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

Part 7 out of 7

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the suppression of domestic insurrection is, when the exigency occurs,
a matter of the most earnest solicitude. On this occasion of imperative
necessity it has been done with the best results, and my satisfaction
in the attainment of such results by such means is greatly enhanced by
the consideration that, through the wisdom and energy of the present
executive of Kansas and the prudence, firmness, and vigilance of the
military officers on duty there tranquillity has been restored without
one drop of blood having been shed in its accomplishment by the forces
of the United States.

The restoration of comparative tranquillity in that Territory furnishes
the means of observing calmly and appreciating at their just value the
events which have occurred there and the discussions of which the
government of the Territory has been the subject.

We perceive that controversy concerning its future domestic institutions
was inevitable; that no human prudence, no form of legislation, no
wisdom on the part of Congress, could have prevented it.

It is idle to suppose that the particular provisions of their organic
law were the cause of agitation. Those provisions were but the occasion,
or the pretext, of an agitation which was inherent in the nature of
things. Congress legislated upon the subject in such terms as were most
consonant with the principle of popular sovereignty which underlies our
Government. It could not have legislated otherwise without doing
violence to another great principle of our institutions--the
imprescriptible right of equality of the several States.

We perceive also that sectional interests and party passions have been
the great impediment to the salutary operation of the organic principles
adopted and the chief cause of the successive disturbances in Kansas,
The assumption that because in the organization of the Territories of
Nebraska and Kansas Congress abstained from imposing restraints upon
them to which certain other Territories had been subject, therefore
disorders occurred in the latter Territory, is emphatically contradicted
by the fact that none have occurred in the former. Those disorders were
not the consequence, in Kansas, of the freedom of self-government
conceded to that Territory by Congress, but of unjust interference on
the part of persons not inhabitants of the Territory. Such interference,
wherever it has exhibited itself by acts of insurrectionary character or
of obstruction to process of law, has been repelled or suppressed by all
the means which the Constitution and the laws place in the hands of the
Executive.

In those parts of the United States where, by reason of the inflamed
state of the public mind, false rumors and misrepresentations have
the greatest currency it has been assumed that it was the duty of the
Executive not only to suppress insurrectionary movements in Kansas,
but also to see to the regularity of local elections. It needs little
argument to show that the President has no such power. All government in
the United States rests substantially upon popular election. The freedom
of elections is liable to be impaired by the intrusion of unlawful votes
or the exclusion of lawful ones, by improper influences, by violence,
or by fraud. But the people of the United States are themselves the
all-sufficient guardians of their own rights, and to suppose that they
will not remedy in due season any such incidents of civil freedom is
to suppose them to have ceased to be capable of self-government. The
President of the United States has not power to interpose in elections,
to see to their freedom, to canvass their votes, or to pass upon their
legality in the Territories any more than in the States. If he had such
power the Government might be republican in form, but it would be a
monarchy in fact; and if he had undertaken to exercise it in the case of
Kansas he would have been justly subject to the charge of usurpation and
of violation of the dearest rights of the people of the United States.

Unwise laws, equally with irregularities at elections, are in periods
of great excitement the occasional incidents of even the freest and
best political institutions; but all experience demonstrates that in a
country like ours, where the right of self-constitution exists in the
completest form, the attempt to remedy unwise legislation by resort
to revolution is totally out of place, inasmuch as existing legal
institutions afford more prompt and efficacious means for the redress
of wrong.

I confidently trust that now, when the peaceful condition of Kansas
affords opportunity for calm reflection and wise legislation, either
the legislative assembly of the Territory or Congress will see that
no act shall remain on its statute book violative of the provisions
of the Constitution or subversive of the great objects for which
that was ordained and established, and will take all other necessary
steps to assure to its inhabitants the enjoyment, without obstruction or
abridgment, of all the constitutional rights, privileges, and immunities
of citizens of the United States, as contemplated by the organic law of
the Territory.

Full information in relation to recent events in this Territory will be
found in the documents communicated herewith from the Departments of
State and War.

I refer you to the report of the Secretary of the Treasury for
particular information concerning the financial condition of the
Government and the various branches of the public service connected
with the Treasury Department.

During the last fiscal year the receipts from customs were for the first
time more than $64,000,000, and from all sources $73,918,141, which,
with the balance on hand up to the 1st of July, 1855, made the total
resources of the year amount to $92,850,117. The expenditures, including
$3,000,000 in execution of the treaty with Mexico and excluding sums
paid on account of the public debt, amounted to $60,172,401, and
including the latter to $72,948,792, the payment on this account having
amounted to $12,776,390.

On the 4th of March, 1853, the amount of the public debt was
$69,129,937. There was a subsequent increase of $2,750,000 for the debt
of Texas, making a total of $71,879,937. Of this the sum of $45,525,319,
including premium, has been discharged, reducing the debt to
$30,963,909, all which might be paid within a year without embarrassing
the public service, but being not yet due and only redeemable at the
option of the holder, can not be pressed to payment by the Government.

