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

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Whereas information has been received that sundry lawless persons,
principally persons of color, combined and confederated together for the
purpose of opposing by force the execution of the laws of the United
States, did, at Boston, in Massachusetts, on the 15th of this month,
make a violent assault on the marshal or deputy marshals of the United
States for the district of Massachusetts, in the court-house, and did
overcome the said officers, and did by force rescue from their custody
a person arrested as a fugitive slave, and then and there a prisoner
lawfully holden by the said marshal or deputy marshals of the United
States, and other scandalous outrages did commit in violation of law:

Now, therefore, to the end that the authority of the laws may be
maintained and those concerned in violating them brought to immediate
and condign punishment, I have issued this my proclamation, calling on
all well-disposed citizens to rally to the support of the laws of their
country, and requiring and commanding all officers, civil and military,
and all other persons, civil or military, who shall be found within the
vicinity of this outrage, to be aiding and assisting by all means in
their power in quelling this and other such combinations and assisting
the marshal and his deputies in recapturing the above-mentioned
prisoner; and I do especially direct that prosecutions be commenced
against all persons who shall have made themselves aiders or abettors
in or to this flagitious offense; and I do further command that the
district attorney of the United States and all other persons concerned
in the administration or execution of the laws of the United States
cause the foregoing offenders and all such as aided, abetted, or
assisted them or shall be found to have harbored or concealed such
fugitive contrary to law to be immediately arrested and proceeded with
according to law.

Given under my hand and the seal of the United States this 18th day of
February, 1851.



_Secretary of State_.

[From Executive Journal of the Senate, Vol. VIII, p. 299.]

WASHINGTON, _March 3, 1851_.

_To the Senators of the United States, respectively_.

SIR: Whereas divers and weighty causes connected with executive business
necessary to be transacted create an extraordinary occasion requiring
that the Senate be convened, you are therefore requested, as a member of
that body, to attend a meeting thereof to be holden at the Capitol, in
the city of Washington, on the 4th day of March instant.



WASHINGTON, _March 4, 1851_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

Sundry nominations having been made during the last session of the
Senate which were not finally disposed of, I hereby nominate anew each
person so nominated at the last session whose nomination was not finally
acted on before the termination of that session to the same office for
which he was nominated as aforesaid.


WASHINGTON, _March 10, 1851_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of State, with the
accompanying documents,[12] in compliance with the resolution of the
Senate of the 8th instant.


[Footnote 12: Correspondence with the United States minister at
Constantinople respecting the liberation of Kossuth and his companions.]




Whereas there is reason to believe that a military expedition is about
to be fitted out in the United States with intention to invade the
island of Cuba, a colony of Spain, with which this country is at
peace; and

Whereas it is believed that this expedition is instigated and set on
foot chiefly by foreigners who dare to make our shores the scene of
their guilty and hostile preparations against a friendly power and
seek by falsehood and misrepresentation to seduce our own citizens,
especially the young and inconsiderate, into their wicked schemes--an
ungrateful return for the benefits conferred upon them by this people
in permitting them to make our country an asylum from oppression and
in flagrant abuse of the hospitality thus extended to them; and

Whereas such expeditions can only be regarded as adventures for plunder
and robbery, and must meet the condemnation of the civilized world,
whilst they are derogatory to the character of our country, in violation
of the laws of nations, and expressly prohibited by our own. Our
statutes declare "that if any person shall, within the territory or
jurisdiction of the United States, begin or set on foot or provide or
prepare the means for any military expedition or enterprise to be
carried on from thence against the territory or dominions of any foreign
prince or state or of any colony, district, or people with whom the
United States are at peace, every person so offending shall be deemed
guilty of a high misdemeanor and shall be fined not exceeding $3,000 and
imprisoned not more than three years:"

Now, therefore, I have issued this my proclamation, warning all persons
who shall connect themselves with any such enterprise or expedition in
violation of our laws and national obligations that they will thereby
subject themselves to the heavy penalties denounced against such
offenses and will forfeit their claim to the protection of this
Government or any interference on their behalf, no matter to what
extremities they may be reduced in consequence of their illegal conduct.
And therefore I exhort all good citizens, as they regard our national
reputation, as they respect their own laws and the laws of nations, as
they value the blessings of peace and the welfare of their country, to
discountenance and by all lawful means prevent any such enterprise; and
I call upon every officer of this Government, civil or military, to use
all efforts in his power to arrest for trial and punishment every such
offender against the laws of the country.

Given under my hand the 25th day of April, A.D. 1851, and the
seventy-fifth of the Independence of the United States.



By the President:
_Acting Secretary of State_.



Whereas there is reason to believe that a military expedition is about
to be fitted out in the United States for the purpose of invading the
Mexican Republic, with which this country is at peace; and

Whereas there is reason to apprehend that a portion of the people of
this country, regardless of their duties as good citizens, are concerned
in or may be seduced to take part in the same; and

Whereas such enterprises tend to degrade the character of the United
States in the opinion of the civilized world and are expressly
prohibited by law:

Now, therefore, I have issued this my proclamation, warning all persons
who shall connect themselves with any such enterprise in violation of
the laws and national obligations of the United States that they will
thereby subject themselves to the heavy penalties denounced against such
offenses; that if they should be captured within the jurisdiction of the
Mexican authorities they must expect to be tried and punished according
to the laws of Mexico and will have no right to claim the interposition
of this Government in their behalf.

I therefore exhort all well-disposed citizens who have at heart the
reputation of their country and are animated with a just regard for its
laws, its peace, and its welfare to discountenance and by all lawful
means prevent any such enterprise; and I call upon every officer of this
Government, civil or military, to be vigilant in arresting for trial and
punishment every such offender.

Given under my hand the 22d day of October, A.D. 1851, and the
seventy-sixth of the Independence of the United States.



By the President:
_Acting Secretary of State_.


WASHINGTON, _December 2, 1851_.

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

I congratulate you and our common constituency upon the favorable
auspices under which you meet for your first session. Our country is
at peace with all the world. The agitation which for a time threatened
to disturb the fraternal relations which make us one people is fast
subsiding, and a year of general prosperity and health has crowned the
nation with unusual blessings. None can look back to the dangers which
are passed or forward to the bright prospect before us without feeling a
thrill of gratification, at the same time that he must be impressed with
a grateful sense of our profound obligations to a beneficent Providence,
whose paternal care is so manifest in the happiness of this highly
favored land.

Since the close of the last Congress certain Cubans and other foreigners
resident in the United States, who were more or less concerned in the
previous invasion of Cuba, instead of being discouraged by its failure
have again abused the hospitality of this country by making it the scene
of the equipment of another military expedition against that possession
of Her Catholic Majesty, in which they were countenanced, aided, and
joined by citizens of the United States. On receiving intelligence
that such designs were entertained, I lost no time in issuing such
instructions to the proper officers of the United States as seemed to
be called for by the occasion. By the proclamation a copy of which
is herewith submitted I also warned those who might be in danger of
being inveigled into this scheme of its unlawful character and of the
penalties which they would incur. For some time there was reason to hope
that these measures had sufficed to prevent any such attempt. This hope,
however, proved to be delusive. Very early in the morning of the 3d of
August a steamer called the _Pampero_ departed from New Orleans for
Cuba, having on board upward of 400 armed men with evident intentions
to make war upon the authorities of the island. This expedition was
set on foot in palpable violation of the laws of the United States.
Its leader was a Spaniard, and several of the chief officers and some
others engaged in it were foreigners. The persons composing it, however,
were mostly citizens of the United States.

Before the expedition set out, and probably before it was organized,
a slight insurrectionary movement, which appears to have been soon
suppressed, had taken place in the eastern quarter of Cuba. The
importance of this movement was, unfortunately, so much exaggerated in
the accounts of it published in this country that these adventurers seem
to have been led to believe that the Creole population of the island not
only desired to throw off the authority of the mother country, but had
resolved upon that step and had begun a well-concerted enterprise for
effecting it. The persons engaged in the expedition were generally young
and ill informed. The steamer in which they embarked left New Orleans
Stealthily and without a clearance. After touching at Key West, she
proceeded to the coast of Cuba, and on the night between the 11th and
12th of August landed the persons on board at Playtas, within about 20
leagues of Havana.

The main body of them proceeded to and took possession of an inland
village 6 leagues distant, leaving others to follow in charge of the
baggage as soon as the means of transportation could be obtained. The
latter, having taken up their line of march to connect themselves with
the main body, and having proceeded about 4 leagues into the country,
were attacked on the morning of the 13th by a body of Spanish troops,
and a bloody conflict ensued, after which they retreated to the place of
disembarkation, where about 50 of them obtained boats and reembarked
therein. They were, however, intercepted among the keys near the shore
by a Spanish steamer cruising on the coast, captured and carried to
Havana, and after being examined before a military court were sentenced
to be publicly executed, and the sentence was carried into effect on the
16th of August.

