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Title: A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents - Volume 3, part 2: Martin Van Buren
Author: Richardson, James D. (James Daniel), 1843-1914
Language: English
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A COMPILATION OF THE MESSAGES AND PAPERS OF THE PRESIDENTS

BY JAMES D. RICHARDSON



Martin Van Buren

March 4, 1837, to March 4, 1841



Martin Van Buren

Martin Van Buren was born in Kinderhook, Columbia County, N.Y., December
5, 1782. He was the eldest son of Abraham Van Buren, a small farmer, and
of Mary Hoes (originally spelled Goes), whose first husband was named
Van Alen. He studied the rudiments of English and Latin in the schools
of his native village. At the age of 14 years commenced reading law in
the office of Francis Sylvester, and pursued his legal novitiate for
seven years. Combining with his professional studies a fondness
for extemporaneous debate, he was early noted for his intelligent
observation of public events and for his interest in politics; was
chosen to participate in a nominating convention when only 18 years old.
In 1802 went to New York City and studied law with William P. Van Ness,
a friend of Aaron Burr; was admitted to the bar in 1803, returned to
Kinderhook, and associated himself in practice with his half-brother,
James I. Van Alen. He was a zealous adherent of Jefferson, and supported
Morgan Lewis for governor of New York in 1803 against Aaron Burr. In
February, 1807, he married Hannah Hoes, a distant kinswoman. In the
winter of 1806-7 removed to Hudson, the county seat of Columbia County,
and in the same year was admitted to practice in the supreme court.
In 1807 supported Daniel D. Tompkins for governor against Morgan Lewis,
the latter having come to be considered less true than the former to
the measures of Jefferson. In 1808 became surrogate of Columbia County,
displacing his halt-brother and partner, who belonged to the defeated
faction. In 1813, on a change of party predominance at Albany, his
half-brother was restored to the office. Early in 1811 he figured in the
councils of his party at a convention held in Albany, when the proposed
recharter of the United States Bank was the leading question of Federal
politics. Though Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury, had
recommended a recharter, the predominant sentiment of the Republican
party was adverse to the measure. Van Buren shared in this hostility,
and publicly lauded the "Spartan firmness" of George Clinton when as
Vice-President he gave his casting vote in the United States Senate
against the bank bill, February 20, 1811. In 1812 was elected to the
senate of New York from the middle district as a Clinton Republican,
defeating Edward P. Livingston; took his seat in November of that year,
and became thereby a member of the court of errors, then composed of
senators in connection with the chancellor and the supreme court. As
senator he strenuously opposed the charter of "The Bank of America,"
which was then seeking to establish itself in New York and to take the
place of the United States Bank. Though counted among the adherents
of Madison's Administration, and though committed to the policy of
declaring war against Great Britain, he sided with the Republican
members of the New York legislature in 1812, and supported De Witt
Clinton for the Presidency. In the following year, however, he dissolved
his political relations with Clinton and resumed the _entente
cordiale_ with Madison's Administration. In 1815, while still a
member of the senate, was appointed attorney-general of the State,
superseding the venerable Abraham Van Vechten. In 1816 was reelected to
the State senate, and, removing to Albany, formed a partnership with his
life-long friend, Benjamin F. Butler. In the same year was appointed
a regent of the University of New York. Supported De Witt Clinton for
governor of New York in 1817, but opposed his reelection in 1820. In
1819 was removed from the office of attorney-general. February 6, 1821,
was elected United States Senator. In the same year was chosen from
Otsego County as a member of the convention to revise the constitution
of the State. Took his seat in the United States Senate December 3,
1821, and was at once made a member of its Committees on the Judiciary
and Finance. For many years was chairman of the former. Supported
William H. Crawford for the Presidency in 1824. Was reelected to the
Senate in 1827, but soon resigned his seat to accept the office of
governor of New York, to which he was elected in 1828. Was a zealous
supporter of Andrew Jackson in the Presidential election of 1828, and in
1829 became premier of the new Administration. As Secretary of State he
brought to a favorable close the long-standing feud between the United
States and England with regard to the West India trade. Resigned his
Secretaryship in June, 1831, and was sent as minister to England. The
Senate refused in 1832 to confirm his nomination by the casting vote of
John C. Calhoun, the Vice-President. In 1832 was elected Vice-President
of the United States, and in 1833 came to preside over the body which
a year before had rejected him as a foreign minister. On May 20, 1835,
was formally nominated for the Presidency, and was elected in 1836 over
his three competitors, William H. Harrison, Hugh L. White, and Daniel
Webster, by a majority of 57 in the electoral college, but of only
25,000 in the popular vote. On May 5, 1840, was nominated for the
Presidency by the Democratic national convention at Baltimore, Md. At
the election on November 10 was defeated by William Henry Harrison, who
received 234 electoral votes and a popular majority of nearly 140,000.
Van Buren received but 60 votes in the electoral college. Retired to
his country seat, Lindenwald, in his native county. Was a candidate for
the Presidential nomination at the Democratic national convention at
Baltimore, Md., May 27, 1844, but was defeated by James K. Polk. Was
nominated for the Presidency by a Barnburner convention at Utica, N.Y.,
June 22, 1848, a nomination which he had declined by letter in advance.
He was also nominated for the Presidency by the Free Soil national
convention of Buffalo, August 9, 1848. At the election, November 7,
received only a popular vote of 291,263, and no electoral vote.
Supported Franklin Pierce for the Presidency in 1852 and James Buchanan
in 1856. In 1860 voted the fusion ticket of Breckinridge, Douglas, and
Bell in New York against Mr. Lincoln, but when the civil war began gave
to the Administration his zealous support. Died at Kinderhook July 24,
1862, and was buried there.



INAUGURAL ADDRESS.


Fellow Citizens: The practice of all my predecessors imposes on me an
obligation I cheerfully fulfill--to accompany the first and solemn act
of my public trust with an avowal of the principles that will guide me
in performing it and an expression of my feelings on assuming a charge
so responsible and vast. In imitating their example I tread in the
footsteps of illustrious men, whose superiors it is our happiness
to believe are not found on the executive calendar of any country.
Among them we recognize the earliest and firmest pillars of the
Republic--those by whom our national independence was first declared,
him who above all others contributed to establish it on the field of
battle, and those whose expanded intellect and patriotism constructed,
improved, and perfected the inestimable institutions under which we
live. If such men in the position I now occupy felt themselves
overwhelmed by a sense of gratitude for this the highest of all marks of
their country's confidence, and by a consciousness of their inability
adequately to discharge the duties of an office so difficult and
exalted, how much more must these considerations affect one who can rely
on no such claims for favor or forbearance! Unlike all who have preceded
me, the Revolution that gave us existence as one people was achieved at
the period of my birth; and whilst I contemplate with grateful reverence
that memorable event, I feel that I belong to a later age and that I may
not expect my countrymen to weigh my actions with the same kind and
partial hand.

So sensibly, fellow-citizens, do these circumstances press themselves
upon me that I should not dare to enter upon my path of duty did I not
look for the generous aid of those who will be associated with me in
the various and coordinate branches of the Government; did I not repose
with unwavering reliance on the patriotism, the intelligence, and the
kindness of a people who never yet deserted a public servant honestly
laboring in their cause; and, above all, did I not permit myself humbly
to hope for the sustaining support of an ever-watchful and beneficent
Providence.

To the confidence and consolation derived from these sources it would
be ungrateful not to add those which spring from our present fortunate
condition. Though not altogether exempt from embarrassments that
disturb our tranquillity at home and threaten it abroad, yet in all the
attributes of a great, happy, and flourishing people we stand without
a parallel in the world. Abroad we enjoy the respect and, with scarcely
an exception, the friendship of every nation; at home, while our
Government quietly but efficiently performs the sole legitimate end
of political institutions--in doing the greatest good to the greatest
number--we present an aggregate of human prosperity surely not elsewhere
to be found.

How imperious, then, is the obligation imposed upon every citizen, in
his own sphere of action, whether limited or extended, to exert himself
in perpetuating a condition of things so singularly happy! All the
lessons of history and experience must be lost upon us if we are content
to trust alone to the peculiar advantages we happen to possess. Position
and climate and the bounteous resources that nature has scattered with
so liberal a hand--even the diffused intelligence and elevated character
of our people--will avail us nothing if we fail sacredly to uphold those
political institutions that were wisely and deliberately formed with
reference to every circumstance that could preserve or might endanger
the blessings we enjoy. The thoughtful framers of our Constitution
legislated for our country as they found it. Looking upon it with the
eyes of statesmen and patriots, they saw all the sources of rapid and
wonderful prosperity; but they saw also that various habits, opinions,
and institutions peculiar to the various portions of so vast a region
were deeply fixed. Distinct sovereignties were in actual existence,
whose cordial union was essential to the welfare and happiness of
all. Between many of them there was, at least to some extent, a real
diversity of interests, liable to be exaggerated through sinister
designs; they differed in size, in population, in wealth, and in actual
and prospective resources and power; they varied in the character of
their industry and staple productions, and [in some] existed domestic
institutions which, unwisely disturbed, might endanger the harmony of
the whole. Most carefully were all these circumstances weighed, and the
foundations of the new Government laid upon principles of reciprocal
concession and equitable compromise. The jealousies which the smaller
States might entertain of the power of the rest were allayed by a rule
of representation confessedly unequal at the time, and designed forever
to remain so. A natural fear that the broad scope of general legislation
might bear upon and unwisely control particular interests was
counteracted by limits strictly drawn around the action of the Federal
authority, and to the people and the States was left unimpaired their
sovereign power over the innumerable subjects embraced in the internal
government of a just republic, excepting such only as necessarily
appertain to the concerns of the whole confederacy or its intercourse
as a united community with the other nations of the world.

This provident forecast has been verified by time. Half a century,
teeming with extraordinary events, and elsewhere producing astonishing
results, has passed along, but on our institutions it has left no
injurious mark. From a small community we have risen to a people
powerful in numbers and in strength; but with our increase has gone hand
in hand the progress of just principles. The privileges, civil and
religious, of the humblest individual are still sacredly protected at
home, and while the valor and fortitude of our people have removed far
from us the slightest apprehension of foreign power, they have not yet
induced us in a single instance to forget what is right. Our commerce
has been extended to the remotest nations; the value and even nature of
our productions have been greatly changed; a wide difference has arisen
in the relative wealth and resources of every portion of our country;
yet the spirit of mutual regard and of faithful adherence to existing
compacts has continued to prevail in our councils and never long been
absent from our conduct. We have learned by experience a fruitful
lesson--that an implicit and undeviating adherence to the principles
on which we set out can carry us prosperously onward through all the
conflicts of circumstances and vicissitudes inseparable from the lapse
of years.

The success that has thus attended our great experiment is in itself
a sufficient cause for gratitude, on account of the happiness it has
actually conferred and the example it has unanswerably given. But to
me, my fellow-citizens, looking forward to the far-distant future with
ardent prayers and confiding hopes, this retrospect presents a ground
for still deeper delight. It impresses on my mind a firm belief that
the perpetuity of our institutions depends upon ourselves; that if we
maintain the principles on which they were established they are destined
to confer their benefits on countless generations yet to come, and that
America will present to every friend of mankind the cheering proof
that a popular government, wisely formed, is wanting in no element of
endurance or strength. Fifty years ago its rapid failure was boldly
predicted. Latent and uncontrollable causes of dissolution were supposed
to exist even by the wise and good, and not only did unfriendly or
speculative theorists anticipate for us the fate of past republics, but
the fears of many an honest patriot overbalanced his sanguine hopes.
Look back on these forebodings, not hastily but reluctantly made, and
see how in every instance they have completely failed.

An imperfect experience during the struggles of the Revolution was
supposed to warrant the belief that the people would not bear the
taxation requisite to discharge an immense public debt already incurred
and to pay the necessary expenses of the Government. The cost of two
wars has been paid, not only without a murmur, but with unequaled
alacrity. No one is now left to doubt that every burden will be
cheerfully borne that may be necessary to sustain our civil institutions
or guard our honor or welfare. Indeed, all experience has shown that
the willingness of the people to contribute to these ends in cases of
emergency has uniformly outrun the confidence of their representatives.

In the early stages of the new Government, when all felt the imposing
influence as they recognized the unequaled services of the first
President, it was a common sentiment that the great weight of his
character could alone bind the discordant materials of our Government
together and save us from the violence of contending factions. Since his
death nearly forty years are gone. Party exasperation has been often
carried to its highest point; the virtue and fortitude of the people
have sometimes been greatly tried; yet our system, purified and enhanced
in value by all it has encountered, still preserves its spirit of free
and fearless discussion, blended with unimpaired fraternal feeling.

The capacity of the people for self-government, and their
willingness, from a high sense of duty and without those exhibitions
of coercive power so generally employed in other countries, to submit
to all needful restraints and exactions of municipal law, have also
been favorably exemplified in the history of the American States.
Occasionally, it is true, the ardor of public sentiment, outrunning the
regular progress of the judicial tribunals or seeking to reach cases
not denounced as criminal by the existing law, has displayed itself
in a manner calculated to give pain to the friends of free government
and to encourage the hopes of those who wish for its overthrow. These
occurrences, however, have been far less frequent in our country than
in any other of equal population on the globe, and with the diffusion of
intelligence it may well be hoped that they will constantly diminish in
frequency and violence. The generous patriotism and sound common sense
of the great mass of our fellow-citizens will assuredly in time produce
this result; for as every assumption of illegal power not only wounds
the majesty of the law, but furnishes a pretext for abridging the
liberties of the people, the latter have the most direct and permanent
interest in preserving the landmarks of social order and maintaining
on all occasions the inviolability of those constitutional and legal
provisions which they themselves have made.

In a supposed unfitness of our institutions for those hostile
emergencies which no country can always avoid their friends found a
fruitful source of apprehension, their enemies of hope. While they
foresaw less promptness of action than in governments differently
formed, they overlooked the far more important consideration that with
us war could never be the result of individual or irresponsible will,
but must be a measure of redress for injuries sustained, voluntarily
resorted to by those who were to bear the necessary sacrifice, who would
consequently feel an individual interest in the contest, and whose
energy would be commensurate with the difficulties to be encountered.
Actual events have proved their error; the last war, far from impairing,
gave new confidence to our Government, and amid recent apprehensions of
a similar conflict we saw that the energies of our country would not be
wanting in ample season to vindicate its rights. We may not possess, as
we should not desire to possess, the extended and ever-ready military
organization of other nations; we may occasionally suffer in the outset
for the want of it; but among ourselves all doubt upon this great point
has ceased, while a salutary experience will prevent a contrary opinion
from inviting aggression from abroad.

Certain danger was foretold from the extension of our territory, the
multiplication of States, and the increase of population. Our system
was supposed to be adapted only to boundaries comparatively narrow.
These have been widened beyond conjecture; the members of our
Confederacy are already doubled, and the numbers of our people are
incredibly augmented. The alleged causes of danger have long surpassed
anticipation, but none of the consequences have followed. The power and
influence of the Republic have risen to a height obvious to all mankind;
respect for its authority was not more apparent at its ancient than
it is at its present limits; new and inexhaustible sources of general
prosperity have been opened; the effects of distance have been averted
by the inventive genius of our people, developed and fostered by the
spirit of our institutions; and the enlarged variety and amount of
interests, productions, and pursuits have strengthened the chain of
mutual dependence and formed a circle of mutual benefits too apparent
ever to be overlooked.

In justly balancing the powers of the Federal and State authorities
difficulties nearly insurmountable arose at the outset, and subsequent
collisions were deemed inevitable. Amid these it was scarcely believed
possible that a scheme of government so complex in construction could
remain uninjured. From time to time embarrassments have certainly
occurred; but how just is the confidence of future safety imparted
by the knowledge that each in succession has been happily removed!
Overlooking partial and temporary evils as inseparable from the
practical operation of all human institutions, and looking only to the
general result, every patriot has reason to be satisfied. While the
Federal Government has successfully performed its appropriate functions
in relation to foreign affairs and concerns evidently national, that of
every State has remarkably improved in protecting and developing local
interests and individual welfare; and if the vibrations of authority
have occasionally tended too much toward one or the other, it is
unquestionably certain that the ultimate operation of the entire system
has been to strengthen all the existing institutions and to elevate our
whole country in prosperity and renown.

The last, perhaps the greatest, of the prominent sources of discord and
disaster supposed to lurk in our political condition was the institution
of domestic slavery. Our forefathers were deeply impressed with the
delicacy of this subject, and they treated it with a forbearance so
evidently wise that in spite of every sinister foreboding it never until
the present period disturbed the tranquillity of our common country.
Such a result is sufficient evidence of the justice and the patriotism
of their course; it is evidence not to be mistaken that an adherence to
it can prevent all embarrassment from this as well as from every other
anticipated cause of difficulty or danger. Have not recent events made
it obvious to the slightest reflection that the least deviation from
this spirit of forbearance is injurious to every interest, that of
humanity included? Amidst the violence of excited passions this generous
and fraternal feeling has been sometimes disregarded; and standing as
I now do before my countrymen, in this high place of honor and of trust,
I can not refrain from anxiously invoking my fellow-citizens never to
be deaf to its dictates. Perceiving before my election the deep interest
this subject was beginning to excite, I believed it a solemn duty fully
to make known my sentiments in regard to it, and now, when every motive
for misrepresentation has passed away, I trust that they will be
candidly weighed and understood. At least they will be my standard of
conduct in the path before me. I then declared that if the desire of
those of my countrymen who were favorable to my election was gratified
"I must go into the Presidential chair the inflexible and uncompromising
opponent of every attempt on the part of Congress to abolish slavery in
the District of Columbia against the wishes of the slaveholding States,
and also with a determination equally decided to resist the slightest
interference with it in the States where it exists." I submitted also to
my fellow-citizens, with fullness and frankness, the reasons which led
me to this determination. The result authorizes me to believe that they
have been approved and are confided in by a majority of the people of
the United States, including those whom they most immediately affect.
It now only remains to add that no bill conflicting with these views
can ever receive my constitutional sanction. These opinions have been
adopted in the firm belief that they are in accordance with the spirit
that actuated the venerated fathers of the Republic, and that succeeding
experience has proved them to be humane, patriotic, expedient,
honorable, and just. If the agitation of this subject was intended to
reach the stability of our institutions, enough has occurred to show
that it has signally failed, and that in this as in every other instance
the apprehensions of the timid and the hopes of the wicked for the
destruction of our Government are again destined to be disappointed.
Here and there, indeed, scenes of dangerous excitement have occurred,
terrifying instances of local violence have been witnessed, and a
reckless disregard of the consequences of their conduct has exposed
individuals to popular indignation; but neither masses of the people nor
sections of the country have been swerved from their devotion to the
bond of union and the principles it has made sacred. It will be ever
thus. Such attempts at dangerous agitation may periodically return,
but with each the object will be better understood. That predominating
affection for our political system which prevails throughout our
territorial limits, that calm and enlightened judgment which ultimately
governs our people as one vast body, will always be at hand to resist
and control every effort, foreign or domestic, which aims or would lead
to overthrow our institutions.

What can be more gratifying than such a retrospect as this? We look back
on obstacles avoided and dangers overcome, on expectations more than
realized and prosperity perfectly secured. To the hopes of the hostile,
the fears of the timid, and the doubts of the anxious actual experience
has given the conclusive reply. We have seen time gradually dispel every
unfavorable foreboding and our Constitution surmount every adverse
circumstance dreaded at the outset as beyond control. Present excitement
will at all times magnify present dangers, but true philosophy must
teach us that none more threatening than the past can remain to be
overcome; and we ought (for we have just reason) to entertain an abiding
confidence in the stability of our institutions and an entire conviction
that if administered in the true form, character, and spirit in which
they were established they are abundantly adequate to preserve to us and
our children the rich blessings already derived from them, to make our
beloved land for a thousand generations that chosen spot where happiness
springs from a perfect equality of political rights.

For myself, therefore, I desire to declare that the principle that
will govern me in the high duty to which my country calls me is a
strict adherence to the letter and spirit of the Constitution as it
was designed by those who framed it. Looking back to it as a sacred
instrument carefully and not easily framed; remembering that it was
throughout a work of concession and compromise; viewing it as limited
to national objects; regarding it as leaving to the people and the
States all power not explicitly parted with, I shall endeavor to
preserve, protect, and defend it by anxiously referring to its provision
for direction in every action. To matters of domestic concernment which
it has intrusted to the Federal Government and to such as relate to our
intercourse with foreign nations I shall zealously devote myself; beyond
those limits I shall never pass.

To enter on this occasion into a further or more minute exposition of my
views on the various questions of domestic policy would be as obtrusive
as it is probably unexpected. Before the suffrages of my countrymen were
conferred upon me I submitted to them, with great precision, my opinions
on all the most prominent of these subjects. Those opinions I shall
endeavor to carry out with my utmost ability.

Our course of foreign policy has been so uniform and intelligible as
to constitute a rule of Executive conduct which leaves little to my
discretion, unless, indeed, I were willing to run counter to the lights
of experience and the known opinions of my constituents. We sedulously
cultivate the friendship of all nations as the condition most compatible
with our welfare and the principles of our Government. We decline
alliances as adverse to our peace. We desire commercial relations on
equal terms, being ever willing to give a fair equivalent for advantages
received We endeavor to conduct our intercourse with openness and
sincerity, promptly avowing our objects and seeking to establish that
mutual frankness which is as beneficial in the dealings of nations as
of men. We have no disposition and we disclaim all right to meddle in
disputes, whether internal or foreign, that may molest other countries,
regarding them in their actual state as social communities, and
preserving a strict neutrality in all their controversies. Well knowing
the tried valor of our people and our exhaustless resources, we neither
anticipate nor fear any designed aggression; and in the consciousness of
our own just conduct we feel a security that we shall never be called
upon to exert our determination never to permit an invasion of our
rights without punishment or redress.

In approaching, then, in the presence of my assembled countrymen, to
make the solemn promise that yet remains, and to pledge myself that
I will faithfully execute the office I am about to fill, I bring with
me a settled purpose to maintain the institutions of my country, which
I trust will atone for the errors I commit.

In receiving from the people the sacred trust twice confided to my
illustrious predecessor, and which he has discharged so faithfully and
so well, I know that I can not expect to perform the arduous task with
equal ability and success. But united as I have been in his counsels, a
daily witness of his exclusive and unsurpassed devotion to his country's
welfare, agreeing with him in sentiments which his countrymen have
warmly supported, and permitted to partake largely of his confidence,
I may hope that somewhat of the same cheering approbation will be found
to attend upon my path. For him I but express with my own the wishes of
all, that he may yet long live to enjoy the brilliant evening of his
well-spent life; and for myself, conscious of but one desire, faithfully
to serve my country, I throw myself without fear on its justice and its
kindness. Beyond that I only look to the gracious protection of the
Divine Being whose strengthening support I humbly solicit, and whom
I fervently pray to look down upon us all. May it be among the
dispensations of His providence to bless our beloved country with honors
and with length of days. May her ways be ways of pleasantness and all
her paths be peace!

MARCH 4, 1837.



SPECIAL MESSAGE.


WASHINGTON, _March 6, 1837_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I nominate to the Senate Powhatan Ellis, of Mississippi, to be envoy
extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States to the
United Mexican States, to be sent whenever circumstances will permit
a renewal of diplomatic intercourse honorably with that power.

M. VAN BUREN.



PROCLAMATIONS.


[From Statutes at Large (Little & Brown), Vol. V, p. 802.]

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

A PROCLAMATION.


Whereas by an act of Congress of the 7th of June, 1836, it was enacted
that when the Indian title to all the lands lying between the State of
Missouri and the Missouri River should be extinguished the jurisdiction
over said land should be ceded by the said act to the State of Missouri
and the western boundary of said State should be then extended to the
Missouri River, reserving to the United States the original right of
soil in said lands and of disposing of the same; and

Whereas it was in and by the said act provided that the same should not
take effect until the President should by proclamation declare that the
Indian title to said lands had been extinguished, nor until the State of
Missouri should have assented to the provisions of the said act; and

Whereas an act was passed by the general assembly of the State of
Missouri on the 16th of December, 1836, expressing the assent of the
said State to the provisions of the said act of Congress, a copy
of which act of the general assembly, duly authenticated, has been
officially communicated to this Government and is now on file in the
Department of State:

Now, therefore, I, Martin Van Buren, President of the United States of
America, do by this my proclamation declare and make known that the
Indian title to all the said lands lying between the State of Missouri
and the Missouri River has been extinguished and that the said act of
Congress of the 7th of June, 1836, takes effect from the date hereof.

Given under my hand, at the city of Washington, this 28th day of March,
A.D. 1837, and of the Independence of the United States of America the
sixty-first.

MARTIN VAN BUREN.

By the President:
  JOHN FORSYTH,
    _Secretary of State_.



[From Statutes at Large (Little, Brown & Co.), Vol. XI, p. 783.]

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

A PROCLAMATION.

Whereas great and weighty matters claiming the consideration of the
Congress of the United States form an extraordinary occasion for
convening them, I do by these presents appoint the first Monday of
September next for their meeting at the city of Washington, hereby
requiring the respective Senators and Representatives then and there to
assemble in Congress in order to receive such communications as may then
be made to them and to consult and determine on such measures as in
their wisdom may be deemed meet for the welfare of the United States.

In testimony whereof I have caused the seal of the United States to be
hereunto affixed, and signed the same with my hand.

[SEAL.]

Done at the city of Washington, the 15th day of May, A.D. 1837, and of
the Independence of the United States the sixty-first.

MARTIN VAN BUREN.

By the President:
  JOHN FORSYTH,
    _Secretary of State_.



BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

A PROCLAMATION.


Whereas by the third section of the act of Congress of the United States
of the 13th of July, 1832, entitled "An act concerning tonnage duty on
Spanish vessels," it is provided that whenever the President shall be
satisfied that the discriminating or countervailing duties of tonnage
levied by any foreign nation on the ships or vessels of the United
States shall have been abolished he may direct that the tonnage duty on
the vessels of such nation shall cease to be levied in the ports of the
United States; and

Whereas satisfactory evidence has lately been received from His Majesty
the King of Greece that the discriminating duties of tonnage levied by
said nation on the ships or vessels of the United States have been
abolished:

Now, therefore, I, Martin Van Buren, President of the United States, do
hereby declare and proclaim that the tonnage duty on the vessels of the
Kingdom of Greece shall from this date cease to be levied in the ports
of the United States.

Given under my hand, at the city of Washington, the 14th day of June,
A.D. 1837, and of the Independence of the United States the sixty-first.

M. VAN BUREN.

By the President:
  JOHN FORSYTH,
    _Secretary of State_.



EXECUTIVE ORDER.


HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,

ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE,

_Washington, March 7, 1837_.

GENERAL ORDER No. 6.

I. The Major-General Commanding in Chief has received from the War
Department the following order:

WASHINGTON, _March 6, 1837_.

General Andrew Jackson, ex-President of the United States, being about
to depart from this city for his home in Tennessee, and the state of his
health rendering it important that he should be accompanied by a medical
attendant, the President directs that the Surgeon-General of the Army
accompany the ex-President to Wheeling, in the State of Virginia, there
to be relieved, in case the ex-President's health shall be such as to
allow it, by some officer of the Medical Department, who will attend
the ex-President from that place to his residence.

In giving this order the President feels assured that this mark of
attention to the venerable soldier, patriot, and statesman now retiring
in infirm health from the cares of office to the repose of private life
will be as grateful to the feelings of the American people as it appears
to the President to be suitable in itself.

M. VAN BUREN.


The Major-General Commanding in Chief will carry into effect the
foregoing directions of the President of the United States.

B.F. BUTLER,

_Secretary of War ad interim_.


II. Pursuant to the above order, Surgeon-General Lawson will immediately
join the ex-President, and will accompany him as his medical attendant
to Wheeling, in the State of Virginia, and, at his discretion, to the
residence of the ex-President, at the Hermitage, near Nashville, in the
State of Tennessee.

III. Assistant Surgeon Reynolds will join the ex-President at Wheeling,
Va., and from that place, either alone or in conjunction with the
Surgeon-General, as the latter may direct, will proceed with the
ex-President to his residence in Tennessee.

IV. The officers above named, on the conclusion of the duties above
assigned to them, will repair to their respective stations.

By order of Alexander Macomb, Major-General Commanding in Chief:

R. JONES,

_Adjutant-General_.



SPECIAL SESSION MESSAGE.


WASHINGTON, _September 4, 1837_.

_Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives_:

The act of the 23d of June, 1836, regulating the deposits of the public
money and directing the employment of State, District, and Territorial
banks for that purpose, made it the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury
to discontinue the use of such of them as should at any time refuse to
redeem their notes in specie, and to substitute other banks, provided a
sufficient number could be obtained to receive the public deposits upon
the terms and conditions therein prescribed. The general and almost
simultaneous suspension of specie payments by the banks in May last
rendered the performance of this duty imperative in respect to those
which had been selected under the act, and made it at the same time
impracticable to employ the requisite number of others upon the
prescribed conditions. The specific regulations established by Congress
for the deposit and safe-keeping of the public moneys having thus
unexpectedly become inoperative, I felt it to be my duty to afford you
an early opportunity for the exercise of your supervisory powers over
the subject.

I was also led to apprehend that the suspension of specie payments,
increasing the embarrassments before existing in the pecuniary affairs
of the country, would so far diminish the public revenue that the
accruing receipts into the Treasury would not, with the reserved five
millions, be sufficient to defray the unavoidable expenses of the
Government until the usual period for the meeting of Congress, whilst
the authority to call upon the States for a portion of the sums
deposited with them was too restricted to enable the Department to
realize a sufficient amount from that source. These apprehensions have
been justified by subsequent results, which render it certain that this
deficiency will occur if additional means be not provided by Congress.

The difficulties experienced by the mercantile interest in meeting
their engagements induced them to apply to me previously to the actual
suspension of specie payments for indulgence upon their bonds for
duties, and all the relief authorized by law was promptly and cheerfully
granted. The dependence of the Treasury upon the avails of these bonds
to enable it to make the deposits with the States required by law led me
in the outset to limit this indulgence to the 1st of September, but it
has since been extended to the 1st of October, that the matter might be
submitted to your further direction.

Questions were also expected to arise in the recess in respect to the
October installment of those deposits requiring the interposition of
Congress.

A provision of another act, passed about the same time, and intended to
secure a faithful compliance with the obligation of the United States to
satisfy all demands upon them in specie or its equivalent, prohibited
the offer of any bank note not convertible on the spot into gold or
silver at the will of the holder; and the ability of the Government,
with millions on deposit, to meet its engagements in the manner thus
required by law was rendered very doubtful by the event to which I have
referred.

Sensible that adequate provisions for these unexpected exigencies
could only be made by Congress; convinced that some of them would be
indispensably necessary to the public service before the regular period
of your meeting, and desirous also to enable you to exercise at the
earliest moment your full constitutional powers for the relief of
the country, I could not with propriety avoid subjecting you to the
inconvenience of assembling at as early a day as the state of the
popular representation would permit. I am sure that I have done but
justice to your feelings in believing that this inconvenience will be
cheerfully encountered in the hope of rendering your meeting conducive
to the good of the country.

During the earlier stages of the revulsion through which we have just
passed much acrimonious discussion arose and great diversity of opinion
existed as to its real causes. This was not surprising. The operations
of credit are so diversified and the influences which affect them so
numerous, and often so subtle, that even impartial and well-informed
persons are seldom found to agree in respect to them. To inherent
difficulties were also added other tendencies which were by no means
favorable to the discovery of truth. It was hardly to be expected that
those who disapproved the policy of the Government in relation to the
currency would, in the excited state of public feeling produced by the
occasion, fail to attribute to that policy any extensive embarrassment
in the monetary affairs of the country. The matter thus became connected
with the passions and conflicts of party; opinions were more or less
affected by political considerations, and differences were prolonged
which might otherwise have been determined by an appeal to facts, by the
exercise of reason, or by mutual concession. It is, however, a cheering
reflection that circumstances of this nature can not prevent a community
so intelligent as ours from ultimately arriving at correct conclusions.
Encouraged by the firm belief of this truth, I proceed to state my
views, so far as may be necessary to a clear understanding of the
remedies I feel it my duty to propose and of the reasons by which I have
been led to recommend them.

The history of trade in the United States for the last three or four
years affords the most convincing evidence that our present condition
is chiefly to be attributed to overaction in all the departments of
business--an over-action deriving, perhaps, its first impulses from
antecedent causes, but stimulated to its destructive consequences
by excessive issues of bank paper and by other facilities for the
acquisition and enlargement of credit. At the commencement of the year
1834 the banking capital of the United States, including that of the
national bank, then existing, amounted to about $200,000,000, the bank
notes then in circulation to about ninety-five millions, and the loans
and discounts of the banks to three hundred and twenty-four millions.
Between that time and the 1st of January, 1836, being the latest period
to which accurate accounts have been received, our banking capital was
increased to more than two hundred and fifty-one millions, our paper
circulation to more than one hundred and forty millions, and the loans
and discounts to more than four hundred and fifty-seven millions.
To this vast increase are to be added the many millions of credit
acquired by means of foreign loans, contracted by the States and State
institutions, and, above all, by the lavish accommodations extended
by foreign dealers to our merchants.

The consequences of this redundancy of credit and of the spirit of
reckless speculation engendered by it were a foreign debt contracted
by our citizens estimated in March last at more than $30,000,000; the
extension to traders in the interior of our country of credits for
supplies greatly beyond the wants of the people; the investment of
$39,500,000 in unproductive public lands in the years 1835 and 1836,
whilst in the preceding year the sales amounted to only four and a
half millions; the creation of debts, to an almost countless amount,
for real estate in existing or anticipated cities and villages,
equally unproductive, and at prices now seen to have been greatly
disproportionate to their real value; the expenditure of immense sums
in improvements which in many cases have been found to be ruinously
improvident; the diversion to other pursuits of much of the labor that
should have been applied to agriculture, thereby contributing to the
expenditure of large sums in the importation of grain from Europe--an
expenditure which, amounting in 1834 to about $250,000, was in the first
two quarters of the present year increased to more than $2,000,000; and
finally, without enumerating other injurious results, the rapid growth
among all classes, and especially in our great commercial towns, of
luxurious habits founded too often on merely fancied wealth, and
detrimental alike to the industry, the resources, and the morals of
our people.

It was so impossible that such a state of things could long continue
that the prospect of revulsion was present to the minds of considerate
men before it actually came. None, however, had correctly anticipated
its severity. A concurrence of circumstances inadequate of themselves to
produce such widespread and calamitous embarrassments tended so greatly
to aggravate them that they can not be overlooked in considering their
history. Among these may be mentioned, as most prominent, the great loss
of capital sustained by our commercial emporium in the fire of December,
1835--a loss the effects of which were underrated at the time because
postponed for a season by the great facilities of credit then existing;
the disturbing effects in our commercial cities of the transfers of
the public moneys required by the deposit law of June, 1836, and the
measures adopted by the foreign creditors of our merchants to reduce
their debts and to withdraw from the United States a large portion of
our specie.

However unwilling any of our citizens may heretofore have been to assign
to these causes the chief instrumentality in producing the present state
of things, the developments subsequently made and the actual condition
of other commercial countries must, as it seems to me, dispel all
remaining doubts upon the subject. It has since appeared that evils
similar to those suffered by ourselves have been experienced in Great
Britain, on the Continent, and, indeed, throughout the commercial world,
and that in other countries as well as in our own they have been
uniformly preceded by an undue enlargement of the boundaries of trade,
prompted, as with us, by unprecedented expansions of the systems of
credit. A reference to the amount of banking capital and the issues of
paper credits put in circulation in Great Britain, by banks and in other
ways, during the years 1834, 1835, and 1836 will show an augmentation
of the paper currency there as much disproportioned to the real wants
of trade as in the United States. With this redundancy of the paper
currency there arose in that country also a spirit of adventurous
speculation embracing the whole range of human enterprise. Aid was
profusely given to projected improvements; large investments were
made in foreign stocks and loans; credits for goods were granted with
unbounded liberality to merchants in foreign countries, and all the
means of acquiring and employing credit were put in active operation and
extended in their effects to every department of business and to every
quarter of the globe. The reaction was proportioned in its violence
to the extraordinary character of the events which preceded it. The
commercial community of Great Britain were subjected to the greatest
difficulties, and their debtors in this country were not only suddenly
deprived of accustomed and expected credits, but called upon for
payments which in the actual posture of things here could only be made
through a general pressure and at the most ruinous sacrifices.

In view of these facts it would seem impossible for sincere inquirers
after truth to resist the conviction that the causes of the revulsion
in both countries have been substantially the same. Two nations, the
most commercial in the world, enjoying but recently the highest degree
of apparent prosperity and maintaining with each other the closest
relations, are suddenly, in a time of profound peace and without any
great national disaster, arrested in their career and plunged into a
state of embarrassment and distress. In both countries we have witnessed
the same redundancy of paper money and other facilities of credit;
the same spirit of speculation; the same partial successes; the same
difficulties and reverses, and at length nearly the same overwhelming
catastrophe. The most material difference between the results in the
two countries has only been that with us there has also occurred an
extensive derangement in the fiscal affairs of the Federal and State
Governments, occasioned by the suspension of specie payments by the
banks.

The history of these causes and effects in Great Britain and the United
States is substantially the history of the revulsion in all other
commercial countries.

The present and visible effects of these circumstances on the operations
of the Government and on the industry of the people point out the
objects which call for your immediate attention.

They are, to regulate by law the safe-keeping, transfer, and
disbursement of the public moneys; to designate the funds to be received
and paid by the Government; to enable the Treasury to meet promptly
every demand upon it; to prescribe the terms of indulgence and the mode
of settlement to be adopted, as well in collecting from individuals the
revenue that has accrued as in withdrawing it from former depositories;
and to devise and adopt such further measures, within the constitutional
competency of Congress, as will be best calculated to revive the
enterprise and to promote the prosperity of the country.

For the deposit, transfer, and disbursement of the revenue national and
State banks have always, with temporary and limited exceptions, been
heretofore employed; but although advocates of each system are still to
be found, it is apparent that the events of the last few months have
greatly augmented the desire, long existing among the people of the
United States, to separate the fiscal operations of the Government from
those of individuals or corporations.

Again to create a national bank as a fiscal agent would be to
disregard the popular will, twice solemnly and unequivocally expressed.
On no question of domestic policy is there stronger evidence that the
sentiments of a large majority are deliberately fixed, and I can not
concur with those who think they see in recent events a proof that these
sentiments are, or a reason that they should be, changed.

Events similar in their origin and character have heretofore frequently
occurred without producing any such change, and the lessons of
experience must be forgotten if we suppose that the present overthrow of
credit would have been prevented by the existence of a national bank.
Proneness to excessive issues has ever been the vice of the banking
system--a vice as prominent in national as in State institutions. This
propensity is as subservient to the advancement of private interests
in the one as in the other, and those who direct them both, being
principally guided by the same views and influenced by the same motives,
will be equally ready to stimulate extravagance of enterprise by
improvidence of credit. How strikingly is this conclusion sustained
by experience! The Bank of the United States, with the vast powers
conferred on it by Congress, did not or could not prevent former and
similar embarrassments, nor has the still greater strength it has been
said to possess under its present charter enabled it in the existing
emergency to check other institutions or even to save itself. In Great
Britain, where it has been seen the same causes have been attended with
the same effects, a national bank possessing powers far greater than are
asked for by the warmest advocates of such an institution here has also
proved unable to prevent an undue expansion of credit and the evils that
flow from it. Nor can I find any tenable ground for the reestablishment
of a national bank in the derangement alleged at present to exist in the
domestic exchanges of the country or in the facilities it may be capable
of affording them. Although advantages of this sort were anticipated
when the first Bank of the United States was created, they were regarded
as an incidental accommodation, not one which the Federal Government was
bound or could be called upon to furnish. This accommodation is now,
indeed, after the lapse of not many years, demanded from it as among its
first duties, and an omission to aid and regulate commercial exchange
is treated as a ground of loud and serious complaint. Such results only
serve to exemplify the constant desire among some of our citizens to
enlarge the powers of the Government and extend its control to subjects
with which it should not interfere. They can never justify the creation
of an institution to promote such objects. On the contrary, they justly
excite among the community a more diligent inquiry into the character
of those operations of trade toward which it is desired to extend such
peculiar favors.

The various transactions which bear the name of domestic exchanges
differ essentially in their nature, operation, and utility. One class of
them consists of bills of exchange drawn for the purpose of transferring
actual capital from one part of the country to another, or to anticipate
the proceeds of property actually transmitted. Bills of this description
are highly useful in the movements of trade and well deserve all the
encouragement which can rightfully be given to them. Another class is
made up of bills of exchange not drawn to transfer actual capital nor
on the credit of property transmitted, but to create fictitious capital,
partaking at once of the character of notes discounted in bank and of
bank notes in circulation, and swelling the mass of paper credits to a
vast extent in the most objectionable manner. These bills have formed
for the last few years a large proportion of what are termed the
domestic exchanges of the country, serving as the means of usurious
profit and constituting the most unsafe and precarious paper in
circulation. This species of traffic, instead of being upheld, ought
to be discountenanced by the Government and the people.

In transferring its funds from place to place the Government is on the
same footing with the private citizen and may resort to the same legal
means. It may do so through the medium of bills drawn by itself or
purchased from others; and in these operations it may, in a manner
undoubtedly constitutional and legitimate, facilitate and assist
exchanges of individuals founded on real transactions of trade. The
extent to which this may be done and the best means of effecting it
are entitled to the fullest consideration. This has been bestowed by
the Secretary of the Treasury, and his views will be submitted to you
in his report.

But it was not designed by the Constitution that the Government should
assume the management of domestic or foreign exchange. It is indeed
authorized to regulate by law the commerce between the States and to
provide a general standard of value or medium of exchange in gold and
silver, but it is not its province to aid individuals in the transfer
of their funds otherwise than through the facilities afforded by the
Post-Office Department. As justly might it be called on to provide for
the transportation of their merchandise. These are operations of trade.
They ought to be conducted by those who are interested in them in the
same manner that the incidental difficulties of other pursuits are
encountered by other classes of citizens. Such aid has not been deemed
necessary in other countries. Throughout Europe the domestic as well as
the foreign exchanges are carried on by private houses, often, if not
generally, without the assistance of banks; yet they extend throughout
distinct sovereignties, and far exceed in amount the real exchanges of
the United States. There is no reason why our own may not be conducted
in the same manner with equal cheapness and safety. Certainly this might
be accomplished if it were favored by those most deeply interested; and
few can doubt that their own interest, as well as the general welfare of
the country, would be promoted by leaving such a subject in the hands of
those to whom it properly belongs. A system founded on private interest,
enterprise, and competition, without the aid of legislative grants or
regulations by law, would rapidly prosper; it would be free from the
influence of political agitation and extend the same exemption to
trade itself, and it would put an end to those complaints of neglect,
partiality, injustice, and oppression which are the unavoidable
results of interference by the Government in the proper concerns of
individuals. All former attempts on the part of the Government to carry
its legislation in this respect further than was designed by the
Constitution have in the end proved injurious, and have served only
to convince the great body of the people more and more of the certain
dangers of blending private interests with the operations of public
business; and there is no reason to suppose that a repetition of them
now would be more successful.

It can not be concealed that there exists in our community opinions and
feelings on this subject in direct opposition to each other. A large
portion of them, combining great intelligence, activity, and influence,
are no doubt sincere in their belief that the operations of trade ought
to be assisted by such a connection; they regard a national bank as
necessary for this purpose, and they are disinclined to every measure
that does not tend sooner or later to the establishment of such an
institution. On the other hand, a majority of the people are believed
to be irreconcilably opposed to that measure; they consider such a
concentration of power dangerous to their liberties, and many of them
regard it as a violation of the Constitution. This collision of opinion
has doubtless caused much of the embarrassment to which the commercial
transactions of the country have lately been exposed. Banking has become
a political topic of the highest interest, and trade has suffered in
the conflict of parties. A speedy termination of this state of things,
however desirable, is scarcely to be expected. We have seen for nearly
half a century that those who advocate a national bank, by whatever
motive they may be influenced, constitute a portion of our community too
numerous to allow us to hope for an early abandonment of their favorite
plan. On the other hand, they must indeed form an erroneous estimate
of the intelligence and temper of the American people who suppose that
they have continued on slight or insufficient grounds their persevering
opposition to such an institution, or that they can be induced by
pecuniary pressure or by any other combination of circumstances to
surrender principles they have so long and so inflexibly maintained.

My own views of the subject are unchanged. They have been repeatedly and
unreservedly announced to my fellow-citizens, who with full knowledge
of them conferred upon me the two highest offices of the Government.
On the last of these occasions I felt it due to the people to apprise
them distinctly that in the event of my election I would not be able to
cooperate in the reestablishment of a national bank. To these sentiments
I have now only to add the expression of an increased conviction that
the reestablishment of such a bank in any form, whilst it would not
accomplish the beneficial purpose promised by its advocates, would
impair the rightful supremacy of the popular will, injure the character
and diminish the influence of our political system, and bring once more
into existence a concentrated moneyed power, hostile to the spirit and
threatening the permanency of our republican institutions.

Local banks have been employed for the deposit and distribution of
the revenue at all times partially and on three different occasions
exclusively: First, anterior to the establishment of the first Bank of
the United States; secondly, in the interval between the termination of
that institution and the charter of its successor; and thirdly, during
the limited period which has now so abruptly closed. The connection thus
repeatedly attempted proved unsatisfactory on each successive occasion,
notwithstanding the various measures which were adopted to facilitate
or insure its success. On the last occasion, in the year 1833, the
employment of the State banks was guarded especially, in every way which
experience and caution could suggest. Personal security was required for
the safe-keeping and prompt payment of the moneys to be received, and
full returns of their condition were from time to time to be made by the
depositories. In the first stages the measure was eminently successful,
notwithstanding the violent opposition of the Bank of the United States
and the unceasing efforts made to overthrow it. The selected banks
performed with fidelity and without any embarrassment to themselves or
to the community their engagements to the Government, and the system
promised to be permanently useful; but when it became necessary, under
the act of June, 1836, to withdraw from them the public money for the
purpose of placing it in additional institutions or of transferring it
to the States, they found it in many cases inconvenient to comply with
the demands of the Treasury, and numerous and pressing applications were
made for indulgence or relief. As the installments under the deposit law
became payable their own embarrassments and the necessity under which
they lay of curtailing their discounts and calling in their debts
increased the general distress and contributed, with other causes, to
hasten the revulsion in which at length they, in common with the other
banks, were fatally involved.

Under these circumstances it becomes our solemn duty to inquire whether
there are not in any connection between the Government and banks of
issue evils of great magnitude, inherent in its very nature and against
which no precautions can effectually guard.

Unforeseen in the organization of the Government and forced on the
Treasury by early necessities, the practice of employing banks was in
truth from the beginning more a measure of emergency than of sound
policy. When we started into existence as a nation, in addition to the
burdens of the new Government we assumed all the large but honorable
load of debt which was the price of our liberty; but we hesitated to
weigh down the infant industry of the country by resorting to adequate
taxation for the necessary revenue. The facilities of banks, in return
for the privileges they acquired, were promptly offered, and perhaps too
readily received by an embarrassed Treasury. During the long continuance
of a national debt and the intervening difficulties of a foreign war the
connection was continued from motives of convenience; but these causes
have long since passed away. We have no emergencies that make banks
necessary to aid the wants of the Treasury; we have no load of national
debt to provide for, and we have on actual deposit a large surplus. No
public interest, therefore, now requires the renewal of a connection
that circumstances have dissolved. The complete organization of our
Government, the abundance of our resources, the general harmony which
prevails between the different States and with foreign powers, all
enable us now to select the system most consistent with the Constitution
and most conducive to the public welfare. Should we, then, connect the
Treasury for a fourth time with the local banks, it can only be under a
conviction that past failures have arisen from accidental, not inherent,
defects.

A danger difficult, if not impossible, to be avoided in such an
arrangement is made strikingly evident in the very event by which it has
now been defeated. A sudden act of the banks intrusted with the funds
of the people deprives the Treasury, without fault or agency of the
Government, of the ability to pay its creditors in the currency they
have by law a right to demand. This circumstance no fluctuation of
commerce could have produced if the public revenue had been collected
in the legal currency and kept in that form by the officers of the
Treasury. The citizen whose money was in bank receives it back since
the suspension at a sacrifice in its amount, whilst he who kept it in
the legal currency of the country and in his own possession pursues
without loss the current of his business. The Government, placed in the
situation of the former, is involved in embarrassments it could not have
suffered had it pursued the course of the latter. These embarrassments
are, moreover, augmented by those salutary and just laws which forbid it
to use a depreciated currency, and by so doing take from the Government
the ability which individuals have of accommodating their transactions
to such a catastrophe.

A system which can in a time of profound peace, when there is a large
revenue laid by, thus suddenly prevent the application and the use of
the money of the people in the manner and for the objects they have
directed can not be wise; but who can think without painful reflection
that under it the same unforeseen events might have befallen us in the
midst of a war and taken from us at the moment when most wanted the use
of those very means which were treasured up to promote the national
welfare and guard our national rights? To such embarrassments and to
such dangers will this Government be always exposed whilst it takes the
moneys raised for and necessary to the public service out of the hands
of its own officers and converts them into a mere right of action
against corporations intrusted with the possession of them. Nor can
such results be effectually guarded against in such a system without
investing the Executive with a control over the banks themselves,
whether State or national, that might with reason be objected to. Ours
is probably the only Government in the world that is liable in the
management of its fiscal concerns to occurrences like these.

But this imminent risk is not the only danger attendant on the surrender
of the public money to the custody and control of local corporations.
Though the object is aid to the Treasury, its effect may be to introduce
into the operations of the Government influences the most subtle,
founded on interests the most selfish.

The use by the banks, for their own benefit, of the money deposited with
them has received the sanction of the Government from the commencement
of this connection. The money received from the people, instead of
being kept till it is needed for their use, is, in consequence of this
authority, a fund on which discounts are made for the profit of those
who happen to be owners of stock in the banks selected as depositories.
The supposed and often exaggerated advantages of such a boon will always
cause it to be sought for with avidity. I will not stop to consider
on whom the patronage incident to it is to be conferred. Whether the
selection and control be trusted to Congress or to the Executive, either
will be subjected to appeals made in every form which the sagacity of
interest can suggest. The banks under such a system are stimulated to
make the most of their fortunate acquisition; the deposits are treated
as an increase of capital; loans and circulation are rashly augmented,
and when the public exigencies require a return it is attended with
embarrassments not provided for nor foreseen. Thus banks that thought
themselves most fortunate when the public funds were received find
themselves most embarrassed when the season of payment suddenly arrives.

Unfortunately, too, the evils of the system are not limited to the
banks. It stimulates a general rashness of enterprise and aggravates the
fluctuations of commerce and the currency. This result was strikingly
exhibited during the operations of the late deposit system, and
especially in the purchases of public lands. The order which ultimately
directed the payment of gold and silver in such purchases greatly
checked, but could not altogether prevent, the evil. Specie was indeed
more difficult to be procured than the notes which the banks could
themselves create at pleasure; but still, being obtained from them as a
loan and returned as a deposit, which they were again at liberty to use,
it only passed round the circle with diminished speed. This operation
could not have been performed had the funds of the Government gone into
the Treasury to be regularly disbursed, and not into banks to be loaned
out for their own profit while they were permitted to substitute for it
a credit in account.

In expressing these sentiments I desire not to undervalue the benefits
of a salutary credit to any branch of enterprise. The credit bestowed
on probity and industry is the just reward of merit and an honorable
incentive to further acquisition. None oppose it who love their country
and understand its welfare. But when it is unduly encouraged; when it
is made to inflame the public mind with the temptations of sudden and
unsubstantial wealth; when it turns industry into paths that lead sooner
or later to disappointment and distress, it becomes liable to censure
and needs correction. Far from helping probity and industry, the ruin to
which it leads falls most severely on the great laboring classes, who
are thrown suddenly out of employment, and by the failure of magnificent
schemes never intended to enrich them are deprived in a moment of their
only resource. Abuses of credit and excesses in speculation will happen
in despite of the most salutary laws; no government, perhaps, can
altogether prevent them, but surely every government can refrain from
contributing the stimulus that calls them into life.

Since, therefore, experience has shown that to lend the public money
to the local banks is hazardous to the operations of the Government, at
least of doubtful benefit to the institutions themselves, and productive
of disastrous derangement in the business and currency of the country,
is it the part of wisdom again to renew the connection?

It is true that such an agency is in many respects convenient to the
Treasury, but it is not indispensable. A limitation of the expenses
of the Government to its actual wants, and of the revenue to those
expenses, with convenient means for its prompt application to the
purposes for which it was raised, are the objects which we should seek
to accomplish. The collection, safe-keeping, transfer, and disbursement
of the public money can, it is believed, be well managed by officers of
the Government. Its collection, and to a great extent its disbursement
also, have indeed been hitherto conducted solely by them, neither
national nor State banks, when employed, being required to do more than
keep it safely while in their custody, and transfer and pay it in such
portions and at such times as the Treasury shall direct.

Surely banks are not more able than the Government to secure the money
in their possession against accident, violence, or fraud. The assertion
that they are so must assume that a vault in a bank is stronger than
a vault in the Treasury, and that directors, cashiers, and clerks not
selected by the Government nor under its control are more worthy of
confidence than officers selected from the people and responsible to the
Government--officers bound by official oaths and bonds for a faithful
performance of their duties, and constantly subject to the supervision
of Congress.

The difficulties of transfer and the aid heretofore rendered by banks
have been less than is usually supposed. The actual accounts show that
by far the larger portion of payments is made within short or convenient
distances from the places of collection; and the whole number of
warrants issued at the Treasury in the year 1834--a year the result of
which will, it is believed, afford a safe test for the future--fell
short of 5,000, or an average of less than 1 daily for each State; in
the city of New York they did not average more than 2 a day, and at the
city of Washington only 4.

The difficulties heretofore existing are, moreover, daily lessened by an
increase in the cheapness and facility of communication, and it may be
asserted with confidence that the necessary transfers, as well as the
safe-keeping and disbursements of the public moneys, can be with safety
and convenience accomplished through the agencies of Treasury officers.
This opinion has been in some degree confirmed by actual experience
since the discontinuance of the banks as fiscal agents in May last--a
period which from the embarrassments in commercial intercourse presented
obstacles as great as any that may be hereafter apprehended.

The manner of keeping the public money since that period is fully stated
in the report of the Secretary of the Treasury. That officer also
suggests the propriety of assigning by law certain additional duties to
existing establishments and officers, which, with the modifications and
safeguards referred to by him, will, he thinks, enable the Department
to continue to perform this branch of the public service without any
material addition either to their number or to the present expense. The
extent of the business to be transacted has already been stated; and in
respect to the amount of money with which the officers employed would be
intrusted at any one time, it appears that, assuming a balance of five
millions to be at all times kept in the Treasury, and the whole of it
left in the hands of the collectors and receivers, the proportion of
each would not exceed an average of $30,000; but that, deducting one
million for the use of the Mint and assuming the remaining four millions
to be in the hands of one-half of the present number of officers--a
supposition deemed more likely to correspond with the fact--the sum
in the hands of each would still be less than the amount of most of the
bonds now taken from the receivers of public money. Every apprehension,
however, on the subject, either in respect to the safety of the money
or the faithful discharge of these fiscal transactions, may, it appears
to me, be effectually removed by adding to the present means of
the Treasury the establishment by law at a few important points of
offices for the deposit and disbursement of such portions of the public
revenue as can not with obvious safety and convenience be left in the
possession of the collecting officers until paid over by them to the
public creditors. Neither the amounts retained in their hands nor
those deposited in the offices would in an ordinary condition of the
revenue be larger in most cases than those often under the control of
disbursing officers of the Army and Navy, and might be made entirely
safe by requiring such securities and exercising such controlling
supervision as Congress may by law prescribe. The principal officers
whose appointments would become necessary under this plan, taking the
largest number suggested by the Secretary of the Treasury, would not
exceed ten, nor the additional expenses, at the same estimate, $60,000
a year.

There can be no doubt of the obligation of those who are intrusted
with the affairs of Government to conduct them with as little cost to
the nation as is consistent with the public interest; and it is for
Congress, and ultimately for the people, to decide whether the benefits
to be derived from keeping our fiscal concerns apart and severing the
connection which has hitherto existed between the Government and banks
offer sufficient advantages to justify the necessary expenses. If the
object to be accomplished is deemed important to the future welfare of
the country, I can not allow myself to believe that the addition to
the public expenditure of comparatively so small an amount as will be
necessary to effect it will be objected to by the people.

It will be seen by the report of the Postmaster-General herewith
communicated that the fiscal affairs of that Department have been
successfully conducted since May last upon the principle of dealing
only in the legal currency of the United States, and that it needs no
legislation to maintain its credit and facilitate the management of its
concerns, the existing laws being, in the opinion of that officer, ample
for those objects.

Difficulties will doubtless be encountered for a season and increased
services required from the public functionaries; such are usually
incident to the commencement of every system, but they will be greatly
lessened in the progress of its operations.

The power and influence supposed to be connected with the custody and
disbursement of the public money are topics on which the public mind is
naturally, and with great propriety, peculiarly sensitive. Much has been
said on them in reference to the proposed separation of the Government
from the banking institutions; and surely no one can object to any
appeals or animadversions on the subject which are consistent with facts
and evince a proper respect for the intelligence of the people. If a
Chief Magistrate may be allowed to speak for himself on such a point,
I can truly say that to me nothing would be more acceptable than the
withdrawal from the Executive, to the greatest practicable extent, of
all concern in the custody and disbursement of the public revenue; not
that I would shrink from any responsibility cast upon me by the duties
of my office, but because it is my firm belief that its capacity for
usefulness is in no degree promoted by the possession of any patronage
not actually necessary to the performance of those duties. But under our
present form of government the intervention of the executive officers
in the custody and disbursement of the public money seems to be
unavoidable; and before it can be admitted that the influence and power
of the Executive would be increased by dispensing with the agency of
banks the nature of that intervention in such an agency must be
carefully regarded, and a comparison must be instituted between its
extent in the two cases.

The revenue can only be collected by officers appointed by the President
with the advice and consent of the Senate. The public moneys in the
first instance must therefore in all cases pass through hands selected
by the Executive. Other officers appointed in the same way, or, as in
some cases, by the President alone, must also be intrusted with them
when drawn for the purpose of disbursement. It is thus seen that even
when banks are employed the public funds must twice pass through the
hands of executive officers. Besides this, the head of the Treasury
Department, who also holds office at the pleasure of the President, and
some other officers of the same Department, must necessarily be invested
with more or less power in the selection, continuance, and supervision
of the banks that may be employed. The question is then narrowed to the
single point whether in the intermediate stage between the collection
and disbursement of the public money the agency of banks is necessary
to avoid a dangerous extension of the patronage and influence of the
Executive. But is it clear that the connection of the Executive with
powerful moneyed institutions, capable of ministering to the interests
of men in points where they are most accessible to corruption, is less
liable to abuse than his constitutional agency in the appointment and
control of the few public officers required by the proposed plan? Will
the public money when in their hands be necessarily exposed to any
improper interference on the part of the Executive? May it not be hoped
that a prudent fear of public jealousy and disapprobation in a matter so
peculiarly exposed to them will deter him from any such interference,
even if higher motives be found inoperative? May not Congress so
regulate by law the duty of those officers and subject it to such
supervision and publicity as to prevent the possibility of any serious
abuse on the part of the Executive? And is there equal room for such
supervision and publicity in a connection with banks, acting under the
shield of corporate immunities and conducted by persons irresponsible
to the Government and the people? It is believed that a considerate and
candid investigation of these questions will result in the conviction
that the proposed plan is far less liable to objection on the score of
Executive patronage and control than any bank agency that has been or
can be devised.

With these views I leave to Congress the measures necessary to regulate
in the present emergency the safe-keeping and transfer of the public
moneys. In the performance of constitutional duty I have stated to them
without reserve the result of my own reflections. The subject is of
great importance, and one on which we can scarcely expect to be as
united in sentiment as we are in interest. It deserves a full and
free discussion, and can not fail to be benefited by a dispassionate
comparison of opinions. Well aware myself of the duty of reciprocal
concession among the coordinate branches of the Government, I can
promise a reasonable spirit of cooperation, so far as it can be indulged
in without the surrender of constitutional objections which I believe
to be well founded. Any system that may be adopted should be subjected
to the fullest legal provision, so as to leave nothing to the Executive
but what is necessary to the discharge of the duties imposed on him;
and whatever plan may be ultimately established, my own part shall be
so discharged as to give to it a fair trial and the best prospect of
success.

The character of the funds to be received and disbursed in the
transactions of the Government likewise demands your most careful
consideration.

There can be no doubt that those who framed and adopted the
Constitution, having in immediate view the depreciated paper of the
Confederacy--of which $500 in paper were at times only equal to $1 in
coin--intended to prevent the recurrence of similar evils, so far at
least as related to the transactions of the new Government. They gave
to Congress express powers to coin money and to regulate the value
thereof and of foreign coin; they refused to give it power to establish
corporations--the agents then as now chiefly employed to create a paper
currency; they prohibited the States from making anything but gold
and silver a legal tender in payment of debts; and the First Congress
directed by positive law that the revenue should be received in nothing
but gold and silver.

Public exigency at the outset of the Government, without direct
legislative authority, led to the use of banks as fiscal aids to the
Treasury. In admitted deviation from the law, at the same period and
under the same exigency, the Secretary of the Treasury received their
notes in payment of duties. The sole ground on which the practice
thus commenced was then or has since been justified is the certain,
immediate, and convenient exchange of such notes for specie. The
Government did, indeed, receive the inconvertible notes of State banks
during the difficulties of war, and the community submitted without a
murmur to the unequal taxation and multiplied evils of which such a
course was productive. With the war this indulgence ceased, and the
banks were obliged again to redeem their notes in gold and silver. The
Treasury, in accordance with previous practice, continued to dispense
with the currency required by the act of 1789, and took the notes of
banks in full confidence of their being paid in specie on demand; and
Congress, to guard against the slightest violation of this principle,
have declared by law that if notes are paid in the transactions of the
Government it must be under such circumstances as to enable the holder
to convert them into specie without depreciation or delay.

Of my own duties under the existing laws, when the banks suspended
specie payments, I could not doubt. Directions were immediately given
to prevent the reception into the Treasury of anything but gold and
silver, or its equivalent, and every practicable arrangement was made
to preserve the public faith by similar or equivalent payments to
the public creditors. The revenue from lands had been for some time
substantially so collected under the order issued by directions of my
predecessor. The effects of that order had been so salutary and its
forecast in regard to the increasing insecurity of bank paper had become
so apparent that even before the catastrophe I had resolved not to
interfere with its operation. Congress is now to decide whether the
revenue shall continue to be so collected or not.

The receipt into the Treasury of bank notes not redeemed in specie on
demand will not, I presume, be sanctioned. It would destroy without the
excuse of war or public distress that equality of imposts and identity
of commercial regulation which lie at the foundation of our Confederacy,
and would offer to each State a direct temptation to increase its
foreign trade by depreciating the currency received for duties in its
ports. Such a proceeding would also in a great degree frustrate the
policy so highly cherished of infusing into our circulation a larger
proportion of the precious metals--a policy the wisdom of which none can
doubt, though there may be different opinions as to the extent to which
it should be carried. Its results have been already too auspicious and
its success is too closely interwoven with the future prosperity of
the country to permit us for a moment to contemplate its abandonment.
We have seen under its influence our specie augmented beyond eighty
millions, our coinage increased so as to make that of gold amount,
between August, 1834, and December, 1836, to $10,000,000, exceeding
the whole coinage at the Mint during the thirty-one previous years.

The prospect of further improvement continued without abatement until
the moment of the suspension of specie payments. This policy has now,
indeed, been suddenly checked, but is still far from being overthrown.
Amidst all conflicting theories, one position is undeniable--the
precious metals will invariably disappear when there ceases to be
a necessity for their use as a circulating medium. It was in strict
accordance with this truth that whilst in the month of May last they
were everywhere seen and were current for all ordinary purposes they
disappeared from circulation the moment the payment of specie was
refused by the banks and the community tacitly agreed to dispense with
its employment. Their place was supplied by a currency exclusively of
paper, and in many cases of the worst description. Already are the bank
notes now in circulation greatly depreciated, and they fluctuate in
value between one place and another, thus diminishing and making
uncertain the worth of property and the price of labor, and failing to
subserve, except at a heavy loss, the purposes of business. With each
succeeding day the metallic currency decreases; by some it is hoarded
in the natural fear that once parted with it can not be replaced, while
by others it is diverted from its more legitimate uses for the sake
of gain. Should Congress sanction this condition of things by making
irredeemable paper money receivable in payment of public dues, a
temporary check to a wise and salutary policy will in all probability
be converted into its absolute destruction.

It is true that bank notes actually convertible into specie may be
received in payment of the revenue without being liable to all these
objections, and that such a course may to some extent promote individual
convenience--an object always to be considered where it does not
conflict with the principles of our Government or the general welfare
of the country. If such notes only were received, and always under
circumstances allowing their early presentation for payment, and if at
short and fixed periods they were converted into specie to be kept by
the officers of the Treasury, some of the most serious obstacles to
their reception would perhaps be removed. To retain the notes in the
Treasury would be to renew under another form the loans of public money
to the banks, and the evils consequent thereon.

It is, however, a mistaken impression that any large amount of specie
is required for public payments. Of the seventy or eighty millions
now estimated to be in the country, ten millions would be abundantly
sufficient for that purpose provided an accumulation of a large amount
of revenue beyond the necessary wants of the Government be hereafter
prevented. If to these considerations be added the facilities which will
arise from enabling the Treasury to satisfy the public creditors by its
drafts or notes receivable in payment of the public dues, it may be
safely assumed that no motive of convenience to the citizen requires
the reception of bank paper.

To say that the refusal of paper money by the Government introduces an
unjust discrimination between the currency received by it and that used
by individuals in their ordinary affairs is, in my judgment, to view it
in a very erroneous light. The Constitution prohibits the States from
making anything but gold and silver a tender in the payment of debts,
and thus secures to every citizen a right to demand payment in the legal
currency. To provide by law that the Government will only receive its
dues in gold and silver is not to confer on it any peculiar privilege,
but merely to place it on an equality with the citizen by reserving to
it a right secured to him by the Constitution. It is doubtless for this
reason that the principle has been sanctioned by successive laws from
the time of the first Congress under the Constitution down to the last.
Such precedents, never objected to and proceeding from such sources,
afford a decisive answer to the imputation of inequality or injustice.

But in fact the measure is one of restriction, not of favor. To forbid
the public agent to receive in payment any other than a certain kind of
money is to refuse him a discretion possessed by every citizen. It may
be left to those who have the management of their own transactions to
make their own terms, but no such discretion should be given to him who
acts merely as an agent of the people--who is to collect what the law
requires and to pay the appropriations it makes. When bank notes are
redeemed on demand, there is then no discrimination in reality, for the
individual who receives them may at his option substitute the specie for
them; he takes them from convenience or choice. When they are not so
redeemed, it will scarcely be contended that their receipt and payment
by a public officer should be permitted, though none deny that right
to an individual; if it were, the effect would be most injurious to
the public, since their officer could make none of those arrangements
to meet or guard against the depreciation which an individual is at
liberty to do. Nor can inconvenience to the community be alleged as
an objection to such a regulation. Its object and motive are their
convenience and welfare.

If at a moment of simultaneous and unexpected suspension by the banks
it adds something to the many embarrassments of that proceeding, yet
these are far overbalanced by its direct tendency to produce a wider
circulation of gold and silver, to increase the safety of bank paper,
to improve the general currency, and thus to prevent altogether such
occurrences and the other and far greater evils that attend them.

It may indeed be questioned whether it is not for the interest of the
banks themselves that the Government should not receive their paper.
They would be conducted with more caution and on sounder principles.
By using specie only in its transactions the Government would create a
demand for it, which would to a great extent prevent its exportation,
and by keeping it in circulation maintain a broader and safer basis for
the paper currency. That the banks would thus be rendered more sound
and the community more safe can not admit of a doubt.

The foregoing views, it seems to me, do but fairly carry out the
provisions of the Federal Constitution in relation to the currency, as
far as relates to the public revenue. At the time that instrument was
framed there were but three or four banks in the United States, and had
the extension of the banking system and the evils growing out of it
been foreseen they would probably have been specially guarded against.
The same policy which led to the prohibition of bills of credit by the
States would doubtless in that event have also interdicted their issue
as a currency in any other form. The Constitution, however, contains no
such prohibition; and since the States have exercised for nearly half
a century the power to regulate the business of banking, it is not to
be expected that it will be abandoned. The whole matter is now under
discussion before the proper tribunal--the people of the States. Never
before has the public mind been so thoroughly awakened to a proper
sense of its importance; never has the subject in all its bearings
been submitted to so searching an inquiry. It would be distrusting the
intelligence and virtue of the people to doubt the speedy and efficient
adoption of such measures of reform as the public good demands. All
that can rightfully be done by the Federal Government to promote the
accomplishment of that important object will without doubt be performed.

In the meantime it is our duty to provide all the remedies against a
depreciated paper currency which the Constitution enables us to afford.
The Treasury Department on several former occasions has suggested the
propriety and importance of a uniform law concerning bankruptcies of
corporations and other bankers. Through the instrumentality of such a
law a salutary check may doubtless be imposed on the issues of paper
money and an effectual remedy given to the citizen in a way at once
equal in all parts of the Union and fully authorized by the
Constitution.

The indulgence granted by Executive authority in the payment of bonds
for duties has been already mentioned. Seeing that the immediate
enforcement of these obligations would subject a large and highly
respectable portion of our citizens to great sacrifices, and believing
that a temporary postponement could be made without detriment to other
interests and with increased certainty of ultimate payment, I did not
hesitate to comply with the request that was made of me. The terms
allowed are to the full extent as liberal as any that are to be found
in the practice of the executive department. It remains for Congress to
decide whether a further postponement may not with propriety be allowed;
and if so, their legislation upon the subject is respectfully invited.

The report of the Secretary of the Treasury will exhibit the condition
of these debts, the extent and effect of the present indulgence, the
probable result of its further extension on the state of the Treasury,
and every other fact necessary to a full consideration of the subject.
Similar information is communicated in regard to such depositories of
the public moneys as are indebted to the Government, in order that
Congress may also adopt the proper measures in regard to them.

The receipts and expenditures for the first half of the year and an
estimate of those for the residue will be laid before you by the
Secretary of the Treasury. In his report of December last it was
estimated that the current receipts would fall short of the expenditures
by about $3,000,000. It will be seen that the difference will be much
greater. This is to be attributed not only to the occurrence of greater
pecuniary embarrassments in the business of the country than those
which were then predicted, and consequently a greater diminution in
the revenue, but also to the fact that the appropriations exceeded by
nearly six millions the amount which was asked for in the estimates
then submitted. The sum necessary for the service of the year, beyond
the probable receipts and the amount which it was intended should be
reserved in the Treasury at the commencement of the year, will be about
six millions. If the whole of the reserved balance be not at once
applied to the current expenditures, but four millions be still kept
in the Treasury, as seems most expedient for the uses of the Mint and
to meet contingencies, the sum needed will be ten millions.

In making this estimate the receipts are calculated on the supposition
of some further extension of the indulgence granted in the payment of
bonds for duties, which will affect the amount of the revenue for the
present year to the extent of two and a half millions.

It is not proposed to procure the required amount by loans or increased
taxation. There are now in the Treasury $9,367,214, directed by the act
of the 23d of June, 1836, to be deposited with the States in October
next. This sum, if so deposited, will be subject under the law to be
recalled if needed to defray existing appropriations; and as it is now
evident that the whole, or the principal part, of it will be wanted
for that purpose, it appears most proper that the deposit should be
withheld. Until the amount can be collected from the banks, Treasury
notes may be temporarily issued, to be gradually redeemed as it is
received.

I am aware that this course may be productive of inconvenience to many
of the States. Relying upon the acts of Congress which held out to
them the strong probability, if not the certainty, of receiving this
installment, they have in some instances adopted measures with which
its retention may seriously interfere. That such a condition of things
should have occurred is much to be regretted. It is not the least among
the unfortunate results of the disasters of the times; and it is for
Congress to devise a fit remedy, if there be one. The money being
indispensable to the wants of the Treasury, it is difficult to conceive
upon what principle of justice or expediency its application to that
object can be avoided. To recall any portion of the sums already
deposited with the States would be more inconvenient and less efficient.
To burden the country with increased taxation when there is in fact a
large surplus revenue would be unjust and unwise; to raise moneys by
loans under such circumstances, and thus to commence a new national
debt, would scarcely be sanctioned by the American people.

The plan proposed will be adequate to all our fiscal operations during
the remainder of the year. Should it be adopted, the Treasury, aided by
the ample resources of the country, will be able to discharge punctually
every pecuniary obligation. For the future all that is needed will be
that caution and forbearance in appropriations which the diminution of
the revenue requires and which the complete accomplishment or great
forwardness of many expensive national undertakings renders equally
consistent with prudence and patriotic liberality.

The preceding suggestions and recommendations are submitted in the
belief that their adoption by Congress will enable the executive
department to conduct our fiscal concerns with success so far as their
management has been committed to it. Whilst the objects and the means
proposed to attain them are within its constitutional powers and
appropriate duties, they will at the same time, it is hoped, by their
necessary operation, afford essential aid in the transaction of
individual concerns, and thus yield relief to the people at large in
a form adapted to the nature of our Government. Those who look to the
action of this Government for specific aid to the citizen to relieve
embarrassments arising from losses by revulsions in commerce and credit
lose sight of the ends for which it was created and the powers with
which it is clothed. It was established to give security to us all
in our lawful and honorable pursuits, under the lasting safeguard of
republican institutions. It was not intended to confer special favors on
individuals or on any classes of them, to create systems of agriculture,
manufactures, or trade, or to engage in them either separately or in
connection with individual citizens or organized associations. If
its operations were to be directed for the benefit of any one class,
equivalent favors must in justice be extended to the rest, and the
attempt to bestow such favors with an equal hand, or even to select
those who should most deserve them, would never be successful.

All communities are apt to look to government for too much. Even in
our own country, where its powers and duties are so strictly limited,
we are prone to do so, especially at periods of sudden embarrassment
and distress. But this ought not to be. The framers of our excellent
Constitution and the people who approved it with calm and sagacious
deliberation acted at the time on a sounder principle. They wisely
judged that the less government interferes with private pursuits the
better for the general prosperity. It is not its legitimate object to
make men rich or to repair by direct grants of money or legislation in
favor of particular pursuits losses not incurred in the public service.
This would be substantially to use the property of some for the benefit
of others. But its real duty--that duty the performance of which makes
a good government the most precious of human blessings--is to enact and
enforce a system of general laws commensurate with, but not exceeding,
the objects of its establishment, and to leave every citizen and every
interest to reap under its benign protection the rewards of virtue,
industry, and prudence.

I can not doubt that on this as on all similar occasions the Federal
Government will find its agency most conducive to the security and
happiness of the people when limited to the exercise of its conceded
powers. In never assuming, even for a well-meant object, such powers as
were not designed to be conferred upon it, we shall in reality do most
for the general welfare. To avoid every unnecessary interference with
the pursuits of the citizen will result in more benefit than to adopt
measures which could only assist limited interests, and are eagerly,
but perhaps naturally, sought for under the pressure of temporary
circumstances. If, therefore, I refrain from suggesting to Congress any
specific plan for regulating the exchanges of the country, relieving
mercantile embarrassments, or interfering with the ordinary operations
of foreign or domestic commerce, it is from a conviction that such
measures are not within the constitutional province of the General
Government, and that their adoption would not promote the real and
permanent welfare of those they might be designed to aid.

The difficulties and distresses of the times, though unquestionably
great, are limited in their extent, and can not be regarded as affecting
the permanent prosperity of the nation. Arising in a great degree from
the transactions of foreign and domestic commerce, it is upon them
that they have chiefly fallen. The great agricultural interest has in
many parts of the country suffered comparatively little, and, as if
Providence intended to display the munificence of its goodness at the
moment of our greatest need, and in direct contrast to the evils
occasioned by the waywardness of man, we have been blessed throughout
our extended territory with a season of general health and of uncommon
fruitfulness. The proceeds of our great staples will soon furnish the
means of liquidating debts at home and abroad, and contribute equally
to the revival of commercial activity and the restoration of commercial
credit. The banks, established avowedly for its support, deriving their
profits from it, and resting under obligations to it which can not be
overlooked, will feel at once the necessity and justice of uniting their
energies with those of the mercantile interest.

The suspension of specie payments at such a time and under such
circumstances as we have lately witnessed could not be other than a
temporary measure, and we can scarcely err in believing that the period
must soon arrive when all that are solvent will redeem their issues
in gold and silver. Dealings abroad naturally depend on resources and
prosperity at home. If the debt of our merchants has accumulated or
their credit is impaired, these are fluctuations always incident to
extensive or extravagant mercantile transactions. But the ultimate
security of such obligations does not admit of question. They are
guaranteed by the resources of a country the fruits of whose industry
afford abundant means of ample liquidation, and by the evident interest
of every merchant to sustain a credit hitherto high by promptly applying
these means for its preservation.

I deeply regret that events have occurred which require me to ask your
consideration of such serious topics. I could have wished that in making
my first communication to the assembled representatives of my country
I had nothing to dwell upon but the history of her unalloyed prosperity.
Since it is otherwise, we can only feel more deeply the responsibility
of the respective trusts that have been confided to us, and under the
pressure of difficulties unite in invoking the guidance and aid of the
Supreme Ruler of Nations and in laboring with zealous resolution to
overcome the difficulties by which we are environed.

It is under such circumstances a high gratification to know by
long experience that we act for a people to whom the truth, however
unpromising, can always be spoken with safety; for the trial of whose
patriotism no emergency is too severe, and who are sure never to
desert a public functionary honestly laboring for the public good.
It seems just that they should receive without delay any aid in their
embarrassments which your deliberations can afford. Coming directly from
the midst of them, and knowing the course of events in every section of
our country, from you may best be learnt as well the extent and nature
of these embarrassments as the most desirable measures of relief.

I am aware, however, that it is not proper to detain you at present
longer than may be demanded by the special objects for which you are
convened. To them, therefore, I have confined my communication; and
believing it will not be your own wish now to extend your deliberations
beyond them, I reserve till the usual period of your annual meeting that
general information on the state of the Union which the Constitution
requires me to give.

M. VAN BUREN.



SPECIAL MESSAGES.


WASHINGTON, _September 7, 1837_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit, for the consideration of the Senate with a view to its
ratification, a general convention of peace, friendship, commerce,
and navigation between the United States and the Peru-Bolivian
Confederation, signed at Lima on the 30th of November, 1836, by Samuel
Larned, the chargé d'affaires of the United States, and J. Garcia del
Rio, minister of state in the department of finance of the North
Peruvian State.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _September 19, 1837_.

Hon. R.M. JOHNSON.

SIR: I have the honor to inclose a report of the Secretary of War, on
the subject of the resolution of the Senate of the 2d of March, 1837.[1]

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 1: Whether the works at Black Rock raise the waters of Lake
Erie to the injury of property on its southern and western shores.]



WASHINGTON, _September 26, 1837_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives a report from the
Secretary of State, accompanied by copies of the correspondence
requested by their resolution of the 13th instant.

M. VAN BUREN.



DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, September 25, 1837_.

The Secretary of State, to whom was referred the resolution of the House
of Representatives dated the 13th instant, requesting the President to
communicate to that body, "so far as the public interest will permit,
the correspondence between the Government of the United States and that
of Great Britain relating to the northeastern boundary of the United
States since the message of the late President to the Senate of the
United States of the 15th of June, 1836, and all the correspondence
which has taken place since that period between the Government of the
United States and the governor of the State of Maine on the subject
of alleged aggressions upon the rights of Maine by the British
authorities," has the honor respectfully to submit to the President
copies of the letters and documents requested by that resolution.

JOHN FORSYTH.



STATE OF MAINE, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

_Augusta, March 30, 1837_.

SIR: In compliance with a request of the legislature of this State,
I have the honor to transmit to you the accompanying report and
resolutions.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT P. DUNLAP.



STATE OF MAINE, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

_MARCH 29, 1837_.

The joint select committee who had under consideration the order
relating to the expediency of calling the attention of Congress to the
subject of fortifying our maritime and interior frontier have attended
to that duty, and ask leave to present the following report:

One object of the federal compact is "to provide for the common defense
and general welfare."

In accordance with these objects of the compact, the General Government
has from time to time made liberal appropriations for fortifying and
defending the several States along our extended maritime frontier west
and south of the western boundary line of this State. East of that line
a mere trifle has as yet been appropriated for these objects.

Maine has a maritime frontier of about 500 miles in extent, following
the indentations of her shores, and our interior frontier, bounding on
New Brunswick on the east and the Canadas on the north, is about 600
miles in extent.

Considering this great extent of seacoast, her numerous excellent
harbors, her noble rivers and great advantages for shipbuilding, and
her proximity to the fishing grounds, probably no State in the Union
possesses the natural advantages for carrying on this branch of industry
that Maine does.

It is a fact worthy of consideration that all maritime nations have
looked to their fisheries as the nursery of hardy seamen for the
merchant service in time of peace and for the navy in time of war, and
as a great question of national policy (aside from the inducement to
encourage this branch of business as an unfailing source of natural
wealth) it is deemed worthy of the fostering care of all commercial
nations.

Already the navigation of Maine is estimated at more than 300,000 tons,
and exceeded by only two States in the Union, and her increase annually
of tonnage is greater than that of any other State.

The abundance of building materials, believed to be inexhaustible, her
great conveniences for shipbuilding along her extended seacoast, her
numerous bays, rivers, and harbors, render it highly probable that the
day is not far distant when the maritime interests of Maine will exceed
that of any of her sister States; and if reliance can be placed upon the
statements of a scientific engineer of high respectability and standing,
who has during the past year, under the direction of the government of
this State and our parent Commonwealth, made a geological survey of
a portion of our State, it may be doubted whether the same extent of
territory on the continent contains more real value viewed in all its
bearings (the facilities of quarrying, manufacturing, exporting, and
its influence upon the great interests of the State and nation) than is
contained in our inexhaustible quarries of granite, lime, marble, slate,
etc., mines and minerals in which large and profitable investments are
already made. Some of these branches of business have been carried on
for many years, and others to a large extent are commencing under the
most favorable auspices.

These, together with our agricultural, commercial, and manufacturing
interests, our immense forests of invaluable timber, with a water power
of vast extent and value, giving us the means of laying the seaports
of the Union under a contribution for ages to come, and warranting the
belief that our present shipping interest will be sustained and employed
and a great increase required.

