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

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_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

The Government of Great Britain has offered its mediation for the
adjustment of the dispute between the United States and France.
Carefully guarding that point in the controversy which, as it involves
our honor and independence, admits of no compromise, I have cheerfully
accepted the offer. It will be obviously improper to resort even to the
mildest measures of a compulsory character until it is ascertained
whether France has declined or accepted the mediation. I therefore
recommend a suspension of all proceedings on that part of my special
message of the 15th of January last which proposes a partial
nonintercourse with France. While we can not too highly appreciate the
elevated and disinterested motives of the offer of Great Britain, and
have a just reliance upon the great influence of that power to restore
the relations of ancient friendship between the United States and
France, and know, too, that our own pacific policy will be strictly
adhered to until the national honor compels us to depart from it, we
should be insensible to the exposed condition of our country and forget
the lessons of experience if we did not efficiently and sedulously
prepare for an adverse result. The peace of a nation does not depend
exclusively upon its own will, nor upon the beneficent policy of
neighboring powers; and that nation which is found totally unprepared
for the exigencies and dangers of war, although it come without having
given warning of its approach, is criminally negligent of its honor and
its duty. I can not too strongly repeat the recommendation already made
to place the seaboard in a proper state for defense and promptly to
provide the means for amply protecting our commerce.

ANDREW JACKSON.

WASHINGTON, _February 9, 1836_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the call made by the Senate in their resolution of the
3d instant, relative to the Indian hostilities in Florida, I transmit
herewith a report from the Secretary of War, accompanied by sundry
explanatory papers.

ANDREW JACKSON.

WASHINGTON, _February 10, 1836_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of War, with copies of
so much of the correspondence relating to Indian affairs called for by
the resolution of the House of January 23, 1835, as can be furnished by
that Department. I also transmit a report on the same subject from the
Treasury Department, from which it appears that without a special
appropriation or the suspension for a considerable period of much
of the urgent and current business of the General Land Office it
is impracticable to take copies of all the papers described in the
resolution. Under these circumstances the subject is again respectfully
submitted to the consideration of the House of Representatives.

ANDREW JACKSON.

FEBRUARY 11, 1836.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith return to the Senate the resolution of the legislature of the
State of Indiana requesting the President to suspend from sale a strip
of land 10 miles in width, on a line from Munceytown to Fort Wayne,
which resolution was referred to me on the 5th instant.

It appears from the memorial to which the resolution is subjoined that
the lands embraced therein have been in market for several years past;
that the legislature of the State of Indiana have applied to Congress
for the passage of a law giving that State the right to purchase at such
reduced prices as Congress may fix, and that their suspension from sale
is requested as auxiliary to this application.

By the acts of Congress now in force all persons who may choose to make
entries for these lands in the manner prescribed by law are entitled to
purchase the same, and as the President possesses no dispensing power it
will be obvious to the Senate that until authorized by law he can not
rightfully act on the subject referred to him.

ANDREW JACKSON.

WASHINGTON, _February 15, 1836_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, in pursuance of the resolutions passed by
that body on the 3d instant, a report from the Secretary of State,
accompanied by certain papers, relative to the existing relations
between the United States and France.

ANDREW JACKSON.

WASHINGTON, _February 18, 1836_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit to the House of Representatives, in answer to their
resolutions of the ---- February instant, reports from the Secretary of
State and the Secretary of the Treasury, with accompanying documents,
relating to the relations between the United States and France. For
reasons adverted to by the Secretary of State, the resolutions of the
House have not been more fully complied with.

ANDREW JACKSON.

FEBRUARY 22, 1836.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith to Congress copies of the correspondence between the
Secretary of State and the charge d'affaires of His Britannic Majesty,
relative to the mediation of Great Britain in our disagreement with
France and to the determination of the French Government to execute the
treaty of indemnification without further delay on the application for
payment by the agent of the United States.

The grounds upon which the mediation was accepted will be found fully
developed in the correspondence. On the part of France the mediation had
been publicly accepted before the offer of it could be received here.
Whilst each of the two Governments has thus discovered a just solicitude
to resort to all honorable means of adjusting amicably the controversy
between them, it is a matter of congratulation that the mediation has
been rendered unnecessary. Under such circumstances the anticipation may
be confidently indulged that the disagreement between the United States
and France will not have produced more than a temporary estrangement.
The healing effects of time, a just consideration of the powerful
motives for a cordial good understanding between the two nations, the
strong inducements each has to respect and esteem the other, will no
doubt soon obliterate from their remembrance all traces of that
disagreement.

Of the elevated and disinterested part the Government of Great Britain
has acted and was prepared to act I have already had occasion to express
my high sense. Universal respect and the consciousness of meriting
it are with Governments as with men the just rewards of those who
faithfully exert their power to preserve peace, restore harmony, and
perpetuate good will.

I may be permitted, I trust, at this time, without a suspicion of the
most remote desire to throw off censure from the Executive or to point
it to any other department or branch of the Government, to refer to the
want of effective preparation in which our country was found at the
late crisis. From the nature of our institutions the movements of the
Government in preparation for hostilities must ever be too slow for the
exigencies of unexpected war. I submit it, then, to you whether the
first duty we owe to the people who have confided to us their power is
not to place our country in such an attitude as always to be so amply
supplied with the means of self-defense as to afford no inducements to
other nations to presume upon our forbearance or to expect important
advantages from a sudden assault, either upon our commerce, our
seacoast, or our interior frontier. In case of the commencement of
hostilities during the recess of Congress, the time inevitably elapsing
before that body could be called together, even under the most favorable
circumstances, would be pregnant with danger; and if we escaped without
signal disaster or national dishonor, the hazard of both unnecessarily
incurred could not fail to excite a feeling of deep reproach. I
earnestly recommend to you, therefore, to make such provisions that
in no future time shall we be found without ample means to repel
aggression, even although it may come upon us without a note of warning.
We are now, fortunately, so situated that the expenditure for this
purpose will not be felt, and if it were it would be approved by those
from whom all its means are derived, and for whose benefit only it
should be used with a liberal economy and an enlightened forecast.

In behalf of these suggestions I can not forbear repeating the wise
precepts of one whose counsels can not be forgotten:

... The United States ought not to indulge a persuasion that, contrary
to the order of human events, they will forever keep at a distance
those painful appeals to arms with which the history of every other
nation abounds. There is a rank due to the United States among nations
which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of
weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it;
if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of
our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready
for war.

ANDREW JACKSON.

WASHINGTON, _January 27, 1836_.

The undersigned, His Britannic Majesty's charge d'affaires, has been
instructed to state to Mr. Forsyth, the Secretary of State of the United
States, that the British Government has witnessed with the greatest pain
and regret the progress of the misunderstanding which has lately grown
up between the Governments of France and of the United States. The first
object of the undeviating policy of the British cabinet has been to
maintain uninterrupted the relations of peace between Great Britain and
the other nations of the world, without any abandonment of national
interests and without any sacrifice of national honor. The next object
to which their anxious and unremitting exertions have been directed has
been by an appropriate exercise of the good offices and moral influence
of Great Britain to heal dissensions which may have arisen among
neighboring powers and to preserve for other nations those blessings of
peace which Great Britain is so desirous of securing for herself.

The steady efforts of His Majesty's Government have hitherto been,
fortunately, successful in the accomplishment of both these ends, and
while Europe during the last five years has passed through a crisis of
extraordinary hazard without any disturbance of the general peace, His
Majesty's Government has the satisfaction of thinking that it has on
more than one occasion been instrumental in reconciling differences
which might otherwise have led to quarrels, and in cementing union
between friendly powers.

But if ever there could be an occasion on which it would be painful to
the British Government to see the relations of amity broken off between
two friendly states that occasion is undoubtedly the present, when a
rupture is apprehended between two great powers, with both of which
Great Britain is united by the closest ties--with one of which she is
engaged in active alliance; with the other of which she is joined by
community of interests and by the bonds of kindred.

Nor would the grounds of difference on the present occasion reconcile
the friends and wellwishers of the differing parties to the misfortune
of an open rupture between them.

When the conflicting interests of two nations are so opposed on a
particular question as to admit of no possible compromise, the sword may
be required to cut the knot which reason is unable to untie.

When passions have been so excited on both sides that no common standard
of justice can be found, and what one party insists on as a right the
other denounces as a wrong, prejudice may become too headstrong to yield
to the voice of equity, and those who can agree on nothing else may
consent to abide the fate of arms and to allow that the party which
shall prove the weakest in the war shall be deemed to have been wrong
in the dispute.

But in the present case there is no question of national interest at
issue between France and the United States. In the present case there
is no demand of justice made by one party and denied by the other.
The disputed claims of America on France, which were founded upon
transactions in the early part of the present century and were for many
years in litigation, have at length been established by mutual consent
and are admitted by a treaty concluded between the two Governments.
The money due by France has been provided by the Chambers, and has been
placed at the disposal of the French Government for the purpose of being
paid to the United States. But questions have arisen between the two
Governments in the progress of those transactions affecting on both
sides the feelings of national honor, and it is on this ground that the
relations between the parties have been for the moment suspended and are
in danger of being more seriously interrupted.