On receiving information of what had occurred Commodore Foxhall A.
Parker was instructed to proceed in the steam frigate _Saranac_ to
Havana and inquire into the charges against the persons executed, the
circumstances under which they were taken, and whatsoever referred to
their trial and sentence. Copies of the instructions from the Department
of State to him and of his letters to that Department are herewith

According to the record of the examination, the prisoners all admitted
the offenses charged against them, of being hostile invaders of the
island. At the time of their trial and execution the main body of the
invaders was still in the field making war upon the Spanish authorities
and Spanish subjects. After the lapse of some days, being overcome by
the Spanish troops, they dispersed on the 24th of August. Lopez, their
leader, was captured some days after, and executed on the 1st of
September. Many of his remaining followers were killed or died of hunger
and fatigue, and the rest were made prisoners. Of these none appear
to have been tried or executed. Several of them were pardoned upon
application of their friends and others, and the rest, about 160 in
number, were sent to Spain. Of the final disposition made of these we
have no official information.

Such is the melancholy result of this illegal and ill-fated expedition.
Thus thoughtless young men have been induced by false and fraudulent
representations to violate the law of their country through rash and
unfounded expectations of assisting to accomplish political revolutions
in other states, and have lost their lives in the undertaking. Too
severe a judgment can hardly be passed by the indignant sense of the
community upon those who, being better informed themselves, have yet led
away the ardor of youth and an ill-directed love of political liberty.
The correspondence between this Government and that of Spain relating
to this transaction is herewith communicated.

Although these offenders against the laws have forfeited the protection
of their country, yet the Government may, so far as consistent with its
obligations to other countries and its fixed purpose to maintain and
enforce the laws, entertain sympathy for their unoffending families and
friends, as well as a feeling of compassion for themselves. Accordingly,
no proper effort has been spared and none will be spared to procure the
release of such citizens of the United States engaged in this unlawful
enterprise as are now in confinement in Spain; but it is to be hoped
that such interposition with the Government of that country may not be
considered as affording any ground of expectation that the Government of
the United States will hereafter feel itself under any obligation of
duty to intercede for the liberation or pardon of such persons as are
flagrant offenders against the law of nations and the laws of the United
States. These laws must be executed. If we desire to maintain our
respectability among the nations of the earth, it behooves us to enforce
steadily and sternly the neutrality acts passed by Congress and to
follow as far as may be the violation of those acts with condign

But what gives a peculiar criminality to this invasion of Cuba is that,
under the lead of Spanish subjects and with the aid of citizens of the
United States, it had its origin with many in motives of cupidity. Money
was advanced by individuals, probably in considerable amounts, to
purchase Cuban bonds, as they have been called, issued by Lopez, sold,
doubtless, at a very large discount, and for the payment of which the
public lands and public property of Cuba, of whatever kind, and the
fiscal resources of the people and government of that island, from
whatever source to be derived, were pledged, as well as the good faith
of the government expected to be established. All these means of
payment, it is evident, were only to be obtained by a process of
bloodshed, war, and revolution. None will deny that those who set on
foot military expeditions against foreign states by means like these
are far more culpable than the ignorant and the necessitous whom they
induce to go forth as the ostensible parties in the proceeding. These
originators of the invasion of Cuba seem to have determined with
coolness and system upon an undertaking which should disgrace their
country, violate its laws, and put to hazard the lives of ill-informed
and deluded men. You will consider whether further legislation be
necessary to prevent the perpetration of such offenses in future.

No individuals have a right to hazard the peace of the country or to
violate its laws upon vague notions of altering or reforming governments
in other states. This principle is not only reasonable in itself and in
accordance with public law, but is ingrafted into the codes of other
nations as well as our own. But while such are the sentiments of this
Government, it may be added that every independent nation must be
presumed to be able to defend its possessions against unauthorized
individuals banded together to attack them. The Government of the United
States at all times since its establishment has abstained and has sought
to restrain the citizens of the country from entering into controversies
between other powers, and to observe all the duties of neutrality. At an
early period of the Government, in the Administration of Washington,
several laws were passed for this purpose. The main provisions of these
laws were reenacted by the act of April, 1818, by which, amongst other
things, it was declared that--

If any person shall, within the territory or jurisdiction of the United
States, begin, or set on foot, or provide or prepare the means for, any
military expedition or enterprise to be carried on from thence against
the territory or dominions of any foreign prince or state, or of any
colony, district, or people, with whom the United States are at peace,
every person so offending shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor,
and shall be fined not exceeding $3,000 and imprisoned not more than
three years.

And this law has been executed and enforced to the full extent of the
power of the Government from that day to this.

In proclaiming and adhering to the doctrine of neutrality and
nonintervention, the United States have not followed the lead of other
civilized nations; they have taken the lead themselves and have been
followed by others. This was admitted by one of the most eminent of
modern British statesmen, who said in Parliament, while a minister of
the Crown, "that if he wished for a guide in a system of neutrality he
should take that laid down by America in the days of Washington and the
secretaryship of Jefferson;" and we see, in fact, that the act of
Congress of 1818 was followed the succeeding year by an act of the
Parliament of England substantially the same in its general provisions.
Up to that time there had been no similar law in England, except certain
highly penal statutes passed in the reign of George II, prohibiting
English subjects from enlisting in foreign service, the avowed object
of which statutes was that foreign armies, raised for the purpose of
restoring the house of Stuart to the throne, should not be strengthened
by recruits from England herself.

All must see that difficulties may arise in carrying the laws referred
to into execution in a country now having 3,000 or 4,000 miles of
seacoast, with an infinite number of ports and harbors and small inlets,
from some of which unlawful expeditions may suddenly set forth, without
the knowledge of Government, against the possessions of foreign states.

"Friendly relations with all, but entangling alliances with none," has
long been a maxim with us. Our true mission is not to propagate our
opinions or impose upon other countries our form of government by
artifice or force, but to teach by example and show by our success,
moderation, and justice the blessings of self-government and the
advantages of free institutions. Let every people choose for itself and
make and alter its political institutions to suit its own condition
and convenience. But while we avow and maintain this neutral policy
ourselves, we are anxious to see the same forbearance on the part of
other nations whose forms of government are different from our own. The
deep interest which we feel in the spread of liberal principles and the
establishment of free governments and the sympathy with which we witness
every struggle against oppression forbid that we should be indifferent
to a case in which the strong arm of a foreign power is invoked to
stifle public sentiment and repress the spirit of freedom in any

The Governments of Great Britain and France have issued orders to their
naval commanders on the West India station to prevent, by force if
necessary, the landing of adventurers from any nation on the island of
Cuba with hostile intent. The copy of a memorandum of a conversation on
this subject between the charge d'affaires of Her Britannic Majesty and
the Acting Secretary of State and of a subsequent note of the former to
the Department of State are herewith submitted, together with a copy of
a note of the Acting Secretary of State to the minister of the French
Republic and of the reply of the latter on the same subject. These
papers will acquaint you with the grounds of this interposition of two
leading commercial powers of Europe, and with the apprehensions, which
this Government could not fail to entertain, that such interposition, if
carried into effect, might lead to abuses in derogation of the maritime
rights of the United States. The maritime rights of the United States
are founded on a firm, secure, and well-defined basis; they stand
upon the ground of national independence and public law, and will be
maintained in all their full and just extent. The principle which this
Government has heretofore solemnly announced it still adheres to, and
will maintain under all circumstances and at all hazards. That principle
is that in every regularly documented merchant vessel the crew who
navigate it and those on board of it will find their protection in the
flag which is over them. No American ship can be allowed to be visited
or searched for the purpose of ascertaining the character of individuals
on board, nor can there be allowed any watch by the vessels of any
foreign nation over American vessels on the coast of the United States
or the seas adjacent thereto. It will be seen by the last communication
from the British charge d'affaires to the Department of State that he
is authorized to assure the Secretary of State that every care will be
taken that in executing the preventive measures against the expeditions
which the United States Government itself has denounced as not being
entitled to the protection of any government no interference shall take
place with the lawful commerce of any nation.

In addition to the correspondence on this subject herewith submitted,
official information has been received at the Department of State of
assurances by the French Government that in the orders given to the
French naval forces they were expressly instructed, in any operations
they might engage in, to respect the flag of the United States wherever
it might appear, and to commit no act of hostility upon any vessel or
armament under its protection.

