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

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the constitutional power over such matters vested in Congress.

One other peculiarity in this course of legislation is not less
remarkable. It is that when the General Government first took charge of
lighthouses and beacons it required the works themselves and the lands
on which they were situated to be ceded to the United States. And
although for a time this precaution was neglected in the case of new
works, in the sequel it was provided by general laws that no light-house
should be constructed on any site previous to the jurisdiction over the
same being ceded to the United States.

Constitutional authority for the construction and support of many of the
public works of this nature, it is certain, may be found in the power
of Congress to maintain a navy and provide for the general defense; but
their number, and in many instances their location, preclude the idea of
their being fully justified as necessary and proper incidents of that
power. And they do not seem susceptible of being referred to any other
of the specific powers vested in Congress by the Constitution, unless it
be that to raise revenue in so far as this relates to navigation. The
practice under all my predecessors in office, the express admissions of
some of them, and absence of denial by any sufficiently manifest their
belief that the power to erect light-houses, beacons, and piers is
possessed by the General Government. In the acts of Congress, as we
have already seen, the inducement and object of the appropriations
are expressly declared, those appropriations being for "light-houses,
beacons, buoys, and public piers" erected or placed "within any bay,
inlet, harbor, or port of the United States for rendering the navigation
thereof easy and safe."

If it be contended that this review of the history of appropriations
of this class leads to the inference that, beyond the purposes of
national defense and maintenance of a navy, there is authority in the
Constitution to construct certain works in aid of navigation, it is
at the same time to be remembered that the conclusions thus deduced
from cotemporaneous construction and long-continued acquiescence are
themselves directly suggestive of limitations of constitutionality, as
well as expediency, regarding the nature and the description of those
aids to navigation which Congress may provide as incident to the revenue
power; for at this point controversy begins, not so much as to the
principle as to its application.

In accordance with long-established legislative usage, Congress may
construct light-houses and beacons and provide, as it does, other means
to prevent shipwrecks on the coasts of the United States. But the
General Government can not go beyond this and make improvements of
rivers and harbors of the nature and to the degree of all the provisions
of the bill of the last session of Congress.

To justify such extended power, it has been urged that if it be
constitutional to appropriate money for the purpose of pointing out,
by the construction of light-houses or beacons, where an obstacle to
navigation exists, it is equally so to remove such obstacle or to avoid
it by the creation of an artificial channel; that if the object be
lawful, then the means adopted solely with reference to the end must
be lawful, and that therefore it is not material, constitutionally
speaking, whether a given obstruction to navigation be indicated for
avoidance or be actually avoided by excavating a new channel; that if
it be a legitimate object of expenditure to preserve a ship from wreck
by means of a beacon or of revenue cutters, it must be not less so
to provide places of safety by the improvement of harbors, or, where
none exist, by their artificial construction; and thence the argument
naturally passes to the propriety of improving rivers for the benefit
of internal navigation, because all these objects are of more or less
importance to the commercial as well as the naval interests of the
United States.

The answer to all this is that the question of opening speedy and easy
communication to and through all parts of the country is substantially
the same, whether done by land or water; that the uses of roads and
canals in facilitating commercial intercourse and uniting by community
of interests the most remote quarters of the country by land
communication are the same in their nature as the uses of navigable
waters; and that therefore the question of the facilities and aids to
be provided to navigation, by whatsoever means, is but a subdivision of
the great question of the constitutionality and expediency of internal
improvements by the General Government. In confirmation of this it is to
be remarked that one of the most important acts of appropriation of this
class, that of the year 1833, under the Administration of President
Jackson, by including together and providing for in one bill as well
river and harbor works as road works, impliedly recognizes the fact that
they are alike branches of the same great subject of internal
improvements.

As the population, territory, and wealth of the country increased and
settlements extended into remote regions, the necessity for additional
means of communication impressed itself upon all minds with a force
which had not been experienced at the date of the formation of the
Constitution, and more and more embarrassed those who were most anxious
to abstain scrupulously from any exercise of doubtful power. Hence the
recognition in the messages of Presidents Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe
of the eminent desirableness of such works, with admission that some of
them could lawfully and should be conducted by the General Government,
but with obvious uncertainty of opinion as to the line between such
as are constitutional and such as are not, such as ought to receive
appropriations from Congress and such as ought to be consigned to
private enterprise or the legislation of the several States.

This uncertainty has not been removed by the practical working of our
institutions in later times; for although the acquisition of additional
territory and the application of steam to the propulsion of vessels have
greatly magnified the importance of internal commerce, this fact has at
the same time complicated the question of the power of the General
Government over the present subject.

In fine, a careful review of the opinions of all my predecessors and of
the legislative history of the country does not indicate any fixed rule
by which to decide what, of the infinite variety of possible river and
harbor improvements, are within the scope of the power delegated by
the Constitution; and the question still remains unsettled. President
Jackson conceded the constitutionality, under suitable circumstances, of
the improvement of rivers and harbors through the agency of Congress,
and President Polk admitted the propriety of the establishment and
support by appropriations from the Treasury of light-houses, beacons,
buoys, and other improvements within the bays, inlets, and harbors of
the ocean and lake coasts immediately connected with foreign commerce.

But if the distinction thus made rests upon the differences between
foreign and domestic commerce it can not be restricted thereby to the
bays, inlets, and harbors of the oceans and lakes, because foreign
commerce has already penetrated thousands of miles into the interior
of the continent by means of our great rivers, and will continue so to
extend itself with the progress of settlement until it reaches the limit
of navigability.

At the time of the adoption of the Constitution the vast Valley of the
Mississippi, now teeming with population and supplying almost boundless
resources, was literally an unexplored wilderness. Our advancement has
outstripped even the most sanguine anticipations of the fathers of
the Republic, and it illustrates the fact that no rule is admissible
which undertakes to discriminate, so far as regards river and harbor
improvements, between the Atlantic or Pacific coasts and the great lakes
and rivers of the interior regions of North America. Indeed, it is quite
erroneous to suppose that any such discrimination has ever existed
in the practice of the Government. To the contrary of which is the
significant fact, before stated, that when, after abstaining from all
such appropriations for more than thirty years, Congress entered upon
the policy of improving the navigation of rivers and harbors, it
commenced with the rivers Mississippi and Ohio.

The Congress of the Union, adopting in this respect one of the ideas of
that of the Confederation, has taken heed to declare from time to time,
as occasion required, either in acts for disposing of the public lands
in the Territories or in acts for admitting new States, that all
navigable rivers within the same "shall be deemed to be and remain
public highways."

Out of this condition of things arose a question which at successive
periods of our public annals has occupied the attention of the best
minds in the Union. This question is, What waters are public navigable
waters, so as not to be of State character and jurisdiction, but of
Federal jurisdiction and character, in the intent of the Constitution
and of Congress? A proximate, but imperfect, answer to this important
question is furnished by the acts of Congress and the decisions of the
Supreme Court of the United States defining the constitutional limits of
the maritime jurisdiction of the General Government. That jurisdiction
is entirely independent of the revenue power. It is not derived from
that, nor is it measured thereby.

In that act of Congress which, in the first year of the Government,
organized our judicial system, and which, whether we look to the
subject, the comprehensive wisdom with which it was treated, or the
deference with which its provisions have come to be regarded, is only
second to the Constitution itself, there is a section in which the
statesmen who framed the Constitution have placed on record their
construction of it in this matter. It enacts that the district courts of
the United States "shall have exclusive cognizance of all civil cases
of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, including all seizures under
the law of impost, navigation, or trade of the United States, when the
seizures are made on waters which are navigable from the sea by vessels
of 10 or more tons burden, within their respective districts, as well
as upon the high seas." In this cotemporaneous exposition of the
Constitution there is no trace or suggestion that nationality of
jurisdiction is limited to the sea, or even to tide waters. The law is
marked by a sagacious apprehension of the fact that the Great Lakes
and the Mississippi were navigable waters of the United States even
then, before the acquisition of Louisiana had made wholly our own the
territorial greatness of the West. It repudiates unequivocally the rule
of the common law, according to which the question of whether a water
is public navigable water or not depends on whether it is salt or not,
and therefore, in a river, confines that quality to tide water--a rule
resulting from the geographical condition of England and applicable to
an island, with small and narrow streams, the only navigable portion of
which, for ships, is in immediate contact with the ocean, but wholly
inapplicable to the great inland fresh-water seas of America and its
mighty rivers, with secondary branches exceeding in magnitude the
largest rivers of Great Britain.

At a later period it is true that, in disregard of the more
comprehensive definition of navigability afforded by that act of
Congress, it was for a time held by many that the rule established for
England was to be received in the United States, the effect of which was
to exclude from the jurisdiction of the General Government not only the
waters of the Mississippi, but also those of the Great Lakes. To this
construction it was with truth objected that, in so far as concerns the
lakes, they are in fact seas, although of freshwater; that they are the
natural marine communications between a series of populous States and
between them and the possessions of a foreign nation; that they are
actually navigated by ships of commerce of the largest capacity; that
they had once been and might again be the scene of foreign war; and that
therefore it was doing violence to all reason to undertake by means of
an arbitrary doctrine of technical foreign law to exclude such waters
from the jurisdiction of the General Government. In regard to the river
Mississippi, it was objected that to draw a line across that river at
the point of ebb and flood of tide, and say that the part below was
public navigable water and the part above not, while in the latter the
water was at least equally deep and navigable and its commerce as rich
as in the former, with numerous ports of foreign entry and delivery, was
to sanction a distinction artificial and unjust, because regardless of
the real fact of navigability.