On examining the expenditures of the last five years it will be seen
that the average, deducting payments on account of the public debt and
$10,000,000 paid by treaty to Mexico, has been but about $48,000,000.
It is believed that under an economical administration of the Government
the average expenditure for the ensuing five years will not exceed that
sum, unless extraordinary occasion for its increase should occur. The
acts granting bounty lands will soon have been executed, while the
extension of our frontier settlements will cause a continued demand
for lands and augmented receipts, probably, from that source. These
considerations will justify a reduction of the revenue from customs
so as not to exceed forty-eight or fifty million dollars. I think the
exigency for such reduction is imperative, and again urge it upon the
consideration of Congress.

The amount of reduction, as well as the manner of effecting it,
are questions of great and general interest, it being essential to
industrial enterprise and the public prosperity, as well as the dictate
of obvious justice, that the burden of taxation be made to rest as
equally as possible upon all classes and all sections and interests
of the country.

I have heretofore recommended to your consideration the revision of
the revenue laws, prepared under the direction of the Secretary of the
Treasury, and also legislation upon some special questions affecting the
business of that Department, more especially the enactment of a law to
punish the abstraction of official books or papers from the files of the
Government and requiring all such books and papers and all other public
property to be turned over by the outgoing officer to his successor;
of a law requiring disbursing officers to deposit all public money in
the vaults of the Treasury or in other legal depositories, where the
same are conveniently accessible, and a law to extend existing penal
provisions to all persons who may become possessed of public money by
deposit or otherwise and who shall refuse or neglect on due demand to
pay the same into the Treasury. I invite your attention anew to each
of these objects.

The Army during the past year has been so constantly employed against
hostile Indians in various quarters that it can scarcely be said, with
propriety of language, to have been a peace establishment. Its duties
have been satisfactorily performed, and we have reason to expect as
a result of the year's operations greater security to the frontier
inhabitants than has been hitherto enjoyed. Extensive combinations among
the hostile Indians of the Territories of Washington and Oregon at one
time threatened the devastation of the newly formed settlements of that
remote portion of the country. From recent information we are permitted
to hope that the energetic and successful operations conducted there
will prevent such combinations in future and secure to those Territories
an opportunity to make steady progress in the development of their
agricultural and mineral resources.

Legislation has been recommended by me on previous occasions to cure
defects in the existing organization and to increase the efficiency of
the Army, and further observation has but served to confirm me in the
views then expressed and to enforce on my mind the conviction that such
measures are not only proper, but necessary.

I have, in addition, to invite the attention of Congress to a change of
policy in the distribution of troops and to the necessity of providing
a more rapid increase of the military armament. For details of these
and other subjects relating to the Army I refer to the report of the
Secretary of War.

The condition of the Navy is not merely satisfactory, but exhibits the
most gratifying evidences of increased vigor. As it is comparatively
small, it is more important that it should be as complete as possible
in all the elements of strength; that it should be efficient in the
character of its officers, in the zeal and discipline of its men, in the
reliability of its ordnance, and in the capacity of its ships. In all
these various qualities the Navy has made great progress within the last
few years. The execution of the law of Congress of February 28, 1855,
"to promote the efficiency of the Navy," has been attended by the most
advantageous results. The law for promoting discipline among the men
is found convenient and salutary. The system of granting an honorable
discharge to faithful seamen on the expiration of the period of their
enlistment and permitting them to reenlist after a leave of absence
of a few months without cessation of pay is highly beneficial in its
influence. The apprentice system recently adopted is evidently destined
to incorporate into the service a large number of our countrymen,
hitherto so difficult to procure. Several hundred American boys are
now on a three years' cruise in our national vessels and will return
well-trained seamen. In the Ordnance Department there is a decided and
gratifying indication of progress, creditable to it and to the country.
The suggestions of the Secretary of the Navy in regard to further
improvement in that branch of the service I commend to your favorable
action.

The new frigates ordered by Congress are now afloat and two of them in
active service. They are superior models of naval architecture, and with
their formidable battery add largely to public strength and security.
I concur in the views expressed by the Secretary of the Department in
favor of a still further increase of our naval force.

The report of the Secretary of the Interior presents facts and views
in relation to internal affairs over which the supervision of his
Department extends of much interest and importance.

The aggregate sales of the public lands during the last fiscal year
amount to 9,227,878 acres, for which has been received the sum of
$8,821,414. During the same period there have been located with military
scrip and land warrants and for other purposes 30,100,230 acres, thus
making a total aggregate of 39,328,108 acres. On the 30th of September
last surveys had been made of 16,873,699 acres, a large proportion of
which is ready for market.

The suggestions in this report in regard to the complication and
progressive expansion of the business of the different bureaus of the
Department, to the pension system, to the colonization of Indian tribes,
and the recommendations in relation to various improvements in the
District of Columbia are especially commended to your consideration.