Ministers and consuls of foreign nations are the means and agents of
communication between us and those nations, and it is of the utmost
importance that while residing in the country they should feel a perfect
security so long as they faithfully discharge their respective duties
and are guilty of no violation of our laws. This is the admitted law of
nations and no country has a deeper interest in maintaining it than the
United States. Our commerce spreads over every sea and visits every
clime, and our ministers and consuls are appointed to protect the
interests of that commerce as well as to guard the peace of the country
and maintain the honor of its flag. But how can they discharge these
duties unless they be themselves protected? And if protected it must be
by the laws of the country in which they reside. And what is due to our
own public functionaries residing in foreign nations is exactly the
measure of what is due to the functionaries of other governments
residing here. As in war the bearers of flags of truce are sacred,
or else wars would be interminable, so in peace ambassadors, public
ministers, and consuls, charged with friendly national intercourse,
are objects of especial respect and protection, each according to the
rights belonging to his rank and station. In view of these important
principles, it is with deep mortification and regret I announce to you
that during the excitement growing out of the executions at Havana the
office of Her Catholic Majesty's consul at New Orleans was assailed by
a mob, his property destroyed, the Spanish flag found in the office
carried off and torn in pieces, and he himself induced to flee for
his personal safety, which he supposed to be in danger. On receiving
intelligence of these events I forthwith directed the attorney of the
United States residing at New Orleans to inquire into the facts and the
extent of the pecuniary loss sustained by the consul, with the intention
of laying them before you, that you might make provision for such
indemnity to him as a just regard for the honor of the nation and the
respect which is due to a friendly power might, in your judgment, seem
to require. The correspondence upon this subject between the Secretary
of State and Her Catholic Majesty's minister plenipotentiary is herewith

The occurrence at New Orleans has led me to give my attention to the
state of our laws in regard to foreign ambassadors, ministers, and
consuls. I think the legislation of the country is deficient in not
providing sufficiently either for the protection or the punishment of
consuls. I therefore recommend the subject to the consideration of

Your attention is again invited to the question of reciprocal trade
between the United States and Canada and other British possessions near
our frontier. Overtures for a convention upon this subject have been
received from Her Britannic Majesty's minister plenipotentiary, but
it seems to be in many respects preferable that the matter should be
regulated by reciprocal legislation. Documents are laid before you
showing the terms which the British Government is willing to offer and
the measures which it may adopt if some arrangement upon this subject
shall not be made.

From the accompanying copy of a note from the British legation at
Washington and the reply of the Department of State thereto it will
appear that Her Britannic Majesty's Government is desirous that a part
of the boundary line between Oregon and the British possessions should
be authoritatively marked out, and that an intention was expressed to
apply to Congress for an appropriation to defray the expense thereof
on the part of the United States. Your attention to this subject is
accordingly invited and a proper appropriation recommended.

A convention for the adjustment of claims of citizens of the United
States against Portugal has been concluded and the ratifications have
been exchanged. The first installment of the amount to be paid by
Portugal fell due on the 30th of September last and has been paid.

The President of the French Republic, according to the provisions of the
convention, has been selected as arbiter in the case of the _General
Armstrong_, and has signified that he accepts the trust and the high
satisfaction he feels in acting as the common friend of two nations with
which France is united by sentiments of sincere and lasting amity.

The Turkish Government has expressed its thanks for the kind reception
given to the Sultan's agent, Amin Bey, on the occasion of his recent
visit to the United States. On the 28th of February last a dispatch was
addressed by the Secretary of State to Mr. Marsh, the American minister
at Constantinople, instructing him to ask of the Turkish Government
permission for the Hungarians then imprisoned within the dominions of
the Sublime Porte to remove to this country. On the 3d of March last
both Houses of Congress passed a resolution requesting the President to
authorize the employment of a public vessel to convey to this country
Louis Kossuth and his associates in captivity.

The instruction above referred to was complied with, and the Turkish
Government having released Governor Kossuth and his companions from
prison, on the 10th of September last they embarked on board of the
United States steam frigate _Mississippi_, which was selected to carry
into effect the resolution of Congress. Governor Kossuth left the
_Mississippi_ at Gibraltar for the purpose of making a visit to England,
and may shortly be expected in New York. By communications to the
Department of State he has expressed his grateful acknowledgments for
the interposition of this Government in behalf of himself and his
associates. This country has been justly regarded as a safe asylum for
those whom political events have exiled from their own homes in Europe,
and it is recommended to Congress to consider in what manner Governor
Kossuth and his companions, brought hither by its authority, shall be
received and treated.

It is earnestly to be hoped that the differences which have for some
time past been pending between the Government of the French Republic and
that of the Sandwich Islands may be peaceably and durably adjusted so
as to secure the independence of those islands. Long before the events
which have of late imparted so much importance to the possessions of the
United States on the Pacific we acknowledged the independence of the
Hawaiian Government. This Government was first in taking that step, and
several of the leading powers of Europe immediately followed. We were
influenced in this measure by the existing and prospective importance of
the islands as a place of refuge and refreshment for our vessels engaged
in the whale fishery, and by the consideration that they lie in the
course of the great trade which must at no distant day be carried on
between the western coast of North America and eastern Asia.

We were also influenced by a desire that those islands should not pass
under the control of any other great maritime state, but should remain
in an independent condition, and so be accessible and useful to the
commerce of all nations. I need not say that the importance of these
considerations has been greatly enhanced by the sudden and vast
development which the interests of the United States have attained in
California and Oregon, and the policy heretofore adopted in regard to
those islands will be steadily pursued.

It is gratifying, not only to those who consider the commercial interests
of nations, but also to all who favor the progress of knowledge and the
diffusion of religion, to see a community emerge from a savage state and
attain such a degree of civilization in those distant seas.

It is much to be deplored that the internal tranquillity of the Mexican
Republic should again be seriously disturbed, for since the peace
between that Republic and the United States it had enjoyed such
comparative repose that the most favorable anticipations for the future
might with a degree of confidence have been indulged. These, however,
have been thwarted by the recent outbreak in the State of Tamaulipas,
on the right bank of the Rio Bravo. Having received information that
persons from the United States had taken part in the insurrection,
and apprehending that their example might be followed by others, I
caused orders to be issued for the purpose of preventing any hostile
expeditions against Mexico from being set on foot in violation of the
laws of the United States. I likewise issued a proclamation upon the
subject, a copy of which is herewith laid before you. This appeared to
be rendered imperative by the obligations of treaties and the general
duties of good neighborhood.

In my last annual message I informed Congress that citizens of the
United States had undertaken the connection of the two oceans by means
of a railroad across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, under a grant of
the Mexican Government to a citizen of that Republic, and that this
enterprise would probably be prosecuted with energy whenever Mexico
should consent to such stipulations with the Government of the United
States as should impart a feeling of security to those who should invest
their property in the enterprise.

A convention between the two Governments for the accomplishment of that
end has been ratified by this Government, and only awaits the decision
of the Congress and the Executive of that Republic.

Some unexpected difficulties and delays have arisen in the ratification
of that convention by Mexico, but it is to be presumed that her decision
will be governed by just and enlightened views, as well of the general
importance of the object as of her own interests and obligations.

In negotiating upon this important subject this Government has had
in view one, and only one, object. That object has been, and is,
the construction or attainment of a passage from ocean to ocean, the
shortest and the best for travelers and merchandise, and equally open to
all the world. It has sought to obtain no territorial acquisition, nor
any advantages peculiar to itself; and it would see with the greatest
regret that Mexico should oppose any obstacle to the accomplishment of
an enterprise which promises so much convenience to the whole commercial
world and such eminent advantages to Mexico herself. Impressed with
these sentiments and these convictions, the Government will continue to
exert all proper efforts to bring about the necessary arrangement with
the Republic of Mexico for the speedy completion of the work.

For some months past the Republic of Nicaragua has been the theater of
one of those civil convulsions from which the cause of free institutions
and the general prosperity and social progress of the States of Central
America have so often and so severely suffered. Until quiet shall have
been restored and a government apparently stable shall have been
organized, no advance can prudently be made in disposing of the
questions pending between the two countries.

I am happy to announce that an interoceanic communication from the
mouth of the St. John to the Pacific has been so far accomplished as
that passengers have actually traversed it and merchandise has been
transported over it, and when the canal shall have been completed
according to the original plan the means of communication will be
further improved. It is understood that a considerable part of the
railroad across the Isthmus of Panama has been completed, and that
the mail and passengers will in future be conveyed thereon.

Whichever of the several routes between the two oceans may ultimately
prove most eligible for travelers to and from the different States on
the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico and our coast on the Pacific, there is
little reason to doubt that all of them will be useful to the public,
and will liberally reward that individual enterprise by which alone they
have been or are expected to be carried into effect.

Peace has been concluded between the contending parties in the island of
St. Domingo, and, it is hoped, upon a durable basis. Such is the extent
of our commercial relations with that island that the United States can
not fail to feel a strong interest in its tranquillity.

The office of commissioner to China remains unfilled. Several persons
have been appointed, and the place has been offered to others, all of
whom have declined its acceptance on the ground of the inadequacy of the
compensation. The annual allowance by law is $6,000, and there is no
provision for any outfit. I earnestly recommend the consideration of
this subject to Congress. Our commerce with China is highly important,
and is becoming more and more so in consequence of the increasing
intercourse between our ports on the Pacific Coast and eastern Asia.
China is understood to be a country in which living is very expensive,
and I know of no reason why the American commissioner sent thither
should not be placed, in regard to compensation, on an equal footing
with ministers who represent this country at the Courts of Europe.

By reference to the report of the Secretary of the Treasury it will be
seen that the aggregate receipts for the last fiscal year amounted to
$52,312,979.87, which, with the balance in the Treasury on the 1st July,
1850, gave as the available means for the year the sum of

The total expenditures for the same period were $48,005,878.68. The
total imports for the year ending June 30, 1851, were $215,725,995,
of which there were in specie $4,967,901. The exports for the same
period were $217,517,130, of which there were of domestic products
$178,546,555; foreign goods reexported, $9,738,695; specie, $29,231,880.

Since the 1st of December last the payments in cash on account of the
public debt, exclusive of interest, have amounted to $7,501,456.56,
which, however, includes the sum of $3,242,400, paid under the twelfth
article of the treaty with Mexico, and the further sum of $2,591,213.45,
being the amount of awards to American citizens under the late treaty
with Mexico, for which the issue of stock was authorized, but which was
paid in cash from the Treasury.

