States whale ship _Addison_ at Valparaiso, and imprisonment of William
A. Stewart, an American citizen, at Valparaiso on the charge of murder,
and on conviction released by Chilean authorities.]

WASHINGTON, _May 11, 1854_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, with accompanying
papers,[24] in answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives
of the 1st instant.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 24: Relating to the rights accorded to neutrals and the rights
claimed by belligerents in the war between certain European powers.]

WASHINGTON, _May 20, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State, with
accompanying documents,[25] in compliance with the Senate's resolution
of the 30th of January last.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 25: Correspondence relative to the difficulties between Rev.
Jonas King and the Government of Greece.]

WASHINGTON, _May 23, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, on the subject of
documents[26] called for by the resolution of the Senate of the 9th
instant.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 26: Researches of H.S. Sanford, late charge d'affaires at
Paris, on the condition of penal law in continental Europe, etc.; also a
"Memoir on the Administrative Changes in France since the Revolution of
1848," by H.S. Sanford.]

WASHINGTON, _May 25, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I communicate to the Senate herewith, for its constitutional action
thereon, four several treaties recently negotiated in this city by
George W. Manypenny, as commissioner on the part of the United States,
with the delegates of the Delaware, Ioway, Kickapoo, and Sac and Fox
tribes of Indians.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _May 29, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I communicate to the Senate herewith, for its constitutional action
thereon, a treaty negotiated on the 12th instant at the Falls of Wolf
River, in Wisconsin, by Francis Huebschmann, superintendent of Indian
affairs for the northern superintendency, and the Menomonee Indians, by
the chiefs, headmen, and warriors of that tribe.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _May 30, 1854_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State, with
accompanying documents,[27] in compliance with the resolution of the
House of Representatives of the 20th December last.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 27: Correspondence relative to the imposition of Sound dues,
etc., upon United States commerce to the Baltic.]

WASHINGTON, _June 12, 1854_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, with accompanying
papers,[28] in answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives
of the 24th of April last.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 28: Relating to the instructions referred to by President
Monroe in his annual message of December 2, 1823, on the subject of the
issue of commissions to private armed vessels.]

WASHINGTON, _June 19, 1854_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State, with
accompanying documents,[29] in compliance with the resolution of the
House of Representatives of the 30th ultimo.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 29: Correspondence of the American minister to Turkey relative
to the expulsion of the Greeks from Constantinople.]

WASHINGTON, _June 20, 1854_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I have received information that the Government of Mexico has agreed to
the several amendments proposed by the Senate to the treaty between the
United States and the Republic of Mexico signed on the 30th of December
last, and has authorized its envoy extraordinary to this Government to
exchange the ratifications thereof. The time within which the
ratifications can be exchanged will expire on the 30th instant.

There is a provision in the treaty for the payment by the United States
to Mexico of the sum of $7,000,000 on the exchange of ratifications and
the further sum of $3,000,000 when the boundaries of the ceded territory
shall be settled.

To be enabled to comply with the stipulation according to the terms
of the treaty relative to the payments therein mentioned, it will be
necessary that Congress should make an appropriation of $7,000,000 for
that purpose before the 30th instant, and also the further sum of
$3,000,000, to be paid when the boundaries shall be established.

I therefore respectfully request that these sums may be put at the
disposal of the Executive.

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives a copy of the said
treaty.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _June 20, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a treaty extending the right of fishing and regulating the
commerce and navigation between Her Britannic Majesty's possessions in
North America and the United States, concluded in this city on the 5th
instant between the United States and Her Britannic Majesty.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _June 24, 1854_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit to Congress the copy of two communications of the 26th ultimo
and 4th instant, respectively, from Her Britannic Majesty's minister
accredited to this Government to the Secretary of State, relative to the
health on shipboard of immigrants from foreign countries to the United
States. This was the subject of my message to Congress of the 27th of
April last.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON CITY, _June 29, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith communicate to the Senate, for its constitutional action
thereon, three treaties recently negotiated in this city by George
W. Manypenny, as commissioner on the part of the United States; one
concluded on the 19th ultimo with the delegates of the Shawnee Indians,
one on the 5th instant with the Miami Indians, and the other on the 30th
ultimo with the united tribes of Kaskaskia and Peoria and Wea and
Piankeshaw Indians.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _July 3, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith to the Senate, for its constitutional action
thereon, an article of agreement made on the 13th day of June, 1854,
by William H. Garrett, agent on the part of the United States, and a
delegation of Creek Indians, supplementary to the Creek treaty of 1838.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _July 5, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 1st instant, I
herewith return the articles of convention made and concluded with the
Winnebago Indians on the 6th of August, 1853, together with the Senate
resolution of the 9th ultimo, advising and consenting to the
ratification of the same with amendments.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _July 12, 1854_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith the inclosed communication from the Secretary of the
Navy, respecting the observations of Lieutenant James M. Gillis, of the
United States Navy, and the accompanying documents.[30]

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 30: Report of the United States naval astronomical expedition
to the Southern Hemisphere.]

WASHINGTON, _July 12, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a treaty between the United States and the Empire of
Japan, signed at Kanagawa on the 31st day of March last by the
plenipotentiaries of the two Governments. The Chinese and Dutch
translations of the instrument and the chart and sketch to which it
refers are also herewith communicated.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _July 17, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a convention between the United States and Her Britannic
Majesty for the extension of the period limited for the duration of the
mixed commission under convention between the United States and Great
Britain of the 8th of February, 1853.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _July 19, 1854_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, with accompanying
papers,[31] in answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives
of the 6th of February last.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 31: Correspondence of Humphrey Marshall, commissioner to China.]

WASHINGTON, _July 22, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I have this day given my signature to the "Act making further
appropriations for the improvement of the Cape Fear River, in North
Carolina."

The occasion seems to render it proper for me to deviate from the
ordinary course of announcing the approval of bills by an oral statement
only, and, for the purpose of preventing any misapprehension which might
otherwise arise from the phraseology of this act, to communicate
in writing that my approval is given to it on the ground that the
obstructions which the proposed appropriation is intended to remove
are the result of acts of the General Government.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _July 24, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a convention concerning the rights of neutrals, concluded
in this city on the 22d instant between the United States and His
Majesty the Emperor of all the Russias.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _July 26, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, in answer to the
resolution of the Senate of the 23d of May last, relative to the slave
trade in the island of Cuba.