About one-third of the most valuable portion of our territory is claimed
by Great Britain, and the history of this protracted controversy from
its commencement to the present time is such as to awaken general
anxiety. We are admonished by recent events that we have not yet reached
the termination of our toils and embarrassments, and they have awakened
the painful apprehension that our just rights may not be secured by
honorable negotiation or patient submission to unprovoked injuries.
These considerations, in the opinion of your committee, call loudly for
the interposition of the General Government, and require at their hands
all needful preparation for possible contingencies. The late Governor
Lincoln nearly ten years since called the attention of the Government
to the importance of erecting a strong fortification in some eligible
position on the confines of that portion of our territory to which
an adverse claim is set up by Great Britain. In the opinion of your
committee, the subject has lost none of its interest since that
period, but, on the contrary, the events to which we have alluded
give to it vastly augmented importance; and to our view, irrespective
of any conditions growing out of the present controversy, a strong
fortification upon the northeastern boundary of the United States,
situated far in the interior and upon the confines of a foreign country,
and surrounded by millions of acres of fertile land, destined soon to
be peopled with a numerous population of hardy yeomanry, is of high
importance.

Our isolated situation, being the northeastern boundary of the
nation, with an interior frontier upward of 600 miles upon a foreign
country and a large proportion of our territory lying between two
Provinces of Great Britain and so situated as to render it greatly to
the advantage of that nation to possess it; the inflexible determination
which she manifests to pursue the course which interest dictates should
not be forgotten; the extent of our seacoast; the exposed situation of
our seaport towns, lying within a few hours' sail of the British naval
depot in the neighborhood of Maine; the disastrous consequences of our
defenseless situation during the last war; the great and increasing
maritime interests which we have at stake without one single point where
a ship, if dependent upon the United States fortifications, would be
safe from the attacks of a frigate--these and the consideration that
little, comparatively, has yet been done for Maine seem to our view to
constitute irresistible reasons why Maine should no longer be forgotten
or neglected in the common defense of the country.

Through all the long-protracted struggles, difficulties, and
embarrassments of our infant Republic this portion of our Union has
never been urgent or importunate in pressing its claims, but has
submitted patiently to the force of circumstances which rendered it
necessary to defer them.

But in the present altered condition of the country--the national debt
paid off at a season of universal peace and unexampled prosperity, with
an overburthened Treasury, and when it is deemed necessary to dispose
of it to resort to measures which many eminent statesmen consider
unwarranted by the Constitution and which a great portion of the people
of the Union consider of doubtful policy--at such a period and under
such circumstances it is difficult to perceive the justice of longer
withholding suitable appropriations for the defense of Maine, and to
our view it can only be withheld by doing violence to the principles
of equal rights and by neglecting a plain constitutional duty.

Your committee therefore submit the following resolutions.

STEPHEN C. FOSTER,

_Chairman_.


STATE OF MAINE.

RESOLVE relating to the fortification of frontier States.

_Resolved_, That the obligation of the Federal Government, under
the Constitution, when it has the means to erect suitable fortifications
for the defense of the frontier of the States, is a practical duty not
justly to be denied, evaded, neglected, or delayed.

_Resolved_, That our Senators in Congress be instructed and our
Representatives requested to use their influence to obtain liberal
appropriations for the defense of Maine and the Union.

_Resolved_, That the governor be requested to transmit copies of
the above report and resolutions to the President and Vice-President,
the Secretaries of State, Navy, and War, and to each of our Senators
and Representatives in Congress.

[Passed by both Houses and approved March 30, 1837.]



STATE OF MAINE, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

_Augusta, April 30, 1837_.

His Excellency MARTIN VAN BUREN,

_President of the United States_.

SIR: In compliance with a request of the legislature of this State, I
have the honor to transmit to Your Excellency the accompanying report
and resolutions:

In behalf of the State of Maine, I would respectfully, yet urgently,
call on the President of the United States to cause the northeastern
boundary of this State to be explored and surveyed and monuments erected
in accordance with the request contained in the resolutions which are
herewith communicated. As the subject is one in which the people of
Maine have a deep interest, I feel a confidence it will commend itself
to your early attention.

With high consideration, I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

ROBERT P. DUNLAP.



STATE OF MAINE, IN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

_FEBRUARY 2, 1837_.

The joint committee to whom was referred so much of the governor's
message as relates to the northeastern boundary, and the documents and
evidence, together with an order of the two houses instructing the
committee "to inquire into the expediency of providing by law for the
appointment of commissioners on the part of this State, by the consent
of the Government of the United States, to survey the line between this
State and the Province of New Brunswick according to the treaty of 1783,
to establish monuments in such places as shall be fixed by said
commissioners and by commissioners to be appointed on the part of the
Government of Great Britain, have attended to the duties assigned them
with the industry and solicitude which the importance of the subject
demanded. Could the committee have spared the time and had the means
to obtain documents not within the jurisdiction of the State, and
consequently out of its power, a more clear, methodical, and perfect
view of the subject would have been presented; but as there had been
hitherto so much procrastination and the impatience of the public,
already great, was becoming more and more intense, your committee
without further preamble or apology ask leave to present the following
report:

The legislature and people of Maine, we believe, will not contend that
the treaty-making power of the United States does not extend to a final
adjustment of a disputed and undefined line of boundary between a State
and a foreign nation; _but we do insist_ that no power is granted by the
Constitution of the United States to _limit_ or _change the boundary
of a State or cede a part of its territory without its consent_. It is
even by no means certain how far _such consent_ would enable the treaty
authority to exert its powers. _Citizens_ might be made the subjects of
a treaty transfer, and these citizens owing allegiance to the State and
to the Union, and allegiance and protection being reciprocally binding,
the right to transfer a citizen to a foreign government, to _sell_ him,
might well be questioned as being inconsistent with the spirit of our
free institutions. But be this as it may, Maine will never concede the
principle that the President and two-thirds of the Senate can transfer
its territory, much less its citizens, without its permission, given by
its constitutional organs.

Your committee, however, deem it but fair to admit that they have
discovered no inclination in the General Government, or any department
of it, to assume this power. On the contrary, the President has
repeatedly declined the adoption of a conventional line deviating from
the treaty of 1783, upon the express ground that it could not be done
without the consent of Maine.

It is due, nevertheless, to the State of Maine to say that the committee
have no evidence that any conventional line has been proposed to them
for their consent. It indeed appears that the consent of Maine had not
been given to the adoption of any other boundary than that prescribed
by the treaty of 1783 up to the 29th February, 1836, and we are well
assured that no proposition for a different boundary has since that
time been made to any department of the government of this State.

The President of the United States on the 15th June last
communicated to the Senate, in compliance with their resolution, a
copy of the correspondence relative to the northeastern boundary. This
correspondence embraced a period from the 21st July, 1832, to the 5th
March, 1836.

The opinion and advice of the King of the Netherlands, to whom the
controversy was referred by the provisions of the treaty of Ghent, was
made on the 10th January, 1831, and of the three questions submitted,
viz, _the northeastern boundary, the northwesternmost head of Connecticut
River_, and _the forty-fifth parallel of latitude_, he seems to have
determined _but one_. He did decide that the source of the stream
running into and through Connecticut Lake is the true northwest head of
that river as intended by the treaty of 1783; and as to the rest, he
_advises_ that it will be _convenient (il conviendra)_ to adopt the
"Thalweg," the deepest channel of the St. John and St. Francis, for the
north line, and that the forty-fifth degree is to be measured in order
to mark out the boundary to the St. Lawrence, with a deviation so as to
include Rouses Point within the United States. As to _the convenience_
of establishing the St. John and St. Francis as the northern boundary of
Maine, we have only to observe that however "convenient" it may be to
Great Britain to obtain so large a portion of our territory and waters,
it would certainly be very _inconvenient_ to us, and inasmuch as we are
probably capable of judging of our own "convenience," and have never
solicited _the advice_ of anyone on this point, it is scarcely to be
expected that we shall be _advised_ to adopt a line so preposterous
and injurious.

It was in this view and in strict conformity with the Constitution
conferring the treaty power that the President on the 7th December,
1831, submitted to the Senate this "award" and "advice" of the King
of the Netherlands. Senators were divided on a principal point, some
insisting that to carry the award or opinion into effect was only _in
execution_ of the treaty, and it therefore belonged exclusively to the
President "to take care" that this "supreme law" was faithfully executed
or to reject it altogether.

But the prevailing opinion was that this "award" or "advice" was
_perfecting an unfinished_ treaty, and that therefore it could not be
effected by the President without "the advice and consent of the Senate,
two-thirds of the members present concurring therein." So far from the
concurrence of two-thirds _for_ the measure, there were _thirty-four_
to _eight against_ it, and it was consequently rejected, and a
recommendation to the President was adopted to open a new negotiation
to determine the line of boundary according to the treaty of 1783.

It is insisted by the British ministers that a due north line from the
monument at the source of the St. Croix will intersect no highlands
described in the treaty of 1783. Now this is an assumption by Great
Britain totally unwarranted by any evidence. The boundaries bearing upon
the question are thus given: "From the northwest angle of Nova Scotia,
to wit, that angle which is formed by a line drawn due north from the
source of the St. Croix River to the highlands; along the said highlands
which divide _the rivers_ that empty themselves into the St. Lawrence
from those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean, to the north westernmost
head of Connecticut River"; "east by a line to be drawn along the middle
of the river St. Croix from its mouth, in the Bay of Fundy, to its
source, and from its source directly north to the aforesaid highlands
which divide the rivers that fall into the Atlantic Ocean from those
which fall into the St. Lawrence."

The first object, starting place, or _terminus a quo_, is this
_northwest angle of Nova Scotia_. It is the corner of the British
Province _designated by themselves_. It was presumed, and it is still
believed, that they knew the identical spot; we have a right to demand
of them to define it. In the treaty of 1783 they were disposed to define
it, and hence they say it is _that angle which is formed by a line drawn
due north from the source of the St. Croix to those highlands which
divide the rivers that flow into the St. Lawrence from those which flow
into the Atlantic Ocean_.

Nothing can be more clear than that the British negotiators of the
treaty of 1783 had reference to their east and west line between Canada
and Nova Scotia. This in 1755-56 was matter of controversy between
France and England, the French claiming that it was far south and the
British strenuously contending that these very highlands were even more
north than we have endeavored to fix them.

The controversy resulted in a war, which, after the capture of Quebec,
was terminated by the peace of 1763, whereby Great Britain obtained both
sides of the line, and she then established the north line of Nova
Scotia about where we contend it should be. So far from admitting that
a due north line from the monument will not intersect the highlands
intended by the treaty of 1783, the State of Maine has always insisted,
and still insists, that no known obstacle exists to the ascertaining and
accurately defining them, and thus establishing the _terminus a quo, to
wit, the northwest angle of Nova Scotia_. It would seem strange, indeed,
that this line, so fully discussed and controverted between the English
and French in 1755-56, should have been left unsettled still when both
Provinces became British. It is impossible to imagine such ignorance of
so important a point as this northwest angle, so often referred to and
spoken of as a notorious monument.

The peace of 1783 was considered by Great Britain as _a grant by metes
and bounds_. The boundaries were prescribed, and this northwest angle
was _the commencement_. Twenty years only before this (1763) Nova Scotia
had been organized as a distinct Province, then including what are now
Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and this angle was referred to as a
boundary without hesitancy or doubt. Indeed, the treaty itself, as if
to make assurance doubly sure, fixed it where a due north line from the
source of the St. Croix will intersect those highlands which divide
the rivers which flow into the _river_ St. Lawrence from those which
flow into the Atlantic Ocean. This source of the St. Croix has been
determined and a monument fixed there by the commissioners under the
fifth article of the treaty of 1795 (Jay's). Now the assumption that the
north line from this monument will intersect or meet no such highlands
is entirely gratuitous.

The treaty does not speak of mountains nor even hills, but of
"highlands" that divide rivers flowing different ways. It was well known
that rivers did fall into the St. Lawrence and into the Atlantic, that
these rivers would run _down_ and not _up_, and it was consequently
inferred that the _land_ from whence these _rivers_ flowed must of
necessity be _high_, and unless there are to be found in that region
_geological phenomena_ which exist nowhere else on the face of the globe
this inference is irresistible.

The truth is that these highlands have been known and well understood by
the British themselves ever since the grant of James I to Sir William
Alexander, in 1621. The portion of the boundary there given which
relates to this controversy is "from the western spring head of the St.
Croix, by an imaginary line conceived to run through the land northward
to the next road of Ships River or Spring discharging itself into the
great river of Canada, and proceeding thence _eastward_ along the shores
of the sea of the said river of Canada to the road, haven, or shore
commonly called _Gaspeck_" (Gaspé).

The cession of Canada by France made it necessary to define the limits
of the Province of Quebec, and accordingly His Britannic Majesty, by his
proclamation of 7th October, 1763, is thus explicit as to what affects
this question: "Passing along the highlands which divide _the rivers_
that empty themselves into the said _river_ St. Lawrence from those
which fall into _the_ sea, and also _along the north coast of the Bay
de Chaleurs_ and the coast of the _Gulf_ of the St. Lawrence to _Cape
Rosiers_" etc.

The act of Parliament of the fourteenth George III (1774) defines thus
the south line of Canada: "South by a line from the Bay de Chaleurs
along the highlands which divide the rivers that empty themselves into
the river St. Lawrence from those which flow into _the sea_." The north
line of the grant to Alexander is from the source of the St. Croix to
the "spring head" or source of some river or stream which falls into
the river St. Lawrence, and thence _eastward_ to Gaspé Bay, which
communicates with the Gulf of St. Lawrence in latitude 49° 30', and
would make nearly an east and west line. The proclamation of 1763
defines the _south_ line of the Province of Quebec as passing along the
highlands which divide the rivers that fall into the St. Lawrence from
those which fall into the sea, and also along the north coast of the
Bay de Chaleurs to _the Gulf_ of St. Lawrence. This is the _south_
boundary, and consequently in an _east_ and _west direction_; but it
passes _north_ of Bay de Chaleurs, wherefore the south boundary of the
Province must of necessity be north of Bay de Chaleurs. The eastern
boundary is northerly by the Gulf of _Cape Rosiers_, in about latitude
50°, longitude 64° north of Gaspé Bay, and at the mouth of the river
St. Lawrence, where it communicates with the gulf or sea. And the act
of Parliament makes _this south side_ from this same bay along those
highlands, and it must _inevitably run west_ or _it is no south_
boundary. Now no one can doubt that in the proclamation of 1763 it
was the intent to adopt Sir William Alexander's _northern_ for this
_southern_ boundary of the Province of Quebec.

Indeed, it appears in every commission to the governor of Nova Scotia
and New Brunswick from 1763 to 1784, and after the treaty of peace of
1783, that the Province of Nova Scotia extended to the southern boundary
of the Province of Quebec. It then irresistibly and inevitably follows
that a west line from the Bay de Chaleurs, intersecting a due north line
from the monument, is the identical northwest angle. Now a line from
Mars Hill direct to Cape Rosiers, instead of being _easterly_, would be
north of northeast, _crossing_ the Bay de Chaleurs. But passing along
its north coast, as the proclamation provides, the line from this Mars
Hill must be more northerly still. Indeed, the pretense that a pyramidal
spur or peak, such as this hill, should constitute the range of
highlands mentioned in the treaty is so utterly visionary that it is
entitled to _no sort of respect_.

We may now by these facts and reflections give this inquiry a right
direction, _to wit,_ to the ascertainment of the north boundary of Nova
Scotia, which is the southern boundary of Canada. We have always been
lured from this by the British negotiators to the _left_ or _west_ of
this north line from the monument.

No one who is in the least conversant with the subject can suppose for a
moment that this northwest angle can be found in such a direction. The
question for us is, Are there any highlands north of the Bay de Chaleurs
extending _in a western direction toward_ a north line drawn from the
monument? If this line westerly from the bay be not distinctly marked so
far as to intersect this north line, the principle is to extend it in
the same direction to the place of intersection; that is, if the line
between Nova Scotia and Canada is _west_ to within, say, 30 miles of the
north line from the monument, and the rest of the way is indefinite or
obscure, extend it on in the same direction until you form a point of
intersection, and this will be the northwest angle of Nova Scotia. But
the truth is, _the highlands are there_, and have been found in running
due north from the monument. The elevations were taken by the British
surveyor from the source of the St. Croix, at the monument, to the first
waters of the Restigouche; and at Mars Hill, 40 miles, the summit of
this isolated sugar loaf was 1,100 feet, and at the termination of the
survey at the Restigouche waters, 100 miles farther, the elevation was
I,600 feet; consequently the summit of Mars Hill, 1,100 feet above the
waters of the St. Croix, is 500 feet lower than the lands at the
Restigouche. And yet the pretense is that there are no highlands but
this detached spur, Mars Hill! Still further, the highest position
surveyed is nearly 50 miles short of the Melis, which falls into the St.
Lawrence, and we do not perceive that the elevations have been taken
there at all, but we do find it is here that _the waters separate_, and
consequently the land must be still higher.

In failure of highlands (_assumed_ not to exist), the British
negotiators claim a line which, instead of dividing the St. Lawrence
and Atlantic waters, would actually extend between two rivers, _both
of which fall into the Atlantic_.

To say nothing of the absurdity, not to say ignorance, of such a claim,
it is enough that it is in the teeth of the treaty itself. It is painful
to repeat the argument that no other highlands were intended, for all
others were expressly excluded but those which divide the waters that
flow in those different directions. The effect of their construction,
as we all know, is to give them the whole of the St. John, with all its
tributaries, and a tract of territory south of that river equal at least
to 75 miles square.

Whether from the peaceful spirit of our Government, the Christian
patience of Maine, or the "modest assurance" of the British
negotiators--any or all--certain it is that His Britannic Majesty's
pretensions _are growing every day_. It is not only an afterthought,
but one very recently conceived, that we were to be driven south of
the St. John.

His Britannic Majesty's agent, Mr. Chipman, who has been lately urging
us south of that river, was also agent to the commission, under the
treaty of 1795, to ascertain the true St. Croix, and in insisting on
a more _western_ branch of this river gives as a reason that a line
due north will cross the St, John _farther up_, whereas if you take an
_eastern_ branch such line will cross near Frederickton, the seat of
government of New Brunswick, and materially infringe upon His Majesty's
Province. He not only admits, but contends, that this north line _must_
cross the river. Here are his words: "This north line must of necessity
cross the river St. John." Mr. Liston, the British minister, in a
private letter to Mr. Chipman of 23d October, 1798, recommends a
modification of the powers of the commissioners for the reason that _it
might give Great Britain a greater extent of navigation on the St. John
River_. The same agent, Mr. Chipman, was also agent under the fourth
article of the treaty of Ghent, and we find him contending there "that
the northwest angle of Nova Scotia is the same designated in the grant
to Sir William Alexander in 1621, subject only to such alterations as
were occasioned by the erection of the Province of Quebec in 1763." Now
we have already seen that this south line of the Province of Quebec, so
far from _altering_ this northwest angle, in fact confirms it.

In perfect accordance with this disposition to encroach is a proposition
of the British minister (Mr. Vaughan) that inasmuch as the highlands can
not be found by a due north direction from the monument we should _vary
west_ until we should intersect them, _but not_ EAST. Now that in case a
monument can not be found in the course prescribed you should look for
it _at the left, but not to the right_, seems to us a very _sinister_
proposition. We have shown, and, as we think, conclusively, that the
range of highlands is to be looked for on British ground, and nowhere
else, because it is their own boundary, and a line which must, with an
ascertained north line, form the angle of one of their own Provinces.
And yet we are not to examine there at all; we have never explored the
country there, and are expected to yield to such arrogant, extravagant,
and baseless pretensions!

We would ask why, in what justice, if we can not find the object
in the route prescribed, are we to be thus trammeled? Where is the
_reciprocity_ of such a proposition, so degrading to the dignity and
insulting to the rights and liberties of this State? No; the people of
Maine will not now, and we trust they never will, tamely submit to such
a _one-sided_ measure.

The next restriction or limitation with which this negotiation is to be
clogged is an admission that the Restigouche and St. John are not
Atlantic rivers, because one flows into the Bay de Chaleurs and the
other into the Bay of Fundy; yet neither falls into the river St.
Lawrence. They would then find those highlands between the St. John and
the Penobscot. There can not be a more arrogant pretension or palpable
absurdity. Suppose the waters of both these rivers are excluded as
flowing _neither way_, still the waters that flow _each way_ are so far
separated as to leave a tract of country which, if equally divided,
would carry us far beyond the St. John. But we admit no such hypothesis.
The _Atlantic_ and the _sea_ are used in the charters as synonymous
terms. The Restigouche, uniting with the Bay de Chaleurs, which
communicates with the sea, and the St. John, uniting with the Bay of
Fundy, which also communicates with the sea, and that, too, by a mouth
90 miles wide, are both Atlantic rivers. These rivers were known by the
negotiators not to be _St. Lawrence rivers;_ they were known to exist,
for they were rivers of the first class. If they were neither St.
Lawrence nor Atlantic, why were they not excepted? They were not of
the former, therefore they must be included in the latter description.
Indeed, if rivers uniting with Atlantic bays are not Atlantic rivers,
the Penobscot and Kennebec, which unite with the respective bays of
Penobscot and Sagadahock, would not be Atlantic rivers, and then where
are those highlands which divide the waters referred to in the treaty
of 1783? Should we leave this question unsettled a little longer, and
the British claims continue to increase, we might very soon find these
highlands south of the Connecticut, and all the intermediate country
would be _recolonized_ by "construction." We therefore invoke the
sympathy of all New England, with New York besides, to unite against
this progressive claim--this avalanche which threatens to overwhelm
_them as well as ourselves_.

Again, if this Mars Hill (and we confess we can not speak of the
pretension with any patience) _is the northwest angle_, and the north
boundary of Nova Scotia and the south boundary of the Province of Quebec
are the same, and north of the Bay de Chaleurs, then there is indeed
_no_ northwest angle, for a line due north from the monument, passing by
Mars Hill, must pursue nearly the same direction to get to the north of
that bay without crossing it; and who ever thought of an angle at the
side of a continuous line? Now, according to the British maps taken in
this very case, you must run a course of north about 14° east to obtain
the north side of the bay without crossing it, and the distance would
be in this almost due north direction more than 100 miles, while that
from the monument to Mars Hill would be little more than 40. Now when we
consider that this northerly line must form nearly a right angle to pass
along the north shore of the Bay de Chaleurs, that this is 100 miles
farther north than Mars Hill, where instead of an angle there can be
only an inclination of 14°, can there be a greater absurdity than the
British claim founded on these facts?

We will now present some facts and remarks in regard to the surveys and
explorings made by the commission under the fifth article of the treaty
of Ghent, and the first fact that occurs is that the elevations taken
by the British surveyor stop far short of where the waters divide, and
we find no proof that these elevations were carried through by our own
surveyors. If the British surveyor, after ascertaining _he was still
ascending_ and had in fact arrived at the lands at _a branch of a river_
elevated 500 feet above the summit of Mars Hill, _found it prudent to
stop short_, we see no good reason why the American agent did _not
proceed on_ and take accurate elevations at a place where the waters
divide. If such a survey was made, the committee have not been able to
obtain the evidence. It is not in the maps or documents in the library
or office of the Secretary of State, and the committee believe that no
such elevations have been taken northerly of the first waters of the
Restigouche. It is, indeed, a little singular that we have so little
evidence, not only in regard to this height of land, but also of the
rivers which flow into the St. Lawrence _to the left_, and _especially
to the right_, of the north line from the monument.

We know some of them, to be sure, such as the _Oelle Kamouska, Verte,
Trois Pistoles, Remouskey_, and _Metis_ on the left, and the _Blanche,
Louis, Magdalen_, and others on the right of this line, but we know them
chiefly as _on maps_ and as transcribed from older maps, but very little
from actual survey or even exploration. An examination of the sources of
those rivers at the right of this north line, with the important natural
boundary, the north shore of the Bay de Chaleurs, would accurately
define the divisional line between the Province of Quebec and Nova
Scotia, which extending west would intersect the due north line and thus
form the northwest angle of Nova Scotia.

It moreover appears that little or no exploration has been made of the
lands _east_ of the due north line. It seems strange to us, although it
may be satisfactorily explained, why we should have been drawn away from
this very important region. It is, indeed, the true source of inquiry.
In this direction the evidence is to be found, and Maine can never be
satisfied until it is looked for here.

An extraordinary method of adjusting this question, though in
perfect accordance with other pretensions, has been proposed by
Great Britain--that the disputed territory should be divided in equal
portions, each party being satisfied of the justice of its claims.
To this proposition we can not subscribe. It is equally unjust between
nations and individuals. Whether a party in controversy is satisfied
or not with the justice of his claims is what is only known to himself,
and consequently the one whose claims are most exorbitant, however
unjust, will always get the best end of the bargain. But such a rule
would in this case apply most unfortunately to Maine. We are limited at
farthest to the St. Lawrence, and to a very narrow point there, while
the British may extend their claims to the south and west indefinitely.
Establish this principle and we shall soon find their claims, already
so progressive, stretched over to the Piscataqua, and then if we are
to divide equally both as to _quantity and quality_ the divisional line
then would fall south of the Kennebec. If the want of the consent of
Maine is the obstacle to such an adjustment, we trust it will always
remain an insuperable one. Indeed, we protest against the application
to us of such a rule as manifestly unequal and unjust.

We come now to the recent transactions of the British colonial
authorities, sanctioned, as it appears, by the Government at home, and
we regret to perceive in them also those strong indications of continual
and rapid encroachment which have characterized that Government in the
whole of this controversy. Mr. Livingston, in his letter of 21st July,
1832, proposes that "until the matter be brought to a final conclusion
both parties should refrain from the exercise of jurisdiction," and
Mr. Vaughan, in reply of 14th April, 1833, in behalf of his Government,
"entirely concurs." Here, then, the faith of the two Governments _is
pledged to_ abstain from acts of jurisdiction until all is settled. Now,
how are the facts? We understand, and indeed it appears by documents
herewith exhibited, that an act has passed the legislature of New
Brunswick "incorporating the St. Andrews and Quebec Railroad Company,"
that the King has granted, £10,000 to aid the enterprise, and that the
legislature of Lower Canada, by its resolutions of both houses, has
approved the scheme and promised its cooperation. It may be that the
Government at home was not aware that this railroad must inevitably
cross the disputed territory.

But this ignorance of the subject seems incredible. A railroad from St.
Andrews to Quebec would be _impossible_ unless it crossed the territory
in question, even next to impossible and totally useless were it to pass
at the north of the St. John. It seems, therefore, extraordinary indeed
that the British Government, even in the incipient stages of this
enterprise, should make an appropriation which is in direct violation
of its solemn pledge. To give to a railroad corporation powers over our
rights and property is the strongest act of sovereignty. It is an act of
delegated power which we ourselves give to our own citizens with extreme
caution and with guarded restrictions and reservations. This railroad
_must_ not only cross the disputed territory, but it crosses it 50 miles
south of the St. John and almost to the southerly extremity of the
British claim, extravagant as it is. By the map herewith exhibited of
the survey of the route it appears that the road crosses our due north
line at Mars Hill, thence doubling round it toward the south it crosses
the _Roostic_ between the Great and Little _Machias_, the _Allegwash_
at the outlet of _First Lake_, a branch of the St. John south of _Black
River_, and passes into Canada between "Spruce Hills" on the right and
"Three Hills" on the left, thus crossing a tract of country south of the
St. John 100 by 50 miles. We have not a copy of the act of incorporation
of New Brunswick, and can not, therefore, say that the route there
defined is the same as on the map. Be this as it may, certain it is, as
anyone will see, that no possible route can be devised which will not
cross the territory in question. It is, then, a deliberate act of power,
palpable and direct, claiming and exercising sovereignty far south even
of the line recommended by the King of the Netherlands.

In all our inquiries and examinations of this subject there has been
great negligence in regard to this northwest angle. Judge Benson, one of
the commissioners under Jay's treaty, in a letter to the President of
the United States expressly and clearly defines this angle. He states
distinctly that the due north line from the source of the St. Croix is
_the west-side line_, and the highlands are _the north-side line_ which
form this angle, and this had never been questioned by the British
themselves.

This due north line, viz, the west-side line, was established by the
commission of which Judge Benson was a member, and the British have made
the north side line to be north of the Bay de Chaleurs, and yet with
these postulates to pretend that the points of intersection can not be
found is one of the greatest of their absurdities; and another absurdity
quite equal is that after passing west along the north shore of this
bay they would fall down nearly south more than 100 miles to Mars Hill,
about 60 miles from the south shore of the Province, at the Bay of
Passamaquoddy, which is part of the Bay of Fundy, and this point, too,
of so little inclination that it is a palpable perversion of language
to call it _an angle_, much more a northwest angle.

It is, indeed, time for us to begin to search, and in the right places,
too, in order to put a stop to these perpetual encroachments upon our
territory and rights. Our first object should be to ascertain and trace
the north boundary of Nova Scotia, which is the south boundary of the
Province of Quebec, and see if Canada comes as far down as Mars Hill.
And we should proceed to finish taking the elevations on the due north
line to some point where the waters divide. The General Government
should be immediately called on to execute the work, with the
cooperation of Massachusetts and Maine. Notice should be given to the
British authorities to unite in the undertaking, and if they refuse
our Government ought to proceed _ex parte_. The act would be entirely
pacific, as the object would be _to ascertain facts_--much more pacific
than the survey, _without notice_, of the St. Andrews and Quebec
Railroad through our territory, not for the purpose of ascertaining
a boundary, but to assume jurisdiction.

Your committee have gone through this tedious investigation with all the
deliberation, exactness, and candor which our time, means, and feelings
would allow. Our animadversions may in some instances have been strong,
and even severe, but we think we have expressed the sentiments and
feelings of the people of Maine, suffering under protracted injuries.
This State should take a firm, deliberate, and dignified stand, and one
which it will not retract. While it awards to the General Government
all its legitimate powers, it will not be forgetful of its own. We call
upon the President and Congress. We invoke that aid and sympathy of our
sister States which Maine has always accorded to them. We ask, nay we
demand, in the name of justice, HOW LONG we are to be thus trampled down
by a foreign people? And we trust we shall meet a cordial and patriotic
response in the heart of every republican of the Union.

Your committee therefore submit the following resolutions:

STATE OF MAINE.

RESOLVES relative to the northeastern boundary.

_Resolved_, That we view with much solicitude the British usurpations
and encroachments on the northeastern part of the territory of this
State.

_Resolved_, That pretensions so groundless and extravagant indicate a
spirit of hostility which we had no reason to expect from a nation with
whom we are at peace.

_Resolved_, That vigilance, resolution, firmness, and union on the part
of this State are necessary in this state of the controversy.

_Resolved_, That the governor be authorized and requested to call on the
President of the United States to cause the northeastern boundary of
this State to be explored and surveyed and monuments erected according
to the _treaty_ of 1783.

_Resolved_, That the cooperation of Massachusetts be requested.

_Resolved_, That our Senators in Congress be _instructed_ and our
Representatives _requested_ to endeavor to obtain a _speedy_ adjustment
of the controversy.

_Resolved_, That copies of this report and resolution be transmitted to
the governor of Massachusetts, the President of the United States, to
each of our Senators and Representatives in Congress, and other Senators
in Congress, and the governors of the several States.

[Passed house March 24, 1837; passed Senate and approved March 25, 1837.]



STATE OF MAINE, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

_Augusta, June 27, 1837_.

His Excellency MARTIN VAN BUREN,

_President of the United States_.

SIR: I lose no time in communicating to Your Excellency a copy of a
letter from Sir John Harvey, lieutenant-governor of the Province of New
Brunswick, and also of a letter from J.A. Maclauchlan to Sir John
Harvey, in relation to the arrest and imprisonment of Ebenezer S.
Greely.

I have the honor to be, with high consideration, your obedient servant,

ROBERT P. DUNLAP.



GOVERNMENT HOUSE,

_Frederickton, New Brunswick, June 12, 1837_

His Excellency the GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF MAINE.

SIR: Since I had the honor of addressing your excellency under date the
6th instant, announcing my assumption of the administration of this
government, a report has been laid before me by the warden of the
disputed territory, copy of which I feel it to be an act of courtesy
toward your excellency to lose no time in communicating to you.

In including the territory within the limits of the British claim in the
census which "Ebenezer Greely"' appears to have been instructed to take
of the population of the county of "Penobscot" he has evidently acted in
ignorance or under a misconception of the subsisting relations betwixt
England and the United States of America, which I can not allow myself
to doubt that your excellency will lose no time in causing to be
explained and removed. Though necessarily committed to confinement,
I have desired that every regard may be shown to Greely's personal
convenience consistent with the position in which he has _voluntarily_
placed himself. I use this expression because, as your excellency will
observe, Greely was informed by the warden that if he would desist from
the act in which he was engaged and the language which he was holding
to the people of the Madawaska settlement (acts constituting not only
an interference with the acknowledged rights of jurisdiction of this
Province, but the positive exercise within its limits of actual
jurisdiction, however unauthorized on the part of the State of Maine)
and would withdraw from this district he should be allowed to do so;
otherwise that in the discharge of the duties imposed upon him by his
office he (the warden), who is in the commission of the peace, must
be under the necessity of apprehending, in order to make him amenable
to the laws of the Province. This proposal Greely rejected, and was
accordingly committed to jail to be dealt with according to law. In the
meantime, as an evidence of my desire to cultivate the most friendly
understanding with the government of the State of which Greely is a
citizen, I lose no time in saying that upon receiving an assurance from
your excellency that your authority shall be exerted in restraining this
or any other citizen of the State of Maine from adopting proceedings
within the British limits (as claimed) calculated to infringe the
authority and jurisdiction of this Province and to disturb and unsettle
the minds of that portion of its inhabitants residing in the disputed
territories until the question in dispute be brought to a final
settlement Greely shall immediately be enlarged.

Trusting that your excellency will see in this proposition an anxious
desire on my part to redeem the pledge given in my communication of the
6th instant, I have the honor to be, your excellency's most obedient,
humble servant,

J. HARVEY,

_Major-General, Lieutenant-Governor, etc_.



FREDERICKTON, NEW BRUNSWICK, _June 10, 1837_.

His Excellency Major-General SIR JOHN HARVEY, K.C.H.,

_Lieutenant-Governor, etc._:

May it please your excellency: In obedience to your excellency's
instructions, communicated to me through the advocate-general in the
absence of the attorney and solicitor generals, I have now the honor to
report for the information of your excellency that I proceeded with the
least possible delay to the Madawaska settlement. On my arrival at the
Great Falls, 130 miles from hence, I was informed the American citizen
Ebenezer S. Greely had passed up the day previous for the purpose of
again proceeding with the census of the inhabitants of Madawaska under
authority from the State of Maine. Aware of the probable excitement
that would naturally arise between the two governments from this
circumstance, and at the same time fully convinced that His Majesty's
Government would but regret any unnecessary misunderstanding during the
pending negotiation, I thought it advisable to call upon Mr. Coombs,
a magistrate residing 12 miles above the Falls, and request him to
accompany me, which he readily did, to witness the conversation between
Mr. Greely and myself.

We then proceeded and overtook Mr. Greely a short distance above
Green River, about 24 miles from the Falls, having ascertained by the
inhabitants, as he passed up the river, that Mr. Greely was the whole
of the previous day employed in taking down their names, number of each
family, and stating they would shortly receive from the State of Maine a
sum of money not exceeding $3 for each head of family out of the surplus
revenue of the United States.

I required Mr. Greely to show me his instructions for exercising
authority in Madawaska, when he handed me a document, a copy of which
I beg to inclose your excellency, and after perusing the same I returned
it with my opinion that I really thought he (Mr. Greely) had mistaken
the intention of his instructions, as no allusion was made either to
that settlement or the territory in dispute, and therefore if he would
then desist in taking the census I would take no notice of what had
passed. Moreover, in reply to my advice and request, he (Mr. Greely)
remonstrated and attempted to make it appear that he would be fully
borne out by his government in what he had done, and it was also his
intention to complete the census if he was not prevented; this reply
I regret having left me no alternative but to make him a prisoner, which
I did on Wednesday, the 7th instant. On Friday evening I arrived in
Frederickton, and this morning (Saturday), by the advice of the
advocate-generals, I committed him to the gaol of the county of York.

I have the honor to be, your excellency's most obedient, humble servant,

J.A. MACLAUCHLAN,

_Warden of the Disputed Territory_.



STATE OF MAINE, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

_JUNE 19, 1837_.

His Excellency MARTIN VAN BUREN,

_President of the United States_.

SIR: I have the honor to inclose to Your Excellency the copy of a letter
which came to hand by the last mail, by which it appears that Ebenezer
S. Greely, esq., the agent employed by the county commissioners for the
county of Penobscot to take the census of the town of Madawaska, has
been arrested by the authorities of the Province of New Brunswick and is
now incarcerated in the jail at Frederickton.

In this state of things it becomes my painful duty to make this
communication to Your Excellency and to insist that prompt measures
be adopted by the Government of the United States to effect the early
release of the aforementioned citizen.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,

ROBERT P. DUNLAP.



FREDERICKTON, PROVINCE OF NEW BRUNSWICK,

_June 12, 1837_.

ROBERT P. DUNLAP, Esq.,

_Governor of Maine_.

SIR: On the 15th of May last I was appointed by the county
commissioners of Penobscot County to take the census of Madawaska. On
the 6th of June instant I was arrested by Mr. Maclauchlan, from this
place, and committed to jail by him, and there I now remain--in the
prison at Frederickton. I was committed on the 10th instant. I addressed
a letter to you on the 10th, which has gone by the way of St. Andrews.
Fearing that letter will not arrive soon, I write again to-day by way
of Houlton. I have described my arrest more particularly in my first
letter, which you will undoubtedly receive before long; therefore I
only give the facts in this, having a chance, by the assistance of
Mr. Lombard, of Hallowell, of forwarding this to Houlton privately.
I was employed in business of the State, and do expect my Government
will intercede and liberate me from prison in a foreign and adjacent
Province. I shall be pleased to receive a line from you expressing your
opinion, direction, etc.

I remain, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,

EBRN'R S. GREELY.



DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, June 26, 1837_.

His Excellency ROBERT P. DUNLAP, Esq.,

_Governor of Maine_.

SIR: I have the honor, by direction of the President, to acknowledge the
receipt of your letter to him of the 19th instant, inclosing the copy of
a communication dated the 12th of the same month addressed to you by
Ebenezer S. Greely, esq., the agent employed by the county commissioners
for the county of Penobscot to take the census of the town of Madawaska,
from which it appears that he has been arrested by the authorities of
the Province of New Brunswick and is now in confinement in the jail at
Frederickton, and insisting that prompt measures be adopted by the
Government of the United States to effect the early release of the
above-named citizen.

The circumstances attending this outrage as given in Mr. Greely's
letter are not sufficient, in the view of the President, to warrant
the interference of the Government at present. For what cause, at
what place, and by what authority the arrest was made is not stated.
The necessary explanations may be found, perhaps, in the previous
communication which Mr. Greely refers to as having been addressed to you
by him on the 10th June; if not, it is probable that you will easily be
able to obtain explicit information from other sources and communicate
it to this Department. It is indispensable that a full knowledge of
all the facts illustrative of the case should be in possession of the
Government before any formal application for redress can be properly
preferred.

In the meantime I have in conversation unofficially called the
attention of Mr. Fox, the British minister at Washington, to this
complaint, and he has given me an assurance that he will immediately
address a representation on the subject to the governor of New Brunswick
requesting, unless there shall be some very extraordinary reasons
against it, that Mr. Greely may be set at liberty.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

JOHN FORSYTH.



STATE OF MAINE, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

_Augusta, June 27, 1837_.

Hon. JOHN FORSYTH,

_Secretary of State of the United States_.

SIR: I would respectfully solicit copies of all documents and papers
in the Department of State of the United States in relation to the
subject of the northeastern boundary, with the exception of such as were
furnished this department by the General Government in the year 1827. It
is understood that copies have been furnished relative to this subject
down to the respective statements submitted by the two Governments to
the King of the Netherlands, but the arguments we have not been
furnished with.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT P. DUNLAP.



STATE OF MAINE, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

_July 3, 1837_.

Hon. JOHN FORSYTE,

_Secretary of State of United States_.

SIR: I have had the honor to receive yours of the 26th of June last,
in which, by direction of the President, you indicate that the
circumstances detailed in Mr. Greely's letter relative to his arrest
and imprisonment are not of themselves without further explanation
sufficient to justify the interference of the Government of the United
States. This information is received with some surprise and much
regret--surprise because I had understood Mr. Greely's communication to
show that while employed within the limits of this State and under its
authority on a business intrusted to him by the laws of the State he
was, without being charged or suspected of any other offense, seized and
transported to a foreign jail; regret inasmuch as the feelings of the
people of this State have been strongly excited by this outrage upon the
honor and sovereignty of Maine, and each additional day's confinement
which that unoffending citizen endures is adding to the indignation of
our citizens. I therefore hasten to lay before you a summary of the
transactions connected with this subject as they are gathered from
Mr. Greely's communications to this department. The facts are to be
considered the less indisputable because they are in the main confirmed
by the statements contained in the letter of the lieutenant-governor of
the Province of New Brunswick, by whose order the imprisonment was made,
and a copy of which I recently had the honor of transmitting to the
President.

On the 8th day of March last the legislature of this State passed an act
relative to the surplus revenue, a copy of which is inclosed,[2] to the
eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth sections of which I beg leave to refer
your attention. An additional act was passed on the 29th day of March
last, a copy of which I also inclose.[2] By this last-named act it
became the duty of the county commissioners of Penobscot County to cause
an enumeration to be taken of the inhabitants of said county residing
north of the surveyed and located townships. The tract thus defined
comprised the town of Madawaska, which was incorporated by this State
on the 15th of March, 1831. Pursuant to that requirement, the county
commissioners of said county appointed Ebenezer S. Greely to perform
that service, and, being duly commissioned, he forthwith proceeded to
the place designated and entered upon the required operations. Being
thus employed, he was on the 29th day of May last arrested by the
authorities of the Province of New Brunswick and conveyed to Woodstock,
in the county of Carleton, in said Province, but the sheriff of the
county refused to commit him to jail, and he was accordingly discharged.
He immediately returned to the Madawaska settlements to enter again upon
the duty intrusted to him. On the 6th day of June last he was arrested
a second time by the same authorities and committed to the jail at
Frederickton. It is for this act of obedience to the laws of his
government that Mr. Greely now lies incarcerated in a public jail in the
Province of New Brunswick. Is not redress urgently called for? Must not
this unoffending citizen be immediately released?

Permit me, sir, to add my confident belief that the President on this
presentation of the facts relative to this outrage upon the national as
well as the State rights will not fail to demand the immediate release
of Ebenezer S. Greely and to interpose suitable claims of indemnity for
the wrongs so wantonly enforced upon him.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT P. DUNLAP.

[Footnote 2: Omitted.]



DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, July 14, 1837_.

Hon. ROBERT P. DUNLAP,

_Governor of the State of Maine_.

SIR: Your letter of the 3d instant has been received. The surprise you
express that the information contained in the letter of Mr. Greely which
accompanied your former communication was not considered sufficient
to enable the President to make a formal application to the British
Government for his release has probably arisen from your not having
adverted particularly to the defects of his statement. It was not
expressly mentioned for what offense the arrest was made nor where it
took place--upon the territory in dispute between the United States and
Great Britain or beyond it. The character of the charge and the place at
which the offense was committed might have been inferred from what was
stated, but you must perceive the impropriety of a formal complaint
from one government to another founded upon inference when the means of
ascertaining and presenting the facts distinctly were within the power
of the party complaining; but although this Department felt itself
constrained by these considerations to delay a formal application to
the British Government for the release of Mr. Greely, it lost no time,
as has been already stated, in procuring the interference to that
end of the British minister near this Government; and I have now the
satisfaction to inform you that I have learnt from him that he has
opened a correspondence with the lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick,
which it is expected will lead to the release of Greely from confinement
without waiting for the decision of His Britannic Majesty's Government
on the whole question.

The information communicated to the Department since the receipt of
your letter of the 3d instant is sufficiently explicit, and a note
founded upon it has been, by direction of the President, addressed to
Mr. Stevenson, instructing him to demand the immediate liberation of
Mr. Greely and indemnity for his imprisonment.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,

JOHN FORSYTH.

P.S.--The papers asked for in your letter of the 27th ultimo will be
sent to you.



DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, July 19, 1837_.

Hon. ROBERT P. DUNLAP,

_Governor of Maine_.

SIR: In compliance with the request contained in your letter of the
27th ultimo, I have the honor to transmit to you a printed volume
containing a statement on the part of the United States of the case
referred, in pursuance of the convention of the 29th September, 1827,
between the said States and Great Britain to the King of the Netherlands
for his decision thereon, and to refer you for such other papers and
documents in relation to the northeastern boundary as have not been
specially furnished by this Department to the executive of Maine to the
following numbers in the volumes of documents of the Senate and House
of Representatives distributed under a resolution of Congress, and
which have been from time to time transmitted to the several State
governments, including that of Maine:

Documents of the House of Representatives: First session Twentieth
Congress, Nos. 217, 218; second session Twentieth Congress, No. 90;
second session Twenty-third Congress, No. 62. Documents of the Senate:
First session Twenty-fourth Congress, No. 414.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,

JOHN FORSYTH.



STATE OF MAINE, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

_July 28, 1837_.

His Excellency MARTIN VAN BUREN,

_President of the United States_.

SIR: Impelled by a sense of duty arising from the oversight committed to
me of the rights and interests of this State, I beg leave to invite the
attention of Your Excellency to the subject of the northeastern boundary
of Maine. By the federal compact the obligation of defending each State
against foreign invasion and of protecting it in the exercise of its
jurisdictional rights up to its extreme line of boundary is devolved
upon the National Government. Permit me respectfully to inform the
President that in the opinion of the people of Maine the justice due
to this State in this respect has not been rendered.

Let it not be suspected that the discontents which are moving strongly
and deeply through the public mind flow from any deficiency of
attachment or practical adhesion to our National Government. Without
appealing to the blood so freely poured out in war by the citizens of
Maine, to the privations so cheerfully endured while the restrictive
measures of the Government were prostrating the most important interests
of this commercial people, or to the support of the Union so cordially
given through every vicissitude up to the present hour, such a
suspicion, if it could arise, would be sufficiently refuted by merely
adverting to the forbearance with which they have so long endured the
aggressions by a foreign government upon their sovereignty, their
citizens, and their soil.

It would be easy to prove that the territory of Maine extends to the
highlands north of the St. John; but that point, having been not only
admitted, but successful; demonstrated, by the Federal Government,
needs not now to be discussed. Candor, however, requires me to say that
this conceded and undeniable position ill accords with the proceedings
in which the British authorities have for many years been indulged, and
by which the rightful jurisdiction of Maine has been subverted, her
lands ravaged of their most valuable products, and her citizens dragged
beyond the limits of the State to undergo the sufferings and ignominies
of a foreign jail. These outrages have been made known to the Federal
Government; they have been the subject of repeated remonstrances by the
State, and these remonstrances seem as often to have been contemned. It
can not be deemed irrelevant for me here to ask, amid all these various
impositions, and while Maine has been vigorously employed in sustaining
the Union and in training her children to the same high standard of
devotion to the political institutions of the country, what relief has
been brought to us by the Federal Government. The invaders have not been
expelled. The sovereignty and soil of the State are yet stained by the
hostile machinations of resident emissaries of a foreign government. The
territory and the jurisdiction of 6,000,000 acres, our title to which
the Government of the United States has pronounced to be perfect, have,
without the knowledge of Maine, been once put entirely at hazard. Grave
discussions, treaty arrangements, and sovereign arbitration have been
resorted to, in which Maine was not permitted to speak, and they have
resulted not in removing the fictitious pretensions, but in supplying
new encouragements to the aggressors. Diplomatic ingenuity, the only
foundation of the British claim, has been arrayed against the perfect
right. In the meantime a stipulation made by the Executive of the
nation, without the knowledge of Maine, purported to preclude her
from reclaiming her rightful jurisdiction until the slow process of a
negotiation should be brought to a close. Whatever the real force of
that stipulation might be, made as it was without the concurrence of the
two branches of the treaty-making power, it was hoped when it expired
by the closing up of that negotiation that a measure fraught with such
hurtful consequences to Maine would not again be attempted; but that
hope was to be disappointed, and now, by a compact of similar character,
a writ of protection appears to have been spread by our own Government
over the whole mass of British aggressions. What, then, has the Federal
Government done for this State? May it not be said, in the language of
another, "Maine has not been treated as she endeavored to deserve"?

On the 22d day of April last I had the honor to transmit to Your
Excellency certain resolves passed by the legislature of this State
relative to the northeastern boundary, and in behalf of the State to
call upon the President of the United States to cause the line to be
explored and surveyed and monuments thereof erected. That this call,
made by direction of the legislature, did not extend to the expulsion
of invaders, but merely to the ascertainment of the treaty line, will,
I trust, be viewed as it was designed to be, not only as an evidence
of the continued forbearance of Maine, but as a testimonial of the
confidence she cherished that the Federal Executive would protect
the territory after its limitation should be ascertained. That this
application would meet with favor from the Federal Executive was
expected, more especially as Congress had made a specific appropriation
for the purpose. I will not attempt to conceal the mortification I have
realized that no reply has been made to that communication nor any
measures taken, so far as my information extends, for effecting the
object proposed.

It now remains that in the exercise of that faithfulness for which
I stand solemnly pledged to the people of Maine I should again commend
to the attention of the National Executive this apparently unwelcome but
really important subject.

I have, therefore, the honor again to request that the President will
cause the treaty line upon the northeastern limits of Maine to be run
and marked, and I can not but hope that on a reexamination of the
subject Your Excellency will concur with this State in relation to the
rightfulness and the necessity of the measure proposed, as well as to
all the remedies to be adopted for restoring to Maine the invaluable
rights from which she has so long been debarred.

I have the honor to be, with high consideration, your obedient servant,

ROBERT P. DUNLAP.



DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, August 17, 1837_.

His Excellency ROBERT P. DUNLAP,

_Governor of the State of Maine_.

SIR: Your letter of the 28th ultimo to the President was duly received.
It has been referred to this Department with instructions to make a
suitable reply.

Your excellency is of opinion that the Federal Government has for a
series of years failed to protect the State of Maine in the exercise of
her jurisdictional rights to the extent of her boundary, and complains
that these rights have been in consequence thereof subverted, the lands
of the State ravaged of their most valuable productions, and her
citizens subjected to imprisonment in a foreign jail. Your excellency
particularly objects to the course of the Federal Government for having,
without the knowledge of the State, put entirely at hazard the title of
Maine, admitted by the Government of the United States to be perfect,
to the territory in question by the resort to diplomatic discussions,
treaty arrangements, and foreign arbitration in which Maine was not
permitted to speak; for having entered into a stipulation without her
consent purporting to preclude the State from retaining her rightful
jurisdiction pending a negotiation, and for the continuance of it
after that negotiation was supposed to have been concluded, and for
an omission on the part of the Executive of the United States to comply
with an application of the State made through her legislature to
have the boundary line between Maine and the British North American
possessions explored, surveyed, and monuments erected thereon in
pursuance of the authority conferred on the President by Congress and
of a request made by your excellency, which is now renewed.

The views which your excellency has been pleased to take of the subject
at this time embrace measures some of which have long since ceased to be
operative and reach back to the propriety of the stipulations entered
into by the treaty of Ghent, also of the subsequent negotiation designed
to bring those stipulations to a satisfactory result in the mode
prescribed by that treaty--that of arbitrament. It being, as your
excellency states, the opinion of Maine that those proceedings were
unjust and unwise, it is, in a matter in which she is so deeply
interested, her undoubted right to say so; yet the President thinks
that he can not be mistaken in believing that no practical good can at
this time be expected from discussion between the Federal and State
Governments upon those points. That the measures referred to have not
been as fortunate in their results as was hoped is entirely true, but
your excellency may nevertheless be assured that they had their origin
in a sincere desire on the part of the Federal Government to discharge
all its duties toward the State of Maine as a member of the Union, and
were resorted to in the full belief that her just rights would be
promoted by their adoption.

In speaking of the restrictions imposed upon Maine in reclaiming her
rightful jurisdiction your excellency doubtlessly refers to the
understanding between the Federal Government and that of Great Britain
that each party should abstain from the exercise of jurisdiction over
the disputed territory during the pendency of negotiation. Unless it
be correct to say that the controversy was one that did not admit of
negotiation, and that the duty of the Federal Government consisted only
in an immediate resort to maintain the construction put by itself upon
its own rights and those of the State of Maine, there would seem to
be no reasonable objection to such an arrangement as that alluded to,
whether it be viewed in respect to the interests or the pacific and just
characters of the respective Governments. That this arrangement was
not abrogated at the period at which your excellency is understood to
suppose that it ought to have been done, viz, upon the failure of a
settlement of the controversy by arbitration, is explained by events of
subsequent occurrence. When the award of the arbitrator was submitted by
the late President to the Senate of the United States, that body refused
its advice and consent to the execution of the award, and passed a
resolution recommending to him to open a new negotiation with Great
Britain for the ascertainment of the boundary according to the treaty
of peace of 1783. That negotiation was forthwith entered upon by the
Executive, is still pending, and has been prosecuted with unremitting
assiduity. It is under such circumstances that the Federal Executive has
decided upon a continued compliance with the arrangement referred to,
and has insisted also upon its observance on the part of Great Britain.

Considerations of a similar nature have induced the President to refrain
hitherto from exercising the discretionary authority with which he is
invested to cause the boundary line in dispute to be explored, surveyed,
and monuments to be erected thereon. Coinciding with the government of
Maine on the question of the true boundary between the British Provinces
and the State, the President is yet bound by duty to consider the claim
which has been set up by a foreign power in amity with the United States
and the circumstances under which the negotiation for the adjustment
of that claim has been transmitted to him. It could not be useful
to examine the foundation of the British claim in a letter to your
excellency. Respect for the authorities of a friendly nation compels us
to admit that they have persuaded themselves that their claim is justly
grounded. However that may be, the present President of the United
States upon entering on the discharge of the duties of his office found
that a distinct proposition had been made by his predecessor for the
purpose of amicably settling this long-disputed controversy, to which no
answer has yet been received. Under such circumstances the President was
not able to satisfy himself, however anxious to gratify the people and
the legislature of Maine, that a step like that recommended by them
could be usefully or properly taken.

The clause containing the specific appropriation made by the last
Congress for exploring, surveying, and marking certain portions of the
northeastern boundary of the United States, to which your excellency
alludes, is by no means imperative in its character. The simple
legislative act of placing a sum of money under the control of the
Executive for a designated object is not understood to be a direction
that it must in any event be immediately applied to the prosecution of
that object. On the contrary, so far from implying that the end in view
is to be attained at all hazards, it is believed that it merely vests a
discretionary power in the President to carry out the views of Congress
on his own responsibility should contingencies arise to render expedient
the proposed expenditure.

Under existing circumstances the President deems it proper to wait for
the definitive answer of the British Government to the last proposition
offered by the United States. When received, a further communication to
your excellency may be found proper, and if so will be made without
unnecessary delay.

It can not be necessary to assure your excellency that the omission
to reply to your communication forwarding to this Department the
resolutions of the legislature of Maine did not in any degree arise
either from a want of respect for their wishes or for the wishes of your
excellency, or from indifference to the interests of the State. When
these resolutions were received, there was every reason at no distant
day to expect what is now daily looked for--a definitive answer to the
proposition just alluded to, to which the attention of the British
Government had been again forcibly invited about the time those
resolutions were on their passage. Under this expectation a reply to
the application from Maine was temporarily delayed; the more readily as
about the time of its reception the Representatives of Maine, acting in
reference to one of those resolutions, had a full and free conversation
with the President. The most recent proceedings relative to the question
of boundary were shown to them in this Department by his directions, and
the occasion thus afforded was cheerfully embraced of offering frank and
unreserved explanations of the President's views.

Of the recent events which have called the attention of the State of
Maine to the question of the northeastern boundary, and which have
been brought by it to the notice of the President, one--the arrest
and imprisonment of Mr. Greely--has already been made the subject of
communication with your excellency. All that it was competent for the
Federal Executive to do has been done. Redress has been demanded, will
be insisted upon, and is expected from that authority from whom alone
redress can properly be sought. The President has followed the same
course that was pursued by one of his predecessors and which was
understood to be satisfactory to the State of Maine under circumstances
of a somewhat similar character. In respect to the other--the projected
construction of a railroad between St. Andrews and Quebec--a
representation has been addressed to the British Government stating that
the proposed measure is inconsistent with the understanding between the
two Governments to preserve the _status quo_ in the disputed territory
until the question of boundary be satisfactorily adjusted, remonstrating
against the project as contrary to the American claim and demanding a
suspension of all further movements in execution of it. No answer has
yet been received to this communication. From an informal conversation
between the British minister at Washington and myself at the Department
of State, the President is, however, firm in the conviction that the
attempt to make the road in question will not be further prosecuted.

I am, in conclusion, directed to inform you that however unbounded may
be the confidence of the legislature and people of Maine in the justice
of their claim to the boundary contended for by the United States, the
President's is not less so; and your excellency may rest assured that
no exertions have been or shall be spared on his part to bring to a
favorable and speedy termination a question involving interests so
highly important to Maine and to the Union.

I have the honor to be, with high consideration, your excellency's
obedient servant,

JOHN FORSYTH.



DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, August 25, 1837_.

His Excellency ROBERT P. DUNLAP,

_Governor of Maine_.

SIR: I have the honor to transmit to your excellency, by direction
of the President, the copy of a note from the British minister
at Washington, dated yesterday, stating that the Government of
Her Britannic Majesty has been pleased to direct the immediate
discontinuance by the colonial authorities of Lower Canada and New
Brunswick, respectively, of all operations connected with the projected
railroad between the cities of Quebec and St. Andrews.

Mr. Fox took occasion on Wednesday last to inform me that Mr. Greely
had been discharged from imprisonment at Frederickton, a fact of which
doubtlessly your excellency has been some time since apprised.

I have the honor to be, with high consideration, your excellency's
obedient servant,

JOHN FORSYTH.



DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, March 23, 1837_.

HENRY S. FOX, Esq., etc.:

The undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, has the honor,
by direction of the President, to invite the attention of Mr. Fox, His
Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary,
to a subject which from its high importance demands the prompt
consideration of His Majesty's Government.

It appears from representations and documents recently received at the
Department of State that a number of inhabitants of the town of St.
Andrews, in New Brunswick, associated themselves together in the year
1835, by the name of the St. Andrews and Quebec Railroad Association,
for the purpose of bringing into public notice the practicability of
constructing a railway between those ports, and that sundry resolutions
were passed in furtherance of this object; that the project was
sanctioned and patronized by the governor in chief of British North
America, the lieutenant-governors of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and
the legislatures and people of the Provinces of Lower Canada and New
Brunswick; that the route of the proposed railroad had been explored as
far as the head waters of the St. John River by surveyors employed by
the association; that an act has actually passed the legislature of
New Brunswick incorporating this company, and that a similar act was
expected to be passed in Lower Canada; that letters were addressed to
the boards of trade of Quebec and Montreal requesting their cooperation;
that these communications were favorably received, and that petitions
had been forwarded to His Britannic Majesty, signed by committees of the
association and by inhabitants of the cities of Quebec and Montreal,
soliciting the construction of a railway between the ports above named,
or the extension of royal aid and protection to the petitioners in the
proposed undertaking.

Without allowing himself for a moment to believe that His Britannic
Majesty's Government will in any manner countenance the projected
railroad from St. Andrews to Quebec when the slightest inspection of the
map of the country which it crosses will show that its intended location
would be for a great portion of the route an encroachment upon the
territory in dispute between the United States and Great Britain, the
President yet sees cause for painful surprise and deep regret in the
fact that the civil authorities of His Majesty's Provinces on our
northeastern borders should have lent their encouragement to or should
in any wise have promoted an undertaking which if persevered in will
inevitably lead to the most disastrous consequences. The object of the
association from its inception was objectionable, since it could only be
effected by entering upon territory the title to which was controverted
and unsettled--a proceeding which could not fail to be offensive to the
Government and people of the United States. Still more unjustifiable was
the act of sovereignty giving to this company corporate powers over
property known to be claimed by citizens of a friendly and neighboring
State, and which constituted at the time the subject of an amicable
negotiation between the Government of His Majesty and that of the
United States. The President regrets to see in this step on the part of
His Majesty's provincial authorities and subjects a most exceptionable
departure from the principle of continuing to abstain during the
progress of negotiation from any extension of the exercise of
jurisdiction within the disputed territory on either side, the propriety
of which has been hitherto so sedulously inculcated and so distinctly
acquiesced in by both parties. An understanding that this principle
should be observed by them was the natural result of the respective
positions and pacific intentions of the two Governments, and could alone
prevent the exercise of asserted rights by force. Without it the end of
all negotiation on the subject would have been defeated. If, therefore,
nothing had been said by either party relative to such an understanding,
it would have been proper to infer that a tacit agreement to that effect
existed between the two Governments. But the correspondence between them
is sufficiently full and explicit to prevent all misconception. The
views of both Governments in respect to it will be found in the letters
of the Secretary of State to the minister of Great Britain dated the
18th of January, 1826, 9th of January, 11th of March, and 11th of May,
1829, and of the British minister to the Secretary of State dated 15th
of November and 2d of December, 1825; 16th of January, 1827; 18th of
February and 25th of March, 1828, and 14th of April, 1833, as well as
in other communications, which it is deemed needless now to designate.

The undersigned is directed by the President to inform Mr. Fox that
the prosecution of the enterprise above referred to will be regarded
by this Government as a deliberate infringement of the rights of the
United States to the territory in question and as an unwarrantable
assumption of jurisdiction therein by the British Government, and the
undersigned is instructed to urge the prompt adoption of such measures
as may be deemed most appropriate by His Majesty's Government to suspend
any further movements in execution of the proposed railroad from St.
Andrews to Quebec during the continuance of the pending negotiations
between the two Governments relative to the northeastern boundary of
the United States.

The proceedings above alluded to, considered in connection with
incidents on other parts of the disputed boundary line well known to
His Majesty's ministers, would seem to render it indispensable to the
maintenance of those liberal and friendly relations between the two
countries which both Governments are so sincerely anxious to preserve
that they should come to a speedy adjustment of the subject. The recent
resolutions of the State of Maine, to which the projected railroad from
St. Andrews to Quebec gave rise, requesting the President of the United
States to cause the line established by the treaty of 1783 to be run and
monuments to be established thereon, and the appropriation of $20,000
by Congress at their late session to enable the Executive to carry that
request into effect, with a subsequent earnest application from the
Representatives of Maine for an immediate compliance with it, afford
additional incentives to exertion to bring this controversy to a
conclusion not to be disregarded by the President of the United States.

The President therefore awaits with great anxiety the decision of His
Majesty's Government on the proposition made by the undersigned to His
Majesty's chargé d'affaires at Washington in February, 1836, suggesting
the river St. John, from its mouth to its source, as an eligible and
convenient line of boundary. No small degree of disappointment has been
felt that this decision, already long expected, has not been given, but
the hope is entertained that the result of this protracted deliberation
will prove favorable to the wishes of the President, and that even
if that proposition be not acceded to by His Britannic Majesty some
definitive offer looking to a prompt termination of the controversy
will be made without further delay.

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

JOHN FORSYTH.



WASHINGTON, _March 28, 1837_.
  Hon. JOHN FORSYTH, etc.:

The undersigned, His Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary, has had the honor to receive the official note
addressed to him under date of the 23d instant by Mr. Forsyth, Secretary
of State of the United States, upon the subject of information received
by the United States Government of a projected railroad between the
cities of Quebec and St. Andrews, and upon certain other matters
connected with the question of the boundary line between the United
States and the British possessions in North America.

The undersigned, in accordance with the wishes of the President
signified in Mr. Forsyth's official note, will not fail immediately
to convey that note to the knowledge of his Government at home; and he
entertains no doubt that His Majesty's Government will proceed to the
consideration of the several matters therein contained with the serious
and ready attention that their importance deserves.

The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to Mr. Forsyth
the assurance of his high esteem and consideration.

H.S. FOX.



WASHINGTON, _August 24, 1837_.

Hon. JOHN FORSYTH, etc.

SIR: With reference to the official note which, by direction of the
President, you addressed to me on the 23d of March last, respecting a
projected railroad between the cities of Quebec and St. Andrews, which
it was apprehended would, if carried into effect, traverse a part of
the territory at present in dispute between Great Britain and the
United States, I am now enabled to inform you that, in consideration of
the arguments and observations contained in your note, Her Majesty's
Government has been pleased to direct the colonial authorities of
Lower Canada and New Brunswick, respectively, to cause all operations
connected with the above-mentioned project within the limits of the
disputed territory to be immediately discontinued.

I have the honor to be, sir, with high respect and consideration, your
most obedient and humble servant,

H.S. FOX.



_Mr. Stevenson to Lord Palmerston_.

[Extract.]

23 PORTLAND PLACE, _August 10, 1837_.

The undersigned will avail himself of the occasion to remind Lord
Palmerston of the urgency which exists for the immediate and final
adjustment of this long-pending controversy [respecting the northeastern
boundary] and the increased obstacles which will be thrown in the way
of its harmonious settlement by these repeated collisions of authority
and the exercise of exclusive jurisdiction by either party within the
disputed territory.

He begs leave also to repeat to his lordship assurances of the
earnest and unabated desire which the President feels that the
controversy should be speedily and amicably settled, and to express the
anxiety with which the Government of the United States is waiting the
promised decision of Her Majesty's Government upon the proposition
submitted to it as far back as July, 1836, and which the undersigned
had been led to believe would long since have been given; and he has
been further directed to say that should this proposition be disapproved
the President entertains the hope that some new one, on the part of
Her Majesty's Government, will immediately be made for the final and
favorable termination of this protracted and deeply exciting
controversy.

The undersigned begs Lord Palmerston to receive renewed assurances of
his distinguished consideration.

A. STEVENSON.



WASHINGTON, _September 26, 1837_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with that part of the resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 9th of January last which relates to the
diplomatic correspondence of the late William Tudor while chargé
d'affaires of the United States to Brazil, I transmit a report from
the Secretary of State, together with the documents by which it was
accompanied.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _September 30, 1837_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
United States of the 13th instant, respecting an annexation of Texas to
the United States, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and
the documents by which it was accompanied.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _September 30, 1837_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit to the House of Representatives a report of the Secretary of
State, containing the information requested by their resolution of the
19th instant, together with the documents by which the report was
accompanied.

M. VAN BUREN.



DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, September 29, 1837_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:

The Secretary of State, to whom was referred a resolution of the House
of Representatives of the 19th instant, requesting the President to
communicate to that House what measures have been adopted since the
adjournment of the last Congress in relation to the tobacco trade
between the United States and foreign countries, also such information
as he may have received from our ministers or other agents abroad in
relation to the same, has the honor to report that since the adjournment
of the last Congress instructions have been given to the diplomatic
representatives of this country at the Courts of Great Britain, France,
Russia, Prussia, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, and Belgium directing them
to endeavor to procure from the respective Governments to which they
are accredited the abolition or modification of the existing duties
and restrictions upon tobacco imported from the United States, and that
special agents have been appointed to collect information respecting
the importation, the cultivation, the manufacture, and consumption of
tobacco in the various States of Germany to which the United States have
not accredited representatives, and to prepare the way for negotiations
for the promotion of the interests of the tobacco trade with those
countries. A copy of the dispatches of the representatives of the United
States received upon this subject is herewith communicated.[3]

The special agents have proceeded to the execution of their duties, but
no report has as yet been received from either of them.

All which is respectfully submitted.

JOHN FORSYTH.

[Footnote 3: Omitted.]



WASHINGTON CITY, _October 2, 1837_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for the consideration of the Senate, a treaty
concluded with the Miami tribe of Indians by General Marshall in 1834,
with, explanatory documents from the Department of War, and ask its
advice in regard to the ratification of the original treaty with the
amendments proposed by the Secretary of War; the treaty, with the
amendments, in the event of its ratification by the United States,
to be again submitted to the chiefs and warriors of the Miami tribes
for their sanction or rejection.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _October 2, 1837_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
13th ultimo, concerning the boundary between the United States and the
Mexican Republic and a cession of territory belonging to the Mexican
Confederation to the United States, I transmit a report from the
Secretary of State and the documents by which it was accompanied.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _October, 1837_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I have the honor, in compliance with the resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 4th instant, to transmit the proceedings of the
court of inquiry in the case of Brevet Brigadier-General Wool.[4]

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 4: Respecting transactions in the Cherokee country.]



PROCLAMATION.


BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

A PROCLAMATION.


Whereas by an act of Congress of the United States of the 25th of May,
1832, entitled "An act to exempt the vessels of Portugal from the
payment of duties of tonnage," it was enacted as follows: "No duties
upon tonnage shall be hereafter levied or collected of the vessels of
the Kingdom of Portugal: _Provided, always_, That whenever the President
of the United States shall be satisfied that the vessels of the United
States are subjected in the ports of the Kingdom of Portugal to payment
of any duties of tonnage, he shall by proclamation declare the fact, and
the duties now payable by vessels of that Kingdom shall be levied and
paid as if this act had not been passed;" and

Whereas satisfactory evidence has been received by me not only that
the vessels of the United States are subjected in the ports of the
said Kingdom of Portugal to payment of duties of tonnage, but that a
discrimination exists in respect to those duties against the vessels
of the United States:

Now, therefore, I, Martin Van Buren, President of the United States
of America, do hereby declare that fact and proclaim that the duties
payable by vessels of the said Kingdom of Portugal on the 25th day of
May, 1832, shall henceforth be levied and paid as if the said act of
the 25th of May, 1832, had not been passed.

Given under my hand, at the city of Washington, the 11th day of October,
1837, and of the Independence of the United States the sixty-second.

M. VAN BUREN.

By the President:
  JOHN FORSYTH,
    _Secretary of State_.



FIRST ANNUAL MESSAGE.


WASHINGTON, _December 5, 1837_.

_Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives_:

We have reason to renew the expression of our devout gratitude to the
Giver of All Good for His benign protection. Our country presents on
every side the evidences of that continued favor under whose auspices
it has gradually risen from a few feeble and dependent colonies to a
prosperous and powerful confederacy. We are blessed with domestic
tranquillity and all the elements of national prosperity. The pestilence
which, invading for a time some flourishing portions of the Union,
interrupted the general prevalence of unusual health has happily been
limited in extent and arrested in its fatal career. The industry and
prudence of our citizens are gradually relieving them from the pecuniary
embarrassments under which portions of them have labored; judicious
legislation and the natural and boundless resources of the country have
afforded wise and timely aid to private enterprise, and the activity
always characteristic of our people has already in a great degree
resumed its usual and profitable channels.

The condition of our foreign relations has not materially changed since
the last annual message of my predecessor. We remain at peace with all
nations, and no efforts on my part consistent with the preservation of
our rights and the honor of the country shall be spared to maintain a
position so consonant to our institutions. We have faithfully sustained
the foreign policy with which the United States, under the guidance of
their first President, took their stand in the family of nations--that
of regulating their intercourse with other powers by the approved
principles of private life; asking and according equal rights and equal
privileges; rendering and demanding justice in all cases; advancing
their own and discussing the pretensions of others with candor,
directness, and sincerity; appealing at all times to reason, but never
yielding to force nor seeking to acquire anything for themselves by
its exercise.

A rigid adherence to this policy has left this Government with scarcely
a claim upon its justice for injuries arising from acts committed by
its authority. The most imposing and perplexing of those of the United
States upon foreign governments for aggressions upon our citizens were
disposed of by my predecessor. Independently of the benefits conferred
upon our citizens by restoring to the mercantile community so many
millions of which they had been wrongfully divested, a great service
was also rendered to his country by the satisfactory adjustment of so
many ancient and irritating subjects of contention; and it reflects no
ordinary credit on his successful administration of public affairs that
this great object was accomplished without compromising on any occasion
either the honor or the peace of the nation.

With European powers no new subjects of difficulty have arisen, and
those which were under discussion, although not terminated, do not
present a more unfavorable aspect for the future preservation of that
good understanding which it has ever been our desire to cultivate.

Of pending questions the most important is that which exists with the
Government of Great Britain in respect to our northeastern boundary. It
is with unfeigned regret that the people of the United States must look
back upon the abortive efforts made by the Executive, for a period of
more than half a century, to determine what no nation should suffer long
to remain in dispute--the true line which divides its possessions from
those of other powers. The nature of the settlements on the borders of
the United States and of the neighboring territory was for a season such
that this, perhaps, was not indispensable to a faithful performance of
the duties of the Federal Government. Time has, however, changed this
state of things, and has brought about a condition of affairs in which
the true interests of both countries imperatively require that this
question should be put at rest. It is not to be disguised that, with
full confidence, often expressed, in the desire of the British
Government to terminate it, we are apparently as far from its adjustment
as we were at the time of signing the treaty of peace in 1783. The sole
result of long-pending negotiations and a perplexing arbitration appears
to be a conviction on its part that a conventional line must be adopted,
from the impossibility of ascertaining the true one according to the
description contained in that treaty. Without coinciding in this
opinion, which is not thought to be well founded, my predecessor gave
the strongest proof of the earnest desire of the United States to
terminate satisfactorily this dispute by proposing the substitution
of a conventional line if the consent of the States interested in the
question could be obtained. To this proposition no answer has as yet
been received. The attention of the British Government has, however,
been urgently invited to the subject, and its reply can not, I am
confident, be much longer delayed. The general relations between Great
Britain and the United States are of the most friendly character, and
I am well satisfied of the sincere disposition of that Government to
maintain them upon their present footing. This disposition has also,
I am persuaded, become more general with the people of England than
at any previous period. It is scarcely necessary to say to you how
cordially it is reciprocated by the Government and people of the United
States. The conviction, which must be common to all, of the injurious
consequences that result from keeping open this irritating question, and
the certainty that its final settlement can not be much longer deferred,
will, I trust, lead to an early and satisfactory adjustment. At your
last session I laid before you the recent communications between the two
Governments and between this Government and that of the State of Maine,
in whose solicitude concerning a subject in which she has so deep an
interest every portion of the Union participates.

The feelings produced by a temporary interruption of those harmonious
relations between France and the United States which are due as well
to the recollections of former times as to a correct appreciation of
existing interests have been happily succeeded by a cordial disposition
on both sides to cultivate an active friendship in their future
intercourse. The opinion, undoubtedly correct, and steadily entertained
by us, that the commercial relations at present existing between the
two countries are susceptible of great and reciprocally beneficial
improvements is obviously gaining ground in France, and I am assured
of the disposition of that Government to favor the accomplishment of
such an object. This disposition shall be met in a proper spirit on our
part. The few and comparatively unimportant questions that remain to
be adjusted between us can, I have no doubt, be settled with entire
satisfaction and without difficulty.

Between Russia and the United States sentiments of good will continue to
be mutually cherished. Our minister recently accredited to that Court
has been received with a frankness and cordiality and with evidences of
respect for his country which leave us no room to doubt the preservation
in future of those amicable and liberal relations which have so long
and so uninterruptedly existed between the two countries. On the few
subjects under discussion between us an early and just decision is
confidently anticipated.

A correspondence has been opened with the Government of Austria for the
establishment of diplomatic relations, in conformity with the wishes of
Congress as indicated by an appropriation act of the session of 1837,
and arrangements made for the purpose, which will be duly carried
into effect.

With Austria and Prussia and with the States of the German Empire (now
composing with the latter the Commercial League) our political relations
are of the most friendly character, whilst our commercial intercourse is
gradually extending, with benefit to all who are engaged in it.

Civil war yet rages in Spain, producing intense suffering to its own
people, and to other nations inconvenience and regret. Our citizens
who have claims upon that country will be prejudiced for a time by the
condition of its treasury, the inevitable consequence of long-continued
and exhausting internal wars. The last installment of the interest of
the debt due under the convention with the Queen of Spain has not been
paid and similar failures may be expected to happen until a portion of
the resources of her Kingdom can be devoted to the extinguishment of
its foreign debt.

Having received satisfactory evidence that discriminating tonnage
duties were charged upon the vessels of the United States in the ports
of Portugal, a proclamation was issued on the 11th day of October last,
in compliance with the act of May 25, 1832, declaring that fact, and the
duties on foreign tonnage which were levied upon Portuguese vessels in
the United States previously to the passage of that act are accordingly
revived.

The act of July 4, 1836, suspending the discriminating duties upon
the produce of Portugal imported into this country in Portuguese
vessels, was passed, upon the application of that Government through its
representative here, under the belief that no similar discrimination
existed in Portugal to the prejudice of the United States. I regret to
state that such duties are now exacted in that country upon the cargoes
of American vessels, and as the act referred to vests no discretion in
the Executive, it is for Congress to determine upon the expediency of
further legislation on the subject. Against these discriminations
affecting the vessels of this country and their cargoes seasonable
remonstrance was made, and notice was given to the Portuguese Government
that unless they should be discontinued the adoption of countervailing
measures on the part of the United States would become necessary; but
the reply of that Government, received at the Department of State
through our chargé d'affaires at Lisbon in the month of September last,
afforded no ground to hope for the abandonment of a system so little in
harmony with the treatment shown to the vessels of Portugal and their
cargoes in the ports of this country and so contrary to the expectations
we had a right to entertain.

With Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Naples, and Belgium a friendly
intercourse has been uninterruptedly maintained.

With the Government of the Ottoman Porte and its dependencies on the
coast of the Mediterranean peace and good will are carefully cultivated,
and have been fostered by such good offices as the relative distance and
the condition of those countries would permit.

Our commerce with Greece is carried on under the laws of the two
Governments, reciprocally beneficial to the navigating interests of
both; and I have reason to look forward to the adoption of other
measures which will be more extensively and permanently advantageous.

Copies of the treaties concluded with the Governments of Siam and Muscat
are transmitted for the information of Congress, the ratifications
having been received and the treaties made public since the close of the
last annual session. Already have we reason to congratulate ourselves on
the prospect of considerable commercial benefit; and we have, besides,
received from the Sultan of Muscat prompt evidence of his desire to
cultivate the most friendly feelings, by liberal acts toward one of
our vessels, bestowed in a manner so striking as to require on our part
a grateful acknowledgment.

Our commerce with the islands of Cuba and Porto Rico still labors under
heavy restrictions, the continuance of which is a subject of regret. The
only effect of an adherence to them will be to benefit the navigation of
other countries at the expense of both the United States and Spain.

The independent nations of this continent have ever since they
emerged from the colonial state experienced severe trials in their
progress to the permanent establishment of liberal political
institutions. Their unsettled condition not only interrupts their own
advances to prosperity, but has often seriously injured the other powers
of the world. The claims of our citizens upon Peru, Chili, Brazil, the
Argentine Republic, the Governments formed out of the Republics of
Colombia and Mexico, are still pending, although many of them have
been presented for examination more than twenty years. New Granada,
Venezuela, and Ecuador have recently formed a convention for the purpose
of ascertaining and adjusting claims upon the Republic of Colombia,
from which it is earnestly hoped our citizens will ere long receive
full compensation for the injuries inflicted upon them and for the delay
in affording it.

An advantageous treaty of commerce has been concluded by the
United States with the Peru-Bolivian Confederation, which wants only
the ratification of that Government. The progress of a subsequent
negotiation for the settlement of claims upon Peru has been unfavorably
affected by the war between that power and Chili and the Argentine
Republic, and the same event is also likely to produce delays in the
settlement of our demands on those powers.

The aggravating circumstances connected with our claims upon Mexico and
a variety of events touching the honor and integrity of our Government
led my predecessor to make at the second session of the last Congress a
special recommendation of the course to be pursued to obtain a speedy
and final satisfaction of the injuries complained of by this Government
and by our citizens. He recommended a final demand of redress, with a
contingent authority to the Executive to make reprisals if that demand
should be made in vain. From the proceedings of Congress on that
recommendation it appeared that the opinion of both branches of the
Legislature coincided with that of the Executive, that any mode of
redress known to the law of nations might justifiably be used. It was
obvious, too, that Congress believed with the President that another
demand should be made, in order to give undeniable and satisfactory
proof of our desire to avoid extremities with a neighboring power, but
that there was an indisposition to vest a discretionary authority in
the Executive to take redress should it unfortunately be either denied
or unreasonably delayed by the Mexican Government.

So soon as the necessary documents were prepared, after entering upon
the duties of my office, a special messenger was sent to Mexico to make
a final demand of redress, with the documents required by the provisions
of our treaty. The demand was made on the 20th of July last. The reply,
which bears date the 29th of the same month, contains assurances of a
desire on the part of that Government to give a prompt and explicit
answer respecting each of the complaints, but that the examination of
them would necessarily be deliberate; that in this examination it
would be guided by the principles of public law and the obligation
of treaties; that nothing should be left undone that might lead to
the most speedy and equitable adjustment of our demands, and that its
determination in respect to each case should be communicated through
the Mexican minister here.

Since that time an envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary
has been accredited to this Government by that of the Mexican Republic.
He brought with him assurances of a sincere desire that the pending
differences between the two Governments should be terminated in
a manner satisfactory to both. He was received with reciprocal
assurances, and a hope was entertained that his mission would lead
to a speedy, satisfactory, and final adjustment of all existing subjects
of complaint. A sincere believer in the wisdom of the pacific policy by
which the United States have always been governed in their intercourse
with foreign nations, it was my particular desire, from the proximity
of the Mexican Republic and well-known occurrences on our frontier,
to be instrumental in obviating all existing difficulties with that
Government and in restoring to the intercourse between the two Republics
that liberal and friendly character by which they should always be
distinguished. I regret, therefore, the more deeply to have found in the
recent communications of that Government so little reason to hope that
any future efforts of mine for the accomplishment of those desirable
objects would be successful.

Although the larger number--and many of them aggravated cases of
personal wrongs--have been now for years before the Mexican Government,
and some of the causes of national complaint, and those of the most
offensive character, admitted of immediate, simple, and satisfactory
replies, it is only within a few days past that any specific
communication in answer to our last demand, made five months ago, has
been received from the Mexican minister. By the report of the Secretary
of State herewith presented and the accompanying documents it will be
seen that for not one of our public complaints has satisfaction been
given or offered, that but one of the cases of personal wrong has been
favorably considered, and that but four cases of both descriptions out
of all those formally presented and earnestly pressed have as yet been
decided upon by the Mexican Government.

Not perceiving in what manner any of the powers given to the Executive
alone could be further usefully employed in bringing this unfortunate
controversy to a satisfactory termination, the subject was by my
predecessor referred to Congress as one calling for its interposition.
In accordance with the clearly understood wishes of the Legislature,
another and formal demand for satisfaction has been made upon the
Mexican Government, with what success the documents now communicated
will show. On a careful and deliberate examination of their contents,
and considering the spirit manifested by the Mexican Government, it
has become my painful duty to return the subject as it now stands to
Congress, to whom it belongs to decide upon the time, the mode, and
the measure of redress. Whatever may be your decision, it shall be
faithfully executed, confident that it will be characterized by that
moderation and justice which will, I trust, under all circumstances
govern the councils of our country.