In this state of things the British Government is led to think that the
good offices of a third power equally the friend of France and of the
United States, and prompted by considerations of the highest order most
earnestly to wish for the continuance of peace, might be useful in
restoring a good understanding between the two parties on a footing
consistent with the nicest feelings of national honor in both.

The undersigned has therefore been instructed by His Majesty's
Government formally to tender to the Government of the United States the
mediation of Great Britain for the settlement of the differences between
the United States and France, and to say that a note precisely similar
to the present has been delivered to the French Government by His
Majesty's ambassador at Paris. The undersigned has, at the same time,
to express the confident hope of His Majesty's Government that if the two
parties would agree to refer to the British Government the settlement of
the point at issue between them, and to abide by the opinion which that
Government might after due consideration communicate to the two parties
thereupon, means might be found of satisfying the honor of each without
incurring those great and manifold evils which a rupture between two
such powers must inevitably entail on both.

The undersigned has the honor to renew to Mr. Forsyth the assurance of
his most distinguished consideration.

CHARLES BANKHEAD.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, February 3, 1836_.

CHARLES BANKHEAD, Esq.:

The undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, has had the
honor to receive the note of the 27th ultimo of Mr. Charles Bankhead,
His Britannic Majesty's charge d'affaires, offering to the Government of
the United States the mediation of His Britannic Majesty's Government
for the settlement of the differences unhappily existing between the
United States and France. That communication having been submitted
to the President, and considered with all the care belonging to the
importance of the subject and the source from which it emanated,
the undersigned has been instructed to assure Mr. Bankhead that the
disinterested and honorable motives which have dictated the proposal are
fully appreciated. The pacific policy of His Britannic Majesty's cabinet
and their efforts to heal dissensions arising among nations are worthy
of the character and commanding influence of Great Britain, and the
success of those efforts is as honorable to the Government by whose
instrumentality it was secured as it has been beneficial to the parties
more immediately interested and to the world at large.

The sentiments upon which this policy is founded, and which are so
forcibly displayed in the offer that has been made, are deeply impressed
upon the mind of the President. They are congenial with the institutions
and principles as well as with the interests and habits of the people of
the United States, and it has been the constant aim of their Government
in its conduct toward other powers to observe and illustrate them.
Cordially approving the general views of His Britannic Majesty's
Government, the President regards with peculiar satisfaction the
enlightened and disinterested solicitude manifested by it for the
welfare of the nations to whom its good offices are now tendered, and
has seen with great sensibility, in the exhibition of that feeling, the
recognition of that community of interests and those ties of kindred by
which the United States and Great Britain are united.

If circumstances did not render it certain, it would have been obvious
from the language of Mr. Bankhead's note to the undersigned that the
Government of His Britannic Majesty, when the instructions under which
it was prepared were given, could not have been apprised of all the
steps taken in the controversy between the United States and France.
It was necessarily ignorant of the tenor of the two recent messages of
the President to Congress--the first communicated at the commencement of
the present session, under date of the 7th of December, 1835, and the
second under that of the 15th of January, 1836. Could these documents
have been within the knowledge of His Britannic Majesty's Government,
the President does not doubt that it would have been fully satisfied
that the disposition of the United States, notwithstanding their
well-grounded and serious causes of complaint against France, to
restore friendly relations and cultivate a good understanding with the
Government of that country was undiminished, and that all had already
been done on their part that could in reason be expected of them to
secure that result. The first of these documents, although it gave such
a history of the origin and progress of the claims of the United States
and of the proceedings of France before and since the treaty of 1831
as to vindicate the statements and recommendations of the message of
the 1st of December, 1834, yet expressly disclaimed the offensive
interpretation put upon it by the Government of France, and while
it insisted on the acknowledged rights of the United States and the
obligations of the treaty and maintained the honor and independence
of the American Government, evinced an anxious desire to do all that
constitutional duty and strict justice would permit to remove every
cause of irritation and excitement. The special message of the 15th
January last being called for by the extraordinary and inadmissible
demands of the Government of France as defined in the last official
communications at Paris, and by the continued refusal of France to
execute a treaty from the faithful performance of which by the United
States it was tranquilly enjoying important advantages, it became the
duty of the President to recommend such measures as might be adapted
to the exigencies of the occasion. Unwilling to believe that a nation
distinguished for honor and intelligence could have determined
permanently to maintain a ground so indefensible, and anxious still to
leave open the door of reconciliation, the President contented himself
with proposing to Congress the mildest of the remedies given by the law
and practice of nations in connection with such propositions for defense
as were evidently required by the condition of the United States and
the attitude assumed by France. In all these proceedings, as well as
in every stage of these difficulties with France, it is confidently
believed that the course of the United States, when duly considered
by other Governments and the world, will be found to have been marked
not only by a pacific disposition, but by a spirit of forbearance and
conciliation.

For a further illustration of this point, as well as for the purpose of
presenting a lucid view of the whole subject, the undersigned has the
honor to transmit to Mr. Bankhead copies of all that part of the message
of December 7, 1835, which relates to it and of the correspondence
referred to therein, and also copies of the message and accompanying
documents of the 15th of January, 1836, and of another message of the
18th of the same month, transmitting a report of the Secretary of State
and certain documents connected with the subject.

These papers, while they will bring down the history of the
misunderstanding between the United States and France to the present
date, will also remove an erroneous impression which appears to be
entertained by His Britannic Majesty's Government. It is suggested in
Mr. Bankhead's note that there is no question of national interest
at issue between France and the United States, and that there is no
demand of justice made by the one party and denied by the other. This
suggestion appears to be founded on the facts that the claims of the
United States have been admitted by a treaty concluded between the two
Governments and that the money due by France has been provided by the
Chambers and placed at the disposal of the French Government for the
purpose of being paid to the United States. But it is to be observed
that the payment of the money thus appropriated is refused by the French
Government unless the United States will first comply with a condition
not contained in the treaty and not assented to by them. This refusal to
make payment is, in the view of the United States, a denial of justice,
and has not only been accompanied by acts and language of which they
have great reason to complain, but the delay of payment is highly
injurious to those American citizens who are entitled to share in the
indemnification provided by the treaty and to the interests of the
United States, inasmuch as the reduction of the duties levied on French
wines in pursuance of that treaty has diminished the public revenue,
and has been and yet is enjoyed by France, with all the other benefits
of the treaty, without the consideration and equivalents for which
they were granted. But there are other national interests, and, in the
judgment of this Government, national interests of the highest order,
involved in the condition prescribed and insisted on by France which
it has been by the President made the duty of the undersigned to bring
distinctly into view. That condition proceeds on the assumption that a
foreign power whose acts are spoken of by the President of the United
States in a message to Congress, transmitted in obedience to his
constitutional duties, and which deems itself aggrieved by the language
thus held by him, may as a matter of right require from the Government
of the United States a direct official explanation of such language,
to be given in such form and expressed in such terms as shall meet the
requirements and satisfy the feelings of the offended party, and may
in default of such explanation annul or suspend a solemn treaty duly
executed by its constitutional organ. Whatever may be the responsibility
of those nations whose executives possess the power of declaring war
and of adopting other coercive remedies without the intervention of
the legislative department, for the language held by the Executive in
addressing that department, it is obvious that under the Constitution
of the United States, which gives to the Executive no such powers, but
vests them exclusively in the Legislature, whilst at the same time it
imposes on the Executive the duty of laying before the Legislature the
state of the nation, with such recommendations as he may deem proper,
no such responsibility can be admitted without impairing that freedom
of intercommunication which is essential to the system and without
surrendering in this important particular the right of self-government.
In accordance with this view of the Federal Constitution has been the
practice under it. The statements and recommendations of the President
to Congress are regarded by this Government as a part of the purely
domestic consultations held by its different departments--consultations
in which nothing is addressed to foreign powers, and in which they can
not be permitted to interfere, and for which, until consummated and
carried out by acts emanating from the proper constitutional organs,
the nation is not responsible and the Government not liable to account
to other States.

It will be seen from the accompanying correspondence that when the
condition referred to was first proposed in the Chamber of Deputies the
insuperable objections to it were fully communicated by the American
minister at Paris to the French Government, and that he distinctly
informed it that the condition, if prescribed, could never be complied
with. The views expressed by him were approved by the President, and
have been since twice asserted and enforced by him in his messages to
Congress in terms proportioned in their explicitness and solemnity to
the conviction he entertains of the importance and inviolability of the
principle involved.

The United States can not yield this principle, nor can they do or
consent to any measure by which its influence in the action of their
political system can be obstructed or diminished. Under these
circumstances the President feels that he may rely on the intelligence
and liberality of His Britannic Majesty's Government for a correct
estimation of the imperative obligations which leave him no power to
subject this point to the control of any foreign state, whatever may be
his confidence in its justice and impartiality--a confidence which he
has taken pleasure in instructing the undersigned to state is fully
reposed by him in the Government of His Britannic Majesty.