We may conceive that some such considerations led to the enactment in
the year 1845 of an act in addition to that of 1789, declaring that--

The district courts of the United States shall have, possess, and
exercise the same jurisdiction in matters of contract and tort arising
in, upon, or concerning steamboats and other vessels of 20 tons burden
and upward, enrolled and licensed for the coasting trade and at the time
employed in business of commerce and navigation between ports and places
in different States and Territories upon the lakes and navigable waters
connecting said lakes, as is now possessed and exercised by the said
courts in cases of the like steamboats and other vessels employed in
navigation and commerce upon the high seas or tide waters within the
admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the United States.

It is observable that the act of 1789 applies the jurisdiction of the
United States to all "waters which are navigable from the sea" for
vessels of 10 tons burden, and that of 1845 extends the jurisdiction to
enrolled vessels of 20 tons burden, on the lakes and navigable waters
connecting said lakes, though not waters navigable from the sea,
provided such vessels be employed between places in different States and
Territories.

Thus it appears that these provisions of law in effect prescribe
conditions by which to determine whether any waters are public navigable
waters, subject to the authority of the Federal Government. The
conditions include all waters, whether salt or fresh, and whether of
sea, lake, or river, provided they be capable of navigation by vessels
of a certain tonnage, and for commerce either between the United States
and foreign countries or between any two or more of the States or
Territories of the Union. This excludes water wholly within any
particular State, and not used as the means of commercial communication
with any other State, and subject to be improved or obstructed at will
by the State within which it may happen to be.

The constitutionality of these provisions of statute has been called
in question. Their constitutionality has been maintained, however,
by repeated decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States, and
they are therefore the law of the land by the concurrent act of the
legislative, the executive, and the judicial departments of the
Government. Regarded as affording a criterion of what is navigable
water, and as such subject to the maritime jurisdiction of the Supreme
Court and of Congress, these acts are objectionable in this, that the
rule of navigability is an arbitrary one, that Congress may repeal
the present rule and adopt a new one, and that thus a legislative
definition will be able to restrict or enlarge the limits of
constitutional power. Yet this variableness of standard seems inherent
in the nature of things. At any rate, neither the First Congress,
composed of the statesmen of the era when the Constitution was adopted,
nor any subsequent Congress has afforded us the means of attaining
greater precision of construction as to this part of the Constitution.

This reflection may serve to relieve from undeserved reproach an
idea of one of the greatest men of the Republic--President Jackson.
He, seeking amid all the difficulties of the subject for some practical
rule of action in regard to appropriations for the improvement of rivers
and harbors, prescribed for his own official conduct the rule of
confining such appropriations to "places below the ports of entry or
delivery established by law." He saw clearly, as the authors of the
above-mentioned acts of 1789 and 1845 did, that there is no inflexible
natural line of discrimination between what is national and what local
by means of which to determine absolutely and unerringly at what point
on a river the jurisdiction of the United States shall end. He
perceived, and of course admitted, that the Constitution, while
conferring on the General Government some power of action to render
navigation safe and easy, had of necessity left to Congress much of
discretion in this matter. He confided in the patriotism of Congress to
exercise that discretion wisely, not permitting himself to suppose it
possible that a port of entry or delivery would ever be established by
law for the express and only purpose of evading the Constitution.

It remains, therefore, to consider the question of the measure of
discretion in the exercise by Congress of the power to provide for the
improvement of rivers and harbors, and also that of the legitimate
responsibility of the Executive in the same relation.

In matters of legislation of the most unquestionable constitutionality
it is always material to consider what amount of public money shall be
appropriated for any particular object. The same consideration applies
with augmented force to a class of appropriations which are in their
nature peculiarly prone to run to excess, and which, being made in the
exercise of incidental powers, have intrinsic tendency to overstep the
bounds of constitutionality.

If an appropriation for improving the navigability of a river or
deepening or protecting a harbor have reference to military or naval
purposes, then its rightfulness, whether in amount or in the objects
to which it is applied, depends, manifestly, on the military or naval
exigency; and the subject-matter affords its own measure of legislative
discretion. But if the appropriation for such an object have no distinct
relation to the military or naval wants of the country, and is wholly,
or even mainly, intended to promote the revenue from commerce, then the
very vagueness of the proposed purpose of the expenditure constitutes
a perpetual admonition of reserve and caution. Through disregard of
this it is undeniable that in many cases appropriations of this nature
have been made unwisely, without accomplishing beneficial results
commensurate with the cost, and sometimes for evil rather than good,
independently of their dubious relation to the Constitution.

Among the radical changes of the course of legislation in these matters
which, in my judgment, the public interest demands, one is a return to
the primitive idea of Congress, which required in this class of public
works, as in all others, a conveyance of the soil and a cession of the
jurisdiction to the United States. I think this condition ought never to
have been waived in the case of any harbor improvement of a permanent
nature, as where piers, jetties, sea walls, and other like works are to
be constructed and maintained. It would powerfully tend to counteract
endeavors to obtain appropriations of a local character and chiefly
calculated to promote individual interests. The want of such a provision
is the occasion of abuses in regard to existing works, exposing them to
private encroachment without sufficient means of redress by law. Indeed,
the absence in such cases of a cession of jurisdiction has constituted
one of the constitutional objections to appropriations of this class.
It is not easy to perceive any sufficient reason for requiring it in
the case of arsenals or forts which does not equally apply to all other
public works. If to be constructed and maintained by Congress in the
exercise of a constitutional power of appropriation, they should be
brought within the jurisdiction of the United States.

There is another measure of precaution in regard to such appropriations
which seems to me to be worthy of the consideration of Congress. It is
to make appropriation for every work in a separate bill, so that each
one shall stand on its own independent merits, and if it pass shall
do so under circumstances of legislative scrutiny entitling it to be
regarded as of general interest and a proper subject of charge on the
Treasury of the Union.

During that period of time in which the country had not come to look to
Congress for appropriations of this nature several of the States whose
productions or geographical position invited foreign commerce had
entered upon plans for the improvement of their harbors by themselves
and through means of support drawn directly from that commerce, in
virtue of an express constitutional power, needing for its exercise
only the permission of Congress. Harbor improvements thus constructed
and maintained, the expenditures upon them being defrayed by the very
facilities they afford, are a voluntary charge on those only who see fit
to avail themselves of such facilities, and can be justly complained of
by none. On the other hand, so long as these improvements are carried on
by appropriations from the Treasury the benefits will continue to inure
to those alone who enjoy the facilities afforded, while the expenditure
will be a burden upon the whole country and the discrimination a double
injury to places equally requiring improvement, but not equally favored
by appropriations.

These considerations, added to the embarrassments of the whole question,
amply suffice to suggest the policy of confining appropriations by the
General Government to works necessary to the execution of its undoubted
powers and of leaving all others to individual enterprise or to the
separate States, to be provided for out of their own resources or by
recurrence to the provision of the Constitution which authorizes the
States to lay duties of tonnage with the consent of Congress.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

PROCLAMATIONS.

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

A PROCLAMATION.

Whereas information has been received by me that an unlawful expedition
has been fitted out in the State of California with a view to invade
Mexico, a nation maintaining friendly relations with the United States,
and that other expeditions are organizing within the United States for
the same unlawful purpose; and

Whereas certain citizens and inhabitants of this country, unmindful
of their obligations and duties and of the rights of a friendly power,
have participated and are about to participate in these enterprises,
so derogatory to our national character and so threatening to our
tranquillity, and are thereby incurring the severe penalties imposed
by law against such offenders:

Now, therefore, I, Franklin Pierce, President of the United States,
have issued this my proclamation, warning all persons who shall connect
themselves with any such enterprise or expedition that the penalties
of the law denounced against such criminal conduct will be rigidly
enforced; and I exhort all good citizens, as they regard our national
character, as they respect our laws or the law of nations, as they
value the blessings of peace and the welfare of their country,
to discountenance and by all lawful means prevent such criminal
enterprises; and I call upon all officers of this Government, civil
and military, to use any efforts which may be in their power to arrest
for trial and punishment every such offender.

[SEAL.]

Given under my hand and the seal of the United States, at Washington,
this 18th day of January, A.D. 1854, and the seventy-eighth of the
Independence of the United States.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

By the President:
W.L. MARCY,
_Secretary of State_.

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

A PROCLAMATION.

Whereas information has been received that sundry persons, citizens of
the United States and others residing therein, are engaged in organizing
and fitting out a military expedition for the invasion of the island of
Cuba; and

Whereas the said undertaking is contrary to the spirit and express
stipulations of treaties between the United States and Spain, derogatory
to the character of this nation, and in violation of the obvious duties
and obligations of faithful and patriotic citizens; and

Whereas it is the duty of the constituted authorities of the United
States to hold and maintain the control of the great question of peace
or war, and not suffer the same to be lawlessly complicated under any
pretense whatever; and

Whereas to that end all private enterprises of a hostile character
within the United States against any foreign power with which the United
States are at peace are forbidden and declared to be a high misdemeanor
by an express act of Congress:

Now, therefore, in virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution in
the President of the United States, I do issue this proclamation to warn
all persons that the General Government claims it as a right and duty to
interpose itself for the honor of its flag, the rights of its citizens,
the national security, and the preservation of the public tranquillity,
from whatever quarter menaced, and it will not fail to prosecute with
due energy all those who, unmindful of their own and their country's
fame, presume thus to disregard the laws of the land and our treaty
obligations.

I earnestly exhort all good citizens to discountenance and prevent any
movement in conflict with law and national faith, especially charging
the several district attorneys, collectors, and other officers of the
United States, civil or military, having lawful power in the premises,
to exert the same for the purpose of maintaining the authority and
preserving the peace of the United States.

[SEAL.]

Given under my hand and the seal of the United States, at Washington,
the 31st day of May, A.D. 1854, and the seventy-eighth of the
Independence Of the United States.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

By the President:
W.L. MARCY,
_Secretary of State_.

SECOND ANNUAL MESSAGE.

WASHINGTON, _December 4_, _1854_.

_Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives_:

The past has been an eventful year, and will be hereafter referred to as
a marked epoch in the history of the world. While we have been happily
preserved from the calamities of war, our domestic prosperity has not
been entirely uninterrupted. The crops in portions of the country have
been nearly cut off. Disease has prevailed to a greater extent than
usual, and the sacrifice of human life through casualties by sea and
land is without parallel. But the pestilence has swept by, and restored
salubrity invites the absent to their homes and the return of business
to its ordinary channels. If the earth has rewarded the labor of the
husbandman less bountifully than in preceding seasons, it has left him
with abundance for domestic wants and a large surplus for exportation.
In the present, therefore, as in the past, we find ample grounds for
reverent thankfulness to the God of grace and providence for His
protecting care and merciful dealings with us as a people.

Although our attention has been arrested by painful interest in passing
events, yet our country feels no more than the slight vibrations of the
convulsions which have shaken Europe. As individuals we can not repress
sympathy with human suffering nor regret for the causes which produce
it; as a nation we are reminded that whatever interrupts the peace or
checks the prosperity of any part of Christendom tends more or less
to involve our own. The condition of States is not unlike that of
individuals; they are mutually dependent upon each other. Amicable
relations between them and reciprocal good will are essential for the
promotion of whatever is desirable in their moral, social, and political
condition. Hence it has been my earnest endeavor to maintain peace and
friendly intercourse with all nations.

The wise theory of this Government, so early adopted and steadily
pursued, of avoiding all entangling alliances has hitherto exempted
it from many complications in which it would otherwise have become
involved. Notwithstanding this our clearly defined and well-sustained
course of action and our geographical position, so remote from Europe,
increasing disposition has been manifested by some of its Governments to
supervise and in certain respects to direct our foreign policy. In plans
for adjusting the balance of power among themselves they have assumed to
take us into account, and would constrain us to conform our conduct to
their views. One or another of the powers of Europe has from time to
time undertaken to enforce arbitrary regulations contrary in many
respects to established principles of international law. That law the
United States have in their foreign intercourse uniformly respected and
observed, and they can not recognize any such interpolations therein as
the temporary interests of others may suggest. They do not admit that
the sovereigns of one continent or of a particular community of states
can legislate for all others.

Leaving the transatlantic nations to adjust their political system in
the way they may think best for their common welfare, the independent
powers of this continent may well assert the right to be exempt from all
annoying interference on their part. Systematic abstinence from intimate
political connection with distant foreign nations does not conflict with
giving the widest range to our foreign commerce. This distinction, so
clearly marked in history, seems to have been overlooked or disregarded
by some leading foreign states. Our refusal to be brought within and
subjected to their peculiar system has, I fear, created a jealous
distrust of our conduct and induced on their part occasional acts of
disturbing effect upon our foreign relations. Our present attitude and
past course give assurances, which should not be questioned, that our
purposes are not aggressive nor threatening to the safety and welfare of
other nations. Our military establishment in time of peace is adapted to
maintain exterior defenses and to preserve order among the aboriginal
tribes within the limits of the Union. Our naval force is intended only
for the protection of our citizens abroad and of our commerce, diffused,
as it is, over all the seas of the globe. The Government of the United
States, being essentially pacific in policy, stands prepared to repel
invasion by the voluntary service of a patriotic people, and provides no
permanent means of foreign aggression. These considerations should allay
all apprehension that we are disposed to encroach on the rights or
endanger the security of other states.

Some European powers have regarded with disquieting concern the
territorial expansion of the United States. This rapid growth has
resulted from the legitimate exercise of sovereign rights belonging
alike to all nations, and by many liberally exercised. Under such
circumstances it could hardly have been expected that those among them
which have within a comparatively recent period subdued and absorbed
ancient kingdoms, planted their standards on every continent, and now
possess or claim the control of the islands of every ocean as their
appropriate domain would look with unfriendly sentiments upon the
acquisitions of this country, in every instance honorably obtained, or
would feel themselves justified in imputing our advancement to a spirit
of aggression or to a passion for political predominance.

Our foreign commerce has reached a magnitude and extent nearly equal to
that of the first maritime power of the earth, and exceeding that of any
other. Over this great interest, in which not only our merchants, but
all classes of citizens, at least indirectly, are concerned, it is
the duty of the executive and legislative branches of the Government
to exercise a careful supervision and adopt proper measures for its
protection. The policy which I had in view in regard to this interest
embraces its future as well as its present security. Long experience has
shown that, in general, when the principal powers of Europe are engaged
in war the rights of neutral nations are endangered. This consideration
led, in the progress of the War of our Independence, to the formation of
the celebrated confederacy of armed neutrality, a primary object of
which was to assert the doctrine that free ships make free goods, except
in the case of articles contraband of war--a doctrine which from the
very commencement of our national being has been a cherished idea of the
statesmen of this country. At one period or another every maritime power
has by some solemn treaty stipulation recognized that principle, and it
might have been hoped that it would come to be universally received and
respected as a rule of international law. But the refusal of one power
prevented this, and in the next great war which ensued--that of the
French Revolution--it failed to be respected among the belligerent
States of Europe. Notwithstanding this, the principle is generally
admitted to be a sound and salutary one, so much so that at the
commencement of the existing war in Europe Great Britain and France
announced their purpose to observe it for the present; not, however, as
a recognized international right, but as a mere concession for the time
being. The cooperation, however, of these two powerful maritime nations
in the interest of neutral rights appeared to me to afford an occasion
inviting and justifying on the part of the United States a renewed
effort to make the doctrine in question a principle of international
law, by means of special conventions between the several powers of
Europe and America. Accordingly, a proposition embracing not only the
rule that free ships make free goods, except contraband articles, but
also the less contested one that neutral property other than contraband,
though on board enemy's ships, shall be exempt from confiscation, has
been submitted by this Government to those of Europe and America.

Russia acted promptly in this matter, and a convention was concluded
between that country and the United States providing for the observance
of the principles announced, not only as between themselves, but also
as between them and all other nations which shall enter into like
stipulations. None of the other powers have as yet taken final action on
the subject. I am not aware, however, that any objection to the proposed
stipulations has been made, but, on the contrary, they are acknowledged
to be essential to the security of neutral commerce, and the only
apparent obstacle to their general adoption is in the possibility that
it may be encumbered by inadmissible conditions.

The King of the Two Sicilies has expressed to our minister at Naples his
readiness to concur in our proposition relative to neutral rights and to
enter into a convention on that subject.

The King of Prussia entirely approves of the project of a treaty to
the same effect submitted to him, but proposes an additional article
providing for the renunciation of privateering. Such an article,
for most obvious reasons, is much desired by nations having naval
establishments large in proportion to their foreign commerce. If it
were adopted as an international rule, the commerce of a nation having
comparatively a small naval force would be very much at the mercy of its
enemy in case of war with a power of decided naval superiority. The bare
statement of the condition in which the United States would be placed,
after having surrendered the right to resort to privateers, in the
event of war with a belligerent of naval supremacy will show that this
Government could never listen to such a proposition. The navy of the
first maritime power in Europe is at least ten times as large as that of
the United States. The foreign commerce of the two countries is nearly
equal, and about equally exposed to hostile depredations. In war between
that power and the United States, without resort on our part to our
mercantile marine the means of our enemy to inflict injury upon our
commerce would be tenfold greater than ours to retaliate. We could not
extricate our country from this unequal condition, with such an enemy,
unless we at once departed from our present peaceful policy and became a
great naval power. Nor would this country be better situated in war with
one of the secondary naval powers. Though the naval disparity would be
less, the greater extent and more exposed condition of our widespread
commerce would give any of them a like advantage over us.

The proposition to enter into engagements to forego a resort to
privateers in case this country should be forced into war with a great
naval power is not entitled to more favorable consideration than would
be a proposition to agree not to accept the services of volunteers for
operations on land. When the honor or the rights of our country require
it to assume a hostile attitude, it confidently relies upon the
patriotism of its citizens, not ordinarily devoted to the military
profession, to augment the Army and the Navy so as to make them fully
adequate to the emergency which calls them into action. The proposal to
surrender the right to employ privateers is professedly founded upon the
principle that private property of unoffending noncombatants, though
enemies, should be exempt from the ravages of war; but the proposed
surrender goes but little way in carrying out that principle, which
equally requires that such private property should not be seized or
molested by national ships of war. Should the leading powers of Europe
concur in proposing as a rule of international law to exempt private
property upon the ocean from seizure by public armed cruisers as well
as by privateers, the United States will readily meet them upon that
broad ground.

Since the adjournment of Congress the ratifications of the treaty
between the United States and Great Britain relative to coast fisheries
and to reciprocal trade with the British North American Provinces have
been exchanged, and some of its anticipated advantages are already
enjoyed by us, although its full execution was to abide certain acts of
legislation not yet fully performed. So soon as it was ratified Great
Britain opened to our commerce the free navigation of the river St.
Lawrence and to our fishermen unmolested access to the shores and bays,
from which they had been previously excluded, on the coasts of her North
American Provinces; in return for which she asked for the introduction
free of duty into the ports of the United States of the fish caught
on the same coast by British fishermen. This being the compensation
stipulated in the treaty for privileges of the highest importance and
value to the United States, which were thus voluntarily yielded before
it became effective, the request seemed to me to be a reasonable one;
but it could not be acceded to from want of authority to suspend our
laws imposing duties upon all foreign fish. In the meantime the Treasury
Department issued a regulation for ascertaining the duties paid or
secured by bonds on fish caught on the coasts of the British Provinces
and brought to our markets by British subjects after the fishing grounds
had been made fully accessible to the citizens of the United States.
I recommend to your favorable consideration a proposition, which will
be submitted to you, for authority to refund the duties and cancel the
bonds thus received. The Provinces of Canada and New Brunswick have
also anticipated the full operation of the treaty by legislative
arrangements, respectively, to admit free of duty the products of
the United States mentioned in the free list of the treaty; and an
arrangement similar to that regarding British fish has been made for
duties now chargeable on the products of those Provinces enumerated in
the same free list and introduced therefrom into the United States, a
proposition for refunding which will, in my judgment, be in like manner
entitled to your favorable consideration.