The public debt on the 20th ultimo, exclusive of the stock authorized
to be issued to Texas by the act of 9th September, 1850, was

The receipts for the next fiscal year are estimated at $51,800,000,
which, with the probable unappropriated balance in the Treasury on the
30th June next, will give as the probable available means for that year
the sum of $63,258,743.09.

It has been deemed proper, in view of the large expenditures consequent
upon the acquisition of territory from Mexico, that the estimates for
the next fiscal year should be laid before Congress in such manner as
to distinguish the expenditures so required from the otherwise ordinary
demands upon the Treasury.

The total expenditures for the next fiscal year are estimated at
$42,892,299.19, of which there is required for the ordinary purposes of
the Government, other than those consequent upon the acquisition of our
new territories, and deducting the payments on account of the public
debt, the sum of $33,343,198.08, and for the purposes connected,
directly or indirectly, with those territories and in the fulfillment of
the obligations of the Government contracted in consequence of their
acquisition the sum of $9,549,101.11.

If the views of the Secretary of the Treasury in reference to the
expenditures required for these territories shall be met by
corresponding action on the part of Congress, and appropriations made in
accordance therewith, there will be an estimated unappropriated balance
in the Treasury on the 30th June, 1853, of $20,366,443.90 wherewith to
meet that portion of the public debt due on the 1st of July following,
amounting to $6,237,931.35, as well as any appropriations which may be
made beyond the estimates.

In thus referring to the estimated expenditures on account of our newly
acquired territories, I may express the hope that Congress will concur
with me in the desire that a liberal course of policy may be pursued
toward them, and that every obligation, express or implied, entered into
in consequence of their acquisition shall be fulfilled by the most
liberal appropriations for that purpose.

The values of our domestic exports for the last fiscal year, as compared
with those of the previous year, exhibit an increase of $43,646,322. At
first view this condition of our trade with foreign nations would seem
to present the most flattering hopes of its future prosperity. An
examination of the details of our exports, however, will show that the
increased value of our exports for the last fiscal year is to be found
in the high price of cotton which prevailed during the first half of
that year, which price has since declined about one-half.

The value of our exports of breadstuffs and provisions, which it was
supposed the incentive of a low tariff and large importations from
abroad would have greatly augmented, has fallen from $68,701,921 in
1847 to $26,051,373 in 1850 and to $21,948,653 in 1851, with a strong
probability, amounting almost to a certainty, of a still further
reduction in the current year.

The aggregate values of rice exported during the last fiscal year, as
compared with the previous year, also exhibit a decrease, amounting to
$460,917, which, with a decline in the values of the exports of tobacco
for the same period, make an aggregate decrease in these two articles of

The policy which dictated a low rate of duties on foreign merchandise,
it was thought by those who promoted and established it, would tend to
benefit the farming population of this country by increasing the demand
and raising the price of agricultural products in foreign markets.

The foregoing facts, however, seem to show incontestably that no such
result has followed the adoption of this policy. On the contrary,
notwithstanding the repeal of the restrictive corn laws in England, the
foreign demand for the products of the American farmer has steadily
declined, since the short crops and consequent famine in a portion
of Europe have been happily replaced by full crops and comparative
abundance of food.

It will be seen by recurring to the commercial statistics for the past
year that the value of our domestic exports has been increased in the
single item of raw cotton by $40,000,000 over the value of that export
for the year preceding. This is not due to any increased general demand
for that article, but to the short crop of the preceding year, which
created an increased demand and an augmented price for the crop of last
year. Should the cotton crop now going forward to market be only equal
in quantity to that of the year preceding and be sold at the present
prices, then there would be a falling off in the value of our exports
for the present fiscal year of at least $40,000,000 compared with the
amount exported for the year ending 30th June, 1851.

The production of gold in California for the past year seems to promise
a large supply of that metal from that quarter for some time to come.
This large annual increase of the currency of the world must be attended
with its usual results. These have been already partially disclosed
in the enhancement of prices and a rising spirit of speculation and
adventure, tending to overtrading, as well at home as abroad. Unless
some salutary check shall be given to these tendencies it is to be
feared that importations of foreign goods beyond a healthy demand in
this country will lead to a sudden drain of the precious metals from us,
bringing with it, as it has done in former times, the most disastrous
consequences to the business and capital of the American people.

The exports of specie to liquidate our foreign debt during the past
fiscal year have been $24,263,979 over the amount of specie imported.
The exports of specie during the first quarter of the present fiscal
year have been $14,651,827. Should specie continue to be exported at
this rate for the remaining three quarters of this year, it will drain
from our metallic currency during the year ending 30th June, 1852, the
enormous amount of $58,607,308.

In the present prosperous condition of the national finances it will
become the duty of Congress to consider the best mode of paying off the
public debt. If the present and anticipated surplus in the Treasury
should not be absorbed by appropriations of an extraordinary character,
this surplus should be employed in such way and under such restrictions
as Congress may enact in extinguishing the outstanding debt of the

By reference to the act of Congress approved 9th September, 1850, it
will be seen that, in consideration of certain concessions by the State
of Texas, it is provided that--

The United States shall pay to the State of Texas the sum of $10,000,000
in a stock bearing 5 per cent interest and redeemable at the end of
fourteen years, the interest payable half-yearly at the Treasury of
the United States.

In the same section of the law it is further provided--

That no more than five millions of said stock shall be issued until the
creditors of the State holding bonds and other certificates of stock of
Texas, _for which duties on imports were specially_ pledged, shall first
file at the Treasury of the United States releases of all claims against
the United States for or on account of said bonds or certificates, in
such form as shall be prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury and
approved by the President of the United States.

The form of release thus provided for has been prescribed by the
Secretary of the Treasury and approved. It has been published in all
the leading newspapers in the commercial cities of the United States,
and all persons holding claims of the kind specified in the foregoing
proviso were required to file their releases (in the form thus
prescribed) in the Treasury of the United States on or before the 1st
day of October, 1851. Although this publication has been continued
from the 25th day of March, 1851, yet up to the 1st of October last
comparatively few releases had been filed by the creditors of Texas.

The authorities of the State of Texas, at the request of the Secretary
of the Treasury, have furnished a schedule of the public debt of that
State created prior to her admission into the Union, with a copy of the
laws under which each class was contracted.

I have, from the documents furnished by the State of Texas, determined
the classes of claims which in my judgment fall within the provisions of
the act of Congress of the 9th of September, 1850.

On being officially informed of the acceptance by Texas of the
propositions contained in the act referred to I caused the stock to be
prepared, and the five millions which are to be issued unconditionally,
bearing an interest of 5 per cent from the 1st day of January, 1851,
have been for some time ready to be delivered to the State of Texas. The
authorities of Texas up to the present time have not authorized anyone
to receive this stock, and it remains in the Treasury Department subject
to the order of Texas.

The releases required by law to be deposited in the Treasury not having
been filed there, the remaining five millions have not been issued.
This last amount of the stock will be withheld from Texas until the
conditions upon which it is to be delivered shall be complied with by
the creditors of that State, unless Congress shall otherwise direct by
a modification of the law.

In my last annual message, to which I respectfully refer, I stated
briefly the reasons which induced me to recommend a modification of
the present tariff by converting the _ad valorem_ into a specific duty
wherever the article imported was of such a character as to permit it,
and that such a discrimination should be made in favor of the industrial
pursuits of our own country as to encourage home production without
excluding foreign competition.

The numerous frauds which continue to be practiced upon the revenue by
false invoices and undervaluations constitute an unanswerable reason for
adopting specific instead of _ad valorem_ duties in all cases where the
nature of the commodity does not forbid it. A striking illustration of
these frauds will be exhibited in the report of the Secretary of the
Treasury, showing the custom-house valuation of articles imported under
a former law, subject to specific duties, when there was no inducement
to undervaluation, and the custom-house valuations of the same articles
under the present system of _ad valorem_ duties, so greatly reduced
as to leave no doubt of the existence of the most flagrant abuses under
the existing laws. This practical evasion of the present law, combined
with the languishing condition of some of the great interests of the
country, caused by overimportations and consequent depressed prices,
and with the failure in obtaining a foreign market for our increasing
surplus of breadstuffs and provisions, has induced me again to recommend
a modification of the existing tariff.

The report of the Secretary of the Interior, which accompanies this
communication, will present a condensed statement of the operations
of that important Department of the Government.

It will be seen that the cash sales of the public lands exceed those
of the preceding year, and that there is reason to anticipate a still
further increase, notwithstanding the large donations which have been
made to many of the States and the liberal grants to individuals as
a reward for military services. This fact furnishes very gratifying
evidence of the growing wealth and prosperity of our country.

Suitable measures have been adopted for commencing the survey of the
public lands in California and Oregon. Surveying parties have been
organized and some progress has been made in establishing the principal
base and meridian lines. But further legislation and additional
appropriations will be necessary before the proper subdivisions can
be made and the general land system extended over those remote parts
of our territory.