So great, however, is the desire of the President for the restoration of
a good understanding with the Government of France, provided it can be
effected on terms compatible with the honor and independence of the
United States, that if, after the frank avowal of his sentiments upon
the point last referred to and the explicit reservation of that point,
the Government of His Britannic Majesty shall believe that its mediation
can be useful in adjusting the differences which exist between the two
countries and in restoring all their relations to a friendly footing, he
instructs the undersigned to inform Mr. Bankhead that in such case the
offer of mediation made in his note is cheerfully accepted.

The United States desire nothing but equal and exact justice, and they
can not but hope that the good offices of a third power, friendly to
both parties, and prompted by the elevated considerations manifested
in Mr. Bankhead's note, may promote the attainment of this end.

Influenced by these motives, the President will cordially cooperate,
so far as his constitutional powers may enable him, in such steps as
may be requisite on the part of the United States to give effect to the
proposed mediation. He trusts that no unnecessary delay will be allowed
to occur, and instructs the undersigned to request that the earliest
information of the measures taken by Great Britain and of their result
may be communicated to this Government.

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

JOHN FORSYTH.

WASHINGTON, _February 15, 1836_.

Hon. JOHN FORSYTH, etc.:

The undersigned, His Britannic Majesty's charge d'affaires, with
reference to his note of the 27th of last month, has the honor to inform
Mr. Forsyth, Secretary of State of the United States, that he has been
instructed by his Government to state that the British Government has
received a communication from that of France which fulfills the wishes
that impelled His Britannic Majesty to offer his mediation for the
purpose of effecting an amicable adjustment of the difference between
France and the United States.

The French Government has stated to that of His Majesty that the frank
and honorable manner in which the President has in his recent message
expressed himself with regard to the points of difference between the
Governments of France and of the United States has removed those
difficulties, upon the score of national honor, which have hitherto
stood in the way of the prompt execution by France of the treaty of the
4th July, 1831, and that consequently the French Government is now ready
to pay the installment which is due on account of the American indemnity
whenever the payment of that installment shall be claimed by the
Government of the United States.

The French Government has also stated that it made this communication
to that of Great Britain not regarding the British Government as a
formal mediator, since its offer of mediation had then reached only the
Government of France, by which it had been accepted, but looking upon
the British Government as a common friend of the two parties, and
therefore as a natural channel of communication between them.

The undersigned is further instructed to express the sincere pleasure
which is felt by the British Government at the prospect thus afforded of
an amicable termination of a difference which has produced a temporary
estrangement between two nations who have so many interests in common,
and who are so entitled to the friendship and esteem of each other; and
the undersigned has also to assure Mr. Forsyth that it has afforded the
British Government the most lively satisfaction to have been upon this
occasion the channel of a communication which they trust will lead to
the complete restoration of friendly relations between the United States
and France.

The undersigned has great pleasure in renewing to Mr. Forsyth the
assurances of his most distinguished consideration.

CHARLES BANKHEAD.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, February 16, 1836_.

CHARLES BANKHEAD, Esq.:

The undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, has had the
honor to receive Mr. Bankhead's note of the 15th instant, in which he
states by the instructions of his Government that the British Government
have received a communication from that of France which fulfills the
wishes that impelled His Britannic Majesty to offer his mediation for
the purpose of effecting an amicable adjustment of the differences
between France and the United States; that the French Government, being
satisfied with the frank and honorable manner in which the President has
in his recent message expressed himself in regard to the points of
difference between the two Governments, is ready to pay the installment
due on account of the American indemnity whenever it shall be claimed by
the Government of the United States, and that this communication is made
to the Government of Great Britain not as a formal mediator, but as a
common friend of both parties.

The undersigned has submitted this note of His Britannic Majesty's
charge d'affaires to the President, and is instructed to reply that the
President has received this information with the highest satisfaction--a
satisfaction as sincere as was his regret at the unexpected occurrence
of the difficulty created by the erroneous impressions heretofore made
upon the national sensibility of France. By the fulfillment of the
obligations of the convention between the two Governments the great
cause of difference will be removed, and the President anticipates
that the benevolent and magnanimous wishes of His Britannic Majesty's
Government will be speedily realized, as the temporary estrangement
between the two nations who have so many common interests will no doubt
be followed by the restoration of their ancient ties of friendship and
esteem.

The President has further instructed the undersigned to express to His
Britannic Majesty's Government his sensibility at the anxious desire
it has displayed to preserve the relations of peace between the United
States and France, and the exertions it was prepared to make to
effectuate that object, so essential to the prosperity and congenial
to the wishes of the two nations and to the repose of the world.

Leaving His Majesty's Government to the consciousness of the elevated
motives which have governed its conduct and to the universal respect
which must be secured to it, the President is satisfied that no
expressions, however strong, of his own feelings can be appropriately
used which could add to the gratification afforded to His Majesty's
Government at being the channel of communication to preserve peace and
restore good will between differing nations, each of whom is its friend.

The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to Mr. Bankhead
the assurance of his distinguished consideration.

JOHN FORSYTH.

WASHINGTON, _February 23, 1836_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of War, on the progress
of the improvement of Red River, furnishing information in addition to
that communicated with my message at the opening of the present session
of Congress.

ANDREW JACKSON.

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

WASHINGTON, _February 25, 1836_.

_To the Senate_:

I transmit to the Senate a report[15] from the Secretary of State,
complying as far as practicable with their resolution of the 16th
instant.

ANDREW JACKSON.

[Footnote 15: Relating to claims for spoliations under the French treaty
of 1831.]

WASHINGTON, _February 29, 1836_.

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

I transmit a report of the Secretary of State, communicating an
application from the charge d'affaires of Portugal for the passage by
Congress of a special act abolishing discriminating duties upon the
cargoes of Portuguese vessels imported into the United States from those
parts of the dominions of Portugal in which no discriminating duties
are charged upon the vessels of the United States or their cargoes, and
providing for a return of the discriminating duties which have been
exacted upon the cargoes of Portuguese vessels thus circumstanced since
the 18th of April, 1834. I also transmit a copy of the correspondence
which has taken place upon the subject between the Department of State
and the charge d'affaires of Portugal.

The whole matter is submitted to the discretion of Congress, with this
suggestion, that if an act should be passed placing the cargoes of
Portuguese vessels coming from certain parts of the territories of
Portugal on the footing of those imported in vessels of the United
States, in deciding upon the propriety of restoring the duties
heretofore levied and the time to which they should be restored regard
should be had to the fact that the decree of the 18th April, 1834, which
is made the basis of the present application, took effect in the islands
of Madeira and the Azores many months after its promulgation, and to the
more important fact that until the 1st of February instant an indirect
advantage was allowed in Portugal to importations from Great Britain
over those from other countries, including the United States.

ANDREW JACKSON.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_February 27, 1836_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:

The undersigned, Secretary of State, has the honor to report to the
President that official information was received at this Department some
time since from the charge d'affaires of Portugal of the abolition of
all discriminating duties upon the cargoes of foreign vessels, including
those of the United States, imported into Lisbon and Oporto, by a decree
of the Portuguese Government promulgated on the 18th of April, 1834,
the operation of which decree was stated by the charge to extend to the
island of Madeira. Upon the strength of this decree he applied, by order
of his Government, for the suspension, under the fourth section of the
act of Congress of January 7, 1824, of discriminating duties upon the
cargoes of Portuguese vessels imported into the United States; but
being informed that the act alluded to was inapplicable by reason that
discriminating duties upon the cargoes of American vessels still existed
in a part of the dominions of Portugal, he has requested that the
principle acted upon in regard to Holland may be extended to Portugal,
and that discriminating duties may be abolished in respect to Portugal
proper, the Madeira Islands, the Azores, and such other parts of the
Portuguese dominions wherein no discriminating duty is levied upon
the vessels of the United States or their cargoes. This request is
accompanied by a suggestion that unless some such reciprocity is
established the benefits of the decree of April, 1834, will be withdrawn
so far as respects this country. Application is also made for a return
of the discriminating duties which have been collected since the
promulgation of the said decree from the vessels of Portugal arriving
in the United States from any of the ports embraced by that decree.
In reference to this point it is proper to state that it does not appear
that the force or operation of the decree referred to of the 18th April,
1834, was extended by any official act of the Portuguese Government to
the islands of Madeira or the Azores until February or April, 1835.
It is also to be observed that, notwithstanding the abolition by that
decree of discriminating duties upon the importation of goods into
Portugal from foreign countries, an exemption existed until the 1st of
February instant, according to information received from our charge
d'affaires at Lisbon, in favor of various articles when imported from
Great Britain, from an excise duty which was exacted upon the same
articles when imported from other foreign countries or produced or
manufactured at home. This exemption was granted in pursuance of the
construction given to a stipulation contained in the late treaty
between Portugal and Great Britain, and ceased, together with that
treaty, on the 1st day of the present month.

The undersigned has the honor to transmit with this report a copy of the
correspondence between the Department and the charge d'affaires of
Portugal upon which it is founded.

JOHN FORSYTH.

WASHINGTON, _February 29, 1836_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State, correcting an
error made in the report recently communicated to the Senate in answer
to the resolution of the 16th instant, respecting the number and amount
of claims for spoliations presented to the commissioners under the
French treaty of 1831 which were rejected.