The balance in the Treasury on the 1st January, 1837, was $45,968,523.
The receipts during the present year from all sources, including
the amount of Treasury notes issued, are estimated at $23,499,981,
constituting an aggregate of $69,468,504. Of this amount about
$35,281,361 will have been expended at the end of the year on
appropriations made by Congress, and the residue, amounting to
$34,187,143, will be the nominal balance in the Treasury on the
1st of January next; but of that sum only $1,085,498 is considered as
immediately available for and applicable to public purposes. Those
portions of it which will be for some time unavailable consist chiefly
of sums deposited with the States and due from the former deposit banks.
The details upon this subject will be found in the annual report of the
Secretary of the Treasury. The amount of Treasury notes which it will be
necessary to issue during the year on account of those funds being
unavailable will, it is supposed, not exceed four and a half millions.
It seemed proper, in the condition of the country, to have the estimates
on all subjects made as low as practicable without prejudice to any
great public measures. The Departments were therefore desired to prepare
their estimates accordingly, and I am happy to find that they have been
able to graduate them on so economical a scale. In the great and often
unexpected fluctuations to which the revenue is subjected it is not
possible to compute the receipts beforehand with great certainty,
but should they not differ essentially from present anticipations,
and should the appropriations not much exceed the estimates, no
difficulty seems likely to happen in defraying the current expenses
with promptitude and fidelity.

Notwithstanding the great embarrassments which have recently
occurred in commercial affairs, and the liberal indulgence which in
consequence of these embarrassments has been extended to both the
merchants and the banks, it is gratifying to be able to anticipate that
the Treasury notes which have been issued during the present year will
be redeemed and that the resources of the Treasury, without any resort
to loans or increased taxes, will prove ample for defraying all charges
imposed on it during 1838.

The report of the Secretary of the Treasury will afford you a more
minute exposition of all matters connected with the administration of
the finances during the current year--a period which for the amount of
public moneys disbursed and deposited with the States, as well as the
financial difficulties encountered and overcome, has few parallels in
our history.

Your attention was at the last session invited to the necessity of
additional legislative provisions in respect to the collection,
safe-keeping, and transfer of the public money. No law having been then
matured, and not understanding the proceedings of Congress as intended
to be final, it becomes my duty again to bring the subject to your
notice.

On that occasion three modes of performing this branch of the public
service were presented for consideration. These were, the creation of
a national bank; the revival, with modifications, of the deposit system
established by the act of the 23d of June, 1836, permitting the use
of the public moneys by the banks; and the discontinuance of the use of
such institutions for the purposes referred to, with suitable provisions
for their accomplishment through the agency of public officers.
Considering the opinions of both Houses of Congress on the first two
propositions as expressed in the negative, in which I entirely concur,
it is unnecessary for me again to recur to them. In respect to the last,
you have had an opportunity since your adjournment not only to test
still further the expediency of the measure by the continued practical
operation of such parts of it as are now in force, but also to discover
what should ever be sought for and regarded with the utmost
deference--the opinions and wishes of the people.

The national will is the supreme law of the Republic, and on all
subjects within the limits of his constitutional powers should be
faithfully obeyed by the public servant. Since the measure in question
was submitted to your consideration most of you have enjoyed the
advantage of personal communication with your constituents. For one
State only has an election been held for the Federal Government;
but the early day at which it took place deprived the measure under
consideration of much of the support it might otherwise have derived
from the result. Local elections for State officers have, however,
been held in several of the States, at which the expediency of the plan
proposed by the Executive has been more or less discussed. You will,
I am confident, yield to their results the respect due to every
expression of the public voice. Desiring, however, to arrive at truth
and a just view of the subject in all its bearings, you will at the same
time remember that questions of far deeper and more immediate local
interest than the fiscal plans of the National Treasury were involved in
those elections. Above all, we can not overlook the striking fact that
there were at the time in those States more than one hundred and sixty
millions of bank capital, of which large portions were subject to actual
forfeiture, other large portions upheld only by special and limited
legislative indulgences, and most of it, if not all, to a greater or
less extent dependent for a continuance of its corporate existence upon
the will of the State legislatures to be then chosen. Apprised of this
circumstance, you will judge whether it is not most probable that the
peculiar condition of that vast interest in these respects, the extent
to which it has been spread through all the ramifications of society,
its direct connection with the then pending elections, and the feelings
it was calculated to infuse into the canvass have exercised a far
greater influence over the result than any which could possibly have
been produced by a conflict of opinion in respect to a question in the
administration of the General Government more remote and far less
important in its bearings upon that interest.

I have found no reason to change my own opinion as to the expediency
of adopting the system proposed, being perfectly satisfied that there
will be neither stability nor safety either in the fiscal affairs
of the Government or in the pecuniary transactions of individuals and
corporations so long as a connection exists between them which, like
the past, offers such strong inducements to make them the subjects
of political agitation. Indeed, I am more than ever convinced of
the dangers to which the free and unbiased exercise of political
opinion--the only sure foundation and safeguard of republican
government--would be exposed by any further increase of the already
overgrown influence of corporate authorities. I can not, therefore,
consistently with my views of duty, advise a renewal of a connection
which circumstances have dissolved.

The discontinuance of the use of State banks for fiscal purposes ought
not to be regarded as a measure of hostility toward those institutions.
Banks properly established and conducted are highly useful to the
business of the country, and will doubtless continue to exist in the
States so long as they conform to their laws and are found to be safe
and beneficial. How they should be created, what privileges they should
enjoy, under what responsibilities they should act, and to what
restrictions they should be subject are questions which, as I observed
on a previous occasion, belong to the States to decide. Upon their
rights or the exercise of them the General Government can have no motive
to encroach. Its duty toward them is well performed when it refrains
from legislating for their special benefit, because such legislation
would violate the spirit of the Constitution and be unjust to other
interests; when it takes no steps to impair their usefulness, but so
manages its own affairs as to make it the interest of those institutions
to strengthen and improve their condition for the security and welfare
of the community at large. They have no right to insist on a connection
with the Federal Government, nor on the use of the public money for
their own benefit. The object of the measure under consideration is to
avoid for the future a compulsory connection of this kind. It proposes
to place the General Government, in regard to the essential points of
the collection, safe-keeping, and transfer of the public money, in a
situation which shall relieve it from all dependence on the will of
irresponsible individuals or corporations; to withdraw those moneys from
the uses of private trade and confide them to agents constitutionally
selected and controlled by law; to abstain from improper interference
with the industry of the people and withhold inducements to improvident
dealings on the part of individuals; to give stability to the concerns
of the Treasury; to preserve the measures of the Government from the
unavoidable reproaches that flow from such a connection, and the banks
themselves from the injurious effects of a supposed participation in the
political conflicts of the day, from which they will otherwise find it
difficult to escape.

These are my views upon this important subject, formed after careful
reflection and with no desire but to arrive at what is most likely
to promote the public interest. They are now, as they were before,
submitted with unfeigned deference for the opinions of others. It was
hardly to be hoped that changes so important on a subject so interesting
could be made without producing a serious diversity of opinion; but
so long as those conflicting views are kept above the influence of
individual or local interests, so long as they pursue only the general
good and are discussed with moderation and candor, such diversity is a
benefit, not an injury. If a majority of Congress see the public welfare
in a different light, and more especially if they should be satisfied
that the measure proposed would not be acceptable to the people, I shall
look to their wisdom to substitute such as may be more conducive to
the one and more satisfactory to the other. In any event, they may
confidently rely on my hearty cooperation to the fullest extent to
which my views of the Constitution and my sense of duty will permit.

It is obviously important to this branch of the public service and to
the business and quiet of the country that the whole subject should in
some way be settled and regulated by law, and, if possible, at your
present session. Besides the plans above referred to, I am not aware
that any one has been suggested except that of keeping the public money
in the State banks in special deposit. This plan is to some extent in
accordance with the practice of the Government and with the present
arrangements of the Treasury Department, which, except, perhaps, during
the operation of the late deposit act, has always been allowed, even
during the existence of a national bank, to make a temporary use of the
State banks in particular places for the safe-keeping of portions of the
revenue. This discretionary power might be continued if Congress deem it
desirable, whatever general system be adopted. So long as the connection
is voluntary we need, perhaps, anticipate few of those difficulties and
little of that dependence on the banks which must attend every such
connection when compulsory in its nature and when so arranged as to make
the banks a fixed part of the machinery of government. It is undoubtedly
in the power of Congress so to regulate and guard it as to prevent the
public money from being applied to the use or intermingled with the
affairs of individuals. Thus arranged, although it would not give to
the Government that entire control over its own funds which I desire to
secure to it by the plan I have proposed, it would, it must be admitted,
in a great degree accomplish one of the objects which has recommended
that plan to my judgment--the separation of the fiscal concerns of the
Government from those of individuals or corporations.

With these observations I recommend the whole matter to your
dispassionate reflection, confidently hoping that some conclusion may
be reached by your deliberations which on the one hand shall give
safety and stability to the fiscal operations of the Government, and
be consistent, on the other, with the genius of our institutions and
with the interests and wishes of the great mass of our constituents.

It was my hope that nothing would occur to make necessary on
this occasion any allusion to the late national bank. There are
circumstances, however, connected with the present state of its affairs
that bear so directly on the character of the Government and the welfare
of the citizen that I should not feel myself excused in neglecting to
notice them. The charter which terminated its banking privileges on the
4th of March, 1836, continued its corporate power two years more for
the sole purpose of closing its affairs, with authority "to use the
corporate name, style, and capacity for the purpose of suits for a final
settlement and liquidation of the affairs and acts of the corporation,
and for the sale and disposition of their estate--real, personal, and
mixed--but for no other purpose or in any other manner whatsoever." Just
before the banking privileges ceased, its effects were transferred by
the bank to a new State institution, then recently incorporated, in
trust, for the discharge of its debts and the settlement of its affairs.
With this trustee, by authority of Congress, an adjustment was
subsequently made of the large interest which the Government had in the
stock of the institution. The manner in which a trust unexpectedly
created upon the act granting the charter, and involving such great
public interests, has been executed would under any circumstances be a
fit subject of inquiry; but much more does it deserve your attention
when it embraces the redemption of obligations to which the authority
and credit of the United States have given value. The two years allowed
are now nearly at an end. It is well understood that the trustee has
not redeemed and canceled the outstanding notes of the bank, but has
reissued and is actually reissuing, since the 3d of March, 1836, the
notes which have been received by it to a vast amount. According to its
own official statement, so late as the 1st of October last, nineteen
months after the banking privileges given by the charter had expired, it
had under its control uncanceled notes of the late Bank of the United
States to the amount of $27,561,866, of which $6,175,861 were in actual
circulation, $1,468,627 at State bank agencies, and $3,002,390 _in
transitu_, thus showing that upward of ten millions and a half of the
notes of the old bank were then still kept outstanding.

The impropriety of this procedure is obvious, it being the duty of the
trustee to cancel and not to put forth the notes of an institution whose
concerns it had undertaken to wind up. If the trustee has a right to
reissue these notes now, I can see no reason why it may not continue
to do so after the expiration of the two years. As no one could have
anticipated a course so extraordinary, the prohibitory clause of the
charter above quoted was not accompanied by any penalty or other special
provision for enforcing it, nor have we any general law for the
prevention of similar acts in future.

But it is not in this view of the subject alone that your interposition
is required. The United States in settling with the trustee for their
stock have withdrawn their funds from their former direct liability to
the creditors of the old bank, yet notes of the institution continue
to be sent forth in its name, and apparently upon the authority of the
United States. The transactions connected with the employment of the
bills of the old bank are of vast extent, and should they result
unfortunately the interests of individuals may be deeply compromised.
Without undertaking to decide how far or in what form, if any, the
trustee could be made liable for notes which contain no obligation on
its part, or the old bank for such as are put in circulation after the
expiration of its charter and without its authority, or the Government
for indemnity in case of loss, the question still presses itself upon
your consideration whether it is consistent with duty and good faith on
the part of the Government to witness this proceeding without a single
effort to arrest it.

The report of the Commissioner of the General Land Office, which will
be laid before you by the Secretary of the Treasury, will show how the
affairs of that office have been conducted for the past year. The
disposition of the public lands is one of the most important trusts
confided to Congress. The practicability of retaining the title and
control of such extensive domains in the General Government, and at the
same time admitting the Territories embracing them into the Federal
Union as coequals with the original States, was seriously doubted by
many of our wisest statesmen. All feared that they would become a source
of discord, and many carried their apprehensions so far as to see in
them the seeds of a future dissolution of the Confederacy. But happily
our experience has already been sufficient to quiet in a great degree
all such apprehensions. The position at one time assumed, that the
admission of new States into the Union on the same footing with the
original States was incompatible with a right of soil in the United
States and operated as a surrender thereof, notwithstanding the terms of
the compacts by which their admission was designed to be regulated, has
been wisely abandoned. Whether in the new or the old States, all now
agree that the right of soil to the public lands remains in the Federal
Government, and that these lands constitute a common property, to be
disposed of for the common benefit of all the States, old and new.
Acquiescence in this just principle by the people of the new States has
naturally promoted a disposition to adopt the most liberal policy in the
sale of the public lands. A policy which should be limited to the mere
object of selling the lands for the greatest possible sum of money,
without regard to higher considerations, finds but few advocates. On the
contrary, it is generally conceded that whilst the mode of disposition
adopted by the Government should always be a prudent one, yet its
leading object ought to be the early settlement and cultivation of the
lands sold, and that it should discountenance, if it can not prevent,
the accumulation of large tracts in the same hands, which must
necessarily retard the growth of the new States or entail upon them
a dependent tenantry and its attendant evils.

A question embracing such important interests and so well calculated
to enlist the feelings of the people in every quarter of the Union has
very naturally given rise to numerous plans for the improvement of
the existing system. The distinctive features of the policy that has
hitherto prevailed are to dispose of the public lands at moderate
prices, thus enabling a greater number to enter into competition for
their purchase and accomplishing a double object--of promoting their
rapid settlement by the purchasers and at the same time increasing the
receipts of the Treasury; to sell for cash, thereby preventing the
disturbing influence of a large mass of private citizens indebted to
the Government which they have a voice in controlling; to bring them
into market no faster than good lands are supposed to be wanted for
improvement, thereby preventing the accumulation of large tracts in few
hands; and to apply the proceeds of the sales to the general purposes of
the Government, thus diminishing the amount to be raised from the people
of the States by taxation and giving each State its portion of the
benefits to be derived from this common fund in a manner the most quiet,
and at the same time, perhaps, the most equitable, that can be devised.
These provisions, with occasional enactments in behalf of special
interests deemed entitled to the favor of the Government, have in their
execution produced results as beneficial upon the whole as could
reasonably be expected in a matter so vast, so complicated, and so
exciting. Upward of 70,000,000 acres have been sold, the greater part of
which is believed to have been purchased for actual settlement. The
population of the new States and Territories created out of the public
domain increased between 1800 and 1830 from less than 60,000 to upward
of 2,300,000 souls, constituting at the latter period about one-fifth
of the whole people of the United States. The increase since can not
be accurately known, but the whole may now be safely estimated at
over three and a half millions of souls, composing nine States, the
representatives of which constitute above one-third of the Senate and
over one-sixth of the House of Representatives of the United States.

Thus has been formed a body of free and independent landholders with a
rapidity unequaled in the history of mankind; and this great result has
been produced without leaving anything for future adjustment between
the Government and its citizens. The system under which so much has
been accomplished can not be intrinsically bad, and with occasional
modifications to correct abuses and adapt it to changes of circumstances
may, I think, be safely trusted for the future. There is in the
management of such extensive interests much virtue in stability; and
although great and obvious improvements should not be declined, changes
should never be made without the fullest examination and the clearest
demonstration of their practical utility. In the history of the past we
have an assurance that this safe rule of action will not be departed
from in relation to the public lands; nor is it believed that any
necessity exists for interfering with the fundamental principles of the
system, or that the public mind, even in the new States, is desirous
of any radical alterations. On the contrary, the general disposition
appears to be to make such modifications and additions only as will the
more effectually carry out the original policy of filling our new States
and Territories with an industrious and independent population.

The modification most perseveringly pressed upon Congress, which has
occupied so much of its time for years past, and will probably do so
for a long time to come, if not sooner satisfactorily adjusted, is
a reduction in the cost of such portions of the public lands as are
ascertained to be unsalable at the rate now established by law, and a
graduation according to their relative value of the prices at which they
may hereafter be sold. It is worthy of consideration whether justice may
not be done to every interest in this matter, and a vexed question set
at rest, perhaps forever, by a reasonable compromise of conflicting
opinions. Hitherto, after being offered at public sale, lands have been
disposed of at one uniform price, whatever difference there might be in
their intrinsic value. The leading considerations urged in favor of the
measure referred to are that in almost all the land districts, and
particularly in those in which the lands have been long surveyed and
exposed to sale, there are still remaining numerous and large tracts of
every gradation of value, from the Government price downward; that these
lands will not be purchased at the Government price so long as better
can be conveniently obtained for the same amount; that there are large
tracts which even the improvements of the adjacent lands will never
raise to that price, and that the present uniform price, combined with
their irregular value, operates to prevent a desirable compactness of
settlements in the new States and to retard the full development of that
wise policy on which our land system is founded, to the injury not only
of the several States where the lands lie, but of the United States as
a whole.

The remedy proposed has been a reduction of the prices according to the
length of time the lands have been in market, without reference to any
other circumstances. The certainty that the efflux of time would not
always in such cases, and perhaps not even generally, furnish a true
criterion of value, and the probability that persons residing in the
vicinity, as the period for the reduction of prices approached, would
postpone purchases they would otherwise make, for the purpose of
availing themselves of the lower price, with other considerations of a
similar character, have hitherto been successfully urged to defeat the
graduation upon time.

May not all reasonable desires upon this subject be satisfied without
encountering any of these objections? All will concede the abstract
principle that the price of the public lands should be proportioned to
their relative value, so far as can be accomplished without departing
from the rule heretofore observed requiring fixed prices in cases of
private entries. The difficulty of the subject seems to lie in the
mode of ascertaining what that value is. Would not the safest plan
be that which has been adopted by many of the States as the basis of
taxation--an actual valuation of lands and classification of them into
different rates? Would it not be practicable and expedient to cause the
relative value of the public lands in the old districts which have been
for a certain length of time in market to be appraised and classed into
two or more rates below the present minimum price by the officers now
employed in this branch of the public service or in any other mode
deemed preferable, and to make those prices permanent if upon the coming
in of the report they shall prove satisfactory to Congress? Could not
all the objects of graduation be accomplished in this way, and the
objections which have hitherto been urged against it avoided? It would
seem to me that such a step, with a restriction of the sales to limited
quantities and for actual improvement, would be free from all just
exception.

By the full exposition of the value of the lands thus furnished and
extensively promulgated persons living at a distance would be informed
of their true condition and enabled to enter into competition with those
residing in the vicinity; the means of acquiring an independent home
would be brought within the reach of many who are unable to purchase at
present prices; the population of the new States would be made more
compact, and large tracts would be sold which would otherwise remain on
hand. Not only would the land be brought within the means of a larger
number of purchasers, but many persons possessed of greater means would
be content to settle on a larger quantity of the poorer lands rather
than emigrate farther west in pursuit of a smaller quantity of better
lands. Such a measure would also seem to be more consistent with the
policy of the existing laws--that of converting the public domain into
cultivated farms owned by their occupants. That policy is not best
promoted by sending emigration up the almost interminable streams of
the West to occupy in groups the best spots of land, leaving immense
wastes behind them and enlarging the frontier beyond the means of the
Government to afford it adequate protection, but in encouraging it to
occupy with reasonable denseness the territory over which it advances,
and find its best defense in the compact front which it presents to
the Indian tribes. Many of you will bring to the consideration of the
subject the advantages of local knowledge and greater experience, and
all will be desirous of making an early and final disposition of every
disturbing question in regard to this important interest. If these
suggestions shall in any degree contribute to the accomplishment of
so important a result, it will afford me sincere satisfaction.

In some sections of the country most of the public lands have been sold,
and the registers and receivers have very little to do. It is a subject
worthy of inquiry whether in many cases two or more districts may not
be consolidated and the number of persons employed in this business
considerably reduced. Indeed, the time will come when it will be the
true policy of the General Government, as to some of the States, to
transfer to them for a reasonable equivalent all the refuse and unsold
lands and to withdraw the machinery of the Federal land offices
altogether. All who take a comprehensive view of our federal system and
believe that one of its greatest excellences consists in interfering as
little as possible with the internal concerns of the States look forward
with great interest to this result.

A modification of the existing laws in respect to the prices of the
public lands might also have a favorable influence on the legislation
of Congress in relation to another branch of the subject. Many who have
not the ability to buy at present prices settle on those lands with
the hope of acquiring from their cultivation the means of purchasing
under preemption laws from time to time passed by Congress. For this
encroachment on the rights of the United States they excuse themselves
under the plea of their own necessities; the fact that they dispossess
nobody and only enter upon the waste domain: that they give additional
value to the public lands in their vicinity, and their intention
ultimately to pay the Government price. So much weight has from time to
time been attached to these considerations that Congress have passed
laws giving actual settlers on the public lands a right of preemption to
the tracts occupied by them at the minimum price. These laws have in all
instances been retrospective in their operation, but in a few years
after their passage crowds of new settlers have been found on the public
lands for similar reasons and under like expectations, who have been
indulged with the same privilege. This course of legislation tends to
impair public respect for the laws of the country. Either the laws to
prevent intrusion upon the public lands should be executed, or, if that
should be impracticable or inexpedient, they should be modified or
repealed. If the public lands are to be considered as open to be
occupied by any, they should by law be thrown open to all. That which is
intended in all instances to be legalized should at once be made legal,
that those who are disposed to conform to the laws may enjoy at least
equal privileges with those who are not. But it is not believed to be
the disposition of Congress to open the public lands to occupancy
without regular entry and payment of the Government price, as such a
course must tend to worse evils than the credit system, which it was
found necessary to abolish.

It would seem, therefore, to be the part of wisdom and sound policy
to remove as far as practicable the causes which produce intrusions
upon the public lands, and then take efficient steps to prevent them
in future. Would any single measure be so effective in removing all
plausible grounds for these intrusions as the graduation of price
already suggested? A short period of industry and economy in any part of
our country would enable the poorest citizen to accumulate the means to
buy him a home at the lower prices, and leave him without apology for
settling on lands not his own. If he did not under such circumstances,
he would enlist no sympathy in his favor, and the laws would be readily
executed without doing violence to public opinion.

A large portion of our citizens have seated themselves on the public
lands without authority since the passage of the last preemption law,
and now ask the enactment of another to enable them to retain the lands
occupied upon payment of the minimum Government price. They ask that
which has been repeatedly granted before. If the future may be judged of
by the past, little harm can be done to the interests of the Treasury
by yielding to their request. Upon a critical examination it is found
that the lands sold at the public sales since the introduction of cash
payments, in 1820, have produced on an average the net revenue of only
6 cents an acre more than the minimum Government price. There is no
reason to suppose that future sales will be more productive. The
Government, therefore, has no adequate pecuniary interest to induce it
to drive these people from the lands they occupy for the purpose of
selling them to others.

Entertaining these views, I recommend the passage of a preemption law
for their benefit in connection with the preparatory steps toward the
graduation of the price of the public lands, and further and more
effectual provisions to prevent intrusions hereafter. Indulgence to
those who have settled on these lands with expectations that past
legislation would be made a rule for the future, and at the same time
removing the most plausible ground on which intrusions are excused and
adopting more efficient means to prevent them hereafter, appears to me
the most judicious disposition which can be made of this difficult
subject. The limitations and restrictions to guard against abuses in
the execution of a preemption law will necessarily attract the careful
attention of Congress, but under no circumstances is it considered
expedient to authorize floating claims in any shape. They have been
heretofore, and doubtless would be hereafter, most prolific sources of
fraud and oppression, and instead of operating to confer the favor of
the Government on industrious settlers are often used only to minister
to a spirit of cupidity at the expense of the most meritorious of that
class.

The accompanying report of the Secretary of War will bring to your view
the state of the Army and all the various subjects confided to the
superintendence of that officer.

The principal part of the Army has been concentrated in Florida, with a
view and in the expectation of bringing the war in that Territory to a
speedy close. The necessity of stripping the posts on the maritime and
inland frontiers of their entire garrisons for the purpose of assembling
in the field an army of less than 4,000 men would seem to indicate the
necessity of increasing our regular forces; and the superior efficiency,
as well as greatly diminished expense of that description of troops,
recommend this measure as one of economy as well as of expediency.
I refer to the report for the reasons which have induced the Secretary
of War to urge the reorganization and enlargement of the staff of the
Army, and of the Ordnance Corps, in which I fully concur.

It is not, however, compatible with the interests of the people to
maintain in time of peace a regular force adequate to the defense of
our extensive frontiers. In periods of danger and alarm we must rely
principally upon a well-organized militia, and some general arrangement
that will render this description of force more efficient has long
been a subject of anxious solicitude. It was recommended to the First
Congress by General Washington, and has been since frequently brought to
your notice, and recently its importance strongly urged by my immediate
predecessor. The provision in the Constitution that renders it necessary
to adopt a uniform system of organization for the militia throughout
the United States presents an insurmountable obstacle to an efficient
arrangement by the classification heretofore proposed, and I invite your
attention to the plan which will be submitted by the Secretary of War,
for the organization of volunteer corps and the instruction of militia
officers, as more simple and practicable, if not equally advantageous,
as a general arrangement of the whole militia of the United States.

A moderate increase of the corps both of military and topographical
engineers has been more than once recommended by my predecessor, and my
conviction of the propriety, not to say necessity, of the measure, in
order to enable them to perform the various and important duties imposed
upon them, induces me to repeat the recommendation.

The Military Academy continues to answer all the purposes of its
establishment, and not only furnishes well-educated officers to the
Army, but serves to diffuse throughout the mass of our citizens
individuals possessed of military knowledge and the scientific
attainments of civil and military engineering. At present the cadet is
bound, with consent of his parents or guardians, to remain in service
five years from the period of his enlistment, unless sooner discharged,
thus exacting only one year's service in the Army after his education is
completed. This does not appear to me sufficient. Government ought to
command for a longer period the services of those who are educated at
the public expense, and I recommend that the time of enlistment be
extended to seven years, and the terms of the engagement strictly
enforced.

The creation of a national foundry for cannon, to be common to the
service of the Army and Navy of the United States, has been heretofore
recommended, and appears to be required in order to place our ordnance
on an equal footing with that of other countries and to enable that
branch of the service to control the prices of those articles and
graduate the supplies to the wants of the Government, as well as to
regulate their quality and insure their uniformity. The same reasons
induce me to recommend the erection of a manufactory of gunpowder, to
be under the direction of the Ordnance Office. The establishment of a
manufactory of small arms west of the Alleghany Mountains, upon the
plan proposed by the Secretary of War, will contribute to extend
throughout that country the improvements which exist in establishments
of a similar description in the Atlantic States, and tend to a much more
economical distribution of the armament required in the western portion
of our Union.

The system of removing the Indians west of the Mississippi, commenced
by Mr. Jefferson in 1804, has been steadily persevered in by every
succeeding President, and may be considered the settled policy of the
country. Unconnected at first with any well-defined system for their
improvement, the inducements held out to the Indians were confined
to the greater abundance of game to be found in the West; but when
the beneficial effects of their removal were made apparent a more
philanthropic and enlightened policy was adopted in purchasing their
lands east of the Mississippi. Liberal prices were given and provisions
inserted in all the treaties with them for the application of the funds
they received in exchange to such purposes as were best calculated to
promote their present welfare and advance their future civilization.
These measures have been attended thus far with the happiest results.

It will be seen by referring to the report of the Commissioner of Indian
Affairs that the most sanguine expectations of the friends and promoters
of this system have been realized. The Choctaws, Cherokees, and other
tribes that first emigrated beyond the Mississippi have for the most
part abandoned the hunter state and become cultivators of the soil.
The improvement in their condition has been rapid, and it is believed
that they are now fitted to enjoy the advantages of a simple form of
government, which has been submitted to them and received their
sanction; and I can not too strongly urge this subject upon the
attention of Congress.

Stipulations have been made with all the Indian tribes to remove them
beyond the Mississippi, except with the bands of the Wyandots, the Six
Nations in New York, the Menomonees, Munsees, and Stockbridges in
Wisconsin, and Miamies in Indiana. With all but the Menomonees it is
expected that arrangements for their emigration will be completed the
present year. The resistance which has been opposed to their removal by
some of the tribes even after treaties had been made with them to that
effect has arisen from various causes, operating differently on each
of them. In most instances they have been instigated to resistance
by persons to whom the trade with them and the acquisition of their
annuities were important, and in some by the personal influence of
interested chiefs. These obstacles must be overcome, for the Government
can not relinquish the execution of this policy without sacrificing
important interests and abandoning the tribes remaining east of the
Mississippi to certain destruction.

The decrease in numbers of the tribes within the limits of the States
and Territories has been most rapid. If they be removed, they can be
protected from those associations and evil practices which exert so
pernicious and destructive an influence over their destinies. They
can be induced to labor and to acquire property, and its acquisition
will inspire them with a feeling of independence. Their minds can be
cultivated, and they can be taught the value of salutary and uniform
laws and be made sensible of the blessings of free government and
capable of enjoying its advantages. In the possession of property,
knowledge, and a good government, free to give what direction they
please to their labor, and sharers in the legislation by which their
persons and the profits of their industry are to be protected and
secured, they will have an ever-present conviction of the importance of
union and peace among themselves and of the preservation of amicable
relations with us. The interests of the United States would also be
greatly promoted by freeing the relations between the General and State
Governments from what has proved a most embarrassing incumbrance by a
satisfactory adjustment of conflicting titles to lands caused by the
occupation of the Indians, and by causing the resources of the whole
country to be developed by the power of the State and General
Governments and improved by the enterprise of a white population.

Intimately connected with this subject is the obligation of the
Government to fulfill its treaty stipulations and to protect the Indians
thus assembled "at their new residences from all interruptions and
disturbances from any other tribes or nations of Indians or from any
other person or persons whatsoever," and the equally solemn obligation
to guard from Indian hostility its own border settlements, stretching
along a line of more than 1,000 miles. To enable the Government to
redeem this pledge to the Indians and to afford adequate protection to
its own citizens will require the continual presence of a considerable
regular force on the frontiers and the establishment of a chain of
permanent posts. Examinations of the country are now making, with a view
to decide on the most suitable points for the erection of fortresses and
other works of defense, the results of which will be presented to you by
the Secretary of War at an early day, together with a plan for the
effectual protection of the friendly Indians and the permanent defense
of the frontier States.

By the report of the Secretary of the Navy herewith communicated it
appears that unremitted exertions have been made at the different
navy-yards to carry into effect all authorized measures for the
extension and employment of our naval force. The launching and
preparation of the ship of the line _Pennsylvania_ and the complete
repairs of the ships of the line _Ohio, Delaware_, and _Columbus_ may
be noticed as forming a respectable addition to this important arm
of our national defense. Our commerce and navigation have received
increased aid, and protection during the present year. Our squadrons in
the Pacific and on the Brazilian station have been much increased, and
that in the Mediterranean, although small, is adequate to the present
wants of our commerce in that sea. Additions have been made to our
squadron on the West India station, where the large force under
Commodore Dallas has been most actively and efficiently employed in
protecting our commerce, in preventing the importation of slaves, and
in cooperating with the officers of the Army in carrying on the war
in Florida.

The satisfactory condition of our naval force abroad leaves at our
disposal the means of conveniently providing for a home squadron
for the protection of commerce upon our extensive coast. The amount
of appropriations required for such a squadron will be found in the
general estimates for the naval service for the year 1838.

The naval officers engaged upon our coast survey have rendered important
service to our navigation. The discovery of a new channel into the
harbor of New York, through which our largest ships may pass without
danger, must afford important commercial advantages to that harbor and
add greatly to its value as a naval station. The accurate survey of
Georges Shoals, off the coast of Massachusetts, lately completed, will
render comparatively safe a navigation hitherto considered dangerous.

Considerable additions have been made to the number of captains,
commanders, lieutenants, surgeons, and assistant surgeons in the Navy.
These additions were rendered necessary by the increased number of
vessels put in commission to answer the exigencies of our growing
commerce.

Your attention is respectfully invited to the various suggestions of the
Secretary for the improvement of the naval service.

The report of the Postmaster-General exhibits the progress and condition
of the mail service. The operations of the Post-Office Department
constitute one of the most active elements of our national prosperity,
and it is gratifying to observe with what vigor they are conducted. The
mail routes of the United States cover an extent of about 142,877 miles,
having been increased about 37,103 miles within the last two years. The
annual mail transportation on these routes is about 36,228,962 miles,
having been increased about 10,359,476 miles within the same period. The
number of post-offices has also been increased from 10,770 to 12,099,
very few of which receive the mails less than once a week, and a large
portion of them daily. Contractors and postmasters in general are
represented as attending to their duties with most commendable zeal and
fidelity. The revenue of the Department within the year ending on the
30th of June last was $4,137,056.59, and its liabilities accruing within
the same time were $3,380,847.75. The increase of revenue over that of
the preceding year was $708,166.41.

For many interesting details I refer you to the report of the
Postmaster-General, with the accompanying papers, Your particular
attention is invited to the necessity of providing a more safe and
convenient building for the accommodation of that Department.

I lay before Congress copies of reports submitted in pursuance of
a call made by me upon the heads of Departments for such suggestions
as their experience might enable them to make as to what further
legislative provisions may be advantageously adopted to secure the
faithful application of public moneys to the objects for which they
are appropriated, to prevent their misapplication or embezzlement by
those intrusted with the expenditure of them, and generally to increase
the security of the Government against losses in their disbursement.
It is needless to dilate on the importance of providing such new
safeguards as are within the power of legislation to promote these
ends, and I have little to add to the recommendations submitted in the
accompanying papers.

By law the terms of service of our most important collecting and
disbursing officers in the civil departments are limited to four years,
and when reappointed their bonds are required to be renewed. The safety
of the public is much increased by this feature of the law, and there
can be no doubt that its application to all officers intrusted with the
collection or disbursement of the public money, whatever may be the
tenure of their offices, would be equally beneficial. I therefore
recommend, in addition to such of the suggestions presented by the heads
of Departments as you may think useful, a general provision that all
officers of the Army or Navy, or in the civil departments, intrusted
with the receipt or payment of public money, and whose term of service
is either unlimited or for a longer time than four years, be required to
give new bonds, with good and sufficient sureties, at the expiration of
every such period.

A change in the period of terminating the fiscal year, from the 1st
of October to the 1st of April, has been frequently recommended, and
appears to be desirable.

The distressing casualties in steamboats which have so frequently
happened during the year seem to evince the necessity of attempting
to prevent them by means of severe provisions connected with their
customhouse papers. This subject was submitted to the attention of
Congress by the Secretary of the Treasury in his last annual report,
and will be again noticed at the present session, with additional
details. It will doubtless receive that early and careful consideration
which its pressing importance appears to require.

Your attention has heretofore been frequently called to the affairs of
the District of Columbia, and I should not again ask it did not their
entire dependence on Congress give them a constant claim upon its
notice. Separated by the Constitution from the rest of the Union,
limited in extent, and aided by no legislature of its own, it would seem
to be a spot where a wise and uniform system of local government might
have been easily adopted. This District has, however, unfortunately
been left to linger behind the rest of the Union. Its codes, civil
and criminal, are not only very defective, but full of obsolete or
inconvenient provisions. Being formed of portions of two States,
discrepancies in the laws prevail in different parts of the territory,
small as it is; and although it was selected as the seat of the General
Government, the site of its public edifices, the depository of its
archives, and the residence of officers intrusted with large amounts of
public property and the management of public business, yet it has never
been subjected to or received that special and comprehensive legislation
which these circumstances peculiarly demand. I am well aware of the
various subjects of greater magnitude and immediate interest that press
themselves on the consideration of Congress, but I believe there is not
one that appeals more directly to its justice than a liberal and even
generous attention to the interests of the District of Columbia and
a thorough and careful revision of its local government.

M. VAN BUREN



SPECIAL MESSAGES.


WASHINGTON, _December 6, 1837_.

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

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of the Treasury,
exhibiting a transfer of appropriation that has been made in that
Department in pursuance of the power vested in the President by the
first section of the act of Congress of the 3d of March, 1809, entitled
"An act further to amend the several acts for the establishment and
regulation of the Treasury, War, and Navy Departments."

M. VAN BUREN



WASHINGTON, _December, 1837_.

_To the Senate_:

I transmit, for the action of the Senate, treaties negotiated with the
following Indian tribes, viz:

(1) The Chippewas of the Mississippi; (2) the Kioways, Ka-ta-kas, and
Ta-wa-ka-ros; (3) the Sioux of the Mississippi; (4) the Sacs and Foxes
of the Mississippi; (5) the Sioux of the Missouri; (6) the Sacs and
Foxes of the Missouri; (7) the Winnebagoes; (8) the Ioways.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _December 11, 1837_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate a report[5] from the Secretary of
State, with accompanying documents, in pursuance of their resolution
of the 12th of October last.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 5: Relating to the capture and sequestration of the ship
_Mary_, of Baltimore, and her cargo by the Dutch Government at the
island of Curacoa in 1809.]



WASHINGTON, _December, 1837_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:


In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 13th of October
last, relative to claims of citizens of the United States on the
Government of the Mexican Republic, I transmit a report from the
Secretary of State and the documents by which it was accompanied.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _December 15, 1837_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of War and the
plans for marine hospitals on the Western waters, referred to by him,
which are connected with the annual report from the War Department.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _December 18, 1837_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report and accompanying documents[6] from the
Secretary of War, which contain the information called for by a
resolution of the 13th of October last.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 6: Relating to adjustment of claims to reservations of land
under the fourteenth article of the treaty of 1830 with the Choctaw
Indians.]



WASHINGTON, _December 21, 1837_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of the
last session, I transmit a report made to me by the architect of the
public buildings, with the accompanying documents, exhibiting a plan of
the Treasury building now in process of erection, showing its location
in reference to the adjacent streets and public square on which it is
located, its elevation, the number and size of the rooms it will afford
suitable for office business and the number and size of those suitable
only for the deposit of records, with a statement of the sum expended
on said building and an estimate of the sum that will be required to
complete the same. As the fifth section of the act of July 4, 1836,
under the authority of which this building has been commenced, provides
only for the erection of an edifice of such dimensions as may be
required for the present and future accommodation of the Treasury
Department, the size of the structure has been adapted to that purpose;
and it is not contemplated to appropriate any part of the building to
the use of any other Department. As it is understood, however, that the
plan of the edifice admits of its being completed either with or without
wings, and that if Congress should think proper accommodation may be
provided by means of wings consistently with the harmony of the original
design for the Department of State and the General Post-Office, it is
not thought that the public interest requires any change in the location
or plan, although it is believed that the convenience of the public
business would be promoted by including in the building the proposed
accommodations for the two other Departments just mentioned. The report
of the architect shows the supposed difference of the expense that would
be incurred in the event of the construction of the building with wings,
in taking down the edifice now occupied by the Department of State, or
repairing it so as to render it fireproof and make its outside conform
to the other parts of the new building.

I also transmit statements from the heads of the several Departments of
the number and size of the rooms that are necessary for their respective
Departments for office business and for the deposit of records.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _December 22, 1837_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate a report from the Secretary of State,
in answer to their resolution of the 16th of October last.

M. VAN BUREN.



DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_WASHINGTON, December 22, 1837_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:

The Secretary of State, to whom has been referred the resolution of
the Senate of the 16th of October last, requesting the President of
the United States to communicate to that body "at the next session
of Congress (if not inconsistent with the public interest) any
correspondence between the Government of the United States and any
foreign government relative to the occupation of the territory of the
United States west of the Rocky Mountains and bordering on the Pacific
Ocean, and whether any, and, if so, what, portion of the said territory
is in the possession of any foreign power," has the honor to report to
the President that no correspondence between this and any foreign
government on the subject referred to has passed since the negotiation
of the existing convention of 1827 with Great Britain, by which the
provisions of the third article of the convention of the 20th of
October, 1818, with His Britannic Majesty, leaving the territory claimed
by either power westward of the Rocky Mountains free and open to the
citizens and subjects of both, were extended and continued in force
indefinitely, but liable to be annulled at the will of either party, on
due notice of twelve months, at anytime after the 20th of October, 1828,
and that the papers relating to the negotiation to which allusion has
just been made were communicated to the Senate in confidence in the
early part of the first session of the Twentieth Congress.

With regard to the second clause of the resolution above cited, the
Secretary has to state that the trading establishment called "Astoria,"
at the mouth of the Columbia River, formerly belonging to John Jacob
Astor, of New York, was sold to, and therefore left in the possession
of, the British Northwest Company, which subsequently united with the
British Hudson Bay Company; that this company has now several depots in
the country, the principal of which is at Fort Vancouver, on the north
bank of the Columbia River, and about 80 or 100 miles from its mouth.
It appears that these posts have not been considered as being in
contravention of the third article of the convention of 1818, before
referred to; and if not, there is no portion of the territory claimed
by the United States west of the Stony Mountains known to be in the
exclusive possession of a foreign power. It is known, by information
recently obtained, that the English company have a steamboat on the
Columbia, and have erected a sawmill and are cutting timber on the
territory claimed by the United States, and shipping it in considerable
quantities to the Sandwich Islands.

Respectfully submitted,

JOHN FORSYTH



WASHINGTON, _December 26, 1837_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives a report from the
Secretary of State, in answer to their resolution of the 9th of October
last.

M. VAN BUREN.



DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_WASHINGTON, December 23, 1837_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:

The Secretary of State, to whom has been referred the resolution of the
House of Representatives of the 9th of October last, requesting the
President to communicate to that House "at its next session, so far as
in his judgment is consistent with the public interest, whether any
foreign power, or the subjects of any foreign power, have possession of
any portion of the territory of the United States on the Columbia River,
or are in the occupancy of the same, and, if so, in what way, by what
authority, and how long such possession or occupancy has been kept by
such persons," has the honor to report to the President that a trading
establishment called "Astoria" was founded at the mouth of the Columbia
River about the year 1811 by J.J. Astor, of New York; that his interest
was sold to the British Northwest Company during the late war between
the United States and Great Britain; that this company held it, and were
left in possession at the time the country was formally delivered to the
American commissioners, and that this company afterwards united with and
became a part of the Hudson Bay Company under that name, which company,
it is believed, have from the period of such union occupied the post in
question, now commonly called "Fort George." The Hudson Bay Company have
also several depots situated on water courses in the interior of the
country. The principal one is at Fort Vancouver, on the northern bank of
the Columbia River, about 80 or 100 miles from its mouth. It is known by
information recently obtained that the English company have a steamboat
on this river, and that they have erected a sawmill and are cutting
timber on the territory claimed by the United States, and are shipping
it in considerable quantities to the Sandwich Islands.

The original occupation was under the authority of the purchase of J.J.
Astor's interest, and it has been continued under the provisions of the
conventions of 1818 and 1827 with Great Britain. By the third article
of the first of these conventions it is stipulated that the territory
claimed by either power westward of the Rocky Mountains shall be free
and open for a term of years to the citizens and subjects of both. By
the second convention this stipulation is extended and continued in
force indefinitely, liable, however, to be annulled at any time after
the 20th of October, 1828, at the will of either party, on due notice
of twelve months.

Respectfully submitted,

JOHN FORSYTH.



WASHINGTON, _January 5, 1838_.

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

Recent experience on the southern boundary of the United States and the
events now daily occurring on our northern frontier have abundantly
shown that the existing laws are insufficient to guard against hostile
invasion from the United States of the territory of friendly and
neighboring nations.

The laws in force provide sufficient penalties for the punishment of
such offenses after they have been committed, and provided the parties
can be found, but the Executive is powerless in many cases to prevent
the commission of them, even when in possession of ample evidence of
an intention on the part of evil-disposed persons to violate our laws.

Your attention is called to this defect in our legislation. It is
apparent that the Executive ought to be clothed with adequate power
effectually to restrain all persons within our jurisdiction from the
commission of acts of this character. They tend to disturb the peace
of the country and inevitably involve the Government in perplexing
controversies with foreign powers. I recommend a careful revision of all
the laws now in force and such additional enactments as may be necessary
to vest in the Executive full power to prevent injuries being inflicted
upon neighboring nations by the unauthorized and unlawful acts of
citizens of the United States or of other persons who may be within our
jurisdiction and subject to our control.

In illustration of these views and to show the necessity of early action
on the part of Congress, I submit herewith a copy of a letter received
from the marshal of the northern district of New York, who had been
directed to repair to the frontier and take all authorized measures to
secure the faithful execution of existing laws.

M. VAN BUREN.



BUFFALO, _December 28, 1837_.

His Excellency M. VAN BUREN.

SIR: This frontier is in a state of commotion. I came to this city on
the 22d instant, by direction of the United States attorney for the
northern district of this State, for the purpose of serving process upon
individuals suspected of violating the laws of the United States enacted
with a view to maintain our neutrality. I learned on my arrival that
some 200 or 300 men, mostly from the district of country adjoining this
frontier and from this side of the Niagara, had congregated upon Navy
Island (Upper Canada), and were there in arms, with Rensselaer van
Rensselaer, of Albany, at their head as commander in chief. From that
time to the present they have received constant accessions of men,
munitions of war, provisions, etc., from persons residing within the
States. Their whole force is now about 1,000 strong, and, as is said,
are well supplied with arms, etc.

Warrants have been issued in some cases, but no arrests have as yet been
effected. This expedition was got up in this city soon after McKenzie's
arrival upon this side of the river, and the first company that landed
upon the island were organized, partially at least, before they crossed
from this side to the island.

From all that I can see and learn I am satisfied that if the Government
deem it their duty to prevent supplies being furnished from this side to
the army on the island, and also the augmentation of their forces from
among the citizens of the States, that an armed force stationed along
upon the line of the Niagara will be absolutely necessary to its
accomplishment.

I have just received a communication from Colonel McNab, commanding His
Majesty's forces now at Chippewa, in which he strongly urges the public
authorities here to prevent supplies being furnished to the army on the
island, at the same time stating that if this can be effected the whole
affair could be closed without any effusion of blood.

McNab is about 2,500 strong and constantly increasing. I replied to
him that I should communicate with you immediately, as also with the
governor of this State, and that everything which could would be done
to maintain a strict neutrality.

I learn that persons here are engaged in dislodging one or more
steamboats from the ice, and, as is supposed, with a view to aid in the
patriot expedition.

I am, sir, with great consideration, your obedient servant,

N. GANON,

_United States Marshal, Northern District of New York_,



WASHINGTON, _January 8, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 5th
instant, respecting the capture[7] and restoration of the Mexican brig
of war the _General Urrea_, I transmit reports from the Secretaries of
State and the Navy.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 7: By the United States sloop of war _Natchez_ off the coast
of Texas.]



WASHINGTON, _January 8, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives a report,[8] and
accompanying documents, from the Secretary of State, in compliance with
a resolution of that body dated the 5th instant.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 8: Transmitting instructions and correspondence concerning the
preservation of the neutrality of the United States in the civil wars
and insurrections in Mexico and in any of the British Provinces north of
the United States since 1829.]



WASHINGTON, _January 8, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives a report from the
Secretary of State, in answer to a resolution[9] of that body dated the
5th instant.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 9: Calling for information of any acts endangering the
amicable relations with Great Britain.]



WASHINGTON, _January 8, 1838_.

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

In the highly excited state of feeling on the northern frontier,
occasioned by the disturbances in Canada, it was to be apprehended that
causes of complaint might arise on the line dividing the United States
from Her Britannic Majesty's dominions. Every precaution was therefore
taken on our part authorized by the existing laws, and as the troops of
the Provinces were embodied on the Canadian side it was hoped that no
serious violation of the rights of the United States would be permitted
to occur. I regret, however, to inform you that an outrage of a most
aggravated character has been committed, accompanied by a hostile though
temporary invasion of our territory, producing the strongest feelings of
resentment on the part of our citizens in the neighborhood and on the
whole border line, and that the excitement previously existing has been
alarmingly increased. To guard against the possible recurrence of any
similar act I have thought it indispensable to call out a portion of the
militia, to be posted on that frontier. The documents herewith presented
to Congress show the character of the outrage committed, the measures
taken in consequence of its occurrence, and the necessity for resorting
to them.

It will also be seen that the subject was immediately brought to the
notice of the British minister accredited to this country, and the
proper steps taken on our part to obtain the fullest information of
all the circumstances leading to and attendant upon the transaction,
preparatory to a demand for reparation. I ask such appropriations as the
circumstances in which our country is thus unexpectedly placed require.

M. VAN BUREN.



_Mr. Rogers to the President_.

BUFFALO, _December 30, 1837_.

His Excellency MARTIN VAN BUREN,

_President of the United States_.

SIR: Inclosed are copies of affidavits which I have prepared in great
haste, and which contain all that is material in relation to the gross
and extraordinary transaction to which they relate. Our whole frontier
is in commotion, and I fear it will be difficult to restrain our
citizens from revenging by a resort to arms this flagrant invasion
of our territory. Everything that can be done will be by the public
authorities to prevent so injudicious a movement. The respective
sheriffs of Erie and Niagara have taken the responsibility of calling
out the militia to guard the frontier and prevent any further
depredations.

I am, sir, with great consideration, your obedient servant,

H.W. ROGERS,

_District Attorney for Erie County, and Acting for the United States_.



STATE OF NEW YORK, _Niagara County, ss_:

Gilman Appleby, of the city of Buffalo, being sworn, says that he left
the port of Buffalo on the morning of the 29th instant in the steamboat
_Caroline_, owned by William Wells, of Buffalo, and bound for Schlosser,
upon the east side of the Niagara River and within the United States;
that this deponent commanded the said _Caroline_, and that she was
cleared from Buffalo with a view to run between said Buffalo and
Schlosser, carrying passengers, freight, etc.; that this deponent caused
the said _Caroline_ to be landed at Black Rock on her way down, and that
while at Black Rock this deponent caused the American flag to be run up,
and that soon after leaving Black Rock Harbor a volley of musketry was
discharged at the _Caroline_ from the Canada shore, but without injury;
that the said _Caroline_ continued her course down the Niagara River
unmolested and landed outside of certain scows or boats attached to Navy
Island, where a number of passengers disembarked and, as this deponent
supposes, certain articles of freight were landed; that from this point
the _Caroline_ ran to Schlosser, arriving there at 3 o'clock in the
afternoon; that between this time and dark the _Caroline_ made two
trips to Navy Island, landing as before; that at about 6 o'clock in
the evening this deponent caused the said _Caroline_ to be landed at
Schlosser and made fast with chains to the dock at that place; that the
crew and officers of the _Caroline_ numbered ten, and that in the course
of the evening twenty-three individuals, all of whom were citizens of
the United States, came on board of the _Caroline_ and requested this
deponent and other officers of the boat to permit them to remain on
board during the night, as they were unable to get lodgings at the
tavern near by; these requests were acceded to, and the persons thus
coming on board retired to rest, as did also the crew and officers of
the _Caroline_, except such as were stationed to watch during the night;
that about midnight this deponent was informed by one of the watch that
several boats filled with men were making toward the _Caroline_ from the
river, and this deponent immediately gave the alarm, and before he was
able to reach the dock the _Caroline_ was boarded by some seventy or
eighty men, all of whom were armed; that they immediately commenced a
warfare with muskets, swords, and cutlasses upon the defenseless crew
and passengers of the _Caroline_ under a fierce cry of "G--d d--n them,
give them no quarters; kill every man. Fire! fire!"; that the _Caroline_
was abandoned without resistance, and the only effort made by either the
crew or passengers seemed to be to escape slaughter; that this deponent
narrowly escaped, having received several wounds, none of which,
however, are of a serious character; that immediately after the
_Caroline_ fell into the hands of the armed force who boarded her she
was set on fire, cut loose from the dock, was towed into the current of
the river, there abandoned, and soon after descended the Niagara Falls;
that this deponent has made vigilant search after the individuals,
thirty-three in number, who are known to have been on the _Caroline_ at
the time she was boarded, and twenty-one only are to be found, one of
which, to wit, Amos Durfee, of Buffalo, was found dead upon the dock,
having received a shot from a musket, the ball of which penetrated the
back part of the head and came out at the forehead; James H. King and
Captain C.F. Harding were seriously though not mortally wounded; several
others received slight wounds; the twelve individuals who are missing,
this deponent has no doubt, were either murdered upon the steamboat or
found a watery grave in the cataract of the Falls; and this deponent
further says that immediately after the _Caroline_ was got into the
current of the stream and abandoned, as before stated, beacon lights
were discovered upon the Canada shore near Chippewa, and after
sufficient time had elapsed to enable the boats to reach that shore this
deponent distinctly heard loud and vociferous cheering at that point;
that this deponent has no doubt that the individuals who boarded the
_Caroline_ were a part of the British forces now stationed at Chippewa.

[Subscribed and sworn to before a commissioner, etc.]

STATE OF NEW YORK, _Niagara County, ss_:

Charles F. Harding, James H. King, Joshua H. Smith, William Seaman,
William Kennedy, William Wells, John Leonard, Sylvanus Staring, and John
Haggarty, being sworn, severally depose and say that they have heard
the foregoing affidavit of Gilman Appleby read; that they were on the
_Caroline_ at the time she was boarded as stated in said affidavit, and
that all the facts sworn to by said Appleby as occurring after the said
_Caroline_ was so boarded as aforesaid are correct and true.

[Subscribed and sworn to before a commissioner, etc.]



_Mr. Poinsett to General Scott_.

DEPARTMENT OF WAR, _January 5, 1838_.

Brevet Major-General WINFIELD SCOTT,

_Washington City_.

SIR: You will repair without delay to the Canada frontier of the United
States and assume the military command there.

Herewith you will receive duplicate letters to the governors of the
States of New York and Vermont, requesting them to call into the service
of the United States such a militia force as you may deem necessary for
the defense of that frontier of the United States.

This power has been confided to you in the full persuasion that you will
use it discreetly and extend the call only so far as circumstances may
seem to require.

It is important that the troops called into the service should be, if
possible, exempt from that state of excitement which the late violation
of our territory has created, and you will therefore impress upon the
governors of these border States the propriety of selecting troops from
a portion of the State distant from the theater of action.

The Executive possesses no legal authority to employ the military force
to restrain persons within our jurisdiction and who ought to be under
our control from violating the laws by making incursions into the
territory of neighboring and friendly nations with hostile intent. I can
give you, therefore, no instructions on that subject, but request that
you will use your influence to prevent such excesses and to preserve the
character of this Government for good faith and a proper regard for the
rights of friendly powers.

The militia will be called into the service for three months, unless
sooner discharged, and in your requisitions you will designate the
number of men and take care that the officers do not exceed a due
proportion.

It is deemed important that the administrative branch of the service
should be conducted wherever practicable by officers of the Regular
Army.

The disposition of the force with regard to the points to be occupied is
confided to your discretion, military skill, and intimate knowledge of
the country; and the amount of that force must depend upon the character
and duration of the contest now going on in Canada and the disposition
manifested by the people and the public authorities of that colony.

The President indulges a hope that outrages similar to that which lately
occurred at Schlosser will not be repeated, and that you will be able to
maintain the peace of that frontier without being called upon to use the
force which has been confided to you.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

J.R. POINSETT.



_Mr. Poinsett to Governor Marcy_.


DEPARTMENT OF WAR, _January 5, 1838_.

His Excellency W.L. MARCY,

_Governor of New York, Albany, N.Y._

SIR: The territory of the United States having been violated by a party
of armed men from the Canada shore, and apprehensions being entertained
from the highly excited feelings of both parties that similar outrages
may lead to an invasion of our soil, the President has thought proper to
exercise the authority vested in him by law and call out such militia
force as may be deemed necessary to protect the frontiers of the United
States.

I am, in consequence, instructed by the President to request you will
call into the service of the United States and place under the command
of Brevet Major-General Scott such militia force as he may require, to
be employed on the Canada frontier for the purpose herein set forth.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

J.R. POINSETT

[Same to His Excellency Silas H. Jennison, governor of Vermont,
Montpelier, Vt.]



_Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Fox_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_WASHINGTON, January 5, 1838_.

HENRY S. Fox, Esq., etc.

SIR: By the direction of the President of the United States I have the
honor to communicate to you a copy of the evidence furnished to this
Department of an extraordinary outrage committed from Her Britannic
Majesty's Province of Upper Canada on the persons and property of
citizens of the United States within the jurisdiction of the State of
New York. The destruction of the property and assassination of citizens
of the United States on the soil of New York at the moment when, as is
well known to you, the President was anxiously endeavoring to allay the
excitement and earnestly seeking to prevent any unfortunate occurrence
on the frontier of Canada has produced upon his mind the most painful
emotions of surprise and regret. It will necessarily form the subject of
a demand for redress upon Her Majesty's Government. This communication
is made to you under the expectation that through your instrumentality
an early explanation may be obtained from the authorities of Upper
Canada of all the circumstances of the transaction, and that by your
advice to those authorities such decisive precautions may be used as
will render the perpetration of similar acts hereafter impossible.
Not doubting the disposition of the government of Upper Canada to do
its duty in punishing the aggressors and preventing future outrage,
the President, notwithstanding, has deemed it necessary to order
a sufficient force on the frontier to repel any attempt of a like
character, and to make known to you that if it should occur he can not
be answerable for the effects of the indignation of the neighboring
people of the United States.

I take this occasion to renew to you the assurance of my distinguished
consideration.

JOHN FORSYTH.



WASHINGTON, _January 12, 1838_.

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

I transmit to Congress copies of a representation from a late grand jury
of the county of Washington, in this District, concurred in by two of
the judges of the circuit court, of the necessity of the erection of a
new jail and a lunatic asylum in this city. I also transmit copies of
certain proceedings of the circuit court for the county of Alexandria at
the last October term, and of a representation of the grand jury, made
with the approbation of the court, showing the unsafe condition of the
court-house of that county and the necessity for a new one.

I recommend these objects to the favorable consideration of Congress.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _January 12, 1838_.

The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

In answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 2d
instant, I transmit herewith a report[10] of the Secretary of War,
explanatory of the causes which have prevented a compliance with a
resolution of that branch of Congress of February 24, 1837.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 10: Relating to alleged frauds upon the Creek Indians in the
sale and purchase of their lands, etc.]



WASHINGTON, _January 13, 1838_.

_To the Senate_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its constitutional action, a treaty made
with the Chippewa Indians of Saganaw on the 20th of December, 1837.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _January 26, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I herewith communicate to the House of Representatives a report from the
Secretary of State, with accompanying documents, in answer to their
resolution of the 9th instant.

M. VAN BUREN.



DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_WASHINGTON, January 25, 1838_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:

The Secretary of State, to whom has been referred a resolution of
the House of Representatives, dated the 9th instant, requesting the
President to communicate to that body "what measures, if any, have
been taken by the Executive for the release of Mr. Greely, a citizen
of Maine, now imprisoned in the provincial jail of New Brunswick at
Frederickton for an alleged violation of the jurisdiction of said
Province over the territory claimed by the British Government; and also
to communicate any correspondence which the executive department may
have had with the British Government or the executive of Maine upon the
subject of said Greely's imprisonment, so far as a communication of the
same may be deemed by him not incompatible with the public interest;"
and likewise requesting the President, if not incompatible with the
public interests, to communicate to that House "any correspondence or
communication held between the Government of the United States and
that of Great Britain at different times respecting the wardenship,
occupation, or actual possession of that part of the territory of the
State of Maine which is claimed by Great Britain," has the honor to
report to the President the accompanying documents, which embrace the
information and correspondence not heretofore published by Congress
called for by the above-cited resolution.

Respectfully submitted,

JOHN FORSYTH.



_The governor of Maine to the President of the United States_.

STATE OF MAINE, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

_September 18, 1837_.

His Excellency MARTIN VAN BUREN,

_President of the United States_.

SIR: I lose no time in advising Your Excellency that Ebenezer S. Greely,
esq., a citizen of this State, while employed within its limits and
under its authority in taking an enumeration of the inhabitants of the
county of Penobscot residing north of the surveyed and located
townships, has been arrested a second time by the provincial authorities
of New Brunswick, and is now in confinement in the jail of Frederickton.

It becomes my duty to request that prompt measures be adopted by the
Government of the United States to effect the release of Mr. Greely.

I have the honor to be, etc.,

ROBERT P. DUNLAP.



_Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Dunlap_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, September 26, 1837_.

His Excellency ROBERT P. DUNLAP,

_Governor of Maine_.

SIR: I have the honor, by direction of the President, to acknowledge the
receipt of the letter addressed to him by your excellency on the 18th
instant, advising him that Ebenezer S. Greely, esq., a citizen of Maine,
while employed within its limits and under its authority in taking an
enumeration of the inhabitants of the county of Penobscot, has been
arrested a second time by the provincial authorities of New Brunswick,
and is now in confinement in the jail at Frederickton; and requesting
that prompt measures be adopted by the Government of the United States
to effect the release of Mr. Greely.

I hasten to assure you in reply that Mr. Stevenson, the minister of the
United States at London, will be immediately instructed to renew his
application to the British Government for the release of Mr. Greely, and
that the result, when obtained and communicated to this Department, will
be made known to your excellency without unnecessary delay.

Information was given at an early day to the executive of Maine of the
informal arrangement between the United States and Great Britain in
regard to the exercise of jurisdiction within the disputed territory,
and the President's desire was then expressed that the government and
people of that State would cooperate with the Federal Government in
carrying it into effect. In the letter addressed to your excellency from
this Department on the 17th ultimo you were informed of the continuance
of that arrangement and of the reasons for it. I am now instructed by
the President (who indulges the confident expectation that the executive
of Maine will still see in the gravity of the interests involved a
sufficient motive for his cordial concurrence in an arrangement which
offers the best prospect of an amicable and satisfactory adjustment
of the general question of boundary) to request your excellency's
cooperation in the conciliatory course adopted by the two Governments,
an adherence to which seems the more important at this time from the
consideration that an answer to the President's last proposition is
daily looked for, and to renew to you the assurance that no efforts
shall be spared on his part to bring the negotiation to a speedy
conclusion.

I have the honor to be, etc.,

JOHN FORSYTH.



_Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Stevenson_.

[Extract.]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, July 12, 1837_.

ANDREW STEVENSON, Esq., etc.

SIR: I inclose an extract[11] of a letter received at this Department
from the governor of Maine, by which you will perceive that a citizen of
that State, named Ebenezer S. Greely, while employed, in virtue of an
appointment under one of its laws, in making an enumeration of the
inhabitants upon a part of the territory claimed as being within the
limits of the State, was seized by order of the authorities of the
Province of New Brunswick on the 6th of June last and imprisoned in the
public jail of Frederickton, where he still remains. I also transmit a
copy of sundry documents relating to his arrest and detention.[12] This
outrage upon the personal liberty of one of its citizens has actually
caused great excitement in Maine, and has produced an urgent appeal to
the General Government for its intervention in procuring redress for
what is considered an unprovoked and unjustifiable aggression. This
arrest was made on a part of the territory in dispute between the
United States and Great Britain, and could only have been justified in
the existing state of that controversy by some plain infringement of
the understanding which exists between the parties, that until the
settlement of the question of right there shall be no extension of
jurisdiction on either side within the disputed limits. It is not
perceived how the simple enumeration of the inhabitants, about which
Mr. Greely was employed, could be construed as a breach of that
understanding, and it is expected that the Government of Great Britain
will promptly mark its disapproval of this act of violence committed
by the provincial authorities, so inconsistent with those amicable
feelings under which the negotiation respecting the controverted
boundary has been hitherto conducted, and so essential to bring it
to a happy termination. You are directed immediately upon the receipt
of this dispatch to bring the subject to the notice of His Majesty's
Government, and to demand as a matter of justice and right the prompt
release of Mr. Greely and a suitable indemnity for his imprisonment.

[Footnote 11: Omitted.]

[Footnote 12: Omitted.]



_Mr. Stevenson to Mr. Forsyth_.

[Extract.]


LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

_London, August 21, 1837_.

SIR: I received by the last packet to Liverpool your dispatch of the
12th of July (No. 21), transmitting copies of the documents and
correspondence in relation to the arrest and imprisonment of Mr. Greely,
a citizen of Maine, by the authorities of New Brunswick.

In pursuance of your instructions, I lost no time in presenting the
subject to the consideration of the Government, and herewith transmit
to you a copy of my note to Lord Palmerston, to which no answer has yet
been received.

You will see that I waived for the present the discussion of the
question of right and jurisdiction, and contented myself with presenting
the facts of the case and demanding the immediate release of Mr. Greely
and indemnity for the injuries which he had sustained.



_Mr. Stevenson to Lord Palmerston_.

23 PORTLAND PLACE, _August 10, 1837_.

LORD PALMERSTON, etc.:

The undersigned, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary from
the United States, has the honor, in pursuance of instructions from his
Government, to transmit to Lord Palmerston, Her Majesty's principal
secretary of state for foreign affairs, copies of sundry official
documents detailing the circumstances under which a most unwarrantable
outrage has recently been committed by the authorities of the Province
of New Brunswick upon the rights and liberty of a citizen of the United
States.

From these papers it appears that Ebenezer S. Greely, a citizen of
the State of Maine, was duly appointed for the purpose of taking
an enumeration of the inhabitants of that State by an act of its
legislature; that on the 6th of June last, whilst Mr. Greely was engaged
in performing this duty and taking down the names of the inhabitants
residing in that part of the disputed territory claimed by the United
States as lying within the limits of Maine, he was forcibly arrested by
the authorities of New Brunswick, immediately transported in custody to
the town of Frederickton, and imprisoned in the public jail, where he
still remains. This proceeding by the authorities of New Brunswick,
having produced, as might justly have been expected, very deep
excitement in Maine, was followed by an immediate appeal from the
governor of that State to the Government of the United States for
intervention and redress.

This application on the part of Maine having received the special
consideration of the President, the undersigned has been instructed
to lose no time in presenting the subject to the early and earnest
attention of Her Majesty's Government, and demanding not only the
immediate liberation of Mr. Greely from imprisonment, but indemnity
for the injuries that he has sustained.

In fulfilling these instructions of his Government it is not the
purpose of the undersigned to open the general discussion of the
respective claims of Great Britain and the United States to the disputed
territory (within which Mr. Greely was arrested), or the right of either
Government to exercise jurisdiction within its limits. Whatever opinion
the undersigned may entertain as to the rightful claim of the State of
Maine to the territory in dispute, and however unanswerable he may
regard the arguments by which the claim may be sustained, he deems
it neither proper nor needful to urge them upon the consideration of
Her Majesty's Government in the decision of the present case; more
especially as the whole subject is elsewhere, and in another form,
matter of negotiation between the two Governments, where the discussion
of the question of right more appropriately belongs. The undersigned,
moreover, does not presume that pending the negotiation, and whilst
efforts are making for the peaceable and final adjustment of these
delicate and exciting questions, Her Majesty's Government can claim
the right of exclusive jurisdiction and sovereignty over the disputed
territory or the persons residing within its limits. In such a claim of
power on the part of Great Britain or its provincial authorities, the
undersigned need not repeat to Lord Palmerston (what he is already fully
apprised of) the Government of the United States can never consent to
acquiesce in the existing state of the controversy. On the contrary,
the mutual understanding which exists between the two Governments on
the subject and the moderation which both Governments have heretofore
manifested forbid the exercise by either of such high acts of sovereign
power as that which has been exerted in the present case by the
authorities of Her Majesty's provincial government.

The undersigned must therefore suppose that this arrest and imprisonment
of an American citizen under such circumstances and in the existing
state of the controversy could only have been justified by some supposed
infringement of the understanding existing between the parties in
relation to the question of jurisdiction within the disputed territory.
Such, however, was not the case. The correspondence between the governor
of Maine and the lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick shows that
the only act done by Mr. Greely was the simple enumeration of the
inhabitants, and it is not perceived how such an act could be construed
into a breach of the understanding between the two Governments.

It is proper also to remark that this was not the first time that the
inhabitants within this particular settlement had been enumerated under
the authority of the United States. It was done in the census of 1820
(as a portion of the State of Maine), and was at the time neither
objected to nor remonstrated against by the British Government or that
of New Brunswick.

Wherever, then, the right of jurisdiction and sovereignty over this
territory may dwell, the undersigned feels satisfied that Her Majesty's
Government can not fail to perceive that the arrest and imprisonment of
Mr. Greely under the circumstances of the case was not only a violation
of the rights of the United States, but was wholly irreconcilable with
that moderation and forbearance which it is peculiarly the duty of both
Governments to maintain until the question of right shall be
definitively settled.

It becomes the duty of the undersigned, therefore, in pursuance of
special instructions from his Government, to invite the early and
favorable consideration of Her Majesty's Government to the subject, and
to demand, as a matter of justice and right, the immediate discharge of
Mr. Greely from imprisonment, and a suitable indemnity for the wrongs
he has sustained.

Before closing this note the undersigned will avail himself of the
occasion to remind Lord Palmerston of the urgency which exists for the
immediate and final adjustment of this long-pending controversy, and the
increased obstacles which will be thrown in the way of its harmonious
settlement by these repeated collisions of authority and the exercise of
exclusive jurisdiction by either party within the disputed territory.

He begs leave also to repeat to his lordship assurances of the earnest
and unabated desire which the President feels that the controversy
should be speedily and amicably settled, and to express the anxiety
with which the Government of the United States is waiting the promised
decision of Her Majesty's Government upon the proposition submitted
to it as far back as July, 1836, and which the undersigned had been
led to believe would long since have been given; and he has been
further directed to say that should this proposition be disapproved
the President entertains the hope that some new one on the part of
Her Majesty's Government will immediately be made for the final and
favorable termination of this protracted and deeply exciting
controversy.

The undersigned begs Lord Palmerston to receive renewed assurances of
his distinguished consideration.

A. STEVENSON.



_Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Stevenson_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, September 28, 1837_.

ANDREW STEVENSON, Esq., etc.

SIR: You will receive herewith the copy of a note, dated the 18th
instant, recently received by the President from the governor of Maine,
who alleges that Ebenezer S. Greely, esq., a citizen of that State,
while employed within its limits and under its authority in enumerating
the inhabitants of Penobscot County, has been again arrested and
imprisoned by the provincial authorities of New Brunswick, and requests
that speedy measures be adopted by the Government of the United States
to procure the release of Mr. Greely.

Governor Dunlap has been assured, by the President's direction, that
steps would be immediately taken to effect that object, and you are
accordingly instructed, on the receipt of this dispatch, to bring the
subject without delay to the attention of the British secretary of state
for foreign affairs. You will remonstrate in a respectful but earnest
manner against this second violation of the rights of Maine in the
person of her agent, and demand the prompt release of Mr. Greely, with
such additional indemnification as the nature of the outrage calls for.

I am, etc.,

JOHN FORSYTH.



_Mr. Stevenson to Mr. Forsyth_.

[Extracts.]

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

_London, November 22, 1837_.

On my return to London, after an absence of a few weeks, I found your
dispatches Nos. 26 and 27, under date of the 8th and 28th of September.
In pursuance of your instructions I addressed an official note to Lord
Palmerston on the subject of the second arrest and imprisonment of Mr.
Greely by the provincial authority of New Brunswick, a copy of which
I have now the honor of transmitting to you.

No answer has yet been received to my first note, but I presume a
decision of the case may be soon expected.



_Mr. Stevenson to Lord Palmerston_.

23 PORTLAND PLACE, _November 8, 1837_.

The undersigned, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary
from the United States, had the honor on the 10th of August last
of addressing to Lord Viscount Palmerston, Her Majesty's principal
secretary of state for foreign affairs, an official note complaining
of the arrest and imprisonment of Ebenezer S. Greely, a citizen of
the United States, by the provincial authorities of New Brunswick,
and demanding, by order of his Government, the immediate release of
Mr. Greely from imprisonment, with suitable indemnity for the wrongs
he had sustained. To this communication a note was received from his
lordship, under date of the 22d of the same month, in which an assurance
was given that an early answer to the complaint might be expected.
No answer, however, has yet been received, and it is with unfeigned
regret that the undersigned finds himself constrained, in again inviting
the attention of Her Majesty's Government to the subject, to accompany
it with another complaint of a second outrage committed by the
authorities of New Brunswick upon the rights and liberty of this
individual.

From recent information received it appears that shortly after the first
arrest and imprisonment of Mr. Greely he was, by the orders of the
lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, released from confinement, but
was immediately thereafter again taken into custody by his authority and
recommitted to the jail of Frederickton, where he is now detained. This
fact having been communicated by the governor of Maine to the President
of the United States (in an official communication setting forth the
circumstances under which it was done, a copy of which is herewith
transmitted), the undersigned has received the special instructions of
his Government to bring the subject without delay to the notice of Her
Majesty's Government, in order that immediate steps may be taken for
the liberation of Mr. Greely and indemnity made for the injuries he
has suffered.

Having in the first note which he had the honor of addressing to Lord
Palmerston stated the grounds upon which the release of this individual
was demanded and the expectations of his Government in relation to the
subject, and having waived the discussion of the questions of right and
jurisdiction, which he still intends doing, it will not be needful to do
more on this occasion than express to his lordship the painful surprise
and regret with which the President has received information of this
second outrage on the part of the authorities of New Brunswick, and
to repeat the assurances heretofore given that such proceeding can
be regarded in no other light than a violation of the rights and
sovereignty of the United States, and entirely irreconcilable with that
mutual forbearance which it was understood would be practiced by both
Governments pending the negotiation.

The circumstances under which these recent attempts to enforce
jurisdiction have been made show that in the most favorable aspect in
which they can be regarded they were wholly indefensible.

The act for which Greely was arrested and imprisoned, so far from having
been committed within the acknowledged dominions of the British Crown,
and beyond the limits of the disputed territory, and therefore liable
to be treated as a violation of territorial jurisdiction, took place,
as appears by the statement of the governor of Maine, whilst he was
employed within the limits of that State, and under its authority,
in enumerating the inhabitants of the county of Penobscot.

By what authority, then, the provincial government of New Brunswick
felt itself justified in exercising such acts of sovereign power the
undersigned is at a loss to conceive, unless, indeed, upon the ground
that the jurisdiction and sovereignty over the disputed territory
pending the controversy rests exclusively with Great Britain. If such
should turn out to be the fact, it can hardly be necessary again to
repeat the assurances which have been heretofore given that in any such
claim of power the Government of the United States can not acquiesce.

Upon the consequences which would unavoidably result from attempting to
exercise such jurisdiction it is needless to enlarge. It must now be
apparent that all such attempts, if persevered in, can produce only
feuds and collisions of the most painful character, and besides
increasing the feelings of international discord which have already been
excited between the contending parties, they will close every avenue to
an amicable adjustment of a controversy which it is so much the desire
and interest of both Governments to accomplish. Ought it not, then, to
be the earnest endeavor of the two Governments to avoid doing anything
which can have a tendency to lead to such mischievous consequences?

It is under this view of the subject that the undersigned has been
instructed again to remonstrate against these proceedings of the
authorities of New Brunswick, as a violation of the rights of Maine
in the person of her agent, and to protest in the most solemn manner
against the future exercise of all such acts of jurisdiction and
sovereignty over the disputed territory or the citizens of the United
States residing within its limits until a final adjustment of the
controversy takes place.

The undersigned, therefore, can not and ought not to close this note
without again invoking the early and earnest attention of Lord
Palmerston and that of Her Majesty's Government to this painful subject.

It is one of deep and mutual interest to the parties concerned, and the
delicacy and embarrassments which surround it are justly appreciated by
the Government of the United States. Deeply regretting, as that
Government does, the collisions of authority to which both countries
have been so repeatedly exposed by the delay that has taken place in the
final settlement of the main question, it is sincerely desirous, as the
undersigned has taken occasion repeatedly to assure Lord Palmerston, to
have it brought to a speedy and amicable termination. This can only be
done by measures of mutual forbearance and moderation on the part of
both Governments. To this end the efforts of the American Government
have been earnest, persevering, and constant. It has done, as it will
continue to do, everything in its power to induce the State of Maine to
pursue a course best calculated to avoid all excitement and collision
between the citizens of that State and the inhabitants of New Brunswick,
or which would tend in any manner to embarrass the mediatorial action of
their two Governments on the subject; but it can not be expected, if the
authorities of New Brunswick still persevere in attempting to exercise
jurisdiction over the disputed territory by the arrest and imprisonment
in foreign jails of citizens of Maine for performing their duty under
the laws of their own State, and within what is believed to be her
territorial limits, that measures of retaliation will not be resorted
to by Maine, and great mischief ensue.

Indeed, under existing circumstances and in the nature of human
connections, it is not possible, should such a course of violence be
continued, to avoid collisions of the most painful character, for which
the Government of the United States can not be responsible, but which
both Governments would equally deplore.

It was doubtless with a view of guarding against these consequences that
the understanding took place that each Government should abstain from
exercising jurisdiction within the limits of the disputed territory
pending the settlement of the main question.

The undersigned therefore persuades himself that these proceedings
of the colonial government may have taken place without a careful
examination of the important questions involved in them or the
consequences to which they might lead, rather than under instructions
from Her Majesty's Government or with a deliberate view of asserting
and enforcing territorial and jurisdictional rights over the contested
territory.

In looking back, as he does with satisfaction, to the conciliatory
spirit in which the negotiation has heretofore been conducted and the
moderation which both Governments have observed, the undersigned can not
permit himself to doubt but that upon a careful review of the whole
subject Her Majesty's Government will see fit not only to mark with its
disapprobation this last proceeding of her colonial government, and
direct the immediate liberation of Mr. Greely from imprisonment, with
ample indemnity for the wrongs he may have sustained, but that it will
see the propriety of giving suitable instructions to the authorities of
New Brunswick to abstain for the future from all acts of that character,
which can have no other tendency than to increase the excitement and
jealousies which already prevail and retard the final and amicable
adjustment of this painful controversy.

The undersigned requests Lord Palmerston to accept assurances of his
distinguished consideration.

A. STEVENSON.



_Mr. Clay to Mr. Vaughan_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, January 9, 1829_.

Right Hon. CHARGES R. VAUGHAN, etc.

SIR: I have this day received a letter from the governor of the State of
Massachusetts, transmitting an extract from a letter addressed by George
W. Coffin, esq., land agent of Massachusetts, to his excellency, a copy
of which is herewith communicated, and to which I request your immediate
and particular attention.

It appears from this document that "mills are now erecting on the grant
formerly made to General Baton, on the Aroostook River, for the avowed
purpose of getting their supply of timber from our forests;" that the
proprietor of these mills "says he has assurances from the authorities
of New Brunswick that he may cut timber without hindrance from them,
provided he will engage to pay them for it if they succeed in obtaining
their right to the territory;" "that mills are also erected at Fish
River, and to supply them the growth in that section is fast
diminishing, and that the inhabitants of St. John River obtain from the
Province of New Brunswick permits to cut on the Crown lands. But it is
evident that many having such permits do not confine themselves to Crown
lands, for in my travels across the interior country logging roads and
the chips where timber had been hewn were seen in every direction,
also many stumps of trees newly cut." I need scarcely remark that the
proceedings thus described are in opposition to the understanding which
has existed between the Governments of the United States and Great
Britain that during the pendency of the arbitration which is to settle
the question of boundary neither party should exercise any jurisdiction
or perform any act on the disputed territory to strengthen his own
claims or to affect the state of the property in issue. The governor of
Massachusetts observes in his letter to me that, "in relation to the
lands on Fish River, it must be recollected that the survey of a road
by the joint commissioners of Massachusetts and Maine a short time
since was made matter of complaint by the British minister resident at
Washington on the express ground that the territory was within the scope
of the dispute. From courtesy to his Government and a respectful regard
to a suggestion from the Department of State, the making of the road
was suspended." The governor justly concludes: "But it will be an ill
requital for this voluntary forbearance on our part if the land is to
be plundered of its timber and the value of the property destroyed
before it shall be determined that it does not belong to us."

If the government of New Brunswick will authorize or countenance such
trespasses as have been stated by Mr. Coffin on the disputed territory,
it can not be expected that the State of Maine will abstain from the
adoption of preventive measures or from the performance of similar or
other acts of jurisdiction and proprietorship. The consequence would be
immediate and disagreeable collision. To prevent this state of things,
I am directed by the President again to demand through you the effectual
interposition of the British Government. Without that the friendly, if
not the peaceful, relations between the two countries may be interrupted
or endangered. I request your acceptance on this occasion of assurances
of my distinguished consideration.

H. CLAY



_Mr. Vaughan to Mr. Clay_.

WASHINGTON, _January 13, 1829_.

Hon. HENRY CLAY, etc.:

The undersigned, His Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary, has the honor to acknowledge the receipt of
Mr. Clay's note containing a representation which has been made by his
excellency the governor of the State of Massachusetts respecting the
cutting down of timber upon the disputed territory in the Province of
New Brunswick.

The undersigned will immediately transmit a copy of Mr. Clay's note to
His Majesty's lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, in order to obtain
an explanation of the transaction which has given rise to the
remonstrance made by the governor of Massachusetts.

The undersigned takes this opportunity of renewing to the Secretary of
State the assurances of his highest consideration.

CHS. R. VAUGHAN



_Mr. Vaughan to Mr. Hamilton_.

WASHINGTON, _March 7, 1879_.

JAMES A. HAMILTON, Esq., etc.:

The undersigned, His Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary, had the honor to receive from the Secretary
of State of the United States a note, dated the 9th January last,
containing a representation made by his excellency the governor of
Massachusetts respecting some trespasses committed on the disputed
territory in the Province of New Brunswick.

A copy of the note of the Secretary of State having been transmitted to
Sir Howard Douglas, His Majesty's lieutenant-governor of that Province,
the undersigned has lately received an answer, which he has the honor
to communicate to Mr. Hamilton by inclosing an extract[13] of his
excellency's letter, which shews in the most satisfactory manner
that, so far from the proceedings complained of by the governor of
Massachusetts having been authorized or countenanced in any shape by the
government of New Brunswick, every precaution has been taken to prevent
and restrain depredations in the disputed territory.

Mr. Hamilton will see by the inclosed letter that Sir Howard Douglas has
sent a magistrate to report upon the mills which have been established
without license or authority, to inspect minutely the stations of the
cutters of lumber, and to seize any timber brought into the acknowledged
boundaries of New Brunswick from the disputed territory, and to hold the
proceeds of the sale of it for the benefit of the party to whom that
territory may be ultimately awarded.

As the time is approaching when Sir Howard Douglas will be absent from
his government, he will leave injunctions strictly to observe the
understanding between the two governments during his absence. The
undersigned has great satisfaction in being able to offer to the
Government of the United States the unequivocal testimony contained in
the inclosed letter from Sir Howard Douglas of the conciliatory spirit
in which the government of New Brunswick is administered, and trusting
that a similar spirit will animate the government of the American States
which border on that Province, he confidently anticipates a cessation of
that excitement which has unfortunately prevailed in the neighborhood of
the disputed territory.

The undersigned takes this occasion to offer to Mr. Hamilton the
assurances of his high consideration.

CHAS. R. VAUGHAN.

[Footnote 13: Omitted.]



_Mr. Hamilton to Mr. Vaughan_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, March 11, 1829_.