The report of the Postmaster-General presents fully the condition of
that Department of the Government. Its expenditures for the last fiscal
year were $10,407,868 and its gross receipts $7,620,801, making an
excess of expenditure over receipts of $2,787,046. The deficiency
of this Department is thus $744,000 greater than for the year ending
June 30, 1853. Of this deficiency $330,000 is to be attributed to the
additional compensation allowed to postmasters by the act of Congress
of June 22, 1854. The mail facilities in every part of the country have
been very much increased in that period, and the large addition of
railroad service, amounting to 7,908 miles, has added largely to the
cost of transportation.

The inconsiderable augmentation of the income of the Post-Office
Department under the reduced rates of postage and its increasing
expenditures must for the present make it dependent to some extent
upon the Treasury for support. The recommendations of the
Postmaster-General in relation to the abolition of the franking
privilege and his views on the establishment of mail steamship lines
deserve the consideration of Congress. I also call the special attention
of Congress to the statement of the Postmaster-General respecting the
sums now paid for the transportation of mails to the Panama Railroad
Company, and commend to their early and favorable consideration the
suggestions of that officer in relation to new contracts for mail
transportation upon that route, and also upon the Tehuantepec and
Nicaragua routes.

The United States continue in the enjoyment of amicable relations with
all foreign powers.

When my last annual message was transmitted to Congress two subjects of
controversy, one relating to the enlistment of soldiers in this country
for foreign service and the other to Central America, threatened to
disturb the good understanding between the United States and Great
Britain. Of the progress and termination of the former question you were
informed at the time, and the other is now in the way of satisfactory
adjustment.

The object of the convention between the United States and Great Britain
of the 19th of April, 1850, was to secure for the benefit of all nations
the neutrality and the common use of any transit way or interoceanic
communication across the Isthmus of Panama which might be opened within
the limits of Central America. The pretensions subsequently asserted by
Great Britain to dominion or control over territories in or near two of
the routes, those of Nicaragua and Honduras, were deemed by the United
States not merely incompatible with the main object of the treaty, but
opposed even to its express stipulations. Occasion of controversy on
this point has been removed by an additional treaty, which our minister
at London has concluded, and which will be immediately submitted to
the Senate for its consideration. Should the proposed supplemental
arrangement be concurred in by all the parties to be affected by it,
the objects contemplated by the original convention will have been
fully attained.

The treaty between the United States and Great Britain of the 5th of
June, 1854, which went into effective operation in 1855, put an end to
causes of irritation between the two countries, by securing to the
United States the right of fishery on the coast of the British North
American Provinces, with advantages equal to those enjoyed by British
subjects. Besides the signal benefits of this treaty to a large class of
our citizens engaged in a pursuit connected to no inconsiderable degree
with our national prosperity and strength, it has had a favorable effect
upon other interests in the provision it made for reciprocal freedom of
trade between the United States and the British Provinces in America.

The exports of domestic articles to those Provinces during the last year
amounted to more than $22,000,000, exceeding those of the preceding year
by nearly $7,000,000; and the imports therefrom during the same period
amounted to more than twenty-one million, an increase of six million
upon those of the previous year.

The improved condition of this branch of our commerce is mainly
attributable to the above-mentioned treaty.

Provision was made in the first article of that treaty for a commission
to designate the mouths of rivers to which the common right of fishery
on the coast of the United States and the British Provinces was not to
extend. This commission has been employed a part of two seasons, but
without much progress in accomplishing the object for which it was
instituted, in consequence of a serious difference of opinion between
the commissioners, not only as to the precise point where the rivers
terminate, but in many instances as to what constitutes a river. These
difficulties, however, may be overcome by resort to the umpirage
provided for by the treaty.

The efforts perseveringly prosecuted since the commencement of my
Administration to relieve our trade to the Baltic from the exaction of
Sound dues by Denmark have not yet been attended with success. Other
governments have also sought to obtain a like relief to their commerce,
and Denmark was thus induced to propose an arrangement to all the
European powers interested in the subject, and the manner in which her
proposition was received warranting her to believe that a satisfactory
arrangement with them could soon be concluded, she made a strong appeal
to this Government for temporary suspension of definite action on its
part, in consideration of the embarrassment which might result to her
European negotiations by an immediate adjustment of the question with
the United States. This request has been acceded to upon the condition
that the sums collected after the 16th of June last and until the 16th
of June next from vessels and cargoes belonging to our merchants are to
be considered as paid under protest and subject to future adjustment.
There is reason to believe that an arrangement between Denmark and the
maritime powers of Europe on the subject will be soon concluded, and
that the pending negotiation with the United States may then be resumed
and terminated in a satisfactory manner.

With Spain no new difficulties have arisen, nor has much progress been
made in the adjustment of pending ones.

Negotiations entered into for the purpose of relieving our commercial
intercourse with the island of Cuba of some of its burdens and providing
for the more speedy settlement of local disputes growing out of that
intercourse have not yet been attended with any results.