ANDREW JACKSON.

WASHINGTON, _March 5, 1836_.

_To the Senate_:

I submit to the Senate, for their advice and consent as to the
ratification of the same, the treaty and the supplement to it recently
concluded with the Cherokee Indians.

The papers referred to in the accompanying communication from the
Secretary of War as necessary to a full view of the whole subject are
also herewith submitted.

ANDREW JACKSON.

WASHINGTON, _March 7, 1836_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for their consideration with a view to its
ratification, a treaty of peace, amity, navigation, and commerce between
the United States and the Republic of Venezuela, concluded and signed by
their plenipotentiaries at the city of Caracas on the 20th of January
last.

ANDREW JACKSON.

WASHINGTON, _March 10, 1836_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State, communicating
the proceedings of a convention assembled at Little Rock, in the
Territory of Arkansas, for the purpose of forming a constitution and
system of government for the State of Arkansas. The constitution adopted
by this convention and the documents accompanying it, referred to in the
report from the Secretary of State, are respectfully submitted to the
consideration of Congress.

ANDREW JACKSON.

WASHINGTON, _April 1, 1836_.

_To the Senate_:

I transmit herewith to the Senate, for their advice and consent as
to its ratification, a treaty concluded with the Ottawa and Chippewa
Indians.

ANDREW JACKSON.

WASHINGTON, _April 8, 1836_.

_To the Senate_:

I transmit herewith reports from the Secretaries of the War and Navy
Departments, to whom were referred the resolutions adopted by the Senate
on the 18th of February last, requesting information of the probable
amount of appropriations that would be necessary to place the land and
naval defenses of the country upon a proper footing of strength and
respectability.

In respect to that branch of the subject which falls more particularly
under the notice of the Secretary of War, and in the consideration of
which he has arrived at conclusions differing from those contained in
the report from the Engineer Bureau, I think it proper to add my
concurrence in the views expressed by the Secretary.

ANDREW JACKSON.

WASHINGTON, _April 12, 1836_.

_To the Senate_:

I transmit herewith a report[16] from the Secretary of War,
communicating the original letter from Major Davis and the statements
which accompany it, referred to in the resolution of the Senate of the
8th instant.

ANDREW JACKSON.

[Footnote 16: Relating to the treaty of December 29, 1835, with the
Cherokee Indians.]

WASHINGTON, _April 27, 1836_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith to the Senate, for their advice and consent as
to the ratification of the same, a treaty concluded with the Wyandot
Indians for a cession of a portion of their reservation in the State
of Ohio.

In order to prevent any abuse of the power granted to the chiefs in the
fifth article of the treaty, I recommend the adoption of the suggestion
contained in the accompanying letter of the Secretary of War; otherwise
I shall not feel satisfied in approving that article.

ANDREW JACKSON.

WASHINGTON, _April 29, 1836_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

It affords me pleasure to transmit to Congress a copy of the Catalogue
of the Arundel Manuscripts in the British Museum, which has been
forwarded to me, as will be perceived from the inclosed letter, on
behalf of the trustees of that institution, for the purpose of being
placed in the United States library.

ANDREW JACKSON.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

Believing that the act of the 12th July, 1832, does not enable the
Executive to carry into effect the recently negotiated additional article
to the treaty of limits with Mexico, I transmit to Congress copies of
that article, that the necessary legislative provision may be made for
its faithful execution on the part of the United States.

ANDREW JACKSON.

MAY 6, 1836.

WASHINGTON, _May 10, 1836_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

Information has been received at the Treasury Department that the four
installments under our treaty with France have been paid to the agent of
the United States. In communicating this satisfactory termination of our
controversy with France, I feel assured that both Houses of Congress
will unite with me in desiring and believing that the anticipations of a
restoration of the ancient cordial relations between the two countries,
expressed in my former messages on this subject, will be speedily
realized.

No proper exertion of mine shall be wanting to efface the remembrance of
those misconceptions that have temporarily interrupted the accustomed
intercourse between them.

ANDREW JACKSON.

WASHINGTON, _May 14, 1836_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of the
10th instant, I transmit reports[17] from the Secretaries of State and
War, with the papers accompanying the same.

ANDREW JACKSON.

[Footnote 17: Relating to affairs with Mexico.]

WASHINGTON, _May 14, 1836_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit, for the consideration of the Senate, three treaties
concluded with certain bands of Pottawatamie Indians in the State
of Indiana.

I transmit also a report from the Secretary of War, inclosing the
instructions under which these treaties were negotiated.

I would remark that the fourth article of each treaty provides for the
appointment of a commissioner and the payment of the debts due by the
Indians. There is no limitation upon the amount of these debts, though
it is obvious from these instructions that the commissioner should have
limited the amount to be applied to this object; otherwise the whole
fund might be exhausted and the Indians left without the means of
living. I therefore recommend either that the Senate limit the amount
at their discretion or that they provide by resolution that the whole
purchase money be paid to the Indians, leaving to them the adjustment
of their debts.

ANDREW JACKSON.

WASHINGTON, _May 21, 1836_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith two treaties concluded with bands of Pottawatamies
in the State of Indiana, with accompanying papers, for the consideration
and action of the Senate.

ANDREW JACKSON.

WASHINGTON, _May 26, 1836_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit, in conformity with a resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 21st instant, a report of the Secretary of War,
containing the information called for on the subject of the causes of
the hostilities of the Seminoles and the measures taken to repress them.

ANDREW JACKSON.

WASHINGTON, _May 27, 1836_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In further compliance with so much of the resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 21st instant as calls for an account of the
causes of the hostilities of the Seminole Indians, I transmit a
supplementary report from the Secretary of War.

ANDREW JACKSON.

WASHINGTON, _May 28, 1836_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for the consideration and action of the Senate,
a treaty concluded on the 24th instant with the Chippewa Indians of
Saganaw.

ANDREW JACKSON.

WASHINGTON, _May 31, 1836_.

_To the Senate_:

I transmit herewith the response of Samuel Gwin, esq.,[18] to the charges
affecting his official conduct and character which were set forth in the
evidence taken under the authority of the Senate by the Committee on
Public Lands, and which was referred to the President by the resolution
of the Senate bearing date the 3d day of March, 1835. This resolution
and the evidence it refers to were officially communicated to Mr. Gwin
by the Secretary of the Treasury, and the response of Mr. Gwin has been
received through the same official channel.

ANDREW JACKSON.

[Footnote 18: Register of the land office for the northwestern district
of Mississippi.]

WASHINGTON, _June 1, 1836_.

_To the Senate_:

I transmit herewith to the Senate a communication which has been
received from Mr. B.F. Currey[19] in answer to a call made upon him by
the President, through the War Department, in consequence of the serious
charges which were preferred against him by one of the honorable members
of the Senate. It seems to be due to justice that the Senate should be
furnished, agreeably to the request of Mr. Currey, with the explanations
contained in this communication, particularly as they are deemed so far
satisfactory as would render his dismissal or even censure undeserved
and improper.

ANDREW JACKSON.

[Footnote 19: Agent for the removal of the Cherokee Indians.]

WASHINGTON, _June 3, 1836_.

_To the Senate_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 27th ultimo,
requesting the President to inform the Senate "whether any increase or
improvement of organization is needed in the Ordnance Corps," I have
to state that I entertain no doubt of the propriety of increasing the
corps, and that I concur in the plan proposed for this purpose in the
accompanying report from the Secretary of War.

ANDREW JACKSON.

WASHINGTON, _June 3, 1836_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a supplemental report from the War Department, in
answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 21st
ultimo, calling for information respecting the causes of the Seminole
hostilities and the measures taken to suppress them.

ANDREW JACKSON.

WASHINGTON, _June 3, 1836_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit a report from the Secretary of the Treasury, in
relation to the injuries sustained by the bridge across the Potomac
River during the recent extraordinary rise of water, and would
respectfully recommend to the early attention of Congress the
legislation, therein suggested.

ANDREW JACKSON.

WASHINGTON, _June 14, 1836_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit a report of the Secretary of State, prepared in compliance
with the resolution of the Senate of the 11th instant, upon the subject
of the depredations of the Mexicans on the property of Messrs. Chouteau
and Demun.

ANDREW JACKSON.

WASHINGTON, _June 15, 1836_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I communicate to the Senate a report from the Secretary of State, with a
copy of the correspondence requested by a resolution of the 21st ultimo,
relative to the northeastern boundary of the United States.

At the last session of Congress I felt it my duty to decline complying
with a request made by the House of Representatives for copies of this
correspondence, feeling, as I did, that it would be inexpedient to
publish it while the negotiation was pending; but as the negotiation was
undertaken under the special advice of the Senate, I deem it improper to
withhold the information which that body has requested, submitting to
them to decide whether it will be expedient to publish the
correspondence before the negotiation has been closed.

ANDREW JACKSON.

WASHINGTON, _June 23, 1836_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 18th instant,
I transmit a report[20] from the Secretary of State, with the papers
therewith presented. Not having accurate and detailed information of the
civil, military, and political condition of Texas, I have deemed it
expedient to take the necessary measures, now in progress, to procure it
before deciding upon the course to be pursued in relation to the newly
declared government.