The information contained in the papers accompanying the report will, it
is believed, be considered important, and perhaps necessary to enable
the Senate to form an opinion upon the subjects to which they relate;
but doubts may be entertained in regard to the expediency of publishing
some of the documents at this juncture.

This communication is accordingly addressed to the Senate in executive
session, in order that a discretion may be exercised in regard to its
publication.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _July 27, 1854_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 24th instant,
requesting me to cause to be transmitted to the Senate the Fourth
Meteorological Report of Professor Espy, the accompanying papers and
charts are respectfully submitted.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _July 29, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the Senate resolution of the 10th July instant,
requesting that I would "cause to be communicated to the Senate copies
of all the correspondence and other official documents on file in
the Department of the Interior respecting the claims of persons for
services performed and supplies and subsistence furnished to Indians
in California under contracts with Indian agents in the year 1851, and
embracing the names of claimants, the amount, respectively, of their
claims, on what account created and by what authority, if any,"
I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of the Interior,
accompanied by copies of all the papers called for which have not
heretofore been furnished. As it appears that most of the papers called
for were communicated to the Senate at its first and special sessions
of the Thirty-second Congress, I have not supposed that it was the
intention of the Senate to have them again sent, and I have therefore
not directed them to be copied.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _July 31, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 28th instant,
requesting information in respect to the bombardment of San Juan de
Nicaragua, I transmit reports from the Secretaries of State and of the
Navy, with the documents which accompanied them.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _July 31, 1854_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 28th
instant, requesting information in regard to the destruction of San Juan
de Nicaragua, I transmit reports from the Secretaries of State and of
the Navy, with the documents accompanying them.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _August 1, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I hasten to respond briefly to the resolution of the Senate of this
date, "requesting the President to inform the Senate, if in his opinion
it be not incompatible with the public interest, whether anything has
arisen since the date of his message to the House of Representatives of
the 15th of March last concerning our relations with the Government of
Spain which in his opinion may dispense with the suggestions therein
contained touching the propriety of 'provisional measures' by Congress
to meet any exigency that may arise in the recess of Congress affecting
those relations."

In the message to the House of Representatives referred to I availed
myself of the occasion to present the following reflections and
suggestions:

In view of the position of the island of Cuba, its proximity to our
coast, the relations which it must ever bear to our commercial and
other interests, it is vain to expect that a series of unfriendly
acts infringing our commercial rights and the adoption of a policy
threatening the honor and security of these States can long consist
with peaceful relations.

In case the measures taken for amicable adjustment of our difficulties
with Spain should, unfortunately, fail, I shall not hesitate to use the
authority and means which Congress may grant to insure the observance
of our just rights, to obtain redress for injuries received, and to
vindicate the honor of our flag.

In anticipation of that contingency, which I earnestly hope may not
arise, I suggest to Congress the propriety of adopting such provisional
measures as the exigency may seem to demand.

The two Houses of Congress may have anticipated that the hope then
expressed would be realized before the period of its adjournment,
and that our relations with Spain would have assumed a satisfactory
condition, so as to remove past causes of complaint and afford better
security for tranquillity and justice in the future. But I am
constrained to say that such is not the fact. The formal demand for
immediate reparation in the case of the _Black Warrior_, instead of
having been met on the part of Spain by prompt satisfaction, has only
served to call forth a justification of the local authorities of Cuba,
and thus to transfer the responsibility for their acts to the Spanish
Government itself.

Meanwhile information, not only reliable in its nature, but of an
official character, was received to the effect that preparation was
making within the limits of the United States by private individuals
under military organization for a descent upon the island of Cuba with
a view to wrest that colony from the dominion of Spain. International
comity, the obligations of treaties, and the express provisions of law
alike required, in my judgment, that all the constitutional power of
the Executive should be exerted to prevent the consummation of such a
violation of positive law and of that good faith on which mainly the
amicable relations of neighboring nations must depend. In conformity
with these convictions of public duty, a proclamation was issued to warn
all persons not to participate in the contemplated enterprise and to
invoke the interposition in this behalf of the proper officers of the
Government. No provocation whatever can justify private expeditions of
hostility against a country at peace with the United States. The power
to declare war is vested by the Constitution in Congress, and the
experience of our past history leaves no room to doubt that the wisdom
of this arrangement of constitutional power will continue to be verified
whenever the national interest and honor shall demand a resort to
ultimate measures of redress. Pending negotiations by the Executive,
and before the action of Congress, individuals could not be permitted
to embarrass the operations of the one and usurp the powers of the other
of these depositaries of the functions of Government.

I have only to add that nothing has arisen since the date of my former
message to "dispense with the suggestions therein contained touching the
propriety of provisional measures by Congress."

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _August 2, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of State, with the
accompanying documents,[32] in answer to the resolution of the Senate
of the 5th ultimo.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 32: Correspondence relative to the imprisonment of George
Marsden and to the seizure of the cargo of the American bark _Griffon_
by the authorities of Brazil.]

WASHINGTON, _August 2, 1854_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit to you a copy of a treaty between the United States
and Great Britain, negotiated at Washington on the 5th of June last.
It has been concurred in by the Senate, and I have no doubt that the
ratifications of it will be soon exchanged. It will be observed that by
the provision of the fifth article the treaty does not go into operation
until after legislation thereon by the respective parties.

Should Congress at its present session pass the requisite law on the
part of the United States to give effect to its stipulations, the
fishing grounds on the coasts of the British North American Provinces,
from which our fishermen have been heretofore excluded, may be opened to
them during the present season, and apprehended collisions between them
and British fishermen avoided.

For this reason and for the purpose of securing to the citizens of the
United States at the earliest practicable period other advantages which
it is believed they will derive from this treaty, I recommend the
passage by Congress at the present session of such a law as is necessary
on the part of the United States to give effect to its provisions.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

VETO MESSAGES.

WASHINGTON, _May 3, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

The bill entitled "An act making a grant of public lands to the several
States for the benefit of indigent insane persons," which was presented
to me on the 27th ultimo, has been maturely considered, and is returned
to the Senate, the House in which it originated, with a statement of the
objections which have required me to withhold from it my approval.