Soon after the commencement of the late war in Europe this Government
submitted to the consideration of all maritime nations two principles
for the security of neutral commerce--one that the neutral flag should
cover enemies' goods, except articles contraband of war, and the other
that neutral property on board merchant vessels of belligerents should
be exempt from condemnation, with the exception of contraband articles.
These were not presented as new rules of international law, having
been generally claimed by neutrals, though not always admitted by
belligerents. One of the parties to the war (Russia), as well as several
neutral powers, promptly acceded to these propositions, and the two
other principal belligerents (Great Britain and France) having consented
to observe them for the present occasion, a favorable opportunity seemed
to be presented for obtaining a general recognition of them, both in
Europe and America.

But Great Britain and France, in common with most of the States of
Europe, while forbearing to reject, did not affirmatively act upon the
overtures of the United States.

While the question was in this position the representatives of Russia,
France, Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, Sardinia, and Turkey, assembled
at Paris, took into consideration the subject of maritime rights,
and put forth a declaration containing the two principles which this
Government had submitted nearly two years before to the consideration
of maritime powers, and adding thereto the following propositions:
"Privateering is and remains abolished," and "Blockades in order to
be binding must be effective; that is to say, maintained by a force
sufficient really to prevent access to the coast of the enemy;" and to
the declaration thus composed of four points, two of which had already
been proposed by the United States, this Government has been invited to
accede by all the powers represented at Paris except Great Britain and
Turkey. To the last of the two additional propositions--that in relation
to blockades--there can certainly be no objection. It is merely the
definition of what shall constitute the effectual investment of a
blockaded place, a definition for which this Government has always
contended, claiming indemnity for losses where a practical violation
of the rule thus defined has been injurious to our commerce. As to the
remaining, article of the declaration of the conference of Paris, that
"privateering is and remains abolished," I certainly can not ascribe to
the powers represented in the conference of Paris any but liberal and
philanthropic views in the attempt to change the unquestionable rule of
maritime law in regard to privateering. Their proposition was doubtless
intended to imply approval of the principle that private property upon
the ocean, although it might belong to the citizens of a belligerent
state, should be exempted from capture; and had that proposition been so
framed as to give full effect to the principle, it would have received
my ready assent on behalf of the United States. But the measure proposed
is inadequate to that purpose. It is true that if adopted private
property upon the ocean would be withdrawn from one mode of plunder,
but left exposed meanwhile to another mode, which could be used with
increased effectiveness. The aggressive capacity of great naval powers
would be thereby augmented, while the defensive ability of others would
be reduced. Though the surrender of the means of prosecuting hostilities
by employing privateers, as proposed by the conference of Paris, is
mutual in terms, yet in practical effect it would be the relinquishment
of a right of little value to one class of states, but of essential
importance to another and a far larger class. It ought not to have been
anticipated that a measure so inadequate to the accomplishment of the
proposed object and so unequal in its operation would receive the assent
of all maritime powers. Private property would be still left to the
depredations of the public armed cruisers.

I have expressed a readiness on the part of this Government to accede
to all the principles contained in the declaration of the conference of
Paris provided that the one relating to the abandonment of privateering
can be so amended as to effect the object for which, as is presumed, it
was intended--the immunity of private property on the ocean from hostile
capture. To effect this object, it is proposed to add to the declaration
that "privateering is and remains abolished" the following amendment:

And that the private property of subjects and citizens of a belligerent
on the high seas shall be exempt from seizure by the public armed
vessels of the other belligerent, except it be contraband.

This amendment has been presented not only to the powers which have
asked our assent to the declaration to abolish privateering, but to all
other maritime states. Thus far it has not been rejected by any, and is
favorably entertained by all which have made any communication in reply.

Several of the governments regarding with favor the proposition of
the United States have delayed definitive action upon it only for the
purpose of consulting with others, parties to the conference of Paris.
I have the satisfaction of stating, however, that the Emperor of Russia
has entirely and explicitly approved of that modification and will
cooperate in endeavoring to obtain the assent of other powers, and that
assurances of a similar purport have been received in relation to the
disposition of the Emperor of the French.

The present aspect of this important subject allows us to cherish the
hope that a principle so humane in its character, so just and equal in
its operation, so essential to the prosperity of commercial nations, and
so consonant to the sentiments of this enlightened period of the world
will command the approbation of all maritime powers, and thus be
incorporated into the code of international law.

My views on the subject are more fully set forth in the reply of the
Secretary of State, a copy of which is herewith transmitted, to the
communications on the subject made to this Government, especially to
the communication of France.

The Government of the United States has at all times regarded with
friendly interest the other States of America, formerly, like this
country, European colonies, and now independent members of the great
family of nations. But the unsettled condition of some of them,
distracted by frequent revolutions, and thus incapable of regular and
firm internal administration, has tended to embarrass occasionally our
public intercourse by reason of wrongs which our citizens suffer at
their hands, and which they are slow to redress.