There is difference of opinion between the United States and Great
Britain as to the boundary line of the Territory of Washington adjoining
the British possessions on the Pacific, which has already led to
difficulties on the part of the citizens and local authorities of the
two Governments. I recommend that provision be made for a commission,
to be joined by one on the part of Her Britannic Majesty, for the
purpose of running and establishing the line in controversy. Certain
stipulations of the third and fourth articles of the treaty concluded by
the United States and Great Britain in 1846, regarding possessory rights
of the Hudsons Bay Company and property of the Pugets Sound Agricultural
Company, have given rise to serious disputes, and it is important to
all concerned that summary means of settling them amicably should be
devised. I have reason to believe that an arrangement can be made on
just terms for the extinguishment of the rights in question, embracing
also the right of the Hudsons Bay Company to the navigation of the river
Columbia; and I therefore suggest to your consideration the expediency
of making a contingent appropriation for that purpose.

France was the early and efficient ally of the United States in
their struggle for independence. From that time to the present, with
occasional slight interruptions, cordial relations of friendship have
existed between the Governments and people of the two countries. The
kindly sentiments cherished alike by both nations have led to extensive
social and commercial intercourse, which I trust will not be interrupted
or checked by any casual event of an apparently unsatisfactory
character. The French consul at San Francisco was not long since brought
into the United States district court at that place by compulsory
process as a witness in favor of another foreign consul, in violation,
as the French Government conceives, of his privileges under our consular
convention with France. There being nothing in the transaction which
could imply any disrespect to France or its consul, such explanation
has been made as, I hope, will be satisfactory. Subsequently
misunderstanding arose on the subject of the French Government having,
as it appeared, abruptly excluded the American minister to Spain from
passing through France on his way from London to Madrid. But that
Government has unequivocally disavowed any design to deny the right of
transit to the minister of the United States, and after explanations to
this effect he has resumed his journey and actually returned through
France to Spain. I herewith lay before Congress the correspondence on
this subject between our envoy at Paris and the minister of foreign
relations of the French Government.

The position of our affairs with Spain remains as at the close of the
last session. Internal agitation, assuming very nearly the character
of political revolution, has recently convulsed that country. The late
ministers were violently expelled from power, and men of very different
views in relation to its internal affairs have succeeded. Since this
change there has been no propitious opportunity to resume and press
on negotiations for the adjustment of serious questions of difficulty
between the Spanish Government and the United States. There is reason
to believe that our minister will find the present Government more
favorably inclined than the preceding to comply with our just demands
and to make suitable arrangements for restoring harmony and preserving
peace between the two countries.

Negotiations are pending with Denmark to discontinue the practice of
levying tolls on our vessels and their cargoes passing through the
Sound. I do not doubt that we can claim exemption therefrom as a matter
of right. It is admitted on all hands that this exaction is sanctioned,
not by the general principles of the law of nations, but only by special
conventions which most of the commercial nations have entered into with
Denmark. The fifth article of our treaty of 1826 with Denmark provides
that there shall not be paid on the vessels of the United States and
their cargoes when passing through the Sound higher duties than those of
the most favored nations. This may be regarded as an implied agreement
to submit to the tolls during the continuance of the treaty, and
consequently may embarrass the assertion of our right to be released
therefrom. There are also other provisions in the treaty which ought to
be modified. It was to remain in force for ten years and until one year
after either party should give notice to the other of intention to
terminate it. I deem it expedient that the contemplated notice should
be given to the Government of Denmark.

The naval expedition dispatched about two years since for the purpose
of establishing relations with the Empire of Japan has been ably and
skillfully conducted to a successful termination by the officer to whom
it was intrusted. A treaty opening certain of the ports of that populous
country has been negotiated, and in order to give full effect thereto it
only remains to exchange ratifications and adopt requisite commercial
regulations.

The treaty lately concluded between the United States and Mexico settled
some of our most embarrassing difficulties with that country, but
numerous claims upon it for wrongs and injuries to our citizens remained
unadjusted, and many new cases have been recently added to the former
list of grievances. Our legation has been earnest in its endeavors to
obtain from the Mexican Government a favorable consideration of these
claims, but hitherto without success. This failure is probably in some
measure to be ascribed to the disturbed condition of that country.
It has been my anxious desire to maintain friendly relations with
the Mexican Republic and to cause its rights and territories to be
respected, not only by our citizens, but by foreigners who have resorted
to the United States for the purpose of organizing hostile expeditions
against some of the States of that Republic. The defenseless condition
in which its frontiers have been left has stimulated lawless adventurers
to embark in these enterprises and greatly increased the difficulty of
enforcing our obligations of neutrality. Regarding it as my solemn duty
to fulfill efficiently these obligations, not only toward Mexico, but
other foreign nations, I have exerted all the powers with which I am
invested to defeat such proceedings and bring to punishment those who by
taking a part therein violated our laws. The energy and activity of our
civil and military authorities have frustrated the designs of those who
meditated expeditions of this character except in two instances. One of
these, composed of foreigners, was at first countenanced and aided by
the Mexican Government itself, it having been deceived as to their
real object. The other, small in number, eluded the vigilance of the
magistrates at San Francisco and succeeded in reaching the Mexican
territories; but the effective measures taken by this Government
compelled the abandonment of the undertaking.

The commission to establish the new line between the United States and
Mexico, according to the provisions of the treaty of the 30th of
December last, has been organized, and the work is already commenced.

Our treaties with the Argentine Confederation and with the Republics of
Uruguay and Paraguay secure to us the free navigation of the river La
Plata and some of its larger tributaries, but the same success has not
attended our endeavors to open the Amazon. The reasons in favor of the
free use of that river I had occasion to present fully in a former
message, and, considering the cordial relations which have long existed
between this Government and Brazil, it may be expected that pending
negotiations will eventually reach a favorable result.

Convenient means of transit between the several parts of a country
are not only desirable for the objects of commercial and personal
communication, but essential to its existence under one government.
Separated, as are the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States,
by the whole breadth of the continent, still the inhabitants of each
are closely bound together by community of origin and institutions and
by strong attachment to the Union. Hence the constant and increasing
intercourse and vast interchange of commercial productions between
these remote divisions of the Republic. At the present time the most
practicable and only commodious routes for communication between them
are by the way of the isthmus of Central America. It is the duty of the
Government to secure these avenues against all danger of interruption.

In relation to Central America, perplexing questions existed between
the United States and Great Britain at the time of the cession of
California. These, as well as questions which subsequently arose
concerning interoceanic communication across the Isthmus, were,
as it was supposed, adjusted by the treaty of April 19, 1850, but,
unfortunately, they have been reopened by serious misunderstanding as
to the import of some of its provisions, a readjustment of which is now
under consideration. Our minister at London has made strenuous efforts
to accomplish this desirable object, but has not yet found it possible
to bring the negotiations to a termination.

As incidental to these questions, I deem it proper to notice an
occurrence which happened in Central America near the close of the
last session of Congress. So soon as the necessity was perceived of
establishing interoceanic communications across the Isthmus a company
was organized, under the authority of the State of Nicaragua, but
composed for the most part of citizens of the United States, for the
purpose of opening such a transit way by the river San Juan and Lake
Nicaragua, which soon became an eligible and much used route in the
transportation of our citizens and their property between the Atlantic
and Pacific. Meanwhile, and in anticipation of the completion and
importance of this transit way, a number of adventurers had taken
possession of the old Spanish port at the mouth of the river San Juan
in open defiance of the State or States of Central America, which
upon their becoming independent had rightfully succeeded to the local
sovereignty and jurisdiction of Spain. These adventurers undertook to
change the name of the place from San Juan del Norte to Greytown, and
though at first pretending to act as the subjects of the fictitious
sovereign of the Mosquito Indians, they subsequently repudiated the
control of any power whatever, assumed to adopt a distinct political
organization, and declared themselves an independent sovereign state.
If at some time a faint hope was entertained that they might become
a stable and respectable community, that hope soon vanished. They
proceeded to assert unfounded claims to civil jurisdiction over Punta
Arenas, a position on the opposite side of the river San Juan, which was
in possession, under a title wholly independent of them, of citizens of
the United States interested in the Nicaragua Transit Company, and which
was indispensably necessary to the prosperous operation of that route
across the Isthmus. The company resisted their groundless claims,
whereupon they proceeded to destroy some of its buildings and attempted
violently to dispossess it.

At a later period they organized a strong force for the purpose of
demolishing the establishment at Punta Arenas, but this mischievous
design was defeated by the interposition of one of our ships of war at
that time in the harbor of San Juan. Subsequently to this, in May last,
a body of men from Greytown crossed over to Punta Arenas, arrogating
authority to arrest on the charge of murder a captain of one of the
steamboats of the Transit Company. Being well aware that the claim to
exercise jurisdiction there would be resisted then, as it had been on
previous occasions, they went prepared to assert it by force of arms.
Our minister to Central America happened to be present on that occasion.
Believing that the captain of the steamboat was innocent (for he
witnessed the transaction on which the charge was founded), and
believing also that the intruding party, having no jurisdiction over
the place where they proposed to make the arrest, would encounter
desperate resistance if they persisted in their purpose, he interposed,
effectually, to prevent violence and bloodshed. The American minister
afterwards visited Greytown, and whilst he was there a mob, including
certain of the so-called public functionaries of the place, surrounded
the house in which he was, avowing that they had come to arrest him by
order of some person exercising the chief authority. While parleying
with them he was wounded by a missile from the crowd. A boat dispatched
from the American steamer _Northern Light_ to release him from the
perilous situation in which he was understood to be was fired into by
the town guard and compelled to return. These incidents, together with
the known character of the population of Greytown and their excited
state, induced just apprehensions that the lives and property of our
citizens at Punta Arenas would be in imminent danger after the departure
of the steamer, with her passengers, for New York, unless a guard was
left for their protection. For this purpose, and in order to insure the
safety of passengers and property passing over the route, a temporary
force was organized, at considerable expense to the United States, for
which provision was made at the last session of Congress.