In the performance of this duty, prescribed by the Constitution, I have
been compelled to resist the deep sympathies of my own heart in favor
of the humane purpose sought to be accomplished and to overcome the
reluctance with which I dissent from the conclusions of the two Houses
of Congress, and present my own opinions in opposition to the action of
a coordinate branch of the Government which possesses so fully my
confidence and respect.

If in presenting my objections to this bill I should say more than
strictly belongs to the measure or is required for the discharge of my
official obligation, let it be attributed to a sincere desire to justify
my act before those whose good opinion I so highly value and to that
earnestness which springs from my deliberate conviction that a strict
adherence to the terms and purposes of the federal compact offers the
best, if not the only, security for the preservation of our blessed
inheritance of representative liberty.

The bill provides in substance:

First. That 10,000,000 acres of land be granted to the several States,
to be apportioned among them in the compound ratio of the geographical
area and representation of said States in the House of Representatives.

Second. That wherever there are public lands in a State subject to sale
at the regular price of private entry, the proportion of said 10,000,000
acres falling to such State shall be selected from such lands within it,
and that to the States in which there are no such public lands land
scrip shall be issued to the amount of their distributive shares,
respectively, said scrip not to be entered by said States, but to be
sold by them and subject to entry by their assignees: _Provided_, That
none of it shall be sold at less than $1 per acre, under penalty of
forfeiture of the same to the United States.

Third. That the expenses of the management and superintendence of said
lands and of the moneys received therefrom shall be paid by the States
to which they may belong out of the treasury of said States.

Fourth. That the gross proceeds of the sales of such lands or land scrip
so granted shall be invested by the several States in safe stocks, to
constitute a perpetual fund, the principal of which shall remain forever
undiminished, and the interest to be appropriated to the maintenance of
the indigent insane within the several States.

Fifth. That annual returns of lands or scrip sold shall be made by the
States to the Secretary of the Interior, and the whole grant be subject
to certain conditions and limitations prescribed in the bill, to be
assented to by legislative acts of said States.

This bill therefore proposes that the Federal Government shall make
provision to the amount of the value of 10,000,000 acres of land for an
eleemosynary object within the several States, to be administered by the
political authority of the same; and it presents at the threshold the
question whether any such act on the part of the Federal Government
is warranted and sanctioned by the Constitution, the provisions and
principles of which are to be protected and sustained as a first and
paramount duty.

It can not be questioned that if Congress has power to make provision
for the indigent insane without the limits of this District it has the
same power to provide for the indigent who are not insane, and thus
to transfer to the Federal Government the charge of all the poor in
all the States. It has the same power to provide hospitals and other
local establishments for the care and cure of every species of human
infirmity, and thus to assume all that duty of either public
philanthropy or public necessity to the dependent, the orphan, the
sick, or the needy which is now discharged by the States themselves
or by corporate institutions or private endowments existing under the
legislation of the States. The whole field of public beneficence is
thrown open to the care and culture of the Federal Government. Generous
impulses no longer encounter the limitations and control of our
imperious fundamental law; for however worthy may be the present object
in itself, it is only one of a class. It is not exclusively worthy of
benevolent regard. Whatever considerations dictate sympathy for this
particular object apply in like manner, if not in the same degree, to
idiocy, to physical disease, to extreme destitution. If Congress may
and ought to provide for any one of these objects, it may and ought to
provide for them all. And if it be done in this case, what answer shall
be given when Congress shall be called upon, as it doubtless will be, to
pursue a similar course of legislation in the others? It will obviously
be vain to reply that the object is worthy, but that the application has
taken a wrong direction. The power will have been deliberately assumed,
the general obligation will by this act have been acknowledged, and the
question of means and expediency will alone be left for consideration.
The decision upon the principle in any one case determines it for the
whole class. The question presented, therefore, clearly is upon the
constitutionality and propriety of the Federal Government assuming
to enter into a novel and vast field of legislation, namely, that of
providing for the care and support of all those among the people of the
United States who by any form of calamity become fit objects of public
philanthropy.

I readily and, I trust, feelingly acknowledge the duty incumbent on us
all as men and citizens, and as among the highest and holiest of our
duties, to provide for those who, in the mysterious order of Providence,
are subject to want and to disease of body or mind; but I can not find
any authority in the Constitution for making the Federal Government the
great almoner of public charity throughout the United States. To do so
would, in my judgment, be contrary to the letter and spirit of the
Constitution and subversive of the whole theory upon which the Union of
these States is founded. And if it were admissible to contemplate the
exercise of this power for any object whatever, I can not avoid the
belief that it would in the end be prejudicial rather than beneficial in
the noble offices of charity to have the charge of them transferred from
the States to the Federal Government. Are we not too prone to forget
that the Federal Union is the creature of the States, not they of
the Federal Union? We were the inhabitants of colonies distinct in
local government one from the other before the Revolution. By that
Revolution the colonies each became an independent State. They achieved
that independence and secured its recognition by the agency of a
consulting body, which, from being an assembly of the ministers of
distinct sovereignties instructed to agree to no form of government
which did not leave the domestic concerns of each State to itself, was
appropriately denominated a Congress. When, having tried the experiment
of the Confederation, they resolved to change that for the present
Federal Union, and thus to confer on the Federal Government more ample
authority, they scrupulously measured such of the functions of their
cherished sovereignty as they chose to delegate to the General
Government. With this aim and to this end the fathers of the Republic
framed the Constitution, in and by which the independent and sovereign
States united themselves for certain specified objects and purposes, and
for those only, leaving all powers not therein set forth as conferred on
one or another of the three great departments--the legislative, the
executive, and the judicial--indubitably with the States. And when the
people of the several States had in their State conventions, and thus
alone, given effect and force to the Constitution, not content that any
doubt should in future arise as to the scope and character of this act,
they ingrafted thereon the explicit declaration that "the powers not
delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited by
it to the States are reserved to the States respectively or to the
people." Can it be controverted that the great mass of the business
of Government--that involved in the social relations, the internal
arrangements of the body politic, the mental and moral culture of men,
the development of local resources of wealth, the punishment of crimes
in general, the preservation of order, the relief of the needy or
otherwise unfortunate members of society--did in practice remain with
the States; that none of these objects of local concern are by the
Constitution expressly or impliedly prohibited to the States, and that
none of them are by any express language of the Constitution transferred
to the United States? Can it be claimed that any of these functions
of local administration and legislation are vested in the Federal
Government by any implication? I have never found anything in the
Constitution which is susceptible of such a construction. No one of
the enumerated powers touches the subject or has even a remote analogy
to it. The powers conferred upon the United States have reference to
federal relations, or to the means of accomplishing or executing things
of federal relation. So also of the same character are the powers taken
away from the States by enumeration. In either case the powers granted
and the powers restricted were so granted or so restricted only where
it was requisite for the maintenance of peace and harmony between the
States or for the purpose of protecting their common interests and
defending their common sovereignty against aggression from abroad or
insurrection at home.