Unfortunately, it is against the Republic of Mexico, with which it
is our special desire to maintain a good understanding, that such
complaints are most numerous; and although earnestly urged upon its
attention, they have not as yet received the consideration which this
Government had a right to expect. While reparation for past injuries has
been withheld, others have been added. The political condition of that
country, however, has been such as to demand forbearance on the part of
the United States. I shall continue my efforts to procure for the wrongs
of our citizens that redress which is indispensable to the continued
friendly association of the two Republics.

The peculiar condition of affairs in Nicaragua in the early part of the
present year rendered it important that this Government should have
diplomatic relations with that State. Through its territory had been
opened one of the principal thoroughfares across the isthmus connecting
North and South America, on which a vast amount of property was
transported and to which our citizens resorted in great numbers in
passing between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States.
The protection of both required that the existing power in that State
should be regarded as a responsible Government, and its minister was
accordingly received. But he remained here only a short time. Soon
thereafter the political affairs of Nicaragua underwent unfavorable
change and became involved in much uncertainty and confusion. Diplomatic
representatives from two contending parties have been recently sent to
this Government, but with the imperfect information possessed it was not
possible to decide which was the Government _de facto_, and, awaiting
further developments, I have refused to receive either.

Questions of the most serious nature are pending between the United
States and the Republic of New Granada. The Government of that Republic
undertook a year since to impose tonnage duties on foreign vessels in
her ports, but the purpose was resisted by this Government as being
contrary to existing treaty stipulations with the United States and
to rights conferred by charter upon the Panama Railroad Company, and
was accordingly relinquished at that time, it being admitted that our
vessels were entitled to be exempt from tonnage duty in the free ports
of Panama and Aspinwall. But the purpose has been recently revived on
the part of New Granada by the enactment of a law to subject vessels
visiting her ports to the tonnage duty of 40 cents per ton, and although
the law has not been put in force, yet the right to enforce it is still
asserted and may at any time be acted on by the Government of that
Republic.

The Congress of New Granada has also enacted a law during the last
year which levies a tax of more than $3 on every pound of mail matter
transported across the Isthmus. The sum thus required to be paid on
the mails of the United States would be nearly $2,000,000 annually in
addition to the large sum payable by contract to the Panama Railroad
Company. If the only objection to this exaction were the exorbitancy
of its amount, it could not be submitted to by the United States.

The imposition of it, however, would obviously contravene our treaty
with New Granada and infringe the contract of that Republic with the
Panama Railroad Company. The law providing for this tax was by its terms
to take effect on the ist of September last, but the local authorities
on the Isthmus have been induced to suspend its execution and to await
further instructions on the subject from the Government of the Republic.
I am not yet advised of the determination of that Government. If a
measure so extraordinary in its character and so clearly contrary to
treaty stipulations and the contract rights of the Panama Railroad
Company, composed mostly of American citizens, should be persisted
in, it will be the duty of the United States to resist its execution.

I regret exceedingly that occasion exists to invite your attention to
a subject of still graver import in our relations with the Republic of
New Granada. On the 15th day of April last a riotous assemblage of the
inhabitants of Panama committed a violent and outrageous attack on the
premises of the railroad company and the passengers and other persons
in or near the same, involving the death of several citizens of the
United States, the pillage of many others, and the destruction of a
large amount of property belonging to the railroad company. I caused
full investigation of that event to be made, and the result shows
satisfactorily that complete responsibility for what occurred attaches
to the Government of New Granada. I have therefore demanded of that
Government that the perpetrators of the wrongs in question should be
punished; that provision should be made for the families of citizens of
the United States who were killed, with full indemnity for the property
pillaged or destroyed.

The present condition of the Isthmus of Panama, in so far as regards
the security of persons and property passing over it, requires serious
consideration. Recent incidents tend to show that the local authorities
can not be relied on to maintain the public peace of Panama, and there
is just ground for apprehension that a portion of the inhabitants are
meditating further outrages, without adequate measures for the security
and protection of persons or property having been taken, either by the
State of Panama or by the General Government of New Granada.

Under the guaranties of treaty, citizens of the United States have, by
the outlay of several million dollars, constructed a railroad across
the Isthmus, and it has become the main route between our Atlantic
and Pacific possessions, over which multitudes of our citizens and a
vast amount of property are constantly passing; to the security and
protection of all which and the continuance of the public advantages
involved it is impossible for the Government of the United States to
be indifferent.

I have deemed the danger of the recurrence of scenes of lawless violence
in this quarter so imminent as to make it my duty to station a part of
our naval force in the harbors of Panama and Aspinwall, in order to
protect the persons and property of the citizens of the United States
in those ports and to insure to them safe passage across the Isthmus.
And it would, in my judgment, be unwise to withdraw the naval force now
in those ports until, by the spontaneous action of the Republic of New
Granada or otherwise, some adequate arrangement shall have been made for
the protection and security of a line of interoceanic communication, so
important at this time not to the United States only, but to all other
maritime states, both of Europe and America.