On the 3d of March last an act was passed providing for the appointment
of three commissioners to settle private land claims in California.
Three persons were immediately appointed, all of whom, however,
declined accepting the office in consequence of the inadequacy of the
compensation. Others were promptly selected, who for the same reason
also declined, and it was not until late in the season that the services
of suitable persons could be secured. A majority of the commissioners
convened in this city on the 10th of September last, when detailed
instructions were given to them in regard to their duties. Their first
meeting for the transaction of business will be held in San Francisco
on the 8th day of the present month.

I have thought it proper to refer to these facts, not only to explain
the causes of the delay in filling the commission, but to call your
attention to the propriety of increasing the compensation of the
commissioners. The office is one of great labor and responsibility,
and the compensation should be such as to command men of a high order
of talents and the most unquestionable integrity.

The proper disposal of the mineral lands of California is a subject
surrounded by great difficulties. In my last annual message I
recommended the survey and sale of them in small parcels under
such restrictions as would effectually guard against monopoly and
speculation; but upon further information, and in deference to the
opinions of persons familiar with the subject, I am inclined to change
that recommendation and to advise that they be permitted to remain as at
present, a common field, open to the enterprise and industry of all our
citizens, until further experience shall have developed the best policy
to be ultimately adopted in regard to them. It is safer to suffer the
inconveniences that now exist for a short period than by premature
legislation to fasten on the country a system founded in error, which
may place the whole subject beyond the future control of Congress.

The agricultural lands should, however, be surveyed and brought into
market with as little delay as possible, that the titles may become
settled and the inhabitants stimulated to make permanent improvements
and enter on the ordinary pursuits of life. To effect these objects
it is desirable that the necessary provision be made by law for the
establishment of land offices in California and Oregon and for the
efficient prosecution of the surveys at an early day.

Some difficulties have occurred in organizing the Territorial
governments of New Mexico and Utah, and when more accurate information
shall be obtained of the causes a further communication will be made on
that subject.

In my last annual communication to Congress I recommended the
establishment of an agricultural bureau, and I take this occasion
again to invoke your favorable consideration of the subject.

Agriculture may justly be regarded as the great interest of our people.
Four-fifths of our active population are employed in the cultivation of
the soil, and the rapid expansion of our settlements over new territory
is daily adding to the number of those engaged in that vocation. Justice
and sound policy, therefore, alike require that the Government should
use all the means authorized by the Constitution to promote the
interests and welfare of that important class of our fellow-citizens.
And yet it is a singular fact that whilst the manufacturing and
commercial interests have engaged the attention of Congress during a
large portion of every session and our statutes abound in provisions for
their protection and encouragement, little has yet been done directly
for the advancement of agriculture. It is time that this reproach to our
legislation should be removed, and I sincerely hope that the present
Congress will not close their labors without adopting efficient means
to supply the omissions of those who have preceded them.

An agricultural bureau, charged with the duty of collecting and
disseminating correct information as to the best modes of cultivation
and of the most effectual means of preserving and restoring the
fertility of the soil and of procuring and distributing seeds and plants
and other vegetable productions, with instructions in regard to the
soil, climate, and treatment best adapted to their growth, could not
fail to be, in the language of Washington in his last annual message
to Congress, a "very cheap instrument of immense national benefit."

Regarding the act of Congress approved 28th September, 1850, granting
bounty lands to persons who had been engaged in the military service of
the country, as a great measure of national justice and munificence,
an anxious desire has been felt by the officers intrusted with its
immediate execution to give prompt effect to its provisions. All the
means within their control were therefore brought into requisition
to expedite the adjudication of claims, and I am gratified to be
able to state that near 100,000 applications have been considered
and about 70,000 warrants issued within the short space of nine
months. If adequate provision be made by law to carry into effect
the recommendations of the Department, it is confidently expected
that before the close of the next fiscal year all who are entitled
to the benefits of the act will have received their warrants.

The Secretary of the Interior has suggested in his report various
amendments of the laws relating to pensions and bounty lands for the
purpose of more effectually guarding against abuses and frauds on the
Government, to all of which I invite your particular attention.

The large accessions to our Indian population consequent upon the
acquisition of New Mexico and California and the extension of our
settlements into Utah and Oregon have given increased interest and
importance to our relations with the aboriginal race.

No material change has taken place within the last year in the condition
and prospects of the Indian tribes who reside in the Northwestern
Territory and west of the Mississippi River. We are at peace with all of
them, and it will be a source of pleasure to you to learn that they are
gradually advancing in civilization and the pursuits of social life.

Along the Mexican frontier and in California and Oregon there have been
occasional manifestations of unfriendly feeling and some depredations
committed. I am satisfied, however, that they resulted more from the
destitute and starving condition of the Indians than from any settled
hostility toward the whites. As the settlements of our citizens progress
toward them, the game, upon which they mainly rely for subsistence,
is driven off or destroyed, and the only alternative left to them
is starvation or plunder. It becomes us to consider, in view of this
condition of things, whether justice and humanity, as well as an
enlightened economy, do not require that instead of seeking to punish
them for offenses which are the result of our own policy toward them
we should not provide for their immediate wants and encourage them to
engage in agriculture and to rely on their labor instead of the chase
for the means of support.

Various important treaties have been negotiated with different tribes
during the year, by which their title to large and valuable tracts of
country has been extinguished, all of which will at the proper time be
submitted to the Senate for ratification.

The joint commission under the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo has been
actively engaged in running and marking the boundary line between the
United States and Mexico. It was stated in the last annual report of
the Secretary of the Interior that the initial point on the Pacific
and the point of junction of the Gila with the Colorado River had been
determined and the intervening line, about 150 miles in length, run and
marked by temporary monuments. Since that time a monument of marble has
been erected at the initial point, and permanent landmarks of iron have
been placed at suitable distances along the line.

The initial point on the Rio Grande has also been fixed by the
commissioners, at latitude 32 deg. 22', and at the date of the last
communication the purvey of the line had been made thence westward
about 150 miles to the neighborhood of the copper mines.

The commission on our part was at first organized on a scale which
experience proved to be unwieldy and attended with unnecessary expense.
Orders have therefore been issued for the reduction of the number of
persons employed within the smallest limits consistent with the safety
of those engaged in the service and the prompt and efficient execution
of their important duties.

Returns have been received from all the officers engaged in taking
the census in the States and Territories except California. The
superintendent employed to make the enumeration in that State has
not yet made his full report, from causes, as he alleges, beyond his
control. This failure is much to be regretted, as it has prevented the
Secretary of the Interior from making the decennial apportionment of
Representatives among the States, as required by the act approved May
23, 1850. It is hoped, however, that the returns will soon be received,
and no time will then be lost in making the necessary apportionment and
in transmitting the certificates required by law.

The Superintendent of the Seventh Census is diligently employed, under
the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, in classifying and
arranging in tabular form all the statistical information derived from
the returns of the marshals, and it is believed that when the work shall
be completed it will exhibit a more perfect view of the population,
wealth, occupations, and social condition of a great country than has
ever been presented to the world. The value of such a work as the basis
of enlightened legislation can hardly be overestimated, and I earnestly
hope that Congress will lose no time in making the appropriations
necessary to complete the classifications and to publish the results
in a style worthy of the subject and of our national character.

The want of a uniform fee bill, prescribing the compensation to be
allowed district attorneys, clerks, marshals, and commissioners in civil
and criminal cases, is the cause of much vexation, injustice, and
complaint. I would recommend a thorough revision of the laws on the
whole subject and the adoption of a tariff of fees which, as far as
practicable, should be uniform, and prescribe a specific compensation
for every service which the officer may be required to perform. This
subject will be fully presented in the report of the Secretary of the

In my last annual message I gave briefly my reasons for believing that
you possessed the constitutional power to improve the harbors of our
Great Lakes and seacoast and the navigation of our principal rivers, and
recommended that appropriations should be made for completing such works
as had already been commenced and for commencing such others as might
seem to the wisdom of Congress to be of public and general importance.
Without repeating the reasons then urged, I deem it my duty again to
call your attention to this important subject. The works on many of the
harbors were left in an unfinished state, and consequently exposed to
the action of the elements, which is fast destroying them. Great numbers
of lives and vast amounts of property are annually lost for want of
safe and convenient harbors on the Lakes. None but those who have been
exposed to that dangerous navigation can fully appreciate the importance
of this subject. The whole Northwest appeals to you for relief, and
I trust their appeal will receive due consideration at your hands.

The same is in a measure true in regard to some of the harbors and
inlets on the seacoast.

The unobstructed navigation of our large rivers is of equal importance.
Our settlements are now extending to the sources of the great rivers
which empty into and form a part of the Mississippi, and the value of
the public lands in those regions would be greatly enhanced by freeing
the navigation of those waters from obstructions. In view, therefore,
of this great interest, I deem it my duty again to urge upon Congress
to make such appropriations for these improvements as they may deem

The surveys of the Delta of the Mississippi, with a view to the
prevention of the overflows that have proved so disastrous to that
region of country, have been nearly completed, and the reports thereof
are now in course of preparation and will shortly be laid before you.