ANDREW JACKSON.

[Footnote 20: Relating to the political condition of Texas, the
organization of its Government, and its capacity to maintain its
independence, etc.]

JUNE 28, 1836.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit to the House of Representatives a report from the Secretary
of War, conveying the information called for by the House in its
resolution of yesterday, concerning the Cherokee treaty recently
ratified.

ANDREW JACKSON.

WASHINGTON, _June 28, 1836_.

_To the Senate_:

As it is probable that it may be proper to send a minister to Paris
prior to the next meeting of Congress, I nominate Lewis Cass, now
Secretary for the Department of War, to be envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary to France, not to be commissioned until notice
has been received here that the Government of France has appointed a
minister to the United States who is about to set out for Washington.

ANDREW JACKSON.

WASHINGTON, _June 30, 1836_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

It becomes my painful duty to announce to you the melancholy
intelligence of the death of James Madison, ex-President of the United
States. He departed this life at half past 6 o'clock on the morning of
the 28th instant, full of years and full of honors.

I hasten this communication in order that Congress may adopt such
measures as may be proper to testify their sense of the respect which is
due to the memory of one whose life has contributed so essentially to
the happiness and glory of his country and the good of mankind.

ANDREW JACKSON.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit to Congress copies of a treaty of peace, friendship,
navigation, and commerce between the United States and the Republic of
Venezuela, concluded on the 20th of January, and the ratifications of
which were exchanged at Caracas on the 31st of May last.

ANDREW JACKSON.

JUNE 30, 1836.

WASHINGTON, _June 30, 1836_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I return to the House of Representatives the papers which accompanied
their resolution of the 6th of May last, relative to the claim of Don
Juan Madrazo, together with a report of the Secretary of State and
copies of a correspondence between him and the Attorney-General, showing
the grounds upon which that officer declines giving the opinion
requested by the resolution.

ANDREW JACKSON.

WASHINGTON, _July 1, 1836_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 21st January last,
I transmit a report[21] of the Secretary of War, containing the copies
called for so far as relates to his Department.

ANDREW JACKSON.

[Footnote 21: Relating to frauds in sales of public lands or Indian
reservations.]

VETO MESSAGE.

WASHINGTON, _June 9, 1836_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

The act of Congress "to appoint a day for the annual meeting of
Congress," which originated in the Senate, has not received my
signature. The power of Congress to fix by law a day for the regular
annual meeting of Congress is undoubted, but the concluding part of
this act, which is intended to fix the adjournment of every succeeding
Congress to the second Monday in May after the commencement of the first
session, does not appear to me in accordance with the provisions of the
Constitution of the United States.

The Constitution provides, Article I, section 5, that--

Neither House, during the session of Congress, shall, without the
consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any
other place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

Article I, section 7, that--

Every order, resolution, or vote to which the concurrence of the Senate
and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of
adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States,
and before the same shall take effect shall be approved by him. ...

Article II, section 3, that--

He [the President] may, on extraordinary occasions convene both Houses,
or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them with respect
to the time of adjournment he may adjourn them to such time as he shall
think proper. ...

According to these provisions the day of the adjournment of Congress
is not the subject of legislative enactment. Except in the event of
disagreement between the Senate and House of Representatives, the
President has no right to meddle with the question, and in that event
his power is exclusive, but confined to fixing the adjournment of the
Congress whose branches have disagreed. The question of adjournment is
obviously to be decided by each Congress for itself, by the separate
action of each House for the time being, and is one of those subjects
upon which the framers of that instrument did not intend one Congress
should act, with or without the Executive aid, for its successors.
As a substitute for the present rule, which requires the two Houses by
consent to fix the day of adjournment, and in the event of disagreement
the President to decide, it is proposed to fix a day by law to be
binding in all future time unless changed by consent of both Houses of
Congress, and to take away the contingent power of the Executive which
in anticipated cases of disagreement is vested in him. This substitute
is to apply, not to the present Congress and Executive, but to our
successors. Considering, therefore, that this subject exclusively
belongs to the two Houses of Congress whose day of adjournment is to be
fixed, and that each has at that time the right to maintain and insist
upon its own opinion, and to require the President to decide in the
event of disagreement with the other, I am constrained to deny my
sanction to the act herewith respectfully returned to the Senate.
I do so with greater reluctance as, apart from this constitutional
difficulty, the other provisions of it do not appear to me
objectionable.

ANDREW JACKSON.

PROCLAMATION.

[From Statutes at Large (little, Brown & Co.), Vol. XI, p. 782.]

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

A PROCLAMATION.

Whereas by an act of Congress of the United States of the 24th of May,
1828, entitled "An act in addition to an act entitled 'An act concerning
discriminating duties of tonnage and impost' and to equalize the duties
on Prussian vessels and their cargoes," it is provided that, upon
satisfactory evidence being given to the President of the United States
by the government of any foreign nation that no discriminating duties of
tonnage or impost are imposed or levied in the ports of the said nation
upon vessels wholly belonging to citizens of the United States or upon
the produce, manufactures, or merchandise imported in the same from
the United States or from any foreign country, the President is hereby
authorized to issue his proclamation declaring that the foreign
discriminating duties of tonnage and impost within the United States are
and shall be suspended and discontinued so far as respects the vessels
of the said foreign nation and the produce, manufactures, or merchandise
imported into the United States in the same from the said foreign nation
or from any other foreign country, the said suspension to take effect
from the time of such notification being given to the President of the
United States and to continue so long as the reciprocal exemption of
vessels belonging to citizens of the United States and their cargoes,
as aforesaid, shall be continued, and no longer; and

Whereas satisfactory evidence has lately been received by me from the
Government of His Imperial and Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Tuscany,
through an official communication of Baron Lederer, the consul-general
of His Imperial and Royal Highness in the United States, under date of
the 6th day of August, 1836, that no discriminating duties of tonnage
or impost are imposed or levied in the ports of Tuscany upon vessels
wholly belonging to citizens of the United States or upon the produce,
manufactures, or merchandise imported in the same from the United States
or from any foreign country:

Now, therefore, I, Andrew Jackson, President of the United States of
America, do hereby declare and proclaim that the foreign discriminating
duties of tonnage and impost within the United States are and shall be
suspended and discontinued so far as respects the vessels of the Grand
Dukedom of Tuscany and the produce, manufactures, or merchandise
imported into the United States in the same from the said Grand Dukedom
or from any other foreign country, the said suspension to take effect
from the 6th day of August, 1836, above mentioned, and to continue so
long as the reciprocal exemption of vessels belonging to citizens of the
United States and their cargoes, as aforesaid, shall be continued, and
no longer. Given under my hand, at the city of Washington, the 1st day
of September, A.D. 1836, and of the Independence of the United States
the sixty-first.

ANDREW JACKSON.

By the President:
JOHN FORSYTH,
_Secretary of State_.

EXECUTIVE ORDER.

HERMITAGE, _August 7, 1836_.

C.A. HARRIS, Esq.,

_Acting Secretary of War_.

SIR: I reached home on the evening of the 4th, and was soon surrounded
with the papers and letters which had been sent here in anticipation of
my arrival. Amongst other important matters which immediately engaged my
attention was the requisition of General Gaines on Tennessee, Kentucky,
Mississippi, and Louisiana. Believing that the reasons given for this
requisition were not consistent with the neutrality which it is our
duty to observe in respect to the contest in Texas, and that it would
embarrass the apportionment which had been made of the 10,000 volunteers
authorized by the recent act of Congress, I informed Governor Cannon by
letter on the 5th instant that it could not receive my sanction. The
volunteers authorized by Congress were thought competent, with the aid
of the regular force, to terminate the Indian war in the South and
protect our western frontier, and they were apportioned in a manner
the best calculated to secure these objects. Agreeably to this
apportionment, the volunteers raised in Arkansas and Missouri, and
ordered to be held in readiness for the defense of the western frontier,
should have been called on before any other requisition was made upon
Tennessee, who has already more than her proportion in the field. Should
an emergency hereafter arise making it necessary to have a greater force
on that frontier than was anticipated when the apportionment was made,
it will be easy to order the east Tennessee brigade there. All the
volunteers under the act are engaged for one year's service, unless
sooner discharged. Taking this view of the subject, I regret that as
soon as the War Department had information of the requisition made by
General Gaines it had not at once notified the governors of the States
that the apportionment of the volunteers at first communicated to them
would not be departed from, and that of course those in the States
nearest to the scene of threatened hostility would be first called on.