This pretended community, a heterogeneous assemblage gathered from
various countries, and composed for the most part of blacks and persons
of mixed blood, had previously given other indications of mischievous
and dangerous propensities. Early in the same month property was
clandestinely abstracted from the depot of the Transit Company and taken
to Greytown. The plunderers obtained shelter there and their pursuers
were driven back by its people, who not only protected the wrongdoers
and shared the plunder, but treated with rudeness and violence those who
sought to recover their property.

Such, in substance, are the facts submitted to my consideration, and
proved by trustworthy evidence. I could not doubt that the case demanded
the interposition of this Government. Justice required that reparation
should be made for so many and such gross wrongs, and that a course of
insolence and plunder, tending directly to the insecurity of the lives
of numerous travelers and of the rich treasure belonging to our citizens
passing over this transit way, should be peremptorily arrested. Whatever
it might be in other respects, the community in question, in power to do
mischief, was not despicable. It was well provided with ordnance, small
arms, and ammunition, and might easily seize on the unarmed boats,
freighted with millions of property, which passed almost daily within
its reach. It did not profess to belong to any regular government, and
had, in fact, no recognized dependence on or connection with anyone
to which the United States or their injured citizens might apply for
redress or which could be held responsible in any way for the outrages
committed. Not standing before the world in the attitude of an organized
political society, being neither competent to exercise the rights nor to
discharge the obligations of a government, it was, in fact, a marauding
establishment too dangerous to be disregarded and too guilty to pass
unpunished, and yet incapable of being treated in any other way than
as a piratical resort of outlaws or a camp of savages depredating on
emigrant trains or caravans and the frontier settlements of civilized
states.

Reasonable notice was given to the people of Greytown that this
Government required them to repair the injuries they had done to our
citizens and to make suitable apology for their insult of our minister,
and that a ship of war would be dispatched thither to enforce compliance
with these demands. But the notice passed unheeded. Thereupon a
commander of the Navy, in charge of the sloop of war _Cyane_, was
ordered to repeat the demands and to insist upon a compliance therewith.
Finding that neither the populace nor those assuming to have authority
over them manifested any disposition to make the required reparation,
or even to offer excuse for their conduct, he warned them by a public
proclamation that if they did not give satisfaction within a time
specified he would bombard the town. By this procedure he afforded
them opportunity to provide for their personal safety. To those also
who desired to avoid loss of property in the punishment about to be
inflicted on the offending town he furnished the means of removing their
effects by the boats of his own ship and of a steamer which he procured
and tendered to them for that purpose. At length, perceiving no
disposition on the part of the town to comply with his requisitions, he
appealed to the commander of Her Britannic Majesty's schooner _Bermuda_,
who was seen to have intercourse and apparently much influence with the
leaders among them, to interpose and persuade them to take some course
calculated to save the necessity of resorting to the extreme measure
indicated in his proclamation; but that officer, instead of acceding to
the request, did nothing more than to protest against the contemplated
bombardment. No steps of any sort were taken by the people to give the
satisfaction required. No individuals, if any there were, who regarded
themselves as not responsible for the misconduct of the community
adopted any means to separate themselves from the fate of the guilty.
The several charges on which the demands for redress were founded had
been publicly known to all for some time, and were again announced
to them. They did not deny any of these charges; they offered no
explanation, nothing in extenuation of their conduct, but contumaciously
refused to hold any intercourse with the commander of the _Cyane_.
By their obstinate silence they seemed rather desirous to provoke
chastisement than to escape it. There is ample reason to believe that
this conduct of wanton defiance on their part is imputable chiefly to
the delusive idea that the American Government would be deterred from
punishing them through fear of displeasing a formidable foreign power,
which they presumed to think looked with complacency upon their
aggressive and insulting deportment toward the United States. The
_Cyane_ at length fired upon the town. Before much injury had been done
the fire was twice suspended in order to afford opportunity for an
arrangement, but this was declined. Most of the buildings of the place,
of little value generally, were in the sequel destroyed, but, owing to
the considerate precautions taken by our naval commander, there was no
destruction of life.

When the _Cyane_ was ordered to Central America, it was confidently
hoped and expected that no occasion would arise for "a resort to
violence and destruction of property and loss of life." Instructions to
that effect were given to her commander; and no extreme act would have
been requisite had not the people themselves, by their extraordinary
conduct in the affair, frustrated all the possible mild measures for
obtaining satisfaction. A withdrawal from the place, the object of his
visit entirely defeated, would under the circumstances in which the
commander of the _Cyane_ found himself have been absolute abandonment
of all claim of our citizens for indemnification and submissive
acquiescence in national indignity. It would have encouraged in these
lawless men a spirit of insolence and rapine most dangerous to the lives
and property of our citizens at Punta Arenas, and probably emboldened
them to grasp at the treasures and valuable merchandise continually
passing over the Nicaragua route. It certainly would have been most
satisfactory to me if the objects of the _Cyane's_ mission could have
been consummated without any act of public force, but the arrogant
contumacy of the offenders rendered it impossible to avoid the
alternative either to break up their establishment or to leave them
impressed with the idea that they might persevere with impunity in
a career of insolence and plunder.

This transaction has been the subject of complaint on the part of some
foreign powers, and has been characterized with more of harshness than
of justice. If comparisons were to be instituted, it would not be
difficult to present repeated instances in the history of states
standing in the very front of modern civilization where communities far
less offending and more defenseless than Greytown have been chastised
with much greater severity, and where not cities only have been laid in
ruins, but human life has been recklessly sacrificed and the blood of
the innocent made profusely to mingle with that of the guilty.

Passing from foreign to domestic affairs, your attention is naturally
directed to the financial condition of the country, always a subject
of general interest. For complete and exact information regarding the
finances and the various branches of the public service connected
therewith I refer you to the report of the Secretary of the Treasury,
from which it will appear that the amount of revenue during the last
fiscal year from all sources was $73,549,705, and that the public
expenditures for the same period, exclusive of payments on account of
the public debt, amounted to $51,018,249. During the same period the
payments made in redemption of the public debt, including interest and
premium, amounted to $24,336,380. To the sum total of the receipts of
that year is to be added a balance remaining in the Treasury at the
commencement thereof, amounting to $21,942,892; and at the close of the
same year a corresponding balance, amounting to $20,137,967, of receipts
above expenditures also remained in the Treasury. Although, in the
opinion of the Secretary of the Treasury, the receipts of the current
fiscal year are not likely to equal in amount those of the last, yet
they will undoubtedly exceed the amount of expenditures by at least
$15,000,000. I shall therefore continue to direct that the surplus
revenue be applied, so far as it can be judiciously and economically
done, to the reduction of the public debt, the amount of which at the
commencement of the last fiscal year was $67,340,628; of which there had
been paid on the 20th day of November, 1854, the sum of $22,365,172,
leaving a balance of outstanding public debt of only $44,975,456,
redeemable at different periods within fourteen years. There are also
remnants of other Government stocks, most of which are already due, and
on which the interest has ceased, but which have not yet been presented
for payment, amounting to $233,179. This statement exhibits the fact
that the annual income of the Government greatly exceeds the amount of
its public debt, which latter remains unpaid only because the time of
payment has not yet matured, and it can not be discharged at once except
at the option of public creditors, who prefer to retain the securities
of the United States; and the other fact, not less striking, that the
annual revenue from all sources exceeds by many millions of dollars
the amount needed for a prudent and economical administration of the
Government.

The estimates presented to Congress from the different Executive
Departments at the last session amounted to $38,406,581 and the
appropriations made to the sum of $58,116,958. Of this excess of
appropriations over estimates, however, more than twenty millions was
applicable to extraordinary objects, having no reference to the usual
annual expenditures. Among these objects was embraced ten millions to
meet the third article of the treaty between the United States and
Mexico; so that, in fact, for objects of ordinary expenditure the
appropriations were limited to considerably less than $40,000,000.
I therefore renew my recommendation for a reduction of the duties on
imports. The report of the Secretary of the Treasury presents a series
of tables showing the operation of the revenue system for several
successive years; and as the general principle of reduction of duties
with a view to revenue, and not protection, may now be regarded as the
settled policy of the country, I trust that little difficulty will be
encountered in settling the details of a measure to that effect.

In connection with this subject I recommend a change in the laws, which
recent experience has shown to be essential to the protection of the
Government. There is no express provision of law requiring the records
and papers of a public character of the several officers of the
Government to be left in their offices for the use of their successors,
nor any provision declaring it felony on their part to make false
entries in the books or return false accounts. In the absence of such
express provision by law, the outgoing officers in many instances have
claimed and exercised the right to take into their own possession
important books and papers, on the ground that these were their private
property, and have placed them beyond the reach of the Government.
Conduct of this character, brought in several instances to the notice of
the present Secretary of the Treasury, naturally awakened his suspicion,
and resulted in the disclosure that at four ports--namely, Oswego,
Toledo, Sandusky, and Milwaukee--the Treasury had, by false entries,
been defrauded within the four years next preceding March, 1853, of the
sum of $198,000. The great difficulty with which the detection of these
frauds has been attended, in consequence of the abstraction of books and
papers by the retiring officers, and the facility with which similar
frauds in the public service may be perpetrated render the necessity of
new legal enactments in the respects above referred to quite obvious.
For other material modifications of the revenue laws which seem to me
desirable, I refer you to the report of the Secretary of the Treasury.
That report and the tables which accompany it furnish ample proofs of
the solid foundation on which the financial security of the country
rests and of the salutary influence of the independent-treasury system
upon commerce and all monetary operations.