I shall not discuss at length the question of power sometimes claimed
for the General Government under the clause of the eighth section of the
Constitution, which gives Congress the power "to lay and collect taxes,
duties, imposts, and excises, to pay debts and provide for the common
defense and general welfare of the United States," because if it has not
already been settled upon sound reason and authority it never will be.
I take the received and just construction of that article, as if written
to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises _in order_ to pay
the debts and _in order_ to provide for the common defense and general
welfare. It is not a substantive general power to provide for the
welfare of the United States, but is a limitation on the grant of power
to raise money by taxes, duties, and imposts. If it were otherwise, all
the rest of the Constitution, consisting of carefully enumerated and
cautiously guarded grants of specific powers, would have been useless,
if not delusive. It would be impossible in that view to escape from the
conclusion that these were inserted only to mislead for the present,
and, instead of enlightening and defining the pathway of the future,
to involve its action in the mazes of doubtful construction. Such a
conclusion the character of the men who framed that sacred instrument
will never permit us to form. Indeed, to suppose it susceptible of any
other construction would be to consign all the rights of the States and
of the people of the States to the mere discretion of Congress, and thus
to clothe the Federal Government with authority to control the sovereign
States, by which they would have been dwarfed into provinces or
departments and all sovereignty vested in an absolute consolidated
central power, against which the spirit of liberty has so often and
in so many countries struggled in vain. In my judgment you can not by
tributes to humanity make any adequate compensation for the wrong you
would inflict by removing the sources of power and political action from
those who are to be thereby affected. If the time shall ever arrive
when, for an object appealing, however strongly, to our sympathies,
the dignity of the States shall bow to the dictation of Congress by
conforming their legislation thereto, when the power and majesty and
honor of those who created shall become subordinate to the thing of
their creation, I but feebly utter my apprehensions when I express
my firm conviction that we shall see "the beginning of the end."

Fortunately, we are not left in doubt as to the purpose of the
Constitution any more than as to its express language, for although the
history of its formation, as recorded in the Madison Papers, shows that
the Federal Government in its present form emerged from the conflict of
opposing influences which have continued to divide statesmen from that
day to this, yet the rule of clearly defined powers and of strict
construction presided over the actual conclusion and subsequent adoption
of the Constitution. President Madison, in the Federalist, says:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution are few and defined.
Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and
indefinite. ... Its [the General Government's] jurisdiction extends to
certain enumerated objects only, and leaves to the several States a
residuary and inviolable sovereignty over all other objects.

In the same spirit President Jefferson invokes "the support of
the State governments in all their rights as the most competent
administrations for our domestic concerns and the surest bulwarks
against anti-republican tendencies;" and President Jackson said that our
true strength and wisdom are not promoted by invasions of the rights and
powers of the several States, but that, on the contrary, they consist
"not in binding the States more closely to the center, but in leaving
each more unobstructed in its proper orbit."

The framers of the Constitution, in refusing to confer on the Federal
Government any jurisdiction over these purely local objects, in my
judgment manifested a wise forecast and broad comprehension of the true
interests of these objects themselves. It is clear that public charities
within the States can be efficiently administered only by their
authority. The bill before me concedes this, for it does not commit the
funds it provides to the administration of any other authority.

I can not but repeat what I have before expressed, that if the several
States, many of which have already laid the foundation of munificent
establishments of local beneficence, and nearly all of which are
proceeding to establish them, shall be led to suppose, as, should this
bill become a law, they will be, that Congress is to make provision for
such objects, the fountains of charity will be dried up at home, and the
several States, instead of bestowing their own means on the social wants
of their own people, may themselves, through the strong temptation which
appeals to states as to individuals, become humble suppliants for the
bounty of the Federal Government, reversing their true relations to
this Union.

Having stated my views of the limitation of the powers conferred by
the eighth section of the first article of the Constitution, I deem it
proper to call attention to the third section of the fourth article
and to the provisions of the sixth article bearing directly upon
the question under consideration, which, instead of aiding the claim
to power exercised in this case, tend, it is believed, strongly to
illustrate and explain positions which, even without such support,
I can not regard as questionable. The third section of the fourth
article of the Constitution is in the following terms:

The Congress shall have power to _dispose_ of and make all needful rules
and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging
to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so
construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States or of any
particular State.

The sixth article is as follows, to wit, that--

All debts contracted and engagements entered into before the adoption of
this Constitution shall be as valid against the United States under this
Constitution as under the Confederation.

For a correct understanding of the terms used in the third section of
the fourth article, above quoted, reference should be had to the history
of the times in which the Constitution was formed and adopted. It was
decided upon in convention on the 17th September, 1787, and by it
Congress was empowered "to dispose of," etc., "the territory or other
property belonging to the United States." The only territory then
belonging to the United States was that then recently ceded by the
several States, to wit: By New York in 1781, by Virginia in 1784, by
Massachusetts in 1785, and by South Carolina in August, 1787, only
the month before the formation of the Constitution. The cession from
Virginia contained the following provision:

That all the lands within the territory so ceded to the United States,
and not reserved for or appropriated to any of the before-mentioned
purposes or disposed of in bounties to the officers and soldiers of the
American Army, shall be considered a common fund for the use and benefit
of such of the United States as have become or shall become members of
the Confederation or Federal Alliance of the said States, Virginia
included, according to their usual respective proportions in the general
charge and expenditure, and shall be faithfully and _bona fide disposed
of_ for that purpose and for no other use or purpose whatsoever.