I had written thus far when your letter of the 26th of July last,
accompanied by one from General Wool of the 15th of July and one from
General Towsen of the 25th of July last, was handed to me. The letter
from General Wool was unexpected. His guide was the requisition on
the State, and I can not well imagine how he could suppose that the
Department would authorize a greater number of troops to be mustered and
paid than he was specially directed to receive. He was apprised fully of
the apportionment which had been made of the 10,000 volunteers, and of
the considerations which induced us to require 1,000 from Florida, 2,000
from Georgia, 2,000 from Alabama, and 2,500 from Tennessee. This force
was designated in this manner because it was in the country nearest to
the Seminoles, Creeks, and Cherokees, and in like manner near the force
designated for the western frontier, except a fraction of about 430 men
to be hereafter selected when it should be ascertained where it would be
most needed. It is therefore unaccountable to me why General Wool would
receive and muster into the service a greater number than has been
called for and placed under his command, particularly as he knew that
Tennessee had already been called upon for more volunteers than her
proportion in the general apportionment. He knows that the President
can only execute the law, and he ought to have recollected that if the
officers charged with the military operations contemplated by the law
were to use their own discretion in fixing the number of men to be
received and mustered into the service there could be no certainty in
the amount of force which would be brought into the field. His guide
was the requisition upon Tennessee for 2,500, and he should never have
departed from it.

The brave men whose patriotism brought them into the field ought to be
paid, but I seriously doubt whether any of the money now appropriated
can be used for this purpose, as all the volunteers authorized by the
act of Congress have been apportioned, and the appropriations should
be first applicable to their payment if they should be ordered into
the field. All that we can do is to bring the subject before the next
Congress, which I trust will pass an act authorizing the payment. Those
men obeyed the summons of their country, and ought not to suffer for the
indiscretion of those who caused more of them to turn out than could be
received into the service. The excess would have been avoided had the
governor of Tennessee apportioned his requisition to each county or
regiment, so as to make the proper number. This, however, can now only
be regretted. I can not approve the mustering or reception into the
service of the excess further than it may have been done to secure them
hereafter the justice which it will be in the power of Congress to
extend to them. They ought to be paid for their travel and expense to,
at, and from the place of rendezvous, and Congress will doubtless pass
the necessary law. Their promptness in tendering their services and
equipping themselves for the field is a high evidence of patriotism,
and the thanks of their country.

I shall inclose a copy of this letter to General Wool, and write to the
governors of Kentucky, Mississippi, and Louisiana to withhold for the
present the quota called for under General Gaines's requisition, and if
they are concentrated to muster and discharge them and wait for further
orders.

I am, yours, respectfully,

ANDREW JACKSON.

EIGHTH ANNUAL MESSAGE.

WASHINGTON, _December 5, 1836_.

_Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives_:

Addressing to you the last annual message I shall ever present to the
Congress of the United States, it is a source of the most heartfelt
satisfaction to be able to congratulate you on the high state of
prosperity which our beloved country has attained. With no causes at
home or abroad to lessen the confidence with which we look to the future
for continuing proofs of the capacity of our free institutions to
produce all the fruits of good government, the general condition of our
affairs may well excite our national pride.

I can not avoid congratulating you, and my country particularly, on the
success of the efforts made during my Administration by the Executive
and Legislature, in conformity with the sincere, constant, and earnest
desire of the people, to maintain peace and establish cordial relations
with all foreign powers. Our gratitude is due to the Supreme Ruler of
the Universe, and I invite you to unite with me in offering to Him
fervent supplications that His providential care may ever be extended to
those who follow us, enabling them to avoid the dangers and the horrors
of war consistently with a just and indispensable regard to the rights
and honor of our country. But although the present state of our foreign
affairs, standing, without important change, as they did when you
separated in July last, is flattering in the extreme, I regret to say
that many questions of an interesting character, at issue with other
powers, are yet unadjusted. Amongst the most prominent of these is that
of our northeastern boundary. With an undiminished confidence in the
sincere desire of His Britannic Majesty's Government to adjust that
question, I am not yet in possession of the precise grounds upon which
it proposes a satisfactory adjustment.

With France our diplomatic relations have been resumed, and under
circumstances which attest the disposition of both Governments to
preserve a mutually beneficial intercourse and foster those amicable
feelings which are so strongly required by the true interests of the two
countries. With Russia, Austria, Prussia, Naples, Sweden, and Denmark
the best understanding exists, and our commercial intercourse is
gradually expanding itself with them. It is encouraged in all these
countries, except Naples, by their mutually advantageous and liberal
treaty stipulations with us.

The claims of our citizens on Portugal are admitted to be just, but
provision for the payment of them has been unfortunately delayed by
frequent political changes in that Kingdom.

The blessings of peace have not been secured by Spain. Our connections
with that country are on the best footing, with the exception of the
burdens still imposed upon our commerce with her possessions out of
Europe.

The claims of American citizens for losses sustained at the bombardment
of Antwerp have been presented to the Governments of Holland and
Belgium, and will be pressed, in due season, to settlement.

With Brazil and all our neighbors of this continent we continue to
maintain relations of amity and concord, extending our commerce with
them as far as the resources of the people and the policy of their
Governments will permit. The just and long-standing claims of our
citizens upon some of them are yet sources of dissatisfaction and
complaint. No danger is apprehended, however, that they will not be
peacefully, although tardily, acknowledged and paid by all, unless the
irritating effect of her struggle with Texas should unfortunately make
our immediate neighbor, Mexico, an exception.

It is already known to you, by the correspondence between the two
Governments communicated at your last session, that our conduct in
relation to that struggle is regulated by the same principles that
governed us in the dispute between Spain and Mexico herself, and I trust
that it will be found on the most severe scrutiny that our acts have
strictly corresponded with our professions. That the inhabitants of the
United States should feel strong prepossessions for the one party is
not surprising. But this circumstance should of itself teach us great
caution, lest it lead us into the great error of suffering public policy
to be regulated by partiality or prejudice; and there are considerations
connected with the possible result of this contest between the two
parties of so much delicacy and importance to the United States that our
character requires that we should neither anticipate events nor attempt
to control them. The known desire of the Texans to become a part of
our system, although its gratification depends upon the reconcilement
of various and conflicting interests, necessarily a work of time
and uncertain in itself, is calculated to expose our conduct to
misconstruction in the eyes of the world. There are already those who,
indifferent to principle themselves and prone to suspect the want of
it in others, charge us with ambitious designs and insidious policy.
You will perceive by the accompanying documents that the extraordinary
mission from Mexico has been terminated on the sole ground that the
obligations of this Government to itself and to Mexico, under treaty
stipulations, have compelled me to trust a discretionary authority to
a high officer of our Army to advance into territory claimed as part of
Texas if necessary to protect our own or the neighboring frontier from
Indian depredation. In the opinion of the Mexican functionary who has
just left us, the honor of his country will be wounded by American
soldiers entering, with the most amicable avowed purposes, upon ground
from which the followers of his Government have been expelled, and over
which there is at present no certainty of a serious effort on its part
being made to reestablish its dominion. The departure of this minister
was the more singular as he was apprised that the sufficiency of the
causes assigned for the advance of our troops by the commanding general
had been seriously doubted by me, and there was every reason to suppose
that the troops of the United States, their commander having had time to
ascertain the truth or falsehood of the information upon which they had
been marched to Nacogdoches, would be either there in perfect accordance
with the principles admitted to be just in his conference with the
Secretary of State by the Mexican minister himself, or were already
withdrawn in consequence of the impressive warnings their commanding
officer had received from the Department of War. It is hoped and
believed that his Government will take a more dispassionate and just
view of this subject, and not be disposed to construe a measure of
justifiable precaution, made necessary by its known inability in
execution of the stipulations of our treaty to act upon the frontier,
into an encroachment upon its rights or a stain upon its honor.

In the meantime the ancient complaints of injustice made on behalf of
our citizens are disregarded, and new causes of dissatisfaction have
arisen, some of them of a character requiring prompt remonstrance and
ample and immediate redress. I trust, however, by tempering firmness
with courtesy and acting with great forbearance upon every incident that
has occurred or that may happen, to do and to obtain justice, and thus
avoid the necessity of again bringing this subject to the view of
Congress.

It is my duty to remind you that no provision has been made to execute
our treaty with Mexico for tracing the boundary line between the two
countries. Whatever may be the prospect of Mexico's being soon able
to execute the treaty on its part, it is proper that we should be in
anticipation prepared at all times to perform our obligations, without
regard to the probable condition of those with whom we have contracted
them.

The result of the confidential inquiries made into the condition and
prospects of the newly declared Texan Government will be communicated
to you in the course of the session.

Commercial treaties promising great advantages to our enterprising
merchants and navigators have been formed with the distant Governments
of Muscat and Siam. The ratifications have been exchanged, but have
not reached the Department of State. Copies of the treaties will be
transmitted to you if received before, or published if arriving after,
the close of the present session of Congress.

Nothing has occurred to interrupt the good understanding that has long
existed with the Barbary Powers, nor to check the good will which is
gradually growing up from our intercourse with the dominions of the
Government of the distinguished chief of the Ottoman Empire.

Information has been received at the Department of State that a treaty
with the Emperor of Morocco has just been negotiated, which, I hope,
will be received in time to be laid before the Senate previous to the
close of the session.