The protection of our southwestern frontier and of the adjacent Mexican
States against the Indian tribes within our border has claimed my
earnest and constant attention. Congress having failed at the last
session to adopt my recommendation that an additional regiment of
mounted men specially adapted to that service should be raised, all
that remained to be done was to make the best use of the means at my
disposal. Accordingly, all the troops adapted to that service that could
properly be spared from other quarters have been concentrated on that
frontier and officers of high reputation selected to command them. A new
arrangement of the military posts has also been made, whereby the troops
are brought nearer to the Mexican frontier and to the tribes they are
intended to overawe.

Sufficient time has not yet elapsed to realize all the benefits that are
expected to result from these arrangements, but I have every reason to
hope that they will effectually check their marauding expeditions. The
nature of the country, which furnishes little for the support of an army
and abounds in places of refuge and concealment, is remarkably well
adapted to this predatory warfare, and we can scarcely hope that any
military force, combined with the greatest vigilance, can entirely
suppress it.

By the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo we are bound to protect the territory
of Mexico against the incursions of the savage tribes within our border
"with equal diligence and energy" as if the same were made within our
territory or against our citizens. I have endeavored to comply as far
as possible with this provision of the treaty. Orders have been given
to the officers commanding on that frontier to consider the Mexican
territory and its inhabitants as equally with our own entitled to their
protection, and to make all their plans and arrangements with a view
to the attainment of this object. Instructions have also been given to
the Indian commissioners and agents among these tribes in all treaties
to make the clauses designed for the protection of our own citizens
apply also to those of Mexico. I have no reason to doubt that these
instructions have been fully carried into effect; nevertheless, it is
probable that in spite of all our efforts some of the neighboring States
of Mexico may have suffered, as our own have, from depredations by the

To the difficulties of defending our own territory, as above mentioned,
are superadded, in defending that of Mexico, those that arise from its
remoteness, from the fact that we have no right to station our troops
within her limits and that there is no efficient military force on the
Mexican side to cooperate with our own. So long as this shall continue
to be the case the number and activity of our troops will rather
increase than diminish the evil, as the Indians will naturally turn
toward that country where they encounter the least resistance. Yet these
troops are necessary to subdue them and to compel them to make and
observe treaties. Until this shall have been done neither country will
enjoy any security from their attacks.

The Indians in California, who had previously appeared of a peaceable
character and disposed to cultivate the friendship of the whites, have
recently committed several acts of hostility. As a large portion of the
reenforcements sent to the Mexican frontier were drawn from the Pacific,
the military force now stationed there is considered entirely inadequate
to its defense. It can not be increased, however, without an increase of
the Army, and I again recommend that measure as indispensable to the
protection of the frontier.

I invite your attention to the suggestions on this subject and on others
connected with his Department in the report of the Secretary of War.

The appropriations for the support of the Army during the current fiscal
year ending 30th June next were reduced far below the estimate submitted
by the Department. The consequence of this reduction is a considerable
deficiency, to which I invite your early attention.

The expenditures of that Department for the year ending 30th June last
were $9,060,268.58. The estimates for the year commencing 1st July next
and ending June 30, 1853, are $7,898,775.83, showing a reduction of

The board of commissioners to whom the management of the affairs of the
military asylum created by the act of 3d March last was intrusted have
selected a site for the establishment of an asylum in the vicinity of
this city, which has been approved by me subject to the production of
a satisfactory title.

The report of the Secretary of the Navy will exhibit the condition of
the public service under the supervision of that Department. Our naval
force afloat during the present year has been actively and usefully
employed in giving protection to our widely extended and increasing
commerce and interests in the various quarters of the globe, and our
flag has everywhere afforded the security and received the respect
inspired by the justice and liberality of our intercourse and the
dignity and power of the nation.

The expedition commanded by Lieutenant De Haven, dispatched in search
of the British commander Sir John Franklin and his companions in the
Arctic Seas, returned to New York in the month of October, after having
undergone great peril and suffering from an unknown and dangerous
navigation and the rigors of a northern climate, without any satisfactory
information of the objects of their search, but with new contributions
to science and navigation from the unfrequented polar regions. The
officers and men of the expedition having been all volunteers for this
service and having so conducted it as to meet the entire approbation
of the Government, it is suggested, as an act of grace and generosity,
that the same allowance of extra pay and emoluments be extended to them
that were made to the officers and men of like rating in the late
exploring expedition to the South Seas.

I earnestly recommend to your attention the necessity of reorganizing
the naval establishment, apportioning and fixing the number of officers
in each grade, providing some mode of promotion to the higher grades of
the Navy having reference to merit and capacity rather than seniority or
date of entry into the service, and for retiring from the effective list
upon reduced pay those who may be incompetent to the performance of
active duty. As a measure of economy, as well as of efficiency, in this
arm of the service, the provision last mentioned is eminently worthy of
your consideration.

The determination of the questions of relative rank between the sea
officers and civil officers of the Navy, and between officers of
the Army and Navy, in the various grades of each, will also merit
your attention. The failure to provide any substitute when corporal
punishment was abolished for offenses in the Navy has occasioned the
convening of numerous courts-martial upon the arrival of vessels
in port, and is believed to have had an injurious effect upon the
discipline and efficiency of the service. To moderate punishment from
one grade to another is among the humane reforms of the age, but to
abolish one of severity, which applied so generally to offenses on
shipboard, and provide nothing in its stead is to suppose a progress of
improvement in every individual among seamen which is not assumed by
the Legislature in respect to any other class of men. It is hoped that
Congress, in the ample opportunity afforded by the present session, will
thoroughly investigate this important subject, and establish such modes
of determining guilt and such gradations of punishment as are consistent
with humanity and the personal rights of individuals, and at the same
time shall insure the most energetic and efficient performance of duty
and the suppression of crime in our ships of war.

The stone dock in the navy-yard at New York, which was ten years in
process of construction, has been so far finished as to be surrendered
up to the authorities of the yard. The dry dock at Philadelphia is
reported as completed, and is expected soon to be tested and delivered
over to the agents of the Government. That at Portsmouth, N.H., is also
nearly ready for delivery; and a contract has been concluded, agreeably
to the act of Congress at its last session, for a floating sectional
dock on the Bay of San Francisco. I invite your attention to the
recommendation of the Department touching the establishment of a
navy-yard in conjunction with this dock on the Pacific. Such a station
is highly necessary to the convenience and effectiveness of our fleet
in that ocean, which must be expected to increase with the growth of
commerce and the rapid extension of our whale fisheries over its waters.

The Naval Academy at Annapolis, under a revised and improved system of
regulations, now affords opportunities of education and instruction to
the pupils quite equal, it is believed, for professional improvement, to
those enjoyed by the cadets in the Military Academy. A large class of
acting midshipmen was received at the commencement of the last academic
term, and a practice ship has been attached to the institution to afford
the amplest means for regular instruction in seamanship, as well as for
cruises during the vacations of three or four months in each year.

The advantages of science in nautical affairs have rarely been more
strikingly illustrated than in the fact, stated in the report of the
Navy Department, that by means of the wind and current charts projected
and prepared by Lieutenant Maury, the Superintendent of the Naval
Observatory, the passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific ports of
our country has been shortened by about forty days.

The estimates for the support of the Navy and Marine Corps the ensuing
fiscal year will be found to be $5,856,472.19, the estimates for the
current year being $5,900,621.

The estimates for special objects under the control of this Department
amount to $2,684,220.89, against $2,210,980 for the present year, the
increase being occasioned by the additional mail service on the Pacific
Coast and the construction of the dock in California, authorized at the
last session of Congress, and some slight additions under the head of
improvements and repairs in navy-yards, buildings, and machinery.

I deem it of much importance to a just economy and a correct
understanding of naval expenditures that there should be an entire
separation of the appropriations for the support of the naval service
proper from those for permanent improvements at navy-yards and stations
and from ocean steam mail service and other special objects assigned to
the supervision of this Department.

The report of the Postmaster-General, herewith communicated, presents
an interesting view of the progress, operations, and condition of his

At the close of the last fiscal year the length of mail routes within
the United States was 196,290 miles, the annual transportation thereon
53,272,252 miles, and the annual cost of such transportation $3,421,754.

The length of the foreign mail routes is estimated at 18,349 miles
and the annual transportation thereon at 615,206 miles. The annual
cost of this service is $1,472,187, of which $448,937 are paid by
the Post-Office Department and $1,023,250 are paid through the Navy

The annual transportation within the United States, excluding the
service in California and Oregon, which is now for the first time
reported and embraced in the tabular statements of the Department,
exceeds that of the preceding year 6,162,855 miles, at an increased
cost of $547,110.

The whole number of post-offices in the United States on the 30th day of
June last was 19,796. There were 1,698 post-offices established and 256
discontinued during the year.

The gross revenues of the Department for the fiscal year, including the
appropriations for the franked matter of Congress, of the Departments,
and officers of Government, and excluding the foreign postages collected
for and payable to the British post-office, amounted to $6,727,866.78.

The expenditures for the same period, excluding $20,599.49, paid under
an award of the Auditor, in pursuance of a resolution of the last
Congress, for mail service on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers in 1832
and 1833, and the amount paid to the British post-office for foreign
postages collected for and payable to that office, amounted to
$6,024,566.79, leaving a balance of revenue over the proper expenditures
of the year of $703,299.99.