Here the object for which these lands are to be disposed of is clearly
set forth, and the power to dispose of them granted by the third section
of the fourth article of the Constitution clearly contemplates such
disposition only. If such be the fact, and in my mind there can be no
doubt of it, then you have again not only no implication in favor of the
contemplated grant, but the strongest authority against it. Furthermore,
this bill is in violation of the faith of the Government pledged in the
act of January 28, 1847. The nineteenth section of that act declares:

That for the payment of the stock which may be created under the
provisions of this act the sales of the public lands are hereby pledged;
and it is hereby made the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to use
and apply all moneys which may be received into the Treasury for the
sales of the public lands after the 1st day of January, 1848, first,
to pay the interest on all stocks issued by virtue of this act, and,
secondly, to use the balance of said receipts, after paying the interest
aforesaid, in the purchase of said stocks at their market value, etc.

The debts then contracted have not been liquidated, and the language of
this section and the obligations of the United States under it are too
plain to need comment.

I have been unable to discover any distinction on constitutional grounds
or grounds of expediency between an appropriation of $10,000,000
directly from the money in the Treasury for the object contemplated and
the appropriation of lands presented for my sanction, and yet I can not
doubt that if the bill proposed $10,000,000 from the Treasury of the
United States for the support of the indigent insane in the several
States that the constitutional question involved in the act would have
attracted forcibly the attention of Congress.

I respectfully submit that in a constitutional point of view it is
wholly immaterial whether the appropriation be in money or in land.

The public domain is the common property of the Union just as much as
the surplus proceeds of that and of duties on imports remaining
unexpended in the Treasury. As such it has been pledged, is now pledged,
and may need to be so pledged again for public indebtedness.

As property it is distinguished from actual money chiefly in this
respect, that its profitable management sometimes requires that portions
of it be appropriated to local objects in the States wherein it may
happen to lie, as would be done by any prudent proprietor to enhance the
sale value of his private domain. All such grants of land are in fact
a disposal of it for value received, but they afford no precedent or
constitutional reason for giving away the public lands. Still less do
they give sanction to appropriations for objects which have not been
intrusted to the Federal Government, and therefore belong exclusively
to the States.

To assume that the public lands are applicable to ordinary State
objects, whether of public structures, police, charity, or expenses of
State administration, would be to disregard to the amount of the value
of the public lands all the limitations of the Constitution and confound
to that extent all distinctions between the rights and powers of the
States and those of the United States; for if the public lands may be
applied to the support of the poor, whether sane or insane, if the
disposal of them and their proceeds be not subject to the ordinary
limitations of the Constitution, then Congress possesses unqualified
power to provide for expenditures in the States by means of the public
lands, even to the degree of defraying the salaries of governors,
judges, and all other expenses of the government and internal
administration within the several States.

The conclusion from the general survey of the whole subject is to
my mind irresistible, and closes the question both of right and of
expediency so far as regards the principle of the appropriation proposed
in this bill. Would not the admission of such power in Congress to
dispose of the public domain work the practical abrogation of some
of the most important provisions of the Constitution?

If the systematic reservation of a definite portion of the public lands
(the sixteenth sections) in the States for the purposes of education and
occasional grants for similar purposes be cited as contradicting these
conclusions, the answer as it appears to me is obvious and satisfactory.
Such reservations and grants, besides being a part of the conditions on
which the proprietary right of the United States is maintained, along
with the eminent domain of a particular State, and by which the public
land remains free from taxation in the State in which it lies as long
as it remains the property of the United States, are the acts of a mere
landowner disposing of a small share of his property in a way to augment
the value of the residue and in this mode to encourage the early
occupation of it by the industrious and intelligent pioneer.

The great example of apparent donation of lands to the States likely
to be relied upon as sustaining the principles of this bill is the
relinquishment of swamp lands to the States in which they are situated,
but this also, like other grants already referred to, was based
expressly upon grounds clearly distinguishable in principle from any
which can be assumed for the bill herewith returned, viz, upon the
interest and duty of the proprietor. They were charged, and not without
reason, to be a nuisance to the inhabitants of the surrounding country.
The measure was predicated not only upon the ground of the disease
inflicted upon the people of the States, which the United States could
not justify as a just and honest proprietor, but also upon an express
limitation of the application of the proceeds in the first instance
to purposes of levees and drains, thus protecting the health of the
inhabitants and at the same time enhancing the value of the remaining
lands belonging to the General Government.

It is not to be denied that Congress, while administering the public
lands as a proprietor within the principle distinctly announced in my
annual message, may sometimes have failed to distinguish accurately
between objects which are and which are not within its constitutional
powers.

After the most careful examination I find but two examples in the acts
of Congress which furnish any precedent for the present bill, and those
examples will, in my opinion, serve rather as a warning than as an
inducement to tread in the same path.

The first is the act of March 3, 1819, granting a township of land to
the Connecticut asylum for the education of the deaf and dumb; the
second, that of April 5, 1826, making a similar grant of land to the
Kentucky asylum for teaching the deaf and dumb--the first more than
thirty years after the adoption of the Constitution and the second more
than a quarter of a century ago. These acts were unimportant as to the
amount appropriated, and so far as I can ascertain were passed on two
grounds: First, that the object was a charitable one, and, secondly,
that it was national. To say that it was a charitable object is only
to say that it was an object of expenditure proper for the competent
authority; but it no more tended to show that it was a proper object of
expenditure by the United States than is any other purely local object
appealing to the best sympathies of the human heart in any of the
States. And the suggestion that a school for the mental culture of the
deaf and dumb in Connecticut or Kentucky is a national object only
shows how loosely this expression has been used when the purpose was
to procure appropriations by Congress. It is not perceived how a school
of this character is otherwise national than is any establishment of
religious or moral instruction. All the pursuits of industry, everything
which promotes the material or intellectual well-being of the race,
every ear of corn or boll of cotton which grows, is national in the same
sense, for each one of these things goes to swell the aggregate of
national prosperity and happiness of the United States; but it confounds
all meaning of language to say that these things are "national," as
equivalent to "Federal," so as to come within any of the classes of
appropriation for which Congress is authorized by the Constitution
to legislate.