Meanwhile negotiations have been instituted, by means of a special
commission, to obtain from New Granada full indemnity for injuries
sustained by our citizens on the Isthmus and satisfactory security
for the general interests of the United States.

In addressing to you my last annual message the occasion seems to me
an appropriate one to express my congratulations, in view of the peace,
greatness, and felicity which the United States now possess and enjoy.
To point you to the state of the various Departments of the Government
and of all the great branches of the public service, civil and military,
in order to speak of the intelligence and the integrity which pervades
the whole, would be to indicate but imperfectly the administrative
condition of the country and the beneficial effects of that on the
general welfare. Nor would it suffice to say that the nation is actually
at peace at home and abroad; that its industrial interests are
prosperous; that the canvas of its mariners whitens every sea, and the
plow of its husbandmen is marching steadily onward to the bloodless
conquest of the continent; that cities and populous States are springing
up, as if by enchantment, from the bosom of our Western wilds, and that
the courageous energy of our people is making of these United States
the great Republic of the world. These results have not been attained
without passing through trials and perils, by experience of which,
and thus only, nations can harden into manhood. Our forefathers were
trained to the wisdom which conceived and the courage which achieved
independence by the circumstances which surrounded them, and they were
thus made capable of the creation of the Republic. It devolved on the
next generation to consolidate the work of the Revolution, to deliver
the country entirely from the influences of conflicting transatlantic
partialities or antipathies which attached to our colonial and
Revolutionary history, and to organize the practical operation of
the constitutional and legal institutions of the Union. To us of
this generation remains the not less noble task of maintaining and
extending the national power. We have at length reached that stage
of our country's career in which the dangers to be encountered and
the exertions to be made are the incidents, not of weakness, but of
strength. In foreign relations we have to attemper our power to the less
happy condition of other Republics in America and to place ourselves in
the calmness and conscious dignity of right by the side of the greatest
and wealthiest of the Empires of Europe. In domestic relations we have
to guard against the shock of the discontents, the ambitions, the
interests, and the exuberant, and therefore sometimes irregular,
impulses of opinion or of action which are the natural product of the
present political elevation, the self-reliance, and the restless spirit
of enterprise of the people of the United States.

I shall prepare to surrender the Executive trust to my successor and
retire to private life with sentiments of profound gratitude to the good
Providence which during the period of my Administration has vouchsafed
to carry the country through many difficulties, domestic and foreign,
and which enables me to contemplate the spectacle of amicable and
respectful relations between ours and all other governments and the
establishment of constitutional order and tranquillity throughout the
Union.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

SPECIAL MESSAGES.

WASHINGTON, _December 2, 1856_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report[63] from the Secretary of State, in
compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
7th of August last.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 63: Stating that the correspondence in the Departments of State
and of the Navy relative to Hamet Caramally had been transmitted to
Congress.]

WASHINGTON, _December 8, 1856_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a treaty between the United States and Siam, concluded
at Bangkok on the 29th day of May last.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _December 10, 1856_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a treaty for the settlement of the questions which have
come into discussion between the United States and Great Britain
relative to Central America, concluded and signed at London on the
17th day of October last between the United States and Great Britain.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _December 12, 1856_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit a copy of a letter of the 20th of May last from the
commissioner of the United States in China, and of the decree and
regulations[64] which accompanied it, for such revision thereof as
Congress may deem expedient, pursuant to the sixth section of the
act approved 11th August, 1848.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 64: For judicial jurisdiction by acting consuls or vice-consuls
of the United States in China.]

WASHINGTON, _December 15, 1856_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit to Congress an extract from a letter of the 22d ultimo from
the governor of the Territory of Kansas to the Secretary of State, with
a copy of the executive minutes[65] to which it refers. These documents
have been received since the date of my message at the opening of the
present session.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 65: Containing a history of Kansas affairs.]

WASHINGTON, _December 29, 1856_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with, a resolution of the Senate of the 23d instant,
requesting the President "to communicate to the Senate, if not
incompatible with the public interest, such information as he may have
concerning the present condition and prospects of a proposed plan for
connecting by submarine wires the magnetic telegraph lines on this
continent and Europe," I transmit the accompanying report from the
Secretary of State.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _January 6, 1857_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, with accompanying
papers,[66] in answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 2d instant.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 66: Relating to the refusal of the minister to the United
States from the Netherlands to testify before the criminal court of
the District of Columbia.]

WASHINGTON, _January 12, 1857_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 4th August, 1856,
and 9th January instant, I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary
of State, together with the documents[67] therein referred to.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 67: Relating to the claims of certain American citizens for
losses consequent upon their expulsion by Venezuelan authorities from
one of the Aves Islands, while collecting guano.]

WASHINGTON, _January 12, 1857_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I again transmit to the Senate, for its advice and consent with a
view to ratification, the convention between the United States and
His Majesty the King of the Netherlands, for the mutual delivery
of criminals fugitives from justice in certain cases, and for
other purposes, which was concluded at The Hague on the 29th day
of May, 1856.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _January 12, 1857_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, with accompanying
papers,[68] in answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 7th
instant.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 68: Correspondence and documents connected with the treaty
concluded at London between the United States and Great Britain
October 17, 1856, relative to Central America.]