You will perceive from the report of the Secretary of the Treasury
that the financial means of the country continue to keep pace with its
improvement in all other respects. The receipts into the Treasury during
the present year will amount to about $47,691,898; those from customs
being estimated at $22,523,151, those from lands at about $24,000,000,
and the residue from miscellaneous sources. The expenditures for all
objects during the year are estimated not to exceed $32,000,000, which
will leave a balance in the Treasury for public purposes on the 1st day
of January next of about $41,723,959. This sum, with the exception of
$5,000,000, will be transferred to the several States in accordance with
the provisions of the act regulating the deposits of the public money.

The unexpended balances of appropriation on the 1st day of January next
are estimated at $14,636,062, exceeding by $9,636,062 the amount which
will be left in the deposit banks, subject to the draft of the Treasurer
of the United States, after the contemplated transfers to the several
States are made. If, therefore, the future receipts should not be
sufficient to meet these outstanding and future appropriations, there
may be soon a necessity to use a portion of the funds deposited with
the States.

The consequences apprehended when the deposit act of the last session
received a reluctant approval have been measurably realized. Though an
act merely for the deposit of the surplus moneys of the United States in
the State treasuries for safe-keeping until they may be wanted for the
service of the General Government, it has been extensively spoken of
as an act to give the money to the several States, and they have been
advised to use it as a gift, without regard to the means of refunding
it when called for. Such a suggestion has doubtless been made without
a due consideration of the obligations of the deposit act, and without
a proper attention to the various principles and interests which are
affected by it. It is manifest that the law itself can not sanction
such a suggestion, and that as it now stands the States have no more
authority to receive and use these deposits without intending to return
them than any deposit bank or any individual temporarily charged with
the safe-keeping or application of the public money would now have for
converting the same to their private use without the consent and against
the will of the Government. But independently of the violation of public
faith and moral obligation which are involved in this suggestion when
examined in reference to the terms of the present deposit act, it
is believed that the considerations which should govern the future
legislation of Congress on this subject will be equally conclusive
against the adoption of any measure recognizing the principles on
which the suggestion has been made.

Considering the intimate connection of the subject with the financial
interests of the country and its great importance in whatever aspect
it can be viewed, I have bestowed upon it the most anxious reflection,
and feel it to be my duty to state to Congress such thoughts as have
occurred to me, to aid their deliberation in treating it in the manner
best calculated to conduce to the common good.

The experience of other nations admonished us to hasten the
extinguishment of the public debt; but it will be in vain that we have
congratulated each other upon the disappearance of this evil if we do
not guard against the equally great one of promoting the unnecessary
accumulation of public revenue. No political maxim is better established
than that which tells us that an improvident expenditure of money is the
parent of profligacy, and that no people can hope to perpetuate their
liberties who long acquiesce in a policy which taxes them for objects
not necessary to the legitimate and real wants of their Government.
Flattering as is the condition of our country at the present period,
because of its unexampled advance in all the steps of social and
political improvement, it can not be disguised that there is a lurking
danger already apparent in the neglect of this warning truth, and that
the time has arrived when the representatives of the people should be
employed in devising some more appropriate remedy than now exists to
avert it.

Under our present revenue system there is every probability that there
will continue to be a surplus beyond the wants of the Government, and it
has become our duty to decide whether such a result be consistent with
the true objects of our Government.

Should a surplus be permitted to accumulate beyond the appropriations,
it must be retained in the Treasury, as it now is, or distributed among
the people or the States.

To retain it in the Treasury unemployed in any way is impracticable; it
is, besides, against the genius of our free institutions to lock up in
vaults the treasure of the nation. To take from the people the right of
bearing arms and put their weapons of defense in the hands of a standing
army would be scarcely more dangerous to their liberties than to permit
the Government to accumulate immense amounts of treasure beyond the
supplies necessary to its legitimate wants. Such a treasure would
doubtless be employed at some time, as it has been in other countries,
when opportunity tempted ambition.

To collect it merely for distribution to the States would seem to be
highly impolitic, if not as dangerous as the proposition to retain it
in the Treasury. The shortest reflection must satisfy everyone that to
require the people to pay taxes to the Government merely that they may
be paid back again is sporting with the substantial interests of the
country, and no system which produces such a result can be expected to
receive the public countenance. Nothing could be gained by it even if
each individual who contributed a portion of the tax could receive back
promptly the same portion. But it is apparent that no system of the kind
can ever be enforced which will not absorb a considerable portion of
the money to be distributed in salaries and commissions to the agents
employed in the process and in the various losses and depreciations
which arise from other causes, and the practical effect of such an
attempt must ever be to burden the people with taxes, not for purposes
beneficial to them, but to swell the profits of deposit banks and
support a band of useless public officers.

A distribution to the people is impracticable and unjust in other
respects. It would be taking one man's property and giving it to
another. Such would be the unavoidable result of a rule of equality
(and none other is spoken of or would be likely to be adopted), inasmuch
as there is no mode by which the amount of the individual contributions
of our citizens to the public revenue can be ascertained. We know
that they contribute _unequally_, and a rule, therefore, that would
distribute to them _equally_ would be liable to all the objections
which apply to the principle of an equal division of property. To make
the General Government the instrument of carrying this odious principle
into effect would be at once to destroy the means of its usefulness and
change the character designed for it by the framers of the Constitution.

But the more extended and injurious consequences likely to result
from a policy which would collect a surplus revenue for the purpose of
distributing it may be forcibly illustrated by an examination of the
effects already produced by the present deposit act. This act, although
certainly designed to secure the safe-keeping of the public revenue,
is not entirely free in its tendencies from any of the objections which
apply to this principle of distribution. The Government had without
necessity received from the people a large surplus, which, instead
of being employed as heretofore and returned to them by means of the
public expenditure, was deposited with sundry banks. The banks proceeded
to make loans upon this surplus, and thus converted it into banking
capital, and in this manner it has tended to multiply bank charters
and has had a great agency in producing a spirit of wild speculation.
The possession and use of the property out of which this surplus was
created belonged to the people, but the Government has transferred its
possession to incorporated banks, whose interest and effort it is to
make large profits out of its use. This process need only be stated
to show its injustice and bad policy.

And the same observations apply to the influence which is produced by
the steps necessary to collect as well as to distribute such a revenue.
About three-fifths of all the duties on imports are paid in the city
of New York, but it is obvious that the means to pay those duties are
drawn from every quarter of the Union. Every citizen in every State who
purchases and consumes an article which has paid a duty at that port
contributes to the accumulating mass. The surplus collected there must
therefore be made up of moneys or property withdrawn from other points
and other States. Thus the wealth and business of every region from
which these surplus funds proceed must be to some extent injured, while
that of the place where the funds are concentrated and are employed in
banking are proportionably extended. But both in making the transfer
of the funds which are first necessary to pay the duties and collect
the surplus and in making the retransfer which becomes necessary when
the time arrives for the distribution of that surplus there is a
considerable period when the funds can not be brought into use, and it
is manifest that, besides the loss inevitable from such an operation,
its tendency is to produce fluctuations in the business of the country,
which are always productive of speculation and detrimental to the
interests of regular trade. Argument can scarcely be necessary to
show that a measure of this character ought not to receive further
legislative encouragement.

By examining the practical operation of the ratio for distribution
adopted in the deposit bill of the last session we shall discover other
features that appear equally objectionable. Let it be assumed, for the
sake of argument, that the surplus moneys to be deposited with the
States have been collected and belong to them in the ratio of their
federal representative population--an assumption founded upon the fact
that any deficiencies in our future revenue from imposts and public
lands must be made up by direct taxes collected from the States in that
ratio. It is proposed to distribute this surplus--say $30,000,000--not
according to the ratio in which it has been collected and belongs to
the people of the States, but in that of their votes in the colleges of
electors of President and Vice-President. The effect of a distribution
upon that ratio is shown by the annexed table, marked A.

By an examination of that table it will be perceived that in the
distribution of a surplus of $30,000,000 upon that basis there is a
great departure from the principle which regards representation as the
true measure of taxation, and it will be found that the tendency of that
departure will be to increase whatever inequalities have been supposed
to attend the operation of our federal system in respect to its bearings
upon the different interests of the Union. In making the basis of
representation the basis of taxation the framers of the Constitution
intended to equalize the burdens which are necessary to support the
Government, and the adoption of that ratio, while it accomplished this
object, was also the means of adjusting other great topics arising out
of the conflicting views respecting the political equality of the
various members of the Confederacy. Whatever, therefore, disturbs the
liberal spirit of the compromises which established a rule of taxation
so just and equitable, and which experience has proved to be so well
adapted to the genius and habits of our people, should be received with
the greatest caution and distrust.