It is a marked point of the history of the Constitution that when it was
proposed to empower Congress to establish a university the proposition
was confined to the District intended for the future seat of Government
of the United States, and that even that proposed clause was omitted in
consideration of the exclusive powers conferred on Congress to legislate
for that District. Could a more decisive indication of the true
construction and the spirit of the Constitution in regard to all matters
of this nature have been given? It proves that such objects were
considered by the Convention as appertaining to local legislation only;
that they were not comprehended, either expressly or by implication,
in the grant of general power to Congress, and that consequently they
remained with the several States.

The general result at which I have arrived is the necessary consequence
of those views of the relative rights, powers, and duties of the States
and of the Federal Government which I have long entertained and often
expressed and in reference to which my convictions do but increase in
force with time and experience.

I have thus discharged the unwelcome duty of respectfully stating my
objections to this bill, with which I cheerfully submit the whole
subject to the wisdom of Congress.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _August 4, 1854_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I have received the bill entitled "An act making appropriations for the
repair, preservation, and completion of certain public works heretofore
commenced under the authority of law." It reaches me in the expiring
hours of the session, and time does not allow full opportunity for
examining and considering its provisions or of stating at length the
reasons which forbid me to give it my signature.

It belongs to that class of measures which are commonly known as
internal improvements by the General Government, and which from a very
early period have been deemed of doubtful constitutionality and
expediency, and have thus failed to obtain the approbation of successive
Chief Magistrates.

On such an examination of this bill as it has been in my power to make,
I recognize in it certain provisions national in their character, and
which, if they stood alone, it would be compatible with my convictions
of public duty to assent to; but at the same time, it embraces others
which are merely local, and not, in my judgment, warranted by any safe
or true construction of the Constitution.

To make proper and sound discriminations between these different
provisions would require a deliberate discussion of general principles,
as well as a careful scrutiny of details for the purpose of rightfully
applying those principles to each separate item of appropriation.

Public opinion with regard to the value and importance of internal
improvements in the country is undivided. There is a disposition on all
hands to have them prosecuted with energy and to see the benefits sought
to be attained by them fully realized.

The prominent point of difference between those who have been regarded
as the friends of a system of internal improvements by the General
Government and those adverse to such a system has been one of
constitutional power, though more or less connected with considerations
of expediency.

My own judgment, it is well known, has on both grounds been opposed to
"a general system of internal improvements" by the Federal Government. I
have entertained the most serious doubts from the inherent difficulties
of its application, as well as from past unsatisfactory experience,
whether the power could be so exercised by the General Government as to
render its use advantageous either to the country at large or effectual
for the accomplishment of the object contemplated.

I shall consider it incumbent on me to present to Congress at its next
session a matured view of the whole subject, and to endeavor to define,
approximately at least, and according to my own convictions, what
appropriations of this nature by the General Government the great
interests of the United States require and the Constitution will admit
and sanction, in case no substitute should be devised capable of
reconciling differences both of constitutionality and expediency.

In the absence of the requisite means and time for duly considering the
whole subject at present and discussing such possible substitute, it
becomes necessary to return this bill to the House of Representatives,
in which it originated, and for the reasons thus briefly submitted to
the consideration of Congress to withhold from it my approval.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[The following message is inserted here because it is an exposition of
the reasons of the President for the veto of August 4, 1854, immediately
preceding.]

WASHINGTON, _December 30, 1854_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

In returning to the House of Representatives, in which it originated,
a bill entitled "An act making appropriations for the repair,
preservation, and completion of certain public works heretofore
commenced under the authority of law," it became necessary for me, owing
to the late day at which the bill was passed, to state my objections
to it very briefly, announcing at the same time a purpose to resume
the subject for more deliberate discussion at the present session of
Congress; for, while by no means insensible of the arduousness of the
task thus undertaken by me, I conceived that the two Houses were
entitled to an exposition of the considerations which had induced
dissent on my part from their conclusions in this instance.

The great constitutional question of the power of the General Government
in relation to internal improvements has been the subject of earnest
difference of opinion at every period of the history of the United
States. Annual and special messages of successive Presidents have been
occupied with it, sometimes in remarks on the general topic and
frequently in objection to particular bills. The conflicting sentiments
of eminent statesmen, expressed in Congress or in conventions called
expressly to devise, if possible, some plan calculated to relieve the
subject of the embarrassments with which it is environed, while they
have directed public attention strongly to the magnitude of the
interests involved, have yet left unsettled the limits, not merely of
expediency, but of constitutional power, in relation to works of this
class by the General Government.

What is intended by the phrase "internal improvements"? What does it
embrace and what exclude? No such language is found in the Constitution.
Not only is it not an expression of ascertainable constitutional power,
but it has no sufficient exactness of meaning to be of any value as the
basis of a safe conclusion either of constitutional law or of practical
statesmanship.

President John Quincy Adams, in claiming on one occasion, after his
retirement from office, the authorship of the idea of introducing into
the administration of the affairs of the General Government "a permanent
and regular system" of internal improvements, speaks of it as a system
by which "the whole Union would have been checkered over with railroads
and canals," affording "high wages and constant employment to hundreds
of thousands of laborers;" and he places it in express contrast with the
construction of such works by the legislation of the States and by
private enterprise.

It is quite obvious that if there be any constitutional power which
authorizes the construction of "railroads and canals" by Congress, the
same power must comprehend turnpikes and ordinary carriage roads; nay, it
must extend to the construction of bridges, to the draining of marshes,
to the erection of levees, to the construction of canals of irrigation;
in a word, to all the possible means of the material improvement of the
earth, by developing its natural resources anywhere and everywhere, even
within the proper jurisdiction of the several States. But if there be
any constitutional power thus comprehensive in its nature, must not the
same power embrace within its scope other kinds of improvement of equal
utility in themselves and equally important to the welfare of the whole
country? President Jefferson, while intimating the expediency of so
amending the Constitution as to comprise objects of physical progress
and well-being, does not fail to perceive that "other objects of public
improvement," including "public education" by name, belong to the same
class of powers. In fact, not only public instruction, but hospitals,
establishments of science and art, libraries, and, indeed, everything
appertaining to the internal welfare of the country, are just as much
objects of internal improvement, or, in other words, of internal
utility, as canals and railways.