Right Hon. CHARLES RICHARD VAUGHAN,

_Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary from Great Britain_.

SIR: I have received and laid before the President of the United States
the note, with its inclosures, which you did me the honor to write to me
on the 7th of this month in answer to a representation which was made
to you by Mr. Clay on the 9th of January last, at the instance of the
governor of Massachusetts, concerning depredations complained of by him
against inhabitants of the Province of New Brunswick in cutting timber,
preparing lumber for market, and erecting mills upon the soil of the
territory in dispute between the United States and Great Britain,
and I am directed by the President to state in reply, as I have
much pleasure in doing, that he derives great satisfaction from the
information contained in your communication, as he especially perceives
in the prompt and energetic measures adopted by Sir Howard Douglas,
lieutenant-governor of the Province in question, and detailed in the
inclosure referred to, a pledge of the same disposition on the part
of the authorities of that Province which animates this Government--to
enforce a strict observance of the understanding between the two
Governments that the citizens or subjects of neither shall exercise
any acts of ownership in the disputed territory whilst the title to it
remains unsettled. I will lose no time in making known to the governors
of Massachusetts and Maine the measures which have been thus adopted
by the lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick to guard against all
depredations upon the disputed territory, and will at the same time
inform their excellencies of the just and confident expectation
entertained by the President that the conciliatory understanding or
arrangement between the two Governments of the United States and Great
Britain already referred to should not be disturbed by the citizens of
these two States.

I am directed likewise by the President expressly to use this first
occasion of an official communication with you under his orders to
request the favor of you to make known to your Government the sincere
regret he feels at the existence of any difference or misunderstanding
between the United States and Great Britain upon the subject-matter of
this letter, or any other whatever, and that in all the measures which
may be adopted on his part toward their adjustment he will be entirely
actuated and governed by a sincere desire to promote the kindest and
best feelings on both sides and secure the mutual and lasting interests
of the parties.

I pray you, sir, to accept the renewed assurances of the high and
distinguished consideration with which I have the honor to be, your
obedient, humble servant,

JAMES A. HAMILTON.



_Mr. Vaughan to Mr. Hamilton_.

WASHINGTON, _March 12, 1839_.

Mr. J.A. HAMILTON, etc.:

It is with great satisfaction that the undersigned, His Britannic
Majesty's envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, acknowledges
the receipt of Mr. Hamilton's note of the 11th instant, containing
a prompt acknowledgment of the efficacious measures adopted by the
lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick to investigate and to restrain the
proceedings complained of in the disputed territory; and he begs leave
to assure the President that he derives great satisfaction from being
requested to communicate to His Majesty's Government that in the
adjustment of differences between Great Britain and the United States
the President will be entirely actuated and governed by a sincere desire
to promote the kindest and best feelings on both sides and secure the
mutual and lasting interests of the parties.

The undersigned begs Mr. Hamilton to accept the assurances of his
highest consideration.

CHS. R. VAUGHAN.



_Mr. Vaughan to Mr. Van Buren_.

WASHINGTON, _April 10, 1829_.

Hon. MARTIN VAN BUREN, etc.:

The undersigned, His Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary, has the honor to inform the Secretary of
State of the United States that he has received an intimation from His
Majesty's lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick that, apparently, it is
the intention of the Government of the United States to carry the road
now making through the State of Maine to Mars Hill over the point, and
to occupy it as a military station.

The undersigned begs leave to remind Mr. Van Buren that Mars Hill is
situated upon the northeastern line of boundary which is in dispute
between the two Governments; and he is called upon to protest against
the occupation of it by American troops upon the ground that the line
drawn by the commissioners of boundary under the treaty of Ghent due
north from the monument which marks the sources of the river St. Croix
was not considered by them as correctly laid down, and it yet remains
to be determined whether Mars Hill lies eastward or westward of a line
drawn upon scientific principles. For a better explanation of the
motives for this protest the undersigned has the honor to refer the
Secretary of State to a copy of a letter, which is inclosed,[14] from
Sir Howard Douglas.

A joint resolution of both Houses of Congress passed during the last
session tends to confirm the intentions of the Government of the United
States as inferred by Sir Howard Douglas from the information which he
has received. That resolution authorized the making of a road from and
beyond Mars Hill to the mouth of the Madawaska River; but as the
carrying into effect that resolution was left entirely to the discretion
of the President, the undersigned can not entertain any apprehension of
a forcible seizure of a large portion of the disputed territory, which
a compliance with the resolution of Congress would imply.

The undersigned acknowledges with great satisfaction the assurances
which he has received of the kind feelings which will actuate the
President of the United States in the adjustment of any differences
which may exist with Great Britain. He submits, therefore, the
representation of the lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick respecting
the occupation of Mars Hill, relying confidently on the manifest
propriety of restraining the aggression which it is supposed is
meditated from the frontier of the State of Maine, and of both parties
mutually abstaining from any acts which can affect the disputed
territory, as the question of possession is now in the course of
arbitration.

The undersigned reiterates to the Secretary of State the assurances of
his highest consideration.

CHAS. R. VAUGHAN.

[Footnote 14: Omitted.]



_Mr. Van Buren to Mr. Vaughan_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, May 11, 1829_.

Right Hon. CHARGES R. VAUGHAN, etc.:

The undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, has the honor
to acknowledge the receipt of the note which Mr. Vaughan, His Britannic
Majesty's envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, addressed to
him on the 10th of April, stating upon the authority of a letter from
the governor of New Brunswick, whereof a copy came inclosed in Mr.
Vaughan's note, that it was apparently the intention of the Government
of the United States to carry the road now making through the State
of Maine to Mars Hill over that point, and to occupy Mars Hill as a
military station; and protesting against such occupation upon the ground
that the line drawn by the commissioners of boundary under the treaty of
Ghent due north from the monument which marks the source of the river
St. Croix was not considered by them as correctly laid down, and that it
yet remains to be determined whether Mars Hill is eastward or westward
of the true line.

The undersigned deems it unnecessary upon the present occasion to enter
into an elaborate discussion of the point stated by Sir Howard Douglas,
the lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, concerning the line referred
to by him, inasmuch as the relative position of Mars Hill to that line
is already designated upon map A, and the line itself mutually agreed
to and sufficiently understood for all present purposes, though not
definitively settled by the convention of Condon of the 29th September,
1827.

The undersigned will therefore merely state that he finds nothing
in the record of the proceedings of the commissioners under the fifth
article of the treaty of Ghent to warrant the doubt suggested by the
lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick whether Mars Hill lies to the
westward of the line to be drawn due north from the monument at the
source of the St. Croix to the highlands which divide the waters that
empty into the river St. Lawrence from those which empty into the
Atlantic Ocean; that the joint surveys and explorations made under that
commission place the hill about a mile due west of that line; and that
the agent of His Britannic Majesty before the commissioners, so far from
intimating any doubt on the point, made it one ground of argument that
the true line, when correctly laid down, would necessarily, on account
of the ascertained progressive westerly variation of the needle, fall
still farther westward.

The undersigned can not acquiesce in the supposition that, because the
agent of His Britannic Majesty thought proper in the proceedings before
the commissioners to lay claim to all that portion of the State of
Maine which lies north of a line running westerly from Mars Hill, and
designated as the limit or boundary of the British claim, thereby the
United States or the State of Maine ceased to have jurisdiction in the
territory thus claimed. In the view of this Government His Britannic
Majesty's agent might with equal justice have extended his claim to any
other undisputed part of the State as to claim the portion of it which
he has drawn in question, and in such case the lieutenant-governor of
New Brunswick could surely not have considered a continuance on the
part of the United States and of the State of Maine to exercise their
accustomed jurisdiction and authority to be an encroachment. If so,
in what light are we to regard the continued acts of jurisdiction now
exercised by him in the Madawaska settlement? More than twenty years ago
large tracts of land lying westward of Mars Hill, and northward on the
river Restook, were granted by the State of Massachusetts, which tracts
are held and possessed under those grants to this day, and the United
States and the States of Massachusetts and Maine, in succession, have
never ceased to exercise that jurisdiction which the unsettled condition
of the country in that region and other circumstances admitted and
required.

The undersigned, therefore, can not discover in the facts and
circumstances of the case any just principles upon which Sir Howard
Douglas could predicate his protest. He has, however, submitted the note
which he had the honor to receive from Mr. Vaughan to the President of
the United States, and is by him directed to say in reply that although
this Government could feel no difficulty in the exercise of what it
deems an unquestionable right, and could not allow itself to be
restrained by the protest of the lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick,
yet, as a further proof of the spirit of amity, forbearance, and
conciliation which the President is desirous of cultivating between the
two Governments, he has decided to postpone for the present the exercise
of the authority vested in him by the Congress of the United States to
cause to be surveyed and laid out a military road to be continued from
Mars Hill, or such other point on the military road laid out in the
State of Maine as he may think proper, to the mouth of the river
Madawaska, and to add that the lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick is
under a misapprehension as to the design of this Government to occupy
Mars Hill as a military station, no such intention being entertained by
the President, nor have any measures been taken by this Government with
an ulterior view to that object.

The undersigned indulges the hope that Mr. Vaughan will perceive in the
manner in which the President, discriminating between the rights of this
Government and their present exercise, has used the discretion conferred
upon him an additional evidence of the desire which he sincerely
entertains, and which he has heretofore caused to be communicated to
Mr. Vaughan, that both Governments should, as far as practicable,
abstain from all acts of authority over the territory in dispute which
are not of immediate and indispensable necessity, and which would serve
to create or increase excitement whilst the matter is in course of
arbitration; and he feels well persuaded that Mr. Vaughan will not fail
to inculcate the same spirit and to recommend in the strongest terms the
observance of the same course on the part of the provincial government
of New Brunswick.

The undersigned offers to Mr. Vaughan the renewed assurances of his high
consideration.

M. VAN BUREN.



_Mr. Vaughan to Mr. Van Buren_.

WASHINGTON, _May 14, 1829_.

Hon. MARTIN VAN BUREN, etc.:

The undersigned, His Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary, has the honor to acknowledge the receipt
of Mr. Van Buren's note dated the 11th instant, and he derives great
satisfaction from being able to communicate to His Majesty's Government
the assurances which it contains that the Government of the United
States has never entertained the design of occupying Mars Hill, and that
the President, in the spirit of amity, forbearance, and conciliation
which he is desirous of cultivating between the two Governments, has
decided to postpone for the present the exercise of the authority vested
in him by the Congress of the United States to cause to be surveyed and
laid out a military road to be continued from Mars Hill to the river
Madawaska.

The undersigned will transmit immediately a copy of Mr. Van Buren's note
to His Majesty's Government, and he forbears, therefore, from taking
notice of the observations which it contains relative to the exact
position of Mars Hill and to the exercise of jurisdiction in the
district on the northwest of it.

The undersigned begs leave to renew to Mr. Van Buren the assurances of
his highest consideration.

CHAS. R. VAUGHAN.



_Mr. Vaughan to Mr. Van Buren_.

WASHINGTON, _June 8, 1829_.

Hon. MARTIN VAN BUREN, etc.:

The undersigned, His Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary, had the honor on the 7th March last to lay
before the Government of the United States a letter from Sir Howard
Douglas, His Majesty's lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, in
explanation of trespasses alleged by the governor of the State of
Massachusetts to have been committed by British subjects in the disputed
territory within that Province. The lieutenant-governor announced his
intention in that letter of sending a magistrate into the district where
the proceedings complained of had taken place to ascertain the nature
and extent of the alleged trespasses and afterwards to make a report
to his excellency.

The report of the magistrate having been received by Mr. Black, who has
been commissioned by His Majesty to administer the government of New
Brunswick during the temporary absence of Sir Howard Douglas, a copy of
it has been transmitted to the undersigned, and he begs leave to submit
it[15] to the consideration of the Secretary of State of the United
States, together with an extract[15] of the letter of Mr. Black which
accompanied it. As it appears by the report of Mr. Maclauchlan, the
magistrate, that some American citizens settled in the disputed
territory are implicated in the trespasses which have been committed,
Mr. Black, the president and commissioner in chief of the government of
New Brunswick, suggests the propriety of an officer being appointed by
the Government of the United States to act in concert with the British
magistrate in preventing further depredations.

The undersigned has received from Mr. Black the most satisfactory
assurances that it will be his earnest study to adhere scrupulously to
the good feeling and conciliatory conduct toward the United States which
has been observed by Sir Howard Douglas.

The undersigned seizes this opportunity to renew to Mr. Van Buren the
assurances of his distinguished consideration.

CHAS. R. VAUGHAN.



_Mr. Bankhead to Mr. Livingston_.

WASHINGTON, _October 1, 1831_.

Hon. EDWARD LIVINGSTON, etc.:

The undersigned, His Britannic Majesty's chargé d'affaires, has the
honor to acquaint Mr. Livingston, Secretary of State of the United
States, that he has received a communication from His Majesty's
lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, stating that the authorities
of Maine have endeavored to exercise a jurisdiction over part of the
territory at present in dispute between His Majesty and the United
States, and, further, that an order has been issued by a justice of the
peace for the county of Penobscot to the inhabitants of the town of
Madawaska to assemble for the purpose of choosing municipal officers.

The undersigned regrets sincerely that these irregular proceedings
should have been had recourse to during a period when the question of
boundary is in a course of settlement, and in opposition to the desire
expressed by the President that pending the discussion of that question
the State of Maine should refrain from committing any act which could
be construed into a violation of the neighboring territory.

The undersigned begs leave to submit to the Secretary of State several
documents[15] which he has received from Sir Archibald Campbell in
support of his complaint of a violation of territory; and the
undersigned entertains a confident hope that such measures will be
adopted as shall prevent a recurrence of acts on the part of the
authorities of the State of Maine which are productive of so much
inconvenience and which tend to disturb that harmony and good will
so necessary to be preserved between the two countries.

The undersigned has the honor to renew to Mr. Livingston the assurances
of his distinguished consideration.

CHARLES BANKHEAD.

[Footnote 15: Omitted.]



_Mr. Livingston to Mr. Bankhead_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, October 17, 1831_.

CHARLES BANKHEAD, Esq., etc.

SIR: Immediately after receiving your note of the 1st instant I wrote to
the governor of the State of Maine for information on the subject of it.
I have just received his answer, of which I have the honor to inclose
two extracts.[16] By the first you will perceive that the election of
town officers in the settlement of Madawaska, of which complaint was
made in the papers inclosed in your letter, was made under color of
a general law, which was not intended by either the executive or
legislative authority of that State to be executed in that settlement,
and that the whole was the work of inconsiderate individuals.

By the second extract it will appear that the individuals said to have
been most prominent in setting up the authority of the State have been
arrested by order of the lieutenant-governor of the Province of New
Brunswick, and were on their way to be imprisoned at Frederickton.

The innovation on the existing state of things in the disputed
territory being distinctly disavowed by the executive authority of the
State, no act of authority or exercise of jurisdiction having followed
the election, I would respectfully suggest the propriety of your
recommending to the lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick the release of
the prisoners who were arrested for exercising this act of authority
in the territory mutually claimed by the two nations, contrary to the
understanding between their Governments. It is their avowed object to
avoid any collision until the intention of both parties in relation
to the award shall be fully known. All subjects calculated to produce
irritation, therefore, ought evidently to be avoided. The arrest of the
persons concerned in the election must produce that feeling in a high
degree. A conviction can not take place without eliciting a decision
from the bench declaratory of and enforcing the jurisdiction over the
territory in dispute, which it is the present policy of both powers to
avoid, at least for the short time that must elapse before the question
can be finally settled. If punishment should follow conviction, the
passions that would be excited must inevitably be hostile to that spirit
of conciliation so necessary where sacrifices of national feeling and
individual interest are required for the common good. It would be absurd
here to enter into the question of title. Both parties claim it. No act
that either can do is necessary to assist its right while there is hope
of an amicable arrangement; and it was with this view of the subject
that a mutual understanding has been had to leave things in the state
in which they are until the question of the award is settled.

On the part of the Americans some individuals, in contravention of this
understanding, have proceeded to do acts which if followed out would
change the political state of part of the disputed land. But it has
not been so followed out; it is disavowed by the power whose assent
is necessary to carry it into execution. It is therefore of no avail,
and can have no more effect than if the same number of men had met at
Madawaska and declared themselves duly elected members of the British
Parliament. The act interferes with no right; it comes in actual
collision with no established power. Not so the punishment of the
individuals concerned. This is at once a practical decision of the
question, and may lead to retaliating legal measures; for if the
lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick feels himself obliged, as he says
he does, to impose the authority of the law within which he thinks
the boundaries of his Province, will not the same feeling incite the
governor of Maine, under the same sense of duty, to pursue the like
measures? And thus the fruits of moderation and mutual forbearance
during so long a period will be lost for the want of perseverance in
them for the short time that is now wanting to bring the controversy
to an amicable close. It is therefore, sir, that I invite your
interposition with his excellency the lieutenant-governor of New
Brunswick to induce him to set at liberty the persons arrested, on their
engagement to make no change in the state of things until the business
shall be finally decided between the two Governments.

On our part, the desire of the General Government to avoid any measures
tending to a change in the existing state of things on our northeast
boundary has been fully and, it is believed, efficaciously expressed to
the executive of the State of Maine, so that the actual relation of the
State with the neighboring Province will not in future suffer any
change.

I have great pleasure, sir, in renewing on this occasion the assurance
of my high consideration.

EDWD. LIVINGSTON.

[Footnote 16: Omitted.]



_Mr. Bankhead to Mr. Livingston_.

WASHINGTON, _October 20, 1831_.

Hon. EDWARD LIVINGSTON, Esq., etc.:

The undersigned, His Britannic Majesty's chargé d'affaires, has the
honor to acknowledge the receipt of Mr. Livingston's note of the 17th
instant, in answer to a representation which the undersigned thought
it his duty to make to the Government of the United States upon a
violation committed upon the territory at present in dispute between
the two countries.

The friendly tone assumed by the Secretary of State in this
communication, the discountenance on the part of the General
Government of the proceedings which were complained of, and the
determination of the President to cause the strictest forbearance to be
maintained until the question of boundary shall be settled have been
received by the undersigned with great satisfaction, and it is in the
same spirit of harmony that he has addressed a letter to His Majesty's
lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, inclosing a copy of Mr.
Livingston's note, for his excellency's serious consideration.

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

CHARLES BANKHEAD.



_Mr. Bankhead to Mr. Livingston_.

WASHINGTON, _October 22, 1831_.

Hon. EDWARD LIVINGSTON, etc.:

The undersigned, His Britannic Majesty's chargé d'affaires, has the
honor to transmit to the Secretary of State of the United States the
copy of a letter[17] from His Majesty's lieutenant-governor of New
Brunswick, inclosing a deposition[17] made before a justice of the peace
of that Province in support of a charge against certain inhabitants of
Houlton, in the State of Maine, for having made a forcible inroad on
the territory of His Majesty in search of an Irishman (an inhabitant of
Woodstock, New Brunswick) who committed a most violent outrage against
the constituted authorities at Houlton.

The lieutenant-governor deprecates in the strongest manner the infamous
conduct of the individual in question, and is perfectly ready to exert
the utmost rigor of the laws against him; but his excellency at the
same time protests against the conduct of those persons who have thus
attempted to interfere with the jurisdiction of the laws in His
Majesty's possessions.

Under these circumstances the undersigned has to request that Mr.
Livingston will be good enough to cause the necessary inquiries to be
instituted into this transaction, and upon the charges being clearly
proved that he will make such a representation to the authorities of the
State of Maine as shall prevent the recurrence of a similar irregularity
in future.

The undersigned has the honor to renew to Mr. Livingston the assurances
of his distinguished consideration.

CHARLES BANKHEAD.

[Footnote 17: Omitted.]



_Mr. Bankhead to Mr. Livingston_.

WASHINGTON, _November 25, 1831_.

Hon. EDWARD LIVINGSTON, etc.:

The undersigned, His Britannic Majesty's chargé d'affaires, has the
honor to refer the Secretary of State of the United States to the
correspondence which took place in the month of October upon the subject
of violations which had been committed upon the territory at present in
dispute between Great Britain and the United States, and the measures
which His Majesty's lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick deemed it
expedient to adopt thereupon.

The trial of these persons took place at Frederickton, and they were
sentenced by the supreme court of the Province to fine and imprisonment.

At the time the undersigned communicated to the Government of the United
States the decision which the authorities of New Brunswick had felt it
necessary to adopt upon this occasion he expressed the deep regret of
the governor of that Province that the conduct of these individuals was
such as to compel his excellency to pursue a course so uncongenial to
his own feelings and at variance with the harmony which subsists between
the Governments of Great Britain and the United States.

The Secretary of State upon receiving this communication expressed to
the undersigned the earnest desire of the President, upon a total
disavowal on the part of the General Government of the proceedings of
the persons implicated in this transaction, that His Majesty's
lieutenant-governor might consider himself authorized to exercise a
prerogative in their favor and to remit the sentence which had been
pronounced against them.

No time was lost in submitting Mr. Livingston's note to the
consideration of Sir Archibald Campbell, and the undersigned has the
greatest satisfaction in acquainting him that his excellency fully
acquiesced in the desire manifested by the President of the United
States. The undersigned can not better fulfill the wishes of Sir
Archibald Campbell, which are so much in accordance with that spirit of
good will which happily subsists between the two countries and which
characterizes their relations with each other, than by transmitting
to the Secretary of State a copy of the dispatch which he yesterday
received from that officer, and which he feels assured will be received
by the President as an earnest of his uninterrupted good feeling toward
the Government and people of the United States.

The undersigned has the honor to renew to Mr. Livingston the assurance
of his highest consideration,

CHARLES BANKHEAD.



_Sir Archibald Campbell to Mr. Bankhead_.

GOVERNMENT HOUSE,

_Frederickton, November 8, 1831_.

SIR: I had this morning the honor to receive your letter of the
20th ultimo, which, with its inclosures, are in every respect so
satisfactory that I did not lose a moment in giving effect to the wishes
therein expressed by exercising that prerogative so congenial to my own
feelings, whether viewed in the extension of mercy or in the gratifying
anticipation of such a measure being received as an earnest of my most
anxious desire, as far as rests with me (consistent with my public
duties), to preserve inviolate the harmony and good understanding so
happily existing between the two Governments. The prisoners, Barnabas
Hunnewell, Jesse Wheelock, and Daniel Savage, are released; and I
have taken it upon myself, knowing that such a measure will be fully
sanctioned by my Government, to remit the fines imposed by the
supreme court of this Province, as already communicated to you by
Lieutenant-Colonel Snodgrass--an act that I trust will not fail in being
duly appreciated _when it is known_ that the above-mentioned individuals
did, with several others, follow up their first proceedings by acts of
much more serious aggression, for which they stood charged under another
(untried) indictment. However, everything connected therewith is now
corrected.

You will see with what readiness and satisfaction I have received and
adopted your kind advice, for which accept of my sincere thanks, and
believe me to remain, sir, etc.,

ARCHIBALD CAMPBELL,

_Lieutenant-Governor_.



_Mr. Livingston to Mr. Bankhead_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, November 28, 1831_.

CHARLES BANKHEAD, Esq., etc.:

The undersigned, Secretary of State, etc., has the honor to acknowledge
the receipt of a note from Mr. Bankhead, His Britannic Majesty's chargé
d'affaires, under date of the 25th instant, accompanied by a copy of a
letter from Sir A. Campbell, the lieutenant-governor of the Province
of New Brunswick, by both of which the Secretary of State is informed
that the citizens of the United States lately under prosecution at
Frederickton for acts done in the territory now possessed by Great
Britain within the country claimed both by that power and the United
States, have been set at liberty, in accordance with the suggestions
made in the former correspondence between Mr. Bankhead and the Secretary
of State.

Mr. Bankhead's note, with its inclosure, has been laid before
the President, who has instructed the undersigned to express his
satisfaction at the prompt manner in which his suggestions have been
complied with, and to say that he considers it as a proof of the
disposition of His Britannic Majesty's officers to preserve the harmony
that so happily subsists between the two Governments.

The undersigned renews to Mr. Bankhead the assurance of his high
consideration.

EDWARD LIVINGSTON.



_Sir Charles R. Vaughan to Mr. McLane_.

WASHINGTON, _October 20, 1833_.

Hon. LOUIS McLANE, etc.:

The undersigned, His Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary, has the honor to lay before the Secretary
of State of the United States a copy of a letter[18] which he has
received from His Excellency Sir Archibald Campbell, His Majesty's
lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, and to call his attention to the
conduct of certain land agents of the States of Maine and Massachusetts
in the territory in dispute between Great Britain and the United States.

It appears by the report contained in Sir Archibald Campbell's letter
that land agents of Maine and Massachusetts have been holding out
inducements to persons of both countries to cut pine timber on the
disputed territory on condition of paying to them 2 shillings and
6 pence the ton, and that they have entered into contracts for opening
two roads which will intersect the Roostook River.

As it is the declared will and mutual interest of the Governments of
Great Britain and of the United States to preserve the disputed
territory in its present state and to avoid all collision pending the
settlement of the boundary question, the undersigned is convinced that
it is sufficient to insure the prompt interference of the Government of
the United States to put a stop to the proceedings of these land agents
to state the conduct complained of.

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

CHAS. R. VAUGHAN

[Footnote 18: Omitted.]



_Mr. McLane to Sir Charles R. Vaughan_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, October 23, 1833_.

Right Hon. SIR CHARGES R. VAUGHAN, G.C.H.,

_Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of His Britannic
Majesty_:

The undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, has the
honor to acknowledge the receipt of the note of Sir Charles R. Vaughan,
envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of His Britannic
Majesty, of the 20th instant, accompanied by a copy of a letter from
Sir Archibald Campbell, lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, to Sir
Charles R. Vaughan, and also a letter from J.A. Maclauchlan to the
lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, complaining of the "conduct of
certain land agents of the States of Maine and Massachusetts in the
territory in dispute between the United States and Great Britain."

The undersigned is instructed to state that it would be a source
of regret to the President should this complaint prove to be well
founded, and that he has caused a copy of Sir Charles's note and of the
accompanying papers promptly to be communicated to the governors of
Maine and Massachusetts, in order that the necessary steps may be taken
to enforce a due observance of the terms of the existing arrangement
between the Government of the United States and that of Great Britain
in regard to the disputed territory.

The undersigned avails himself of the occasion to renew to Sir Charles
R. Vaughan the assurance of his distinguished consideration.

LOUIS McLANE



_Sir Charles R. Vaughan to Mr. McLane_.

WASHINGTON, _December 17, 1833_.

Hon. LOUIS McLANE, etc.:

The undersigned, His Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary, regrets that a letter received from His
Majesty's lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick should again require him
to ask the intervention of the General Government of the United States
to put a stop to certain proceedings of the State of Maine in the
territory still in dispute between Great Britain and the United States.
The inclosed letter, with the report which accompanies it,[19] shows
that the State of Maine has opened a road beyond the conventional
frontier, with the avowed intention of carrying it to the bank of the
river St. John.

The undersigned is convinced that the Secretary of State of the United
States will agree with him that the State of Maine must not be allowed
to take upon herself the right to define the meaning of the treaty of
1783, and, by aggressions such as those against which the undersigned is
called upon to remonstrate, to take possession, without reference to the
General Government of the United States, of territory which has been so
long in abeyance between the two Governments. Such conduct is calculated
to lead to collisions of a distressing nature between the subjects of
His Britannic Majesty and the citizens of the United States employed to
assert a futile and hazardous possession which so entirely depends upon
the arrangements in progress between the two Governments.

The undersigned trusts that the representation made in this note will
be received by the Secretary of State in the same spirit of good will
and conciliation which has hitherto characterized the conduct of the
Government of the United States in all occurrences of a similar nature.

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

CHAS. R. VAUGHAN

[Footnote 19: Omitted.]



_Mr. McLane to Sir Charles R. Vaughan_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, December 21, 1833_.

Right Hon. SIR CHARLES R. VAUGHAN, G.C.H.,

_Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of His Britannic
Majesty_:

The undersigned, Secretary of State, has the honor to acknowledge the
receipt of the note addressed to him on the 17th instant by Sir Charles
R. Vaughan, His Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and minister
plenipotentiary, requesting the intervention of the Government of the
United States to put a stop to certain proceedings of the State of Maine
in the territory still in dispute between Great Britain and the United
States.

The proceedings referred to appear, by the letter of the
lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick and the report of the officer
acting on the part of Great Britain as warden of the disputed territory
(copies of which accompanied Sir Charles R. Vaughan's note), to be the
construction of a road to the Restook River, passing, as is alleged,
through 15 miles of the disputed territory, and supposed by the warden
to be intended to intersect the St. John River in the Madawaska
settlement.

The undersigned is happy to have it in his power to afford at once
such explanations upon this subject as he trusts may be satisfactory.
By a communication received from the governor of Maine, in answer to a
representation recently made by Sir Charles R. Vaughan concerning other
alleged encroachments on the disputed territory, it will be seen that
no part of the road now constructing by that State is believed to be
within the territory of which the British Government has ever been in the
actual possession since the treaty of 1783, and that it is not designed
to extend the road beyond the Aroostook. The apprehensions entertained
of its being extended to the St. John River in the Madawaska settlement
appear, therefore, to be groundless, and, if the views of the governor
of Maine as to the locality of the road be correct, it would seem that
its construction can afford no just cause of complaint, as it is not
supposed that such improvements made by either party within that part
of the territory which has been in its possession, or so considered,
since the treaty of 1783 are contrary to the spirit of the existing
understanding between the two Governments. It will be seen, moreover,
as well by the communication from the governor of Maine as by one
received from the governor of Massachusetts on the same occasion, that
a conciliatory and forbearing disposition prevails on their part, and
that no measures will be taken or any acts authorized by them which may
justly be considered as a violation of the understanding in regard to
the disputed territory.

The undersigned has nevertheless been directed by the President to
transmit copies of Sir Charles R. Vaughan's note and its inclosures
to the governors of Maine and Massachusetts, and to repeat to their
excellencies his earnest desire that as far as depends on them no
departure from the understanding between the two Governments may be
permitted.

In regard to the complaint heretofore made by Sir Charles R. Vaughan,
upon the representations of the lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick
and the warden of the disputed territory, as to the cutting and sale
of timber under the authority of the land agents of Maine and
Massachusetts, the undersigned begs leave to refer to the communications
from the governors of those States already mentioned, copies of which
are now transmitted, by which it appears that the conduct of those
agents has furnished no just cause of dissatisfaction, but that, on the
contrary, it is alleged that His Britannic Majesty's officers of the
Province of New Brunswick, by the seizure and sale of timber cut by
trespassers on the Aroostook, and afterwards in the rightful custody of
the agent of the State of Massachusetts, have been the first to violate
the existing understanding upon this subject.

These complaints on both sides, arising, as the undersigned believes,
from acts which do not on either side indicate an intention to disregard
the existing understanding, but are attributable to the unsettled state
of the boundary question, and which should therefore be viewed with
mutual forbearance, furnish increased reason for a speedy adjustment of
that interesting matter; and the President looks with great solicitude
for the answer, which is daily expected, from the British Government to
the proposition submitted on the part of the United States, in the hope
that it may soon set all those difficulties at rest.

The undersigned has the honor to renew to Sir Charles R. Vaughan the
assurance of his distinguished consideration.

LOUIS McLANE.



EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT OF MASSACHUSETTS,

_November 1, 1833_.

Hon. LOUIS McLANE,

_Secretary of State of the United States_.

SIR: I have to acknowledge the honor of the receipt of your letter of
the 23d of October, covering a copy of a note addressed to you by Sir
Charles R. Vaughan, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of
His Britannic Majesty, accompanied also by copies of certain documents
conveying complaints on the part of the authorities of His Majesty's
Province of New Brunswick "of the conduct of certain land agents of the
States of Maine and Massachusetts on the territory in dispute between
the United States and Great Britain."

Permit me to assure you that I shall lose no time in making inquiry of
the land agent of this Commonwealth into the supposed occasion of the
complaints of His Majesty's provincial officers, and in transmitting to
the Department of State such information as I may receive in reply.

Prejudicial as the delay in the settlement of this long-vexed subject
of boundary is to the rights of property which Massachusetts claims
in the disputed territory, and impatient as both the government and
the people have become at the unreasonableness and pertinacity of the
adversary pretensions and with the present state of the question, yet
the executive of this Commonwealth will not cease to respect the
understanding which has been had between the Governments of the two
countries, _that no act of wrong to the property of either_ shall be
committed during the pending of measures to produce an amicable
adjustment of the controversy.

In the meantime, I can not but earnestly protest against the authority
of any appointment on the behalf of His Majesty's Government which may
be regarded as a claim to the executive protection of this property
or be deemed an acquiescence on the part of the United States in an
interference, _under color_ of a "wardenship of the disputed territory,"
with the direction to its improvement which the governments of
Massachusetts and Maine, respectively, may see fit to give to their
agents. The rights of soil and jurisdiction over it are in the States,
and forbearance to the exercise of these rights for a season, from mere
prudential considerations, a respectful regard to the wishes of the
General Government, or amity toward a foreign nation is not to be
construed into a readiness to surrender them upon the issue of any
proposed negotiation.

I have the honor to be, sir, with sentiments of the highest respect,
your obedient servant,

LEVI LINCOLN.



EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT OF MAINE,

_Augusta, November 23, 1833_.

Hon. LOUIS McLANE,

_Secretary of State of the United States, Washington_.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the
23d of October last, communicating a copy of a note from Sir Charles
R. Vaughan, accompanied with a copy of a letter from Sir Archibald
Campbell, lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, to Sir Charles R.
Vaughan, and also of a letter from Lieutenant J.A. Maclauchlan to Sir
Archibald Campbell, complaining of the conduct of the land agents of the
States of Maine and Massachusetts in the territory in dispute between
the United States and Great Britain.

In compliance with your request to be furnished with information in
relation to this subject, I reply that by a resolve of the legislature
of this State passed March 30, 1831, "the land agent of this State, in
conjunction with the land agent of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is
authorized and empowered to survey, lay out, and make a suitable winter
road, or cause the same to be done, from the mouth of the Matawamkeag, a
branch of the Penobscot River, in a northerly direction, so as to strike
the Aroostook River on or near the line dividing the sixth and seventh
ranges of townships." The same resolve authorizes the land agents to lay
out and make, or cause to be made, a winter road from the village of
Houlton, in a westerly direction, to intersect the road to the Aroostook
River at some point most convenient for traveling and most for the
interest of the State. By a subsequent resolve, passed March 8, 1832,
the authority given to the land agents was enlarged so as to authorize
them "to locate and survey the Aroostook road so that it may strike the
Aroostook River at any place between the west line of the third range
and the east line of the sixth range of townships west of the east line
of the State." The first of these roads has been surveyed and located,
and much the greater part of it lies within the undisputed limits of
this State south of the sources of the Penobscot River, and it is
believed that no part of it lies within territory of which the British
Government has ever been in the actual possession since the treaty of
1783. A portion of this road only has yet been opened, and I have no
information that any part of it has been opened over territory _claimed_
by the British, although it is contemplated to extend it to the
Aroostook when it can be done consistently with the public interest. The
second road described in the resolve of March 30, 1831, is wholly within
the undisputed limits of this State.

A report of the recent proceedings of the land agent in making these
roads and disposing of the timber on the lands of the State has not been
received, and his late sickness and death have rendered it impossible at
this time to obtain a detailed statement of all that has been done in
his official capacity. But it can not be presumed that he has in any
particular exceeded his instructions (copies of which are herewith
transmitted[20]), or, in the discharge of his official duties, taken
any measures or authorized any acts to be done which could justly be
considered as a violation of any known provision of the existing
arrangement between the Governments of the United States and Great
Britain in regard to the disputed territory.

With high consideration, I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient
servant,

SAML. E. SMITH.

[Footnote 20: Omitted.]



_Sir Charles R. Vaughan to Mr. McLane_.

WASHINGTON, _December 23, 1833_.

Hon. LOUIS McLANE, etc.:

The undersigned, His Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary, has the honor to acknowledge the receipt of
the note of the Secretary of State of the United States, in answer
to the representation which he was called upon to make respecting
proceedings of the States of Massachusetts and Maine in the disputed
territory.

To understand correctly the bearings of the roads which those States
have resolved to construct requires a more accurate knowledge of the
topography of the country through which they are to pass than the
undersigned possesses, but he will not fail to transmit a copy of
Mr. McLane's note, together with its inclosures, to His Majesty's
lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick. In the meantime the undersigned
begs leave to observe that the letter from the executive of Maine states
that one of the roads surveyed and located lies, for the greater part
of it, within the undisputed limits of that State, although it is
contemplated to extend it to the Aroostook River. The land agent of
Massachusetts is aware that the road from the river Matawamkeag to the
Aroostook is the one that has given rise to complaint, and which, he
observes, "is now nearly completed." As the Aroostook River, from its
source till it falls into the St. John, flows exclusively through the
disputed territory, to reach it by a road from the State of Maine must
cause an encroachment and be considered an attempt to assume a right
of possession in territory which has never yet been set apart from the
original possession of Great Britain, on account of the difficulties
of ascertaining the boundary according to the treaty of 1783.

With regard to the cutting down and sale of timber, the justification of
the land agent at Boston will be submitted to Sir Archibald Campbell,
and the undersigned is sure that the grievance complained of (taking
away timber which had been seized by the agent from Massachusetts) will
be attended to.

The undersigned receives with great satisfaction the assurances of Mr.
McLane that "a conciliatory and forbearing disposition prevails on the
part of Massachusetts and Maine, and that no measure will be taken
or any acts authorized by them which may justly be considered as a
violation of the understanding in regard to the disputed territory;" and
he can not conclude without begging leave to acknowledge the readiness
with which the President directed inquiries to be made and the desire
which he has shewn on this and every similar occasion to prevent any
encroachment on the disputed territory pending the settlement of the
boundary now in progress between the two Governments.

The undersigned has the honor to assure Mr. McLane of his most
distinguished consideration.

CHAS. R. VAUGHAN.



_Sir Charles R. Vaughan to Mr. McLane_.

WASHINGTON, _February 28, 1834_.

Hon. LOUIS McLANE, etc.:

The undersigned, His Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary, has the honor to communicate to the Secretary
of State of the United States the explanation which he has received from
the lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick of a transaction complained of
by the land agent of Massachusetts in a report communicated to the
undersigned in a note from Mr. McLane dated 21st December last.

The complaint arose out of the seizure of timber cut down without
authority upon the disputed territory, and which, after having been
seized in the first instance by the land agent of Massachusetts, was
taken possession of and sold by the British agent intrusted with the
preservation of the disputed territory on the northeastern frontier of
the United States.

The explanation of this transaction is contained in an extract of a
letter to the undersigned from the lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick
and the report of Mr. Beckwith, the surveyor-general of that Province,
which the undersigned has the honor to inclose in this note.[21]

The seizure of the timber in the first instance by Mr. Coffin, the land
agent of Maine [Massachusetts], was the exercise of authority within the
conventional frontier of the Province of New Brunswick, which could not
be admitted so long as the northeastern boundary of the United States
remains a subject of negotiation; and it appears that the proceeds of
the sale of timber unlawfully cut down are carried to account, and
the possession of them will be appropriated to the party to which the
territory may be adjudged by the settlement of the boundary question.

The undersigned trusts that the explanation which he is now able to give
of this transaction will prove satisfactory to the Government of the
United States.

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

CHAS. R. VAUGHAN

[Footnote 21: Omitted.]



_Mr. McLane to Sir Charles R. Vaughan_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, March 4, 1834_.

Right Hon. SIR CHARLES R. VAUGHAN, G.C.H.,

_Envoy Extraordinary, etc_.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the
28th ultimo, furnishing the explanation of the lieutenant-governor
of New Brunswick of a transaction referred to by the land agent of
Massachusetts in a letter addressed to his excellency the governor
of that Commonwealth, and subsequently communicated to you by this
Department in a note dated 21st December last, and to inform you
that copies of your communication, together with the documents which
accompanied it, will, by direction of the President, be transmitted
without unnecessary delay to the executive of the State of
Massachusetts.

I pray you to accept the assurance of my distinguished consideration.

LOUIS McLANE.



WASHINGTON, _January 27, 1838_.

Hon. R.M. JOHNSON,

_President of the Senate_.

SIR: I transmit herewith, in compliance with the requirements of the
second section of the act of March 3, 1837, making appropriations
for the Indian Department, a communication from the War Department,
accompanied by a copy of the report of the agents appointed to inquire
what depredations had been committed by the Seminole and Creek Indians
on the property of citizens of Florida, Georgia, and Alabama.

M. VAN BUREN.

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



WASHINGTON CITY, _February 5, 1838_.

Hon. JAMES K. POLK,

_Speaker of the House of Representatives_.

SIR: I have the honor to transmit to you a report from the Secretary
of the Navy, prepared in obedience to a resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 7th December last, requiring information as to
the causes which have delayed the outfit and preparation of the South
Sea surveying and exploring expedition.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _February, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of
the 20th instant, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, which
is accompanied by a copy and translation of the pamphlet[22] requested in
that resolution.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 22: Issued by Manuel E. de Gorostiza, formerly minister from
Mexico, before his departure from the United States, containing the
correspondence between the Department of State and the Mexican legation
relative to the passage of the Sabine River by troops under the command
of General Gaines.]



WASHINGTON, _February 17, 1838_.

_To the Senate_:

I transmit for your constitutional action articles of a treaty concluded
on the 23d ultimo with the Chippewas of Saganaw, accompanied by a
communication from the Secretary of War.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _February 17, 1838_.

_To the Senate_:

I transmit for your consideration a communication from the Secretary of
War, respecting a treaty now before you with the Stockbridge and Munsee
Indians.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _March, 1838_.

Hon. J.K. POLK,

_Speaker of the House of Representatives_.

SIR: The inclosed report and accompanying papers from the Secretary of
War contain all the information required by the resolution of the House
of Representatives of the 5th instant, respecting the present state of
the campaign in Florida and the disposition of the Indians to treat for
peace.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _March 12, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit for the consideration of Congress a report from the Secretary
of State, with the accompanying documents, relative to an application
made by the minister of France in behalf of Captain Beziers for
remuneration for services in saving the captain and crew of an American
vessel wrecked in the bay of Cadiz in the year 1825.

I am happy to evince my high sense of the humane and intrepid conduct of
Captain Beziers by presenting his case to Congress, to whom alone it
belongs to determine upon the expediency of granting his request.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _March 13, 1838_.

The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of the
17th of February, I transmit a report[23] of the Secretary of State, with
the accompanying documents, which contain the information requested.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 23: Relating to a ship canal across the Isthmus of Darien.]



WASHINGTON, _March 14, 1838_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:

I transmit to the Senate a treaty of commerce and navigation between
the United States and His Majesty the King of Greece, concluded at
London on the 22d day of December last, together with a copy of the
documents relating to the negotiation of the same, for the constitutional
consideration of the Senate in reference to its ratification.

M. VAN BUREN.


WASHINGTON, _March 15, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of
the 5th instant, I transmit a report[24] from the Secretary of State, to
whom the resolution was referred, with the documents by which the said
report was accompanied.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 24: Relating to the prosecution of the claim of the United
States to the bequest made by James Smithson.]



WASHINGTON, _March, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit a copy and translation of a letter from Mr. Pontois, the
minister plenipotentiary from France to this Government, addressed to
the Secretary of State, and communicating a memorial to me from the
trustees of the former house of Lafitte & Co., of Paris, complaining of
the rejection of a claim preferred in behalf of that house before the
commissioners under the convention with France of the 4th of July, 1831,
and asking redress.

The commission created by the act for carrying that convention into
effect has expired. The fund provided by it has been distributed among
those whose claims were admitted. The Executive has no power over the
subject. If the memorialists are entitled to relief, it can be granted
by Congress alone, to whom, in compliance with the request of the
trustees, that question is now submitted for decision.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _March 19, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit a report[25] from the Secretary of State, to whom the
resolution of the House of Representatives of the 5th instant was
referred, with the documents by which the said report was accompanied.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 25: Relating to high duties and restrictions on tobacco
imported into foreign countries from the United States, etc.]



WASHINGTON, _March 20, 1838_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate of the United States a report from the
Secretary of State, accompanied by a copy of the correspondence
requested by their resolution of the 5th ultimo.

M. VAN BUREN.



DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, March 7, 1838_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:

The Secretary of State, to whom has been referred the resolution of the
Senate of the 5th of February, requesting the President of the United
States to communicate to that body, in such manner as he shall deem
proper, all the correspondence recently received and had between this
and the Governments of Great Britain and the State of Maine on the
subject of the northeastern boundary, has the honor to report to the
President the accompanying copy of letters, which comprise all the
correspondence in the Department asked for by the resolution.

Respectfully submitted,

JOHN FORSYTH.



_Mr. Fox to Mr. Forsyth_.

WASHINGTON, _January 10, 1838_.

Hon. JOHN FORSYTH, etc.:

The undersigned, Her Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary, is directed by his Government to make the
following observations to Mr. Forsyth, Secretary of State of the United
States, with reference to certain points connected with the question of
the northeastern boundary, which question forms the subject of the
accompanying note, which the undersigned has the honor this day to
address to Mr. Forsyth:

The British Government, with a view to prevail upon that of the United
States to come to an understanding with Great Britain upon the river
question, had stated that the King of the Netherlands in his award had
decided that question according to the British interpretation of it and
had expressed his opinion that the rivers which fall into the Bay of
Fundy are not to be considered as Atlantic rivers for the purposes of
the treaty.

Mr. Forsyth, however, in his note to Sir Charles Vaughan of the 28th of
April, 1835, controverts this assertion and maintains that the King of
the Netherlands did not in his award express such an opinion, and Mr.
Forsyth quotes a passage from the award in support of this proposition.

But it appears to Her Majesty's Government that Mr. Forsyth has not
correctly perceived the meaning of the passage which he quotes, for in
the passage in question Mr. Forsyth apprehends that the word "_alone_"
is governed by the verb "_include_" whereas an attentive examination of
the context will show that the word "_alone_" is governed by the verb
"_divide"_ and that the real meaning of the passage is this: That the
rivers flowing north and south from the highlands claimed by the United
States may be arranged in two genera, the first genus comprehending the
rivers which fall into the St. Lawrence, the second genus comprehending
those whose waters in some manner or other find their way into the
Atlantic; but that even if, according to this general classification
and in contradistinction from rivers flowing into the St. Lawrence, the
rivers which fall into the bays of Chaleurs and Fundy might be comprised
in the same genus with the rivers which fall directly into the Atlantic,
still the St. John and the Restigouche form a distinct species by
themselves and do not belong to the species of rivers which fall
_directly_ into the Atlantic, for the St. John and Restigouche are not
divided in company with any such last-mentioned rivers. And the award
goes on to say that, moreover, if this distinction between the two
species were confounded an erroneous interpretation would be applied
to a treaty in which every separate word must be supposed to have a
meaning, and a generic distinction would be given to cases which are
purely specific.

The above appears to be the true meaning of the passage quoted by
Mr. Forsyth; but if that passage had not been in itself sufficiently
explicit, which Her Majesty's Government think it is, the passage which
immediately follows it would remove all doubt as to what the opinion
of the King of the Netherlands was upon the river question, for that
passage, setting forth reasons against the line of boundary claimed by
the United States, goes on to say that such line would not even separate
the St. Lawrence rivers immediately from the St. John and Restigouche,
and that thus the rivers which this line would separate from the St.
Lawrence rivers would need, _in order to reach the Atlantic_, the aid
of _two intermediaries_--first, the rivers St. John and Restigouche,
and, _secondly, the bays of Chaleurs and Fundy_.

Now it is evident from this passage that the King of the Netherlands
deemed the bays of Fundy and Chaleurs to be, for the purposes of the
treaty, as distinct and separate from the Atlantic Ocean as are the
rivers St. John and Restigouche, for he specifically mentions those
rivers and those bays as the channels through which certain rivers would
have to pass in their way from the northern range of dividing highlands
down to the Atlantic Ocean; and it is clear that he considers that the
waters of those highland rivers would not reach the Atlantic Ocean
until after they had traveled through the whole extent either of the
Restigouche and the Bay of Chaleurs or of the St. John and the Bay of
Fundy, as the case might be; and for this reason, among others, the King
of the Netherlands declared it to be his opinion that the line north of
the St. John claimed by the United States is not the line intended by
the treaty.

The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to Mr. Forsyth
the assurances of his high respect and consideration.

H.S. FOX.



_Mr. Fox to Mr. Forsyth_.

WASHINGTON, _January 19, 1838_.

Hon. JOHN FORSYTH, etc.:

The undersigned, Her Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary, has received the orders of his Government
to make the following communication to the Secretary of State of the
United States with reference to the question pending between the two
Governments upon the subject of the northeastern boundary:

The undersigned is, in the first instance, directed to express to
Mr. Forsyth the sincere regret of Her Majesty's Government that the
long-continued endeavors of both parties to come to a settlement of this
important matter have hitherto been unavailing. Her Majesty's Government
feel an undiminished desire to cooperate with the Cabinet of Washington
for the attainment of an object of so much mutual interest, and they
learn with satisfaction that their sentiments upon this point are fully
shared by the actual President of the United States.

The communications which during the last few years have taken place
between the two Governments with reference to the present subject, if
they have not led to the solution of the questions at issue, have at
least narrowed the field of future discussion.

Both Governments have agreed to consider the award of the King of the
Netherlands as binding upon neither party, and the two Governments,
therefore, are as free in this respect as they were before the reference
to that Sovereign was made. The British Government, despairing of the
possibility of drawing a line that shall be in literal conformity with
the words of the treaty of 1783, has suggested that a conventional
boundary should be substituted for the line described by the treaty, and
has proposed that in accordance with the principles of equity and in
pursuance of the general practice of mankind in similar cases the object
of difference should be equally divided between the two differing
parties, each of whom is alike convinced of the justice of its own
claim.

The United States Government has replied that to such an arrangement it
has no power to agree; that until the line of the treaty shall have been
otherwise determined the State of Maine will continue to assume that the
line which it claims is the true line of 1783, and will assert that all
the land up to that line is territory of Maine; that consequently such a
division of the disputed territory as is proposed by Great Britain would
be considered by Maine as tantamount to a cession of what that State
regards as a part of its own territory, and that the Federal Government
has no power to agree to such an arrangement without the consent of the
State concerned.

Her Majesty's Government exceedingly regrets that such an obstacle
should exist to prevent that settlement which under all the
circumstances of the case appears to be the simplest, the readiest,
the most satisfactory, and the most just. Nor can Her Majesty's
Government admit that the objection of the State of Maine is well
founded, for the principle on which that objection rests is as good
for Great Britain as it is for Maine. If Maine thinks itself entitled to
contend that until the true line described in the treaty is determined
the boundary claimed by Maine must be regarded as the right one,
Great Britain is surely still more entitled to insist upon a similar
pretension, and to assert that until the line of the treaty shall be
established to the satisfaction of both parties the whole of the
disputed territory ought to be considered as belonging to the British
Crown, because Great Britain is the original possessor, and all the
territory which has not been proved to have been by treaty ceded by her
must be looked upon as belonging to her still. But the very existence
of such conflicting pretensions seems to point out the expediency of a
compromise, and what compromise can be more fair than that which would
give to each party one-half of the subject-matter of dispute?

A conventional line different from that described in the treaty was
agreed to, as stated by Mr. Forsyth in his note of the 28th of April,
1835, with respect to the boundary westward from the Lake of the Woods.
Why should such a line not be agreed to likewise for the boundary
eastward from the river Connecticut?

Her Majesty's Government can not refrain from again pressing this
proposition upon the serious consideration of the Government of the
United States as the arrangement which would be best calculated to
effect a prompt and satisfactory settlement between the two powers.

The Government of the United States, indeed, while it expressed a doubt
of its being able to obtain the assent of Maine to the above-mentioned
proposal, did, nevertheless, express its readiness to apply to the State
of Maine for the assent of that State to the adoption of another
conventional line, which should make the river St. John from its source
to its mouth the boundary between the two countries. But it is difficult
to understand upon what grounds any expectation could have been formed
that such a proposal could be entertained by the British Government,
for such an arrangement would give to the United States even greater
advantages than they would obtain by an unconditional acquiescence in
their claim to the whole of the disputed territory, because such an
arrangement would, in the first place, give to Maine all that part of
the disputed territory which lies to the south of the St. John, and
would, in the next place, in exchange for the remaining part of the
disputed territory which lies to the north of the St. John, add to
the State of Maine a large district of New Brunswick lying between
the United States boundary and the southern part of the course of
the St. John--a district smaller, indeed, in extent, but much more
considerable in value, than the portion of the disputed territory which
lies to the north of the St. John.

But with respect to a conventional line generally, the Government
of Washington has stated that it has not at present the powers
constitutionally requisite for treating for such a line and has no hopes
of obtaining such powers until the impossibility of establishing the
line described by the treaty shall have been completely demonstrated by
the failure of another attempt to trace that line by a local survey.

Under these circumstances it appears that a conventional line can not
at present be agreed upon, and that such a mode of settlement is in the
existing state of the negotiation impossible.

Thus, then, the award of the King of the Netherlands has been abandoned
by both parties in consequence of its rejection by the American Senate,
and a negotiation between the two Governments for a conventional line
suited to the interests and convenience of the two parties has for the
present been rendered impossible by difficulties arising on the part
of the United States; and both Governments are alike averse to a new
arbitration. In this state of things the Government of the United States
has proposed to the British cabinet that another attempt should be made
to trace out a boundary according to the letter of the treaty, and that
a commission of exploration and survey should be appointed for that
purpose.

Her Majesty's Government have little expectation that such a commission
could lead to any useful result, and on that account would be disposed
to object to the measure; but at the same time they are so unwilling to
reject the only plan now left which seems to afford a chance of making
any further advance in this long-pending matter that they will not
withhold their consent to such a commission if the principle upon which
it is to be formed and the manner in which it is to proceed can be
satisfactorily settled.

The United States Government have proposed two modes in which such
a commission might be constituted: First, that it might consist of
commissioners named in equal numbers by each of the two Governments,
with an umpire to be selected by some friendly European power; secondly,
that it might be entirely composed of scientific Europeans, to be
selected by a friendly sovereign, and might be accompanied in its
operations by agents of the two different parties, in order that such
agents might give to the commissioners assistance and information.

If such a commission were to be appointed, Her Majesty's Government
think that the first of these two modes of constructing it would be
the best, and that it should consist of members chosen in equal numbers
by each of the two Governments. It might, however, be better that the
umpire should be selected by the members of the commission themselves
rather than that the two Governments should apply to a third power to
make such a choice.

The object of this commission, as understood by Her Majesty's
Government, would be to explore the disputed territory in order to find
within its limits dividing highlands which may answer the description
of the treaty, the search being first to be made in the due north line
from the monument at the head of the St. Croix, and if no such highlands
should be found in that meridian the search to be then continued to the
westward thereof; and Her Majesty's Government have stated their opinion
that in order to avoid all fruitless disputes as to the character of
such highlands the commissioners should be instructed to look for
highlands which both parties might acknowledge as fulfilling the
conditions of the treaty.

The United States Secretary of State, in his note of the 5th of March,
1836, expresses a wish to know how the report of the commissioners
would, according to the views of Her Majesty's Government, be likely
when rendered to lead to an ultimate settlement of the question of
boundary between the two Governments.

In reply to this inquiry Her Majesty's Government would beg to observe
that the proposal to appoint a commission originated not with them, but
with the Government of the United States, and that it is therefore
rather for the Government of the United States than for that of Great
Britain to answer this question.

Her Majesty's Government have themselves already stated that they have
little expectation that such a commission could lead to any useful
result, and that they would on that account be disposed to object to
it; and if Her Majesty's Government were now to agree to appoint such
a commission it would be only in compliance with the desire so strongly
expressed by the Government of the United States, and in spite of doubts
(which Her Majesty's Government still continue to entertain) of the
efficacy of the measure.

But with respect to the way in which the report of the commission
might be likely to lead to an ultimate settlement of the question,
Her Majesty's Government, in the first place, conceive that it was
meant by the Government of the United States, that if the commission
should discover highlands answering to the description of the treaty a
connecting line drawn from these highlands to the head of the St. Croix
should be deemed to be a portion of the boundary line between the two
countries. But Her Majesty's Government would further beg to refer the
United States Secretary of State to the notes of Mr. McLane of the 5th
of June, 1833, and of the 11th and 28th of March, 1834, on this subject,
in which it will be seen that the Government of the United States
appears to have contemplated as one of the possible results of the
proposed commission of exploration that such additional information
might possibly be obtained respecting the features of the country in the
district to which the treaty relates as might remove all doubt as to the
impracticability of laying down a boundary in accordance with the letter
of the treaty.

And if the investigations of the proposed commission should show that
there is no reasonable prospect of finding a line strictly conformable
with the description contained in the treaty of 1783, the constitutional
difficulties which now prevent the United States from agreeing to a
conventional line may possibly be removed, and the way may thus be
prepared for the satisfactory settlement of the difference by an
equitable division of the disputed territory.

But if the two Governments should agree to the appointment of such a
commission it would be necessary that their agreement should be first
recorded in a convention, and it would obviously be indispensable that
the State of Maine should be an assenting party to the arrangement.

The undersigned, in making the above communication by order of
Her Majesty's Government to the United States Secretary of State,
Mr. Forsyth, has the honor to renew to him the assurance of his high
respect and consideration.

H.S. FOX.



_Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Fox_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, February 6, 1838_.


HENRY S. FOX, Esq., etc.:

The undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, has the honor
to acknowledge the receipt of the note of Mr. Fox, envoy extraordinary
and minister plenipotentiary of Her Britannic Majesty, of the 10th
ultimo, in which he presents, by direction of his Government, certain
observations in respect to the construction to be given to that
part of the award of the arbiter on the question of the northeastern
boundary which relates to the character in which the rivers St. John
and Restigouche are to be regarded in reference to that question.
Sir Charles Vaughan, in his note to Mr. McLane of February 10, 1834,
alleged that although the arbiter had not decided the first of the three
main questions proposed to him, yet that he had determined certain
subordinate points connected with that question upon which the parties
had entertained different views, and among others that the rivers St.
John and Restigouche could not be considered, according to the meaning
of the treaty, as "rivers flowing into the Atlantic." The undersigned,
in his note to Sir Charles R. Vaughan of the 28th of April, 1835,
questioned the correctness of the interpretation which had been given by
Sir Charles to the award of the arbiter in this particular, and after
quoting that part of the award to which Sir Charles was supposed to
refer as containing the determination by the arbiter of the point just
mentioned observed that it could not but appear from further reflection
to Sir Charles that the declaration that the rivers St. John and
Restigouche could not be _alone_ taken into view without hazard in
determining the disputed boundary was not the expression of an opinion
that they should be altogether excluded in determining that question;
or, in other words, that they could not be looked upon as rivers
emptying into the Atlantic. The remarks presented by Mr. Fox in the note
to which this is a reply are designed to shew a misconception on the
part of the undersigned of the true meaning of the passage cited by him
from the award and to support the construction which was given to it by
Sir Charles Vaughan. Whether the apprehension entertained by the one
party or the other of the opinion of the arbiter upon this minor point
be correct is regarded by the undersigned as a matter of no consequence
in the settlement of the main question. The Government of the United
States, never having acquiesced in the decision of the arbiter that "the
nature of the difference and the vague and not sufficiently determinate
stipulations of the treaty of 1783 do not permit the adjudication of
either of the two lines respectively claimed by the interested parties
to one of the said parties without wounding the principles of law and
equity with regard to the other," can not consent to be governed in the
prosecution of the existing negotiation by the opinion of the arbiter
upon any of the preliminary points about which there was a previous
difference between the parties, and the adverse decision of which
has led to so unsatisfactory and, in the view of this Government, so
erroneous a conclusion. This determination on the part of the United
States not to adopt the premises of the arbiter while rejecting his
conclusion has been heretofore made known to Her Majesty's Government,
and while it remains must necessarily render the discussion of the
question what those premises were unavailing, if not irrelevant. The few
observations which the undersigned was led to make in the course of his
note to Sir Charles Vaughan upon one of the points alleged to have been
thus determined were prompted only by a respect for the arbiter and a
consequent anxiety to remove a misinterpretation of his meaning, which
alone, it was believed, could induce the supposition that the arbiter,
in searching for the rivers referred to in the treaty as designating the
boundary, could have come to the opinion that the two great rivers whose
waters pervaded the whole district in which the search was made and
constituted the most striking objects of the country had been entirely
unnoticed by the negotiators of the treaty and were to be passed over
unheeded in determining the line, while others were to be sought for
which he himself asserts could not be found. That the imputation of
such an opinion to the respected arbiter could only be the result
of misinterpretation seemed the more evident, as he had himself
declared that "it could not be sufficiently explained how, if the
high contracting parties intended in 1783 to establish the boundary
at the south of the river St. John, that river, to which the territory
in dispute was in a great measure indebted for its distinctive
character, had been neutralized and set aside." It is under the
influence of the same motives that the undersigned now proceeds to
make a brief comment upon the observations contained in Mr. Fox's note
of the 10th ultimo, and thus to close a discussion which it can answer
no purpose to prolong.

The passage from the award of the arbiter quoted by the undersigned
in his note of the 28th April, 1835, to Sir Charles Vaughan, and the
true meaning of which Mr. Fox supposes to have been misconceived, is
the following: "If in contradistinction to the rivers that empty
themselves into the river St. Lawrence it had been proper, agreeably
to the language ordinarily used in geography, to comprehend the rivers
falling into the bays Fundy and Des Chaleurs with those emptying
themselves directly into the Atlantic Ocean in the generical
denomination of rivers falling into the Atlantic Ocean it would be
hazardous to include into the species belonging to that class the rivers
St. John and Restigouche, which the line claimed at the north of the
river St. John divides _immediately_ from rivers emptying themselves
into the river St. Lawrence, not with other rivers falling into the
Atlantic Ocean, but _alone_, and thus to apply in interpreting the
delimitation established by a treaty, where each word must have a
meaning, to two exclusively special cases, and where no mention is made
of the genus (_genre_), a generical expression which would ascribe to
them a broader meaning," etc.

It was observed by the undersigned that this passage did not appear to
contain an expression of opinion by the arbiter that the rivers St. John
and Restigouche should be altogether excluded in determining the
question of disputed boundary, or, in other words, that they could not
be looked upon as "rivers emptying into the Atlantic." Mr. Fox alleges
this to be a misconception of the meaning of the arbiter, and supposes
it to have arisen from an erroneous apprehension by the undersigned that
the word "_alone_" is governed by the verb "_include_," whereas he
thinks that an attentive examination of the context will shew that the
word "_alone_" is governed by the verb "_divide,_" and that the real
meaning of the passage is this: "That the rivers flowing north and south
from the highlands claimed by the United States may be arranged in two
genera, the first genus comprehending the rivers which fall into the
St. Lawrence, the second genus comprehending those whose waters in some
manner or other find their way into the Atlantic; but that even if,
according to the general classification and in contradistinction from
rivers flowing into the St. Lawrence, the rivers which fall into the
bays of Chaleurs and Fundy might be comprised in the same genus with the
rivers which fall directly into the Atlantic, still the St. John and the
Restigouche form a distinct species by themselves and do not belong to
the species of rivers which fall _directly_ into the Atlantic, for the
St. John and Restigouche are not divided in company with any _such
last-mentioned rivers_." The undersigned considers it unnecessary
to enter into the question whether according to the context the
circumstance expressed by the adverb "alone" has reference to the verb
"divide" or to the verb "include," because even allowing it to refer to
the former it does not appear to the undersigned that his interpretation
of the passage is thereby impaired or that of Mr. Fox sustained. The
undersigned conceives that the arbiter contemplated two different
_species_ of rivers as admissible into _genus_ of those which "fall into
the Atlantic," to wit, those which fall _directly_ into the Atlantic and
those which fall into it _indirectly_; that the arbiter was further of
opinion, though at variance with the idea entertained in that respect by
the United States, that the rivers St. John and Restigouche, emptying
their waters into the bays of Fundy and Des Chaleurs, did not belong to
the species of rivers falling _directly_ into the Atlantic; that if they
were considered _alone_, therefore, the appellation of "rivers falling
into the Atlantic Ocean" could not be regarded as applicable to them,
because, to use the language of the award, it would be "applying to two
exclusively special cases, where no mention was made of the genus, a
generical expression which would ascribe to them a broader meaning;" but
it is not conceived that the arbiter intended to express an opinion that
these rivers _might not be included with others_ in forming the _genus_
of rivers described by the treaty as those which "fall into the
Atlantic," and that upon this ground they should be wholly excluded in
determining the question of the disputed boundary. While, therefore, the
undersigned agrees with Mr. Fox that the arbiter did not consider these
rivers as falling directly into the Atlantic Ocean, the undersigned can
not concur in Mr. Fox's construction when he supposes the arbiter to
give as a reason for this that they are not divided in company with any
_such last-mentioned rivers_--that is, with rivers falling _directly_
into the Atlantic. Conceding as a point which it is deemed unnecessary
for the present purpose to discuss that the grammatical construction of
the sentence contended for by Mr. Fox is the correct one, the arbiter is
understood to say only that those rivers are not divided _immediately_
with others falling into the Atlantic, either directly or indirectly,
but he does not allege this to be a sufficient reason for excluding them
when connected with other rivers divided mediately from those emptying
into the St. Lawrence from the genus of rivers "falling into the
Atlantic." On the contrary, it is admitted in the award that the
line claimed to the north of the St. John divides the St. John and
Restigouche in company with the Schoodic Lakes, the Penobscot, and the
Kennebec, which are stated as emptying themselves _directly_ into the
Atlantic; and it is strongly implied in the language used by the arbiter
that the first-named rivers might, in his opinion, be classed for the
purposes of the treaty with those last named, though not in the same
_species_, yet in the same _genus_ of "Atlantic rivers."

The reason why the St. John and Restigouche were not permitted to
determine the question of boundary in favor of the United States is
understood to have been, not that they were to be wholly excluded as
rivers not falling into the Atlantic Ocean, as Mr. Fox appears to
suppose, but because in order to include them in that genus of rivers
they must be considered in connection with other rivers which were not
divided _immediately_, like themselves, from the rivers falling into the
St. Lawrence, but _mediately_ only; which would introduce the principle
that the treaty of 1783 meant highlands that divide as well mediately as
immediately the rivers that empty themselves into the river St. Lawrence
from those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean--a principle which the
arbiter did not reject as unfounded or erroneous, but which, considered
in connection with the other points which he had decided, he regarded as
_equally realized by both lines_, and therefore as constituting an equal
weight in either scale, and consequently affording him no assistance in
determining the dispute between the respective parties.

The arbiter appears to the undersigned to have viewed the rivers St.
John and Restigouche as possessing both a specific and a generic
character; that considered _alone_ they were _specific_', and the
designation in the treaty of "rivers falling into the Atlantic" was
inapplicable to them; that considered _In connection with other rivers_
they were _generic_ and were embraced in the terms of the treaty, but
that as their connection with other rivers would bring them within a
principle which, according to the views taken by him of other parts of
the question, was equally realized by both lines, it would be hazardous
to allow them any weight in deciding the disputed boundary. It has
always been contended by this Government that the rivers St. John and
Restigouche were to be considered in connection with the Penobscot and
Kennebec in determining the highlands called for by the treaty, and the
arbiter is not understood to deny to them, when thus connected, the
character of "rivers falling into the Atlantic Ocean."

This construction of the arbiter's meaning, derived from the general
tenor of the context, it will be perceived, is not invalidated by the
next succeeding paragraph cited by Mr. Fox, in which the bays of Fundy
and Des Chaleurs are spoken of as _intermediaries_ whereby the rivers
flowing into the St. John and Restigouche reach the Atlantic Ocean,
inasmuch as such construction admits the opinion of the arbiter to have
been that the St. John and Restigouche do not fall _directly_ into the
Atlantic, and that they thus constitute a _species_ by themselves, while
it denies that they are therefore excluded by the arbiter from the genus
of "4' rivers falling into the Atlantic."

The undersigned avails himself of this opportunity to renew to Mr. Fox
the assurance of his distinguished consideration.

JOHN FORSYTH.



_Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Fox_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, February 7, 1838_.

HENRY S. FOX, Esq., etc.:

The undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, has the honor
to acknowledge the receipt of the note addressed to him on the 10th
ultimo by Mr. Fox, Her Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary at Washington, with regard to the question
pending between the two Governments upon the subject of the northeastern
boundary, and to inform him that his communication has been submitted to
the President. It has received from him the attentive examination due
to a paper expected to embody the views of Her Britannic Majesty's
Government in reference to interests of primary importance to both
countries. But whilst the President sees with satisfaction the
expression it contains of a continued desire on the part of Her
Majesty's Government to cooperate with this in its earnest endeavors to
arrange the matter of dispute between them, he perceives with feelings
of deep disappointment that the answer now presented to the propositions
made by this Government with the view of effecting that object, after
having been so long delayed, notwithstanding the repeated intimations
that it was looked for here with much anxiety, is so indefinite in
its terms as to render it impracticable to ascertain without further
discussion what are the real wishes and intentions of Her Majesty's
Government respecting the proposed appointment of a commission of
exploration and survey to trace out a boundary according to the letter
of the treaty of 1783. The President, however, for the purpose of
placing in the possession of the State of Maine the views of Her
Majesty's Government as exhibited in Mr. Fox's note, and of ascertaining
the sense of the State authorities upon the expediency of meeting those
views so far as they are developed therein, has directed the undersigned
to transmit a copy of it to Governor Kent for their consideration. This
will be accordingly done without unnecessary delay, and the result when
obtained may form the occasion of a further communication to Her
Majesty's minister.

In the meantime the undersigned avails himself of the present occasion
to offer a few remarks upon certain parts of Mr. Fox's note of the 10th
ultimo. After adverting to the suggestion heretofore made by the British
Government that a conventional line equally dividing the territory in
dispute between the two parties should be substituted for the line
described by the treaty, and regretting the constitutional incompetency
of the Federal Government to agree to such an arrangement without the
consent of the State of Maine, Mr. Fox refers to the conventional line
adopted, although different from that designated by the treaty, with
respect to the boundary westward from the Lake of the Woods, and asks,
"Why should such a line not be agreed to likewise for the boundary
eastward from the river Connecticut?" The reply to this question is
obvious. The parallel of latitude adopted on the occasion referred to
as a conventional substitute for the treaty line passed over territory
within the exclusive jurisdiction of the General Government without
trenching upon the rights or claims of any individual member of the
Union, and the legitimate power of the Government, therefore, to agree
to such line was perfect and unquestioned. Now in consenting to a
conventional line for the boundary eastward from the river Connecticut
the Government of the United States would transcend its constitutional
powers, since such a measure could only be carried into effect by
violating the jurisdiction of a sovereign State of the Union and by
assuming to alienate, without the color of rightful authority to do
so, a portion of the territory claimed by the State.

With regard to the suggestion made by the undersigned in his note of the
29th of February, 1836, of the readiness of the President to apply to
the State of Maine for her assent to the adoption of a conventional line
making the river St. John, from its source to its mouth, the boundary
between the United States and the adjacent British Provinces, Mr. Fox
thinks it difficult to understand upon what grounds an expectation
could have been formed that such a proposal could be entertained by
the British Government, since such an arrangement would give to the
United States even greater advantages than would be obtained by an
unconditional acquiescence in their claim to the whole territory in
dispute. In making the suggestion referred to, the undersigned expressly
stated to Mr. Bankhead that it was offered, as the proposition on the
part of Great Britain that led to it was supposed to have been, without
regard to the mere question of acres--the extent of territory lost or
acquired by the respective parties. The suggestion was submitted in the
hope that the preponderating importance of terminating at once and
forever this controversy by establishing an unchangeable and definite
and indisputable boundary would be seen and acknowledged by Her
Majesty's Government, and have a correspondent weight in influencing its
decision. That the advantages of substituting a river for a highland
boundary could not fail to be recognized was apparent from the fact that
Mr. Bankhead's note of 28th December, 1835, suggested the river St. John
from the point in which it is intersected by a due north line drawn from
the monument at the head of the St. Croix to the southernmost source of
that river as a part of the general outline of a conventional boundary.
No difficulty was anticipated on the part of Her Majesty's Government in
understanding the grounds upon which such a proposal was expected to be
entertained by it, since the precedent proposition of Mr. Bankhead, just
adverted to, although professedly based on the principle of an equal
division between the parties, could not be justified by it, as it would
have given nearly two-thirds of the disputed territory to Her Majesty's
Government. It was therefore fairly presumed that the river line
presented, in the opinion of Her Majesty's Government, advantages
sufficient to counterbalance any loss of territory by either party that
would follow its adoption as a boundary. Another recommendation of the
river line, it was supposed, would be found by Her Majesty's Government
in the fact that whilst by its adoption the right of jurisdiction alone
would have been yielded to the United States over that portion of New
Brunswick south of the St. John, Great Britain would have acquired the
right of soil as well as of jurisdiction of the whole portion of the
disputed territory north of the river. It is to be lamented that the
imposing considerations alluded to have failed in their desired
effect--that the hopes of the President in regard to them have not been
realized, and consequently that Her Britannic Majesty's Government is
not prepared at present to enter into an arrangement of the existing
difference between the two nations upon the basis proposed.

It would seem to the undersigned, from an expression used in Mr. Fox's
late communication, that some misapprehension exists on his part either
as to the object of this Government in asking for information relative
to the manner in which the report of a commission of exploration and
survey might tend to a practical result in the settlement of the
boundary question or as to the distinctive difference between the
American proposal for the appointment of such a commission and the
same proposition when modified to meet the wishes of Her Majesty's
Government. Of the two modes suggested, by direction of the President,
for constituting such a commission, the first is that which is regarded
by Her Majesty's Government with most favor, viz, the commissioners to
be chosen in equal numbers by each of the two parties, with an umpire
selected by some friendly European sovereign to decide on all points on
which they might disagree, with instructions to explore the disputed
territory in order to find within its limits dividing highlands
answering to the description of the treaty of 1783, in a due north or
northwesterly direction from the monument at the head of the St. Croix,
and that a right line drawn between such highlands and said monument
should form so far as it extends a part of the boundary between the two
countries, etc. It is now intimated that Her Majesty's Government will
not withhold its consent to such a commission "if the principle upon
which it is to be formed and the manner in which it is to proceed can be
satisfactorily settled." This condition is partially explained by the
suggestion afterwards made that instead of leaving the umpire to be
chosen by some friendly European power it might be better that he
should be elected by the members of the commission themselves, and a
modification is then proposed that "the commission shall be instructed
to look for highlands which both parties might acknowledge as fulfilling
the conditions of the treaty." The American proposition is intended--and
it agreed to would doubtless be successful--to decide the question of
boundary definitively by the adoption of the highlands reported by the
commissioners of survey, and would thus secure the treaty line. The
British modification looks to no such object. It merely contemplates
a commission of boundary analogous to that appointed under the fifth
article of the treaty of Ghent, and would in all probability prove
equally unsatisfactory in practice. Whether highlands such as are
described in the treaty do or do not exist, it can scarcely be hoped
that those called for by the modified instructions could be found.
The fact that this question is still pending, although more than half
a century has elapsed since the conclusion of the treaty in which it
originated, renders it in the highest degree improbable that the two
Governments can unite in believing that either the one or the other of
the ranges of highlands claimed by the respective parties fulfills the
required conditions of that instrument. The opinions of the parties have
been over and over again expressed on this point and are well known to
differ widely. The commission can neither reconcile nor change these
variant opinions resting on conviction, nor will it be authorized to
decide the difference. Under these impressions of the inefficiency of
such a commission was the inquiry made in the letter of the undersigned
of 5th March, 1836, as to the manner in which the report of the
commission, as proposed to be constituted and instructed by Her
Majesty's Government, was expected to lead to an ultimate settlement of
the question of boundary. The results which the American proposition
promised to secure were fully and frankly explained in previous notes
from the Department of State, and had its advantages not been clearly
understood this Government would not have devolved upon that of Her
Majesty the task of illustrating them. Mr. Fox will therefore see that
although the proposal to appoint a commission had its origin with
this Government the modification of the American proposition was, as
understood by the undersigned, so fundamentally important that it
entirely changed its nature, and that the supposition, therefore, that
it was rather for the Government of the United States than for that
of Great Britain to answer the inquiry referred to is founded in
misapprehension. Any decision made by a commission constituted in the
manner proposed by the United States and instructed to seek for the
highlands of the treaty of 1783 would be binding upon this Government
and could without unnecessary delay be carried into effect; but if the
substitute presented by Her Majesty's Government be insisted on and its
principles be adopted, a resort will then be necessary to the State of
Maine for her assent to all proceedings hereafter in relation to this
matter, since if any arrangement can be made under it it can only be
for a conventional line, to which she must of course be a party.

The undersigned, in conclusion, is instructed to inform Mr. Fox
that if a negotiation be entertained at all upon the inconclusive and
unsatisfactory basis afforded by the British counter proposition or
substitute, which possesses hardly a feature in common with the American
proposition, the President will not venture to invite it unless the
authorities of the State of Maine, to whom, as before stated, it will
be forthwith submitted, shall think it more likely to lead to a final
adjustment of the question of boundary than the General Government deems
it to be, though predisposed to see it in the most favorable light.

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

JOHN FORSYTH.



DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, March 1, 1838_.

His Excellency EDWARD KENT,

_Governor of the State of Maine_.

SIR: The discussions between the Federal Government and that of Great
Britain in respect to the northeastern boundary of the United States
have arrived at a stage in which the President thinks it due to the
State of Maine and necessary to the intelligent action of the General
Government to take the sense of that State in regard to the expediency
of opening a direct negotiation for the establishment of a conventional
line, and if it should deem an attempt to adjust the matter of
controversy in that form advisable, then to ask its assent to the same.
With this view and to place the government of Maine in full possession
of the present state of the negotiation and of all the discussions that
have been had upon the subject, the accompanying documents are
communicated, which, taken in connection with those heretofore
transmitted, will be found to contain that information.

The principles which have hitherto governed every successive
Administration of the Federal Government in respect to its powers and
duties in the matter are--

First. That it has power to settle the boundary line in question with
Great Britain upon the principles and according to the stipulations
of the treaty of 1783, either by direct negotiation or, in case of
ascertained inability to do so, by arbitration, and that it is its duty
to make all proper efforts to accomplish this object by one or the other
of those means.

Second. That the General Government is not competent to negotiate,
unless, perhaps, on grounds of imperious public necessity, a
conventional line involving a cession of territory to which the State
of Maine is entitled, or the exchange thereof for other territory not
included within the limits of that State according to the true
construction of the treaty, without the consent of the State.

In these views of his predecessors in office the President fully
concurs, and it is his design to continue to act upon them.

The attention of the Federal Government has, of course, in the first
instance been directed to efforts to settle the treaty line. A
historical outline of the measures which have been successively taken
by it to that end may be useful to the government of Maine in coming
to a conclusion on the proposition now submitted. It will, however, be
unnecessary here to do more than advert to the cardinal features of this
protracted negotiation.

The treaty of peace between the United States of America and His
Britannic Majesty, concluded at Paris in September, 1783, defines the
boundaries of the said States, and the following words, taken from the
second article of that instrument, are intended to designate a part
of the boundary between those States and the British North American
Provinces, viz: "From the northwest angle of Nova Scotia, viz, that
angle which is formed by a line drawn due north from the source of the
St. Croix River to the highlands; along the said highlands which divide
those rivers that empty themselves into the river St. Lawrence from
those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean to the northwesternmost head of
Connecticut River;" ... "east by a line to be drawn along the middle of
the river St. Croix from its mouth in the Bay of Fundy to its source,
and from its source directly north to the aforesaid highlands which
divide the rivers that fall into the Atlantic Ocean from those which
fall into the river St. Lawrence." An immediate execution of some of
the provisions of this treaty was, however, delayed by circumstances on
which it is now unnecessary to dwell, and in November, 1794, a second
treaty was concluded between the two powers. In the meantime, doubts
having arisen as to what river was truly intended under the name of the
St. Croix mentioned in the treaty of peace and forming a part of the
boundary therein described, this question was referred by virtue of
the fifth article of the new treaty to the decision of a commission
appointed in the manner therein prescribed, both parties agreeing to
consider such decision final and conclusive. The commissioners appointed
in pursuance of the fifth article of the treaty of 1794 decided by
their declaration of October 25, 1798, that the northern branch
(Cheputnaticook) of a river called Scoodiac was the true river St. Croix
intended by the treaty of peace.

At the date of the treaty of Ghent, December 24, 1814, the whole of
the boundary line from the source of the river St. Croix to the most
northwesternmost point of the Lake of the Woods still remained
unascertained, and it was therefore agreed to provide for a final
adjustment thereof. For this purpose the appointment of commissioners
was authorized by the fifth article of the treaty of Ghent, with power
to ascertain and determine the northwest angle of Nova Scotia and the
northwestern-most head of Connecticut River, in conformity with the
provisions of the treaty of 1783, and to cause the boundary from the
source of the river St. Croix to the river Iroquois or Cateraguy to be
surveyed and marked according to the said provisions, etc. In the event
of the commissioners differing, or both or either of them failing to
act, the same article made provision for a reference to a friendly
sovereign or state. Commissioners were appointed under this article in
1815-16, but although their sessions continued several years, they were
unable to agree on any of the matters referred to them. Separate reports
were accordingly made to both Governments of the two commissioners in
1822, stating the points on which they differed and the grounds upon
which their respective opinions had been formed. The case having thus
happened which made it necessary to refer the points of difference to a
friendly sovereign or state, it was deemed expedient by the parties to
regulate this reference by a formal arrangement. A convention for the
purpose was therefore concluded on the 29th of September, 1827, and the
two Governments subsequently agreed in the choice of His Majesty the
King of the Netherlands as arbiter, who consented to act as such. The
submission of the points of difference, three in number, was accordingly
made to that Sovereign, and his award, or rather written opinion on the
questions submitted to him, was rendered on the 10th of January, 1831.
On the 7th of December following the President communicated the award
of the arbiter to the Senate of the United States for the advice and
consent of that body as to its execution, and at the same time intimated
the willingness of the British Government to abide by it. The result was
a determination on the part of the Senate not to consider the decision
of His Netherland Majesty obligatory and a refusal to advise and consent
to its execution. They, however, passed a resolution in June, 1832,
advising the President to open a new negotiation with His Britannic
Majesty's Government for the ascertainment of the boundary between the
possessions of the two powers on the northeastern frontier of the United
States according to the definitive treaty of peace. Of the negotiation
subsequent to this event it is deemed proper to take a more particular
notice.

In July the result of the action of the Senate in relation to the award
was communicated to Mr. Bankhead, the British chargé d'affaires, and he
was informed that the resolution had been adopted in the conviction that
the sovereign arbiter, instead of deciding the questions submitted to
him, had recommended a specified compromise of them. The Secretary of
State at the same time expressed the desire of the President to enter
into further negotiation in pursuance of the resolution of the Senate,
and proposed that the discussion should be carried on at Washington. He
also said that if the plenipotentiaries of the two parties should fail
in this new attempt to agree upon the line intended by the treaty of
1783 there would probably be less difficulty than before in fixing a
convenient boundary, as measures were in progress to obtain from the
State of Maine more extensive powers than were before possessed, with
a view of overcoming the constitutional obstacles which had opposed
themselves to such an arrangement; and he further intimated that the
new negotiation would naturally embrace the important question of the
navigation of the river St. John.