A bare inspection in the annexed table of the differences produced
by the ratio used in the deposit act compared with the results of a
distribution according to the ratio of direct taxation must satisfy
every unprejudiced mind that the former ratio contravenes the spirit of
the Constitution and produces a degree of injustice in the operations of
the Federal Government which would be fatal to the hope of perpetuating
it. By the ratio of direct taxation, for example, the State of Delaware
in the collection of $30,000,000 of revenue would pay into the Treasury
$188,716, and in a distribution of $30,000,000 she would receive back
from the Government, according to the ratio of the deposit bill, the
sum of $306,122; and similar results would follow the comparison between
the small and the large States throughout the Union, thus realizing to
the small States an advantage which would be doubtless as unacceptable
to them as a motive for incorporating the principle in any system
which would produce it as it would be inconsistent with the rights and
expectations of the large States. It was certainly the intention of that
provision of the Constitution which declares that "all duties, imposts,
and excises" shall "be uniform throughout the United States" to make the
burdens of taxation fall equally upon the people in whatever State of
the Union they may reside. But what would be the value of such a uniform
rule if the moneys raised by it could be immediately returned by a
different one which will give to the people of some States much more
and to those of others much less than their fair proportions? Were the
Federal Government to exempt in express terms the imports, products,
and manufactures of some portions of the country from all duties while
it imposed heavy ones on others, the injustice could not be greater. It
would be easy to show how by the operation of such a principle the large
States of the Union would not only have to contribute their just share
toward the support of the Federal Government, but also have to bear in
some degree the taxes necessary to support the governments of their
smaller sisters; but it is deemed unnecessary to state the details
where the general principle is so obvious.

A system liable to such objections can never be supposed to have
been sanctioned by the framers of the Constitution when they conferred
on Congress the taxing power, and I feel persuaded that a mature
examination of the subject will satisfy everyone that there are
insurmountable difficulties in the operation of any plan which can
be devised of collecting revenue for the purpose of distributing it.
Congress is only authorized to levy taxes "_to pay the debts and provide
for the common defense and general welfare of the United States_." There
is no such provision as would authorize Congress to collect together the
property of the country, under the name of revenue, for the purpose of
dividing it equally or unequally among the States or the people. Indeed,
it is not probable that such an idea ever occurred to the States when
they adopted the Constitution. But however this may be, the only safe
rule for us in interpreting the powers granted to the Federal Government
is to regard the absence of express authority to touch a subject so
important and delicate as this is as equivalent to a prohibition.

Even if our powers were less doubtful in this respect as the
Constitution now stands, there are considerations afforded by recent
experience which would seem to make it our duty to avoid a resort to
such a system.

All will admit that the simplicity and economy of the State governments
mainly depend on the fact that money has to be supplied to support them
by the same men, or their agents, who vote it away in appropriations.
Hence when there are extravagant and wasteful appropriations there must
be a corresponding increase of taxes, and the people, becoming awakened,
will necessarily scrutinize the character of measures which thus
increase their burdens. By the watchful eye of self-interest the agents
of the people in the State governments are repressed and kept within
the limits of a just economy. But if the necessity of levying the
taxes be taken from those who make the appropriations and thrown upon
a more distant and less responsible set of public agents, who have
power to approach the people by an indirect and stealthy taxation,
there is reason to fear that prodigality will soon supersede those
characteristics which have thus far made us look with so much pride and
confidence to the State governments as the mainstay of our Union and
liberties. The State legislatures, instead of studying to restrict their
State expenditures to the smallest possible sum, will claim credit
for their profusion, and harass the General Government for increased
supplies. Practically there would soon be but one taxing power, and
that vested in a body of men far removed from the people, in which the
farming and mechanic interests would scarcely be represented. The States
would gradually lose their purity as well as their independence; they
would not dare to murmur at the proceedings of the General Government,
lest they should lose their supplies; all would be merged in a practical
consolidation, cemented by widespread corruption, which could only
be eradicated by one of those bloody revolutions which occasionally
overthrow the despotic systems of the Old World. In all the other
aspects in which I have been able to look at the effect of such a
principle of distribution upon the best interests of the country I
can see nothing to compensate for the disadvantages to which I have
adverted. If we consider the protective duties, which are in a great
degree the source of the surplus revenue, beneficial to one section of
the Union and prejudicial to another, there is no corrective for the
evil in such a plan of distribution. On the contrary, there is reason to
fear that all the complaints which have sprung from this cause would be
aggravated. Everyone must be sensible that a distribution of the surplus
must beget a disposition to cherish the means which create it, and any
system, therefore, into which it enters must have a powerful tendency to
increase rather than diminish the tariff. If it were even admitted that
the advantages of such a system could be made equal to all the sections
of the Union, the reasons already so urgently calling for a reduction of
the revenue would nevertheless lose none of their force, for it will
always be improbable that an intelligent and virtuous community can
consent to raise a surplus for the mere purpose of dividing it,
diminished as it must inevitably be by the expenses of the various
machinery necessary to the process.

The safest and simplest mode of obviating all the difficulties which
have been mentioned is to collect only revenue enough to meet the wants
of the Government, and let the people keep the balance of their property
in their own hands, to be used for their own profit. Each State will
then support its own government and contribute its due share toward the
support of the General Government. There would be no surplus to cramp
and lessen the resources of individual wealth and enterprise, and the
banks would be left to their ordinary means. Whatever agitations and
fluctuations might arise from our unfortunate paper system, they could
never be attributed, justly or unjustly, to the action of the Federal
Government. There would be some guaranty that the spirit of wild
speculation which seeks to convert the surplus revenue into banking
capital would be effectually checked, and that the scenes of
demoralization which are now so prevalent through the land would
disappear.

Without desiring to conceal that the experience and observation of the
last two years have operated a partial change in my views upon this
interesting subject, it is nevertheless regretted that the suggestions
made by me in my annual messages of 1829 and 1830 have been greatly
misunderstood. At that time the great struggle was begun against that
latitudinarian construction of the Constitution which authorizes the
unlimited appropriation of the revenues of the Union to internal
improvements within the States, tending to invest in the hands and place
under the control of the General Government all the principal roads and
canals of the country, in violation of State rights and in derogation
of State authority. At the same time the condition of the manufacturing
interest was such as to create an apprehension that the duties on
imports could not without extensive mischief be reduced in season to
prevent the accumulation of a considerable surplus after the payment
of the national debt. In view of the dangers of such a surplus, and in
preference to its application to internal improvements in derogation of
the rights and powers of the States, the suggestion of an amendment
of the Constitution to authorize its distribution was made. It was an
alternative for what were deemed greater evils--a temporary resort to
relieve an overburdened treasury until the Government could, without
a sudden and destructive revulsion in the business of the country,
gradually return to the just principle of raising no more revenue from
the people in taxes than is necessary for its economical support. Even
that alternative was not spoken of but in connection with an amendment
of the Constitution. No temporary inconvenience can justify the exercise
of a prohibited power or a power not granted by that instrument, and
it was from a conviction that the power to distribute even a temporary
surplus of revenue is of that character that it was suggested only in
connection with an appeal to the source of all legal power in the
General Government, the States which have established it. No such
appeal has been taken, and in my opinion a distribution of the surplus
revenue by Congress either to the States or the people is to be
considered as among the prohibitions of the Constitution. As already
intimated, my views have undergone a change so far as to be convinced
that no alteration of the Constitution in this respect is wise or
expedient. The influence of an accumulating surplus upon the legislation
of the General Government and the States, its effect upon the credit
system of the country, producing dangerous extensions and ruinous
contractions, fluctuations in the price of property, rash speculation,
idleness, extravagance, and a deterioration of morals, have taught us
the important lesson that any transient mischief which may attend the
reduction of our revenue to the wants of our Government is to be borne
in preference to an overflowing treasury.

I beg leave to call your attention to another subject intimately
associated with the preceding one--the currency of the country.

It is apparent from the whole context of the Constitution, as well as
the history of the times which gave birth to it, that it was the purpose
of the Convention to establish a currency consisting of the precious
metals. These, from their peculiar properties which rendered them the
standard of value in all other countries, were adopted in this as well
to establish its commercial standard in reference to foreign countries
by a permanent rule as to exclude the use of a mutable medium of
exchange, such as of certain agricultural commodities recognized by
the statutes of some States as a tender for debts, or the still more
pernicious expedient of a paper currency. The last, from the experience
of the evils of the issues of paper during the Revolution, had become so
justly obnoxious as not only to suggest the clause in the Constitution
forbidding the emission of bills of credit by the States, but also to
produce that vote in the Convention which negatived the proposition to
grant power to Congress to charter corporations--a proposition well
understood at the time as intended to authorize the establishment of a
national bank, which was to issue a currency of bank notes on a capital
to be created to some extent out of Government stocks. Although this
proposition was refused by a direct vote of the Convention, the object
was afterwards in effect obtained by its ingenious advocates through a
strained construction of the Constitution. The debts of the Revolution
were funded at prices which formed no equivalent compared with the
nominal amount of the stock, and under circumstances which exposed the
motives of some of those who participated in the passage of the act
to distrust.

The facts that the value of the stock was greatly enhanced by the
creation of the bank, that it was well understood that such would be
the case, and that some of the advocates of the measure were largely
benefited by it belong to the history of the times, and are well
calculated to diminish the respect which might otherwise have been
due to the action of the Congress which created the institution.

On the establishment of a national bank it became the interest of its
creditors that gold should be superseded by the paper of the bank as a
general currency. A value was soon attached to the gold coins which made
their exportation to foreign countries as a mercantile commodity more
profitable than their retention and use at home as money. It followed
as a matter of course, if not designed by those who established the
bank, that the bank became in effect a substitute for the Mint of the
United States.

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