The experience of the last year furnishes additional reasons, I regret
to say, of a painful character, for the recommendation heretofore made
to provide for increasing the military force employed in the Territory
inhabited by the Indians. The settlers on the frontier have suffered
much from the incursions of predatory bands, and large parties of
emigrants to our Pacific possessions have been massacred with impunity.
The recurrence of such scenes can only be prevented by teaching these
wild tribes the power of and their responsibility to the United States.
From the garrisons of our frontier posts it is only possible to detach
troops in small bodies; and though these have on all occasions displayed
a gallantry and a stern devotion to duty which on a larger field would
have commanded universal admiration, they have usually suffered severely
in these conflicts with superior numbers, and have sometimes been
entirely sacrificed. All the disposable force of the Army is already
employed on this service, and is known to be wholly inadequate to the
protection which should be afforded. The public mind of the country has
been recently shocked by savage atrocities committed upon defenseless
emigrants and border settlements, and hardly less by the unnecessary
destruction of valuable lives where inadequate detachments of troops
have undertaken to furnish the needed aid. Without increase of the
military force these scenes will be repeated, it is to be feared, on
a larger scale and with more disastrous consequences. Congress, I am
sure, will perceive that the plainest duties and responsibilities of
Government are involved in this question, and I doubt not that prompt
action may be confidently anticipated when delay must be attended by
such fearful hazards.

The bill of the last session providing for an increase of the pay of
the rank and file of the Army has had beneficial results, not only in
facilitating enlistments, but in obvious improvement in the class of men
who enter the service. I regret that corresponding consideration was not
bestowed on the officers, who, in view of their character and services
and the expenses to which they are necessarily subject, receive at
present what is, in my judgment, inadequate compensation.

The valuable services constantly rendered by the Army and its
inestimable importance as the nucleus around which the volunteer forces
of the nation can promptly gather in the hour of danger, sufficiently
attest the wisdom of maintaining a military peace establishment; but the
theory of our system and the wise practice under it require that any
proposed augmentation in time of peace be only commensurate with our
extended limits and frontier relations. While scrupulously adhering
to this principle, I find in existing circumstances a necessity for
increase of our military force, and it is believed that four new
regiments, two of infantry and two of mounted men, will be sufficient to
meet the present exigency. If it were necessary carefully to weigh the
cost in a case of such urgency, it would be shown that the additional
expense would be comparatively light.

With the increase of the numerical force of the Army should, I think, be
combined certain measures of reform in its organic arrangement and
administration. The present organization is the result of partial
legislation often directed to special objects and interests; and the
laws regulating rank and command, having been adopted many years ago
from the British code, are not always applicable to our service. It is
not surprising, therefore, that the system should be deficient in the
symmetry and simplicity essential to the harmonious working of its
several parts, and require a careful revision.

The present organization, by maintaining large staff corps or
departments, separates many officers from that close connection with
troops and those active duties in the field which are deemed requisite
to qualify them for the varied responsibilities of high command. Were
the duties of the Army staff mainly discharged by officers detached
from their regiments, it is believed that the special service would be
equally well performed and the discipline and instruction of the Army be
improved. While due regard to the security of the rights of officers and
to the nice sense of honor which should be cultivated among them would
seem to exact compliance with the established rule of promotion in
ordinary cases, still it can hardly be doubted that the range of
promotion by selection, which is now practically confined to the grade
of general officers, might be somewhat extended with benefit to the
public service. Observance of the rule of seniority sometimes leads,
especially in time of peace, to the promotion of officers who, after
meritorious and even distinguished service, may have been rendered
by age or infirmity incapable of performing active duty, and whose
advancement, therefore, would tend to impair the efficiency of the Army.
Suitable provision for this class of officers, by the creation of a
retired list, would remedy the evil without wounding the just pride of
men who by past services have established a claim to high consideration.
In again commending this measure to the favorable consideration of
Congress I would suggest that the power of placing officers on the
retired list be limited to one year. The practical operation of the
measure would thus be tested, and if after the lapse of years there
should be occasion to renew the provision it can be reproduced with any
improvements which experience may indicate. The present organization
of the artillery into regiments is liable to obvious objections. The
service of artillery is that of batteries, and an organization of
batteries into a corps of artillery would be more consistent with the
nature of their duties. A large part of the troops now called artillery
are, and have been, on duty as infantry, the distinction between the
two arms being merely nominal. This nominal artillery in our service is
disproportionate to the whole force and greater than the wants of the
country demand. I therefore commend the discontinuance of a distinction
which has no foundation in either the arms used or the character of the
service expected to be performed.

In connection with the proposition for the increase of the Army, I have
presented these suggestions with regard to certain measures of reform as
the complement of a system which would produce the happiest results from
a given expenditure, and which, I hope, may attract the early attention
and be deemed worthy of the approval of Congress.

The recommendation of the Secretary of the Navy having reference to
more ample provisions for the discipline and general improvement in the
character of seamen and for the reorganization and gradual increase of
the Navy I deem eminently worthy of your favorable consideration. The
principles which have controlled our policy in relation to the permanent
military force by sea and land are sound, consistent with the theory
of our system, and should by no means be disregarded. But, limiting
the force to the objects particularly set forth in the preceding part
of this message, we should not overlook the present magnitude and
prospective extension of our commercial marine, nor fail to give due
weight to the fact that besides the 2,000 miles of Atlantic seaboard
we have now a Pacific coast stretching from Mexico to the British
possessions in the north, teeming with wealth and enterprise and
demanding the constant presence of ships of war. The augmentation of
the Navy has not kept pace with the duties properly and profitably
assigned to it in time of peace, and it is inadequate for the large
field of its operations, not merely in the present, but still more in
the progressively increasing exigencies of the commerce of the United
States. I cordially approve of the proposed apprentice system for our
national vessels recommended by the Secretary of the Navy.

The occurrence during the last few months of marine disasters of the
most tragic nature, involving great loss of human life, has produced
intense emotions of sympathy and sorrow throughout the country. It
may well be doubted whether all these calamitous events are wholly
attributable to the necessary and inevitable dangers of the sea. The
merchants, mariners, and shipbuilders of the United States are, it is
true, unsurpassed in far-reaching enterprise, skill, intelligence, and
courage by any others in the world. But with the increasing amount of
our commercial tonnage in the aggregate and the larger size and improved
equipment of the ships now constructed a deficiency in the supply of
reliable seamen begins to be very seriously felt. The inconvenience may
perhaps be met in part by due regulation for the introduction into our
merchant ships of indented apprentices, which, while it would afford
useful and eligible occupation to numerous young men, would have a
tendency to raise the character of seamen as a class. And it is
deserving of serious reflection whether it may not be desirable to
revise the existing laws for the maintenance of discipline at sea, upon
which the security of life and property on the ocean must to so great
an extent depend. Although much attention has already been given by
Congress to the proper construction and arrangement of steam vessels and
all passenger ships, still it is believed that the resources of science
and mechanical skill in this direction have not been exhausted. No good
reason exists for the marked distinction which appears upon our statutes
between the laws for protecting life and property at sea and those for
protecting them on land. In most of the States severe penalties are
provided to punish conductors of trains, engineers, and others employed
in the transportation of persons by railway or by steamboats on rivers.
Why should not the same principle be applied to acts of insubordination,
cowardice, or other misconduct on the part of masters and mariners
producing injury or death to passengers on the high seas, beyond the
jurisdiction of any of the States, and where such delinquencies can be
reached only by the power of Congress? The whole subject is earnestly
commended to your consideration.

The report of the Postmaster-General, to which you are referred for many
interesting details in relation to this important and rapidly extending
branch of the public service, shows that the expenditure of the year
ending June 30, 1854, including $133,483 of balance due to foreign
offices, amounted to $8,710,907. The gross receipts during the same
period amounted to $6,955,586, exhibiting an expenditure over income
of $1,755,321 and a diminution of deficiency as compared with the last
year of $361,756. The increase of the revenue of the Department for the
year ending June 30, 1854, over the preceding year was $970,399, No
proportionate increase, however, can be anticipated for the current
year, in consequence of the act of Congress of June 23, 1854, providing
for increased compensation to all postmasters. From these statements it
is apparent that the Post-Office Department, instead of defraying its
expenses according to the design at the time of its creation, is now,
and under existing laws must continue to be, to no small extent a charge
upon the general Treasury. The cost of mail transportation during the
year ending June 30, 1854, exceeds the cost of the preceding year
by $495,074. I again call your attention to the subject of mail
transportation by ocean steamers, and commend the suggestions of the
Postmaster-General to your early attention.

During the last fiscal year 11,070,935 acres of the public lands have
been surveyed and 8,190,017 acres brought into market. The number of
acres sold is 7,035,735 and the amount received therefor $9,285,533.
The aggregate amount of lands sold, located under military scrip and
land warrants, selected as swamp lands by States, and by locating
under grants for roads is upward of 23,000,000 acres. The increase of
lands sold over the previous year is about 6,000,000 acres, and the
sales during the first two quarters of the current year present the
extraordinary result of five and a half millions sold, exceeding by
nearly 4,000,000 acres the sales of the corresponding quarters of the
last year.

The commendable policy of the Government in relation to setting apart
public domain for those who have served their country in time of war is
illustrated by the fact that since 1790 no less than 30,000,000 acres
have been applied to this object.