The admission of the power in either of its senses implies its existence
in the other; and since if it exists at all it involves dangerous
augmentation of the political functions and of the patronage of the
Federal Government, we ought to see clearly by what clause or clauses of
the Constitution it is conferred.

I have had occasion more than once to express, and deem it proper now
to repeat, that it is, in my judgment, to be taken for granted, as a
fundamental proposition not requiring elucidation, that the Federal
Government is the creature of the individual States and of the people
of the States severally; that the sovereign power was in them alone;
that all the powers of the Federal Government are derivative ones, the
enumeration and limitations of which are contained in the instrument
which organized it; and by express terms "the powers not delegated to
the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the States
are reserved to the States respectively or to the people."

Starting from this foundation of our constitutional faith and proceeding
to inquire in what part of the Constitution the power of making
appropriations for internal improvements is found, it is necessary to
reject all idea of there being any grant of power in the preamble.
When that instrument says, "We, the people of the United States, in
order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic
tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general
welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our
posterity," it only declares the inducements and the anticipated results
of the things ordained and established by it. To assume that anything
more can be designed by the language of the preamble would be to
convert all the body of the Constitution, with its carefully weighed
enumerations and limitations, into mere surplusage. The same may be said
of the phrase in the grant of the power to Congress "to pay the debts
and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United
States;" or, to construe the words more exactly, they are not
significant of grant or concession, but of restriction of the specific
grants, having the effect of saying that in laying and collecting
taxes for each of the precise objects of power granted to the General
Government Congress must exercise any such definite and undoubted power
in strict subordination to the purpose of the common defense and general
welfare of all the States.

There being no specific grant in the Constitution of a power to sanction
appropriations for internal improvements, and no general provision broad
enough to cover any such indefinite object, it becomes necessary to look
for particular powers to which one or another of the things included in
the phrase "internal improvements" may be referred.

In the discussions of this question by the advocates of the organization
of a "general system of internal improvements" under the auspices of the
Federal Government, reliance is had for the justification of the measure
on several of the powers expressly granted to Congress, such as to
establish post-offices and post-roads, to declare war, to provide and
maintain a navy, to raise and support armies, to regulate commerce, and
to dispose of the territory and other public property of the United
States,

As to the last of these sources of power, that of disposing of the
territory and other public property of the United States, it may be
conceded that it authorizes Congress, in the management of the public
property, to make improvements essential to the successful execution of
the trust; but this must be the primary object of any such improvement,
and it would be an abuse of the trust to sacrifice the interest of the
property to incidental purposes.

As to the other assumed sources of a general power over internal
improvements, they being specific powers of which this is supposed to be
the incident, if the framers of the Constitution, wise and thoughtful
men as they were, intended to confer on Congress the power over a
subject so wide as the whole field of internal improvements, it is
remarkable that they did not use language clearly to express it, or, in
other words, that they did not give it as a distinct and substantive
power instead of making it the implied incident of some other one; for
such is the magnitude of the supposed incidental power and its capacity
of expansion that any system established under it would exceed each of
the others in the amount of expenditure and number of the persons
employed, which would thus be thrown upon the General Government.

This position may be illustrated by taking as a single example one of
the many things comprehended clearly in the idea of "a general system of
internal improvements," namely, roads. Let it be supposed that the power
to construct roads over the whole Union, according to the suggestion of
President J.Q. Adams in 1807, whilst a member of the Senate of the
United States, had been conceded. Congress would have begun, in
pursuance of the state of knowledge at the time, by constructing
turnpikes; then, as knowledge advanced, it would have constructed
canals, and at the present time it would have been embarked in an almost
limitless scheme of railroads.

Now there are in the United States, the results of State or private
enterprise, upward of 17,000 miles of railroads and 5,000 miles of
canals; in all, 22,000 miles, the total cost of which may be estimated
at little short of $600,000,000; and if the same works had been
constructed by the Federal Government, supposing the thing to have
been practicable, the cost would have probably been not less than
$900,000,000. The number of persons employed in superintending,
managing, and keeping up these canals and railroads may be stated at
126,000 or thereabouts, to which are to be added 70,000 or 80,000
employed on the railroads in construction, making a total of at least
200,000 persons, representing in families nearly 1,000,000 souls,
employed on or maintained by this one class of public works in the
United States.

In view of all this, it is not easy to estimate the disastrous
consequences which must have resulted from such extended local
improvements being undertaken by the General Government. State
legislation upon this subject would have been suspended and private
enterprise paralyzed, while applications for appropriations would have
perverted the legislation of Congress, exhausted the National Treasury,
and left the people burdened with a heavy public debt, beyond the
capacity of generations to discharge.

Is it conceivable that the framers of the Constitution intended that
authority drawing after it such immense consequences should be inferred
by implication as the incident of enumerated powers? I can not think
this, and the impossibility of supposing it would be still more glaring
if similar calculations were carried out in regard to the numerous
objects of material, moral, and political usefulness of which the idea
of internal improvement admits. It may be safely inferred that if the
framers of the Constitution had intended to confer the power to make
appropriations for the objects indicated, it would have been enumerated
among the grants expressly made to Congress.. When, therefore, any one
of the powers actually enumerated is adduced or referred to as the
ground of an assumption to warrant the incidental or implied power of
"internal improvement," that hypothesis must be rejected, or at least
can be no further admitted than as the particular act of internal
improvement may happen to be necessary to the exercise of the granted
power. Thus, when the object of a given road, the clearing of a
particular channel, or the construction of a particular harbor of refuge
is manifestly required by the exigencies of the naval or military
service of the country, then it seems to me undeniable that it may be
constitutionally comprehended in the powers to declare war, to provide
and maintain a navy, and to raise and support armies. At the same time,
it would be a misuse of these powers and a violation of the Constitution
to undertake to build upon them a great system of internal improvements.
And similar reasoning applies to the assumption of any such power as
is involved in that to establish post-roads and to regulate commerce.
If the particular improvement, whether by land or sea, be necessary to
the execution of the enumerated powers, then, but not otherwise, it
falls within the jurisdiction of Congress. To this extent only can
the power be claimed as the incident of any express grant to the
Federal Government.