In April, 1833, Sir Charles R. Vaughan, the British minister,
addressed a note to the Department of State, in which, hopeless of
finding out by a new negotiation an assumed line of boundary which
so many attempts had been fruitlessly made to discover, he wished to
ascertain, first, the principle of the plan of boundary which the
American Government appeared to contemplate as likely to be more
convenient to both parties than those hitherto discussed, and, secondly,
whether any, and what, arrangement for avoiding the constitutional
difficulty alluded to had yet been concluded with the State of Maine.
Satisfactory answers on these points, he said, would enable the British
Government to decide whether it would entertain the proposition, but His
Majesty's Government could not consent to embarrass the negotiation
respecting the boundary by mixing up with it a discussion regarding the
navigation of the St. John as an integral part of the same question or
as necessarily connected with it.

In reply to this note, Mr. Livingston, under date of the 30th of April,
stated that the arrangement spoken of in his previous communication, by
which the Government of the United States expected to be enabled to
treat for a more convenient boundary, had not been effected, and that
as the suggestion in regard to the navigation of the St. John was
introduced merely to form a part of the system of compensations in
negotiating for such a boundary if that of the treaty should be
abandoned, it would not be insisted on.

The proposition of the President for the appointment of a joint
commission, with an umpire, to decide upon all points on which the
two Governments disagree was then presented. It was accompanied by a
suggestion that the controversy might be terminated by the application
to it of the rule for surveying and laying down the boundaries of tracts
and of countries designated by natural objects, the precise situation
of which is not known, viz, that the natural objects called for as
terminating points should first be found, and that the lines should then
be drawn to them from the given points with the least possible departure
from the course prescribed in the instrument describing the boundary.
Two modes were suggested in which such commission might be constituted:
First, that it should consist of commissioners to be chosen in equal
numbers by the two parties, with an umpire selected by some friendly
sovereign from among the most skillful men in Europe; or, secondly, that
it should be entirely composed of such men so selected, to be attended
in the survey and view of the country by agents appointed by the
parties. This commission, it was afterwards proposed, should be
restricted to the simple question of determining the point designated
by the treaty as the highlands which divide the waters that fall into
the Atlantic from those which flow into the St. Lawrence; that these
highlands should be sought for in a north or northwest direction from
the source of the St. Croix, and that a straight line to be drawn from
the monument at the head of that river to those highlands should be
considered, so far as it extends, as a part of the boundary in question.
The commissioners were then to designate the course of the line along
the highlands and to fix on the northwesternmost head of the Connecticut
River.

In a note of 31st May the British minister suggested that this perplexed
and hitherto interminable question could only be set at rest by an
abandonment of the defective description of boundary contained in the
treaty, by the two Governments mutually agreeing upon a conventional
line more convenient to both parties than those insisted upon by the
commissioners under the fifth article of the treaty of Ghent, or that
suggested by the King of the Netherlands.

Mr. McLane remarked in reply (June 5) that the embarrassments in tracing
the treaty boundary had arisen more from the principles assumed and
from the manner of seeking for it than from any real defect in the
description when properly understood; that in the present state of the
business the suggestion of Sir Charles R. Vaughan would add to the
existing difficulties growing out of a want of power in the General
Government under the Constitution of the United States to dispose of
territory belonging to either of the States of the Union without the
consent of the State; that as a conventional line to the south of and
confessedly variant from that of the treaty would deprive the State of
Maine of a portion of the territory she claims, it was not probable
that her consent to it would be given while there remained a reasonable
prospect of discovering the line of the treaty of 1783, and that the
President would not be authorized, after the recent proceedings in the
Senate, to venture now to agree upon a conventional line without such
consent, whilst the proposition submitted in April afforded not only a
fair prospect, but in his opinion the certain means, of ascertaining the
boundary called for by the treaty of 1783 and of finally terminating all
the perplexities which have encompassed that subject.

In February, 1834, Sir Charles R. Vaughan, after submitting certain
observations intended to controvert the positions assumed by the United
States on the subject of the constitutional difficulty by which the
American Government was prevented from acquiescing in the arrangement
recommended by the King of the Netherlands for the settlement of the
boundary in the neighborhood of the St. John, asserted that the two
Governments bound themselves by the convention of September, 1827,
to submit to an arbiter certain points of difference relative to the
boundary between the American and British dominions; that the arbiter
was called on to determine certain questions, and that if he has
determined the greater part of the points submitted to him his decision
on them ought not to be set aside merely because he declares that one
remaining point can not be decided in conformity with the words of the
treaty of 1783, and therefore recommends to the parties a compromise on
that particular point; that the main points referred to the arbiter were
three in number; that upon the second and third of these he made a plain
and positive decision; that upon the remaining point he has declared
that it is impossible to find a spot or to trace a line which shall
fulfill all the conditions required by the words of the treaty for the
northwest angle of Nova Scotia and for the highlands along which the
boundary from that angle is to be drawn; yet that in the course of his
reasoning upon this point he has decided several questions connected
with it upon which the two parties had entertained different views, viz:

"First. The arbiter expresses his opinion that the term 'highlands' may
properly be applied not only to a hilly and elevated country, but to
a tract of land which, without being hilly, divides waters flowing in
different directions, and consequently, according to this opinion, the
highlands to be sought for are not necessarily a range of mountains,
but rather the summit level of the country.

"Second. The arbiter expresses his opinion that an inquiry as to what
were the ancient boundaries of the North American Provinces can be
of no use for the present purpose, because those boundaries were not
maintained by the treaty of 1783 and had in truth never been distinctly
ascertained and laid down.

"Third. The arbiter declares that the northwest angle of Nova Scotia
mentioned in the treaty of 1783 is not a point which was then known
and ascertained; that it is not an angle which is created by the
intersection of any lines of boundary at that time acknowledged as
existing, but that it is an angle still to be found and to be created
by the intersection of new lines, which are hereafter to be drawn in
pursuance of the stipulations of the treaty; and further, that the
nature of the country eastward of the said angle affords no argument
for laying that angle down in one place rather than in another.

"Fourth. He states that no just argument can be deduced for the
settlement of this question from the exercise of the rights of
sovereignty over the fief of Madawaska and over the Madawaska
settlement.

"Fifth. He declares that the highlands contemplated in the treaty should
divide immediately, and not mediately, rivers flowing into the St.
Lawrence and rivers flowing into the Atlantic, and that the word
'divide' requires contiguity of the things to be divided.

"Sixth. He declares that rivers falling into the Bay of Chaleurs and
the Bay of Fundy can not be considered according to the meaning of the
treaty as rivers flowing into the Atlantic, and specifically that the
rivers St. John and Restigouche can not be looked upon as answerable to
the latter description.

"Seventh. He declares that neither the line of boundary claimed by Great
Britain nor that claimed by the United States can be adjudged as the
true line without departing from the principles of equity and justice as
between the two parties."

It was the opinion of His Majesty's Government, Sir Charles alleged,
that the decisions of the arbiter upon the second and third points
referred to him, as well as upon the subordinate questions, ought to be
acquiesced in by the two Governments, and that in any future attempt to
establish a boundary, whether in strict conformity with the words of the
treaty of 1783 or by agreeing to the mode of settlement recommended by
the arbiter, it would be necessary to adopt these seven decisions as
a groundwork for further proceedings; that the British Government,
therefore, previously to any further negotiation, claimed from the
Government of the United States an acquiescence in the decisions
pronounced by the arbiter upon all those points which he had decided,
and as a preliminary to any attempt to settle the remaining point by
negotiation to be satisfied that the Federal Government was possessed of
the necessary powers to carry into effect any arrangement upon which the
two parties might agree.

With respect to the proposition made by the American Government, Sir
Charles thought that the difficulty which was found insurmountable as
against the line recommended by the King of the Netherlands, viz., the
want of authority to agree to any line which might imply a cession of
any part of the territory to which the treaty as hitherto interpreted by
the United States might appear to entitle one of the component States of
the Union, would be equally fatal to that suggested by Mr. Livingston,
since a line drawn from the head of the St. Croix to highlands found to
the westward of the meridian of that spot would not be the boundary of
the treaty and might be more justly objected to by Maine and with more
appearance of reason than that proposed by the arbiter.

The reply of Mr. McLane to the preceding note is dated on the 11th of
March. He expressed his regret that His Britannic Majesty's Government
should still consider any part of the opinion of the arbiter obligatory
on either party. Those opinions, the Secretary stated, could not have
been carried into effect by the President without the concurrence of the
Senate, who, regarding them not only as not determining the principal
object of the reference, but as in fact deciding that object to be
impracticable, and therefore recommending to the two parties a boundary
not even contemplated either by the treaty or by the reference nor
within the power of the General Government to take, declined to give
their advice and consent to the execution of the measures recommended by
the arbiter, but did advise the Executive to open a new negotiation for
the ascertainment of the boundary in pursuance of the treaty of 1783,
and the proposition of Mr. Livingston, submitted in his letter of 30th
of April, 1833, accordingly proceeded upon that basis. Mr. McLane denied
that a decision, much less the expression of an opinion, by the arbiter
upon some of the disputed points, but of a character not to settle the
real controversy, was binding upon either party, and he alleged that
the most material point in the line of the true boundary, both as it
respects the difficulty of the subject and the extent of territory and
dominions of the respective Governments, the arbiter not only failed to
decide, but acknowledged his inability to decide, thereby imposing upon
both Governments the unavoidable necessity of resorting to further
negotiation to ascertain the treaty boundary and absolving each party
from any obligation to adopt his recommendations. The Secretary also
declined to admit that of the three main points referred to the arbiter
as necessary to ascertain the boundary of the treaty he had decided two.
On the first point, Mr. McLane said, it was not contended a decision was
made or that either the angle or the highlands called for by the treaty
was found, and on the third point an opinion merely was expressed that
it would be suitable to proceed to fresh operations to measure the
observed latitude, etc.

The Secretary admitted that if the American proposition should be
acceded to by His Majesty's Government and the commission hereafter to
be appointed should result in ascertaining the true situation of the
boundary called for by the treaty of 1783, that it would be afterwards
necessary, in order to ascertain the true line, to settle the other two
points according to which it should be traced. He therefore offered,
if the American proposition should be acceded to, notwithstanding the
obligatory effect of the decision of the arbiter on the point is denied,
"to take the stream situated farthest to the northwest among those which
fall into the northernmost of the three lakes, the last of which bears
the name of Connecticut Lake, as the north-westernmost head of the
Connecticut River according to the treaty of 1783;" and as it respects
the third point referred to the arbiter, the line of boundary on the
forty-fifth degree of latitude, but upon which he failed to decide, the
President would agree, if the proposition as to the first point was
embraced, to adopt the old line surveyed and marked by Valentine and
Collins in 1771 and 1772.

The Secretary then proceeded to state further and insuperable objections
to an acquiescence by the United States in the opinions supposed to have
been pronounced by the arbiter in the course of his reasoning upon the
first point submitted to him. He remarked that the views expressed
by the arbiter on these subordinate matters could not be regarded as
decisions within the meaning of the reference, but rather as postulates
or premises, by which he arrived at the opinion expressed in regard to
the point in dispute. By an acquiescence in them, therefore, as required
by Great Britain, the United States would reject as erroneous the
conclusion of the arbiter, whilst they would adopt the premises and
reasoning by which it was attained--that the seven postulates or
premises presented as necessary to be considered by the United States
are but part of those on which the arbiter was equally explicit in
the expression of his views, that on others his reasoning might be
considered as more favorable to the pretensions of this Government, and
that no reason was perceived why an acquiescence in his opinions upon
them should not equally apply to all the premises assumed by him and be
binding upon both parties. Mr. McLane was, however, persuaded that there
was no obligation on either Government to acquiesce in the opinion of
the arbiter on any of the matters involved in his premises; that such
acquiescence would defeat the end of the present negotiation, and that
as it appeared to be mutually conceded that the arbiter had not been
able to decide upon the first and most material point so as to make a
binding decision, there could certainly be no greater obligation to
yield to his opinions on subordinate matters merely. The Secretary
further observed that the most material point of the three submitted
to the arbiter was that of the highlands, to which the President's
proposition directly applies, and which are designated in the treaty of
peace as the northwest angle of Nova Scotia, formed by a line drawn due
north from the source of the St. Croix River to the highlands dividing
the rivers, etc.; that the arbiter found it impossible to decide this
point, and therefore recommended a new line, different from that called
for by the treaty of 1783, and which could only be established by
a conventional arrangement between the two Governments; that the
Government of the United States could not adopt this recommendation
nor agree upon a new and conventional line without the consent of the
State of Maine; that the present negotiation proposed to ascertain the
boundary according to the treaty of 1783, and for this purpose, however
attained, the authority of the Government of the United States was
complete; that the proposition offered by the Government of the United
States promised, in the opinion of the President, the means of
ascertaining the true line by discovering the highlands of the treaty,
but the British Government asked the United States as a preliminary
concession to acquiesce in the opinion of the arbiter upon certain
subordinate facts--a concession which would in effect defeat the
sole object, not only of the proposition, but of the negotiation,
viz, the determination of the boundary according to the treaty of 1783
by confining the negotiation to a conventional line, to which this
Government had not the authority to agree. Mr. McLane also said that
if by a resort to the plain rule now recommended it should be found
impracticable to trace the boundary according to the definitive
treaty, it would then be time enough to enter upon a negotiation for a
conventional substitute for it. He stated in answer to the suggestion of
Sir Charles R. Vaughan that the objection urged against the line of the
arbiter would equally lie against that suggested by Mr. Livingston; that
the authority of the Government to ascertain the true line of the treaty
was unquestionable, and that the American proposition, by confining the
course to the natural object, would be a legitimate ascertainment of
that line.

In a note dated 16th March Sir Charles R. Vaughan offered some
observations upon the objections on the part of the United States to
acquiesce in the points previously submitted to the American Government.
He said that the adoption of the views of the British Government by the
Government of the United States was meant to be the groundwork of future
proceedings, whether those proceedings were to be directed to another
attempt to trace the boundary as proposed by the latter or to a division
of the territory depending upon the conventional line. He maintained
that the arbiter had decided, as the British Government asserted, two
out of the three main points submitted for his decision, viz, what
ought to be considered as the northwesternmost head of the Connecticut
(but which the Government of the United States is only willing to admit
conditionally) and the point relative to tracing the boundary along the
forty-fifth degree of latitude. This point, he observed, Mr. McLane
wished to dispose of by adopting the old line of Collins and Valentine,
which was suspected of great inaccuracy by both parties, and the only
motive for retaining which was because some American citizens have made
settlements upon territory that a new survey might throw into the
possession of Great Britain. Sir Charles denied that the acquiescence of
the United States in the seven subordinate points lately submitted by
His Majesty's Government would confine the negotiation to a conventional
line, to which the President had no authority to agree, and affirmed
that not a step could be taken by the commissioners to be appointed
according to Mr. Livingston's proposition, notwithstanding the
unlimited discretion which it was proposed to give them, unless the
two Governments agreed upon two of the seven subordinate points--"the
character of the land they are to discover as dividing waters according
to the treaty of 1783 and what are to be considered as Atlantic rivers."
In answer to Mr. McLane's observation that on many points the reasoning
of the arbiter had been more favorable to the United States than to
Great Britain, and that therefore acquiescence should equally apply to
all the premises assumed, Sir Charles expressed his confidence that if
acquiescence in them could facilitate the object which now occupied both
Governments they would meet with the most favored consideration. Sir
Charles adverted to the obligations contracted under the seventh article
of the convention, to the opinion of His Majesty's Government that they
were binding and its willingness to abide by the award of the arbiter.
He referred to the small majority by which he supposed the award to have
been defeated in the Senate of the United States and a new negotiation
advised to be opened, to the complicated nature of the plan proposed
by the United States for another attempt to trace the boundary of
the treaty, to the rejection of the points proposed by the British
Government to render that plan more practicable, etc., and regretted
sincerely that the award of the arbiter, which conferred upon the United
States three-fifths of the disputed territory, together with Rouses
Point--a much greater concession than is ever likely to be obtained
by a protracted negotiation--was set aside. An alleged insuperable
constitutional difficulty having occasioned the rejection of the award,
Sir Charles wished to ascertain previously to any further proceedings
how far the General Government had the power to carry into effect any
arrangement resulting from a new negotiation, the answer of Mr. McLane
upon this point having been confined to stating that should a new
commission of survey, freed from the restriction of following the due
north line of the treaty, find anywhere westward of that line highlands
separating rivers according to the treaty of 1783, a line drawn from the
monument at the source of the St. Croix would be such a fulfillment of
the terms of that treaty that the President could agree to make it the
boundary without reference to the State of Maine.

Mr. McLane, under date of 21st March, corrected the error into which Sir
Charles had fallen in regard to the proceedings on the award in the
Senate of the United States, and showed that that body not only failed,
but by two repeated votes of 35 and 34 to 8 refused, to consent to the
execution of the award, and by necessary implication denied its binding
effect upon the United States, thus putting it out of the power of the
President to carry it into effect and leaving the high parties to the
submission situated precisely as they were prior to the selection of the
arbiter.

The President had perceived, Mr. McLane said, in all the previous
efforts to adjust the boundary in accordance with the terms of the
treaty of 1783 that a natural and uniform rule in the settlement of
disputed questions of location had been quite overlooked; that the
chief, if not only, difficulty arose from a supposed necessity of
finding highlands corresponding with the treaty description in a due
north line from the monument, but it was plain that if such highlands
could be anywhere discovered it would be a legal execution of the treaty
to draw a line to them from the head of the St. Croix without regard to
the precise course given in the treaty. It therefore became his duty to
urge the adoption of this principle upon the Government of His Britannic
Majesty as perhaps the best expedient which remained for ascertaining
the boundary of the treaty of 1783. The Secretary could not perceive
in the plan proposed anything so complicated as Sir Charles appeared
to suppose. On the contrary, it was recommended to approbation and
confidence by its entire simplicity. It chiefly required the discovery
of the highlands called for by the treaty, and the mode of reaching
them upon the principle suggested was so simple that no observations
could make it plainer. The difficulty of discovering such highlands,
Mr. McLane said, was presumed not to be insuperable. The arbiter himself
was not understood to have found it impracticable to discover highlands
answering the description of the highlands of the treaty, though unable
to find them due north from the monument; and certainly it could not be
more difficult for commissioners on the spot to arrive at a conclusion
satisfactory to their own judgment as to the locality of the highlands.

Mr. McLane, in answer to Sir Charles's request for information on the
subject, stated that the difficulty in the way of the adoption of
the line recommended by the arbiter was the want of authority in the
Government of the United States to agree to a line not only confessedly
different from the line called for by the treaty, but which would
deprive the State of Maine of a portion of territory to which she would
be entitled according to the line of the definitive treaty; that by the
President's proposition a commission would be raised, not to establish
a new line differing from the treaty of 1783, but to determine what
the true and original boundary was and in which of the two disagreeing
parties the right to the disputed territory originally was; that for
this purpose the authority of the original commissioners, if they could
have agreed, was complete under the Ghent treaty, and that of the new
commission proposed to be constituted could not be less.

Sir Charles R. Vaughan explained, under date of the 24th of March, with
regard to his observation "that the mode in which it was proposed by the
United States to settle the boundary was complicated; that he did not
mean to apply it to the adoption of a rule in the settlement of disputed
questions of location, but to the manner in which it is proposed by the
United States that the new commission of survey shall be selected and
constituted."

On the 8th of December, 1834, Sir Charles R. Vaughan transmitted a note
to the Department of State, in which, after a passing expression of the
regret of His Majesty's Government that the American Government still
declined to come to a separate understanding on the several points of
difference with respect to which the elements of decision were fully
before both Governments, but without abandoning the argument contained
in his note of 10th February last, he addressed himself exclusively to
the American proposition for the appointment of a new commission to be
empowered to seek westward of the meridian of the St. Croix highlands
answering to the description of those mentioned in the treaty of 1783.
He stated with regard to the rule of surveying on which the proposition
was founded that however just and reasonable it might be, His Majesty's
Government did not consider it so generally established and recognized
as Mr. McLane assumed it to be; that, indeed, no similar case was
recollected in which the principle asserted had been put in practice;
yet, on the contrary, one was remembered not only analogous to that
under discussion, but arising out of the same article of the same
treaty, in which the supposed rule was invested by the agents of the
American Government itself; that the treaty of 1783 declared that the
line of boundary was to proceed from the Lake of the Woods "in a due
west course to the Mississippi," but it being ascertained that such
a line could never reach that river, since its sources lie south of
the latitude of the Lake of the Woods, the commissioners, instead of
adhering to the natural object--the source of the Mississippi--and
drawing a new connecting line to it from the Lake of the Woods, adhered
to the arbitrary line to be drawn due west from the lake and abandoned
the Mississippi, the specific landmark mentioned in the treaty.

Sir Charles further stated that if the President was persuaded that he
could carry out the principle of surveying he had proposed without the
consent of Maine, and if no hope remained, as was alleged by Mr. McLane,
of overcoming the constitutional difficulty in any other way until at
least this proposition should have been tried and have failed, His
Majesty's Government, foregoing their own doubts on the subject, were
ready to acquiesce in the proceeding proposed by the President if that
proceeding could be carried into effect in a manner not otherwise
objectionable; that "His Majesty's Government would consider it
desirable that the principles on which the new commissioners would have
to conduct their survey should be settled beforehand by a special
convention between the two Governments;" that there was, indeed, one
preliminary question upon which it was obviously necessary the two
Governments should agree before the commission could begin their survey
with any chance of success, viz, What is the precise meaning to be
attached to the words employed in the treaty to define the highlands
which the commissioners are to seek for? that those highlands are to be
distinguished from other highlands by the rivers flowing from them, and
those distinguishing rivers to be known from others by the situation
of their mouths; that with respect to the rivers flowing south into
the Atlantic Ocean a difference of opinion existed between the two
Governments; that whilst the American Government contended that rivers
falling into the Bay of Fundy were, the British Government contended
that they were not, for the purposes of the treaty, rivers falling into
the Atlantic Ocean, and that the views and arguments of the British
Government on this point had been confirmed by an impartial authority
selected by the common consent of the two Governments, who was of
opinion that the rivers St. John and Restigouche were not Atlantic
rivers within the meaning of the treaty, and that His Majesty's
Government therefore trusted that the American Cabinet would concur with
that of His Majesty in deciding "that the Atlantic rivers which are to
guide the commissioners in searching for the highlands described in the
treaty are those which fall into the sea to the westward of the mouth of
the river St. Croix;" that a clear agreement on this point must be an
indispensable preliminary to the establishment of any new commission
of survey; that till this point be decided no survey of commissioners
could lead to a useful result, but that its decision turns upon the
interpretation of the words of a treaty, and not upon the operations of
surveyors; and His Majesty's Government, having once submitted it, in
common with other points, to the judgment of an impartial arbiter, by
whose award they had declared themselves ready to abide, could not
consent to refer it to any other arbitration.

In a note from the Department of State dated 28th April, 1835, Sir
Charles R. Vaughan was assured that his prompt suggestion, as His
Britannic Majesty's minister, that a negotiation should be opened for
the establishment of a conventional boundary between the two countries
was duly appreciated by the President, who, had he possessed like powers
with His Majesty's Government over the subject, would have met the
suggestion in a favorable spirit.

The Secretary observed that the submission of the whole subject or
any part of it to a new arbitrator promised too little to attract the
favorable consideration of either party; that the desired adjustment of
the controversy was consequently to be sought for in the application of
some new principle to the controverted question, and that the President
thought that by a faithful prosecution of the plan submitted by his
direction a settlement of the boundary in dispute according to the terms
of the treaty of 1783 was attainable.

With regard to the rule of practical surveying offered as the basis of
the American proposition, he said if it should become material to do
so--which was not to be anticipated--he would find no difficulty either
in fortifying the ground occupied by this Government in this regard or
in satisfying Sir Charles that the instance brought into notice by His
Britannic Majesty's Government of a supposed departure from the rule
was not at variance with the assertion of Mr. Livingston repeated by
Mr. McLane. The Secretary therefore limited himself to the remark that
the line of demarcation referred to by Sir Charles was not established
as the true boundary prescribed by the treaty of 1783, but was a
conventional substitute for it, the result of a new negotiation
controlled by other considerations than those to be drawn from that
instrument only.

The Secretary expressed the President's unfeigned regret upon learning
the decision of His Majesty's Government not to agree to the proposition
made on the part of the United States without a precedent compliance
by them with inadmissible conditions. He said that the views of this
Government in regard to this proposal of His Majesty's Government had
been already communicated to Sir Charles R. Vaughan, and the President
perceived with pain that the reasons upon which these opinions were
founded had not been found to possess sufficient force and justice to
induce the entire withdrawal of the objectionable conditions, but that,
on the contrary, while His Majesty's Government had been pleased to
waive for the present six of the seven opinions referred to, the
remaining one, amongst the most important of them all, was still
insisted upon, viz, that the St. John and Restigouche should be treated
by the supposed commission as not being Atlantic rivers according to the
meaning of those terms in the treaty. With reference to that part of Sir
Charles's communication which seeks to strengthen the ground heretofore
taken on this point by the British Government by calling to its aid the
supposed confirmation of the arbiter, the Secretary felt himself
warranted in questioning whether the arbiter had ever given his opinion
that the rivers St. John and Restigouche can not be considered according
to the meaning of the treaty as rivers falling into the Atlantic, and he
insisted that it was not the intention of the arbiter to express the
opinion imputed to him.

The Secretary also informed Sir Charles that the President could not
consent to clog the submission with the condition proposed by Her
Majesty's Government; that a just regard to the rights of the parties
and a proper consideration of his own duties required that the new
submission, if made, should be made without restriction or qualification
upon the discretion of the commissioners other than such as resulted
from established facts and the just interpretation of the definitive
treaty, and such as had been heretofore and were now again tendered to
His Britannic Majesty's Government; that he despaired of obtaining a
better constituted tribunal than the one proposed; that he saw nothing
unfit or improper in submitting the question as to the character in
which the St. John and Restigouche were to be regarded to the decision
of an impartial commission; that the parties had heretofore thought it
proper so to submit it, and that it by no means followed that because
commissioners chosen by the parties themselves, without an umpire, had
failed to come to an agreement respecting it, that the same result would
attend the efforts of a commission differently selected. The Secretary
closed his note by stating that the President had no new proposal
to offer, but would be happy to receive any such proposition as His
Britannic Majesty's Government might think it expedient to make, and by
intimating that he was authorized to confer with Sir Charles whenever
it might suit his convenience and comport with the instructions of his
Government with respect to the treaty boundary or a conventional
substitute for it.

On the 4th of May, 1835, Sir Charles R. Vaughan expressed his regret
that the condition which His Majesty's Government had brought forward as
an essential preliminary to the adoption of the President's proposal had
been declared to be inadmissible by the American Government.

Sir Charles confidently appealed to the tenor of the language of the
award of the arbiter to justify the inference drawn from it by His
Majesty's Government in regard to that point in the dispute which
respects the rivers which are to be considered as falling directly
into the Atlantic. The acquiescence of the United States in what was
understood to be the opinion of the arbiter was invited, he said,
because the new commission could not enter upon their survey in search
of the highlands of the treaty without a previous agreement between
the two Governments what rivers ought to be considered as falling into
the Atlantic, and that if the character in which the Restigouche and
St. John were to be regarded was a question to be submitted to the
commissioners the President's proposition would assume the character of
a new arbitration, which had been already objected to by the Secretary.
Sir Charles also stated that while His Majesty's Government had wished
to maintain the decisions of the arbiter on subordinate points, their
mention had not been confined to those decided in favor of British
claims; that the decisions were nearly balanced in favor of either
party, and the general result of the arbitration was so manifestly in
favor of the United States that to them were assigned three-fifths of
the territory in dispute and Rouses Point, to which they had voluntarily
resigned all claim.

Sir Charles acknowledged with much satisfaction the Secretary's
assurance that if the President possessed the same power as His
Majesty's Government over the question of boundary he would have met
the suggestion of a conventional line, contained in Sir Charles's note
of 31st May, 1833, in a favorable spirit. He lamented that the two
Governments could not coincide in the opinion that the removal of the
only difficulty in the relations between them was attainable by the last
proposal of the President, as it was the only one in his power to offer
in alleviation of the task of tracing the treaty line, to which the
Senate had advised that any further negotiation should be restricted.
He said that he was ready to confer with the Secretary whenever it might
be convenient to receive him, and stated that as to any proposition
which it might be the wish of the United States to receive from His
Majesty's Government respecting a conventional substitute for the treaty
of 1783, it would in the first instance, to avoid constitutional
difficulties in the way of the Executive, be necessary to obtain the
consent of Maine, an object which must be undertaken exclusively by the
General Government of the United States.

Mr. Bankhead, the British chargé d'affaires, in a note to the Department
dated 28th December, 1835, stated that during the three years which had
elapsed since the refusal of the Senate to agree to the award of the
King of the Netherlands, although the British Government had more than
once declared its readiness to abide by its offer to accept the award,
the Government of the United States had as often replied that on its
part that award could not be agreed to; that the British Government
now considered itself by this refusal of the United States fully and
entirely released from the conditional offer which it had made, and
that he was instructed distinctly to announce to the President that
the British Government withdrew its consent to accept the territorial
compromise recommended by the King of the Netherlands.

With regard to the American proposition for the appointment of a new
commission of exploration and survey, Mr. Bankhead could not see, since
the President found himself unable to admit the distinction between the
Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic Ocean, how any useful result could arise
out of the proposed survey. He thought, on the contrary, that if it did
not furnish fresh subjects of difference between the two Governments it
could at best only bring the subject back to the same point at which it
now stood.

To the suggestion of the President that the commission of survey should
be empowered to decide the river question Mr. Bankhead said it was not
in the power of His Majesty's Government to assent; that this question
could not properly be referred to such a commission, because it turned
upon the interpretation to be put upon the words of the treaty of 1783,
and upon the application of that interpretation to geographical facts
already well known and ascertained, and that therefore a commission of
survey had no peculiar competency to decide such a question; that to
refer it to any authority would be to submit it to a fresh arbitration,
and that if His Majesty's Government were prepared to agree to a fresh
arbitration, which was not the case, such arbitration ought necessarily,
instead of being confined to one particular point alone, to include all
the points in dispute between the two Governments; that His Majesty's
Government could therefore only agree to such a commission provided
there were a previous understanding between the two Governments; that
although neither should be required to give up its own interpretation
of the river question, yet "the commissioners should be instructed to
search for highlands upon the character of which no doubt could exist
on either side."

If this modification of the President's proposal should not prove
acceptable, Mr. Bankhead observed, the only remaining way of adjusting
the difference would be to abandon altogether the attempt to draw a line
in conformity with the words of the treaty and to fix upon a convenient
line, to be drawn according to equitable principles and with a view to
the respective interests and the convenience of the two parties. He
stated that His Majesty's Government were perfectly ready to treat for
such a line, and conceived that the natural features of the disputed
territory would afford peculiar facilities for drawing it; that His
Majesty's Government would therefore propose an equal division of the
territory in dispute between Great Britain and the United States, and
that the general outline of such a division would be that the boundary
between the two States should be drawn due north from the head of St.
Croix River till it intersected the St. John; thence up the bed of the
St. John to the southernmost source of that river, and from that point
it should be drawn to the head of the Connecticut River in such manner
as to make the northern and southern allotments of the divided territory
as nearly as possible equal to each other in extent.

In reply to the preceding note the Secretary, under date of February 29,
1836, expressed the President's regret to find that His Britannic
Majesty's Government adhered to its objection to the appointment of a
commission to be chosen in either of the modes heretofore proposed by
the United States and his conviction that the proposition on which it
was founded, "that the river question was a treaty construction only,"
although repeated on various occasions by Great Britain, was
demonstrably untenable, and, indeed, only plausible when material and
most important words of description in the treaty are omitted in quoting
from that instrument. He said that while His Majesty's Government
maintain their position agreement between the United States and Great
Britain on this point was impossible; that the President was therefore
constrained to look to the new and conventional line offered in Mr.
Bankhead's note, but that in such a line the wishes and interests of
Maine were to be consulted, and that the President could not in justice
to himself or that State make any proposition utterly irreconcilable
with her previously well-known opinions on the subject; that the
principle of compromise and equitable division was adopted by the King
of the Netherlands in the line recommended by him, a line rejected by
the United States because unjust to Maine; and yet that line gave to
Great Britain little more than 2,000,000, while the proposition now made
by His Majesty's Government secured to Great Britain of the disputed
land more than 4,000,000 acres; that the division offered by Mr.
Bankhead's note was not in harmony with the equitable rule from which
it is said to spring, and if it were in conformity with it could not
be accepted without disrespect to the previous decisions and just
expectations of Maine. The President was far from attributing this
proposition, the Secretary said, to the desire of His Majesty's
Government to acquire territory. He doubted not that the offer, without
regard to the extent of territory falling to the north or south of the
St. John, was made by His Majesty's Government from a belief that the
substitution of a river for a highland boundary would be useful in
preventing territorial disputes in future; but although the President
coincided in this view of the subject he was compelled to decline the
boundary proposed as inconsistent with the known wishes, rights, and
decisions of the State.

The Secretary concluded by stating that the President, with a view to
terminate at once all controversy, and without regard to the extent of
territory lost by one party or acquired by the other, to establish a
definite and indisputable line, would, if His Majesty's Government
assented to it, apply to the State of Maine for its consent to make the
river St. John from its source to its mouth the boundary between Maine
and His Britannic Majesty's dominions in that part of North America.

Mr. Bankhead acknowledged on the 4th March, 1836, the receipt of
this note from the Department, and said that the rejection of the
conventional line proposed in his previous note would cause His
Majesty's Government much regret. He referred the Secretary to that
part of his note of the 28th December last wherein the proposition of
the President for a commission of exploration and survey was fully
discussed, as it appeared to Mr. Bankhead that the Secretary had not
given the modification on the part of His Majesty's Government of the
American proposition the weight to which it was entitled. He said that
it was offered with the view of meeting as far as practicable the wishes
of the President and of endeavoring by such a preliminary measure to
bring about a settlement of the boundary upon a basis satisfactory to
both parties; that with this view he again submitted to the Secretary
the modified proposal of His Majesty's Government, remarking that the
commissioners who might be appointed were not to _decide_ upon points
of difference, but merely to present to the respective Governments the
result of their labors, which, it was hoped and believed, would pave
the way for an ultimate settlement of the question.

Mr. Bankhead considered it proper to state frankly and clearly that the
proposition offered in the last note from the Department to make the
river St. John from its source to its mouth the boundary between the
United States and His Majesty's Province of New Brunswick was one to
which the British Government, he was convinced, would never agree.

On the 5th March the Secretary expressed regret that his proposition to
make the river St. John the boundary between Maine and New Brunswick
would, in the opinion of Mr. Bankhead, be declined by his Government;
that the Government of the United States could not, however, relinquish
the hope that the proposal, when brought before His Majesty's cabinet
and considered with the attention and deliberation due to its merits,
would be viewed in a more favorable light than that in which it appeared
to have presented itself to Mr. Bankhead. If, however, the Secretary
added, this expectation should be disappointed, it would be necessary
before the President consented to the modification of his previous
proposition for the appointment of a commission of exploration and
survey to be informed more fully of the views of the British Government
in offering the modification, so that he might be enabled to judge how
the report of the commission (which as now proposed to be constituted
was not to decide upon points of difference) would be likely to lead
to an ultimate settlement of the question of boundary, and also which
of the modes proposed for the selection of commissioners was the one
intended to be accepted, with the modification suggested by His
Britannic Majesty's Government.

In January last Mr. Fox, the British minister at Washington, made a
communication to the Department of State, in which, with reference to
the objection preferred by the American Government that it had no power
without the consent of Maine to agree to the arrangement proposed by
Great Britain, since it would be considered by that State as equivalent
to a cession of what she regarded as a part of her territory, he
observed that the objection of the State could not be admitted as valid,
for the principle on which it rested was as good for Great Britain as
it was for Maine; that if the State was entitled to contend that until
the treaty line was determined the boundary claimed by Maine must be
regarded as the right one, Great Britain was still more entitled to
insist on a similar pretension and to assert that until the line of the
treaty shall be established satisfactorily the whole of the disputed
territory ought to be considered as belonging to the British Crown,
since Great Britain was the original possessor, and all the territory
which had not been proved to have been by treaty ceded by her must be
deemed to belong to her still. But Mr. Fox said the existence of these
conflicting pretensions pointed out the expediency of a compromise; and
why, he asked, as a conventional line different from that described in
the treaty was agreed to with respect to the boundary westward from the
Lake of the Woods, should such a line not be agreed to likewise for the
boundary eastward from the Connecticut? Her Majesty's Government could
not, he added, refrain from again pressing this proposition upon the
serious consideration of the United States as the arrangement best
calculated to effect a prompt and satisfactory settlement between
the two powers.

With reference to the American proposition to make the river St. John
from its mouth to its source the boundary, Mr. Fox remarked that it was
difficult to understand upon what grounds any expectation could have
been formed that such a proposal could be entertained by the British
Government, for such an arrangement would give to the United States
even greater advantages than they would obtain by an unconditional
acquiescence in their claim to the whole of the disputed territory,
because it would give to Maine all the disputed territory lying south of
the St. John, and in exchange for the remaining part of the territory
lying to the north of the St. John would add to the State of Maine a
large district of New Brunswick--a district smaller in extent, but much
more considerable in value, than the portion of the disputed territory
which lies to the north of the St. John.

With regard to the proposition for the appointment of a commission of
exploration and survey, Mr. Fox stated that Her Majesty's Government,
with little expectation that it could lead to a useful result, but
unwilling to reject the only plan left which seemed to afford a chance
of making a further advance in this matter, would not withhold their
consent to such a commission if the principle upon which it was to be
formed and the manner in which it was to proceed could be satisfactorily
settled; that of the two modes proposed in which such a commission might
be constituted Her Majesty's Government thought the first, viz, that it
might consist of commissioners named in equal numbers by each of the two
Governments, with an umpire to be selected by some friendly European
power, would be the best, but suggested that it might be better that the
umpire should be selected by the members of the commission themselves
rather than that the two Governments should apply to a third power
to make such a choice; that the object of this commission should be
to explore the disputed territory in order to find within its limits
dividing highlands which might answer the description of the treaty, the
search to be made in a north and northwest line from the monument at
the head of the St. Croix; and that Her Majesty's Government had given
their opinion that the commissioners should be instructed to look for
highlands which both parties might acknowledge as fulfilling the
conditions of the treaty.

In answer to the inquiry how the report of the commission would,
according to the views of Her Majesty's Government, be likely when
rendered to lead to an ultimate settlement of the boundary question,
Mr. Fox observed that since the proposal for the appointment of a
commission originated with the Government of the United States, it
was rather for that Government than the Government of Great Britain to
answer this question. Her Majesty's Government had already stated they
had little expectation that such a commission could lead to any useful
result, etc., but that Her Majesty's Government, in the first place,
conceived that it was meant by the Government of the United States that
if the commission should discover highlands answering to the description
of the treaty a connecting line from them to the head of the St. Croix
should be deemed to be a portion of the boundary between the two
countries. Mr. Fox further referred the Secretary to the previous notes
of Mr. McLane on the subject, in which it was contemplated as one of
the possible results of the proposed commission that such additional
information might be obtained of the features of the country as might
remove all doubt as to the impracticability of laying down a boundary
in accordance with the letter of the treaty. Mr. Fox said that if
the investigations of the commission should show that there was no
reasonable prospect of finding the line described in the treaty of 1783
the constitutional difficulties which now prevented the United States
from agreeing to a conventional line might possibly be removed, and the
way be thus prepared for a satisfactory settlement of the difference by
equitable division of the territory; but, he added in conclusion, if the
two Governments should agree to the appointment of such a commission,
it would be necessary that their agreement should be by a convention,
and it would be obviously indispensable that the State of Maine should
be an assenting party to the arrangement.

In acknowledging the receipt of Mr. Fox's communication at the
Department he was informed (7th February) that the President
experienced deep disappointment in finding that the answer just
presented on the part of the British Government to the proposition
made by this Government with the view of effecting the settlement of
the boundary question was so indefinite in its terms as to render it
impracticable to ascertain without further discussion what were the
real wishes and intentions of Her Majesty's Government respecting the
appointment of a commission of exploration and survey, but that a copy
of it would be transmitted to the executive of Maine for the purpose of
ascertaining the sense of the State authorities upon the expediency of
meeting the views of Her Majesty's Government so far as they were
therein developed.

Occasion was taken at the same time to explain to Mr. Fox, in answer
to the suggestion in his note of the 10th of January last, that the
parallel of latitude adopted as a conventional substitute for the line
designated in the treaty for the boundary westward from the Lake of the
Woods passed over territory within the exclusive jurisdiction of the
General Government, without trenching upon the rights or claims of
any member of the Union, and the legitimate power of the Government,
therefore, to agree to such line was held to be perfect, but that in
acceding to a conventional line for the boundary eastward from the river
Connecticut it would transcend its constitutional powers, since such a
measure could only be carried into effect by violating the jurisdiction
of a sovereign State and assuming to alienate a portion of the territory
claimed by such State.

In reply to the observation of Mr. Fox that it was difficult to
understand upon what ground an expectation could have been entertained
that the proposition to make the St. John the boundary would be received
by Her Majesty's Government, he was informed that the suggestion had
been offered, as the proposition on the part of Great Britain that led
to it was supposed to have been, with regard to the extent of territory
lost or acquired by the respective parties, and in the hope that the
great importance of terminating this controversy by establishing a
definite and indisputable boundary would be seen and acknowledged by the
British Government, and have a correspondent weight in influencing its
decision; that the suggestion in Mr. Bankhead's note of 28th December,
1835, of a part of the river St. John as a portion of the general
outline of a conventional boundary, apparently recognized the superior
advantages of a river over a highland boundary, and that no difficulty
was anticipated on the part of Her Majesty's Government in understanding
the grounds upon which such a proposal was expected to be entertained
by it, since the precedent proposition of Mr. Bankhead just alluded to,
although based upon the principle of an equal division between the
parties, could not be justified by it, as it would have given nearly
two-thirds of the disputed territory to Great Britain; that it was
therefore fair to presume that the river line, in the opinion of His
Majesty's Government, presented advantages sufficient to counterbalance
any loss of territory by either party that might accrue from its
adoption; and it was also supposed that another recommendation of this
line would be seen by Great Britain in the fact that whilst by its
adoption the right of jurisdiction alone would have been yielded to the
United States over that portion of New Brunswick south of the St. John,
Great Britain would have acquired the right of soil and jurisdiction of
all the disputed territory north of that river.

To correct a misapprehension into which Mr. Fox appeared to have fallen,
the distinctive difference between the American proposition for a
commission and that proposition as subsequently modified by Great
Britain was pointed out, and he was informed that although the proposal
originated with this Government, the modification was so fundamentally
important that it entirely changed the nature of the proposition, and
that the supposition, therefore, that it was rather for the Government
of the United States than for that of Great Britain to answer the
inquiry preferred by the Secretary of State for information relative
to the manner in which the report of the commission as proposed to be
constituted and instructed by the British Government might tend to a
practical result was unfounded. Mr. Fox was also given to understand
that any decision made by a commission constituted in the manner
proposed by the United States and instructed to seek for the highlands
of the treaty of 1783 would be binding upon this Government and could
be carried into effect without unnecessary delay; but if the substitute
presented by Her Majesty's Government should be insisted on and its
principles be adopted, it would then be necessary to resort to the State
of Maine for her assent in all proceedings relative to the matter, since
any arrangement under it can only be for a conventional line to which
she must be a party.

In conclusion, it was intimated to Mr. Fox that if a negotiation be
entertained by this Government at all upon the unsatisfactory basis
afforded by the British counter proposition or substitute, the President
will not invite it unless the authorities of the State of Maine shall
think it more likely to lead to an adjustment of the question of
boundary than the General Government deemed it to be, although
predisposed to see it in the most favorable light.

Your excellency will perceive that in the course of these proceedings,
but without abandoning the attempt to adjust the treaty line, steps
necessary, from the want of power in the Federal Government, of an
informal character, have been taken to test the dispositions of the
respective Governments upon the subject of substituting a conventional
for the treaty line. It will also be seen from the correspondence that
the British Government, despairing of a satisfactory adjustment of
the line of the treaty, avows its willingness to enter upon a direct
negotiation for the settlement of a conventional line if the assent
of the State of Maine to that course can be obtained.

Whilst the obligations of the Federal Government to do all in its power
to effect a settlement of this boundary are fully recognized on its
part, it has in the event of its being unable to do so specifically by
mutual consent no other means to accomplish the object amicably than by
another arbitration, or a commission, with an umpire, in the nature of
an arbitration. In the contingency of all other measures failing the
President will feel it to be his duty to submit another proposition to
the Government of Great Britain to refer the decision of the question to
a third party. He would not, however, be satisfied in taking this final
step without having first ascertained the opinion and wishes of the
State of Maine upon the subject of a negotiation for the establishment
of a conventional line, and he conceives the present the proper time
to seek it.

I am therefore directed by the President to invite your excellency to
adopt such measures as you may deem necessary to ascertain the sense
of the State of Maine with respect to the expediency of attempting to
establish a conventional line of boundary between that State and the
British possessions by direct negotiation between the Governments of
the United States and Great Britain, and whether the State of Maine
will agree, and upon what conditions, if she elects to prescribe any,
to abide by such settlement if the same be made. Should the State of
Maine be of opinion that additional surveys and explorations might
be useful either in leading to a satisfactory adjustment of the
controversy according to the terms of the treaty or in enabling the
parties to decide more understandingly upon the expediency of opening
a negotiation for the establishment of a line that would suit their
mutual convenience and be reconcilable to their conflicting interests,
and desire the creation for that purpose of a commission upon the
principles and with the limited powers described in the letter of
Mr. Fox, the President will without hesitation open a negotiation
with Great Britain for the accomplishment of that object.

I have the honor to be, with high consideration, your excellency's
obedient servant,

JOHN FORSYTH.



WASHINGTON, _April 5, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives a report from the
Secretary of State, with accompanying papers, in answer to their
resolution of the 21st ultimo.

M. VAN BUREN.



DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, April 4, 1838_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:

The Secretary of State, to whom has been referred the resolution of the
House of Representatives of the 21st ultimo, requesting the President,
"if not incompatible with the public interests, to communicate to that
House any information possessed by him respecting the capture and
destruction of the steamboat _Caroline_ at Schlosser during the night of
the 29th December last, and the murder of citizens of the United States
on board, and all the particulars thereof not heretofore communicated,
and especially to inform the House whether said capture was authorized,
commanded, or sanctioned or has been avowed by the British authorities
or officers, or any of them, and also what steps have been taken by him
to obtain satisfaction from the Government of Great Britain on account
of said outrage, and to communicate to the House all correspondence or
communications relative thereto which have passed between the Government
of the United States and Great Britain, or any of the public authorities
of either," has the honor to lay before the President the accompanying
documents, which contain all the information in the possession of this
Department relative to the subject of the resolution; and to state,
moreover, that instructions have been transmitted to the minister of the
United States in London to make a full representation to Her Britannic
Majesty's Government of the facts connected with this lamentable
occurrence, to remonstrate against the unwarrantable course pursued
on the occasion by the British troops from Canada, and to express the
expectation of this Government that such redress as the nature of the
case obviously requires will be promptly given.

Respectfully submitted.

JOHN FORSYTH.



_Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Fox_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, January 5, 1838_.

HENRY S. FOX, Esq., etc.

SIR: By the direction of the President of the United States, I have the
honor to communicate to you a copy of the evidence furnished to this
Department of an extraordinary outrage committed from Her Britannic
Majesty's Province of Upper Canada on the persons and property of
citizens of the United States within the jurisdiction of the State of
New York. The destruction of the property and the assassination of
citizens of the United States on the soil of New York at the moment
when, as is well known to you, the President was anxiously endeavoring
to allay the excitement and earnestly seeking to prevent any unfortunate
occurrence on the frontier of Canada have produced upon his mind the
most painful emotions of surprise and regret. It will necessarily form
the subject of a demand for redress upon Her Majesty's Government.
This communication is made to you under the expectation that through
your instrumentality an early explanation may be obtained from the
authorities of Upper Canada of all the circumstances of the transaction,
and that by your advice to those authorities such decisive precautions
may be used as will render the perpetration of similar acts hereafter
impossible. Not doubting the disposition of the government of Upper
Canada to do its duty in punishing the aggressors and preventing future
outrage, the President nevertheless has deemed it necessary to order
a sufficient force on the frontier to repel any attempt of a like
character and to make known to you that if it should occur he can not be
answerable for the effects of the indignation of the neighboring people
of the United States.

I avail myself of this occasion, etc.

JOHN FORSYTH.



_Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Fox_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, January 9, 1838_.

HENRY S. FOX, Esq., etc.

SIR: With reference to my note of the 5th instant, communicating to
you evidence of an extraordinary outrage committed from Her Britannic
Majesty's Province of Upper Canada on the persons and property of
certain citizens of the United States at Schlosser, within the
jurisdiction of the State of New York, on the night of the 29th ultimo,
I have now the honor to transmit to you the copy of a letter[26]
recently received from the attorney of the United States for the
northern district of New York, dated the 8th of the current month, with
transcripts of sundry depositions[26] which accompanied it, containing
additional information in regard to that most disastrous occurrence. A
letter from Mr. George W. Pratt of the 10th of January, with inclosures
relating to the same subject, is also sent.

I avail myself of this occasion to renew to you the assurance of my
distinguished consideration.

JOHN FORSYTH.

[Footnote 26: Omitted.]



ROCHESTER, _January 10, 1838_.

The PRESIDENT.

SIR: Colonel McNab, having avowed that the steamboat _Caroline_ was
destroyed by his orders, justifies himself by the plea, sustained by
affidavits, that hostilities were commenced from the American shore.

I inclose you the affidavits[26] of four respectable citizens of
Rochester, who were present at the time, who contradict the assertions
of Colonel McNab.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

GEO. W. PRATT.



_Mr. Fox to Mr. Forsyth_.

WASHINGTON, _February 6, 1838_.

Hon. JOHN FORSYTH, etc.

SIR: With reference to the letters which, by direction of the President,
you addressed to me on the 5th and 19th ultimo, respecting the capture
and destruction of the steamboat _Caroline_ by a Canadian force on the
American side of the Niagara River, within the jurisdiction of the State
of New York, I have now the honor to communicate to you the copy of a
letter upon that subject which I have received from Sir Francis Head,
lieutenant-governor of the Province of Upper Canada, with divers reports
and depositions annexed.

The piratical character of the steamboat _Caroline_ and the necessity of
self-defense and self-preservation under which Her Majesty's subjects
acted in destroying that vessel would seem to be sufficiently
established.

At the time when the event happened the ordinary laws of the United
States were not enforced within the frontier district of the State of
New York. The authority of the law was overborne publicly by piratical
violence. Through such violence Her Majesty's subjects in Upper Canada
had already severely suffered, and they were threatened with still
further injury and outrage. This extraordinary state of things appears
naturally and necessarily to have impelled them to consult their own
security by pursuing and destroying the vessel of their piratical enemy
wheresoever they might find her.

I avail myself of this occasion to renew to you the assurance of my high
respect and consideration.

H.S. FOX.



TORONTO, UPPER CANADA, _January 8, 1838_.

His Excellency HENRY S. FOX,

_Her Majesty's Minister, Washington_.

SIR: I have the honor to inclose you the copy of a special message sent
by His Excellency Governor Marcy to the legislature of the State of New
York, in relation to a matter on which your excellency will desire the
earliest and most authentic information. The message only reached this
place yesterday, and I lose no time in communicating with your
excellency on the subject.

The governor of the State of New York complains of the cutting out
and burning of the steamboat _Caroline_ by order of Colonel McNab,
commanding Her Majesty's forces at Chippewa, in the Province of Upper
Canada, and of the destruction of the lives of some American citizens
who were on board of the boat at the time she was attacked.

The act complained of was done under the following circumstances:

In Upper Canada, which contains a population of about 450,000 souls, the
most perfect tranquillity prevailed up to the 4th day of December last,
although in the adjoining Province of Lower Canada many of the French
Canadian inhabitants had been in open rebellion against the Government
for about a month preceding.

At no time since the treaty of peace with the United States in 1815 had
Upper Canada been more undisturbed. The real causes of the insurrection
in Lower Canada, namely, the national antipathy of the French
inhabitants, did not in any degree apply in the upper Province, whose
population, like the British and American inhabitants of Lower Canada,
were wholly opposed to the revolt and anxious to render every service in
their power in support of the Queen's, authority.

It had been reported to the Government some time before the 4th of
December that in a remote portion of the home district a number of
persons occasionally met and drilled with arms under leaders known to
be disaffected, but it was not believed by the Government that anything
more could be intended than to make a show of threatened revolt in order
to create a diversion in favor of the rebels in Lower Canada.

The feeling of loyalty throughout this Province was known to be so
prevalent and decided that it was not thought unsafe to forbear, for
the time at least, to take any notice of the proceedings of this party.

On the night of the 4th December the inhabitants of the city of Toronto
were alarmed by the intelligence that about 500 persons armed with
rifles were approaching the city; that they had murdered a gentleman
of great respectability in the highway, and had made several persons
prisoners. The inhabitants rushed immediately to arms; there were no
soldiers in the Province and no militia had been called out. The home
district, from which this party of armed men came, contains 60,000
inhabitants; the city of Toronto 10,000. In a few hours a respectable
force, although undisciplined, was collected and armed in self-defense,
and awaited the threatened attack. It seems now to admit of no doubt
that if they had at once advanced against the insurgents they would have
met with no formidable resistance, but it was thought more prudent to
wait until a sufficient force should be collected to put the success of
an attack beyond question. In the meantime people poured in from all
quarters to oppose the insurgents, who obtained no increase of numbers,
but, on the contrary, were deserted by many of their body in consequence
of the acts of devastation and plunder into which their leader had
forced them.

On the 7th of December an overwhelming force of militia went against
them and dispersed them without losing a man, taking many prisoners,
who were instantly by my order released and suffered to depart to their
homes. The rest, with their leaders, fled; some have since surrendered
themselves to justice; many have been taken, and some have escaped from
the Province.

It was reported about this time that in the district of London a similar
disposition to rise had been observed, and in consequence a militia
force of about 400 men was sent into that district, where it was
speedily joined by three times as many of the inhabitants of the
district, who assembled voluntarily and came to their aid with the
greatest alacrity.

It was discovered that about 300 persons under Dr. Duncombe, an
American by birth, were assembled with arms, but before the militia
could reach them they dispersed themselves and fled. Of these by far the
greater came in immediately and submitted themselves to the Government,
declaring that they had been misled and deceived, and praying for
forgiveness.

In about a week perfect tranquillity was restored, and from that moment
not a man has been seen in arms against the Government in any part of
the Province, with the exception of the hostile aggression upon Navy
Island, which I shall presently notice; nor has there been the slightest
resistance offered to the execution of legal process in a single
instance.

After the dispersion of the armed insurgents near Toronto Mr. McKenzie,
their leader, escaped in disguise to the Niagara River and crossed
over to Buffalo. Reports had been spread there and elsewhere along the
American frontier that Toronto had been burnt and that the rebels were
completely successful, but the falsehood of these absurd rumors was
well known before McKenzie arrived on the American side. It was known
also that the ridiculous attempt of 400 men to revolutionize a country
containing nearly half a million inhabitants had been put down by the
people instantly and decidedly without the loss of a man.

Nevertheless, a number of American citizens in Buffalo and other towns
on the frontier of the State of New York enlisted as soldiers, with
the avowed object of invading Canada and establishing a provisional
government. Public meetings were held to forward this design of invading
a country with which the United States were at peace. Volunteers were
called for, and arms, ammunition, and provisions were supplied by
contributions openly made. All this was in direct and flagrant violation
of the express laws of the United States, as well as of the law of
nations.

The civil authority of Buffalo offered some slight shew of resistance to
the movement, being urged to interpose by many of the most respectable
citizens. But no real impediment was offered, and on the 13th of
December some hundreds of the citizens of the State of New York, as
an armed body under the command of a Mr. Van Rensselaer, an American
citizen, openly invaded and took possession of Navy Island, a part of
Upper Canada, situate in the Niagara River.

Not believing that such an outrage would really be committed, no force
whatever was assembled at the time to counteract this hostile movement.

In a very short time this lawless band obtained from some of the
arsenals of the State of New York (clandestinely, as it is said) several
pieces of artillery and other arms, which in broad daylight were openly
transported to Navy Island without resistance from the American
authorities. The people of Buffalo and the adjacent country continued to
supply them with stores of various kinds, and additional men enlisted in
their ranks.

In a few days their force was variously stated from 500 to 1,500, of
whom a small proportion were rebels who had fled from Upper Canada. They
began to intrench themselves, and threatened that they would in a short
time make a landing on the Canadian side of the Niagara River.

To prevent this and to keep them in check a body of militia was hastily
collected and stationed on the frontier, under the command of Colonel
Cameron, assistant adjutant-general of militia, who was succeeded in
this command by Colonel McNab, the speaker of the house of assembly,
an officer whose humanity and discretion, as well as his activity,
have been proved by his conduct in putting down the insurrection in the
London district and have been acknowledged in warm terms of gratitude
by the misguided persons who had surrendered themselves into his hands.
He received orders to act on the defensive only, and to be careful not
to do any act which the American Government could justly complain of as
a breach of neutrality.

An official statement of the unfriendly proceedings at Buffalo was
without delay (on the 13th December) made by me to his excellency the
governor of the State of New York, to which no answer has been received.
And after this open invasion of our territory, and when it became
evident that nothing was effected at Buffalo for preventing the
violation of neutrality, a special messenger was sent to your excellency
at Washington to urge your interposition in the matter. Sufficient time
has not yet elapsed to admit of his return. Soon after his departure
this band of outlaws on Navy Island, acting in defiance of the laws and
Government of both countries, opened a fire from several pieces of
ordnance upon the Canadian shore, which in this part is thickly settled,
the distance from the island being about 600 yards and within sight of
the populous village of Chippewa. They put several balls (6-pound shot)
through a house in which a party of militiamen were quartered and which
is the dwelling house of Captain Usher, a respectable inhabitant. They
killed a horse on which a man at the time was riding, but happily did
no further mischief, though they fired also repeatedly with cannon and
musketry upon our boats.

They continued daily to render their position more formidable, receiving
constant supplies of men and warlike stores from the State of New York,
which were chiefly embarked at a landing place on the American main
shore, called Fort Schlosser, nearly opposite to Navy Island. This place
was once, I believe, a military position, before the conquest of Canada
from the French, but there is now neither fort nor village there, but
merely a single house occupied as a tavern, and a wharf in front of it,
to which boats and vessels are moored. The tavern had been during these
lawless proceedings a rendezvous for the band (who can not be called
by any name more appropriate than pirates), and was in fact openly and
notoriously resorted to as their headquarters on the mainland, and is
so to this time. On the 28th December positive information was given to
Colonel McNab by persons from Buffalo that a small steamboat called the
_Caroline_, of about 50 tons burthen, had been hired by the pirates, who
called themselves "patriots," and was to be employed in carrying down
cannon and other stores and in transporting men and anything else that
might be required between Fort Schlosser and Navy Island.

He resolved if she came down and engaged in this service to take or
destroy her. She did come down agreeably to the information he received.
She transported a piece of artillery and other stores to the island, and
made repeated passages during the day between the island and the main
shore.

In the night he sent a party of militia in boats, with orders to take
or destroy her. They proceeded to execute the order. They found the
_Caroline_ moored to the wharf opposite to the inn at Fort Schlosser.
In the inn there was a guard of armed men to protect her--part of the
pirate force, or acting in their support. On her deck there was an armed
party and a sentinel, who demanded the countersign.

Thus identified as she was with the force which in defiance of the law
of nations and every principle of natural justice had invaded Upper
Canada and made war upon its unoffending inhabitants, she was boarded,
and after a resistance in which some desperate wounds were inflicted
upon the assailants she was carried. If any peaceable citizens of the
United States perished in the conflict, it was and is unknown to the
captors, and it was and is equally unknown to them whether any such were
there. Before this vessel was thus taken not a gun had been fired by the
force under the orders of Colonel McNab, even upon this gang of pirates,
much less upon any peaceable citizen of the United States. It must
therefore have been a consciousness of the guilty service she was
engaged in that led those who were employing her to think an armed guard
necessary for her defense. Peaceable citizens of the United States were
not likely to be found in a vessel so employed at such a place and in
such a juncture, and if they were there their presence, especially
unknown as it was to the captors, could not prevent, in law or reason,
this necessary act of self-defense.

Fifteen days had elapsed since the invasion of Upper Canada by a
force enlisted, armed, and equipped openly in the State of New York.
The country where this outrage upon the law of nations was committed
is populous. Buffalo also contains 15,000 inhabitants. The public
authorities, it is true, gave no countenance to those flagrant acts, but
it did not prevent them or in the slightest degree obstruct them further
than by issuing proclamations, which were disregarded.

Perhaps they could not, but in either case the insult and injury to the
inhabitants of Canada were the same and their right to defend themselves
equally unquestionable.

No wanton injury was committed by the party who gallantly effected this
service. They loosed the vessel from the wharf, and finding they could
not tow her against the rapid current of the Niagara, they abandoned the
effort to secure her, set her on fire, and let her drift down the
stream.

The prisoners taken were a man who, it will be seen by the documents
accompanying this dispatch, avowed himself to be a subject of Her
Majesty, inhabiting Upper Canada, who had lately been traitorously in
arms in that Province, and, having fled to the United States, was then
on board for the purpose of going to the camp at Navy Island; and a boy,
who, being born in Lower Canada, was probably residing in the United
States, and who, being afraid to land from the boat in consequence of
the firing kept up by the guard on the shore, was placed in one of the
boats under Captain Drew and taken over to our side, from whence he was
sent home the next day by the Falls ferry with money given him to bear
his expenses.

I send with this letter, first, a copy of my first communication to His
Excellency Governor Marcy,[27] to which no reply has reached me; second,
the official reports, correspondence, and militia general order
respecting the destruction of the _Caroline_, with other documents;[27]
third, the correspondence between Commissary-General Arcularius, of the
State of New York, respecting the artillery belonging to the government
of the State of New York, which has been and is still used in making war
upon this Province;[27] fourth, other correspondence arising out of the
present state of things on the Niagara frontier;[27] fifth, the special
message of Governor Marcy.[27]

It will be seen from these documents that a high officer of the
government of the State of New York has been sent by his excellency
the governor for the express purpose of regaining possession of the
artillery of that State which is now employed in hostile aggressions
upon this portion of Her Majesty's dominions, and that, being aided and
favored, as he acknowledges, by the most friendly cooperation which the
commanding officer of Her Majesty's forces could give him, he has been
successfully defied by this army of American citizens, and has abandoned
the object of his mission in despair.

It can hardly fail also to be observed by your excellency that in
the course of this negotiation between Mr. Van Rensselaer and the
commissary-general of the State of New York this individual, Mr. Van
Rensselaer, has not hesitated to place himself within the immediate
jurisdiction of the government whose laws he had violated and in direct
personal communication with the officer of that government, and has,
nevertheless, been allowed to return unmolested to continue in command
of American citizens engaged in open hostilities against Great Britain.

The exact position, then, of affairs on our frontier may be thus described:

An army of American citizens, joined to a very few traitors from Upper
Canada, and under the command of a subject of the United States, has
been raised and equipped in the State of New York against the laws
of the United States and the treaties now subsisting, and are using
artillery plundered from the arsenals of the State of New York in
carrying on this piratical warfare against a friendly country.

The officers and Government of the United States and of the State of New
York have attempted to arrest these proceedings and to control their
citizens, but they have failed. Although this piratical assemblage are
thus defying the civil authorities of both countries, Upper Canada alone
is the object of their hostilities. The Government of the United States
has failed to enforce its authority by any means, civil or military, and
the single question (if it be a question) is whether Upper Canada was
bound to refrain from necessary acts of self-defense against a people
whom their own Government either could not or would not control.

In perusing the message of His Excellency Governor Marcy to the
legislature of the State of New York your excellency will probably feel
some degree of surprise that after three weeks' continued hostility
carried on by the citizens of New York against the people of Upper
Canada his excellency seems to have considered himself not called upon
to make this aggression the subject of remark for any other purpose
than to complain of a solitary act of self-defense on the part of Her
Majesty's Province of Upper Canada, to which such unprovoked hostilities
have unavoidably led.

I have the honor to be, sir, your excellency's most obedient, humble
servant.

F.B. HEAD.

[Footnote 27: Omitted.]



_Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Fox_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, February 13, 1838_.

HENRY S. FOX, Esq., etc.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the
6th instant, communicating a copy of a letter from Sir Francis Head,
lieutenant-governor of the Province of Upper Canada, respecting the
capture and destruction of the steamboat _Caroline_ by a Canadian force
on the American side of the Niagara River within the jurisdiction of the
State of New York, together with the reports and depositions thereto
annexed.

The statement of the facts which these papers present is at variance
with the information communicated to this Government respecting that
transaction; but it is not intended to enter at present upon an
examination of the details of the case, as steps have been taken to
obtain the fullest evidence that can be had of the particulars of the
outrage, upon the receipt of which it will be made the subject of a
formal complaint to the British Government for redress. Even admitting
that the documents transmitted with your note contain a correct
statement of the occurrence, they furnish no justification of the
aggression committed upon the territory of the United States--an
aggression which was the more unexpected as Sir Francis Head, in his
speech at the opening of the parliament of Upper Canada, had expressed
his confidence in the disposition of this Government to restrain its
citizens from taking part in the conflict which was waging in that
Province, and added that, having communicated with the governor of
the State of New York and yourself, he was then waiting for replies.

It is not necessary to remind you that his expectations have been met by
the adoption of measures on the part of the United States as prompt and
vigorous as they have been successful in repressing every attempt of
the inhabitants of the frontier States to interfere unlawfully in that
contest. The most serious obstacle thrown in the way of those measures
was the burning of the _Caroline_, which, while it was of no service
to Her Britannic Majesty's cause in Canada, had the natural effect of
increasing the excitement on the border, which this Government was
endeavoring to allay.

I avail myself of this occasion to renew to you the assurance of my
distinguished consideration.

JOHN FORSYTH.



BUFFALO, _December 30, 1837_.

His Excellency MARTIN VAN BUREN,

_President of the United States_.

SIR: Inclosed are copies of affidavits[28] which I have prepared in
great haste, and which contain all that is material in relation to the
gross and extraordinary transaction to which they relate. Our whole
frontier is in commotion, and I fear it will be difficult to restrain
our citizens from avenging by a resort to arms this flagrant invasion
of our territory. Everything that can be done will be by the public
authorities to prevent so injudicious a movement. The respective
sheriffs of Erie and Niagara have taken the responsibility of calling
out the militia to guard the frontier and prevent any further
depredations.

I am, sir, with great consideration, your obedient servant,

H.W. ROGERS,

_District Attorney for Erie County, and Acting for the United States_.

[Footnote 28: Omitted.]



WASHINGTON, _April, 1838_.

_To the Senate_:

I transmit a communication from the Department of War, on the subject of
the treaty with the Stockbridge and Munsee Indians of September, 1836,
which is now before the Senate.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _April 15, 1838_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR: I transmit to you a report from the Secretary of the Navy,
accompanied with the papers relating to surveys, examinations and
surveys of light-houses, sites for light-houses, and improvements in the
light-house system, called for by the resolution of the Senate of the
8th of March last.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _April 16, 1838_.

Hon. JAMES K. POLK,

_Speaker of the House of Representatives_.

SIR: I have the honor to transmit to you copies of the letters,
documents, and communications called for by a resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 7th of December last, received from the Secretary
of the Navy, to be annexed to his report of the 5th day of February
last, in relation to the delay of the sailing of the exploring
expedition.[29]

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 29: South Sea surveying and exploring expedition.]



WASHINGTON, _April 18, 1838_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I return the petition and papers of Econchatta Nico,[30] referred to
me by a resolution of the Senate of February 7, 1837, and transmit a
communication and accompanying papers from the Acting Secretary of
War, showing the failure of the attempt made, in conformity with the
resolution, to obtain indemnity for the petitioner by prosecuting the
depredators on his property, and also the causes of the failure. The
papers are returned and the report and documents of the Acting Secretary
of War submitted in order that Congress may devise such other mode of
relief as may seem proper.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 30: A chief of the Apalachicola Indians, for indemnification
for losses sustained by depredations on his property by white persons.]



WASHINGTON, _April 23, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
16th instant, relative to an attack on the steamboat _Columbia_ in the
Gulf of Mexico by a Mexican armed vessel, I transmit a report from the
Secretary of State, to whom the resolution was referred.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _April 23, 1838_.

_To the Senate_:

I transmit, for the consideration and action of the Senate,
communications from the Department of War, accompanying treaties with
the Indians in the State of New York, with the St. Regis band, and with
the Oneidas residing at Green Bay.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _April 26, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In partial compliance with the resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 21st ultimo, calling for further information
on the relations between the United States and the Mexican Republic,
I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, to whom the resolution
was referred.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _April 27, 1838_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for their consideration with a view to its
ratification, a convention between the United States and the Republic of
Texas for marking the boundary between them, signed in this city by the
plenipotentiaries of the parties on the 25th instant.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _April 30, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives a report from the
Secretary of State, in answer to that part of their resolution of the
19th ultimo requesting the communication of all correspondence with any
foreign government in regard to the title or occupation of the territory
of the United States beyond the Rocky Mountains.

M. VAN BUREN.



DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, April 25, 1838_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:

The Secretary of State, to whom has been referred so much of the
resolution of the House of Representatives dated the 19th ultimo as
requests the President, if not incompatible with the public interest,
to communicate to that body all correspondence had with any foreign
government respecting the title or occupation of the territory of the
United States beyond the Rocky Mountains, has the honor to report to
the President that no recent communication on this subject has passed
between this Government and any foreign power, and that copies of the
correspondence growing out of previous discussions in which the question
of title or occupation of this territory was involved have been
heretofore communicated to the House and will be found among the
documents printed by their order. Document No. 65 of the House of
Representatives, contained in the fourth volume of State Papers of the
first session of the Nineteenth Congress, and that numbered 199, in the
fifth volume of State Papers of the first session of the Twentieth
Congress, are particularly referred to as immediately connected with
this subject.

Respectfully submitted.

JOHN FORSYTH.



WASHINGTON, _May 1, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report, and accompanying documents, from the
Acting Secretary of War, which contains the information[31] required by
the resolution of the 16th ultimo, respecting the officers of the Corps
of Engineers, the works upon which they were engaged during the last
year, and the other matters embraced in the resolution.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 31: List of officers of the Corps of Engineers and of the
works upon which they were employed during the year 1837.]



WASHINGTON, _May 2, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

The report of the Secretary of State transmitted by me to the House of
Representatives in compliance with their resolution of the 16th ultimo,
respecting an attack alleged to have been made by a Mexican armed vessel
upon an American steamboat, having stated that no information on the
subject had at that time reached the Department, I now transmit another
report from the same officer, communicating a copy of a note from the
Mexican minister, with an accompanying document, in reference to the act
alluded to, which have been received at the Department since the date of
the former report.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _May 7, 1838_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for their consideration with a view to its
ratification, a convention signed at Houston on the 11th ultimo by Alcée
La Branche, chargé d'affaires of the United States, and R.A. Irion,
secretary of state of the Republic of Texas, stipulating for the
adjustment and satisfaction of claims of citizens of the United States
on that Government in the cases of the brigs _Pocket_ and _Durango_.
This convention having been concluded in anticipation of the receipt
from the Department of a formal power for that purpose, an extract from
a dispatch of Mr. La Branche to the Secretary of State explanatory of
his motives for that act is also transmitted for the information of the
Senate.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _May 10, 1838_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I submit to the consideration of Congress a statement prepared by the
Secretary of the Treasury, by which it appears that the United States,
with over twenty-eight millions in deposit with the States and over
fifteen millions due from individuals and banks, are, from the situation
in which those funds are placed, in immediate danger of being rendered
unable to discharge with good faith and promptitude the various
pecuniary obligations of the Government. The occurrence of this result
has for some time been apprehended, and efforts made to avert it. As the
principal difficulty arises from a prohibition in the present law to
reissue such Treasury notes as might be paid in before they fell due,
and may be effectually obviated by giving the Treasury during the whole
year the benefit of the full amount originally authorized, the remedy
would seem to be obvious and easy.

The serious embarrassments likely to arise from a longer continuance
of the present state of things induces me respectfully to invite the
earliest attention of Congress to the subject which may be consistent
with a due regard to other public interests.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _May 11, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives reports from the
Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury, with accompanying
papers, in answer to the resolution of the House of the 30th ultimo,
relating to the introduction of foreign paupers into the United States.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _May 19, 1838_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate the copy of a letter addressed to me
on the 28th ultimo by the governor of Maine, inclosing several resolves
of the legislature of that State, and claiming reimbursement from the
General Government of certain moneys paid to Ebenezer S. Greely, John
Baker, and others in compensation for losses and sufferings experienced
by them respectively under circumstances more fully explained in his
excellency's letter.

In the absence of any authority on the part of the Executive to satisfy
these claims, they are now submitted to Congress for consideration; and
I deem it proper at the same time, with reference to the observations
contained in Governor Kent's note above mentioned, to communicate to
the Senate copies of other papers connected with the subject of the
northeastern boundary of the United States, which, with the documents
already made public, will show the actual state of the negotiations with
Great Britain on the general question.

M. VAN BUREN.

[The same message was sent to the House of Representatives.]



STATE OF MAINE, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

_Augusta, April 28, 1838_.

His Excellency MARTIN VAN BUREN,

_President of the United States_.

SIR: I have the honor to inclose to you a copy of a resolve[32] of the
legislature of this State in favor of Ebenezer S. Greely, also a copy of
a resolve[32] in favor of John Baker and others; and in compliance with
the request of the legislature I ask of the Government of the United
States a reimbursement of the several sums allowed thereby, which
several sums have been paid by this State to the individuals named in
the resolves.

The justice and propriety of granting this request, I can have no doubt,
will be apparent to you and to Congress when the circumstances under
which the allowances were made are called to mind.

Mr. Greely, acting as agent under a law of this State authorizing and
directing a census to be taken in unincorporated places, was forcibly
seized and imprisoned for several months, and then, without trial,
released.

John Baker and his associates named in the other resolve suffered
by imprisonment and otherwise for acting under a law of this State
incorporating the town of Madawaska in 1831. The State of Maine has
acknowledged by these and other resolves its sense of obligation to
remunerate in the first instance these sufferers in its cause and to
satisfy as far as it is able their claims upon its justice. But the
wrongs by which they suffered were committed by a foreign power with
whom we are now at peace. The State of Maine has no power to make war
or authorize reprisals. She can only look to the General Government
to assume the payment as an act of justice to a member of the Union
under the provisions of the Constitution and to demand redress and
remuneration from the authors of the wrong in the name of the United
States.

A minute recapitulation of the facts upon which these resolves are
founded is deemed entirely unnecessary and superfluous, as they have
heretofore been communicated and are well known to the Executive and
to Congress.

Maine has suffered too many repetitions of similar attempts to prevent
her from enjoying her rightful possessions and enforcing her just claims
to feel indifferent on the subject, and we look with confidence to the
General Government for protection and support. The amount of money,
although considerable, is of comparatively small importance when
contrasted with the principles involved and the effect which must result
from an immediate and ready assumption of the liability on the part of
the United States. Such an act would be highly gratifying to the people
of this State as evidence that their just claims and rights are fully
recognized by the United States, and that the strong arm of the Union
will be stretched out for their protection in every lawful effort to
maintain and enforce their claims, which they know and feel to be just
and unimpeachable and which they are determined to maintain.

I trust I shall be pardoned for earnestly urging immediate action on the
subject.

I had the honor to inclose to you, under date of the 28th of March last,
a copy of my message to the legislature and of the resolves of the
legislature of Maine in relation to the northeastern boundary, which
I have no doubt have received and will receive all the attention the
importance of the subjects therein discussed and acted on demands. You
will perceive that in accordance with your wishes I communicated the
proposition in relation to a conventional line of boundary, with the
letter of Mr. Forsyth addressed to the executive of Maine. The views and
wishes and determination of the executive and legislature, and I think
I may safely add of the people, of Maine are fully and distinctly set
forth in the documents referred to, communicated to you heretofore by
me. The proposition was distinct and definite, and the answer is equally
so, and I consider that it may be regarded as the fixed determination of
Maine to consent to no proposition on our part to vary the treaty line,
but to stand by that line as a definite, a practicable, and a fair one
until its impracticability is demonstrated. It is needless for me to
recapitulate the reasons upon which this determination is founded.
I refer you to the documents before alluded to for my own views on this
topic, sanctioned fully by the legislature. The duty devolving upon me
by your request I have endeavored to discharge in a spirit of profound
respect for the constituted officers of the General Government, and with
a single eye to the interest and honor of the United States and of
the State of Maine. The attitude assumed by Maine in relation to the
survey of the line of the treaty of 1783 has doubtless attracted your
attention. I feel it due to the State to say to you frankly and
unequivocally that this position was taken deliberately and with a full
consideration of all the circumstances of the case; but it was assumed
in no spirit of defiance or resistance and with no design to embarrass
the action of the General Government. Maine feels no desire to act alone
or independently on this question. She knows and feels that it is a
national question, and that it is the right and duty of the General
Government to move forward in effecting the object proposed.

I feel fully warranted in saying that Maine does not intend by this
expression of her determination to run the line in a certain contingency
to waive in the least degree her well-founded claim upon the General
Government to run, mark, and establish it. On the contrary, she will
most reluctantly yield the hope she now so strongly feels that it is
the intention of that Government to relieve her from the necessity of
throwing herself upon her own resources to assert and defend her most
unquestionable right. The wish of this State is that the first act
should be to run the line of the treaty of 1783 to ascertain the facts
in relation to the topography of the country and the exact spot where
the northwest angle of Nova Scotia may be found according to our
construction of the treaty language, and to place suitable monuments
along the whole line. Such a survey would not settle or determine any
rights, but it would express and declare our views and intentions. Such
a survey is not a warlike or offensive movement, and can not justly give
offense to the other party in the controversy. It is the unquestionable
right of litigants in a court of justice to make explorations of land
in dispute, and if either party declines a joint survey it may be made
_ex parte_ and surely the United States have never so far yielded the
actual possession to Great Britain as to preclude the right on our part
to ascertain for ourselves the absolute facts and to mark out the limits
of our claim and our alleged right. This act Maine asks, and asks
earnestly, the General Government to perform without delay. Such an
assumption of the controversy on the part of the United States would be
to Maine an assurance that her rights were duly regarded, and would
be steadily and perseveringly maintained. We want the name and the
authority of the United States, and there can be no doubt that an act
emanating from that source would be regarded by those interested on both
sides as of more importance than any act of an individual State. So far,
then, from any indifference on the part of Maine as to the action of the
General Government, or any desire to be driven to assume the performance
of the duty alluded to, she looks with intense anxiety and confident
hope to be relieved from this position. She believes it is alike due to
the honor of the United States and the rights of Maine that the General
Government should go forward in the work, and that there is less to
apprehend in the result from such a course than any other. But Maine
feels that the time for decisive action has come, that she can not be
satisfied to have the claim to absolute and exclusive jurisdiction of
a large part of her territory longer tolerated and acquiesced in. She
knows that it rightfully belongs to her jurisdiction, that it is hers by
a clear, perfect, and honest title--as clear, as perfect, and rightful
as her title to any portion of the State--and she can not consent
to have this title impaired or weakened by bold encroachments and
unscrupulous demands. She can not consent that a title transmitted
by the fathers of the Revolution shall be destroyed or defeated by
acquiescence in the adverse occupation of a foreign state, and that what
was once fairly yielded shall be reclaimed in utter defiance of a solemn
deed of cession. I am confident I am not mistaken in stating that the
legislature of Maine considered the question as fairly and plainly
before the National Government, and that if the present session of
Congress should close with a denial or postponement of the proposed
survey and no commission should be created by the Executive, as
contemplated in the resolution referred to, we should have a right
and be bound to regard such a delay or refusal as evidence of an
indisposition on the part of the General Government to accede to our
expressed views and wishes, and a denial of justice, and that Maine in
that event owed it to herself to cause the survey to be made under her
own authority. The duty of the executive of Maine is plainly pointed out
and made imperative and absolute by the resolves of the legislature, and
I certainly can not hesitate, so far as I have the means and power, to
execute their declared will.

The people of Maine, sir, are not desirous of conflict or war. Both
in their habits and their principles they love and wish for peace and
quiet within their borders. They are not ambitious to win laurels or to
acquire military glory by waging war with their neighbors, and least
of all are they desirous of a _border_ warfare, which may be the means
of sacrificing human life and engendering ill will and bad passions,
without bringing the controversy to a conclusion. They are scattered
over our thousand hills, engaged in their quiet and peaceful labors,
and it is the first wish of their hearts to live peaceably with all men
and all nations. They have no anxiety to extend our limits or to gain
territory by conquest, but there is a firm and determined spirit in this
people which can not brook insult and will not submit to intentional
injury. "They know their rights, and knowing dare maintain them" with
calm determination and deliberate purpose, and they appeal with
unshrinking confidence to their sister States and to the Government
which binds them together for effective support in this their purpose.

The crisis, as we believe, demands firm and decided language and the
expression of a determined design. Maine has never refused to acquiesce
in any fair and honorable mode of fixing the line _according to the
treaty of 1783_. I have no doubt (but upon this point I speak according
to my individual belief) that the mode proposed by Great Britain of
establishing the treaty line upon the face of the earth by a commission
composed of impartial and scientific men, to be elected by a friendly
power, would be satisfactory and acquiesced in by this State, but that
we should neither ask nor agree that any preliminary points should be
yielded by either party. We should only ask that the treaty should be
placed in their hands with directions to ascertain and run and fix the
line according to its plain language and obvious meaning.

Maine can never consent, as I apprehend, to yield the main points of the
case and then refer it to enable the judges to divide the subject-matter
of the controversy.

We feel that we now stand on the high vantage ground of truth and
justice, and that it can not be that any nation professing to act on the
principles of right and equity can stand up before the civilized world
and contest with unyielding pertinacity our claim. We have too much
respect for the nation from which we descended to believe that she will
sully her reputation by such persevering resistance.