WASHINGTON, _January 12, 1857_.

The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
22d ultimo, in relation to information with regard to expenditures and
liabilities for persons called into the service of the United States
in the Territory of Kansas, I transmit the accompanying report of the
Secretary of War.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _January 13, 1857_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a convention between the United States and the Republic
of Peru relative to the rights of neutrals at sea, signed at Lima by
the plenipotentiaries of the parties on the 22d of July last.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _January 16, 1857_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I communicate to the Senate herewith, for its constitutional action
thereon, a treaty made and concluded at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
Territory, on the 16th day of December, 1856, between Indian Agent
Benjamin F. Robinson, commissioner on the part of the United States,
the principal men of the Christian Indians, and Gottleib F. Oehler, on
behalf of the board of elders of the northern diocese of the Church of
the United Brethren in the United States of America.

Among the papers which accompany the treaty is a communication from the
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, containing a recommendation, concurred
in by the Secretary of the Interior, that the treaty be ratified with
an amendment which is therein explained.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _January 19, 1857_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

Soon after the close of the last session of Congress I directed steps to
be taken to carry into effect the joint resolution of August 28, 1856
relative to the restoration of the ship _Resolute_ to Her Britannic
Majesty's service. The ship was purchased of the salvors at the sum
appropriated for the purchase, and "after being fully repaired and
equipped" was sent to England under control of the Secretary of the
Navy, The letter from Her Majesty's minister for foreign affairs, now
communicated to Congress in conformity with his request, and copies of
correspondence from the files of the Departments of State and of the
Navy, also transmitted herewith, will apprise you of the manner in which
the joint resolution has been fully executed and show how agreeable the
proceeding has been to Her Majesty's Government.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _January, 1857_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit to Congress copies of a communication from His Excellency
Andrew Johnson, governor of the State of Tennessee, tendering to the
Government of the United States "500 acres of the late residence of
Andrew Jackson, deceased, including the mansion, tomb, and other
improvements, known as the Hermitage," upon the terms and conditions
of an act of the legislature of said State, a copy of which is also
herewith communicated.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _January 20, 1857_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In response to a resolution of January 5, 1857, requesting the President
to inform the House of Representatives "by what authority a Government
architect is employed and paid for designing and erecting all public
buildings, and also for placing said buildings under the supervision
of military engineers," I submit the accompanying reports from the
Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of War.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _January 21, 1857_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In further compliance with resolution of the House of Representatives of
the 22d ultimo, calling upon me for "statements of the amounts of money
paid and liabilities incurred for the pay, support, and other expenses
of persons called into the service of the United States in the Territory
of Kansas, either under the designation of the militia of Kansas or of
posses summoned by the civil officers in that Territory, since the date
of its establishment; also statements of the amounts paid to marshals,
sheriffs, and other deputies, and to witnesses and for other expenses in
the arrest, detention, and trial of persons charged in said Territory
with treason against the United States or with violations of the alleged
laws of said Territory," I transmit a report from the Secretary of the
Treasury, with accompanying documents.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _January 28, 1857_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I communicate to the Senate herewith, for its constitutional action
thereon, a treaty made and concluded at Grand Portage, in the Territory
of Minnesota, on the 16th day of September, 1856, between Henry C.
Gilbert, Indian agent, acting as commissioner on the part of the United
States, and the Bois Porte bands of Chippewa Indians, by their chiefs
and headmen.

The treaty is accompanied by communications from the Secretary of the
Interior, transmitting a letter to him from the Commissioner of Indian
Affairs and a report from Agent Gilbert of the 24th December, 1856.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _January 30, 1857_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with a resolution of the Senate passed December 23, 1856,
requesting "any information upon the files of the Department in relation
to pay and emoluments of Lieutenant-General Scott or his staff under the
resolution of February 15, 1855, which may not have been communicated in
Executive Document No. 56, first session Thirty-fourth Congress," and a
resolution passed December 30, requesting "a statement of all payments
and allowances which have been made, and of all claims which have been
disallowed, to Brevet Lieutenant-General Scott from the date when he
joined the army serving in Mexico up to December 1, 1856," and "also
copies of all correspondence on file in the Executive Departments
relating to said claims, payments, or allowances," I herewith transmit
a report of the Secretary of War, to whom the resolutions were referred
in order that the information, statements, and copies of correspondence
therein required might be prepared and furnished.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _February 4, 1857_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolutions of the Senate of yesterday, adopted in
executive session, I transmit reports[69] from the Secretary of State,
to whom they were referred.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 69: Relating to the convention between Great Britain and
Honduras respecting the island of Ruatan.]