But there is one clause of the Constitution in which it has been
suggested that express authority to construct works of internal
improvement has been conferred on Congress, namely, that which empowers
it "to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever over such
district (not exceeding 10 miles square) as may by cession of particular
States and the acceptance of Congress become the seat of the Government
of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places
purchased by the consent of the legislature of the State in which the
same shall be for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards,
and _other needful buildings_..." But any such supposition will be seen
to be groundless when this provision is carefully examined and compared
with other parts of the Constitution.

It is undoubtedly true that "like authority" refers back to "exclusive
legislation in all cases whatsoever" as applied to the District of
Columbia, and there is in the District no division of powers as between
the General and the State Governments.

In those places which the United States has purchased or retains within
any of the States--sites for dockyards or forts, for example--legal
process of the given State is still permitted to run for some purposes,
and therefore the jurisdiction of the United States is not absolutely
perfect. But let us assume for the argument's sake that the jurisdiction
of the United States in a tract of land ceded to it for the purpose of a
dockyard or fort by Virginia or Maryland is as complete as in that ceded
by them for the seat of Government, and then proceed to analyze this
clause of the Constitution.

It provides that Congress shall have certain legislative authority over
all places purchased by the United States for certain purposes. It
implies that Congress has otherwise the power to purchase. But where
does Congress get the power to purchase? Manifestly it must be from some
other clause of the Constitution, for it is not conferred by this one.
Now, as it is a fundamental principle that the Constitution is one of
limited powers, the authority to purchase must be conferred in one of
the enumerations of legislative power; so that the power to purchase is
itself not an unlimited one, but is limited by the objects in regard to
which legislative authority is directly conferred.

The other expressions of the clause in question confirm this
conclusion, since the jurisdiction is given as to places purchased
for certain enumerated objects or purposes. Of these the first great
division--forts, magazines, arsenals, and dockyards--is obviously
referable to recognized heads of specific constitutional power. There
remains only the phrase "and other _needful_ buildings." Wherefore
needful? Needful for any possible purpose within the whole range of
the business of society and of Government? Clearly not; but only such
"buildings" as are "needful" to the United States in the exercise of
any of the powers conferred on Congress.

Thus the United States need, in the exercise of admitted powers, not
only forts, magazines, arsenals, and dockyards, but also court-houses,
prisons, custom-houses, and post-offices within the respective States.
Places for the erection of such buildings the General Government may
constitutionally purchase, and, having purchased them, the jurisdiction
over them belongs to the United States. So if the General Government has
the power to build a light-house or a beacon, it may purchase a place
for that object; and having purchased it, then this clause of the
Constitution gives jurisdiction over it. Still, the power to purchase
for the purpose of erecting a light-house or beacon must depend on the
existence of the power to erect, and if that power exists it must be
sought after in some other clause of the Constitution.

From whatever point of view, therefore, the subject is regarded, whether
as a question of express or implied power, the conclusion is the same,
that Congress has no constitutional authority to carry on a system of
internal improvements; and in this conviction the system has been
steadily opposed by the soundest expositors of the functions of the
Government.

It is not to be supposed that in no conceivable case shall there be
doubt as to whether a given object be or not a necessary incident
of the military, naval, or any other power. As man is imperfect, so
are his methods of uttering his thoughts. Human language, save in
expressions for the exact sciences, must always fail to preclude all
possibility of controversy. Hence it is that in one branch of the
subject--the question of the power of Congress to make appropriations
in aid of navigation--there is less of positive conviction than in
regard to the general subject; and it therefore seems proper in this
respect to revert to the history of the practice of the Government.

Among the very earliest acts of the first session of Congress was that
for the establishment and support of light-houses, approved by President
Washington on the 7th of August, 1789, which contains the following
provisions:

That all expenses which shall accrue from and after the 15th day of
August, 1789, in the necessary support, maintenance, and repairs of
all light-houses, beacons, buoys, and public piers erected, placed, or
sunk before the passing of this act at the entrance of or within any
bay, inlet, harbor, or port of the United States, for rendering the
navigation thereof easy and safe, shall be defrayed out of the Treasury
of the United States: _Provided, nevertheless_, That none of the said
expenses shall continue to be so defrayed after the expiration of one
year from the day aforesaid unless such light-houses, beacons, buoys,
and public piers shall in the meantime be ceded to and vested in the
United States by the State or States, respectively, in which the same
may be, together with the lands and tenements thereunto belonging and
together with the jurisdiction of the same.

Acts containing appropriations for this class of public works were
passed in 1791, 1792, 1793, and so on from year to year down to the
present time; and the tenor of these acts, when examined with reference
to other parts of the subject, is worthy of special consideration.

It is a remarkable fact that for a period of more than thirty years
after the adoption of the Constitution all appropriations of this class
were confined, with scarcely an apparent exception, to the construction
of light-houses, beacons, buoys, and public piers and the stakage of
channels; to render navigation "safe and easy," it is true, but only
by indicating to the navigator obstacles in his way, not by removing
those obstacles nor in any other respect changing, artificially, the
preexisting natural condition of the earth and sea. It is obvious,
however, that works of art for the removal of natural impediments to
navigation, or to prevent their formation, or for supplying harbors
where these do not exist, are also means of rendering navigation safe
and easy, and may in supposable cases be the most efficient, as well as
the most economical, of such means. Nevertheless, it is not until the
year 1824 that in an act to improve the navigation of the rivers Ohio
and Mississippi and in another act making appropriations for deepening
the channel leading into the harbor of Presque Isle, on Lake Erie, and
for repairing Plymouth Beach, in Massachusetts Bay, we have any example
of an appropriation for the improvement of harbors in the nature of
those provided for in the bill returned by me to the House of
Representatives.

It appears not probable that the abstinence of Congress in this respect
is attributable altogether to considerations of economy or to any
failure to perceive that the removal of an obstacle to navigation might
be not less useful than the indication of it for avoidance, and it may
be well assumed that the course of legislation so long pursued was
induced, in whole or in part, by solicitous consideration in regard to

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