The suggestions which I submitted in my annual message of last year in
reference to grants of land in aid of the construction of railways were
less full and explicit than the magnitude of the subject and subsequent
developments would seem to render proper and desirable. Of the soundness
of the principle then asserted with regard to the limitation of the
power of Congress I entertain no doubt, but in its application it is not
enough that the value of lands in a particular locality may be enhanced;
that, in fact, a larger amount of money may probably be received in a
given time for alternate sections than could have been realized for
all the sections without the impulse and influence of the proposed
improvements. A prudent proprietor looks beyond limited sections of his
domain, beyond present results to the ultimate effect which a particular
line of policy is likely to produce upon all his possessions and
interests. The Government, which is trustee in this matter for the
people of the States, is bound to take the same wise and comprehensive
view. Prior to and during the last session of Congress upward of
30,000,000 acres of land were withdrawn from public sale with a view
to applications for grants of this character pending before Congress.
A careful review of the whole subject led me to direct that all such
orders be abrogated and the lands restored to market, and instructions
were immediately given to that effect. The applications at the last
session contemplated the construction of more than 5,000 miles of road
and grants to the amount of nearly 20,000,000 acres of the public
domain. Even admitting the right on the part of Congress to be
unquestionable, is it quite clear that the proposed grants would be
productive of good, and not evil? The different projects are confined
for the present to eleven States of this Union and one Territory. The
reasons assigned for the grants show that it is proposed to put the
works speedily in process of construction. When we reflect that since
the commencement of the construction of railways in the United States,
stimulated, as they have been, by the large dividends realized from
the earlier works over the great thoroughfares and between the most
important points of commerce and population, encouraged by State
legislation, and pressed forward by the amazing energy of private
enterprise, only 17,000 miles have been completed in all the States in a
quarter of a century; when we see the crippled condition of many works
commenced and prosecuted upon what were deemed to be sound principles
and safe calculations; when we contemplate the enormous absorption
of capital withdrawn from the ordinary channels of business, the
extravagant rates of interest at this moment paid to continue
operations, the bankruptcies, not merely in money but in character, and
the inevitable effect upon finances generally, can it be doubted that
the tendency is to run to excess in this matter? Is it wise to augment
this excess by encouraging hopes of sudden wealth expected to flow
from magnificent schemes dependent upon the action of Congress? Does
the spirit which has produced such results need to be stimulated or
checked? Is it not the better rule to leave all these works to private
enterprise, regulated and, when expedient, aided by the cooperation of
States? If constructed by private capital the stimulant and the check go
together and furnish a salutary restraint against speculative schemes
and extravagance. But it is manifest that with the most effective guards
there is danger of going too fast and too far.

We may well pause before a proposition contemplating a simultaneous
movement for the construction of railroads which in extent will equal,
exclusive of the great Pacific road and all its branches, nearly
one-third of the entire length of such works now completed in the United
States, and which can not cost with equipments less than $150,000,000.
The dangers likely to result from combinations of interests of this
character can hardly be overestimated. But independently of these
considerations, where is the accurate knowledge, the comprehensive
intelligence, which shall discriminate between the relative claims of
these twenty-eight proposed roads in eleven States and one Territory?
Where will you begin and where end? If to enable these companies to
execute their proposed works it is necessary that the aid of the General
Government be primarily given, the policy will present a problem so
comprehensive in its bearings and so important to our political and
social well-being as to claim in anticipation the severest analysis.
Entertaining these views, I recur with satisfaction to the experience
and action of the last session of Congress as furnishing assurance that
the subject will not fail to elicit a careful reexamination and rigid
scrutiny.

It was my intention to present on this occasion some suggestions
regarding internal improvements by the General Government, which want
of time at the close of the last session prevented my submitting on
the return to the House of Representatives with objections of the bill
entitled "An act making appropriations for the repair, preservation,
and completion of certain public works heretofore commenced under the
authority of law;" but the space in this communication already occupied
with other matter of immediate public exigency constrains me to reserve
that subject for a special message, which will be transmitted to the two
Houses of Congress at an early day.

The judicial establishment of the United States requires modification,
and certain reforms in the manner of conducting the legal business of
the Government are also much needed; but as I have addressed you upon
both of these subjects at length before, I have only to call your
attention to the suggestions then made.

My former recommendations in relation to suitable provision for various
objects of deep interest to the inhabitants of the District of Columbia
are renewed. Many of these objects partake largely of a national
character, and are important independently of their relation to the
prosperity of the only considerable organized community in the Union
entirely unrepresented in Congress.

I have thus presented suggestions on such subjects as appear to me to
be of particular interest or importance, and therefore most worthy of
consideration during the short remaining period allotted to the labors
of the present Congress.

Our forefathers of the thirteen united colonies, in acquiring their
independence and in founding this Republic of the United States of
America, have devolved upon us, their descendants, the greatest and the
most noble trust ever committed to the hands of man, imposing upon all,
and especially such as the public will may have invested for the time
being with political functions, the most sacred obligations. We have to
maintain inviolate the great doctrine of the inherent right of popular
self-government; to reconcile the largest liberty of the individual
citizen with complete security of the public order; to render cheerful
obedience to the laws of the land, to unite in enforcing their
execution, and to frown indignantly on all combinations to resist
them; to harmonize a sincere and ardent devotion to the institutions
of religious faith with the most universal religious toleration; to
preserve the rights of all by causing each to respect those of the
other; to carry forward every social improvement to the uttermost limit
of human perfectibility, by the free action of mind upon mind, not by
the obtrusive intervention of misapplied force; to uphold the integrity
and guard the limitations of our organic law; to preserve sacred
from all touch of usurpation, as the very palladium of our political
salvation, the reserved rights and powers of the several States and of
the people; to cherish with loyal fealty and devoted affection this
Union, as the only sure foundation on which the hopes of civil liberty
rest; to administer government with vigilant integrity and rigid
economy; to cultivate peace and friendship with foreign nations, and to
demand and exact equal justice from all, but to do wrong to none; to
eschew intermeddling with the national policy and the domestic repose of
other governments, and to repel it from our own; never to shrink from
war when the rights and the honor of the country call us to arms, but
to cultivate in preference the arts of peace, seek enlargement of the
rights of neutrality, and elevate and liberalize the intercourse of
nations; and by such just and honorable means, and such only, whilst
exalting the condition of the Republic, to assure to it the legitimate
influence and the benign authority of a great example amongst all the
powers of Christendom.

Under the solemnity of these convictions the blessing of Almighty God is
earnestly invoked to attend upon your deliberations and upon all the
counsels and acts of the Government, to the end that, with common zeal
and common efforts, we may, in humble submission to the divine will,
cooperate for the promotion of the supreme good of these United States.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

SPECIAL MESSAGES.

WASHINGTON, _December 5, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to approval,
a compact between the United States and the royal Government of Lew
Chew, entered into at Napa on the 11th day of July last, for securing
certain privileges to vessels of the United States resorting to the Lew
Chew Islands.

A copy of the instructions of the Secretary of State upon the subject is
also herewith transmitted.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _December 5, 1894_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a convention for regulating the right of inheriting and
acquiring property, concluded in this city on the 21st day of August
last between the United States and His Highness the Duke of Brunswick
and Luneburg.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _December 11, 1854_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

An act for the relief of the legal representatives of Samuel Prioleau,
deceased, which provided for the payment of the sum of $6,928.60 to the
legal representatives of said Prioleau by the proper accounting officer
of the Treasury, was approved by me July 27, 1854. It having been
ascertained that the identical claim provided for in this act was
liquidated and paid under the provisions of the general act of August 4,
1790, and of the special act of January 24, 1795, the First Comptroller
of the Treasury declined to give effect to the law first above referred
to without communicating the facts for my consideration. This refusal
I regard as fully justified by the facts upon which it was predicated.

In view of the destruction of valuable papers by fire in the building
occupied by the Treasury Department in 1814 and again in 1833, it is not
surprising that cases like this should, more than seventy years after
the transaction with which they were connected, be involved in much
doubt. The report of the Comptroller, however, shows conclusively by
record evidence still preserved in the Department and elsewhere that the
sum of $6,122.44, with $3,918.36 interest thereon from the date of the
destruction of the property, making the sum of $10,040.80, was allowed
to Samuel Prioleau under the act for his relief passed in 1795.

That amount was reported by the Auditor to the Comptroller on the
4th day of February, 1795, to be funded as follows, to wit.

Two thirds of $6,122.44 called 6 per cent stock $4,081.63
One third called deferred stock 2,040.81
Interest on the principal, called 3 per cent stock 3,918.36

Total 10,040.80

On the books of the loan office of South Carolina, under date of April
27, 1795 is an entry showing that there was issued of the funded 6 per
cent stock to

Samuel Prioleau 4,081.63
Of the deferred stock 2,040.81
Of the 3 per cent stock 3,918.36

Total 10,040.80

On the ledger of said loan office an account was opened with Samuel
Prioleau, in which he was credited with the three items of stock and
deputed by the transfer of each certificate to certain persons named,
under dates of May 20, 1795, August 24, 1795, and April 19, 1796.

These records show that the account of Samuel Prioleau, required to be
settled by the act of January 28, 1795, was settled; that the value of
the property destroyed was allowed; that the amount so found due was
funded by said Prioleau and entered by his order on the loan-office
books of South Carolina, and soon thereafter by him sold and
transferred. That the entire funded debt of the United States was long
since paid is matter of history.

It is apparent that the claim has been prosecuted under a
misapprehension on the part of the present claimants.

I present the evidence in the case collected by the First Comptroller
and embodied in his report for your consideration, together with a copy
of a letter just received by that officer from the executor of P.G.
Prioleau, and respectfully recommend the repeal of the act of July 27,
1854.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _December 11, 1854_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State, with
accompanying documents,[33] in compliance with the resolution of the
House of Representatives of the 27th of July last.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 33: Correspondence of the American consul-general at Cairo
relative to the expulsion of the Greeks from Egypt.]