WASHINGTON, _February 4, 1857_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, with
accompanying documents,[70] in answer to the resolution of the
House of December 26, 1854.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 70: Consular returns on shipping, shipbuilding, etc., in
foreign countries.]

WASHINGTON, _February 9, 1857_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, with accompanying
papers,[71] in answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 30th ultimo.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 71: Relating to the proclamation of martial law in Washington
Territory, etc.]

WASHINGTON, _February 11, 1857_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In further compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 5th
instant, requesting me to communicate transcripts of papers relative
to the proclamation of martial law by Governor Stevens, of Washington
Territory, I transmit the accompanying report from the Secretary of War.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _February 11, 1857_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a treaty of friendship and commerce between the United
States and the Shah of Persia, signed by the plenipotentiaries of the
parties at Constantinople on the 13th of December last.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _February 11, 1857_.

_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
places and dates therein named by Joel Palmer, superintendent of Indian
affairs, on the part of the United States, and the chiefs and headmen
of the confederate tribes and bands of Indians residing along the coast
west of the summit of the Coast Range of mountains and between the
Columbia River on the north and the southern boundary of Oregon on the
south. A letter from the Secretary of the Interior, including one from
the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, accompanies the treaty.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _February 14, 1857_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of the
19th ultimo, requesting me "to furnish to the House all correspondence
and documents, not incompatible with the public interest, relating to
Indian affairs in the Department of the Pacific, those of the Interior
as well as those of the War Department," I transmit the accompanying
report and documents from the Secretary of War.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _February, 1857_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I communicate herewith a letter of the Secretary of War, recommending
an appropriation of $10,000 for the purpose of instituting a series of
researches for the discovery of a more efficient mode of manufacturing
niter.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _February 16, 1857_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 4th of August
last, calling for information in relation to certain internal
improvements, I transmit reports[72] from the Secretary of the Treasury
and the Secretary of War.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 72: Appropriations made by Congress within eleven years for
light-houses, beacons, buoys, etc, on Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron,
St. Clair, Erie, Ontario, and Champlain; duties collected and expenses
of collection at each of the lake ports annually for eleven fiscal
years, ending June 30, 1856; tonnage of the lake ports, etc.]

WASHINGTON, _February 19, 1857_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit for the consideration of the Senate with a view to
ratification a consular convention between the United States and the
Republic of Chili, signed by the plenipotentiaries of the parties at
the city of Santiago on the 1st day of December last.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _February 23, 1857_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, with accompanying
papers,[73] in answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives
of the 6th instant.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 73: Relating to the claim of F. Dainese for salary, expenses,
etc., while acting consul at Constantinople.]

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Attorney-General, in reply to
the resolution[74] of the Senate in executive session of the 19th instant.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

FEBRUARY 23, 1857.

[Footnote 74: Asking whether Samuel D. Lecompte has been allowed to
perform the functions of chief justice of the Territory of Kansas
since the nomination of J.O. Harrison to that office.]

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I communicate herewith a report from the Attorney-General, in reply
to the resolution of the Senate of the 20th instant, asking for
correspondence of Samuel D. Lecompte, chief justice of the Territory
of Kansas.[75]

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

FEBRUARY 23, 1857.

[Footnote 75: Explanatory of his judicial conduct in the Territory of
Kansas.]

WASHINGTON, _March 2, 1857_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I communicate herewith a letter[76] from the Secretary of the Navy,
in response to a resolution of the Senate of August 15, 1856.

Concurring in the views presented in the documents to which the
Secretary of the Navy refers, I am not prepared at this time to
recommend any legislation on the subject.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

[Footnote 76: Relating to the discontinuance or change of location of
any navy-yard or naval station on the Atlantic Seaboard.]

WASHINGTON, _March 2, 1857_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 20th ultimo, in
relation to correspondence between the Treasury and Interior Departments
and Edward F. Beale, late superintendent of Indian affairs in California,
and accounts of remittances, etc., I transmit the accompanying
report from the Secretary of the Treasury.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

WASHINGTON, _March 3, 1857_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

As a further answer to resolutions of the House of Representatives
adopted on the 6th and 10th of February, I transmit a second report
from the Secretary of State, relating to the "accounts," "claims," and
"difficulties" at Constantinople, referred to in said resolutions.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

PROCLAMATION.

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

A PROCLAMATION.

Whereas objects of interest to the United States require that the Senate
should be convened at 12 o'clock on the 4th of March next to receive and
act upon such communications as may be made to it on the part of the
Executive:

Now, therefore, I, Franklin Pierce, President of the United States, have
considered it to be my duty to issue this my proclamation, declaring
that an extraordinary occasion requires the Senate of the United States
to convene for the transaction of business at the Capitol, in the city
of Washington, on the 4th day of March next, at 12 o'clock at noon of
that day, of which all who shall at that time be entitled to act as
members of that body are hereby required to take notice.

[SEAL.]

Given under my hand and the seal of the United States, at Washington,
this 16th day of February, A.D. 1857, and of the Independence of the
United States the eighty-first.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

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

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