I am conscious that the language and style of this communication are
unusual and probably undiplomatic; that there is more of the fervor of
feeling and the plain language of direct appeal than is usual in such
papers; but it is a subject of such vast importance to the State whose
interests have been in part intrusted to me and whose organ I am that I
can not speak in measured terms or indefinite language. On this subject
we have no ulterior views and no concealed objects. Our plans and our
policy are open and exposed to the view of all men. Maine has nothing
in either to conceal or disguise. She plainly and distinctly asks for
specific and definite action. In performing what I conceive to be
my duty I have been actuated by entire respect toward the General
Government and by the single desire to explain and enforce as well as
I was able our wishes and our rights. I can only add that we trust the
General Government will assume the performance of the act specified in
the resolution and relieve Maine from the necessity of independent
action.

With great respect, I have the honor to be, your most obedient servant,

EDWARD KENT.

[Footnote 32: Omitted.]



DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, April 27, 1838_.

HENRY S. FOX, Esq., etc.:

The undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, has the honor,
by the directions of the President, to communicate to Mr. Fox, Her
Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary,
the result of the application of the General Government to the State
of Maine on the subject of the northeastern boundary line and the
resolution which the President has formed upon a careful consideration
thereof. By the accompanying papers,[33] received from the executive
of Maine, Mr. Fox will perceive that Maine declines to give a consent
to the negotiation for a conventional boundary, is disinclined to the
reference of the points in dispute to a new arbitration, but is yet
firmly persuaded that the line described in the treaty of 1783 can be
found and traced whenever the Governments of the United States and
Great Britain shall proceed to make the requisite investigations with
a predisposition to effect that very desirable object. Confidently
relying, as the President does, upon the assurances frequently repeated
by the British Government of the earnest desire to reach that result if
it is practicable, he has instructed the undersigned to announce to Mr.
Fox the willingness of this Government to enter into an arrangement with
Great Britain for the establishment of a joint commission of survey and
exploration upon the basis of the original American proposition and the
modifications offered by Her Majesty's Government.

The Secretary of State is therefore authorized to invite Mr. Fox to
a conference upon the subject at as early a day as his convenience
will permit, and the undersigned will be immediately furnished with a
requisite full power by the President to conclude a convention embracing
that object if Her Majesty's minister is duly empowered to proceed to
the negotiation of it on the part of Great Britain.

The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to Mr. Fox the
expression of his distinguished consideration.

JOHN FORSYTH.

[Footnote 33: Omitted.]



WASHINGTON, _May 1, 1838_.

Hon. JOHN FORSYTH, etc.


Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your official note
of the 27th ultimo, in which you inclose to me a communication received
by the Federal Government from the executive of Maine upon the subject
of the northeastern boundary line, and in which you inform me that the
President is willing to enter into an arrangement with Her Majesty's
Government for the establishment of a joint commission of survey and
exploration upon the basis of the original American proposition and of
the modifications offered by Her Majesty's Government, as communicated
to you in my note of the 10th of January last, and you invite me to a
conference for the purpose of negotiating a convention that shall
embrace the above object if I am duly empowered by my Government to
proceed to such negotiation.

I have the honor to state to you in reply that my actual instructions
were fulfilled by the delivery of the communication which I addressed to
you on the 10th of January, and that I am not at present provided with
full powers for negotiating the proposed convention. I will forthwith,
however, transmit to Her Majesty's Government the note which I have had
the honor to receive from you in order that such fresh instructions may
be furnished to me or such other steps taken as the present situation of
the question may appear to Her Majesty's Government to require.

I avail myself of this occasion to renew to you the assurance of my high
respect and consideration.

H.S. FOX.



DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, May 8, 1838_.

His Excellency EDWARD KENT,

_Governor of Maine_.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt on the 22d ultimo of
the communication addressed to this Department by your excellency on
the 28th of March last, transmitting a printed copy of your message of
the 14th of the same month to the legislature of Maine, together with
certain resolves passed by that body, in relation to the northeastern
boundary of the State.

Although the answer thus given to the application made to you, by
direction of the President, under date of the 1st of March last, to
ascertain the sense of the State of Maine in regard to a conventional
line of boundary may be regarded as conclusive, I still deem it proper,
with reference to your excellency's message, to mark a misconception
which appears to have existed on your part when communicating to the
legislature the letter and documents received from this Department. This
is done with the greater freedom since the frank and liberal manner in
which your excellency invited the attention of that body to the subject
is highly appreciated by the President. The question therein presented
for consideration was not, as your excellency supposed, whether the
State of Maine should "take the lead in abandoning the treaty and
volunteer propositions for a conventional line," but simply whether the
government of Maine would consent that the General Government should
entertain a direct negotiation with the British Government for a
conventional line of boundary on the northeastern frontier of the United
States. Had that consent been given it would have been reasonable to
expect the proposition of a line from Great Britain, as it was that
power which particularly desired the resort to that mode of settling the
controversy. It was also the intention of the President so to arrange
the negotiation that the approbation of Maine to the boundary line
agreed upon should have been secured. It was with this view that in the
application to the State of Maine for its assent to a negotiation for a
conventional line express reference was made to such conditions as she
might think proper to prescribe. To all such as were, in the opinion of
the President, required by a proper regard for the security of Maine and
consistent with the Constitution he would have yielded a ready assent.
Of that character was he disposed to regard a condition that in a
negotiation for the final establishment of a new line, with power on the
part of the negotiators to stipulate for the cession or exchange of
territory as the interests and convenience of the parties might be found
to require, the State of Maine should be represented by commissioners of
her own selection and that their previous assent should be requisite to
make any treaty containing such stipulation binding upon her.

These suggestions are not now made as matter of complaint at the
decision which the State of Maine has come to on a matter in which she
was at perfect liberty to pursue the course she has adopted, but in
justice to the views of the President in making the application.

I am instructed to announce to your excellency that by direction of the
President, upon due consideration of the result of the late application
of the General Government to the State of Maine on the subject of the
northeastern boundary and in accordance with the expressed wishes of
her legislature, I have informed Mr. Fox of the willingness of this
Government to enter into an arrangement with that of Great Britain for
the establishment of a joint commission of survey and exploration upon
the basis of the original American proposition and the modifications
offered by Her Majesty's Government, and to apprise you that Mr. Fox,
being at present unprovided with full powers for negotiating the
proposed convention, has transmitted my communication to his Government
in order that such fresh instructions may be furnished to him or such
other steps taken as may be deemed expedient on its part.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, your excellency's obedient
servant,

JOHN FORSYTH.



WASHINGTON, _May 21, 1838_.

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

The accompanying copy of a communication addressed by the Secretary of
War to the Cherokee delegation is submitted to Congress in order that
such measures may be adopted as are required to carry into effect the
benevolent intentions of the Government toward the Cherokee Nation, and
which it is hoped will induce them to remove peaceably and contentedly
to their new homes in the West.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _May 24, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I herewith submit a report from the Secretary of the Treasury,
explanatory of the manner in which extracts from certain newspapers
relating to the introduction of foreign paupers into this country, and
the steps taken to prevent it, became connected with his communication
to me on that subject, accompanying my message of the 11th instant.
Sensible that those extracts are of a character which would, if
attention had been directed to them, have prevented their transmission
to the House, I request permission to withdraw them.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _May 30, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives a report from the
Secretary of State, in answer to their resolution of the 28th instant,
relative to the claim[34] in the case of the ship _Mary_ and cargo, of
Baltimore.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 34: Against the Government of Holland.]



WASHINGTON, _May 31, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
28th instant, regarding the annexation of the Republic of Texas to the
United States, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, to whom
the resolution was referred.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _June 1, 1838_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

Negotiations have been opened with the Osage and Delaware Indians, in
compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 19th of January
last, for the relinquishment of certain school lands secured to them by
treaty. These relinquishments have been obtained on the terms authorized
by the resolution, and copies of them are herewith transmitted for the
information of the Senate.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _June 4, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit herewith to the House of Representatives a report from the
Secretary of State, with accompanying papers, relating to the claim of
the orphan children of Peter Shackerly,[35] in answer to their
resolution of the 28th ultimo.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 35: Killed on board of the United States ship _Chesapeake_
when attacked by the British ship of war _Leopard_, June 22, 1807.]



WASHINGTON, _June 6, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the 4th instant, calling for any
communication received from the governors of the States of Georgia,
North Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama in reference to the proposed
modification of the Cherokee treaty of 1835, I herewith inclose a report
of the Secretary of War, accompanied by a copy of a letter addressed by
him to the governor of Georgia and of his reply thereto. As stated by
the Secretary, no communication on that subject has been received from
either of the other executives mentioned.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _June 7, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit to the House of Representatives an account against the
United States, presented by Heman Cady, of Plattsburg, in the State of
New York, for services alleged to have been rendered as deputy marshal
for the northern district of New York from the 20th December, 1837, to
the 9th February, 1838, by direction of the attorney and marshal of the
United States for that district, in endeavoring to prevent the arming
and enlisting of men for the invasion of Canada. I also transmit
certain documents which were exhibited in support of the said account.
I recommend to the consideration of Congress the expediency of an
appropriation for the payment of this claim and of some general
provision for the liquidation and payment of others which may be
expected to be presented hereafter for services of a similar character
rendered before and after the passage of the act of the 20th March last,
for preserving the neutrality of the United States on the northern
frontier, which act imposes important duties upon the marshals and other
civil officers, but omits to provide for their remuneration or for the
reimbursement of their expenses.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _June 7, 1838_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

Having received satisfactory assurances from the Government of Ecuador
of its desire to negotiate a treaty of commerce on the most liberal
principles in place of the expired treaty made with the Republic of
Colombia, heretofore regulating our intercourse with Ecuador, it is my
design to give the requisite authority for that purpose to the chargé
d'affaires of the United States about to be appointed for Peru, with
instructions to stop in Ecuador on his way to Lima as the agent of the
United States to accomplish that object. The only additional charges to
be incurred will be the expense of his journey from Panama to Quito, and
from thence to the place of embarkation for Lima, to be paid out of the
foreign-intercourse fund. I make this communication to the Senate that
an opportunity may be afforded for the expression of an opinion, if
it shall be deemed necessary, on the exercise of such a power by the
Executive without applying to the Senate for its approbation and
consent. In debate it has been sometimes asserted that this power,
frequently exercised without question or complaint, and leading to
no practical evil, as no arrangement made under such circumstances
can be obligatory upon the United States without being submitted to
the approbation of the Senate, is an encroachment upon its rightful
authority. It appears to have been considered that the annual
appropriation of a gross sum for the expenses of foreign intercourse is
intended, among other objects, to provide for the cost of such agencies,
and that the authority granted is the same as that frequently given to
the Secretary of State to form treaties with the representatives or
agents of foreign governments, upon the granting of which the Senate
never have been consulted.

Desiring in this and in all other instances to act with the most
cautious respect to the claims of other branches of the Government,
I bring this subject to the notice of the Senate that if it shall be
deemed proper to raise any question it may be discussed and decided
before and not after the power shall have been exercised.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _June 11, 1838_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I submit herewith, for consideration and action, a communication from
the Secretary of War and the treaty with the Otoe, Missouria, and Omaha
Indians therein referred to.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _June 20, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit, in compliance with a resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 11th instant, reports from the Secretaries
of State, Treasury, and War, with the documents referred to by them
respectively. It will be seen that the outrage committed on the
steamboat _Sir Robert Peel_, under the British flag, within the waters
of the United States, and on the steamboat _Telegraph_, under the
American flag, at Brockville, in Upper Canada, have not been followed
by any demand by either Government on the other for redress. These acts
have been so far treated on each side as criminal offenses committed
within the jurisdiction of tribunals competent to inquire into the facts
and to punish the persons concerned in them. Investigations have been
made, some of the individuals inculpated have been arrested, and
prosecutions are in progress, the result of which can not be doubted.
The excited state of public feeling on the borders of Canada on both
sides of the line has occasioned the most painful anxiety to this
Government. Every effort has been and will be made to prevent the
success of the design, apparently formed and in the course of execution
by Canadians who have found a refuge within the territory, aided by a
few reckless persons of our own country, to involve the nation in a war
with a neighboring and friendly power. Such design can not succeed while
the two Governments appreciate and confidently rely upon the good faith
of each other in the performance of their respective duties. With a
fixed determination to use all the means in my power to put a speedy
and satisfactory termination to these border troubles, I have the most
confident assurances of the cordial cooperation of the British
authorities, at home and in the North American possessions, in the
accomplishment of a purpose so sincerely and earnestly desired by the
Governments and people both of the United States and Great Britain.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _June 28, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with a resolution passed by the House of Representatives
on the 23d instant, in respect to the new Treasury building, I submit
the inclosed report from the commissioners charged with a general
superintendence of the work, and which, with the documents annexed,
is believed to contain all the information desired.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _June 28, 1838_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I nominate Lieutenant-Colonel Thayer, of the Corps of Engineers, for the
brevet of colonel in the Army, agreeably to the recommendation of the
Secretary of War.

M. VAN BUREN.



WAR DEPARTMENT, _June 28, 1838_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR: In submitting the name of Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel S. Thayer,
of the Corps of Engineers, for the brevet of colonel for ten years'
faithful service in one grade it may be proper to state the
circumstances of his case.

When the law of 1812 regulating brevets was repealed by the act of June
30, 1834, all the officers of the Army who were known to be entitled to
the ordinary brevet promotion for ten years' faithful service in one
grade received on that day, by and with the advice and consent of the
Senate, the brevet promotion to which they were respectively entitled.
The regulation which governed the subject under the law had reference
only to service with regularly organized bodies of troops, and valid
claims arising under it were generally known and easily understood at
the Adjutant-General's Office. If incidental cases occurred for which
the written regulations could not provide the rule, although equally
valid, such, nevertheless, may not in every instance have been known at
the War Department until specially represented by the party interested.
The case of Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel Thayer happened to be one of those
incidental claims, and as soon as it was submitted for consideration its
validity was clearly seen and acknowledged. Had it been submitted to
the Department when the list was made out in June, 1834, it may not be
doubted that this highly meritorious and deserving officer would at the
time have received the brevet of colonel for "having served faithfully
as brevet lieutenant-colonel and performed the appropriate duties of
that grade for ten years," which, it may be seen, was due more than
_a year before the passage of the act repealing the law_.

In presenting now this deferred case for your favorable consideration
justice requires that I should advert to the valuable services
rendered to the Army and the country by Lieutenant-Colonel Thayer as
Superintendent of the Military Academy at West Point. In 1817 he found
that institution defective in all its branches, and without order; in
1833 he left it established upon a basis alike honorable to himself and
useful to the nation. These meritorious services constitute _another_
claim which entitles this officer to the notice of the Government, and
as they come fairly within one of the conditions of the law which yet
open the way to brevet promotion, the incentive it provides is fully
realized by the services that have been rendered.

I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,

J.R. POINSETT.



WASHINGTON, _July 2, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives a report[36] from
the Secretary of State, together with the documents therein referred to
in answer to their resolution of the 28th of May last.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 36: Transmitting reports of the commissioners appointed under
the sixth and seventh articles of the treaty of Ghent to ascertain and
fix the boundary between the United States and the British possessions
in North America, etc.]



WASHINGTON, _July 3, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit a report from the War Department, in relation to the
investigations of the allegations of fraud committed on the Creek
Indians in the sales of their reservations authorized by the resolution
of that body of the 1st of July, 1836.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _July 4, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In further compliance with the resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 21st of March last, requesting papers on
the subject of the relations between the United States and Mexico, I
transmit a report from the Secretary of State, to whom the resolution
was referred, supplementary to the report of that officer communicated
with my message to the House of Representatives of the 27th of April
last.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _July 7, 1838_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE.

SIR: In conformity with the resolution of the Senate, I transmit
herewith the report of Major-General Jesup,[27] together with a letter
from the Secretary of War.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 37: Relating to operations while commanding the army in
Florida.]



PROCLAMATIONS.


[From Statutes at Large (Little, Brown & Co.), Vol XI, p. 784.]

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

A PROCLAMATION.


Whereas information having been received of a dangerous excitement on
the northern frontier of the United States in consequence of the civil
war begun in Canada, and instructions having been given to the United
States officers on that frontier and applications having been made
to the governors of the adjoining States to prevent any unlawful
interference on the part of our citizens in the contest unfortunately
commenced in the British Provinces, additional information has just been
received that, notwithstanding the proclamations of the governors of
the States of New York and Vermont exhorting their citizens to refrain
from any unlawful acts within the territory of the United States, and
notwithstanding the presence of the civil officers of the United States,
who by my directions have visited the scenes of commotion with a view
of impressing the citizens with a proper sense of their duty, the
excitement, instead of being appeased, is every day increasing in
degree; that arms and munitions of war and other supplies have been
procured by the insurgents in the United States; that a military force,
consisting in part, at least, of citizens of the United States, had been
actually organized, had congregated at Navy Island, and were still in
arms under the command of a citizen of the United States, and that they
were constantly receiving accessions and aid:

Now, therefore, to the end that the authority of the laws may be
maintained and the faith of treaties observed, I, Martin Van Buren,
do most earnestly exhort all citizens of the United States who have thus
violated their duties to return peaceably to their respective homes; and
I hereby warn them that any persons who shall compromit the neutrality
of this Government by interfering in an unlawful manner with the affairs
of the neighboring British Provinces will render themselves liable to
arrest and punishment under the laws of the United States, which will
be rigidly enforced; and, also, that they will receive no aid or
countenance from their Government, into whatever difficulties they
may be thrown by the violation of the laws of their country and the
territory of a neighboring and friendly nation.

[SEAL.]

Given under my hand, at the city of Washington, the 5th day of January,
A.D. 1838, and the sixty-second of the Independence of the United
States.

M. VAN BUREN.

By the President:
  JOHN FORSYTH,
    _Secretary of State_.



[From Statutes at Large (Little, Brown & Co.), Vol. XI, p. 785.]

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

A PROCLAMATION.


Whereas there is too much reason to believe that citizens of the United
States, in disregard to the solemn warning heretofore given to them by
the proclamations issued by the Executive of the General Government and
by some of the governors of the States, have combined to disturb the
peace of the dominions of a neighboring and friendly nation; and

Whereas information has been given to me, derived from official and
other sources, that many citizens in different parts of the United
States are associated or associating for the same purpose; and

Whereas disturbances have actually broken out anew in different parts of
the two Canadas; and

Whereas a hostile invasion has been made by citizens of the United
States, in conjunction with Canadians and others, who, after forcibly
seizing upon the property of their peaceful neighbor for the purpose
of effecting their unlawful designs, are now in arms against the
authorities of Canada, in perfect disregard of their obligations as
American citizens and of the obligations of the Government of their
country to foreign nations:

Now, therefore, I have thought it necessary and proper to issue this
proclamation, calling upon every citizen of the United States neither to
give countenance nor encouragement of any kind to those who have thus
forfeited their claim to the protection of their country; upon those
misguided or deluded persons who are engaged in them to abandon projects
dangerous to their own country, fatal to those whom they profess a
desire to relieve, impracticable of execution without foreign aid, which
they can not rationally expect to obtain, and giving rise to imputations
(however unfounded) upon the honor and good faith of their own
Government; upon every officer, civil or military, and upon every
citizen, by the veneration due by all freemen to the laws which they
have assisted to enact for their own government, by his regard for the
honor and reputation of his country, by his love of order and respect
for the sacred code of laws by which national intercourse is regulated,
to use every effort in his power to arrest for trial and punishment
every offender against the laws providing for the performance of our
obligations to the other powers of the world. And I hereby warn all
those who have engaged in these criminal enterprises, if persisted in,
that, whatever may be the condition to which they may be reduced, they
must not expect the interference of this Government in any form on their
behalf, but will be left, reproached by every virtuous fellow-citizen,
to be dealt with according to the policy and justice of that Government
whose dominions they have, in defiance of the known wishes of their own
Government and without the shadow of justification or excuse,
nefariously invaded.

[SEAL.]

Given under my hand, at the city of Washington, the 21st day of
November, A.D. 1838, and the sixty-third of the Independence of the
United States.

M. VAN BUREN.

By the President:
  JOHN FORSYTH,
    _Secretary of State_.



SECOND ANNUAL MESSAGE.


WASHINGTON, _December 3, 1838_.

_Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I congratulate you on the favorable circumstances in the condition
of our country under which you reassemble for the performance of your
official duties. Though the anticipations of an abundant harvest have
not everywhere been realized, yet on the whole the labors of the
husbandman are rewarded with a bountiful return; industry prospers in
its various channels of business and enterprise; general health again
prevails through our vast diversity of climate; nothing threatens from
abroad the continuance of external peace; nor has anything at home
impaired the strength of those fraternal and domestic ties which
constitute the only guaranty to the success and permanency of our happy
Union, and which, formed in the hour of peril, have hitherto been
honorably sustained through every vicissitude in our national affairs.
These blessings, which evince the care and beneficence of Providence,
call for our devout and fervent gratitude.

We have not less reason to be grateful for other bounties bestowed by
the same munificent hand, and more exclusively our own.

The present year closes the first half century of our Federal
institutions, and our system, differing from all others in the
acknowledged practical and unlimited operation which it has for so long
a period given to the sovereignty of the people, has now been fully
tested by experience.

The Constitution devised by our forefathers as the framework and bond
of that system, then untried, has become a settled form of government;
not only preserving and protecting the great principles upon which it
was founded, but wonderfully promoting individual happiness and private
interests. Though subject to change and entire revocation whenever
deemed inadequate to all these purposes, yet such is the wisdom of its
construction and so stable has been the public sentiment that it remains
unaltered except in matters of detail comparatively unimportant. It has
proved amply sufficient for the various emergencies incident to our
condition as a nation. A formidable foreign war; agitating collisions
between domestic, and in some respects rival, sovereignties; temptations
to interfere in the intestine commotions of neighboring countries; the
dangerous influences that arise in periods of excessive prosperity, and
the antirepublican tendencies of associated wealth--these, with other
trials not less formidable, have all been encountered, and thus far
successfully resisted.

It was reserved for the American Union to test the advantages of a
government entirely dependent on the continual exercise of the popular
will, and our experience has shown that it is as beneficent in practice
as it is just in theory. Each successive change made in our local
institutions has contributed to extend the right of suffrage, has
increased the direct influence of the mass of the community, given
greater freedom to individual exertion, and restricted more and more the
powers of Government; yet the intelligence, prudence, and patriotism
of the people have kept pace with this augmented responsibility. In
no country has education been so widely diffused. Domestic peace has
nowhere so largely reigned. The close bonds of social intercourse have
in no instance prevailed with such harmony over a space so vast. All
forms of religion have united for the first time to diffuse charity and
piety, because for the first time in the history of nations all have
been totally untrammeled and absolutely free. The deepest recesses of
the wilderness have been penetrated; yet instead of the rudeness in the
social condition consequent upon such adventures elsewhere, numerous
communities have sprung up, already unrivaled in prosperity, general
intelligence, internal tranquillity, and the wisdom of their political
institutions. Internal improvement, the fruit of individual enterprise,
fostered by the protection of the States, has added new links to
the Confederation and fresh rewards to provident industry. Doubtful
questions of domestic policy have been quietly settled by mutual
forbearance, and agriculture, commerce, and manufactures minister to
each other. Taxation and public debt, the burdens which bear so heavily
upon all other countries, have pressed with comparative lightness upon
us. Without one entangling alliance, our friendship is prized by every
nation, and the rights of our citizens are everywhere respected,
because they are known to be guarded by a united, sensitive, and
watchful people.

To this practical operation of our institutions, so evident and
successful, we owe that increased attachment to them which is among the
most cheering exhibitions of popular sentiment and will prove their best
security in time to come against foreign or domestic assault.

This review of the results of our institutions for half a century,
without exciting a spirit of vain exultation, should serve to impress
upon us the great principles from which they have sprung--constant and
direct supervision by the people over every public measure, strict
forbearance on the part of the Government from exercising any doubtful
or disputed powers, and a cautious abstinence from all interference with
concerns which properly belong and are best left to State regulations
and individual enterprise.

Full information of the state of our foreign affairs having been
recently on different occasions submitted to Congress, I deem it
necessary now to bring to your notice only such events as have
subsequently occurred or are of such importance as to require particular
attention.

The most amicable dispositions continue to be exhibited by all the
nations with whom the Government and citizens of the United States have
an habitual intercourse. At the date of my last annual message Mexico
was the only nation which could not be included in so gratifying a
reference to our foreign relations.

I am happy to be now able to inform you that an advance has been made
toward the adjustment of our differences with that Republic and the
restoration of the customary good feeling between the two nations. This
important change has been effected by conciliatory negotiations that
have resulted in the conclusion of a treaty between the two Governments,
which, when ratified, will refer to the arbitrament of a friendly power
all the subjects of controversy between us growing out of injuries
to individuals. There is at present also reason to believe that an
equitable settlement of all disputed points will be attained without
further difficulty or unnecessary delay, and thus authorize the free
resumption of diplomatic intercourse with our sister Republic.

With respect to the northeastern boundary of the United States,
no official correspondence between this Government and that of Great
Britain has passed since that communicated to Congress toward the
close of their last session. The offer to negotiate a convention for
the appointment of a joint commission of survey and exploration I am,
however, assured will be met by Her Majesty's Government in a
conciliatory and friendly spirit, and instructions to enable the British
minister here to conclude such an arrangement will be transmitted to him
without needless delay. It is hoped and expected that these instructions
will be of a liberal character, and that this negotiation, if
successful, will prove to be an important step toward the satisfactory
and final adjustment of the controversy.

I had hoped that the respect for the laws and regard for the peace and
honor of their own country which have ever characterized the citizens of
the United States would have prevented any portion of them from using
any means to promote insurrection in the territory of a power with
which we are at peace, and with which the United States are desirous of
maintaining the most friendly relations. I regret deeply, however, to
be obliged to inform you that this has not been the case. Information
has been given to me, derived from official and other sources, that
many citizens of the United States have associated together to make
hostile incursions from our territory into Canada and to aid and abet
insurrection there, in violation of the obligations and laws of the
United States and in open disregard of their own duties as citizens.
This information has been in part confirmed by a hostile invasion
actually made by citizens of the United States, in conjunction with
Canadians and others, and accompanied by a forcible seizure of the
property of our citizens and an application thereof to the prosecution
of military operations against the authorities and people of Canada.

The results of these criminal assaults upon the peace and order
of a neighboring country have been, as was to be expected, fatally
destructive to the misguided or deluded persons engaged in them and
highly injurious to those in whose behalf they are professed to have
been undertaken. The authorities in Canada, from intelligence received
of such intended movements among our citizens, have felt themselves
obliged to take precautionary measures against them; have actually
embodied the militia and assumed an attitude to repel the invasion to
which they believed the colonies were exposed from the United States.
A state of feeling on both sides of the frontier has thus been produced
which called for prompt and vigorous interference. If an insurrection
existed in Canada, the amicable dispositions of the United States toward
Great Britain, as well as their duty to themselves, would lead them to
maintain a strict neutrality and to restrain their citizens from all
violations of the laws which have been passed for its enforcement. But
this Government recognizes a still higher obligation to repress all
attempts on the part of its citizens to disturb the peace of a country
where order prevails or has been reestablished. Depredations by our
citizens upon nations at peace with the United States, or combinations
for committing them, have at all times been regarded by the American
Government and people with the greatest abhorrence. Military incursions
by our citizens into countries so situated, and the commission of acts
of violence on the members thereof, in order to effect a change in their
government, or under any pretext whatever, have from the commencement of
our Government been held equally criminal on the part of those engaged
in them, and as much deserving of punishment as would be the disturbance
of the public peace by the perpetration of similar acts within our own
territory.

By no country or persons have these invaluable principles of
international law--principles the strict observance of which is so
indispensable to the preservation of social order in the world--been
more earnestly cherished or sacredly respected than by those great and
good men who first declared and finally established the independence
of our own country. They promulgated and maintained them at an early
and critical period in our history; they were subsequently embodied
in legislative enactments of a highly penal character, the faithful
enforcement of which has hitherto been, and will, I trust, always
continue to be, regarded as a duty inseparably associated with the
maintenance of our national honor. That the people of the United States
should feel an interest in the spread of political institutions as
free as they regard their own to be is natural, nor can a sincere
solicitude for the success of all those who are at any time in good
faith struggling for their acquisition be imputed to our citizens as a
crime. With the entire freedom of opinion and an undisguised expression
thereof on their part the Government has neither the right nor, I trust,
the disposition to interfere. But whether the interest or the honor of
the United States requires that they should be made a party to any such
struggle, and by inevitable consequence to the war which is waged in
its support, is a question which by our Constitution is wisely left to
Congress alone to decide. It is by the laws already made criminal in
our citizens to embarrass or anticipate that decision by unauthorized
military operations on their part. Offenses of this character, in
addition to their criminality as violations of the laws of our country,
have a direct tendency to draw down upon our own citizens at large the
multiplied evils of a foreign war and expose to injurious imputations
the good faith and honor of the country. As such they deserve to be
put down with promptitude and decision. I can not be mistaken, I am
confident, in counting on the cordial and general concurrence of our
fellow-citizens in this sentiment. A copy of the proclamation which
I have felt it my duty to issue is herewith communicated. I can not but
hope that the good sense and patriotism, the regard for the honor and
reputation of their country, the respect for the laws which they have
themselves enacted for their own government, and the love of order
for which the mass of our people have been so long and so justly
distinguished will deter the comparatively few who are engaged in
them from a further prosecution of such desperate enterprises. In the
meantime the existing laws have been and will continue to be faithfully
executed, and every effort will be made to carry them out in their full
extent. Whether they are sufficient or not to meet the actual state of
things on the Canadian frontier it is for Congress to decide.

It will appear from the correspondence herewith submitted that the
Government of Russia declines a renewal of the fourth article of the
convention of April, 1824, between the United States and His Imperial
Majesty, by the third article of which it is agreed that "hereafter
there shall not be formed by the citizens of the United States or under
the authority of the said States any establishment upon the northwest
coast of America, nor in any of the islands adjacent, to the north of
54° 40' of north latitude, and that in the same manner there shall be
none formed by Russian subjects or under the authority of Russia south
of the same parallel;" and by the fourth article, "that during a term of
ten years, counting from the signature of the present convention, the
ships of both powers, or which belong to their citizens or subjects,
respectively, may reciprocally frequent, without any hindrance whatever,
the interior seas, gulfs, harbors, and creeks upon the coast mentioned
in the preceding article, for the purpose of fishing and trading with
the natives of the country." The reasons assigned for declining to renew
the provisions of this article are, briefly, that the only use made by
our citizens of the privileges it secures to them has been to supply
the Indians with spirituous liquors, ammunition, and firearms; that
this traffic has been excluded from the Russian trade; and as the
supplies furnished from the United States are injurious to the Russian
establishments on the northwest coast and calculated to produce
complaints between the two Governments, His Imperial Majesty thinks
it for the interest of both countries not to accede to the proposition
made by the American Government for the renewal of the article last
referred to.

The correspondence herewith communicated will show the grounds
upon which we contend that the citizens of the United States have,
independent of the provisions of the convention of 1824, a right to
trade with the natives upon the coast in question at unoccupied places,
liable, however, it is admitted, to be at any time extinguished by the
creation of Russian establishments at such points. This right is denied
by the Russian Government, which asserts that by the operation of the
treaty of 1824 each party agreed to waive the general right to land on
the vacant coasts on the respective sides of the degree of latitude
referred to, and accepted in lieu thereof the mutual privileges
mentioned in the fourth article. The capital and tonnage employed by
our citizens in their trade with the northwest coast of America will,
perhaps, on adverting to the official statements of the commerce and
navigation of the United States for the last few years, be deemed too
inconsiderable in amount to attract much attention; yet the subject
may in other respects deserve the careful consideration of Congress.

I regret to state that the blockade of the principal ports on the
eastern coast of Mexico, which, in consequence of differences between
that Republic and France, was instituted in May last, unfortunately
still continues, enforced by a competent French naval armament, and is
necessarily embarrassing to our own trade in the Gulf, in common with
that of other nations. Every disposition, however, is believed to exist
on the part of the French Government to render this measure as little
onerous as practicable to the interests of the citizens of the United
States and to those of neutral commerce, and it is to be hoped that an
early settlement of the difficulties between France and Mexico will soon
reestablish the harmonious relations formerly subsisting between them
and again open the ports of that Republic to the vessels of all friendly
nations.

A convention for marking that part of the boundary between the United
States and the Republic of Texas which extends from the mouth of the
Sabine to the Red River was concluded and signed at this city on the
25th of April last. It has since been ratified by both Governments, and
seasonable measures will be taken to carry it into effect on the part of
the United States.

The application of that Republic for admission into this Union, made in
August, 1837, and which was declined for reasons already made known to
you, has been formally withdrawn, as will appear from the accompanying
copy of the note of the minister plenipotentiary of Texas, which was
presented to the Secretary of State on the occasion of the exchange of
the ratifications of the convention above mentioned.

Copies of the convention with Texas, of a commercial treaty concluded
with the King of Greece, and of a similar treaty with the Peru-Bolivian
Confederation, the ratifications of which have been recently exchanged,
accompany this message, for the information of Congress and for such
legislative enactments as may be found necessary or expedient in
relation to either of them.

To watch over and foster the interests of a gradually increasing and
widely extended commerce, to guard the rights of American citizens whom
business or pleasure or other motives may tempt into distant climes,
and at the same time to cultivate those sentiments of mutual respect and
good will which experience has proved so beneficial in international
intercourse, the Government of the United States has deemed it expedient
from time to time to establish diplomatic connections with different
foreign states, by the appointment of representatives to reside within
their respective territories. I am gratified to be enabled to announce
to you that since the close of your last session these relations have
been opened under the happiest auspices with Austria and the Two
Sicilies, that new nominations have been made in the respective missions
of Russia, Brazil, Belgium, and Sweden and Norway in this country, and
that a minister extraordinary has been received, accredited to this
Government, from the Argentine Confederation.

An exposition of the fiscal affairs of the Government and of their
condition for the past year will be made to you by the Secretary of
the Treasury.

The available balance in the Treasury on the 1st of January next is
estimated at $2,765,342. The receipts of the year from customs and lands
will probably amount to $20,615,598. These usual sources of revenue
have been increased by an issue of Treasury notes, of which less than
$8,000,000, including interest and principal, will be outstanding at the
end of the year, and by the sale of one of the bonds of the Bank of the
United States for $2,254,871. The aggregate of means from these and
other sources, with the balance on hand on the 1st of January last, has
been applied to the payment of appropriations by Congress. The whole
expenditure for the year on their account, including the redemption of
more than eight millions of Treasury notes, constitutes an aggregate
of about $40,000,000, and will still leave in the Treasury the balance
before stated.

Nearly $8,000,000 of Treasury notes are to be paid during the coming
year in addition to the ordinary appropriations for the support of
Government. For both these purposes the resources of the Treasury will
undoubtedly be sufficient if the charges upon it are not increased
beyond the annual estimates. No excess, however, is likely to exist. Nor
can the postponed installment of the surplus revenue be deposited with
the States nor any considerable appropriations beyond the estimates be
made without causing a deficiency in the Treasury. The great caution,
advisable at all times, of limiting appropriations to the wants of the
public service is rendered necessary at present by the prospective and
rapid reduction of the tariff, while the vigilant jealousy evidently
excited among the people by the occurrences of the last few years
assures us that they expect from their representatives, and will sustain
them in the exercise of, the most rigid economy. Much can be effected
by postponing appropriations not immediately required for the ordinary
public service or for any pressing emergency, and much by reducing the
expenditures where the entire and immediate accomplishment of the
objects in view is not indispensable.

When we call to mind the recent and extreme embarrassments produced by
excessive issues of bank paper, aggravated by the unforeseen withdrawal
of much foreign capital and the inevitable derangement arising from the
distribution of the surplus revenue among the States as required by
Congress, and consider the heavy expenses incurred by the removal of
Indian tribes, by the military operations in Florida, and on account of
the unusually large appropriations made at the last two annual sessions
of Congress for other objects, we have striking evidence in the present
efficient state of our finances of the abundant resources of the country
to fulfill all its obligations. Nor is it less gratifying to find that
the general business of the community, deeply affected as it has been,
is reviving with additional vigor, chastened by the lessons of the
past and animated by the hopes of the future. By the curtailment
of paper issues, by curbing the sanguine and adventurous spirit of
speculation, and by the honorable application of all available means to
the fulfillment of obligations, confidence has been restored both at
home and abroad, and ease and facility secured to all the operations
of trade.

The agency of the Government in producing these results has been as
efficient as its powers and means permitted. By withholding from the
States the deposit of the fourth installment, and leaving several
millions at long credits with the banks, principally in one section of
the country, and more immediately beneficial to it, and at the same
time aiding the banks and commercial communities in other sections by
postponing the payment of bonds for duties to the amount of between four
and five millions of dollars; by an issue of Treasury notes as a means
to enable the Government to meet the consequences of their indulgences,
but affording at the same time facilities for remittance and exchange;
and by steadily declining to employ as general depositories of the
public revenues, or receive the notes of, all banks which refused to
redeem them with specie--by these measures, aided by the favorable
action of some of the banks and by the support and cooperation of a
large portion of the community, we have witnessed an early resumption
of specie payments in our great commercial capital, promptly followed
in almost every part of the United States. This result has been
alike salutary to the true interests of agriculture, commerce, and
manufactures; to public morals, respect for the laws, and that
confidence between man and man which is so essential in all our
social relations.

The contrast between the suspension of 1814 and that of 1837 is most
striking. The short duration of the latter, the prompt restoration
of business, the evident benefits resulting from an adherence by
the Government to the constitutional standard of value instead of
sanctioning the suspension by the receipt of irredeemable paper, and the
advantages derived from the large amount of specie introduced into the
country previous to 1837 afford a valuable illustration of the true
policy of the Government in such a crisis. Nor can the comparison fail
to remove the impression that a national bank is necessary in such
emergencies. Not only were specie payments resumed without its aid, but
exchanges have also been more rapidly restored than when it existed,
thereby showing that private capital, enterprise, and prudence are fully
adequate to these ends. On all these points experience seems to have
confirmed the views heretofore submitted to Congress. We have been
saved the mortification of seeing the distresses of the community for
the third time seized on to fasten upon the country so dangerous an
institution, and we may also hope that the business of individuals
will hereafter be relieved from the injurious effects of a continued
agitation of that disturbing subject. The limited influence of a
national bank in averting derangement in the exchanges of the country
or in compelling the resumption of specie payments is now not less
apparent than its tendency to increase inordinate speculation by sudden
expansions and contractions; its disposition to create panic and
embarrassment for the promotion of its own designs; its interference
with politics, and its far greater power for evil than for good, either
in regard to the local institutions or the operations of Government
itself. What was in these respects but apprehension or opinion when a
national bank was first established now stands confirmed by humiliating
experience. The scenes through which we have passed conclusively prove
how little our commerce, agriculture, manufactures, or finances require
such an institution, and what dangers are attendant on its power--a
power, I trust, never to be conferred by the American people upon their
Government, and still less upon individuals not responsible to them for
its unavoidable abuses.

My conviction of the necessity of further legislative provisions for
the safe-keeping and disbursement of the public moneys and my opinion
in regard to the measures best adapted to the accomplishment of those
objects have been already submitted to you. These have been strengthened
by recent events, and in the full conviction that time and experience
must still further demonstrate their propriety I feel it my duty, with
respectful deference to the conflicting views of others, again to invite
your attention to them.

With the exception of limited sums deposited in the few banks still
employed under the act of 1836, the amounts received for duties, and,
with very inconsiderable exceptions, those accruing from lands also,
have since the general suspension of specie payments by the deposit
banks been kept and disbursed by the Treasurer under his general legal
powers, subject to the superintendence of the Secretary of the Treasury.
The propriety of defining more specifically and of regulating by law the
exercise of this wide scope of Executive discretion has been already
submitted to Congress.

A change in the office of collector at one of our principal ports has
brought to light a defalcation of the gravest character, the particulars
of which will be laid before you in a special report from the Secretary
of the Treasury. By his report and the accompanying documents it will
be seen that the weekly returns of the defaulting officer apparently
exhibited throughout a faithful administration of the affairs intrusted
to his management. It, however, now appears that he commenced
abstracting the public moneys shortly after his appointment and
continued to do so, progressively increasing the amount, for the term
of more than seven years, embracing a portion of the period during which
the public moneys were deposited in the Bank of the United States, the
whole of that of the State bank deposit system, and concluding only on
his retirement from office, after that system had substantially failed
in consequence of the suspension of specie payments.

The way in which this defalcation was so long concealed and the steps
taken to indemnify the United States, as far as practicable, against
loss will also be presented to you. The case is one which imperatively
claims the attention of Congress and furnishes the strongest motive
for the establishment of a more severe and secure system for the
safe-keeping and disbursement of the public moneys than any that has
heretofore existed.

It seems proper, at all events, that by an early enactment similar to
that of other countries the application of public money by an officer
of Government to private uses should be made a felony and visited with
severe and ignominious punishment. This is already in effect the law
in respect to the Mint, and has been productive of the most salutary
results. Whatever system is adopted, such an enactment would be wise as
an independent measure, since much of the public moneys must in their
collection and ultimate disbursement pass twice through the hands of
public officers, in whatever manner they are intermediately kept.
The Government, it must be admitted, has been from its commencement
comparatively fortunate in this respect. But the appointing power can
not always be well advised in its selections, and the experience of
every country has shown that public officers are not at all times proof
against temptation. It is a duty, therefore, which the Government
owes, as well to the interests committed to its care as to the officers
themselves, to provide every guard against transgressions of this
character that is consistent with reason and humanity. Congress can not
be too jealous of the conduct of those who are intrusted with the public
money, and I shall at all times be disposed to encourage a watchful
discharge of this duty.

If a more direct cooperation on the part of Congress in the
supervision of the conduct of the officers intrusted with the custody
and application of the public money is deemed desirable, it will
give me pleasure to assist in the establishment of any judicious and
constitutional plan by which that object may be accomplished. You will
in your wisdom determine upon the propriety of adopting such a plan and
upon the measures necessary to its effectual execution. When the late
Bank of the United States was incorporated and made the depository of
the public moneys, a right was reserved to Congress to inspect at its
pleasure, by a committee of that body, the books and the proceedings of
the bank. In one of the States, whose banking institutions are supposed
to rank amongst the first in point of stability, they are subjected to
constant examination by commissioners appointed for that purpose, and
much of the success of its banking system is attributed to this watchful
supervision.

The same course has also, in view of its beneficial operation, been
adopted by an adjoining State, favorably known for the care it has
always bestowed upon whatever relates to its financial concerns.
I submit to your consideration whether a committee of Congress might
not be profitably employed in inspecting, at such intervals as might
be deemed proper, the affairs and accounts of officers intrusted with
the custody of the public moneys. The frequent performance of this duty
might be made obligatory on the committee in respect to those officers
who have large sums in their possession, and left discretionary in
respect to others. They might report to the Executive such defalcations
as were found to exist, with a view to a prompt removal from office
unless the default was satisfactorily accounted for, and report also
to Congress, at the commencement of each session, the result of
their examinations and proceedings. It does appear to me that with a
subjection of this class of public officers to the general supervision
of the Executive, to examinations by a committee of Congress at periods
of which they should have no previous notice, and to prosecution and
punishment as for felony for every breach of trust, the safe-keeping
of the public moneys might under the system proposed be placed on a
surer foundation than it has ever occupied since the establishment
of the Government.

The Secretary of the Treasury will lay before you additional information
containing new details on this interesting subject. To these I ask your
early attention. That it should have given rise to great diversity of
opinion can not be a subject of surprise. After the collection and
custody of the public moneys had been for so many years connected with
and made subsidiary to the advancement of private interests, a return
to the simple self-denying ordinances of the Constitution could not but
be difficult. But time and free discussion, eliciting the sentiments
of the people, and aided by that conciliatory spirit which has ever
characterized their course on great emergencies, were relied upon for a
satisfactory settlement of the question. Already has this anticipation,
on one important point at least--the impropriety of diverting public
money to private purposes--been fully realized. There is no reason to
suppose that legislation upon that branch of the subject would now be
embarrassed by a difference of opinion, or fail to receive the cordial
support of a large majority of our constituents.

The connection which formerly existed between the Government and banks
was in reality injurious to both, as well as to the general interests
of the community at large. It aggravated the disasters of trade and
the derangements of commercial intercourse, and administered new
excitements and additional means to wild and reckless speculations, the
disappointment of which threw the country into convulsions of panic, and
all but produced violence and bloodshed. The imprudent expansion of bank
credits, which was the natural result of the command of the revenues
of the State, furnished the resources for unbounded license in every
species of adventure, seduced industry from its regular and salutary
occupations by the hope of abundance without labor, and deranged the
social state by tempting all trades and professions into the vortex
of speculation on remote contingencies.

The same wide-spreading influence impeded also the resources of the
Government, curtailed its useful operations, embarrassed the fulfillment
of its obligations, and seriously interfered with the execution of
the laws. Large appropriations and oppressive taxes are the natural
consequences of such a connection, since they increase the profits
of those who are allowed to use the public funds, and make it their
interest that money should be accumulated and expenditures multiplied.
It is thus that a concentrated money power is tempted to become an
active agent in political affairs; and all past experience has shown
on which side that influence will be arrayed. We deceive ourselves if
we suppose that it will ever be found asserting and supporting the
rights of the community at large in opposition to the claims of the few.

In a government whose distinguishing characteristic should be a
diffusion and equalization of its benefits and burdens the advantage of
individuals will be augmented at the expense of the community at large.
Nor is it the nature of combinations for the acquisition of legislative
influence to confine their interference to the single object for which
they were originally formed. The temptation to extend it to other
matters is, on the contrary, not unfrequently too strong to be resisted.
The rightful influence in the direction of public affairs of the mass
of the people is therefore in no slight danger of being sensibly and
injuriously affected by giving to a comparatively small but very
efficient class a direct and exclusive personal interest in so important
a portion of the legislation of Congress as that which relates to the
custody of the public moneys. If laws acting upon private interests can
not always be avoided, they should be confined within the narrowest
limits, and left wherever possible to the legislatures of the States.
When not thus restricted they lead to combinations of powerful
associations, foster an influence necessarily selfish, and turn the
fair course of legislation to sinister ends rather than to objects
that advance public liberty and promote the general good.

The whole subject now rests with you, and I can not but express a hope
that some definite measure will be adopted at the present session.

It will not, I am sure, be deemed out of place for me here to remark
that the declaration of my views in opposition to the policy of
employing banks as depositories of the Government funds can not justly
be construed as indicative of hostility, official or personal, to those
institutions; or to repeat in this form and in connection with this
subject opinions which I have uniformly entertained and on all proper
occasions expressed. Though always opposed to their creation in the
form of exclusive privileges, and, as a State magistrate, aiming by
appropriate legislation to secure the community against the consequences
of their occasional mismanagement, I have yet ever wished to see them
protected in the exercise of rights conferred by law, and have never
doubted their utility when properly managed in promoting the interests
of trade, and through that channel the other interests of the community.
To the General Government they present themselves merely as State
institutions, having no necessary connection with its legislation or its
administration. Like other State establishments, they may be used or not
in conducting the affairs of the Government, as public policy and the
general interests of the Union may seem to require. The only safe or
proper principle upon which their intercourse with the Government can
be regulated is that which regulates their intercourse with the private
citizen--the conferring of mutual benefits. When the Government can
accomplish a financial operation better with the aid of the banks than
without it, it should be at liberty to seek that aid as it would the
services of a private banker or other capitalist or agent, giving the
preference to those who will serve it on the best terms. Nor can there
ever exist an interest in the officers of the General Government, as
such, inducing them to embarrass or annoy the State banks any more than
to incur the hostility of any other class of State institutions or of
private citizens. It is not in the nature of things that hostility to
these institutions can spring from this source, or any opposition to
their course of business, except when they themselves depart from the
objects of their creation and attempt to usurp powers not conferred
upon them or to subvert the standard of value established by the
Constitution. While opposition to their regular operations can not
exist in this quarter, resistance to any attempt to make the Government
dependent upon them for the successful administration of public affairs
is a matter of duty, as I trust it ever will be of inclination, no
matter from what motive or consideration the attempt may originate.

It is no more than just to the banks to say that in the late
emergency most of them firmly resisted the strongest temptations to
extend their paper issues when apparently sustained in a suspension of
specie payments by public opinion, even though in some cases invited
by legislative enactments. To this honorable course, aided by the
resistance of the General Government, acting in obedience to the
Constitution and laws of the United States, to the introduction of
an irredeemable paper medium, may be attributed in a great degree the
speedy restoration of our currency to a sound state and the business
of the country to its wonted prosperity.

The banks have but to continue in the same safe course and be content
in their appropriate sphere to avoid all interference from the General
Government and to derive from it all the protection and benefits which
it bestows on other State establishments, on the people of the States,
and on the States themselves. In this, their true position, they can
not but secure the confidence and good will of the people and the
Government, which they can only lose when, leaping from their legitimate
sphere, they attempt to control the legislation of the country and
pervert the operations of the Government to their own purposes.

Our experience under the act, passed at the last session, to grant
preemption rights to settlers on the public lands has as yet been too
limited to enable us to pronounce with safety upon the efficacy of its
provisions to carry out the wise and liberal policy of the Government in
that respect. There is, however, the best reason to anticipate favorable
results from its operation. The recommendations formerly submitted to
you in respect to a graduation of the price of the public lands remain
to be finally acted upon. Having found no reason to change the views
then expressed, your attention to them is again respectfully requested.

Every proper exertion has been made and will be continued to carry out
the wishes of Congress in relation to the tobacco trade, as indicated
in the several resolutions of the House of Representatives and the
legislation of the two branches. A favorable impression has, I trust,
been made in the different foreign countries to which particular
attention has been directed; and although we can not hope for an early
change in their policy, as in many of them a convenient and large
revenue is derived from monopolies in the fabrication and sale of this
article, yet, as these monopolies are really injurious to the people
where they are established, and the revenue derived from them may be
less injuriously and with equal facility obtained from another and a
liberal system of administration, we can not doubt that our efforts
will be eventually crowned with success if persisted in with temperate
firmness and sustained by prudent legislation.

In recommending to Congress the adoption of the necessary provisions
at this session for taking the next census or enumeration of the
inhabitants of the United States, the suggestion presents itself whether
the scope of the measure might not be usefully extended by causing it to
embrace authentic statistical returns of the great interests specially
intrusted to or necessarily affected by the legislation of Congress.

The accompanying report of the Secretary of War presents a satisfactory
account of the state of the Army and of the several branches of the
public service confided to the superintendence of that officer.

The law increasing and organizing the military establishment of the
United States has been nearly carried into effect, and the Army has
been extensively and usefully employed during the past season.

I would again call to your notice the subjects connected with
and essential to the military defenses of the country which were
submitted to you at the last session, but which were not acted upon,
as is supposed, for want of time. The most important of them is the
organization of the militia on the maritime and inland frontiers. This
measure is deemed important, as it is believed that it will furnish an
effective volunteer force in aid of the Regular Army, and may form the
basis of a general system of organization for the entire militia of
the United States. The erection of a national foundry and gunpowder
manufactory, and one for making small arms, the latter to be situated
at some point west of the Allegany Mountains, all appear to be of
sufficient importance to be again urged upon your attention.

The plan proposed by the Secretary of War for the distribution of the
forces of the United States in time of peace is well calculated to
promote regularity and economy in the fiscal administration of the
service, to preserve the discipline of the troops, and to render them
available for the maintenance of the peace and tranquillity of the
country. With this view, likewise, I recommend the adoption of the plan
presented by that officer for the defense of the western frontier. The
preservation of the lives and property of our fellow-citizens who are
settled upon that border country, as well as the existence of the Indian
population, which might be tempted by our want of preparation to rush
on their own destruction and attack the white settlements, all seem to
require that this subject should be acted upon without delay, and the
War Department authorized to place that country in a state of complete
defense against any assault from the numerous and warlike tribes which
are congregated on that border.

It affords me sincere pleasure to be able to apprise you of the entire
removal of the Cherokee Nation of Indians to their new homes west of the
Mississippi. The measures authorized by Congress at its last session,
with a view to the long-standing controversy with them, have had the
happiest effects. By an agreement concluded with them by the commanding
general in that country, who has performed the duties assigned to him
on the occasion with commendable energy and humanity, their removal has
been principally under the conduct of their own chiefs, and they have
emigrated without any apparent reluctance.

The successful accomplishment of this important object, the removal
also of the entire Creek Nation with the exception of a small number
of fugitives amongst the Seminoles in Florida, the progress already
made toward a speedy completion of the removal of the Chickasaws, the
Choctaws, the Pottawatamies, the Ottawas, and the Chippewas, with the
extensive purchases of Indian lands during the present year, have
rendered the speedy and successful result of the long-established policy
of the Government upon the subject of Indian affairs entirely certain.
The occasion is therefore deemed a proper one to place this policy in
such a point of view as will exonerate the Government of the United
States from the undeserved reproach which has been cast upon it through
several successive Administrations. That a mixed occupancy of the same
territory by the white and red man is incompatible with the safety
or happiness of either is a position in respect to which there has
long since ceased to be room for a difference of opinion. Reason and
experience have alike demonstrated its impracticability. The bitter
fruits of every attempt heretofore to overcome the barriers interposed
by nature have only been destruction, both physical and moral, to the
Indian, dangerous conflicts of authority between the Federal and State
Governments, and detriment to the individual prosperity of the citizen
as well as to the general improvement of the country. The remedial
policy, the principles of which were settled more than thirty years ago
under the Administration of Mr. Jefferson, consists in an extinction,
for a fair consideration, of the title to all the lands still occupied
by the Indians within the States and Territories of the United States;
their removal to a country west of the Mississippi much more extensive
and better adapted to their condition than that on which they then
resided; the guarantee to them by the United States of their exclusive
possession of that country forever, exempt from all intrusions by white
men, with ample provisions for their security against external violence
and internal dissensions, and the extension to them of suitable
facilities for their advancement in civilization. This has not been the
policy of particular Administrations only, but of each in succession
since the first attempt to carry it out under that of Mr. Monroe. All
have labored for its accomplishment, only with different degrees of
success. The manner of its execution has, it is true, from time to
time given rise to conflicts of opinion and unjust imputations; but in
respect to the wisdom and necessity of the policy itself there has not
from the beginning existed a doubt in the mind of any calm, judicious,
disinterested friend of the Indian race accustomed to reflection and
enlightened by experience.

Occupying the double character of contractor on its own account and
guardian for the parties contracted with, it was hardly to be expected
that the dealings of the Federal Government with the Indian tribes would
escape misrepresentation. That there occurred in the early settlement of
this country, as in all others where the civilized race has succeeded to
the possessions of the savage, instances of oppression and fraud on the
part of the former there is too much reason to believe. No such offenses
can, however, be justly charged upon this Government since it became
free to pursue its own course. Its dealings with the Indian tribes
have been just and friendly throughout; its efforts for their
civilization constant, and directed by the best feelings of humanity;
its watchfulness in protecting them from individual frauds unremitting;
its forbearance under the keenest provocations, the deepest injuries,
and the most flagrant outrages may challenge at least a comparison with
any nation, ancient or modern, in similar circumstances; and if in
future times a powerful, civilized, and happy nation of Indians shall
be found to exist within the limits of this northern continent it will
be owing to the consummation of that policy which has been so unjustly
assailed. Only a very brief reference to facts in confirmation of this
assertion can in this form be given, and you are therefore necessarily
referred to the report of the Secretary of War for further details.
To the Cherokees, whose case has perhaps excited the greatest share of
attention and sympathy, the United States have granted in fee, with a
perpetual guaranty of exclusive and peaceable possession, 13,554,135
acres of land on the west side of the Mississippi, eligibly situated, in
a healthy climate, and in all respects better suited to their condition
than the country they have left, in exchange for only 9,492,160 acres
on the east side of the same river. The United States have in addition
stipulated to pay them $5,600,000 for their interest in and improvements
on the lands thus relinquished, and $1,160,000 for subsistence and other
beneficial purposes, thereby putting it in their power to become one of
the most wealthy and independent separate communities of the same extent
in the world.

By the treaties made and ratified with the Miamies, the Chippewas, the
Sioux, the Sacs and Foxes, and the Winnebagoes during the last year the
Indian title to 18,458,000 acres has been extinguished. These purchases
have been much more extensive than those of any previous year, and have,
with other Indian expenses, borne very heavily upon the Treasury. They
leave, however, but a small quantity of unbought Indian lands within the
States and Territories, and the Legislature and Executive were equally
sensible of the propriety of a final and more speedy extinction of
Indian titles within those limits. The treaties, which were with a
single exception made in pursuance of previous appropriations for
defraying the expenses, have subsequently been ratified by the Senate,
and received the sanction of Congress by the appropriations necessary
to carry them into effect. Of the terms upon which these important
negotiations were concluded I can speak from direct knowledge, and
I feel no difficulty in affirming that the interest of the Indians in
the extensive territory embraced by them is to be paid for at its fair
value, and that no more favorable terms have been granted to the United
States than would have been reasonably expected in a negotiation with
civilized men fully capable of appreciating and protecting their own
rights. For the Indian title to 116,349,897 acres acquired since the
4th of March, 1829, the United States have paid $72,560,056 in permanent
annuities, lands, reservations for Indians, expenses of removal and
subsistence, merchandise, mechanical and agricultural establishments and
implements. When the heavy expenses incurred by the United States and
the circumstance that so large a portion of the entire territory will be
forever unsalable are considered, and this price is compared with that
for which the United States sell their own lands, no one can doubt that
justice has been done to the Indians in these purchases also. Certain
it is that the transactions of the Federal Government with the Indians
have been uniformly characterized by a sincere and paramount desire
to promote their welfare; and it must be a source of the highest
gratification to every friend to justice and humanity to learn that
notwithstanding the obstructions from time to time thrown in its way and
the difficulties which have arisen from the peculiar and impracticable
nature of the Indian character, the wise, humane, and undeviating policy
of the Government in this the most difficult of all our relations,
foreign or domestic, has at length been justified to the world in its
near approach to a happy and certain consummation.

The condition of the tribes which occupy the country set apart for them
in the West is highly prosperous, and encourages the hope of their early
civilization. They have for the most part abandoned the hunter state and
turned their attention to agricultural pursuits. All those who have been
established for any length of time in that fertile region maintain
themselves by their own industry. There are among them traders of no
inconsiderable capital, and planters exporting cotton to some extent,
but the greater number are small agriculturists, living in comfort upon
the produce of their farms. The recent emigrants, although they have in
some instances removed reluctantly, have readily acquiesced in their
unavoidable destiny. They have found at once a recompense for past
sufferings and an incentive to industrious habits in the abundance and
comforts around them. There is reason to believe that all these tribes
are friendly in their feelings toward the United States; and it is to
be hoped that the acquisition of individual wealth, the pursuits of
agriculture, and habits of industry will gradually subdue their warlike
propensities and incline them to maintain peace among themselves. To
effect this desirable object the attention of Congress is solicited
to the measures recommended by the Secretary of War for their future
government and protection, as well from each other as from the hostility
of the warlike tribes around them and the intrusions of the whites. The
policy of the Government has given them a permanent home and guaranteed
to them its peaceful and undisturbed possession. It only remains to give
them a government and laws which will encourage industry and secure
to them the rewards of their exertions. The importance of some form
of government can not be too much insisted upon. The earliest effects
will be to diminish the causes and occasions for hostilities among
the tribes, to inspire an interest in the observance of laws to which
they will have themselves assented, and to multiply the securities of
property and the motives for self-improvement. Intimately connected with
this subject is the establishment of the military defenses recommended
by the Secretary of War, which have been already referred to. Without
them the Government will be powerless to redeem its pledge of protection
to the emigrating Indians against the numerous warlike tribes that
surround them and to provide for the safety of the frontier settlers
of the bordering States.

The case of the Seminoles constitutes at present the only exception to
the successful efforts of the Government to remove the Indians to the
homes assigned them west of the Mississippi. Four hundred of this tribe
emigrated in 1836 and 1,500 in 1837 and 1838, leaving in the country,
it is supposed, about 2,000 Indians. The continued treacherous conduct
of these people; the savage and unprovoked murders they have lately
committed, butchering whole families of the settlers of the Territory
without distinction of age or sex, and making their way into the very
center and heart of the country, so that no part of it is free from
their ravages; their frequent attacks on the light-houses along that
dangerous coast, and the barbarity with which they have murdered the
passengers and crews of such vessels as have been wrecked upon the reefs
and keys which border the Gulf, leave the Government no alternative but
to continue the military operations against them until they are totally
expelled from Florida. There are other motives which would urge the
Government to pursue this course toward the Seminoles. The United
States have fulfilled in good faith all their treaty stipulations with
the Indian tribes, and have in every other instance insisted upon a
like performance of their obligations. To relax from this salutary
rule because the Seminoles have maintained themselves so long in the
territory they had relinquished, and in defiance of their frequent and
solemn engagements still continue to wage a ruthless war against the
United States, would not only evince a want of constancy on our part,
but be of evil example in our intercourse with other tribes. Experience
has shown that but little is to be gained by the march of armies through
a country so intersected with inaccessible swamps and marshes, and
which, from the fatal character of the climate, must be abandoned at the
end of the winter. I recommend, therefore, to your attention the plan
submitted by the Secretary of War in the accompanying report, for the
permanent occupation of the portion of the Territory freed from the
Indians and the more efficient protection of the people of Florida from
their inhuman warfare.

From the report of the Secretary of the Navy herewith transmitted it
will appear that a large portion of the disposable naval force is either
actively employed or in a state of preparation for the purposes of
experience and discipline and the protection of our commerce. So
effectual has been this protection that so far as the information of
Government extends not a single outrage has been attempted on a vessel
carrying the flag of the United States within the present year, in any
quarter, however distant or exposed.

The exploring expedition sailed from Norfolk on the 19th of August last,
and information has been received of its safe arrival at the island of
Madeira. The best spirit animates the officers and crews, and there is
every reason to anticipate from its efforts results beneficial to
commerce and honorable to the nation.

It will also be seen that no reduction of the force now in commission is
contemplated. The unsettled state of a portion of South America renders
it indispensable that our commerce should receive protection in that
quarter; the vast and increasing interests embarked in the trade of the
Indian and China seas, in the whale fisheries of the Pacific Ocean, and
in the Gulf of Mexico require equal attention to their safety, and a
small squadron may be employed to great advantage on our Atlantic coast
in meeting sudden demands for the reenforcement of other stations, in
aiding merchant vessels in distress, in affording active service to an
additional number of officers, and in visiting the different ports of
the United States, an accurate knowledge of which is obviously of the
highest importance.

The attention of Congress is respectfully called to that portion of the
report recommending an increase in the number of smaller vessels, and
to other suggestions contained in that document. The rapid increase and
wide expansion of our commerce, which is every day seeking new avenues
of profitable adventure; the absolute necessity of a naval force for its
protection precisely in the degree of its extension; a due regard to the
national rights and honor; the recollection of its former exploits, and
the anticipation of its future triumphs whenever opportunity presents
itself, which we may rightfully indulge from the experience of the
past--all seem to point to the Navy as a most efficient arm of our
national defense and a proper object of legislative encouragement.

The progress and condition of the Post-Office Department will be seen
by reference to the report of the Postmaster-General. The extent of
post-roads covered by mail contracts is stated to be 134,818 miles,
and the annual transportation upon them 34,580,202 miles. The number
of post-offices in the United States is 12,553, and rapidly increasing.
The gross revenue for the year ending on the 30th day of June last
was $4,262,145; the accruing expenditures, $4,680,068; excess of
expenditures, $417,923. This has been made up out of the surplus
previously on hand. The cash on hand on the 1st instant was $314,068.
The revenue for the year ending June 30, 1838, was $161,540 more
than that for the year ending June 30, 1837. The expenditures of
the Department had been graduated upon the anticipation of a largely
increased revenue. A moderate curtailment of mail service consequently
became necessary, and has been effected, to shield the Department
against the danger of embarrassment. Its revenue is now improving, and
it will soon resume its onward course in the march of improvement.

Your particular attention is requested to so much of the
Postmaster-General's report as relates to the transportation of the
mails upon railroads. The laws on that subject do not seem adequate
to secure that service, now become almost essential to the public
interests, and at the same time protect the Department from combinations
and unreasonable demands.

Nor can I too earnestly request your attention to the necessity of
providing a more secure building for this Department. The danger of
destruction to which its important books and papers are continually
exposed, as well from the highly combustible character of the building
occupied as from that of others in the vicinity, calls loudly for prompt
action.

Your attention is again earnestly invited to the suggestions and
recommendations submitted at the last session in respect to the District
of Columbia.

I feel it my duty also to bring to your notice certain proceedings at
law which have recently been prosecuted in this District in the name
of the United States, on the relation of Messrs. Stockton & Stokes, of
the State of Maryland, against the Postmaster-General, and which have
resulted in the payment of money out of the National Treasury, for
the first time since the establishment of the Government, by judicial
compulsion exercised by the common-law writ of mandamus issued by the
circuit court of this District.

The facts of the case and the grounds of the proceedings will be
found fully stated in the report of the decision, and any additional
information which you may desire will be supplied by the proper
Department. No interference in the particular case is contemplated.
The money has been paid, the claims of the prosecutors have been
satisfied, and the whole subject, so far as they are concerned, is
finally disposed of; but it is on the supposition that the case may
be regarded as an authoritative exposition of the law as it now stands
that I have thought it necessary to present it to your consideration.

The object of the application to the circuit court was to compel the
Postmaster-General to carry into effect an award made by the Solicitor
of the Treasury, under a special act of Congress for the settlement of
certain claims of the relators on the Post-Office Department, which
award the Postmaster-General declined to execute in full until he should
receive further legislative direction on the subject. If the duty
imposed on the Postmaster-General by that law was to be regarded as
one of an official nature, belonging to his office as a branch of the
executive, then it is obvious that the constitutional competency of the
judiciary to direct and control him in its discharge was necessarily
drawn in question; and if the duty so imposed on the Postmaster-General
was to be considered as merely ministerial, and not executive, it yet
remained to be shown that the circuit court of this District had
authority to interfere by mandamus, such a power having never before
been asserted or claimed by that court. With a view to the settlement of
these important questions, the judgment of the circuit court was carried
by a writ of error to the Supreme Court of the United States. In the
opinion of that tribunal the duty imposed on the Postmaster-General was
not an official executive duty, but one of a merely ministerial nature.
The grave constitutional questions which had been discussed were
therefore excluded from the decision of the case, the court, indeed,
expressly admitting that with powers and duties properly belonging to
the executive no other department can interfere by the writ of mandamus;
and the question therefore resolved itself into this: Has Congress
conferred upon the circuit court of this District the power to issue
such a writ to an officer of the General Government commanding him to
perform a ministerial act? A majority of the court have decided that it
has, but have founded their decision upon a process of reasoning which
in my judgment renders further legislative provision indispensable to
the public interests and the equal administration of justice.

It has long since been decided by the Supreme Court that neither that
tribunal nor the circuit courts of the United States, held within the
respective States, possess the power in question; but it is now held
that this power, denied to both of these high tribunals (to the former
by the Constitution and to the latter by Congress), has been by its
legislation vested in the circuit court of this District. No such direct
grant of power to the circuit court of this District is claimed, but it
has been held to result by necessary implication from several sections
of the law establishing the court. One of these sections declares that
the laws of Maryland, as they existed at the time of the cession,
should be in force in that part of the District ceded by that State,
and by this provision the common law in civil and criminal cases, as
it prevailed in Maryland in 1801, was established in that part of the
District.

In England the court of king's bench--because the Sovereign, who,
according to the theory of the constitution, is the fountain of justice,
originally sat there in person, and is still deemed to be present in
construction of law--alone possesses the high power of issuing the writ
of mandamus, not only to inferior jurisdictions and corporations, but
also to magistrates and others, commanding them in the King's name to do
what their duty requires in cases where there is a vested right and no
other specific remedy. It has been held in the case referred to that as
the Supreme Court of the United States is by the Constitution rendered
incompetent to exercise this power, and as the circuit court of this
District is a court of general jurisdiction in cases at common law,
and the highest court of original jurisdiction in the District, the
right to issue the writ of mandamus is incident to its common-law
powers. Another ground relied upon to maintain the power in question
is that it was included by fair construction in the powers granted to
the circuit courts of the United States by the act "to provide for the
more convenient organization of the courts of the United States," passed
13th February, 1801; that the act establishing the circuit court of this
District, passed the 27th day of February, 1801, conferred upon that
court and the judges thereof the same powers as were by law vested in
the circuit courts of the United States and in the judges of the said
courts; that the repeal of the first-mentioned act, which took place in
the next year, did not divest the circuit court of this District of the
authority in dispute, but left it still clothed with the powers over the
subject which, it is conceded, were taken away from the circuit courts
of the United States by the repeal of the act of 13th February, 1801.

Admitting that the adoption of the laws of Maryland for a portion of
this District confers on the circuit court thereof, in that portion, the
transcendent extrajudicial prerogative powers of the court of king's
bench in England, or that either of the acts of Congress by necessary
implication authorizes the former court to issue a writ of mandamus to
an officer of the United States to compel him to perform a ministerial
duty, the consequences are in one respect the same. The result in either
case is that the officers of the United States stationed in different
parts of the United States are, in respect to the performance of
their official duties, subject to different laws and a different
supervision--those in the States to one rule, and those in the District
of Columbia to another and a very different one. In the District their
official conduct is subject to a judicial control from which in the
States they are exempt.

Whatever difference of opinion may exist as to the expediency of vesting
such a power in the judiciary in a system of government constituted
like that of the United States, all must agree that these disparaging
discrepancies in the law and in the administration of justice ought not
to be permitted to continue; and as Congress alone can provide the
remedy, the subject is unavoidably presented to your consideration.

M. VAN BUREN.



SPECIAL MESSAGES.


WASHINGTON, _December 6, 1838_.

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

The act of the 1st July, 1836, to enable the Executive to assert and
prosecute with effect the claim of the United States to the legacy
bequeathed to them by James Smithson, late of London, having received
its entire execution, and the amount recovered and paid into the
Treasury having, agreeably to an act of the last session, been invested
in State stocks, I deem it proper to invite the attention of Congress
to the obligation now devolving upon the United States to fulfill the
object of the bequest. In order to obtain such information as might
serve to facilitate its attainment, the Secretary of State was directed
in July last to apply to persons versed in science and familiar with the
subject of public education for their views as to the mode of disposing
of the fund best calculated to meet the intentions of the testator and
prove most beneficial to mankind. Copies of the circular letter written
in compliance with these directions, and of the answers to it received
at the Department of State, are herewith communicated for the
consideration of Congress.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _December 7, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives reports[38] from the
Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury, with accompanying
documents, in answer to the resolution of the House of the 9th of July
last.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 38: Transmitting communications, papers, documents, etc.,
elucidating the origin and objects of the Smithsonian bequest and the
origin, progress, and consummation of the process by which that bequest
was recovered, etc.]



WASHINGTON, _December 8, 1838_.

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

I herewith transmit a special report made to me by the Secretary of the
Treasury, for your consideration, in relation to the recently discovered
default of Samuel Swartwout, late collector of the customs at the port
of New York.

I would respectfully invite the early attention of Congress to the
adoption of the legal provisions therein suggested, or such other
measures as may appear more expedient, for increasing the public
security against similar defalcations hereafter.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _December 14, 1838_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

With the accompanying communication of the Secretary of War I transmit,
for the consideration and constitutional action of the Senate, a treaty
concluded with the Miami tribe of Indians on the 6th ultimo. Your
attention is invited to that section which reserves a tract of land for
the use of certain Indians, and to other reservations contained in the
treaty. All such reservations are objectionable, but for the reasons
given by the Secretary of War I submit to your consideration whether the
circumstances attending this negotiation, and the great importance of
removing the Miamies from the State of Indiana, will warrant a departure
in this instance from the salutary rule of excluding all reservations
from Indian treaties.

M. VAN BUREN.



WAR DEPARTMENT, _December 14, 1838_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR: I have the honor to lay before you, for submission to the Senate
for its action if approved by you, a treaty with the Miami tribe of
Indians concluded on the 6th ultimo. In doing so I beg to call your
attention to that section which reserves from the cession made by the
Miamies a tract of land supposed to contain 10 square miles, and to
other reservations according to a schedule appended to the treaty. The
commissioner who negotiated this treaty is of opinion that it could not
have been concluded if he had not so far departed from his instructions
as to admit these reservations. And it is to be feared that if the
rules adopted by the Department in this particular be insisted upon
on this occasion it will very much increase the difficulty, if it does
not render it impracticable to acquire this land and remove these
Indians--objects of so much importance to the United States and
especially to the State of Indiana.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

J.R. POINSETT.



WASHINGTON, _December 18, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit the accompanying documents, marked from 1 to 5,[39] in
reply to a resolution of yesterday's date, calling for copies of
correspondence between the Executive of the General Government and
the governor of Pennsylvania in relation to "a call of the latter for
an armed force of United States troops since the present session of
Congress," and requiring information "whether any officer of the United
States instigated or participated" in the riotous proceedings referred
to in the resolution, and "what measures, if any, the President has
taken to investigate and punish the said acts, and whether any such
officer still remains in the service of the United States."

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 39: Relating to the "Buckshot war."]



WASHINGTON, _December 20, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I have the honor to transmit herewith additional letters and
documents[40] embraced in the resolution of the House of Representatives
of the 17th instant.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 40: Relating to the "Buckshot war."]



WASHINGTON, _December 20, 1838_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

An important difference of opinion having arisen concerning the
construction of an act of Congress making a grant of land to the State
of Indiana,[41] and in which she feels a deep interest, I deem it proper
to submit all the material facts to your consideration, with a view to
procure such additional legislation as the facts of the case may appear
to render proper.

The report of the Secretary of the Treasury and the documents annexed
from the General Land Office will disclose all the circumstances deemed
material in relation to the subject, and are herewith presented.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 41: In aid of the construction of the Wabash and Erie Canal.]



WASHINGTON, _December 26, 1838_.

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

I transmit for your consideration the inclosed communication and
accompanying documents from the Secretary of War, relative to the
present state of the Pea Patch Island, in the Delaware River, and of
the operations going on there for the erection of defenses for that
important channel of commerce.

It will be seen from these documents that a complete stop has been put
to those operations in consequence of the island having been taken
possession of by the individual claimant under the decision, in his
favor, of the United States district court for the district of New
Jersey, and that unless early measures are taken to bring the island
within the jurisdiction of the Government great loss and injury will
result to the future operations for carrying on the works. The
importance of the subject would seem to render it worthy of the early
attention of Congress.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _December, 1838_.

_To the Senate_:

I transmit a letter from the Secretary of War, accompanied by a
communication from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, on the subject
of granting to the Chickasaw Indians subsistence for the further term
of seven months. Should it be the pleasure of the Senate to give its
sanction to the measure suggested by the Commissioner for this purpose,
my own will not be withheld.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _January 7, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 20th December
last, I communicate to the Senate reports from the several Executive
Departments, containing the information[42] called for by said
resolution.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 42: Copies of orders and instructions issued since April 14,
1836, relative to the kind of money and bank notes to be paid out on
account of the United States.]



WASHINGTON, _January 9, 1839_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR: I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of the Navy, in
answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 3d instant, calling for
information in regard to the examinations of inventions designed to
prevent the calamities resulting from the explosion of steam boilers,
directed by the acts of Congress of the 28th of June and the 9th of
July last.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _January 10, 1839_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I communicate to the House of Representatives, in compliance with
its resolution of the 3d instant, reports[43] from the Secretaries of State
and War, containing all the information called for by said resolution now
in possession of the Executive.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 43: Relating to the invasion of the southwestern frontier of
the United States by an armed force from the Republic of Texas.]



WASHINGTON, _January 11, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of War, in reply to the
resolution of the Senate of yesterday's date, calling for information
respecting the agreement between him and the United States Bank of
Pennsylvania on the subject of the sale or payment of certain bonds
of that institution held by the United States, and respecting the
disposition made of the proceeds thereof.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _January 15, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 9th of July last,
I transmit reports[44] from the several Departments of the Government
to which that resolution was referred.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 44: Transmitting statements of cases in which a per centum has
been allowed to public officers on disbursements of public moneys.]



WASHINGTON, _January 16, 1839_.

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

I lay before you a communication from the Secretary of War, which is
accompanied by one from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, suggesting
the propriety of setting apart a tract of country west of the
Mississippi for the Seminole Indians, so that they may be separate from
the Creeks, and representing the necessity of a small appropriation for
supplying the immediate wants of those who have been removed; and I
respectfully recommend these subjects for the early consideration and
favorable action of Congress.

M. VAN BUREN.



JANUARY 17, 1839.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I herewith communicate to Congress a letter from the Secretary of the
Treasury, in respect to the Florida claims under the treaty of 1819 and
the subsequent acts of Congress passed to enforce it.

The propriety of some additional legislation on this subject seems
obvious. The period when the evidence on the claims shall be closed
ought, in my opinion, to be limited, as they are already of long
standing, and, as a general consequence, the proof of their justice
every day becoming more and more unsatisfactory.

It seems also that the task of making the final examination into the
justice of the awards might advantageously be devolved upon some other
officer or tribunal than the Secretary of the Treasury, considering the
other responsible, laborious, and numerous duties imposed on him at the
present juncture.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _January 17, 1839_.

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

I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of the
Treasury, which presents for the consideration of Congress the propriety
of so changing the second section of the act of March 2, 1837, as that
the existing humane provisions of the laws for the relief of certain
insolvent debtors of the United States may be extended to such cases
of insolvency as shall have occurred on or before the 1st day of
January, 1839.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _January 17, 1839_.

The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
14th instant, calling for information as to the proceedings under the
act of Congress of the 28th of June last, providing for examinations
of inventions designed to prevent the explosion of steam boilers,
I transmit herewith a copy of a report of the Secretary of the Navy,
which was made to the Senate in answer to a similar call from that
body, as containing the information called for.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _January 18, 1839_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In addition to the information contained in a report from the Secretary
of State communicated with my message of the 30th April, 1838, I
transmit to the House of Representatives a report[45] from the Secretary
of War, dated the 16th instant, in answer to a resolution of the House
of the 19th March last, and containing so much of the information called
for by said resolution as could be furnished by his Department.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 45: Relating to the intermeddling of any foreign government,
or subjects or officers thereof, with the Indian tribes in Michigan,
Wisconsin, the territory beyond the Rocky Mountains, or elsewhere within
the limits of the United States, etc.]



WASHINGTON, _January 21, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith to the Senate, for their consideration in reference
to its ratification, a treaty of commerce and navigation between the
United States of America and His Majesty the King of the Netherlands,
signed at this place on the 19th instant by the Secretary of State and
the chargé d'affaires of the Netherlands in the United States.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _January 21, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit for the consideration of the Senate with a view to its
ratification a convention for the adjustment of claims of citizens of
the United States upon the Government of the Mexican Republic, concluded
and signed in this city on the 10th of September last by John Forsyth,
Secretary of State of the United States, and Francisco Pizarro Martinez,
envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the Mexican
Republic, on the part of their respective Governments.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _January 21, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit a treaty negotiated with the New York Indians, which was
submitted to your body in June last and amended. The amendments have,
in pursuance of the requirement of the Senate, been submitted to each of
the tribes, assembled in council, for their free and voluntary assent
or dissent thereto. In respect to all the tribes except the Senecas the
result of this application has been entirely satisfactory. It will be
seen by the accompanying papers that of this tribe, the most important
of those concerned, the assent of only 42 out of 81 chiefs has been
obtained. I deem it advisable under these circumstances to submit the
treaty in its modified form to the Senate, for its advice in regard of
the sufficiency of the assent of the Senecas to the amendments proposed.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _January 24, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith to the Senate, for their consideration in reference
to its ratification, a treaty of commerce and navigation between the
United States of America and His Majesty the King of Sardinia, signed
at Genoa on the 26th of November last by the plenipotentiaries of the
contracting parties.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _January 25, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate a report[46] from the Secretary of State,
in answer to their resolution of the 22d instant.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 46: Stating that there has been no correspondence with Great
Britain in relation to the northeastern boundary since December 3, 1838.]



WASHINGTON, _January 26, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I lay before you, for your consideration, a treaty concluded with the
Omaha, Ioway, and Otoe tribes of Indians, and sanctioned by the Yancton
and Santie bands of Sioux, by which a tract of land situated on the
south side of the Missouri between the Great and Little Nemahaw rivers
has been ceded to the United States.

It appears that the consent of the half-breeds of the above-mentioned
tribes and bands is wanting to perfect the treaty. This tract of
land was ceded by the treaty of 15th July, 1830, to them by the
above-mentioned tribes and bands of Indians, and can not be taken from
them, even for such a valuable consideration as will relieve their
wants, without their assent. In order to avoid unnecessary delay,
I submit it to your consideration in order to receive an expression of
your opinion as to the manner of obtaining the assent of the minors,
whereby all unnecessary delay in the final action upon the treaty will
be avoided.

M. VAN BUREN.



JANUARY 28, 1839.

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

I transmit herewith a communication received from the Secretary of the
Treasury, on the subject of the balances reported on the books of the
Treasury against collecting and disbursing agents of the Government,
to which I beg leave to invite the early attention of Congress.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _January 30, 1839_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit a report from the Secretary of the Treasury, on the
subject of commissions claimed by agents or officers employed by the
General Government.

The propriety of new legislation regulating the whole matter by express
laws seems very apparent, and is urgently recommended to the early
attention of Congress.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _February 2, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, assigning reasons
which render it probable that the time limited for the exchange of the
ratifications of the convention for the adjustment of claims of citizens
of the United States on the Government of the Mexican Republic may
expire before that exchange can be effected, and suggesting that the
consent of the Senate be requested for an extension of that time. The
object of this communication, accordingly, is to solicit the approval
by the Senate of such an extension upon the conditions mentioned in the
report of the Secretary of State.

M. VAN BUREN.



DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, February 2, 1839_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:

The Secretary of State has the honor to report to the President that,
according to his instructions, Mr. Martinez, the Mexican minister
plenipotentiary, was invited to the Department of State in order to
ascertain if he had any recent information on the subject of the
convention between the United States and Mexico, transmitted by him to
Mexico for ratification by his Government. Mr. Martinez called yesterday
and stated that he was without definite information, but expected daily
to receive it. He supposed the delay was occasioned by the troubled
condition of Mexican affairs, and hoped we would make all due allowances
for unavoidable delays. When asked if he had power to enlarge the time
for the exchange of ratifications, he said that all his instructions had
been fulfilled on the signature of the treaty. The Secretary called his
attention to information just received at the Department from Mexico
that the treaty was about to be submitted to the Mexican Congress, and
he was requested to state what had changed the views of his Government
on the question of ratifying the convention, he himself having stated,
pending the negotiation, that the President, Bustamente, believed he
had full power under the decree of the 20th of May, 1837, to ratify
the convention without a reference of it to Congress. He replied that
he did not know the causes which had produced this change of opinion.
Mr. Martinez appeared to be very solicitous to have it understood
that he had done everything in his power to hasten the exchange of
ratifications, and to have every allowance made in consequence of the
disturbed state of Mexico and her pending war with France. From this
conversation and the accompanying extracts from two letters from the
consul of the United States at Mexico the President will see that it is
by no means improbable, if the ratification of the convention should
have been decreed by the Congress of Mexico, that the ratification may
not reach the city of Washington until after the 10th of February. The
Secretary therefore respectfully represents to the President whether
it is not advisable to ask the consent of the Senate to the exchange
of the ratifications after the expiration of the time limited, if such
exchange shall be offered by the Mexican Government by their agent duly
authorized for that purpose. Unless this authority can be granted, a new
convention will have to be negotiated and the whole subject passed over
until after the next session of Congress.