The receipts for postages during the year, excluding the foreign
postages collected for and payable to the British post-office, amounted
to $6,345,747.21, being an increase of $997,610.79, or 18.65 per cent,
over the like receipts for the preceding year.

The reduction of postage under the act of March last did not take effect
until the commencement of the present fiscal year. The accounts for
the first quarter under the operation of the reduced rates will not be
settled before January next, and no reliable estimate of the receipts
for the present year can yet be made. It is believed, however, that
they will fall far short of those of the last year. The surplus of the
revenues now on hand is, however, so large that no further appropriation
from the Treasury in aid of the revenues of the Department is required
for the current fiscal year, but an additional appropriation for the
year ending June 30, 1853, will probably be found necessary when the
receipts of the first two quarters of the fiscal year are fully

In his last annual report the Postmaster-General recommended a reduction
of postage to rates which he deemed as low as could be prudently adopted
unless Congress was prepared to appropriate from the Treasury for
the support of the Department a sum more than equivalent to the mail
services performed by it for the Government. The recommendations of the
Postmaster-General in respect to letter postage, except on letters from
and to California and Oregon, were substantially adopted by the last
Congress. He now recommends adherence to the present letter rates and
advises against a further reduction until justified by the revenue of
the Department.

He also recommends that the rates of postage on printed matter be so
revised as to render them more simple and more uniform in their operation
upon all classes of printed matter. I submit the recommendations of the
report to your favorable consideration.

The public statutes of the United States have now been accumulating
for more than sixty years, and, interspersed with private acts, are
scattered through numerous volumes, and, from the cost of the whole,
have become almost inaccessible to the great mass of the community.
They also exhibit much of the incongruity and imperfection of hasty
legislation. As it seems to be generally conceded that there is no
"common law" of the United States to supply the defects of their
legislation, it is most important that that legislation should be as
perfect as possible, defining every power intended to be conferred,
every crime intended to be made punishable, and prescribing the
punishment to be inflicted. In addition to some particular cases spoken
of more at length, the whole criminal code is now lamentably defective.
Some offenses are imperfectly described and others are entirely omitted,
so that flagrant crimes may be committed with impunity. The scale
of punishment is not in all cases graduated according to the degree
and nature of the offense, and is often rendered more unequal by the
different modes of imprisonment or penitentiary confinement in the
different States.

Many laws of a permanent character have been introduced into
appropriation bills, and it is often difficult to determine whether the
particular clause expires with the temporary act of which it is a part
or continues in force. It has also frequently happened that enactments
and provisions of law have been introduced into bills with the title or
general subject of which they have little or no connection or relation.
In this mode of legislation so many enactments have been heaped upon
each other, and often with but little consideration, that in many
instances it is difficult to search out and determine what is the law.

The Government of the United States is emphatically a government of
written laws. The statutes should therefore, as far as practicable, not
only be made accessible to all, but be expressed in language so plain
and simple as to be understood by all and arranged in such method as
to give perspicuity to every subject. Many of the States have revised
their public acts with great and manifest benefit, and I recommend that
provision be made by law for the appointment of a commission to revise
the public statutes of the United States, arranging them in order,
supplying deficiencies, correcting incongruities, simplifying their
language, and reporting them to Congress for its action.

An act of Congress approved 30th September, 1850, contained a provision
for the extension of the Capitol according to such plan as might be
approved by the President, and appropriated $100,000 to be expended
under his direction by such architect as he should appoint to execute
the same. On examining the various plans which had been submitted by
different architects in pursuance of an advertisement by a committee
of the Senate no one was found to be entirely satisfactory, and it
was therefore deemed advisable to combine and adopt the advantages
of several.

The great object to be accomplished was to make such an addition as
would afford ample and convenient halls for the deliberations of the two
Houses of Congress, with sufficient accommodations for spectators and
suitable apartments for the committees and officers of the two branches
of the Legislature. It was also desirable not to mar the harmony and
beauty of the present structure, which, as a specimen of architecture,
is so universally admired. Keeping these objects in view, I concluded
to make the addition by wings, detached from the present building, yet
connected with it by corridors. This mode of enlargement will leave the
present Capitol uninjured and afford great advantages for ventilation
and the admission of light, and will enable the work to progress without
interrupting the deliberations of Congress. To carry this plan into
effect I have appointed an experienced and competent architect. The
corner stone was laid on the 4th day of July last with suitable
ceremonies, since which time the work has advanced with commendable
rapidity, and the foundations of both wings are now nearly complete.

I again commend to your favorable regard the interests of the District
of Columbia, and deem it only necessary to remind you that although its
inhabitants have no voice in the choice of Representatives in Congress,
they are not the less entitled to a just and liberal consideration in
your legislation. My opinions on this subject were more fully expressed
in my last annual communication.

Other subjects were brought to the attention of Congress in my last
annual message, to which I would respectfully refer. But there was one
of more than ordinary interest, to which I again invite your special
attention. I allude to the recommendation for the appointment of a
commission to settle private claims against the United States. Justice
to individuals, as well as to the Government, imperatively demands that
some more convenient and expeditious mode than an appeal to Congress
should be adopted.

It is deeply to be regretted that in several instances officers of the
Government, in attempting to execute the law for the return of fugitives
from labor, have been openly resisted and their efforts frustrated and
defeated by lawless and violent mobs; that in one case such resistance
resulted in the death of an estimable citizen, and in others serious
injury ensued to those officers and to individuals who were using their
endeavors to sustain the laws. Prosecutions have been instituted against
the alleged offenders so far as they could be identified, and are still
pending. I have regarded it as my duty in these cases to give all aid
legally in my power to the enforcement of the laws, and I shall continue
to do so wherever and whenever their execution may be resisted.

The act of Congress for the return of fugitives from labor is one
required and demanded by the express words of the Constitution.

The Constitution declares that--

No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof,
escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation
therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be
delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may
be due.

This constitutional provision is equally obligatory upon the legislative,
the executive, and judicial departments of the Government, and upon every
citizen of the United States.

Congress, however, must from necessity first act upon the subject by
prescribing the proceedings necessary to ascertain that the person is a
fugitive and the means to be used for his restoration to the claimant.
This was done by an act passed during the first term of President
Washington, which was amended by that enacted by the last Congress,
and it now remains for the executive and judicial departments to take
care that these laws be faithfully executed. This injunction of the
Constitution is as peremptory and as binding as any other; it stands
exactly on the same foundation as that clause which provides for the
return of fugitives from justice, or that which declares that no bill of
attainder or _ex post facto_ law shall be passed, or that which provides
for an equality of taxation according to the census, or the clause
declaring that all duties shall be uniform throughout the United States,
or the important provision that the trial of all crimes shall be by
jury. These several articles and clauses of the Constitution, all
resting on the same authority, must stand or fall together. Some
objections have been urged against the details of the act for the return
of fugitives from labor, but it is worthy of remark that the main
opposition is aimed against the Constitution itself, and proceeds from
persons and classes of persons many of whom declare their wish to see
that Constitution overturned. They avow their hostility to any law
which shall give full and practical effect to this requirement of the
Constitution. Fortunately, the number of these persons is comparatively
small, and is believed to be daily diminishing; but the issue which they
present is one which involves the supremacy and even the existence of
the Constitution.

Cases have heretofore arisen in which individuals have denied the
binding authority of acts of Congress, and even States have proposed to
nullify such acts upon the ground that the Constitution was the supreme
law of the land, and that those acts of Congress were repugnant to
that instrument; but nullification is now aimed not so much against
particular laws as being inconsistent with the Constitution as against
the Constitution itself, and it is not to be disguised that a spirit
exists, and has been actively at work, to rend asunder this Union,
which is our cherished inheritance from our Revolutionary fathers.

In my last annual message I stated that I considered the series of
measures which had been adopted at the previous session in reference
to the agitation growing out of the Territorial and slavery questions
as a final settlement in principle and substance of the dangerous and
exciting subjects which they embraced, and I recommended adherence to
the adjustment established by those measures until time and experience
should demonstrate the necessity of further legislation to guard against
evasion or abuse. I was not induced to make this recommendation because
I thought those measures perfect, for no human legislation can be
perfect. Wide differences and jarring opinions can only be reconciled by
yielding something on all sides, and this result had been reached after
an angry conflict of many months, in which one part of the country was
arrayed against another, and violent convulsion seemed to be imminent.
Looking at the interests of the whole country, I felt it to be my duty
to seize upon this compromise as the best that could be obtained amid
conflicting interests and to insist upon it as a final settlement, to
be adhered to by all who value the peace and welfare of the country.
A year has now elapsed since that recommendation was made. To that
recommendation I still adhere, and I congratulate you and the country
upon the general acquiescence in these measures of peace which has been
exhibited in all parts of the Republic. And not only is there this
general acquiescence in these measures, but the spirit of conciliation
which has been manifested in regard to them in all parts of the country
has removed doubts and uncertainties in the minds of thousands of good
men concerning the durability of our popular institutions and given
renewed assurance that our liberty and our Union may subsist together
for the benefit of this and all succeeding generations.



WASHINGTON, _December 12, 1851_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a treaty of friendship, commerce, and navigation between
the United States and the Republic of Costa Rica, signed in this city
on the 10th day of July last.