WASHINGTON, _December 11, 1854_.

_To the Senate_:

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of the Treasury,
requesting authority to invest the sum of $6,561.80, received from the
sales of lands in the Chickasaw cession, in stocks for the benefit of
the Chickasaw national fund, as required by the eleventh article of the
treaty with the Chickasaws of the 20th October, 1832, and the act of
Congress of 11th September, 1841.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _December 12, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

Herewith I transmit a report of the Secretary of State, with
accompanying papers,[34] in answer to the resolution of the Senate
of the 3d of August last.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 34: Correspondence relative to difficulties between Rev.
Jonas King and the Government of Greece.]

WASHINGTON, _December 16, 1854_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, with accompanying
papers,[35] in answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives
of the 27th of July last.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 35: Relating to the case of Walter M. Gibson, held in duress by
the Dutch authorities at Batavia, island of Java, on a charge of having
attempted to excite the native chiefs of Sumatra to throw off their
allegiance to the Dutch Government.]

WASHINGTON, _December 19, 1854_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of War, with accompanying papers,
in answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 2d of
August last, requesting such information as may be in the possession of
the War Department touching the cause of any difficulties which may have
arisen between the Creek and Seminole Indians since their removal west
of the Mississippi and other matters concerning the tribes.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _December 20, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate, for its constitutional action
thereon, a treaty made at the Neosho Agency on the 12th August, 1854, by
Andrew J. Dorn, commissioner on the part of the United States, and the
chiefs and warriors of the Quapaw tribe of Indians.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _December 20, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate, for its constitutional action
thereon, a treaty made by Andrew J. Dorn, commissioner on the part
of the United States, on the 23d of August, 1854, and the chiefs and
warriors of the Senecas of Sandusky and the Senecas and Shawnees of
Lewistown, designated by the treaty of 1832 as the United Nation of
Seneca and Shawnee Indians.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _December 20, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate, for its constitutional action
thereon, a treaty made at La Pointe, Wis., on the 30th of September,
1854, by Henry C. Gilbert and David B. Harriman, commissioners on the
part of the United States, and the chiefs and headmen of the Chippewas
of Lake Superior and the Mississippi.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _December 26, 1854_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 5th instant,
requesting me, if not incompatible with the public interests, to
communicate to that body "copies of all instructions and correspondence
between the different Departments of the Government and Major-General
Wool, commanding the Pacific division of the Army, in regard to his
operations on that coast," I transmit the accompanying documents.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[For message of December 30, 1854, giving an exposition of the reasons
of the President for vetoing "An act making appropriations for the
repair, preservation, and completion of certain public works heretofore
commenced under the authority of law," see pp. 257-271.]

WASHINGTON, D.C., _January 1, 1855_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In response to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
11th ultimo, requesting the President "to communicate to this House
any proposition which may have been made to the Government by the city
authorities of Memphis relative to the navy-yard property recently ceded
to that city, together with his views and those of the Navy Department
as to the propriety of accepting the proposed re-cession and of
reestablishing a naval depot and yard of construction at Memphis,"
I transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of the Navy, and have
only to add my concurrence in the views by him presented.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _January 9, 1855_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith to the Senate, for its constitutional action
thereon, an article of agreement and convention made and concluded on
the 9th day of December, 1854, between the United States, by George
Hepner, United States Indian agent, and the chiefs and headmen of the
confederate tribes of Otoe and Missouria Indians, being a supplement to
the treaty made between the United States and said confederate tribes on
the 15th day of March, 1854.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _January 10, 1855_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report of the Attorney-General, with the
accompanying documents, communicating the information required by the
following resolution of the House of Representatives, of the 28th ultimo:

_Resolved_, That the President of the United States be requested to
communicate to this House any information possessed by him regarding a
suit instituted in the Territory of Minnesota by or in the name of the
United States against the Minnesota and Northwestern Railroad Company.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _January 11, 1855_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 3d instant,
requesting "a statement of the names of the ministers, charges
d'affaires, and the secretaries of legation of the United States
appointed since the 4th of March, 1849, together with the dates of
their commissions, the time of the commencement of their compensation,
of their departure for their posts, and of their entering upon their
official duties thereat," I transmit the accompanying report from the
Secretary of State.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _January 16, 1855_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a letter of the Secretary of War upon the subject of
Indian hostilities. The employment of volunteer troops, as suggested by
the Secretary, seems to afford the only practicable means of providing
for the present emergency.

There is much reason to believe that other cases similar in character
to those particularly referred to in the accompanying papers will at
an early day require vigorous measures and the exhibition of a strong
military force. The proposed temporary provision to meet a special
demand, so far from obviating, in my judgment only serves to illustrate
the urgent necessity of an increase of the Regular Army, at least to
the extent recommended in my late annual message. Unless by the plan
proposed, or some other equally effective, a force can be early brought
into the field adequate to the suppression of existing hostilities, the
combination of predatory bands will be extended and the difficulty of
restoring order and security greatly magnified. On the other hand,
without a permanent military force of sufficient strength to control
the unfriendly Indians, it may be expected that hostilities will soon
be renewed and that years of border warfare will afflict the country,
retarding the progress of settlement, exposing emigrant trains to savage
barbarities and consuming millions of the public money.

The state of things made known in various letters recently received
at the War Department, extracts from a portion of which are herewith
inclosed, is calculated to augment the deep solicitude which this matter
has for some time past awakened, and which has been earnestly expressed
in previous messages and in the annual reports of the Secretary of War.

I respectfully submit that the facts now communicated urgently call for
immediate action on the part of Congress.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _January 17, 1855_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In further compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 5th
of December last, requesting copies of correspondence[36] between
Major-General Wool and the different Departments of the Government,
I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the documents by
which it was accompanied.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 36: Relating to affairs on the Pacific Coast.]

WASHINGTON, _January 19, 1855_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In further compliance with the resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 27th of July last, upon the subject of the case
of Walter M. Gibson, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _January 19, 1855_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I communicate to the Senate herewith a letter from the Secretary of the
Interior, dated the 18th instant, covering a communication from the
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, with accompanying papers, and asking
that certain appropriations be made for the service of the Indian
Department.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _January 22, 1855_.

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

I communicate to Congress herewith a communication of this date from the
Secretary of the Interior, with accompanying papers, and recommend that
the appropriation[37] therein asked for be made.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 37: For payment of interest due the Cherokee Indians.]

WASHINGTON, _January 24, 1855_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of the Interior and the
Postmaster-General, together with accompanying documents, communicating
what has been done in execution of the act of Congress of August 2,
1854, entitled "An act to provide for the accommodation of the courts
of the United States in the cities of New York and Philadelphia."

I have deemed it best under the circumstances not to enter into
contracts for the purchase of sites, but to submit all proposals made,
in response to public advertisement for several weeks in the principal
newspapers in each of the cities designated, to Congress, for such
action as it may deem proper to take in fulfillment of the original
design of the before-mentioned act.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _January 29, 1855_.

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

I transmit to Congress herewith a communication of this date from the
Secretary of the Interior, with accompanying papers, and recommend that
the appropriations therein asked for be made.

I avail myself of the occasion to suggest a modification of existing
laws, with a view to enable me more effectually to carry into execution
the treaties with the different Indian tribes in Kansas Territory.

With an earnest desire to promote the early settlement of the ceded
lands, as well as those held in trust and to be sold for the benefit of
the Indians, I shall exercise all the power intrusted to me to maintain
strictly and in good faith our treaty obligations.

I respectfully recommend that provisions be made by law requiring the
lands which are to be sold on account of the Indians by the Government
to be appraised and classified; a minimum price to be fixed, for a less
sum than which no sales shall be made without further provision of law;
and authorizing the sale of the lands in such quantities and at such
times and places as the obligations of the Government, the rights of
the Indian tribes, and the public interest, with reference to speedy
settlement, may render expedient.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _January 30, 1855_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 6th of December
last, requesting the President "to communicate to the Senate, if in his
opinion not incompatible with the public interest, the instructions,
correspondence, and other documents relating to the naval expedition to
Japan, and the proceedings and negotiations resulting in a treaty with
the Government thereof," I transmit the inclosed report from the
Secretary of the Navy, with the accompanying documents.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _February 1, 1855_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, with a view to ratification, a convention
which was concluded between the United States and Mexico at the City
of Mexico on the 8th day of January last.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _February 4, 1855_.

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

I communicate to Congress herewith, for its consideration, the
accompanying papers from the Secretary of the Interior, on the subject
of the proviso of the act of July 31, 1854, in relation to the removal
of the California Indians.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _February 4, 1855_.

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

I communicate to Congress the accompanying papers[38] from the Secretary
of the Interior, and recommend that the appropriations therein asked for
may be made.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 38: Relating to the expenses necessary to be incurred in
colonizing the Texas Indians.]

WASHINGTON, _February 5, 1855_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I communicate to the Senate herewith, for its constitutional action
thereon, articles of agreement and convention made and concluded at
the city of Washington on the 31st day of January, 1855, by George W.
Manypenny, as commissioner on the part of the United States, and the
chiefs and delegates of the Wyandott tribe of Indians.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _February 6, 1855_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 11th ultimo, in
relation to the case of Francis W. Rice,[39] late United States consul
at Acapulco, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, with the
accompanying documents.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 39: Arrested and imprisoned at Acapulco, Mexico.]

WASHINGTON, _February 6, 1855_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report[40] from the Secretary of State, in answer
to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 27th ultimo.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 40: Stating that the information relative to the applicability
to the Spanish colonies of the treaty of 1795 with Spain, and whether
American citizens residing in said colonies are entitled to the benefits
of its provisions, had been already transmitted.]

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