All which is respectfully submitted.

JOHN FORSYTH.



[Extract of a letter from the consul of the United States at Mexico,
dated November 17, 1838.]

On the 13th Mr. Basave did me the honor to call on me, and informed
me that he was requested by his excellency the minister of foreign
relations, Mr. Cuevas, to inform me that in consequence of his
having to go to Jalapa to meet Admiral Baudin, the French minister
plenipotentiary, he could not attend to the matters relating to the
American question in time for Mr. Basave to go back in the _Woodbury_,
and wished, therefore, that she might not be detained, as was intended,
for the purpose of conveying to the United States Messrs. Basave and
Murphy.



[Extract of a letter from the consul of the United States at Mexico,
dated December 31, 1838.]

On a visit to the minister of foreign relations yesterday he informed
me that he was writing a friendly letter to the President of the United
States and another to Mr. Forsyth, and said he was about to lay the
convention entered into between the two Governments before the new
Congress, and if ratified should request of me to procure for it a
conveyance to the United States by one of our men-of-war, the time
for its ratification being nearly expired.



WASHINGTON, D.C., _February 6, 1839_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit to the House of Representatives a report[47] from the
Secretary of State, with accompanying documents, in answer to a
resolution of that body bearing date on the 28th ultimo.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 47: Relating to the demand upon the British Government for
satisfaction for the burning of the steamboat _Caroline_ and murdering
of unarmed citizens on board, at Schlosser, N.Y., December 29, 1837.]



WASHINGTON, _February 6, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 19th December last,
I communicate to the Senate a report[48] from the Secretary of State,
accompanying copies of the correspondence called for by said resolution.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 48: Relating to the commerce and navigation carried on within
the Turkish dominions and in the Pashalic of Egypt.]



WASHINGTON, _February 6, 1839_.

The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

SIR: I transmit herewith the report of the commissioners appointed under
the act of 28th of June last and the supplementary act of July following
to test the usefulness of inventions to improve and render safe the
boilers of steam engines against explosions.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, D.C., _February 9, 1839_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit herewith to the House of Representatives a report from the
Secretary of State, together with the documents which accompanied it,
in answer to the resolution of the 28th ultimo, requesting information
touching certain particulars in the territorial relations of the United
States and Great Britain on this continent.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _February 13, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate a report[49] from the Secretary of
State, with accompanying documents, in answer to their resolution of
the 1st instant.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 49: Relating to compensation by Great Britain in the cases of
the brigs _Enterprise, Encomium_, and _Comet_, slaves on board which
were forcibly seized and detained by local authorities of Bermuda and
Bahama islands.]



WASHINGTON, _February 16, 1839_.

_To the Senate_:

I transmit for the constitutional action of the Senate treaties recently
concluded with the Creek, Osage, and Iowa tribes of Indians, with
communications from the Department of War.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _February 19, 1839_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit a report from the War Department in relation to the
investigations had by the commissioners under the resolution of 1st
July, 1836, on the sales of reservations of deceased Creek Indians.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _February 21, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit for the constitutional action of the Senate articles
supplementary to the treaty with the Chippewas, for the purchase of
40 acres of land at the mouth of the Saginaw River, which are esteemed
necessary in the erection and use of a light-house at that point.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _February 22, 1839_.

The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

I herewith transmit a report from the Secretary of State, with
accompanying documents, on the subject of the blockades of the Mexican
coast and of the Rio de la Plata, in answer to the resolution of the
House of Representatives of the 11th instant.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _February 25, 1839_.

_To the Senate_:

I transmit for the constitutional action of the Senate a supplemental
article to the treaty with the Chippewas of Saganaw, which accompanied
my communication of the 21st instant, and explanatory papers from the
War Department.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _February 26, 1839_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I lay before Congress several dispatches from his excellency the
governor of Maine, with inclosures, communicating certain proceedings of
the legislature of that State, and a copy of the reply of the Secretary
of State, made by my direction, together with a note from H.S. Fox,
esq., envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of Great Britain,
with the answer of the Secretary of State to the same.

It will appear from those documents that a numerous band of lawless and
desperate men, chiefly from the adjoining British Provinces, but without
the authority or sanction of the provincial government, had trespassed
upon that portion of the territory in dispute between the United States
and Great Britain which is watered by the river Aroostook and claimed
to belong to the State of Maine, and that they had committed extensive
depredations there by cutting and destroying a very large quantity of
timber. It will further appear that the governor of Maine, having been
officially apprised of the circumstance, had communicated it to the
legislature with a recommendation of such provisions in addition to
those already existing by law as would enable him to arrest the course
of said depredations, disperse the trespassers, and secure the timber
which they were about carrying away; that, in compliance with a
resolve of the legislature passed in pursuance of his recommendation,
his excellency had dispatched the land agent of the State, with a
force deemed adequate to that purpose, to the scene of the alleged
depredations, who, after accomplishing a part of his duty, was seized
by a band of the trespassers at a house claimed to be within the
jurisdiction of Maine, whither he had repaired for the purpose of
meeting and consulting with the land agent of the Province of New
Brunswick, and conveyed as a prisoner to Frederickton, in that Province,
together with two other citizens of the State who were assisting him in
the discharge of his duty.

It will also appear that the governor and legislature of Maine,
satisfied that the trespassers had acted in defiance of the laws of
both countries, learning that they were in possession of arms, and
anticipating (correctly, as the result has proved) that persons of their
reckless and desperate character would set at naught the authority of
the magistrates without the aid of a strong force, had authorized the
sheriff and the officer appointed in the place of the land agent to
employ, at the expense of the State, an armed posse, who had proceeded
to the scene of these depredations with a view to the entire dispersion
or arrest of the trespassers and the protection of the public property.

In the correspondence between the governor of Maine and Sir John Harvey,
lieutenant-governor of the Province of New Brunswick, which has grown
out of these occurrences and is likewise herewith communicated, the
former is requested to recall the armed party advanced into the disputed
territory for the arrest of trespassers, and is informed that a strong
body of British troops is to be held in readiness to support and protect
the authority and subjects of Great Britain in said territory. In answer
to that request the provincial governor is informed of the determination
of the State of Maine to support the land agent and his party in the
performance of their duty, and the same determination, for the execution
of which provision is made by a resolve of the State legislature, is
communicated by the governor to the General Government.

The lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, in calling upon the governor
of Maine for the recall of the land agent and his party from the
disputed territory, and the British minister, in making a similar demand
upon the Government of the United States, proceed upon the assumption
that an agreement exists between the two nations conceding to Great
Britain, until the final settlement of the boundary question, exclusive
possession of and jurisdiction over the territory in dispute. The
important bearing which such an agreement, if it existed, would have
upon the condition and interests of the parties, and the influence it
might have upon the adjustment of the dispute, are too obvious to allow
the error upon which this assumption seems to rest to pass for a moment
without correction. The answer of the Secretary of State to Mr. Fox's
note will show the ground taken by the Government of the United States
upon this point. It is believed that all the correspondence which has
passed between the two Governments upon this subject has already been
communicated to Congress and is now on their files. An abstract of
it, however, hastily prepared, accompanies this communication. It is
possible that in thus abridging a voluminous correspondence, commencing
in 1825 and continuing to a very recent period, a portion may have been
accidentally overlooked; but it is believed that nothing has taken
place which would materially change the aspect of the question as
therein presented. Instead of sustaining the assumption of the British
functionaries, that correspondence disproves the existence of any such
agreement. It shows that the two Governments have differed not only in
regard to the main question of title to the territory in dispute, but
with reference also to the right of jurisdiction and the fact of the
actual exercise of it in different portions thereof.

Always aiming at an amicable adjustment of the dispute, both parties
have entertained and repeatedly urged upon each other a desire that each
should exercise its rights, whatever it considered them to be, in such
a manner as to avoid collision and allay to the greatest practicable
extent the excitement likely to grow out of the controversy. It was in
pursuance of such an understanding that Maine and Massachusetts, upon
the remonstrance of Great Britain, desisted from making sales of lands,
and the General Government from the construction of a projected military
road in a portion of the territory of which they claimed to have enjoyed
the exclusive possession; and that Great Britain on her part, in
deference to a similar remonstrance from the United States, suspended
the issue of licenses to cut timber in the territory in controversy and
also the survey and location of a railroad through a section of country
over which she also claimed to have exercised exclusive jurisdiction.

The State of Maine had a right to arrest the depredations complained of.
It belonged to her to judge of the exigency of the occasion calling for
her interference, and it is presumed that had the lieutenant-governor of
New Brunswick been correctly advised of the nature of the proceedings
of the State of Maine he would not have regarded the transaction as
requiring on his part any resort to force. Each party claiming a right
to the territory, and hence to the exclusive jurisdiction over it, it is
manifest that to prevent the destruction of the timber by trespassers,
acting against the authority of both, and at the same time avoid
forcible collision between the contiguous governments during the
pendency of negotiations concerning the title, resort must be had to the
mutual exercise of jurisdiction in such extreme cases or to an amicable
and temporary arrangement as to the limits within which it should be
exercised by each party. The understanding supposed to exist between the
United States and Great Britain has been found heretofore sufficient
for that purpose, and I believe will prove so hereafter if the parties
on the frontier directly interested in the question are respectively
governed by a just spirit of conciliation and forbearance. If it shall
be found, as there is now reason to apprehend, that there is, in the
modes of construing that understanding by the two Governments, a
difference not to be reconciled, I shall not hesitate to propose to
Her Britannic Majesty's Government a distinct arrangement for the
temporary and mutual exercise of jurisdiction by means of which similar
difficulties may in future be prevented.

But between an effort on the part of Maine to preserve the property in
dispute from destruction by intruders and a military occupation by that
State of the territory with a view to hold it by force while the
settlement is a subject of negotiation between the two Governments there
is an essential difference, as well in respect to the position of the
State as to the duties of the General Government. In a letter addressed
by the Secretary of State to the governor of Maine on the 1st of March
last, giving a detailed statement of the steps which had been taken by
the Federal Government to bring the controversy to a termination, and
designed to apprise the governor of that State of the views of the
Federal Executive in respect to the future, it was stated that while the
obligations of the Federal Government to do all in its power to effect
the settlement of the boundary question were fully recognized, it had,
in the event of being unable to do so specifically by mutual consent,
no other means to accomplish that object amicably than by another
arbitration, or by a commission, with an umpire, in the nature of an
arbitration; and that in the event of all other measures failing the
President would feel it his duty to submit another proposition to the
Government of Great Britain to refer the decision of the question to a
third power. These are still my views upon the subject, and until this
step shall have been taken I can not think it proper to invoke the
attention of Congress to other than amicable means for the settlement
of the controversy, or to cause the military power of the Federal
Government to be brought in aid of the State of Maine in any attempt
to effect that object by a resort to force.

On the other hand, if the authorities of New Brunswick should attempt
to enforce the claim of exclusive jurisdiction set up by them by means
of a military occupation on their part of the disputed territory,
I shall feel myself bound to consider the contingency provided by the
Constitution as having occurred, on the happening of which a State
has the right to call for the aid of the Federal Government to repel
invasion.

I have expressed to the British minister near this Government a
confident expectation that the agents of the State of Maine, who have
been arrested under an obvious misapprehension of the object of their
mission, will be promptly released, and to the governor of Maine that a
similar course will be pursued in regard to the agents of the Province
of New Brunswick. I have also recommended that any militia that may have
been brought together by the State of Maine from an apprehension of a
collision with the government or people of the British Province will be
voluntarily and peaceably disbanded.

I can not allow myself to doubt that the results anticipated from
these representations will be seasonably realized. The parties more
immediately interested can not but perceive that an appeal to arms
under existing circumstances will not only prove fatal to their present
interests, but would postpone, if not defeat, the attainment of the main
objects which they have in view. The very incidents which have recently
occurred will necessarily awaken the Governments to the importance
of promptly adjusting a dispute by which it is now made manifest that
the peace of the two nations is daily and imminently endangered. This
expectation is further warranted by the general forbearance which has
hitherto characterized the conduct of the Government and people on both
sides of the line. In the uniform patriotism of Maine, her attachment to
the Union, her respect for the wishes of the people of her sister States
(of whose interest in her welfare she can not be unconscious), and in
the solicitude felt by the country at large for the preservation of
peace with our neighbors, we have a strong guaranty that she will not
disregard the request that has been made of her.

As, however, the session of Congress is about to terminate and the
agency of the Executive may become necessary during the recess, it
is important that the attention of the Legislature should be drawn to
the consideration of such measures as may be calculated to obviate the
necessity of a call for an extra session. With that view I have thought
it my duty to lay the whole matter before you and to invite such action
thereon as you may think the occasion requires.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, D.C., _February 27, 1839_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives, in answer to their
resolution of the 26th instant, a report from the Secretary of State,
with the document[50] therein referred to.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 50: Letter of Mr. Stevenson, minister to England, relative to
the duties and restrictions imposed by Great Britain upon the tobacco
trade of the United States.]



WASHINGTON, _February 27, 1839_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In further compliance with the resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 28th of January last, I communicate a report[51]
from the Secretary of War, which, with its inclosures, contains
additional information called for by said resolution.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 51: Relating to troubles in the British Provinces of Upper and
Lower Canada and to alleged violations of neutrality on the part of the
United States or Great Britain, and whether the authorities of Upper
Canada have undertaken to interdict or restrict the ordinary intercourse
between said Province and the United States, inconsistent with
subsisting treaties.]



WASHINGTON, _February 27, 1839_.

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

I transmit to Congress copies of various other documents received from
the governor of Maine, relating to the dispute between that State and
the Province of New Brunswick, which formed the subject of my message
of the 26th instant, and also a copy of a memorandum, signed by the
Secretary of State of the United States and Her Britannic Majesty's
envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary near the United States,
of the terms upon which it is believed that all hostile collision can be
avoided on the frontier consistently with and respecting the claims on
either side.

As the British minister acts without specific authority from his
Government, it will be observed that this memorandum has but the force
of recommendation on the provincial authorities and on the government
of the State.

M. VAN BUREN.



EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

_Augusta, February 22, 1839_.

His Excellency M. VAN BUREN,

_President United States_.

SIR: I have the honor to inclose herewith copies of letter from the
lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, under date of February 18, with my
reply thereto; letter from the solicitor-general of the Province of New
Brunswick to the Hon. Charles Jarvis, temporary land agent, under date
of the 17th instant, with Mr. Jarvis's reply; parole of honor given by
Messrs. McIntire, Cushman, Bartlett, and Webster, dated 18th February;
my message to the legislature of the 21st instant.

These papers will give Your Excellency all the additional information
of any importance not heretofore communicated that has been received
in relation to the state of affairs upon our eastern frontier. I can
not but persuade myself that Your Excellency will see that an attack
upon the citizens of this State by a British armed force is in all
human probability inevitable, and that the interposition of the General
Government at this momentous crisis should be promptly afforded.

I have the honor to be, with high respect, Your Excellency's obedient
servant,

JOHN FAIRFIELD,

_Governor of Maine_.



GOVERNMENT HOUSE,

_Frederickton, New Brunswick, February 18, 1839_.

His Excellency the GOVERNOR OF MAINE.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, by the hands of
Hon. Mr. Rogers, of your excellency's letter of the 15th instant.
Mr. McIntire and the gentlemen with him have been subjected to an
examination before Her Majesty's attorney-general of this Province, who
has reported to me that the offense of which they stand charged is one
rather against the law of nations and of treaties than against those of
this Province. They must accordingly be regarded as "state offenders."
In this view, their disposal rests exclusively with Her Majesty's
Government, to which I shall accordingly report the case. In the
meantime I have had pleasure in directing that they shall immediately be
allowed to return to the State of Maine upon pledging their parole of
honor to present themselves to the Government of this Province whenever
Her Majesty's decision may be received, or when required to do so. The
high respectability of their characters and situations and my desire to
act in all matters relating to the disputed territory in such a manner
as may evince the utmost forbearance consistent with the fulfillment of
my instructions have influenced me in my conduct toward these gentlemen;
but it is necessary that I should upon this occasion distinctly state
to your excellency--

First. That if it be the desire of the State of Maine that the
friendly relations subsisting between Great Britain and the United
States should not be disturbed, it is indispensable that the armed force
from that State now understood to be within the territory in dispute
be immediately withdrawn, as otherwise I have no alternative but to
take military occupation of that territory, with a view to protect Her
Majesty's subjects and to support the civil authorities in apprehending
all persons claiming to exercise jurisdiction within it.

Second. That it is my duty to require that all persons subjects of Her
Majesty who may have been arrested in the commission of acts of trespass
within the disputed territory be given up to the tribunals of this
Province, there to be proceeded against according to law.

Third. That in the event of the rumor which has just reached me relative
to the arrest, detention, or interruption of James Maclauchlan, esq.,
the warden of the disputed territory, being correct, that that officer
be enlarged and the grounds of his detention explained.

Mr. Rogers takes charge of this letter, of which a duplicate will be
placed in the hands of the Hon. Mr. McIntire, with both of whom I have
conversed and communicated to them my views in regard to the actual
position in which I shall be placed and the measures which will be
forced upon me if the several demands contained in this letter be not
complied with; and I have reason to believe that Mr. McIntire leaves me
fully impressed with the anxious desire which I feel to be spared the
necessity of acting as the letter of my instructions would both warrant
and prescribe.

With regard to trespasses upon the lands of the disputed territory,
I beg to assure you that the extent to which those trespasses appear
to have been carried, as brought to my knowledge by recent occurrences,
will lead me to adopt without any delay the strongest and most effectual
measures which may be in my power for putting a stop to and preventing
the recurrence of such trespasses.

With high respect, I have the honor to be, your excellency's most
obedient servant,

J. HARVEY,

_Major-General, Lieutenant-Governor_.



EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

_Augusta, February 21, 1839_.

His Excellency SIR JOHN HARVEY,

_Lieutenant-Governor New Brunswick_.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your excellency's
communication of the 18th instant, by the hand of Colonel J.P. Rogers.

To your demand for the discharge of the persons arrested by the
authorities of this State for being engaged in acts of trespass upon the
public lands of this State I have to say that the persons named are now
in the _custody of the law_. With that custody I have neither the
disposition nor the authority to interfere.

In regard to James Maclauchlan, esq., provincial land agent, and Mr.
Tibbets, his assistant, I have advised that they be released upon the
_same terms_ upon which the Hon. Rufus McIntire and his assistants were
released, to wit, upon their _parole of honor_ to return to Bangor
whenever they should be thereto required by the executive government of
this State, to answer to any charges that may be brought against them
for their acts and proceedings upon what your excellency is pleased to
call "the disputed territory."

For a reply to the remainder of your excellency's communication I must
refer you to my letter of the 18th instant, which you will receive by
the hand of R. English, esq.

I have the honor to be, with high respect, your excellency's obedient
servant,

JOHN FAIRFIELD,

_Governor of Maine_.



AT THE MOUTH OF THE ARESTOOK, RIVER ST. JOHN,

_Province of New Brunswick, February 17, 1839_.

The OFFICER COMMANDING THE ARMED FORCE ON THE DISPUTED TERRITORY.

SIR: I am directed by His Excellency Major-General Sir John Harvey,
lieutenant-governor and commander in chief of this Province, to express
to you his great surprise at the very extraordinary occurrence of an
armed force of the description now with you having entered upon the
disputed territory (so called) and attempted to exercise a jurisdiction
there foreign to the British Government, seizing upon and maltreating
British subjects and retaining many of them prisoners without having in
the first instance given any notice or made any communication whatever
to the government authorities of this Province of such your intention,
or the causes which have led to these acts of aggression. If you are
acting under any authority from your own government, the proceedings are
still more unjustifiable, being in direct defiance and breach of the
existing treaties between the Central Government of the United States
and England. If you have not any such authority, you and those with you
have placed yourselves in a situation to be treated by both Governments
as persons rebelling against the laws of either country. But be that as
it may, I am directed by his excellency to give you notice that unless
you immediately remove with the force you have with you from any part of
the disputed territory (so called) and discharge all British subjects
whom you have taken prisoners and at once cease attempting to exercise
any authority in the said territory not authorized by the British
Government every person of your party that can be found or laid hold of
will be taken by the British authorities in this Province and detained
as prisoners to answer for this offense, as his excellency is expressly
commanded by his Sovereign to hold this territory inviolate and to
defend it from any foreign aggression whatever until the two Governments
have determined the question of to whom it shall belong; and to enable
him to carry these commands into full effect, a large military force is
now assembling at this place, part of which has already arrived, and
will be shortly completed to any extent that the service may require.
In doing this his excellency is very desirous to avoid any collision
between Her Majesty's troops and any of the citizens of the United
States that might lead to bloodshed, and if you remove from the
territory peaceably and quietly without further opposition such
collision will be avoided, as in that case his excellency will not think
it necessary to move the British troops farther; but if you do not he
will, in the execution of the commands of the British Government, find
it necessary to take military possession of the territory in order to
defend it from such innovation; and the consequences must be upon your
own heads or upon the authority, if any, under which you act. The three
gentlemen who were with you, and were taken prisoners by some of our
people, have been forwarded on to Frederickton by the magistrates of the
country and will be detained (as all persons heretofore have been who
on former occasions were found endeavoring to set up or exercise any
foreign jurisdiction or authority in the territory in question). They
will, however, be well treated and every necessary attention paid to
their comfort; but I have no doubt they will be detained as prisoners,
to be disposed of as may hereafter be directed by the British
Government. The warden of the disputed territory, Mr. Maclauchlan, went
out, I understood, a few days since to explain all this to you; but
he not having returned we are led to suppose you have still further
violated the laws and treaties of the two nations by detaining him, who
was a mere messenger of communication, together with Mr. Tibbets, the
person who was employed to convey him. But as Mr. Maclauchlan was an
accredited officer, acknowledged by the American Government as well as
the British, and appointed for the very purpose of looking after this
territory, I trust you will on reflection see the great impropriety and
risk you run, even with your own government, by detaining him or his
attendant, Mr. Tibbets, any longer.

I shall await at this place to receive your answer to this.

I am, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,

GEO. FRED'K STREET,

_Solicitor-General of the Provinces_.



CONFLUENCE OF THE ST. CROIX, STREAM ARESTOOK RIVER,

_Township No. 10, State of Maine, February 19, 1839_.

GEO. FRED. STREET, Esq.,

_Solicitor-General of Province New Brunswick_.

SIR: Your communication of the 17th instant has been this moment
received. The solicitor-general of the Provinces must have been
misinformed as to the place where the force under my direction is now
located, or he would have been spared the impropriety of addressing such
a communication to me, a citizen of the State of Maine, one of the North
American Confederacy of United States.

It is also to be hoped, for the honor of the British Empire, that when
Major-General Sir John Harvey, lieutenant-governor and commander in
chief of the Province of New Brunswick, is made acquainted with the
place where the Hon. Rufus McIntire, land agent of the State of Maine,
and the two other gentlemen with him were forcibly arrested by a lawless
mob, that he will direct their immediate discharge and bring the
offenders to justice.

The officer to whom you allude and the person in company with him were
arrested for serving a precept on a citizen of Maine. He was sent on
immediately to Augusta, the seat of government, to be dealt with by the
authorities of the State. Their persons are not, therefore, in my power,
and application for their discharge must be made to the government of
the State.

If, however, I have been in error as to your being under a mistake as
to the place where I am now stationed, on land which was run out into
townships by the State of Massachusetts and covered by grants from
that State before Maine was separated from Massachusetts, and which
has therefore been under the jurisdiction of Maine since she has taken
her rank among the independent States of the North American Union,
therefore, as a citizen of Maine, in official capacity, I have but one
answer to return to the threat conveyed: I am here under the direction
of the executive of the State, and must remain until otherwise ordered
by the only authority recognized by me; and deeply as I should regret a
conflict between our respective countries, I shall consider the approach
to my station by an armed force as an act of hostility, which will be
met by me to the best of my ability.

I am, sir, your most obedient servant,

CHARLES JARVIS,

_Land Agent_.



FREDERICKTON, NEW BRUNSWICK, _February 18, 1839_.

Hon. RUFUS McINTIRE, GUSTAVUS G. CUSHMAN, THOMAS BARTLETT, and EBENEZER
WEBSTER, Esqs.:

Whereas the offense wherewith you stand charged has been pronounced
by the law officers of this Province as one rather against the law
of nations and of treaties than against the municipal laws of this
country, and as such must be referred for the decision of Her Majesty's
Government, you are hereby required to pledge your parole of honor to
present yourselves at Frederickton, in this Province of New Brunswick,
whenever such decision shall be communicated, or you shall be otherwise
required by or on the part of this government; and for this purpose you
shall make known the place or places to which such requisition shall be
sent.

J. HARVEY.



FEBRUARY 18, 1839.

We have no hesitation in giving, and hereby do give, the parole of honor
above referred to.

Witness:

W. EARL.



COUNCIL CHAMBER, _February 21, 1839_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

Under the order of the House of Representatives of the 19th instant,
I herewith, lay before you certain correspondence since had with the
lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, and the correspondence between
Geo. Frederick Street, esq., solicitor-general for the Province of New
Brunswick, and Charles Jarvis, esq., provisional land agent of this
State.

The reply of Mr. Jarvis to the inadmissible and preposterous claims and
pretensions of Her Majesty's solicitor-general for the Province of New
Brunswick must, I think, command the unqualified approbation of everyone
having a just regard for the honor of his State. It is in the true
spirit, and I have every reason to believe that the same spirit animates
the whole body of our citizens. While it prevails, though success will
be deserved, defeat can bring no disgrace.

You will see by the accompanying papers (and I take great pleasure in
communicating the fact) that Mr. McIntire and his assistants have been
released. It was, however, upon their parole of honor to return when
thereto required by the government of that Province. Immediately
upon the receipt of this information I advised the release of James
Maclauchlan, esq., provincial land agent, and his assistant, _upon
the same terms_.

Since my last communication the land agent's forces at the Aroostook
have been reenforced by about 600 good and effective men, making the
whole force now about 750.

I have a letter from Mr. Jarvis dated the 19th, before the reenforcement
had arrived, and when his company consisted of only 100 men. He says he
found the men in good spirits and that they had been active in making
temporary but most effectual defenses of logs, etc.

After describing his defenses, he says: "By to-morrow noon a force
of 100 men would make good our position against 500. _Retreating,
therefore, is out of the question_. We shall make good our stand against
any force that we can reasonably expect would be brought against us."
He says further: "I take pleasure in saying to you that a finer looking
set of men I never saw than those now with me, and that the honor of our
State, so far as they are concerned, is in safe-keeping."

The draft of 1,000 men from the third division has been made with great
dispatch. The troops, I understand, arrived promptly at the place of
rendezvous at the time appointed in good spirits and anxious for the
order to march to the frontier. The detachment from this second division
will be ordered to march at the earliest convenient day--probably on
Monday next. Other military movements will be made, which it is
unnecessary to communicate to you at this time.

The mission of Colonel Rogers to the lieutenant-governor of New
Brunswick has resulted successfully so far as relates to the release of
the land agent and his assistants, and has been conducted in a manner
highly satisfactory.

JOHN FAIRFIELD.



[Memorandum.]

WASHINGTON, _February 27, 1839_.

Her Majesty's authorities consider it to have been understood and agreed
upon by the two Governments that the territory in dispute between Great
Britain and the United States on the northeastern frontier should remain
exclusively under British jurisdiction until the final settlement of the
boundary question.

The United States Government have not understood the above agreement
in the same sense, but consider, on the contrary, that there has been
no agreement whatever for the exercise by Great Britain of exclusive
jurisdiction over the disputed territory or any portion thereof, but
a mutual understanding that pending the negotiation the jurisdiction
then exercised by either party over small portions of the territory
in dispute should not be enlarged, but be continued merely for the
preservation of local tranquillity and the public property, both
forbearing, as far as practicable, to exert any authority, and when
any should be exercised by either placing upon the conduct of each
other the most favorable construction.

A complete understanding upon the question thus placed at issue of
present jurisdiction can only be arrived at by friendly discussion
between the Governments of the United States and Great Britain, and as
it is confidently hoped that there will be an early settlement of the
general question, this subordinate point of difference can be of but
little moment.

In the meantime the government of the Province of New Brunswick and the
government of the State of Maine will act as follows: Her Majesty's
officers will not seek to expel by military force the armed party which
has been sent by Maine into the district bordering on the Restook River,
but the government of Maine will voluntarily and without needless delay
withdraw beyond the bounds of the disputed territory any armed force
now within them; and if future necessity shall arise for dispersing
notorious trespassers or protecting public property from depredation
by armed force, the operation shall be conducted by concert, jointly or
separately, according to agreement between the governments of Maine and
New Brunswick.

The civil officers in the service, respectively, of New Brunswick and
Maine who have been taken into custody by the opposite parties shall be
released.

Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to fortify or to weaken
in any respect whatever the claim of either party to the ultimate
possession of the disputed territory.

The minister plenipotentiary of Her Britannic Majesty having no specific
authority to make any arrangement on this subject, the undersigned can
only recommend, as they now earnestly do, to the governments of New
Brunswick and Maine to regulate their future proceedings according to
the terms hereinbefore set forth until the final settlement of the
territorial dispute or until the Governments of the United States and
Great Britain shall come to some definite conclusion on the subordinate
point upon which they are now at issue.

JOHN FORSYTH,

_Secretary of State of the United States of North America_.

H.S. FOX,

_Her Britannic Majesty's Envoy Extraordinary and Minister
Plenipotentiary_.



WASHINGTON, _February 27, 1839_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of
the 22d instant, requesting information on the subject of the existing
relations between the United States and the Mexican Republic, I transmit
a report from the Secretary of State, to whom the resolution was
referred, and the documents by which the report was accompanied.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _February 28, 1839_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of the Treasury,
accompanied by a letter from the Commissioner of the General Land
Office, and other documents therein referred to, touching certain
information directed to be communicated to the House of Representatives
by a resolution dated the 7th of July last.[52]

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 52: Relating to attempts to keep down the price of public
lands.]



WASHINGTON, _February 28, 1839_.

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

I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of War,
respecting the importance of requiring the officers who may be employed
to take the next general census to make a return of the names and ages
of pensioners, and, for the reasons given by the Secretary of War,
I recommend the subject for your favorable consideration.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _March 1, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

Understanding from the decision of the Senate that the regulation of the
Navy Department requiring that a commander "shall serve in active employ
as such one year before he can be promoted to a captain" does not under
the circumstances of the case constitute an objection to the promotion
of Commander Robert F. Stockton, I nominate him to be a captain in the
Navy from the 8th of December, 1838, at the same time renominating
Commanders Isaac McKeever and John P. Zantzingers to be captains in the
Navy, the former from the 8th of December, 1838, and the latter from the
22d of December, 1838, and withdrawing the nomination of Commander
William D. Salter.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _March 1, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I have received the resolution of the Senate of this day, upon the
subject of a communication made to you by the Postmaster-General on the
27th ultimo,[53] and have the satisfaction of laying before the Senate
the accompanying letter from that officer, in which he fully disclaims
any intended disrespect to the Senate in the communication referred to.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 53: Stating that the only reason he had not sent an answer to
a resolution of the Senate was because it was not ready, which was
considered disrespectful.]



WASHINGTON, _March 2, 1839_.

The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES.

I transmit herewith reports of the Secretaries of the State, Treasury,
War, and Navy Departments, in reply to a resolution of the 28th ultimo,
calling for information respecting the amounts paid to persons concerned
in negotiating treaties with the Indians since the year 1829, and in
regard to the disbursement of public money by clerks in the above
Departments and the bureaus and offices thereof.

M. VAN BUREN.



VETO MESSAGE.[54]

[Footnote 54: Pocket veto.]


MARCH 5, 1839.

The annexed joint resolution was presented to me by Messrs. Foster and
Merrick, of the Senate, on the 4th of March at half past 3 o'clock a.m.
at the President's house, after a joint committee had informed me at
the Capitol that the two Houses had completed their business and were
ready to adjourn, and had communicated my answer that I had no
further communication to make to them. The committee of the Senate, on
presenting the joint resolution for my signature, stated in explanation
of the circumstance that they were not attended by the Committee on
Enrolled Bills of the House of Representatives (as is required by the
joint rules of the two Houses); that that body had adjourned about two
hours before.

The joint resolution is not certified by the clerk of the House in which
it originated, as is likewise required by the joint rules. Under these
circumstances, and without reference to its provisions, I withheld my
approval from the joint resolution.

M. VAN BUREN.

To be placed on file in the State Department.

M.V.B.



A RESOLUTION for the distribution in part of the Madison Papers.

_Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled_, That the Secretary of the
Senate and Clerk of the House of Representatives be, and they are
hereby, directed to distribute by mail, or otherwise, to each member
of the Senate and House of Representatives and Delegates of the
Twenty-fifth Congress one copy of the compilation now in progress of
execution under the act entitled "An act authorizing the printing of the
Madison Papers," when the same shall have been completed; and that of
the said compilation there be deposited in the Library of Congress ten
copies, in the Library of the House of Representatives twenty copies,
and in the office of the Secretary of the Senate ten copies, and one
copy in each of the committee rooms of the Senate; and that the residue
of said copies shall remain under the care of the said officers subject
to the future disposition of Congress.

JAMES K. POLK,

_Speaker of the House of Representatives_.

W.R. KING,

_President of the Senate pro tempore_.

I certify that this resolution did originate in the Senate.

----------,

_Secretary_.



THIRD ANNUAL MESSAGE.


WASHINGTON, _December 2, 1839_.

_Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I regret that I can not on this occasion congratulate you that the past
year has been one of unalloyed prosperity. The ravages of fire and
disease have painfully afflicted otherwise flourishing portions of our
country, and serious embarrassments yet derange the trade of many of our
cities. But notwithstanding these adverse circumstances, that general
prosperity which has been heretofore so bountifully bestowed upon us
by the Author of All Good still continues to call for our warmest
gratitude. Especially have we reason to rejoice in the exuberant
harvests which have lavishly recompensed well-directed industry and
given to it that sure reward which is vainly sought in visionary
speculations. I can not, indeed, view without peculiar satisfaction the
evidences afforded by the past season of the benefits that spring from
the steady devotion of the husbandman to his honorable pursuit. No
means of individual comfort is more certain and no source of national
prosperity is so sure. Nothing can compensate a people for a dependence
upon others for the bread they eat, and that cheerful abundance on which
the happiness of everyone so much depends is to be looked for nowhere
with such sure reliance as in the industry of the agriculturist and the
bounties of the earth.

With foreign countries our relations exhibit the same favorable aspect
which was presented in my last annual message, and afford continued
proof of the wisdom of the pacific, just, and forbearing policy adopted
by the first Administration of the Federal Government and pursued by its
successors. The extraordinary powers vested in me by an act of Congress
for the defense of the country in an emergency, considered so far
probable as to require that the Executive should possess ample means to
meet it, have not been exerted. They have therefore been attended with
no other result than to increase, by the confidence thus reposed in
me, my obligations to maintain with religious exactness the cardinal
principles that govern our intercourse with other nations. Happily,
in our pending questions with Great Britain, out of which this unusual
grant of authority arose, nothing has occurred to require its exertion,
and as it is about to return to the Legislature I trust that no future
necessity may call for its exercise by them or its delegation to another
Department of the Government.

For the settlement of our northeastern boundary the proposition promised
by Great Britain for a commission of exploration and survey has been
received, and a counter project, including also a provision for the
certain and final adjustment of the limits in dispute, is now before the
British Government for its consideration. A just regard to the delicate
state of this question and a proper respect for the natural impatience
of the State of Maine, not less than a conviction that the negotiation
has been already protracted longer than is prudent on the part of either
Government, have led me to believe that the present favorable moment
should on no account be suffered to pass without putting the question
forever at rest. I feel confident that the Government of Her Britannic
Majesty will take the same view of this subject, as I am persuaded it
is governed by desires equally strong and sincere for the amicable
termination of the controversy.

To the intrinsic difficulties of questions of boundary lines, especially
those described in regions unoccupied and but partially known, is to
be added in our country the embarrassment necessarily arising out of
our Constitution by which the General Government is made the organ of
negotiating and deciding upon the particular interests of the States
on whose frontiers these lines are to be traced. To avoid another
controversy in which a State government might rightfully claim to have
her wishes consulted previously to the conclusion of conventional
arrangements concerning her rights of jurisdiction or territory, I have
thought it necessary to call the attention of the Government of Great
Britain to another portion of our conterminous dominion of which the
division still remains to be adjusted. I refer to the line from the
entrance of Lake Superior to the most northwestern point of the Lake of
the Woods, stipulations for the settlement of which are to be found in
the seventh article of the treaty of Ghent. The commissioners appointed
under that article by the two Governments having differed in their
opinions, made separate reports, according to its stipulations, upon the
points of disagreement, and these differences are now to be submitted
to the arbitration of some friendly sovereign or state. The disputed
points should be settled and the line designated before the Territorial
government of which it is one of the boundaries takes its place in the
Union as a State, and I rely upon the cordial cooperation of the British
Government to effect that object.

There is every reason to believe that disturbances like those which
lately agitated the neighboring British Provinces will not again prove
the sources of border contentions or interpose obstacles to the
continuance of that good understanding which it is the mutual interest
of Great Britain and the United States to preserve and maintain.

Within the Provinces themselves tranquillity is restored, and on our
frontier that misguided sympathy in favor of what was presumed to be a
general effort in behalf of popular rights, and which in some instances
misled a few of our more inexperienced citizens, has subsided into a
rational conviction strongly opposed to all intermeddling with the
internal affairs of our neighbors. The people of the United States feel,
as it is hoped they always will, a warm solicitude for the success of
all who are sincerely endeavoring to improve the political condition
of mankind. This generous feeling they cherish toward the most distant
nations, and it was natural, therefore, that it should be awakened
with more than common warmth in behalf of their immediate neighbors;
but it does not belong to their character as a community to seek the
gratification of those feelings in acts which violate their duty as
citizens, endanger the peace of their country, and tend to bring upon
it the stain of a violated faith toward foreign nations. If, zealous to
confer benefits on others, they appear for a moment to lose sight of the
permanent obligations imposed upon them as citizens, they are seldom
long misled. From all the information I receive, confirmed to some
extent by personal observation, I am satisfied that no one can now hope
to engage in such enterprises without encountering public indignation,
in addition to the severest penalties of the law.

Recent information also leads me to hope that the emigrants from Her
Majesty's Provinces who have sought refuge within our boundaries are
disposed to become peaceable residents and to abstain from all attempts
to endanger the peace of that country which has afforded them an asylum.
On a review of the occurrences on both sides of the line it is
satisfactory to reflect that in almost every complaint against our
country the offense may be traced to emigrants from the Provinces who
have sought refuge here. In the few instances in which they were aided
by citizens of the United States the acts of these misguided men were
not only in direct contravention of the laws and well-known wishes of
their own Government, but met with the decided disapprobation of the
people of the United States.

I regret to state the appearance of a different spirit among Her
Majesty's subjects in the Canadas. The sentiments of hostility to our
people and institutions which have been so frequently expressed there,
and the disregard of our rights which has been manifested on some
occasions, have, I am sorry to say, been applauded and encouraged by
the people, and even by some of the subordinate local authorities, of
the Provinces. The chief officers in Canada, fortunately, have not
entertained the same feeling, and have probably prevented excesses that
must have been fatal to the peace of the two countries.

I look forward anxiously to a period when all the transactions which
have grown out of this condition of our affairs, and which have been
made the subjects of complaint and remonstrance by the two Governments,
respectively, shall be fully examined, and the proper satisfaction given
where it is due from either side.

Nothing has occurred to disturb the harmony of our intercourse with
Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Naples, Portugal, Prussia, Russia,
or Sweden. The internal state of Spain has sensibly improved, and a
well-grounded hope exists that the return of peace will restore to
the people of that country their former prosperity and enable the
Government to fulfill all its obligations at home and abroad. The
Government of Portugal, I have the satisfaction to state, has paid
in full the eleventh and last installment due to our citizens for
the claims embraced in the settlement made with it on the 3d of
March, 1837.

I lay before you treaties of commerce negotiated with the Kings of
Sardinia and of the Netherlands, the ratifications of which have been
exchanged since the adjournment of Congress. The liberal principles
of these treaties will recommend them to your approbation. That with
Sardinia is the first treaty of commerce formed by that Kingdom, and
it will, I trust, answer the expectations of the present Sovereign by
aiding the development of the resources of his country and stimulating
the enterprise of his people. That with the Netherlands happily
terminates a long-existing subject of dispute and removes from our
future commercial intercourse all apprehension of embarrassment.
The King of the Netherlands has also, in further illustration of
his character for justice and of his desire to remove every cause of
dissatisfaction, made compensation for an American vessel captured in
1800 by a French privateer, and carried into Curaçoa, where the proceeds
were appropriated to the use of the colony, then, and for a short time
after, under the dominion of Holland.

The death of the late Sultan has produced no alteration in our
relations with Turkey. Our newly appointed minister resident has reached
Constantinople, and I have received assurances from the present ruler
that the obligations of our treaty and those of friendship will be
fulfilled by himself in the same spirit that actuated his illustrious
father.

I regret to be obliged to inform you that no convention for the
settlement of the claims of our citizens upon Mexico has yet been
ratified by the Government of that country. The first convention formed
for that purpose was not presented by the President of Mexico for the
approbation of its Congress, from a belief that the King of Prussia,
the arbitrator in case of disagreement in the joint commission to be
appointed by the United States and Mexico, would not consent to take
upon himself that friendly office. Although not entirely satisfied with
the course pursued by Mexico, I felt no hesitation in receiving in the
most conciliatory spirit the explanation offered, and also cheerfully
consented to a new convention, in order to arrange the payments
proposed to be made to our citizens in a manner which, while equally
just to them, was deemed less onerous and inconvenient to the Mexican
Government. Relying confidently upon the intentions of that Government,
Mr. Ellis was directed to repair to Mexico, and diplomatic intercourse
has been resumed between the two countries. The new convention has, he
informs us, been recently submitted by the President of that Republic
to its Congress under circumstances which promise a speedy ratification,
a result which I can not allow myself to doubt.

Instructions have been given to the commissioner of the United States
under our convention with Texas for the demarcation of the line which
separates us from that Republic. The commissioners of both Governments
met in New Orleans in August last. The joint commission was organized,
and adjourned to convene at the same place on the 12th of October. It
is presumed to be now in the performance of its duties.

The new Government of Texas has shown its desire to cultivate friendly
relations with us by a prompt reparation for injuries complained of in
the cases of two vessels of the United States.

With Central America a convention has been concluded for the renewal of
its former treaty with the United States. This was not ratified before
the departure of our late chargé d'affaires from that country, and the
copy of it brought by him was not received before the adjournment of the
Senate at the last session. In the meanwhile, the period limited for
the exchange of ratifications having expired, I deemed it expedient, in
consequence of the death of the chargé d'affaires, to send a special
agent to Central America to close the affairs of our mission there and
to arrange with the Government an extension of the time for the exchange
of ratifications.

The commission created by the States which formerly composed the
Republic of Colombia for adjusting the claims against that Government
has by a very unexpected construction of the treaty under which it acts
decided that no provision was made for those claims of citizens of the
United States which arose from captures by Colombian privateers and were
adjudged against the claimants in the judicial tribunals. This decision
will compel the United States to apply to the several Governments
formerly united for redress. With all these--New Granada, Venezuela,
and Ecuador--a perfectly good understanding exists. Our treaty with
Venezuela is faithfully carried into execution, and that country, in
the enjoyment of tranquillity, is gradually advancing in prosperity
under the guidance of its present distinguished President, General Paez.
With Ecuador a liberal commercial convention has lately been concluded,
which will be transmitted to the Senate at an early day.

With the great American Empire of Brazil our relations continue
unchanged, as does our friendly intercourse with the other Governments
of South America--the Argentine Republic and the Republics of Uruguay,
Chili, Peru, and Bolivia. The dissolution of the Peru-Bolivian
Confederation may occasion some temporary inconvenience to our citizens
in that quarter, but the obligations on the new Governments which have
arisen out of that Confederation to observe its treaty stipulations will
no doubt be soon understood, and it is presumed that no indisposition
will exist to fulfill those which it contracted with the United States.

The financial operations of the Government during the present year have,
I am happy to say, been very successful. The difficulties under which
the Treasury Department has labored, from known defects in the existing
laws relative to the safe-keeping of the public moneys, aggravated by
the suspension of specie payments by several of the banks holding public
deposits or indebted to public officers for notes received in payment of
public dues, have been surmounted to a very gratifying extent. The large
current expenditures have been punctually met, and the faith of the
Government in all its pecuniary concerns has been scrupulously
maintained.

The nineteen millions of Treasury notes authorized by the act of
Congress of 1837, and the modifications thereof with a view to the
indulgence of merchants on their duty bonds and of the deposit banks
in the payment of public moneys held by them, have been so punctually
redeemed as to leave less than the original ten millions outstanding at
any one time, and the whole amount unredeemed now falls short of three
millions. Of these the chief portion is not due till next year, and
the whole would have been already extinguished could the Treasury have
realized the payments due to it from the banks. If those due from them
during the next year shall be punctually made, and if Congress shall
keep the appropriations within the estimates, there is every reason to
believe that all the outstanding Treasury notes can be redeemed and the
ordinary expenses defrayed without imposing on the people any additional
burden, either of loans or increased taxes.

To avoid this and to keep the expenditures within reasonable bounds is
a duty second only in importance to the preservation of our national
character and the protection of our citizens in their civil and
political rights. The creation in time of peace of a debt likely to
become permanent is an evil for which there is no equivalent. The
rapidity with which many of the States are apparently approaching
to this condition admonishes us of our own duties in a manner too
impressive to be disregarded. One, not the least important, is to keep
the Federal Government always in a condition to discharge with ease and
vigor its highest functions should their exercise be required by any
sudden conjuncture of public affairs--a condition to which we are always
exposed and which may occur when it is least expected. To this end
it is indispensable that its finances should be untrammeled and its
resources as far as practicable unencumbered. No circumstance could
present greater obstacles to the accomplishment of these vitally
important objects than the creation of an onerous national debt. Our
own experience and also that of other nations have demonstrated the
unavoidable and fearful rapidity with which a public debt is increased
when the Government has once surrendered itself to the ruinous practice
of supplying its supposed necessities by new loans. The struggle,
therefore, on our part to be successful must be made at the threshold.
To make our efforts effective, severe economy is necessary. This is the
surest provision for the national welfare, and it is at the same time
the best preservative of the principles on which our institutions rest.
Simplicity and economy in the affairs of state have never failed to
chasten and invigorate republican principles, while these have been
as surely subverted by national prodigality, under whatever specious
pretexts it may have been introduced or fostered.

These considerations can not be lost upon a people who have never been
inattentive to the effect of their policy upon the institutions they
have created for themselves, but at the present moment their force is
augmented by the necessity which a decreasing revenue must impose. The
check lately given to importations of articles subject to duties, the
derangements in the operations of internal trade, and especially the
reduction gradually taking place in our tariff of duties, all tend
materially to lessen our receipts; indeed, it is probable that the
diminution resulting from the last cause alone will not fall short of
$5,000,000 in the year 1842, as the final reduction of all duties to
20 per cent then takes effect. The whole revenue then accruing from
the customs and from the sales of public lands, if not more, will
undoubtedly be wanted to defray the necessary expenses of the Government
under the most prudent administration of its affairs. These are
circumstances that impose the necessity of rigid economy and require its
prompt and constant exercise. With the Legislature rest the power and
duty of so adjusting the public expenditure as to promote this end.
By the provisions of the Constitution it is only in consequence of
appropriations made by law that money can be drawn from the Treasury.
No instance has occurred since the establishment of the Government in
which the Executive, though a component part of the legislative power,
has interposed an objection to an appropriation bill on the sole ground
of its extravagance. His duty in this respect has been considered
fulfilled by requesting such appropriations only as the public service
may be reasonably expected to require. In the present earnest direction
of the public mind toward this subject both the Executive and the
Legislature have evidence of the strict responsibility to which they
will be held; and while I am conscious of my own anxious efforts to
perform with fidelity this portion of my public functions, it is
a satisfaction to me to be able to count on a cordial cooperation
from you.

At the time I entered upon my present duties our ordinary disbursements,
without including those on account of the public debt, the Post-Office,
and the trust funds in charge of the Government, had been largely
increased by appropriations for the removal of the Indians, for
repelling Indian hostilities, and for other less urgent expenses which
grew out of an overflowing Treasury. Independent of the redemption of
the public debt and trusts, the gross expenditures of seventeen and
eighteen millions in 1834 and 1835 had by these causes swelled to
twenty-nine millions in 1836, and the appropriations for 1837, made
previously to the 4th of March, caused the expenditure to rise to the
very large amount of thirty-three millions. We were enabled during the
year 1838, notwithstanding the continuance of our Indian embarrassments,
somewhat to reduce this amount, and that for the present year (1839)
will not in all probability exceed twenty-six millions, or six millions
less than it was last year. With a determination, so far as depends
on me, to continue this reduction, I have directed the estimates for
1840 to be subjected to the severest scrutiny and to be limited to the
absolute requirements of the public service. They will be found less
than the expenditures of 1839 by over $5,000,000.

The precautionary measures which will be recommended by the Secretary
of the Treasury to protect faithfully the public credit under the
fluctuations and contingencies to which our receipts and expenditures
are exposed, and especially in a commercial crisis like the present,
are commended to your early attention.

On a former occasion your attention was invited to various
considerations in support of a preemption law in behalf of the settlers
on the public lands, and also of a law graduating the prices for such
lands as had long been in the market unsold in consequence of their
inferior quality. The execution of the act which was passed on the first
subject has been attended with the happiest consequences in quieting
titles and securing improvements to the industrious, and it has also
to a very gratifying extent been exempt from the frauds which were
practiced under previous preemption laws. It has at the same time, as
was anticipated, contributed liberally during the present year to the
receipts of the Treasury.

The passage of a graduation law, with the guards before recommended,
would also, I am persuaded, add considerably to the revenue for several
years, and prove in other respects just and beneficial.

Your early consideration of the subject is therefore once more earnestly
requested.

The present condition of the defenses of our principal seaports and
navy-yards, as represented by the accompanying report of the Secretary
of War, calls for the early and serious attention of Congress; and, as
connecting itself intimately with this subject, I can not recommend too
strongly to your consideration the plan submitted by that officer for
the organization of the militia of the United States.

In conformity with the expressed wishes of Congress, an attempt was
made in the spring to terminate the Florida war by negotiation. It is
to be regretted that these humane intentions should have been frustrated
and that the effort to bring these unhappy difficulties to a
satisfactory conclusion should have failed; but after entering into
solemn engagements with the commanding general, the Indians, without any
provocation, recommenced their acts of treachery and murder. The renewal
of hostilities in that Territory renders it necessary that I should
recommend to your favorable consideration the plan which will be
submitted to you by the Secretary of War, in order to enable that
Department to conduct them to a successful issue.

Having had an opportunity of personally inspecting a portion of the
troops during the last summer, it gives me pleasure to bear testimony to
the success of the effort to improve their discipline by keeping them
together in as large bodies as the nature of our service will permit.
I recommend, therefore, that commodious and permanent barracks be
constructed at the several posts designated by the Secretary of War.
Notwithstanding the high state of their discipline and excellent police,
the evils resulting to the service from the deficiency of company
officers were very apparent, and I recommend that the staff officers be
permanently separated from the line.

The Navy has been usefully and honorably employed in protecting the
rights and property of our citizens wherever the condition of affairs
seemed to require its presence. With the exception of one instance,
where an outrage, accompanied by murder, was committed on a vessel of
the United States while engaged in a lawful commerce, nothing is known
to have occurred to impede or molest the enterprise of our citizens on
that element, where it is so signally displayed. On learning this daring
act of piracy, Commodore Reed proceeded immediately to the spot, and
receiving no satisfaction, either in the surrender of the murderers or
the restoration of the plundered property, inflicted severe and merited
chastisement on the barbarians.

It will be seen by the report of the Secretary of the Navy respecting
the disposition of our ships of war that it has been deemed necessary to
station a competent force on the coast of Africa to prevent a fraudulent
use of our flag by foreigners.

Recent experience has shown that the provisions in our existing laws
which relate to the sale and transfer of American vessels while abroad
are extremely defective. Advantage has been taken of these defects
to give to vessels wholly belonging to foreigners and navigating the
ocean an apparent American ownership. This character has been so well
simulated as to afford them comparative security in prosecuting the
slave trade--a traffic emphatically denounced in our statutes, regarded
with abhorrence by our citizens, and of which the effectual suppression
is nowhere more sincerely desired than in the United States. These
circumstances make it proper to recommend to your early attention a
careful revision of these laws, so that without impeding the freedom
and facilities of our navigation or impairing an important branch of
our industry connected with it the integrity and honor of our flag may
be carefully preserved. Information derived from our consul at Havana
showing the necessity of this was communicated to a committee of the
Senate near the close of the last session, but too late, as it appeared,
to be acted upon. It will be brought to your notice by the proper
Department, with additional communications from other sources.

The latest accounts from the exploring expedition represent it as
proceeding successfully in its objects and promising results no less
useful to trade and navigation than to science.

The extent of post-roads covered by mail service on the 1st of July last
was about 133,999 miles and the rate of annual transportation upon them
34,496,878 miles. The number of post-offices on that day was 12,780 and
on the 30th ultimo 13,028.

The revenue of the Post-Office Department for the year ending with the
30th of June last was $4,476,638, exhibiting an increase over the
preceding year of $241,560. The engagements and liabilities of the
Department for the same period are $4,624,117.

The excess of liabilities over the revenue for the last two years
has been met out of the surplus which had previously accumulated.
The cash on hand on the 30th ultimo was about $206,701.95, and the
current income of the Department varies very little from the rate of
current expenditures. Most of the service suspended last year has been
restored, and most of the new routes established by the act of 7th July,
1838, have been set in operation, at an annual cost of $136,963.
Notwithstanding the pecuniary difficulties of the country, the revenue
of the Department appears to be increasing, and unless it shall be
seriously checked by the recent suspension of payment by so many of the
banks it will be able not only to maintain the present mail service,
but in a short time to extend it. It is gratifying to witness the
promptitude and fidelity with which the agents of this Department
in general perform their public duties.

Some difficulties have arisen in relation to contracts for the
transportation of the mails by railroad and steamboat companies. It
appears that the maximum of compensation provided by Congress for the
transportation of the mails upon railroads is not sufficient to induce
some of the companies to convey them at such hours as are required for
the accommodation of the public. It is one of the most important duties
of the General Government to provide and maintain for the use of the
people of the States the best practicable mail establishment. To arrive
at that end it is indispensable that the Post-Office Department shall
be enabled to control the hours at which the mails shall be carried
over railroads, as it now does over all other roads. Should serious
inconveniences arise from the inadequacy of the compensation now
provided by law, or from unreasonable demands by any of the railroad
companies, the subject is of such general importance as to require
the prompt attention of Congress.

In relation to steamboat lines, the most efficient remedy is obvious
and has been suggested by the Postmaster-General. The War and Navy
Departments already employ steamboats in their service; and although
it is by no means desirable that the Government should undertake the
transportation of passengers or freight as a business, there can be no
reasonable objection to running boats, temporarily, whenever it may be
necessary to put down attempts at extortion, to be discontinued as soon
as reasonable contracts can be obtained.

The suggestions of the Postmaster-General relative to the inadequacy
of the legal allowance to witnesses in cases of prosecutions for mail
depredations merit your serious consideration. The safety of the mails
requires that such prosecutions shall be efficient, and justice to the
citizen whose time is required to be given to the public demands not
only that his expenses shall be paid, but that he shall receive a
reasonable compensation.

The reports from the War, Navy, and Post-Office Departments will
accompany this communication, and one from the Treasury Department
will be presented to Congress in a few days.

For various details in respect to the matters in charge of these
Departments I would refer you to those important documents, satisfied
that you will find in them many valuable suggestions which will be found
well deserving the attention of the Legislature.

From a report made in December of last year by the Secretary of State
to the Senate, showing the trial docket of each of the circuit courts
and the number of miles each judge has to travel in the performance of
his duties, a great inequality appears in the amount of labor assigned
to each judge. The number of terms to be held in each of the courts
composing the ninth circuit, the distances between the places at which
they sit and from thence to the seat of Government, are represented to
be such as to render it impossible for the judge of that circuit to
perform in a manner corresponding with the public exigencies his term
and circuit duties. A revision, therefore, of the present arrangement of
the circuit seems to be called for and is recommended to your notice.

I think it proper to call your attention to the power assumed by
Territorial legislatures to authorize the issue of bonds by corporate
companies on the guaranty of the Territory. Congress passed a law in
1836 providing that no act of a Territorial legislature incorporating
banks should have the force of law until approved by Congress, but acts
of a very exceptionable character previously passed by the legislature
of Florida were suffered to remain in force, by virtue of which bonds
may be issued to a very large amount by those institutions upon the
faith of the Territory. A resolution, intending to be a joint one,
passed the Senate at the same session, expressing the sense of Congress
that the laws in question ought not to be permitted to remain in force
unless amended in many material respects; but it failed in the House of
Representatives for want of time, and the desired amendments have not
been made. The interests involved are of great importance, and the
subject deserves your early and careful attention.

The continued agitation of the question relative to the best mode of
keeping and disbursing the public money still injuriously affects the
business of the country. The suspension of specie payments in 1837
rendered the use of deposit banks as prescribed by the act of 1836 a
source rather of embarrassment than aid, and of necessity placed the
custody of most of the public money afterwards collected in charge of
the public officers. The new securities for its safety which this
required were a principal cause of my convening an extra session of
Congress, but in consequence of a disagreement between the two Houses
neither then nor at any subsequent period has there been any legislation
on the subject. The effort made at the last session to obtain the
authority of Congress to punish the use of public money for private
purposes as a crime--a measure attended under other governments with
signal advantage--was also unsuccessful, from diversities of opinion in
that body, notwithstanding the anxiety doubtless felt by it to afford
every practicable security. The result of this is still to leave the
custody of the public money without those safeguards which have been for
several years earnestly desired by the Executive, and as the remedy is
only to be found in the action of the Legislature it imposes on me the
duty of again submitting to you the propriety of passing a law providing
for the safe-keeping of the public moneys, and especially to ask that
its use for private purposes by any officers intrusted with it may be
declared to be a felony, punishable with penalties proportioned to the
magnitude of the offense.

These circumstances, added to known defects in the existing laws and
unusual derangement in the general operations of trade, have during
the last three years much increased the difficulties attendant on the
collection, keeping, and disbursement of the revenue, and called forth
corresponding exertions from those having them in charge. Happily these
have been successful beyond expectation. Vast sums have been collected
and disbursed by the several Departments with unexpected cheapness and
ease, transfers have been readily made to every part of the Union,
however distant, and defalcations have been far less than might have
been anticipated from the absence of adequate legal restraints. Since
the officers of the Treasury and Post-Office Departments were charged
with the custody of most of the public moneys received by them there
have been collected $66,000,000, and, excluding the case of the late
collector at New York, the aggregate amount of losses sustained in the
collection can not, it is believed, exceed $60,000. The defalcation
of the late collector at that city, of the extent and circumstances
of which Congress have been fully informed, ran through all the modes
of keeping the public money that have been hitherto in use, and was
distinguished by an aggravated disregard of duty that broke through
the restraints of every system, and can not, therefore, be usefully
referred to as a test of the comparative safety of either. Additional
information will also be furnished by the report of the Secretary of
the Treasury, in reply to a call made upon that officer by the House
of Representatives at the last session requiring detailed information
on the subject of defaults by public officers or agents under each
Administration from 1789 to 1837. This document will be submitted to
you in a few days. The general results (independent of the Post-Office,
which is kept separately and will be stated by itself), so far as they
bear upon this subject, are that the losses which have been and are
likely to be sustained by any class of agents have been the greatest by
banks, including, as required in the resolution, their depreciated paper
received for public dues; that the next largest have been by disbursing
officers, and the least by collectors and receivers. If the losses on
duty bonds are included, they alone will be threefold those by both
collectors and receivers. Our whole experience, therefore, furnishes the
strongest evidence that the desired legislation of Congress is alone
wanting to insure in those operations the highest degree of security
and facility. Such also appears to have been the experience of other
nations. From the results of inquiries made by the Secretary of the
Treasury in regard to the practice among them I am enabled to state
that in twenty-two out of twenty-seven foreign governments from which
undoubted information has been obtained the public moneys are kept in
charge of public officers. This concurrence of opinion in favor of
that system is perhaps as great as exists on any question of internal
administration.

In the modes of business and official restraints on disbursing officers
no legal change was produced by the suspension of specie payments. The
report last referred to will be found to contain also much useful
information in relation to this subject.

I have heretofore assigned to Congress my reasons for believing that
the establishment of an independent National Treasury, as contemplated
by the Constitution, is necessary to the safe action of the Federal
Government. The suspension of specie payments in 1837 by the banks
having the custody of the public money showed in so alarming a degree
our dependence on those institutions for the performance of duties
required by law that I then recommended the entire dissolution of that
connection. This recommendation has been subjected, as I desired it
should be, to severe scrutiny and animated discussion, and I allow
myself to believe that notwithstanding the natural diversities of
opinion which may be anticipated on all subjects involving such
important considerations, it has secured in its favor as general a
concurrence of public sentiment as could be expected on one of such
magnitude.

Recent events have also continued to develop new objections to such a
connection. Seldom is any bank, under the existing system and practice,
able to meet on demand all its liabilities for deposits and notes in
circulation. It maintains specie payments and transacts a profitable
business only by the confidence of the public in its solvency, and
whenever this is destroyed the demands of its depositors and note
holders, pressed more rapidly than it can make collections from its
debtors, force it to stop payment. This loss of confidence, with its
consequences, occurred in 1837, and afforded the apology of the banks
for their suspension. The public then acquiesced in the validity of the
excuse, and while the State legislatures did not exact from them their
forfeited charters, Congress, in accordance with the recommendation of
the Executive, allowed them time to pay over the public money they held,
although compelled to issue Treasury notes to supply the deficiency thus
created.

It now appears that there are other motives than a want of public
confidence under which the banks seek to justify themselves in a refusal
to meet their obligations. Scarcely were the country and Government
relieved in a degree from the difficulties occasioned by the general
suspension of 1837 when a partial one, occurring within thirty months
of the former, produced new and serious embarrassments, though it had
no palliation in such circumstances as were alleged in justification
of that which had previously taken place. There was nothing in the
condition of the country to endanger a well-managed banking institution;
commerce was deranged by no foreign war; every branch of manufacturing
industry was crowned with rich rewards, and the more than usual
abundance of our harvests, after supplying our domestic wants, had left
our granaries and storehouses filled with a surplus for exportation.
It is in the midst of this that an irredeemable and depreciated paper
currency is entailed upon the people by a large portion of the banks.
They are not driven to it by the exhibition of a loss of public
confidence or of a sudden pressure from their depositors or note
holders, but they excuse themselves by alleging that the current of
business and exchange with foreign countries, which draws the precious
metals from their vaults, would require in order to meet it a larger
curtailment of their loans to a comparatively small portion of the
community than it will be convenient for them to bear or perhaps safe
for the banks to exact. The plea has ceased to be one of necessity.
Convenience and policy are now deemed sufficient to warrant these
institutions in disregarding their solemn obligations. Such conduct
is not merely an injury to individual creditors, but it is a wrong to
the whole community, from whose liberality they hold most valuable
privileges, whose rights they violate, whose business they derange, and
the value of whose property they render unstable and insecure. It must
be evident that this new ground for bank suspensions, in reference to
which their action is not only disconnected with, but wholly independent
of, that of the public, gives a character to their suspensions more
alarming than any which they exhibited before, and greatly increases
the impropriety of relying on the banks in the transactions of the
Government.

A large and highly respectable portion of our banking institutions are,
it affords me unfeigned pleasure to state, exempted from all blame on
account of this second delinquency. They have, to their great credit,
not only continued to meet their engagements, but have even repudiated
the grounds of suspension now resorted to. It is only by such a course
that the confidence and good will of the community can be preserved, and
in the sequel the best interests of the institutions themselves
promoted.

New dangers to the banks are also daily disclosed from the extension
of that system of extravagant credit of which they are the pillars.
Formerly our foreign commerce was principally founded on an exchange
of commodities, including the precious metals, and leaving in its
transactions but little foreign debt. Such is not now the case. Aided
by the facilities afforded by the banks, mere credit has become too
commonly the basis of trade. Many of the banks themselves, not content
with largely stimulating this system among others, have usurped the
business, while they impair the stability, of the mercantile community;
they have become borrowers instead of lenders; they establish their
agencies abroad; they deal largely in stocks and merchandise; they
encourage the issue of State securities until the foreign market is
glutted with them; and, unsatisfied with the legitimate use of their own
capital and the exercise of their lawful privileges, they raise by large
loans additional means for every variety of speculation. The disasters
attendant on this deviation from the former course of business in this
country are now shared alike by banks and individuals to an extent of
which there is perhaps no previous example in the annals of our country.
So long as a willingness of the foreign lender and a sufficient export
of our productions to meet any necessary partial payments leave the flow
of credit undisturbed all appears to be prosperous, but as soon as it
is checked by any hesitation abroad or by an inability to make payment
there in our productions the evils of the system are disclosed. The
paper currency, which might serve for domestic purposes, is useless
to pay the debt due in Europe. Gold and silver are therefore drawn in
exchange for their notes from the banks. To keep up their supply of coin
these institutions are obliged to call upon their own debtors, who pay
them principally in their own notes, which are as unavailable to them as
they are to the merchants to meet the foreign demand. The calls of the
banks, therefore, in such emergencies of necessity exceed that demand,
and produce a corresponding curtailment of their accommodations and
of the currency at the very moment when the state of trade renders it
most inconvenient to be borne. The intensity of this pressure on the
community is in proportion to the previous liberality of credit and
consequent expansion of the currency. Forced sales of property are made
at the time when the means of purchasing are most reduced, and the worst
calamities to individuals are only at last arrested by an open violation
of their obligations by the banks--a refusal to pay specie for their
notes and an imposition upon the community of a fluctuating and
depreciated currency.

These consequences are inherent in the present system. They are not
influenced by the banks being large or small, created by National
or State Governments. They are the results of the irresistible laws
of trade or credit. In the recent events, which have so strikingly
illustrated the certain effects of these laws, we have seen the bank
of the largest capital in the Union, established under a national
charter, and lately strengthened, as we were authoritatively informed,
by exchanging that for a State charter with new and unusual
privileges--in a condition, too, as it was said, of entire soundness
and great prosperity--not merely unable to resist these effects, but
the first to yield to them.

Nor is it to be overlooked that there exists a chain of necessary
dependence among these institutions which obliges them to a great extent
to follow the course of others, notwithstanding its injustice to their
own immediate creditors or injury to the particular community in which
they are placed. This dependence of a bank, which is in proportion to
the extent of its debts for circulation and deposits, is not merely on
others in its own vicinity, but on all those which connect it with the
center of trade. Distant banks may fail without seriously affecting
those in our principal commercial cities, but the failure of the latter
is felt at the extremities of the Union. The suspension at New York in
1837 was everywhere, with very few exceptions, followed as soon as it
was known. That recently at Philadelphia immediately affected the banks
of the South and West in a similar manner. This dependence of our whole
banking system on the institutions in a few large cities is not found
in the laws of their organization, but in those of trade and exchange.
The banks at that center, to which currency flows and where it is
required in payments for merchandise, hold the power of controlling
those in regions whence it comes, while the latter possess no means
of restraining them; so that the value of individual property and the
prosperity of trade through the whole interior of the country are made
to depend on the good or bad management of the banking institutions in
the great seats of trade on the seaboard.

But this chain of dependence does not stop here. It does not terminate
at Philadelphia or New York. It reaches across the ocean and ends in
London, the center of the credit system. The same laws of trade which
give to the banks in our principal cities power over the whole banking
system of the United States subject the former, in their turn, to the
money power in Great Britain. It is not denied that the suspension of
the New York banks in 1837, which was followed in quick succession
throughout the Union, was produced by an application of that power, and
it is now alleged, in extenuation of the present condition of so large
a portion of our banks, that their embarrassments have arisen from the
same cause.

From this influence they can not now entirely escape, for it has its
origin in the credit currencies of the two countries; it is strengthened
by the current of trade and exchange which centers in London, and is
rendered almost irresistible by the large debts contracted there by our
merchants, our banks, and our States. It is thus that an introduction of
a new bank into the most distant of our villages places the business of
that village within the influence of the money power in England; it is
thus that every new debt which we contract in that country seriously
affects our own currency and extends over the pursuits of our citizens
its powerful influence. We can not escape from this by making new banks,
great or small, State or national. The same chains which bind those
now existing to the center of this system of paper credit must equally
fetter every similar institution we create. It is only by the extent to
which this system has been pushed of late that we have been made fully
aware of its irresistible tendency to subject our own banks and
currency to a vast controlling power in a foreign land, and it adds
a new argument to those which illustrate their precarious situation.
Endangered in the first place by their own mismanagement and again by
the conduct of every institution which connects them with the center of
trade in our own country, they are yet subjected beyond all this to the
effect of whatever measures policy, necessity, or caprice may induce
those who control the credits of England to resort to. I mean not
to comment upon these measures, present or past, and much less to
discourage the prosecution of fair commercial dealing between the two
countries, based on reciprocal benefits; but it having now been made
manifest that the power of inflicting these and similar injuries is by
the resistless law of a credit currency and credit trade equally capable
of extending their consequences through all the ramifications of our
banking system, and by that means indirectly obtaining, particularly
when our banks are used as depositories of the public moneys, a
dangerous political influence in the United States, I have deemed it my
duty to bring the subject to your notice and ask for it your serious
consideration.

Is an argument required beyond the exposition of these facts to show
the impropriety of using our banking institutions as depositories of
the public money? Can we venture not only to encounter the risk of
their individual and mutual mismanagement, but at the same time to place
our foreign and domestic policy entirely under the control of a foreign
moneyed interest? To do so is to impair the independence of our
Government, as the present credit system has already impaired the
independence of our banks; it is to submit all its important operations,
whether of peace or war, to be controlled or thwarted, at first by our
own banks and then by a power abroad greater than themselves. I can not
bring myself to depict the humiliation to which this Government and
people might be sooner or later reduced if the means for defending their
rights are to be made dependent upon those who may have the most
powerful of motives to impair them.

Nor is it only in reference to the effect of this state of things on the
independence of our Government or of our banks that the subject presents
itself for consideration; it is to be viewed also in its relations to
the general trade of our country. The time is not long passed when a
deficiency of foreign crops was thought to afford a profitable market
for the surplus of our industry, but now we await with feverish anxiety
the news of the English harvest, not so much from motives of commendable
sympathy, but fearful lest its anticipated failure should narrow the
field of credit there. Does not this speak volumes to the patriot? Can
a system be beneficent, wise, or just which creates greater anxiety for
interests dependent on foreign credit than for the general prosperity of
our own country and the profitable exportation of the surplus produce of
our labor?

The circumstances to which I have thus adverted appear to me to afford
weighty reasons, developed by late events, to be added to those which
I have on former occasions offered when submitting to your better
knowledge and discernment the propriety of separating the custody of the
public money from banking institutions. Nor has anything occurred to
lessen, in my opinion, the force of what has been heretofore urged.
The only ground on which that custody can be desired by the banks is
the profitable use which they may make of the money. Such use would
be regarded in individuals as a breach of trust or a crime of great
magnitude, and yet it may be reasonably doubted whether, first and last,
it is not attended with more mischievous consequences when permitted to
the former than to the latter. The practice of permitting the public
money to be used by its keepers, as here, is believed to be peculiar to
this country and to exist scarcely anywhere else. To procure it here
improper influences are appealed to, unwise connections are established
between the Government and vast numbers of powerful State institutions,
other motives than the public good are brought to bear both on the
executive and legislative departments, and selfish combinations leading
to special legislation are formed. It is made the interest of banking
institutions and their stockholders throughout the Union to use their
exertions for the increase of taxation and the accumulation of a surplus
revenue, and while an excuse is afforded the means are furnished for
those excessive issues which lead to extravagant trading and speculation
and are the forerunners of a vast debt abroad and a suspension of the
banks at home.

Impressed, therefore, as I am with the propriety of the funds of the
Government being withdrawn from the private use of either banks or
individuals, and the public money kept by duly appointed public agents,
and believing as I do that such also is the judgment which discussion,
reflection, and experience have produced on the public mind, I leave the
subject with you. It is, at all events, essential to the interests of
the community and the business of the Government that a decision should
be made.

Most of the arguments that dissuade us from employing banks in the
custody and disbursement of the public money apply with equal force to
the receipt of their notes for public dues. The difference is only in
form. In one instance the Government is a creditor for its deposits, and
in the other for the notes it holds. They afford the same opportunity
for using the public moneys, and equally lead to all the evils attendant
upon it, since a bank can as safely extend its discounts on a deposit
of its notes in the hands of a public officer as on one made in its own
vaults. On the other hand, it would give to the Government no greater
security, for in case of failure the claim of the note holder would be
no better than that of a depositor.

I am aware that the danger of inconvenience to the public and
unreasonable pressure upon sound banks have been urged as objections
to requiring the payment of the revenue in gold and silver. These
objections have been greatly exaggerated. From the best estimates we may
safely fix the amount of specie in the country at $85,000,000, and the
portion of that which would be employed at any one time in the receipts
and disbursements of the Government, even if the proposed change were
made at once, would not, it is now, after fuller investigation, believed
exceed four or five millions. If the change were gradual, several
years would elapse before that sum would be required, with annual
opportunities in the meantime to alter the law should experience prove
it to be oppressive or inconvenient. The portions of the community on
whose business the change would immediately operate are comparatively
small, nor is it believed that its effect would be in the least unjust
or injurious to them.

In the payment of duties, which constitute by far the greater portion of
the revenue, a very large proportion is derived from foreign commission
houses and agents of foreign manufacturers, who sell the goods consigned
to them generally at auction, and after paying the duties out of the
avails remit the rest abroad in specie or its equivalent. That the
amount of duties should in such cases be also retained in specie can
hardly be made a matter of complaint. Our own importing merchants,
by whom the residue of the duties is paid, are not only peculiarly
interested in maintaining a sound currency, which the measure in
question will especially promote, but are from the nature of their
dealings best able to know when specie will be needed and to procure
it with the least difficulty or sacrifice. Residing, too, almost
universally in places where the revenue is received and where the drafts
used by the Government for its disbursements must concentrate, they have
every opportunity to obtain and use them in place of specie should it be
for their interest or convenience. Of the number of these drafts and the
facilities they may afford, as well as of the rapidity with which the
public funds are drawn and disbursed, an idea may be formed from the
fact that of nearly $20,000,000 paid to collectors and receivers during
the present year the average amount in their hands at any one time has
not exceeded a million and a half, and of the fifteen millions received
by the collector of New York alone during the present year the average
amount held by him subject to draft during each week has been less than
half a million.

The ease and safety of the operations of the Treasury in keeping the
public money are promoted by the application of its own drafts to the
public dues. The objection arising from having them too long outstanding
might be obviated and they yet made to afford to merchants and banks
holding them an equivalent for specie, and in that way greatly lessen
the amount actually required. Still less inconvenience will attend the
requirement of specie in purchases of public lands. Such purchases,
except when made on speculation, are in general but single transactions,
rarely repeated by the same person; and it is a fact that for the
last year and a half, during which the notes of sound banks have been
received, more than a moiety of these payments has been voluntarily made
in specie, being a larger proportion than would have been required in
three years under the graduation proposed.

It is, moreover, a principle than which none is better settled by
experience that the supply of the precious metals will always be found
adequate to the uses for which they are required. They abound in
countries where no other currency is allowed. In our own States, where
small notes are excluded, gold and silver supply their place. When
driven to their hiding places by bank suspensions, a little firmness in
the community soon restores them in a sufficient quantity for ordinary
purposes. Postage and other public dues have been collected in coin
without serious inconvenience even in States where a depreciated paper
currency has existed for years, and this, with the aid of Treasury
notes for a part of the time, was done without interruption during the
suspension of 1837. At the present moment the receipts and disbursements
of the Government are made in legal currency in the largest portion of
the Union. No one suggests a departure from this rule, and if it can now
be successfully carried out it will be surely attended with even less
difficulty when bank notes are again redeemed in specie.

Indeed, I can not think that a serious objection would anywhere be
raised to the receipt and payment of gold and silver in all public
transactions were it not from an apprehension that a surplus in the
Treasury might withdraw a large portion of it from circulation and lock
it up unprofitably in the public vaults. It would not, in my opinion,
be difficult to prevent such an inconvenience from occurring; but the
authentic statements which I have already submitted to you in regard
to the actual amount in the public Treasury at any one time during the
period embraced in them and the little probability of a different state
of the Treasury for at least some years to come seem to render it
unnecessary to dwell upon it. Congress, moreover, as I have before
observed, will in every year have an opportunity to guard against it
should the occurrence of any circumstances lead us to apprehend injury
from this source. Viewing the subject in all its aspects, I can not
believe that any period will be more auspicious than the present for the
adoption of all measures necessary to maintain the sanctity of our own
engagements and to aid in securing to the community that abundant supply
of the precious metals which adds so much to their prosperity and gives
such increased stability to all their dealings.

In a country so commercial as ours banks in some form will probably
always exist, but this serves only to render it the more incumbent on
us, notwithstanding the discouragements of the past, to strive in our
respective stations to mitigate the evils they produce; to take from
them as rapidly as the obligations of public faith and a careful
consideration of the immediate interests of the community will permit
the unjust character of monopolies; to check, so far as may be
practicable, by prudent legislation those temptations of interest and
those opportunities for their dangerous indulgence which beset them on
every side, and to confine them strictly to the performance of their
paramount duty--that of aiding the operations of commerce rather than
consulting their own exclusive advantage. These and other salutary
reforms may, it is believed, be accomplished without the violation of
any of the great principles of the social compact, the observance of
which is indispensable to its existence, or interfering in any way with
the useful and profitable employment of real capital.

Institutions so framed have existed and still exist elsewhere, giving
to commercial intercourse all necessary facilities without inflating or
depreciating the currency or stimulating speculation. Thus accomplishing
their legitimate ends, they have gained the surest guaranty for their
protection and encouragement in the good will of the community. Among
a people so just as ours the same results could not fail to attend a
similar course. The direct supervision of the banks belongs, from the
nature of our Government, to the States who authorize them. It is to
their legislatures that the people must mainly look for action on that
subject. But as the conduct of the Federal Government in the management
of its revenue has also a powerful, though less immediate, influence
upon them, it becomes our duty to see that a proper direction is given
to it. While the keeping of the public revenue in a separate and
independent treasury and of collecting it in gold and silver will have
a salutary influence on the system of paper credit with which all banks
are connected, and thus aid those that are sound and well managed, it
will at the same time sensibly check such as are otherwise by at once
withholding the means of extravagance afforded by the public funds and
restraining them from excessive issues of notes which they would be
constantly called upon to redeem.

I am aware it has been urged that this control may be best attained and
exerted by means of a national bank. The constitutional objections
which I am well known to entertain would prevent me in any event from
proposing or assenting to that remedy; but in addition to this, I can
not after past experience bring myself to think that it can any longer
be extensively regarded as effective for such a purpose. The history of
the late national bank, through all its mutations, shows that it was
not so. On the contrary, it may, after a careful consideration of the
subject, be, I think, safely stated that at every period of banking
excess it took the lead; that in 1817 and 1818, in 1823, in 1831, and
in 1834 its vast expansions, followed by distressing contractions, led
to those of the State institutions. It swelled and maddened the tides of
the banking system, but seldom allayed or safely directed them. At a few
periods only was a salutary control exercised, but an eager desire, on
the contrary, exhibited for profit in the first place; and if afterwards
its measures were severe toward other institutions, it was because its
own safety compelled it to adopt them. It did not differ from them in
principle or in form; its measures emanated from the same spirit of
gain; it felt the same temptation to overissues; it suffered from and
was totally unable to avert those inevitable laws of trade by which it
was itself affected equally with them; and at least on one occasion, at
an early day, it was saved only by extraordinary exertions from the same
fate that attended the weakest institution it professed to supervise.
In 1837 it failed equally with others in redeeming its notes (though
the two years allowed by its charter for that purpose had not expired),
a large amount of which remains to the present time outstanding. It is
true that, having so vast a capital and strengthened by the use of all
the revenues of the Government, it possessed more power; but while it
was itself by that circumstance freed from the control which all banks
require, its paramount object and inducement were left the same--to
make the most for its stockholders, not to regulate the currency of the
country. Nor has it, as far as we are advised, been found to be greatly
otherwise elsewhere. The national character given to the Bank of England
has not prevented excessive fluctuations in their currency, and it
proved unable to keep off a suspension of specie payments, which lasted
for nearly a quarter of a century. And why should we expect it to be
otherwise? A national institution, though deriving its charter from a
different source than the State banks, is yet constituted upon the same
principles, is conducted by men equally exposed to temptation, and is
liable to the same disasters, with the additional disadvantage that
its magnitude occasions an extent of confusion and distress which the
mismanagement of smaller institutions could not produce. It can scarcely
be doubted that the recent suspension of the United States Bank of
Pennsylvania, of which the effects are felt not in that State alone, but
over half the Union, had its origin in a course of business commenced
while it was a national institution, and there is no good reason for
supposing that the same consequences would not have followed had it
still derived its powers from the General Government. It is in vain,
when the influences and impulses are the same, to look for a difference
in conduct or results. By such creations we do, therefore, but increase
the mass of paper credit and paper currency, without checking their
attendant evils and fluctuations. The extent of power and the efficiency
of organization which we give, so far from being beneficial, are in
practice positively injurious. They strengthen the chain of dependence
throughout the Union, subject all parts more certainly to common
disaster, and bind every bank more effectually in the first instance
to those of our commercial cities, and in the end to a foreign power.
In a word, I can not but believe that, with the full understanding of
the operations of our banking system which experience has produced,
public sentiment is not less opposed to the creation of a national bank
for purposes connected with currency and commerce than for those
connected with the fiscal operations of the Government.