WASHINGTON, _December 15, 1851_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate a report[13] of the Secretary of State, in
answer to their resolution of the 8th of March last.


[Footnote 13: Relating to the free navigation of the St. Lawrence, St.
John, and other large rivers, and to the free enjoyment of the British
North American fisheries by United States citizens.]

WASHINGTON, _December 15, 1851_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I have received a resolution of the Senate, adopted on the 12th instant,
in the following terms:

_Resolved_, That the President of the United States be requested to
communicate to the Senate, if not inconsistent with the public interest,
any information the Executive may have received respecting the firing
into and seizure of the American steamship _Prometheus_ by a British
vessel of war in November last near Greytown, on the Mosquito Coast,
and also what measures have been taken by the Executive to ascertain
the state of the facts and to vindicate the honor of the country.

In answer to this request I submit to the Senate the accompanying
extracts from a communication addressed to the Department of State by
Mr. Joseph L. White, as counsel of the American, Atlantic and Pacific
Ship Canal Company, dated 2d instant.

This communication is the principal source of the information received
by the Executive in relation to the subject alluded to, and is presumed
to be essentially correct in its statement of the facts. Upon receiving
this communication instructions such as the occasion seemed to demand
were immediately dispatched to the minister of the United States in
London. Sufficient time has not elapsed for the return of any answer
to this dispatch from him, and in my judgment it would at the present
moment be inconsistent with the public interest to communicate those
instructions. A communication, however, of all the correspondence will
be made to the Senate at the earliest moment at which a proper regard
to the public interest will permit.

At the same time instructions were given to Commodore Parker, commanding
the Home Squadron, a copy of which, so far as they relate to the case of
the _Prometheus_, is herewith transmitted to the Senate.


WASHINGTON, _December 16, 1851_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 9th instant, requesting
information in regard to the imprisonment of John S. Thrasher at Havana,
I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the documents which
accompanied it.


WASHINGTON, _December 16, 1851_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 8th instant, requesting
the communication of a dispatch[14] addressed to the Department of State
by Mr. Niles, late charge d'affaires of the United States at Turin, I
transmit a report from the Secretary of State, which is accompanied by
a copy of the dispatch.


[Footnote 14: On the subject of a ship canal between the Atlantic and
Pacific oceans.]

WASHINGTON, _December 23, 1851_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit to the House of Representatives a report from the Secretary
of State, in answer to the first part[15] of a resolution of the 15th
December, 1851, and also a report from the Secretary of the Navy, in
answer to the remaining part[16] of the same resolution.


[Footnote 15: Relating to the conclusion of a treaty between Spain,
France, and Great Britain in respect to the island of Cuba.]

[Footnote 16: Pertaining to the relative strength of the British, French,
and United States squadrons in the West India seas, and whether
additional appropriations are necessary to increase the United States
force on that station.]

WASHINGTON, _December 23, 1851_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 15th
instant, requesting information in regard to the imprisonment, trial,
and sentence of John S. Thrasher in the island of Cuba, I transmit a
report from the Secretary of State and the documents which accompanied


WASHINGTON, _December 29, 1851_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a copy of a letter of the 26th instant, addressed
to the Secretary of State by the contractors for paying the next
installment due to Mexico pursuant to the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo,
representing the necessity of an immediate appropriation by Congress
of the money necessary for that purpose.


WASHINGTON, _January 2, 1852_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

As a further answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives
of the 15th ultimo, calling for information respecting the imprisonment,
trial, and sentence of John S. Thrasher in the island of Cuba, I transmit
another report from the Secretary of State.


WASHINGTON, _January 2, 1852_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit to the House of Representatives a copy of the resolution
adopted by the Legislative Council of Canada, together with the copy of
the note by which the resolution was communicated to this Government,
expressing the satisfaction of that Council at receiving intelligence
of certain donations in aid of the reconstruction of the library of
the Canadian Parliament.


[The same message, dated January 6, 1852, was sent to the Senate.]

WASHINGTON, _January 3, 1852_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I nominate Elisha Whittlesey and Elias S. Terry to be commissioners
under the seventeenth article of the treaty concluded with the Cherokee
tribe of Indians at New Echota on the 29th day of December, 1835, to
adjudicate the claim of David Taylor for 640 acres of land, which has
been duly appraised in accordance with the terms of the ninth article
of said treaty, but not paid for. The facts of the case will more fully
appear in the accompanying papers from the Department of the Interior.


WASHINGTON, _January 5, 1852_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit to the House of Representatives a report of the Secretary of
State, relative to the persons belonging to the expedition of Lopez who
were taken prisoners in Cuba and afterwards sent to Spain, and who have
now been pardoned and released by Her Catholic Majesty. The appropriation
the expediency of which is suggested in the report I cordially commend
to the consideration of Congress, with the single additional suggestion
that to be available it should be promptly made.


[The same message was sent to the Senate.]

WASHINGTON, _January 9, 1852_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 15th
ultimo, requesting information in regard to the Territory of Utah, I
transmit a report from the Secretary of State, to whom the resolution
was referred.


WASHINGTON, _January 12, 1852_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 5th
instant, I herewith transmit to it a report and accompanying papers[17]
from the Secretary of State.


[Footnote 17: Relating to a circular issued by the secretary of state
for the British colonial department relative to the employment in the
British West India colonies of free blacks and liberated slaves from
the United States.]

WASHINGTON, _January 16, 1852_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit a copy of a letter which has been addressed to me by the
secretary of the Territory of Utah since my recent message to the House
of Representatives in answer to its resolution requesting information
in regard to the affairs of that Territory.


WASHINGTON, _January 19, 1852_.

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

I transmit to Congress a report from the Secretary of State, accompanied
by a letter to him from the contractors for paying the installment of
Mexican indemnity due on the 31st May next, and respectfully invite
attention to the subject.


WASHINGTON, _January 20, 1852_.

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

I communicate to both Houses of Congress a report from the Department
of State, containing copies of the correspondence which has taken place
between that Department and the minister of the United States in Paris
respecting the political occurrences which have recently taken place
in France.


WASHINGTON, _January 22, 1852_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with a resolution of the Senate passed March 13, 1851,
I herewith transmit a report of the Secretary of War, containing
information in regard to the claims of citizens of California for
services rendered and for money and for property furnished in 1846
and 1847 in the conquest of that country.


WASHINGTON, _January 23, 1852_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the documents
which accompanied it, upon the subject of a resolution of the House
of Representatives of yesterday, relative to the Mexican indemnity.


WASHINGTON, _January 28, 1852_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
15th ultimo, requesting information respecting the seizure and
confiscation of the bark _Georgiana_, of Maine, and brig _Susan Loud_,
of Massachusetts,[18] I transmit a report from the Secretary of State
and the documents which accompanied it.


[Footnote 18: By the Spanish or Cuban authorities]

WASHINGTON, _January 28, 1852_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
7th August, 1850, and the 17th December, 1851, requesting information
touching the claims of citizens of the United States on the Government
of Portugal, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the
documents which accompanied the same.


WASHINGTON, _February 9, 1852_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a treaty of friendship, commerce, and navigation between
the United States and the Republic of Peru, concluded and signed at
Lima on the 26th day of July last.

A copy of a dispatch of Mr. J.R. Clay, the charge d'affaires of the
United States at Lima, to the Secretary of State, bearing date the 6th
December last, is also transmitted for the information of the Senate.


WASHINGTON, _February 10, 1852_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit to Congress a copy of the instruction dispatched from the
Department of State to the minister of the United States at London
respecting the attack on the United States steamer _Prometheus_ in the
harbor of San Juan de Nicaragua by the British brig of war _Express_,
and also a copy of the dispatches of Mr. Lawrence to that Department and
of his correspondence with Her Britannic Majesty's principal secretary
of state for foreign affairs on the same subject.



_Washington City, February 10, 1852_.

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

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of the Interior,
containing a report from Thomas U. Walter, architect for the extension
of the Capitol.


WASHINGTON, _February 12, 1852_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 26th
of December last, requesting information in regard to the seizure of the
brig _Arve_[19] at Jeremie, in the island of St. Domingo, I transmit a
report from the Secretary of State and the documents by which it was


[Footnote 19: By Haytien authorities.]

WASHINGTON, _February 12, 1852_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 26th ultimo,
requesting information upon the subject of the mission of Mr. Balistier,
late consul at Singapore, to eastern Asia, I transmit a report from the
Secretary of State and the documents which accompanied it.


WASHINGTON, _February 13, 1852_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for the constitutional action of the Senate,
treaties recently concluded with certain Indian tribes at Traverse des
Sioux, Mendota, Pembina, and Fort Laramie, together with communications
from the Department of the Interior and other documents connected


WASHINGTON, _February 14, 1852_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I communicate to the House of Representatives herewith a report to me,
dated the 13th instant, from the Secretary of the Interior, respecting
the delay and difficulty in making the apportionment among the several
States of the Representatives in the Thirty-third Congress, as required
by the act of 23d May, 1850, in consequence of the want of full returns
of the population of the State of California, and suggesting the
necessity for remedial legislation.

The subject is one of much importance, and I earnestly commend it to
the early consideration of Congress.


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