Yet the commerce and currency of the country are suffering evils from
the operations of the State banks which can not and ought not to be
overlooked. By their means we have been flooded with a depreciated
paper, which it was evidently the design of the framers of the
Constitution to prevent when they required Congress to "coin money and
regulate the value of foreign coins," and when they forbade the States
"to coin money, emit bills of credit, make anything but gold and silver
a tender in payment of debts," or "pass any law impairing the obligation
of contracts." If they did not guard more explicitly against the present
state of things, it was because they could not have anticipated that the
few banks then existing were to swell to an extent which would expel to
so great a degree the gold and silver for which they had provided from
the channels of circulation, and fill them with a currency that defeats
the objects they had in view. The remedy for this must chiefly rest with
the States from whose legislation it has sprung. No good that might
accrue in a particular case from the exercise of powers not obviously
conferred on the General Government would authorize its interference or
justify a course that might in the slightest degree increase at the
expense of the States the power of the Federal authorities; nor do
I doubt that the States will apply the remedy. Within the last few
years events have appealed to them too strongly to be disregarded.
They have seen that the Constitution, though theoretically adhered to,
is subverted in practice; that while on the statute books there is no
legal tender but gold and silver, no law impairing the obligations of
contracts, yet that in point of fact the privileges conferred on banking
corporations have made their notes the currency of the country; that the
obligations imposed by these notes are violated under the impulses of
interest or convenience, and that the number and power of the persons
connected with these corporations or placed under their influence give
them a fearful weight when their interest is in opposition to the spirit
of the Constitution and laws. To the people it is immaterial whether
these results are produced by open violations of the latter or by the
workings of a system of which the result is the same. An inflexible
execution even of the existing statutes of most of the States would
redress many evils now endured, would effectually show the banks the
dangers of mismanagement which impunity encourages them to repeat,
and would teach all corporations the useful lesson that they are the
subjects of the law and the servants of the people. What is still
wanting to effect these objects must be sought in additional
legislation, or, if that be inadequate, in such further constitutional
grants or restrictions as may bring us back into the path from which
we have so widely wandered.

In the meantime it is the duty of the General Government to cooperate
with the States by a wise exercise of its constitutional powers and
the enforcement of its existing laws. The extent to which it may do so
by further enactments I have already adverted to, and the wisdom of
Congress may yet enlarge them. But above all, it is incumbent upon us
to hold erect the principles of morality and law, constantly executing
our own contracts in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution,
and thus serving as a rallying point by which our whole country may be
brought back to that safe and honored standard.

Our people will not long be insensible to the extent of the burdens
entailed upon them by the false system that has been operating on
their sanguine, energetic, and industrious character, nor to the means
necessary to extricate themselves from these embarrassments. The weight
which presses upon a large portion of the people and the States is
an enormous debt, foreign and domestic. The foreign debt of our
States, corporations, and men of business can scarcely be less than
$200,000,000, requiring more than $10,000,000 a year to pay the
interest. This sum has to be paid out of the exports of the country,
and must of necessity cut off imports to that extent or plunge the
country more deeply in debt from year to year. It is easy to see that
the increase of this foreign debt must augment the annual demand on
the exports to pay the interest, and to the same extent diminish the
imports, and in proportion to the enlargement of the foreign debt and
the consequent increase of interest must be the decrease of the import
trade. In lieu of the comforts which it now brings us we might have
our gigantic banking institutions and splendid, but in many instances
profitless, railroads and canals absorbing to a great extent in interest
upon the capital borrowed to construct them the surplus fruits of
national industry for years to come, and securing to posterity no
adequate return for the comforts which the labors of their hands might
otherwise have secured. It is not by the increase of this debt that
relief is to be sought, but in its diminution. Upon this point there
is, I am happy to say, hope before us; not so much in the return of
confidence abroad, which will enable the States to borrow more money, as
in a change of public feeling at home, which prompts our people to pause
in their career and think of the means by which debts are to be paid
before they are contracted. If we would escape embarrassment, public and
private, we must cease to run in debt except for objects of necessity
or such as will yield a certain return. Let the faith of the States,
corporations, and individuals already pledged be kept with the most
punctilious regard. It is due to our national character as well as
to justice that this should on the part of each be a fixed principle
of conduct. But it behooves us all to be more chary in pledging it
hereafter. By ceasing to run in debt and applying the surplus of our
crops and incomes to the discharge of existing obligations, buying less
and selling more, and managing all affairs, public and private, with
strict economy and frugality, we shall see our country soon recover from
a temporary depression, arising not from natural and permanent causes,
but from those I have enumerated, and advance with renewed vigor in her
career of prosperity.

Fortunately for us at this moment, when the balance of trade is greatly
against us and the difficulty of meeting it enhanced by the disturbed
state of our money affairs, the bounties of Providence have come to
relieve us from the consequences of past errors. A faithful application
of the immense results of the labors of the last season will afford
partial relief for the present, and perseverance in the same course will
in due season accomplish the rest. We have had full experience in times
past of the extraordinary results which can in this respect be brought
about in a short period by the united and well-directed efforts of a
community like ours. Our surplus profits, the energy and industry of our
population, and the wonderful advantages which Providence has bestowed
upon our country in its climate, its various productions, indispensable
to other nations, will in due time afford abundant means to perfect the
most useful of those objects for which the States have been plunging
themselves of late in embarrassment and debt, without imposing on
ourselves or our children such fearful burdens.

But let it be indelibly engraved on our minds that relief is not to be
found in expedients. Indebtedness can not be lessened by borrowing more
money or by changing the form of the debt. The balance of trade is not
to be turned in our favor by creating new demands upon us abroad. Our
currency can not be improved by the creation of new banks or more issues
from those which now exist. Although these devices sometimes appear to
give temporary relief, they almost invariably aggravate the evil in the
end. It is only by retrenchment and reform--by curtailing public and
private expenditures, by paying our debts, and by reforming our banking
system--that we are to expect effectual relief, security for the future,
and an enduring prosperity. In shaping the institutions and policy of
the General Government so as to promote as far as it can with its
limited powers these important ends, you may rely on my most cordial
cooperation.

That there should have been in the progress of recent events doubts in
many quarters and in some a heated opposition to every change can not
surprise us. Doubts are properly attendant on all reform, and it is
peculiarly in the nature of such abuses as we are now encountering to
seek to perpetuate their power by means of the influence they have been
permitted to acquire. It is their result, if not their object, to gain
for the few an ascendency over the many by securing to them a monopoly
of the currency, the medium through which most of the wants of mankind
are supplied; to produce throughout society a chain of dependence which
leads all classes to look to privileged associations for the means of
speculation and extravagance; to nourish, in preference to the manly
virtues that give dignity to human nature, a craving desire for
luxurious enjoyment and sudden wealth, which renders those who seek
them dependent on those who supply them; to substitute for republican
simplicity and economical habits a sickly appetite for effeminate
indulgence and an imitation of that reckless extravagance which
impoverished and enslaved the industrious people of foreign lands, and
at last to fix upon us, instead of those equal political rights the
acquisition of which was alike the object and supposed reward of our
Revolutionary struggle, a system of exclusive privileges conferred by
partial legislation. To remove the influences which had thus gradually
grown up among us, to deprive them of their deceptive advantages, to
test them by the light of wisdom and truth, to oppose the force which
they concentrate in their support--all this was necessarily the work of
time, even among a people so enlightened and pure as that of the United
States. In most other countries, perhaps, it could only be accomplished
through that series of revolutionary movements which are too often found
necessary to effect any great and radical reform; but it is the crowning
merit of our institutions that they create and nourish in the vast
majority of our people a disposition and a power peaceably to remedy
abuses which have elsewhere caused the effusion of rivers of blood and
the sacrifice of thousands of the human race. The result thus far is
most honorable to the self-denial, the intelligence, and the patriotism
of our citizens; it justifies the confident hope that they will carry
through the reform which has been so well begun, and that they will go
still further than they have yet gone in illustrating the important
truth that a people as free and enlightened as ours will, whenever
it becomes necessary, show themselves to be indeed capable of
self-government by voluntarily adopting appropriate remedies for every
abuse, and submitting to temporary sacrifices, however great, to insure
their permanent welfare.

My own exertions for the furtherance of these desirable objects have
been bestowed throughout my official career with a zeal that is
nourished by ardent wishes for the welfare of my country, and by an
unlimited reliance on the wisdom that marks its ultimate decision on all
great and controverted questions. Impressed with the solemn obligations
imposed upon me by the Constitution, desirous also of laying before my
fellow-citizens, with whose confidence and support I have been so highly
honored, such measures as appear to me conducive to their prosperity,
and anxious to submit to their fullest consideration the grounds upon
which my opinions are formed, I have on this as on preceding occasions
freely offered my views on those points of domestic policy that seem
at the present time most prominently to require the action of the
Government. I know that they will receive from Congress that full and
able consideration which the importance of the subjects merits, and
I can repeat the assurance heretofore made that I shall cheerfully and
readily cooperate with you in every measure that will tend to promote
the welfare of the Union.

M. VAN BUREN.



SPECIAL MESSAGES.


CITY OF WASHINGTON, _December 4, 1839_.

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

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of the Treasury,
exhibiting certain transfers of appropriations that have been made in
that Department in pursuance of the powers vested in the President of
the United States by the act of Congress of the 3d of March, 1809,
entitled "An act further to amend the several acts for the establishment
and regulation of the Treasury, War, and Navy Departments."

M. VAN BUREN.



CITY OF WASHINGTON, _December 4, 1839_.

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

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of War, which exhibits
certain transfers of appropriations made in the War Department under the
authority conferred upon the President of the United States by the acts
of Congress of March 3, 1809, and May 1, 1820, passed in addition to and
to amend the several acts for the establishment and regulation of the
Treasury, War, and Navy Departments.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _December 11, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit for the consideration and advice of the Senate a treaty
concluded on the 3d day of September last with the Stockbridge and
Munsee tribes of Indians, with a report from the Secretary of War and
other documents in relation to it.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _December 12, 1839_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I nominate the persons named in the accompanying list for promotion and
appointment in the Army to the several grades annexed to their names, as
proposed by the Secretary of War.

M. VAN BUREN.



WAR DEPARTMENT, _December 11, 1839_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR: In submitting the accompanying list[55] of promotions and
appointments, which I respectfully recommend for your approval, I beg
leave to call your attention to that part of it which relates to the
Quartermaster's Department.

The seventh section of the act of 2d of March, 1821, fixing the
military peace establishment, provides "that there shall be one
Quartermaster-General; that there shall be two quartermasters with
the rank, pay, and emoluments of majors of cavalry, and ten assistant
quartermasters, who shall, in addition to their pay in the line, receive
a sum not less than ten nor more than twenty dollars per month, to be
regulated by the Secretary of War."

The third section of the act of the 18th May, 1826, provides for "two
additional quartermasters and ten assistant quartermasters, to be taken
from the line of the Army, who shall have the same rank and compensation
as are provided for like grades by the act of the 2d March, 1821," above
quoted; that is to say, the two additional quartermasters shall have the
"rank, pay, and emoluments of majors of cavalry," and the ten additional
assistant quartermasters "shall, in addition to their pay in the line,
receive a sum not less than $10 nor more than $20 per month."

The ninth section of the act of the 5th July, 1838, provides "that the
President of the United States be authorized, by and with the advice and
consent of the Senate, to add to the Quartermaster's Department not
exceeding two assistant quartermasters-general with the rank of colonel,
two deputy quartermasters-general with the rank of lieutenant-colonel,
and eight assistant quartermasters with the rank of captain; that the
assistant quartermasters now in service shall have the same rank as is
provided by this act for those hereby authorized: ... _Provided_, That
all the appointments in the Quartermaster's Department shall be made
from the Army, ... and that promotions in said Department shall take
place as in regiments and corps."

These are believed to be the only laws now in force which provide for
the organization of the Quartermaster's Department, and they are here
cited with a view to a full and clear understanding of the question of
precedence of rank between certain officers of that Department.

Prior to the act of the 5th of July, 1838, last quoted, the assistant
quartermasters were selected from the several regiments of the line to
perform duty in the Quartermaster's Department. They were never
commissioned in the Department; they merely received letters of
appointment as assistant quartermasters, and were allowed the additional
pay provided by the act of the 2d March, 1821, and 16th May, 1826. They
held no rank in the Department separate from their rank in the line, and
were liable to be returned to their regiments according to the wants of
the service or at the pleasure of the President. In completing the
organization of the Department provided by the act of 5th July. 1838,
several officers were selected from regiments for appointment as
assistant quartermasters whose lineal rank was greater than that held by
the assistant quartermasters then doing duty in the Department, and on
the 7th of July, the list being nearly completed, it was submitted to
the Senate for confirmation. All the assistant quartermasters thus
submitted to the Senate were confirmed to take rank from the 7th of
July, and in the order they were nominated, which was according to their
seniority in the line and agreeably to what was conceived to be the
intention of the law. Had the opposite course been pursued, the
lieutenants serving in the Department must either have outranked some of
the captains selected or else the selections must have been confined
altogether to the subaltern officers of the Army. It will appear,
therefore, that the relative rank of these officers has been properly
settled, both by a fair construction of the law and the long-established
regulation of the service which requires that "in cases where
commissions of the same grade and date interfere a retrospect is to be
had to former commissions in actual service at the time of appointment."
But as several of the assistant quartermasters who were doing duty in
the Department prior to the act of the 5th of July, 1838, have felt
themselves aggrieved by this construction of the law, and have urged a
consideration of their claims to priority of rank, I have felt it my
duty to lay their communications before you, with a view to their being
submitted to the Senate with the accompanying list,[55] should you think
proper to do so.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

J.R. POINSETT.

[Footnote 55: Omitted.]



WASHINGTON, _December 17, 1839_.

Hon. WM. R. KING,

_President of the Senate_.

SIR: I transmit herewith a report made to me by the Secretary of the
Treasury, with accompanying documents, in regard to some difficulties
which have occurred concerning the kind of papers deemed necessary to be
provided by law for the use and protection of American vessels engaged
in the whale fisheries, and would respectfully invite the consideration
of Congress to some new legislation on a subject of so much interest and
difficulty.

M. VAN BUREN.

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



WASHINGTON CITY, _December 23, 1839_.

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

I herewith communicate to Congress copies of a letter from the governor
of Iowa to the Secretary of State and of the documents transmitted with
it, on the subject of a dispute respecting the boundary line between
that Territory and the State of Missouri. The disagreement as to the
extent of their respective jurisdictions has produced a state of
such great excitement that I think it necessary to invite your early
attention to the report of the commissioner appointed to run the line
in question under the act of the 18th of June, 1838, which was sent
to both Houses of Congress by the Secretary of State on the 30th of
January last.

M. VAN BUREN.



DECEMBER 24, 1839.

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

I transmit herewith to Congress a report from the Secretary of State,
on the subject of the law providing for taking the Sixth Census of the
United States, to which I invite your early attention.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _December 28, 1839_.

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

I herewith transmit a report from the Secretary of the Treasury, in
relation to the employment of steam vessels in the Revenue-Cutter
Service, and recommend the subject to the special and favorable
consideration of Congress.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _December 30, 1839_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit to Congress copies of a communication from Governor Lucas,
and of additional documents, in relation to the disputed boundary line
between the Territory of Iowa and the State of Missouri.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _December 31, 1839_.

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

I communicate to Congress a report from the Secretary of State, in
relation to applications on the part of France for the extension to
vessels coming from the colonies of French Guiana and Senegal of the
benefits granted by the act of the 9th of May, 1828, to vessels of the
same nation coming from the islands of Guadaloupe and Martinique, and
for the repayment of duties levied in the district of Newport upon the
French ship _Alexandre_ and part of her cargo. The circumstances under
which these duties were demanded being, as stated by the Secretary
of the Treasury, of a character to entitle the parties to relief,
I recommend the adoption of the necessary legislative provisions to
authorize their repayment. I likewise invite your attention to the
evidence contained in the accompanying documents as to the treatment of
our vessels in the port of Cayenne, which will doubtless be found by
Congress such as to authorize the application to French vessels coming
from that colony of the liberal principles of reciprocity which have
hitherto governed the action of the legislature in analogous cases.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _January 6, 1840_.

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

I herewith communicate to Congress copies of a communication received
from the chief magistrate of the State of Maryland in respect to the
cession to that State of the interest of the General Government in
the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. Having no authority to enter into the
proposed negotiation, I can only submit the subject to the consideration
of Congress. That body will, I am confident, give to it a careful and
favorable consideration and adopt such measures in the premises within
their competency as will be just to the State of Maryland and to all the
other interests involved.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _January 8, 1840_.

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

I transmit herewith for your consideration and action a communication
from the Secretary of War, which is accompanied by documents from the
military and topographical engineer bureaus, referred to in his late
annual report as relating to the system of internal improvement carried
on by the General Government, and showing the operations during the past
year in that branch of the public service intrusted to the topographical
bureau.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _January 8, 1840_.

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

In addition to the papers accompanying my messages of the 23d and
30th ultimo, I communicate to Congress a copy of a letter, with its
inclosure, since received at the Department of State from the governor
of Iowa, in relation to the disputed boundary between that Territory and
the State of Missouri.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _January 8, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with a resolution that passed the Senate the 30th ultimo,
calling for information as to the banks which had recently suspended
specie payments and those which had resumed, as well as the cases where
they had refused payment of the public demands in specie, with several
other particulars, I requested the different Departments to prepare
reports on the whole subject so far as connected with the business with
each.

Having received an answer from the Treasury Department which, with the
documents annexed, will probably cover most of the inquiries, I herewith
submit the same to your consideration, and will present the reports from
the other Departments so soon as they are completed.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _January 10, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, in compliance with a resolution of the 30th
ultimo, the proceedings of the court of inquiry in the case of
Lieutenant-Colonel Brant,[56] held at St. Louis in November last, and
the papers connected therewith, together with a copy of that officer's
resignation.

The report of the Secretary of War which accompanies these papers
contains the reasons for withholding the proceedings of the
court-martial.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 56: Relating to his administration of the affairs of the
Quartermaster's Department at St. Louis.]



WASHINGTON, _January 11, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, in compliance with its resolutions of the 30th
ultimo, two reports of the Secretary of State, containing the answers of
the Commissioner of Patents and the disbursing agent of the Department
of State to the inquiries embraced in said resolutions.[57]

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 57: Relating to the sale or exchange of Government drafts,
etc.]



WASHINGTON, _January 11, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report and statement of the Secretary of the
Treasury, furnishing the information called for by the resolution of the
30th ultimo, in relation to the amount of money drawn from the Treasury
in each of the five years preceding the commencement of the present
session of Congress, except the amount drawn under the special pension
laws. The statement showing the amount, it will be seen from the
accompanying communication of the Secretary of War, will take some
little time, but will be prepared as early as possible and transmitted.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _January 13, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I again submit to you the amended treaty of June 11, 1838, with the
New York Indians. It is accompanied by minutes of the proceedings of
a council held with them at Cattaraugus on the 13th and 14th days of
August, 1839, at which were present on the part of the United States the
Secretary of War and on the part of the State of Massachusetts General
H.A.S. Dearborn, its commissioner; by various documentary testimony, and
by a memorial presented in behalf of the several committees on Indian
concerns appointed by the four yearly meetings of Friends of Genesee,
New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. In the latter document the
memorialists not only insist upon the irregularity and illegality of the
negotiation, but urge a variety of considerations which appear to them
to be very conclusive against the policy of the removal itself. The
motives by which they have been induced to take so deep an interest
in the subject are frankly set forth, and are doubtless of the most
beneficent character. They have, however, failed to remove my decided
conviction that the proposed removal, if it can be accomplished by
proper means, will be alike beneficial to the Indians, to the State
in which the land is situated, and to the more general interest of
the United States upon the subject of Indian affairs.

The removal of the New York Indians is not only important to the tribes
themselves, but to an interesting portion of western New York, and
especially to the growing city of Buffalo, which is surrounded by lands
occupied by the Senecas. To the Indians themselves it presents the only
prospect of preservation. Surrounded as they are by all the influences
which work their destruction, by temptation they can not resist and
artifices they can not counteract, they are rapidly declining, and,
notwithstanding the philanthropic efforts of the Society of Friends,
it is believed that where they are they must soon become extinct; and
to this portion of our country the extraordinary spectacle is presented
of densely populated and highly improved settlements inhabited by
industrious, moral, and respectable citizens, divided by a wilderness
on one side of which is a city of more than 20,000 souls, whose
advantageous position in every other respect and great commercial
prospects would insure its rapid increase in population and wealth
if not retarded by the circumstance of a naturally fertile district
remaining a barren waste in its immediate vicinity. Neither does it
appear just to those who are entitled to the fee simple of the land,
and who have paid a part of the purchase money, that they should suffer
from the waste which is constantly committed upon their reversionary
rights and the great deterioration of the land consequent upon such
depredations without any corresponding advantage to the Indian
occupants.

The treaty, too, is recommended by the liberality of its provisions.
The cession contained in the first article embraces the right, title,
and interest secured to "the Six Nations of the New York Indians and
St. Regis tribe" in lands at Green Bay by the Menomonee treaty of 8th
February, 1831, the supplement thereto of 17th of same month, and the
conditions upon which they were ratified by the Senate, except a tract
on which a part of the New York Indians now reside. The Menomonee treaty
assigned them 500,000 acres, coupled with the original condition that
they should remove to them within three years after the date of the
treaty, modified by the supplement so as to empower the President to
prescribe the term within which they should remove to the Green Bay
lands, and that if they neglected to do so within the period limited
so much of the land as should be unoccupied by them at the termination
thereof should revert to the United States. To these lands the New
York Indians claimed title, which was resisted, and, for quieting
the controversy, by the treaty of 1831 the United States paid a large
consideration; and it will be seen that by using the power given in the
treaty the Executive might put an end to the Indian claim. Instead of
this harsher measure, for a grant of all their interest in Wisconsin,
which, deducting the land in the actual occupancy of New York Indians,
amounts to about 435,000 acres, the treaty as amended by the Senate
gives 1,824,000 acres of lands in the West and the sum of $400,000 for
their removal and subsistence, for education and agricultural purposes,
the erection of mills and the necessary houses, and the promotion of
the mechanic arts. Besides, there are special money provisions for the
Cayugas, the Onondagas, the Oneidas of New York, the Tuscaroras, and
St. Regis Indians, and an engagement to receive from Ogden and Fellows
for the Senecas $202,000; to invest $100,000 of this sum in safe stocks
and to distribute $102,000 among the owners of improvements in New York
according to an appraisement; to sell for the Tuscaroras 5,000 acres
of land they hold in Niagara County, N.Y., and to invest the proceeds,
exclusive of what may be received for improvements, "the income from
which shall be paid to the nation at their new homes annually, and the
money which shall be received for improvements on said lands shall
be paid to the owners of the improvements when the lands are sold."
These are the substantial parts of the treaty, and are so careful of
Indian advantage that one might suppose they would be satisfactory to
those most anxious for their welfare. The right they cede could be
extinguished by a course that treaty provisions justify and authorize.
So long as they persevere in their determination to remain in New York
it is of no service to them, and for this naked right it is seen what
the United States propose to give them besides the sum of $202,000,
which will be due from the purchasers of their occupant right to the
Senecas, and $9,600 to the Tuscaroras for their title to 1,920 acres
of land in Ontario County, N.Y., exclusive of the 5,000 acres above
mentioned.

But whilst such are my views in respect to the measure itself, and while
I shall feel it to be my duty to labor for its accomplishment by the
proper use of all the means that are or shall be placed at my disposal
by Congress, I am at the same time equally desirous to avoid the use of
any which are inconsistent with those principles of benevolence and
justice which I on a former occasion endeavored to show have in the main
characterized the dealings of the Federal Government with the Indian
tribes from the Administration of President Washington to the present
time. The obstacles to the execution of the treaty grow out of the
following considerations: The amended treaty was returned to me by your
body at the close of its last session, accompanied by a resolution
setting forth that "whenever the President of the United States shall be
satisfied that the assent of the Seneca tribe of Indians has been given
to the amended treaty of June 11, 1838, with the New York Indians,
according to the true intent and meaning of the resolution of the 11th
of June, 1838, the Senate recommend that the President make proclamation
of said treaty and carry the same into effect." The resolution of the
11th of June, 1838, provided that "the said treaty shall have no force
or effect whatever as relates to any of the said tribes, nations, or
bands of New York Indians, nor shall it be understood that the Senate
have assented to any of the contracts connected with it until the same,
with the amendments herein proposed, is submitted and fully explained
by the commissioner of the United States to each of the said tribes or
bands separately assembled in council, and they have given their free
and voluntary consent thereto." The amended treaty was submitted to the
chiefs of the several tribes and its provisions explained to them in
council. A majority of the chiefs of each of the tribes of New York
Indians signed the treaty in council, except the Senecas. Of them only
16 signed in council, 13 signed at the commissioner's office, and 2, who
were confined by indisposition, at home. This was reported to the War
Department in October, 1838, and in January, 1839, a final return of
the proceedings of the commissioner was made, by which it appeared that
41 signatures of chiefs, including 6 out of the 8 sachems of the nation,
had been affixed to the treaty. The number of chiefs of the Seneca
Nation entitled to act for the people is variously estimated from
74 to 80, and by some at a still higher number. Thus it appears that,
estimating the number of chiefs at 80--and it is believed there are at
least that number--there was only a bare majority of them who signed the
treaty, and only 16 gave their assent to it in council. The Secretary of
War was under these circumstances directed to meet the chiefs of the New
York Indians in council, in order to ascertain, if possible, the views
of the several tribes, and especially of the Senecas, in relation to
the amended treaty. He did so in the month of August last, and the
minutes of the proceedings of that council are herewith submitted.
Much opposition was manifested by a party of the Senecas, and from some
cause or other some of the chiefs of the other tribes who had in former
councils consented to the treaty appeared to be now opposed to it.
Documents were presented showing that some of the Seneca chiefs had
received assurances of remuneration from the proprietors of the land,
provided they assented to the treaty and used their influence to obtain
that of the nation, while testimony was offered on the other side to
prove that many had been deterred from signing and taking part in favor
of the treaty by threats of violence, which, from the late intelligence
of the cruel murders committed upon the signers of the Cherokee treaty,
produced a panic among the partisans of that now under consideration.
Whatever may have been the means used by those interested in the fee
simple of these lands to obtain the assent of Indians, it appears from
the disinterested and important testimony of the commissioner appointed
by the State of Massachusetts that the agent of the Government acted
throughout with the utmost fairness, and General Dearborn declares
himself to be perfectly satisfied that were it not for the unremitted
and disingenuous exertions of a certain number of white men who are
actuated by their private interests, to induce the chiefs not to assent
to the treaty, it would immediately have been approved by an immense
majority--an opinion which he reiterated at Cattaraugus. Statements were
presented to the Secretary of War at Cattaraugus to show that a vast
majority of the New York Indians were adverse to the treaty, but no
reasonable doubt exists that the same influence which obtained this
expression of opinion would, if exerted with equal zeal on the other
side, have produced a directly opposite effect and shown a large
majority in favor of emigration. But no advance toward obtaining the
assent of the Seneca tribe to the amended treaty in council was made,
nor can the assent of a majority of them in council be now obtained.
In the report of the committee of the Senate, upon the subject of this
treaty, of the 28th of February last it is stated as follows:

  But it is in vain to contend that the signatures of the last ten, which
  were obtained on the second mission, or of the three who have sent on
  their assent lately, is such a signing as was contemplated by the
  resolution of the Senate. It is competent, however, for the Senate to
  waive the usual and customary forms in this instance and consider the
  signatures of these last thirteen as good as though they had been
  obtained in open council. But the committee can not recommend the
  adoption of such a practice in making treaties, for divers good reasons,
  which must be obvious to the Senate; and among those reasons against
  these secret individual negotiations is the distrust created that the
  chiefs so acting are doing what a majority of their people do not
  approve of, or else that they are improperly acted upon by bribery or
  threats or unfair influences. In this case we have most ample
  illustrations. Those opposed to the treaty accuse several of those who
  signed their assent to the amended treaty with having been bribed, and
  in at least one instance they make out the charge very clearly.

Although the committee, being four in number, were unable to agree upon
any recommendation to the Senate, it does not appear that there was any
diversity of opinion amongst them in regard to this part of the report.
The provision of the resolution of the Senate of the 11th of June,
1838, requiring the assent of each of the said tribes of Indians to
the amended treaty to be given in council, and which was also made a
condition precedent to the recommendation to me of the Senate of the 2d
of March, 1839, to carry the same into effect, has not, therefore, been
complied with as it respects the Seneca tribe.

It is, however, insisted by the advocates for the execution of the
treaty that it was the intention of the Senate by their resolution of
the 2d of March, 1839, to waive so much of the requirement of that
of the 11th of June, 1838, as made it necessary that the assent of
the different tribes should be given in council. This assumption is
understood to be founded upon the circumstances that the fact that
only sixteen of the chiefs had given their assent in that form had
been distinctly communicated to the Senate before the passage of the
resolution of the 2d of March, and that instead of being a majority that
number constituted scarcely one-fifth of the whole number of chiefs, and
it is hence insisted that unless the Senate had so intended there would
have been no use in sending the amended treaty to the President with the
advice contained in that resolution. This has not appeared to me to be
a necessary deduction from the foregoing facts, as the Senate may have
contemplated that the assent of the tribe in the form first required
should be thereafter obtained, and before the treaty was executed, and
the phraseology of the resolution, viz, "that whenever the President
shall be satisfied," etc., goes far to sustain this construction. The
interpretation of the acts of the Senate set up by the advocates for the
treaty is, moreover, in direct opposition to the disclaimer contained in
the report of the committee which has been adverted to. It is at best an
inference only, in respect to the truth of which the Senate can alone
speak with certainty, and which could not with propriety be regarded
as justifying the desired action in relation to the execution of the
treaty.

This measure is further objected to on the ground of improper
inducements held out to the assenting chiefs by the agents of the
proprietors of the lands, which, it is insisted, ought to invalidate
the treaty if even the requirement that the assent of the chiefs should
be given in council was dispensed with. Documentary evidence upon
this subject was laid before you at the last session, and is again
communicated, with additional evidence upon the same point. The charge
appears by the proceedings of the Senate to have been investigated by
your committee, but no conclusion upon the subject formed other than
that which is contained in the extract from the report of the committee
I have referred to, and which asserts that at least in one instance the
charge of bribery has been clearly made out. That improper means have
been employed to obtain the assent of the Seneca chiefs there is every
reason to believe, and I have not been able to satisfy myself that
I can, consistently with the resolution of the Senate of the 2d of
March, 1839, cause the treaty to be carried into effect in respect to
the Seneca tribe.

You will perceive that this treaty embraces the Six Nations of New York
Indians, occupying different reservations, but bound together by common
ties, and it will be expedient to decide whether in the event of that
part of it which concerns the Senecas being rejected it shall be
considered valid in relation to the other tribes, or whether the whole
confederacy shall share one fate. In the event of the Senate not
advising the ratification of the amended treaty, I invite your attention
to the proposal submitted by the dissentients to authorize a division
of the lands, so that those who prefer it may go West and enjoy the
advantages of a permanent home there, and of their proportion of the
annuities now payable, as well as of the several pecuniary and other
beneficiary provisions of the amended treaty.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _January 17, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a communication and statement from the Secretary
of War, containing the balance of the information, not heretofore
furnished, called for by a resolution of the 30th ultimo, in relation
to the amount of money drawn from the Treasury during the five years
immediately preceding the commencement of the present session of
Congress, in consequence of the legislation of that body upon private
claims.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _January 20, 1840_.

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

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, explaining the causes
which have prevented a compliance with the resolution of Congress for
the distribution of the Biennial Register.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _January, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for their consideration with a view to its
ratification, a treaty of peace, friendship, navigation, and commerce
between the United States of America and the Republic of Ecuador, signed
at Quito on the 13th day of June last. With a view to enable the Senate
to understand the motives which led to this compact, the progress of
its negotiation, and the grounds upon which it was concluded, I also
communicate a copy of the instructions from the Secretary of State to
Mr. Pickett in relation to it, and the original official dispatches of
the latter. It is requested that the dispatches may be returned when
the convention shall have been disposed of by the Senate.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _January 21, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, in compliance with the request of the governor
of Massachusetts, a copy of a letter addressed to him by one of the
chiefs of the Seneca tribe of Indians in the State of New York, written
on behalf of that portion of the tribe opposed to the treaty of Buffalo.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _January 22, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 17th instant,
I communicate a report and documents from the Secretary of State and
a report from the Secretary of War.[58]

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 58: Transmitting correspondence with the British Government
on the subject of the northeastern boundary and the jurisdiction of the
disputed territory; also with the governor of Maine and the minister of
Great Britain relative to the invasion of Maine, etc.]



WASHINGTON, _January 23, 1840_.

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

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of the Treasury,
inclosing a letter addressed to him from the Solicitor of the Treasury,
and have to invite the earliest attention of Congress to the subject
contained therein.[59]

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 59: Relating to the discharge of liens and incumbrances upon
real estate which has or may become the property of the United States.]



WASHINGTON, _January 25, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

The accompanying report[60] from the Secretary of State is, with its
inclosures, communicated to the Senate in compliance with their
resolution of the 14th instant.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 60: Relating to the compensation by Great Britain in the case
of the brigs _Enterprise, Encomium_, and _Comet_, slaves on board which
were forcibly seized and detained by local authorities of Bermuda and
Bahama islands.]



WASHINGTON, _January 25, 1840_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE.

SIR: I transmit a report from the Secretary of the Navy, containing
information required by a resolution of the Senate of the 2d of March,
1839, in relation to the military and naval defenses of the United
States.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _January 28, 1840_.

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

I present for your information a communication from the Secretary of
War, accompanied by a report and documents from the Chief Engineer, in
relation to certain works[61] under the superintendence of that officer
during the past year. These documents were intended as a supplement to
the annual report of the Chief Engineer, which was laid before Congress
at the commencement of the session.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 61: Operations in the Missouri, Arkansas, Ohio, and
Mississippi rivers, etc.]



WASHINGTON, _January 29, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate, with reference to their resolutions
of the 17th instant, copies of two official notes which have passed
subsequently to the date of my message of the 22d between the Secretary
of State and the British minister at Washington, containing additional
information in answer to the resolutions referred to.

M. VAN BUREN.



_Mr. Fox to Mr. Forsyth_.

WASHINGTON, _January 26, 1840_.

Hon. JOHN FORSYTH, etc.:

The undersigned, Her Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary, has the honor to acquaint Mr. Forsyth,
Secretary of State of the United States, that since the date of his
last official note, of the 12th instant, he has been furnished by Her
Majesty's authorities in North America with more correct information
than he then possessed respecting certain reported movements of British
troops within the disputed territory, which formed the subject of a part
of that official note, as well as of the two official notes addressed by
the Secretary of State to the undersigned on the 24th of December and
on the 16th of the present month. The same reported movements of troops
were referred to in a recent message from the governor of Maine to
the legislature of the State, and also in a published official letter
addressed by the governor of Maine to the President of the United States
on the 23d of December.

It appears from accurate information now in the possession of the
undersigned that the governor of Maine and through him the President
and General Government of the United States have been misinformed as to
the facts. In the first place, no reenforcement has been marched to the
British post at the Lake Temiscouata; the only change occurring there
has been the relief of a detachment of Her Majesty's Twenty-fourth
Regiment by a detachment of equal force of the Eleventh Regiment, this
force of one company being now stationed at the Temiscouata post, as
it always has been, for the necessary purpose of protecting the stores
and accommodations provided for the use of Her Majesty's troops who
may be required, as heretofore, to march by that route to and from the
Provinces of Canada and New Brunswick. In the second place, it is not
true that the British authorities either have built or are building
barracks on both sides of the St. John River or at the mouth of the
Madawaska River; no new barracks have in fact been built anywhere.
In the third place, Her Majesty's authorities are not concentrating a
military force at the Grand Falls; the same trifling force of sixteen
men is now stationed at the post of the Grand Falls which has been
stationed there for the last twelvemonth. It was perhaps, however,
needless for the undersigned to advert to this last matter at all,
as the post of the Grand Falls is beyond the bounds of the disputed
territory and within the acknowledged limits of New Brunswick.

The undersigned, while conveying the above information upon a matter of
fact to the Secretary of State of the United States, takes occasion to
repeat distinctly his former declaration that there exists no intention
on the part of Her Majesty's authorities to infringe the terms of those
provisional agreements which were entered into at the beginning of
last year so long as there is reason to trust that the same will be
faithfully adhered to by the opposite party; but it is the duty of
the undersigned at the same time clearly to state that Her Majesty's
authorities in North America, taking into view the attitude assumed by
the State of Maine with reference to the boundary question, will, as
at present advised, be governed entirely by circumstances in adopting
such measures of defense and protection (whether along the confines of
the disputed territory or within that portion of it where, it has been
before explained, the authority of Great Britain, according to the
existing agreements, was not to be interfered with) as may seem to them
necessary for guarding against or for promptly repelling the further
acts of hostile aggression over the whole of the disputed territory
which it appears to be the avowed design of the State of Maine sooner
or later to attempt.

For the undersigned has to observe that not only is the extensive
system of encroachment which was denounced and remonstrated against by
the undersigned in his official note of the 2d of last November still
carried on and persisted in by armed bands employed by the authorities
of Maine in the districts above the Aroostook and Fish rivers, but that
acts, as above stated, of a character yet more violent and obnoxious to
the rights of Great Britain and more dangerous to the preservation of
the general peace are with certainty meditated by the inhabitants of
that State. The existence of such designs has for months past been
a matter of notoriety by public report. Those designs were plainly
indicated in the recent message of the governor of Maine to the
legislature of the State, and they are avowed in more explicit terms
in the letter addressed to the President of the United States by the
governor of Maine on the 21st of November, which letter has within
the last few days been communicated to Congress and published.

The undersigned, it is true, has been assured by the Secretary of State,
in his note of the 16th instant, that the General Government see no
reason to doubt the disposition of the governor of Maine to adhere to
the existing arrangements and to avoid all acts tending to render more
difficult and distant the final adjustment of the boundary question;
but in face of the above clear indications of the intentions of Maine as
given out by the parties themselves the Secretary of State has not given
to the undersigned any adequate assurance that Maine will be constrained
to desist from carrying those intentions into effect if, contrary to the
expectation of the General Government, the legislature or the executive
of the State should think fit to make the attempt.

The undersigned not only preserves the hope, but he entertains the
firm belief, that if the duty of negotiating the boundary question be
left in the hands of the two national Governments, to whom alone of
right it belongs, the difficulty of conducting the negotiation to an
amicable issue will not be found so great as has been by many persons
apprehended. But the case will become wholly altered if the people
of the State of Maine, who, though interested in the result, are not
charged with the negotiation, shall attempt to interrupt it by violence.

Her Majesty's authorities in North America have on their part no desire
or intention to interfere with the course of the pending negotiation by
an exertion of military force, but they will, as at present advised,
consult their own discretion in adopting the measures of defense that
may be rendered necessary by the threats of a violent interruption to
the negotiation which have been used by all parties in Maine and which
the undersigned regrets to find confirmed by the language (as above
referred to) employed by the highest official authority in that State.

The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to the
Secretary of State of the United States the assurance of his
distinguished consideration.

H.S. FOX.



_Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Fox_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE.

_Washington, January 28, 1840_.

HENRY S. FOX, Esq., etc.:

The undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, has the
honor to reply, by direction of the President, to the note addressed
to him on the 26th instant by Mr. Fox, envoy extraordinary and minister
plenipotentiary of Great Britain.

The President derives great satisfaction from the information conveyed
by Mr. Fox's note that, with reference to the reported movements of
British troops within the territory in dispute, no actual change
has taken place in the attitude of Her Majesty's authorities in the
territory since the arrangements entered into by the two Governments
at the commencement of last year for the preservation of tranquillity
within its limits, and from his assurances that there exists no
intention on the part of Her Majesty's authorities to infringe the terms
of those arrangements so long as they are faithfully observed on the
side of the United States. The President, however, can not repress a
feeling of regret that the British colonial authorities, without graver
motives than the possibility of a departure from the arrangements
referred to by the State of Maine, should take upon themselves the
discretion, and along with it the fearful responsibility of probable
consequences, of being guided by circumstances liable, as these are,
to be misapprehended and misjudged in the adoption within the disputed
territory of measures of defense and precaution in manifest violation
of the understanding between the two countries whenever they may
imagine that acts of hostile aggression over the disputed territory are
meditated or threatened on the part of the State of Maine. The President
can not but hope that when Her Majesty's Government at home shall be
apprised of the position assumed in this regard by its colonial agents
proper steps will be taken to place the performance of express and
solemn agreements upon a more secure basis than colonial discretion,
to be exercised on apprehended disregard of such agreements on the part
of the State of Maine.

It is gratifying to the President to perceive that Mr. Fox entertains
the firm belief that the difficulty of conducting to an amicable issue
the pending negotiation for the adjustment of the question of boundary
is not so great as has by many persons been apprehended. As, under a
corresponding conviction, the United States have, with a view to the
final settlement of that exciting question, submitted a proposition
for the consideration of Her Majesty's Government, the President hopes
that the sentiments expressed by Mr. Fox have their foundation in an
expectation of his having it in his power at an early day to communicate
to this Government a result of the deliberations had by that of Her
Britannic Majesty upon the proposition alluded to which will present the
prospect of a prompt and satisfactory settlement, and which, when known
by the State of Maine, will put an end to all grounds of apprehensions
of intentions or disposition on her part to adopt any measures
calculated to embarrass the negotiation or to involve a departure from
the provisional arrangements. In the existence of those arrangements
the United States behold an earnest of the mutual desire of the two
Governments to divest a question abounding in causes of deep and growing
excitement of as much as possible of the asperity and hostile feeling it
is calculated to engender; but unless attended with the most scrupulous
observance of the spirit and letter of their provisions, it would prove
but one more cause added to the many already prevailing of enmity and
discord. Mr. Fox has already been made the channel of conveyance to his
Government of the desire and determination of the President that the
obligations of the country shall be faithfully discharged; that desire
is prompted by a sense of expediency as well as of justice, and by an
anxious wish to preserve the amicable relations now, so manifestly for
the advantage of both, subsisting between the United States and Great
Britain.

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

JOHN FORSYTH.



_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with two resolutions of the Senate, dated the 30th ultimo,
calling for information in relation to the disputed boundary between
the State of Missouri and the Territory of Iowa, I transmit a report
from the Secretary of State, which, with inclosures, contains all the
information in the executive department on the subject not already
communicated to Congress.

M. VAN BUREN.

JANUARY 31, 1840.



WASHINGTON, _February 4, 1840_.

_To the Honorable the House of Representatives_:

I lay before you a report from the Secretary of the Treasury, with
several documents annexed, by which it will be seen that judicial
constructions have been given to the existing laws for the collection
of imposts, affecting extensively and injuriously the accruing revenue.

They embrace, with many others, the important articles of linens,
woolens, and cottons, the last two of which are often treated as silks,
because that material constitutes a component part of them, and thus
exempted them from duty altogether. Assessments of duties which have
prevailed for years, and in some cases since the passage of the laws
themselves, are in this manner altered, and uncertainty and litigation
introduced in regard to the future.

The effects which these proceedings have already produced in diminishing
the amount of the revenue, and which are likely to increase hereafter,
deserve your early consideration.

I have therefore deemed it necessary to bring the matter to your notice,
with a view to such legislative action as the exigencies of the case may
in your judgment require. It is not believed that any law which can now
be passed upon the subject can affect the revenue favorably for several
months to come, and could not, therefore, be safely regarded as a
substitute for the early provision of certain and adequate means to
enable the Treasury to guard the public credit and meet promptly and
faithfully any deficiencies that may occur in the revenue, from whatever
cause they may arise.

The reasons in favor of the propriety of adopting at an early period
proper measures for that purpose were explained by the Secretary of
the Treasury in his annual report and recommended to your attention
by myself. The experience of the last two months, and especially the
recent decisions of the courts, with the continued suspension of
specie payments by the banks over large sections of the United States,
operating unfavorably upon the revenue, have greatly strengthened the
views then taken of the subject.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _February 14, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I lay before you a communication from the Secretary of War, accompanied
by a report of the Commissioner of Pensions, showing the great
importance of early action on the bill from the Senate providing for the
continuance of the office of Commissioner of Pensions. The present law
will expire by its own limitation on the 4th day of the next month, and,
sensible of the suffering which would be experienced by the pensioners
from its suspension, I have deemed it my duty to bring the subject to
your notice and invite your early attention to it.

M. VAN BUREN.



FEBRUARY 17, 1840.

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

I submit to Congress a communication from the Secretary of the
Treasury, repeating suggestions contained in his annual report in regard
to the necessity of an early provision by law for the protection of
the Treasury against the fluctuations and contingencies to which its
receipts are exposed, with additional facts and reasons in favor of
the propriety of the legislation then desired.

The application assumes that although the means of the Treasury for the
whole year may be equal to the expenditures of the year, the Department
may, notwithstanding, be rendered unable to meet the claims upon it at
the times when they fall due.

This apprehension arises partly from the circumstance that the largest
proportion of the charges upon the Treasury, including the payment of
pensions and the redemption of Treasury notes, fall due in the early
part of this year, viz, in the months of March and May, while the
resources on which it might otherwise rely to discharge them can not be
made available until the last half of the year, and partly from the fact
that a portion of the means of the Treasury consists of debts due from
banks, for some of which delay has already been asked, and which may not
be punctually paid.

Considering the injurious consequences to the character, credit, and
business of the country which would result from a failure by the
Government for ever so short a period to meet its engagements; that the
happening of such a contingency can only be effectually guarded against
by the exercise of legislative authority; that the period when such
disability must arise, if at all, and which at the commencement of the
session was comparatively remote, has now approached so near as a few
days; and that the provision asked for is only intended to enable the
Executive to fulfill existing obligations, and chiefly by anticipating
funds not yet due, without making any additions to the public burdens,
I have deemed the subject of sufficient urgency and importance again to
ask for it your early attention.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _February 21, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of the
7th instant, I communicate a report[62] from the Secretary of State,
containing all the information in possession of the Executive respecting
the matters referred to in that resolution.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 62: Relating to the trade with China, etc.]



WASHINGTON, _February 27, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for their consideration with a view to its
ratification, a convention for the adjustment of claims of citizens of
the United States upon the Government of the Mexican Republic, concluded
and signed in the city of Washington on the 11th of April last. I also
communicate, as explanatory of the motives to the adoption of a new
convention and illustrative of the course of the negotiation, the
correspondence between the Secretary of State and Mr. Martinez, the late
minister of Mexico accredited to this Government, and also such parts
of the correspondence between the former and Mr. Ellis as relate to
the same subject. By the letters of Mr. Ellis it will be seen that the
convention now transmitted to the Senate has been already ratified by
the Government of Mexico. As some of the papers are originals, it is
requested that they may be returned to the Department of State when the
convention shall have been disposed of by the Senate.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _March 4, 1840_.

_To the Senate_:

I communicate a report from the Secretary of State, with documents[63]
accompanying it, in compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the
17th of February last.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 63: Containing information relative to the necessity of
amending the existing law regulating the transfer of property in
American vessels abroad.]



WASHINGTON, _March 9, 1840_.

_To the Senate_:

In addition to information already communicated in compliance with the
resolutions of the Senate of the 17th January last, I think it proper
to transmit to the Senate copies of two letters, with inclosures, since
received from the governor of Maine, and of a correspondence relative
thereto between the Secretary of State and the British minister.

M. VAN BUREN.



EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

_Augusta, February 15, 1840_.

His Excellency M. VAN BUREN,

_President United States_.

SIR: A communication from Mr. Fox, the British minister, to Mr. Forsyth,
Secretary of State, under date of January 26, contains the following
statement:

"It appears from _accurate_ information now in possession of the
undersigned that the governor of Maine and through him the President
and General Government of the United States have been misinformed as to
the facts. In the first place, no _reenforcement_ has been marched to
the British post at the Lake Temiscouata; the _only change_ occurring
there has been the relief of a detachment of Her Majesty's Twenty-fourth
Regiment by a detachment of _equal force_ of the Eleventh Regiment, this
force of _one company_ being now stationed at the Temiscouata post, as
it _always has been_, for the necessary purpose of protecting the stores
and accommodations provided for the use of Her Majesty's troops who may
be required, as heretofore, to march by that route to and from the
Provinces of Canada and New Brunswick. In the second place, it is not
true that the British authorities either have built or are building
barracks on both sides of the St. John River or at the mouth of the
Madawaska River; _no new barracks have in fact been built anywhere_"

This statement has been read by the citizens of this State with the
most profound astonishment, and however high may be the source from
which it emanates I must be permitted to say, in the language of that
high functionary, that "it is not true," though in justice to him
I should add that he has undoubtedly been misinformed. Though this
State, in the vindication of her rights and maintenance of her interests
relative to her territorial boundary, from past experience had no
reason to expect any material admissions of the truth on the part of
the British authorities, she was not prepared to meet such a positive
and unqualified denial of facts as the foregoing exhibits, especially
of facts so easily susceptible of proof. The "_accuracy_" of the
information alleged to be in the possession of the minister is only
equaled by the _justice_ of the pretensions heretofore set up in regard
to title.

But not to be bandying assertions where proof is abundant, I deem it my
duty to transmit to Your Excellency the depositions[64] of a number of
gentlemen, citizens of this State, of great respectability, and whose
statements are entitled to the most implicit confidence.

These depositions abundantly prove that up to May last, nearly
two months subsequent to the arrangement entered into through the
mediation of General Scott, _no troops_ whatever were stationed at
Temiscouata Lake; that in August, September, and October the number did
not exceed 25, while now it has been increased to about 200; that prior
to May no barracks had been erected at Temiscouata, but that since that
time two have been built at the head of the lake, besides some five
or six other buildings apparently adapted to the establishment of a
permanent military post, and at the foot of the lake two or more
buildings for barracks and other military purposes; that though no
_new_ barracks have been erected at Madawaska, certain buildings
heretofore erected have been engaged for use as such; that a road has
been constructed connecting the military post at the head and foot of
the lake, a tow-path made the whole length of the Madawaska River, the
road from the head of the lake to the military post at the river Des
Loup thoroughly repaired, transport boats built, etc.

I would further inform Your Excellency that an agent has been
dispatched to Temiscouata and Madawaska for the purpose of procuring
exact information of the state of things there at the present moment;
but having incidentally found some evidence of the state of things prior
to November last, I have thought best to forward it without delay for
the purpose of disabusing the Government and the country of the errors
into which they may have been led by the communication before alluded
to. The report of the agent will be transmitted as soon as received,
which may not be short of two weeks.

Under these circumstances, I have only to repeat my official call upon
the General Government for the protection of this State from _invasion_.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, Your Excellency's most
obedient servant,

JOHN FAIRFIELD,

_Governor of Maine_.

[Footnote 64: Omitted.]



DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, February 27, 1840_.

His Excellency JOHN FAIRFIELD,

_Governor of Maine_.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt at this Department of
your excellency's letter to the President of the 15th instant, inclosing
three depositions of citizens of Maine in relation to certain movements
of British troops in the disputed territory. The depositions have been
informally communicated to the British minister by direction of the
President, who desires me to apprise your excellency of his intention to
cause an official communication to be addressed to the minister on the
subject so soon as the report of the agent dispatched by your order to
Temiscouata and Madawaska for the purpose of procuring exact information
as to the present state of things there shall have been received.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,

JOHN FORSYTH.



EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

_Augusta, February 27, 1840_.

His Excellency M. VAN BUREN,

_President United States_.

SIR: Having received the report of Benjamin Wiggin, esq., the agent
referred to in my last communication, dispatched by me to the disputed
territory to obtain exact information of British military movements in
that quarter and of the existing state of things, I hasten to lay the
same[65] before you, accompanied by his plan[65] of the British military
post at the head of Lake Temiscouata. It will be perceived that it goes
to confirm in every essential particular the evidence already forwarded
in the depositions of Messrs. Varnum, Bartlett, and Little, and is
directly opposed to the statement contained in the letter of Mr. Fox
to Mr. Forsyth under date of 26th of January last.

The course thus clearly proved to have been pursued by the British
Government upon the disputed territory is utterly inconsistent with
the arrangement heretofore subsisting, and evinces anything but a
disposition to submit to an _amicable_ termination of the question
relating to the boundary.

Permit me to add that the citizens of Maine are awaiting with deep
solicitude that action on the part of the General Government which shall
vindicate the national honor and be fulfilling in part a solemn
obligation to a member of the Union.

I have the honor to be, with high respect, your most obedient servant,

JOHN FAIRFIELD,

_Governor of Maine_.



_Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Fox_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, March 6, 1840_.

HENRY S. FOX, Esq., etc.:

By the directions of the President, the undersigned, Secretary of State
of the United States, communicates to Mr. Fox, envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary of Great Britain, the inclosed copy of a
report[65] made to the governor of the State of Maine by the agent
commissioned on the part of the authorities of that State to ascertain
the precise character and extent of the occupation of parts of the
disputed territory by troops of Her Britannic Majesty and of the
buildings and other public works constructed for their use and
accommodation.

By that report and the three depositions which the undersigned
informally communicated to Mr. Fox a few days since he will perceive
that there must be some extraordinary misapprehension on his part of the
facts in relation to the occupation by British troops of portions of
the disputed territory. The statements contained in these documents and
that given by Mr. Fox in his note of the 20th of January last exhibit a
striking discrepancy as to the number of troops now in the territory as
compared with those who were in it when the arrangement between Governor
Fairfield and Lieutenant-Governor Harvey was agreed upon, and also as
to the present and former state of the buildings there. The extensive
accommodations prepared and preparing at an old and at new stations, the
works finished and in the course of construction on the land and on the
water, are not in harmony with the assurance that the only object is
the preservation of a few unimportant buildings and storehouses for the
temporary protection of the number of troops Her Majesty's ordinary
service can require to pass on the road from New Brunswick to Canada.

The undersigned will abstain from any remarks upon these contradictory
statements until Mr. Fox shall have had an opportunity to obtain the
means of fully explaining them. How essential it is that this should be
promptly done, and that the steps necessary to a faithful observance
on the part of Her Majesty's colonial authorities of the existing
agreements between the two Governments should be immediately taken,
Mr. Fox can not fail fully to understand.

The undersigned avails himself of the occasion to renew to Mr. Fox
assurances of his high consideration.

JOHN FORSYTH.

[Footnote 65: Omitted.]



_Mr. Fox to Mr. Forsyth_.

WASHINGTON, _March 7, 1840_.

The undersigned, Her Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary, has the honor to acknowledge the receipt of
the official note of yesterday's date addressed to him by Mr. Forsyth,
Secretary of State of the United States, to which is annexed the copy of
a report from Mr. Benjamin Wiggin, an agent employed by the State of
Maine to visit the British military post at Lake Temiscouata, and in
which reference is made to other papers upon the same subject, which
were informally communicated to the undersigned by Mr. Forsyth a few
days before; and the attention of the undersigned is called by Mr.
Forsyth to different points upon which the information contained in the
said papers is considered to be materially at variance with that which
was conveyed to the United States Government by the undersigned in his
official note of the 26th of last January.

The undersigned had already been made acquainted by the
lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick with the circumstance of Mr.
Wiggin's visit to the military post at Lake Temiscouata, where the
officer in command very properly furnished to Mr. Wiggin the requisite
information upon all matters connected with the British station which he
appeared desirous to inquire about.

The alleged points of variance, after deducting what is fanciful and
conjectural in the reports now produced and after comparing what is
there stated in contradiction to other reports before produced from the
same quarters, do not appear to the undersigned to be by any means so
material as they seem to have been considered by the Government of
the United States. The British military detachment stationed at Lake
Temiscouata, which the agents employed by the State of Maine had, in
the first instance with singular exaggeration represented as amounting
to two regiments, is now discovered by the same parties to amount to
175 men, which instead of two regiments is something less than two
companies. It is indeed true, should such a point be considered worth
discussing, that the undersigned might have used a more technically
correct expression in his note of the 26th of January if he had stated
the detachment in question to consist of from one to two companies
instead of stating it to consist of one company. But a detachment of Her
Majesty's troops has been stationed at the Lake Temiscouata from time to
time ever since the winter of 1837 and 1838, when the necessity arose
from marching reenforcements by that route from New Brunswick to Canada;
and it will be remembered that a temporary right of using that route for
the same purpose was expressly reserved to Great Britain in the
provisional agreement entered into at the beginning of last year.

It is not, therefore, true that the stationing a military force at
the Lake Temiscouata is a new measure on the part of Her Majesty's
authorities; neither is it true that that measure has been adopted for
other purposes than to maintain the security of the customary line of
communication and to protect the buildings, stores, and accommodations
provided for the use of Her Majesty's troops when on march by that
route; and it was with a view to correct misapprehensions which appeared
to exist upon these points, and thus to do away with one needless
occasion of dispute, that the undersigned conveyed to the United States
Government the information contained in his note of the 26th of January.

With regard again to the construction of barracks and other buildings
and the preserving them in an efficient state of repair and defense, a
similar degree of error and misapprehension appears still to prevail in
the minds of the American authorities.

The erection of those buildings within the portion of the disputed
territory now referred to, for the shelter of Her Majesty's troops while
on their march and for the safe lodgment of the stores, is no new act
on the part of Her Majesty's authorities. The buildings in question have
been in the course of construction from a period antecedent to the
provisional agreements of last year, and they are now maintained and
occupied along the line of march with a view to the same objects above
specified, for which the small detachments of troops also referred to
are in like manner there stationed.

The undersigned will not refrain from here remarking upon one point
of comparison exhibited in the present controversy. It is admitted by
the United States authorities that the armed bands stationed by the
government of Maine in the neighborhood of the Aroostook River have
fortified those stations with artillery, and it is now objected as
matter of complaint against the British authorities with reference
to the buildings at Lake Temiscouata, not that those buildings are
furnished with artillery, but only that they are defended by palisades
capable of resisting artillery. It would be difficult to adduce stronger
evidence of the acts on the one side being those of aggression and on
the other of defense.

The fact, shortly, is (and this is the essential point of the
argument) that Her Majesty's authorities have not as yet altered their
state of preparation or strengthened their military means within the
disputed territory with a view to settling the question of the boundary,
although the attitude assumed by the State of Maine with reference to
that question would be a clear justification of such measures, and it is
much to be apprehended that the adoption of such measures will sooner
or later become indispensable if the people of Maine be not compelled
to desist from the extensive system of armed aggression which they are
continuing to carry on in other parts of the same disputed territory.

The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to the
Secretary of State of the United States the assurance of his
distinguished consideration.

H.S. FOX.



WASHINGTON, _March 9, 1840_.

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

I transmit to Congress, for their consideration, copies and translations
of a correspondence between the Secretary of State and the Spanish
legation, growing out of an application on the part of Spain for a
reduction of tonnage duty on her vessels in certain cases.

By a royal order issued on the 29th of April, 1832, by the King of
Spain, in consequence of a representation made to his Government by
the minister of the United States against the discriminating tonnage
duty then levied in the ports of Spain upon American vessels, said duty
was reduced to 1 real de vellon, equal to 5 cents, per ton, without
reference to the place from whence the vessel came, being the same rate
as paid by those of all other nations, including Spain.

By the act approved on the 13th of July, 1832, a corresponding reduction
of tonnage duty upon Spanish vessels in ports of the United States was
authorized, but confined to vessels coming from ports in Spain; in
consequence of which said reduction has been applied to such Spanish
vessels only as came directly from ports in the Spanish Peninsula.

The application of the Spanish Government is for the extension of the
provisions of the act to vessels coming from other places, and I submit
for the consideration of Congress whether the principle of reciprocity
would not justify it in regard to all vessels owned in the Peninsula and
its dependencies of the Balearic and Canary islands, and coming from all
places other than the islands of Cuba, Porto Rico, and the Philippine,
and the repayment of such duties as may have been levied upon Spanish
vessels of that class which have entered our ports since the act of 1832
went into operation.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _March 10, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of
the 2d of March, 1839, I communicate reports[66] from the several
Departments, containing the information requested by the resolution.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 66: Transmitting lists of removals from office since March 3,
1789.]



WASHINGTON, _March 11, 1840_.

_To the Senate_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate dated the 4th of
February, 1840, I have the honor to transmit herewith copies of the
correspondence between the Department of War and Governor Call
concerning the war in Florida.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _March, 1840_.

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

I lay before you for your consideration a communication of the Secretary
of War, accompanied by a report of the Surgeon-General of the Army, in
relation to sites for marine hospitals selected in conformity with the
provisions of the act of March 3, 1837, from which it will be seen that
some action on the subject by Congress seems to be necessary.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, D.C., _March 12, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit to the House of Representatives, in answer to resolution of
that body dated on the 9th instant, the inclosed report of the Secretary
of State.

M. VAN BUREN.



DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, March 12, 1840_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:

The Secretary of State, to whom has been referred a resolution of the
House of Representatives dated the 9th instant, requesting the President
to communicate to that body "whether any, and, if any, what, measures
have been taken since the rejection of the recommendation of the King
of Holland of a new line of boundary between the United States and
the Province of New Brunswick to obtain information in respect to the
topography of the territory in dispute by a survey or exploration of
the same on the part of the United States alone, and also whether any
measures have been adopted whereby the accuracy of the survey lately
made under the authority of the British Government, when communicated,
may be tested or examined," has the honor to report to the President
that no steps have been thought necessary by this Government since the
date above referred to to obtain topographical information regarding the
disputed territory, either by exploration or survey on its part alone,
nor has it thought proper to adopt any measures to test the accuracy of
the topographical examination recently made by a British commission, the
result of which has not been made public or communicated to the United
States.

Respectfully submitted,

JOHN FORSYTH.



WASHINGTON CITY, _March 19, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I submit herewith for your consideration and constitutional action the
treaty accompanying the inclosed communication of the Secretary of War,
made with the Shawnee Indians west of the Mississippi River, for the
purchase of a portion of their lands, with the view of procuring for
the Wyandot Indians of Ohio a satisfactory residence west.

M. VAN BUREN.



WAR DEPARTMENT, _March, 1840_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR: I have the honor to submit for your consideration, and, if it meets
your approbation, for transmission to the Senate, a treaty concluded
on the 18th December last with the Shawnee Indians by their chiefs,
headmen, and counselors, and an explanatory communication of the 17th
instant from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J.R. POINSETT.



WAR DEPARTMENT, OFFICE INDIAN AFFAIRS,

_March 17, 1840_.

Hon. J.R. POINSETT,

_Secretary of War_.


SIR: Negotiations with the Wyandots for a cession of their lands in
Ohio and removal to the country west of the Mississippi have been
pending for some years. During the past season two exploring parties
from that tribe have visited the West and were tolerably well pleased
with the district to which it was proposed to remove them, but expressed
a strong preference for a tract which the Shawnees and Delawares offered
to sell to the United States for them. The commissioner charged with the
business of treating with the Wyandots was of opinion that if this tract
could be procured there would be little difficulty in concluding a
treaty. He was therefore under these circumstances instructed to make
the purchase, subject to the ratification of the President and Senate
and dependent on the condition that the Wyandots will accept it, and on
the 18th of December last effected a treaty with the Shawnees by which
they ceded a tract of about 58,000 acres on those conditions at the
price of $1.50 per acre. No purchase has been made from the Delawares,
as they refuse to sell at a less price than $5 per acre, and it is
thought that the land ceded by the Shawnees will be amply sufficient
for the present.

I have the honor herewith to submit the treaty with the Shawnees,
to be laid, if you think proper, before the President and Senate for
ratification.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. HARTLEY CRAWFORD.



WASHINGTON, _March 24, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretaries of State, Treasury,
and Navy and the Postmaster-General, with the documents which
accompanied it, in compliance with the resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 5th instant, relative to the General Post-Office
building and the responsibilities of the architect and Commissioner of
the Public Buildings, etc.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _March 26, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate herewith copies of official notes which have
passed between the Secretary of State and the British minister since my
last message on the subject of the resolutions of the 17th of January.

M. VAN BUREN.



_Mr. Fox to Mr. Forsyth_.

WASHINGTON, _March 13, 1840_.

Hon. JOHN FORSYTH, etc.:

The undersigned, Her Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary, has been instructed by his Government to make
the following communication to the Secretary of State of the United
States in reference to the boundary negotiation and the affairs of the
disputed territory.

Her Majesty's Government have had under their consideration the official
note addressed to the undersigned by the Secretary of State of the
United States on the 24th of last December in reply to a note from the
undersigned of the 2d of November preceding, in which the undersigned
protested in the name of his Government against the extensive system
of aggression pursued by the people of the State of Maine within the
disputed territory, to the prejudice of the rights of Great Britain and
in manifest violation of the provisional agreements entered into between
the authorities of the two countries at the beginning of the last year.

Her Majesty's Government have also had their attention directed to the
public message transmitted by the governor of Maine to the legislature
of the State on the 3d of January of the present year.

Upon a consideration of the statements contained in these two official
documents, Her Majesty's Government regret to find that the principal
acts of encroachment which were denounced and complained of on the part
of Great Britain, so far from being either disproved or discontinued or
satisfactorily explained by the authorities of the State of Maine, are,
on the contrary, persisted in and publicly avowed.

Her Majesty's Government have consequently instructed the undersigned
once more formally to protest against those acts of encroachment and
aggression.

Her Majesty's Government claim and expect, from the good faith of the
Government of the United States, that the people of Maine shall replace
themselves in the situation in which they stood before the agreements
of last year were signed; that they shall, therefore, retire from the
valley of the St. John and confine themselves to the valley of the
Aroostook; that they shall occupy that valley in a temporary manner
only, for the purpose, as agreed upon, of preventing depredations; and
that they shall not construct fortifications nor make roads or permanent
settlements.

Until this be done by the people of the State of Maine, and so long
as that people shall persist in the present system of aggression, Her
Majesty's Government will feel it their duty to make such military
arrangements as may be required for the protection of Her Majesty's
rights. And Her Majesty's Government deem it right to declare that if
the result of the unjustifiable proceedings of the State of Maine should
be collision between Her Majesty's troops and the people of that State
the responsibility of all the consequences that may ensue therefrom,
be they what they may, will rest with the people and Government of the
United States.

The undersigned has been instructed to add to this communication that
Her Majesty's Government are only waiting for the detailed report of
the British commissioners recently employed to survey the disputed
territory, which report it was believed would be completed and delivered
to Her Majesty's Government by the end of the present month, in order to
transmit to the Government of the United States a reply to their last
proposal upon the subject of the boundary negotiation.

The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to the
Secretary of State of the United States the assurance of his
distinguished consideration.

H.S. FOX.



_Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Fox_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, March 25, 1840_.

HENRY S. FOX, Esq., etc.:

The undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, acknowledges
to have received Mr. Fox's communication of the 13th instant, in
reference to the boundary negotiation and the affairs of the disputed
territory. The information given in the closing part of it--that a reply
to the last proposition of the United States upon the subject of the
boundary may be expected in a short time--is highly gratifying to the
President, who has, however, given directions to the undersigned, in
making this acknowledgment, to accompany it with the expression of his
profound regret that Mr. Fox's note is in no other respect satisfactory.

After the arrangements which in the beginning of last year were
entered into on the part of the two Governments with regard to the
occupation of the disputed territory, the President had indulged the
hope that the causes of irritation which had grown out of this branch
of the subject could have been removed. Relying on the disposition of
Maine to cooperate with the Federal Government in all that could lead
to a pacific adjustment of the principal question, the President felt
confident that his determination to maintain order and peace on the
border would be fully carried out. He looked upon all apprehensions of
designs by the people of Maine to take possession of the territory as
without adequate foundation, deeming it improbable that on the eve of
an amicable adjustment of the question any portion of the American
people would without cause and without object jeopard the success of
the negotiation and endanger the peace of the country. A troublesome,
irritating, and comparatively unimportant, because subordinate, subject
being thus disposed of, the President hoped that the parties would be
left free at once to discuss and finally adjust the principal question.
In this he has been disappointed. While the proceedings of Her Majesty's
Government at home have been attended with unlooked-for delays, its
attention has been diverted from the great subject in controversy by
repeated complaints imputing to a portion of the people of the United
States designs to violate the engagements of their Government--designs
which have never been entertained, and which Mr. Fox knows would receive
no countenance from this Government.

It is to be regretted that at this late hour so much misapprehension
still exists on the side of the British Government as to the object and
obvious meaning of the existing arrangements respecting the disputed
territory. The ill success which appears to have attended the efforts
made by the undersigned to convey through Mr. Fox to Her Majesty's
Government more correct impressions respecting them calls for a
recurrence to the subject, and a brief review of the correspondence
which has grown out of it may tend to remove the erroneous views which
prevail as to the manner in which the terms of the arrangements referred
to have been observed.

As Mr. Fox had no authority to make any agreement respecting the
exercise of jurisdiction over the disputed territory, that between him
and the undersigned of the 27th of February, 1839. had for its object
some provisional arrangement for the restoration and preservation of
peace in the territory. To accomplish this object it provided that Her
Majesty's officers should not seek to expel by military force the armed
party which had been sent by Maine into the district bordering on the
Restook River, and that, on the other hand, the government of Maine
would voluntarily and without needless delay withdraw beyond the bounds
of the disputed territory any armed force then within them. Besides
this, the arrangement had other objects--the dispersion of notorious
trespassers and the protection of public property from depredation.
In case future necessity should arise for this, the operation was to
be conducted by concert, jointly or separately, according to agreement
between the governments of Maine and New Brunswick.

In this last-mentioned respect the agreement looked to some further
arrangement between Maine and New Brunswick. Through the agency of
General Scott one was agreed to on the 23d and 25th of March following,
by which Sir John Harvey bound himself not to seek, without renewed
instructions to that effect from his Government, to take military
possession of the territory or to expel from it by military force
the armed civil posse or the troops of Maine. On the part of Maine
it was agreed by her governor that no attempt should be made, without
renewed instructions from the legislature, to disturb by arms the
Province of New Brunswick in the possession of the Madawaska settlements
or interrupt the usual communications between that and the upper
Provinces. As to possession and jurisdiction, they were to remain
unchanged--each party holding, in fact, possession of part of the
disputed territory, but each denying the right of the other to do so.
With that understanding Maine was without unnecessary delay to withdraw
her military force, leaving only, under a land agent, a small civil
posse, armed or unarmed, to protect the timber recently cut and to
prevent further depredations.

In the complaints of infractions of the agreements by the State of Maine
addressed to the undersigned Mr. Fox has assumed two positions which are
not authorized by the terms of those agreements: First. Admitting the
right of Maine to maintain a civil posse in the disputed territory for
the purposes stated in the agreement, he does so with the restriction
that the action of the posse was to be confined within certain limits;
and, second, by making the advance of the Maine posse into the valley of
the Upper St. John the ground of his complaint of encroachment upon the
Madawaska settlement, he assumes to extend the limits of that settlement
beyond those it occupied at the date of the agreement.

The United States can not acquiesce in either of these positions.

In the first place, nothing is found in the agreement subscribed to
by Governor Fairfield and Sir John Harvey defining any limits in the
disputed territory within which the operations of the civil posse of
Maine were to be circumscribed. The task of preserving the timber
recently cut and of preventing further depredations _within the disputed
territory_ was assigned to the State of Maine after her military force
should have been withdrawn from it, and it was to be accomplished by a
civil posse, armed or unarmed, which was to continue in the territory
and to operate in every part of it where its agency might be required
to protect the timber already cut and prevent further depredations,
without any limitation whatever or any restrictions except such as
might be construed into an attempt to disturb by arms the Province
of New Brunswick in her possession of the Madawaska settlement or
interrupt the usual communication between the Provinces.

It is thus, in the exercise of a legitimate right and in the
conscientious discharge of an obligation imposed upon her by a
solemn compact, that the State of Maine has done those acts which have
given rise to complaints for which no adequate cause is perceived.
The undersigned feels confident that when those acts shall have been
considered by Her Majesty's Government at home as explained in his note
to Mr. Fox of the 24th of December last and in connection with the
foregoing remarks they will no longer be viewed as calculated to excite
the apprehensions of Her Majesty's Government that the faith of existing
arrangements is to be broken on the part of the United States.

With regard to the second position assumed by Mr. Fox--that the advance
of the Maine posse along the valley of the Restook to the mouth of Fish
River and into the valley of the Upper St. John is at variance with the
terms and spirit of the agreements--the undersigned must observe that if
at variance with any of their provisions it could only be with those
which secure Her Majesty's Province of New Brunswick against any attempt
to disturb the possession of the Madawaska settlements and to interrupt
the usual communications between New Brunswick and the upper Provinces.
The agreement could only have reference to the Madawaska settlements as
confined within their actual limits at the time it was subscribed. The
undersigned in his note of the 24th of December last stated the reasons
why the mouth of Fish River and the portion of the valley of the St.
John through which it passes could in no proper sense be considered as
embraced in the Madawaska settlements. Were the United States to admit
the pretension set up on the part of Great Britain to give to the
Madawaska settlements a degree of constructive extension that might at
this time suit the purposes of Her Majesty's colonial authorities, those
settlements might soon be made with like justice to embrace any portions
of the disputed territory, and the right given to the Province of New
Brunswick to occupy them temporarily and for a special purpose might
by inference quite as plausible give the jurisdiction exercised by Her
Majesty's authorities an extent which would render the present state
of the question, so long as it could be maintained, equivalent to a
decision on the merits of the whole controversy in favor of Great
Britain. If the small settlement at Madawaska on the north side of the
St. John means the whole valley of that river, if a boom across the Fish
River and a station of a small posse on the south side of the St. John
at the mouth of Fish River is a disturbance of that settlement, which
is 25 miles below, within the meaning of the agreement, it is difficult
to conceive that there are any limitations to the pretensions of Her
Majesty's Government under it or how the State of Maine could exercise
the preventive power with regard to trespassers, which was on her part
the great object of the temporary arrangement. The movements of British
troops lately witnessed in the disputed territory and the erection
of military works for their protection and accommodation, of which
authentic information recently received at the Department of State has
been communicated to Mr. Fox, impart a still graver aspect to the matter
immediately under consideration. The fact of those military operations,
established beyond a doubt, left unexplained or unsatisfactorily
accounted for by Mr. Fox's note of the 7th instant, continues an
abiding cause of complaint on the part of the United States against
Her Majesty's colonial agents as inconsistent with arrangements whose
main object was to divest a question already sufficiently perplexed
and complicated from such embarrassments as those with which the
proceedings of the British authorities can not fail to surround it.

If, as Mr. Fox must admit, the objects of the late agreements were the
removal of all military force and the preservation of the property from
further spoliations, leaving the possession and jurisdiction as they
stood before the State of Maine found itself compelled to act against
the trespassers, the President can not but consider that the conduct of
the American local authorities strongly and most favorably contrasts
with that of the colonial authorities of Her Majesty's Government. While
the one, promptly withdrawing its military force, has confined itself to
the use of the small posse, armed as agreed upon, and has done no act
not necessary to the accomplishment of the conventional objects, every
measure taken or indicated by the other party is essentially military in
its character, and can be justified only by a well-founded apprehension
that hostilities must ensue.

With such feelings and convictions the President could not see without
painful surprise the attempt of Mr. Fox, under instructions from his
Government, to give to the existing state of things a character not
warranted by the friendly disposition of the United States or the
conduct of the authorities and people of Maine; much more is he
surprised to find it alleged as a ground for strengthening a military
force and preparing for a hostile collision with the unarmed inhabitants
of a friendly State, pursuing within their own borders their peaceful
occupations or exerting themselves in compliance with their agreements
to protect the property in dispute from unauthorized spoliation.

The President wishes that he could dispel the fear that these dark
forebodings can be realized. Unless Her Majesty's Government shall
forthwith arrest all military interference in the question, unless it
shall apply to the subject more determined efforts than have hitherto
been made to bring the dispute to a certain and pacific adjustment, the
misfortunes predicted by Mr. Fox in the name of his Government may most
unfortunately happen.

But no apprehension of the consequences alluded to by Mr. Fox can
be permitted to divert the Government and people of the United States
from the performance of their duty to the State of Maine. That duty is
as simple as it is imperative. The construction which is given by her
to the treaty of 1783 has been again and again, and in the most solemn
manner, asserted also by the Federal Government, and must be maintained
unless Maine freely consents to a new boundary or unless that
construction of the treaty is found to be erroneous by the decision of
a disinterested and independent tribunal selected by the parties for its
final adjustment. The President on assuming the duties of his station
avowed his determination, all other means of negotiation failing, to
submit a proposition to the Government of Great Britain to refer the
decision of the question once more to a third party.

In all the subsequent steps which have been taken upon the subject by
his direction he has been actuated by the same spirit. Neither his
dispositions in the matter nor his opinion as to the propriety of that
course has undergone any change. Should the fulfillment of his wishes
be defeated, either by an unwillingness on the part of Her Majesty's
Government to meet the offer of the United States in the spirit in
which it is made or from adverse circumstances of any description,
the President will in any event derive great satisfaction from the
consciousness that no effort on his part has been spared to bring the
question to an amicable conclusion, and that there has been nothing in
the conduct either of the Governments and people of the United States or
of the State of Maine to justify the employment of Her Majesty's forces
as indicated by Mr. Fox's letter. The President can not under such
circumstances apprehend that the responsibility for any consequences
which may unhappily ensue will by the just judgment of an impartial
world be imputed to the United States.

The undersigned avails himself, etc.

JOHN FORSYTH.



_Mr. Fox to Mr. Forsyth_.

WASHINGTON, _March 26, 1840_.

Hon. JOHN FORSYTH, etc.:

The undersigned, Her Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary, has had the honor to receive the official note
of yesterday's date addressed to him by Mr. Forsyth, Secretary of State
of the United States, in reply to a note dated the 13th instant, wherein
the undersigned, in conformity with instructions received from his
Government, had anew formally protested against the acts of encroachment
and aggression which are still persisted in by armed bands in the
employment of the State of Maine within certain portions of the disputed
territory.

It will be the duty of the undersigned immediately to transmit Mr.
Forsyth's note to Her Majesty's Government in England, and until the
statements and propositions which it contains shall have received the
due consideration of Her Majesty's Government the undersigned will not
deem it right to add any further reply thereto excepting to refer to and
repeat, as he now formally and distinctly does, the several declarations
which it has from time to time been his duty to make to the Government
of the United States with reference to the existing posture of affairs
in the disputed territory, and to record his opinion that an inflexible
adherence to the resolutions that have been announced by Her Majesty's
Government for the defense of Her Majesty's rights pending the
negotiation of the boundary question offers to Her Majesty's Government
the only means of protecting those rights from being in a continually
aggravated manner encroached upon and violated.

The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to the
Secretary of State of the United States the assurance of his
distinguished consideration.

H.S. FOX.



WASHINGTON, _March 28, 1840_.

_To the Senate_:

I communicate to the Senate, in compliance with their resolution of the
12th instant, a report from the Secretary of War, containing information
on the subject of that resolution.

M. VAN BUREN.



WAR DEPARTMENT, _March 27, 1840_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR: The resolution of the Senate of the 12th instant, "that the
President of the United States be requested to communicate to the
Senate, if in his judgment compatible with the public interest, any
information which may be in the possession of the Government, or which
can be conveniently obtained, of the military and naval preparations of
the British authorities on the northern frontier of the United States
from Lake Superior to the Atlantic Ocean, designating the permanent
from the temporary and field works, and particularly by noting those
which are within the claimed limits of the United States," having been
referred by you to this Department, it was immediately referred to
Major-General Scott and other officers who have been stationed on the
frontier referred to for such information on the subjects as they
possessed and could readily procure, and an examination is now in
progress for such as may be contained in the files of this Department.
General Scott is the only officer yet heard from, and a copy of his
report is herewith submitted, together with a copy of that to which he
refers, made upon the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
9th instant. As soon as the other officers who have been called upon
are heard from and the examination of the files of the Department is
completed, any further information which may be thus acquired will be
immediately laid before you.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

J.R. POINSETT.



HEADQUARTERS, EASTERN DIVISION,

_Elizabethtown, N.J., March 23, 1840_.

Brigadier-General R. JONES,

_Adjutant-General United States Army_.

SIR: I have received from your office copies of two resolutions, passed,
respectively, the 12th and 9th instant, one by the Senate and the other
by the House of Representatives, and I am asked for "any information on
the subject of both or either of the resolutions that may be in [my]
possession."

In respect to the naval force recently maintained upon the American
lakes by Great Britain, I have just had the honor to report to the
Secretary of War, by whom the resolution of the House of Representatives
(of the 9th instant) was directly referred to me.

I now confine myself to the Senate's resolution, respecting "military
[I omit _naval_] preparations of the British authorities on the northern
frontiers of the United States from Lake Superior to the Atlantic Ocean,
distinguishing the permanent from the temporary and field works, and
particularly noting those which are within the claimed limits of the
United States."

I will here remark that however well my duties have made me acquainted
with the greater part of the line in question, I have paid but slight
attention to the forts and barracks erected by the British authorities
near the borders of Maine _above_ Frederickton, in New Brunswick, or in
Upper Canada _above_ Cornwall, being of the fixed opinion (which need
not here be developed) that all such structures would be of little or
no military value to either of the parties in the event of a new war
between the United States and Great Britain.

I was last summer at the foot of Lake Superior, and neither saw nor
heard of any British fort or barrack on the St. Marys River, the outlet
of that lake.

Between Lakes Huron and Erie the British have three sets of
barracks--one at Windsor, opposite to Detroit; one at Sandwich, a little
lower down; and the third at Maiden, 18 miles from the first--all built
of sawed logs, strengthened by blockhouses, loopholes, etc. Maiden
has long been a military post, with slight defenses. These have been
recently strengthened. The works at Sandwich and Windsor have also,
I think, been erected within the last six or eight months.

Near the mouth of the Niagara the British have two small forts--George
and Mississauga; both existed during the last war. The latter may be
termed a permanent work. Slight barracks have been erected within the
last two years on the same side near the Falls and at Chippewa, with
breastworks at the latter place, but nothing, I believe, above the
works first named on the Niagara which can be termed a fort.

Since the commencement of recent troubles in the Canadas and (consequent
thereupon) within our limits Fort William Henry, at Kingston, and Fort
Wellington, opposite to Ogdensburg (old works), have both been
strengthened within themselves, besides the addition of dependencies.
These forts may be called permanent.

On the St. Lawrence below Prescott, and confronting our territory,
I know of no other military post. Twelve miles above, at Brockville,
there may be temporary barracks and breastworks. I know that of late
Brockville has been a military station.

In the system of defenses on the approaches to Montreal the Isle aux
Noix, a few miles below our line, and in the outlet of Lake Champlain,
stands at the head. This island contains within itself a system of
permanent works of great strength. On them the British Government has
from time to time since the peace of 1815 expended much skill and labor.

Odletown, near our line, on the western side of Lake Champlain, has been
a station for a body of Canadian militia for two years, to guard the
neighborhood from refugee incendiaries from our side. I think that
barracks have been erected there for the accommodation of those troops,
and also at a station, with the like object, near Alburgh, in Vermont.

It is believed that there are no important British forts or extensive
British barracks on our borders from Vermont to Maine.

In respect to such structures on _the disputed territory_, Governor
Fairfield's published letters contain fuller information than has
reached me through any other channel. I have heard of no new military
preparations by the British authorities on the St. Croix or
Passamaquoddy Bay.

Among such preparations, perhaps I ought not to omit the fact that Great
Britain, besides numerous corps of well-organized and well-instructed
militia, has at this time within her North American Provinces more than
20,000 of her best regular troops. The whole of those forces might be
brought to the verge of our territory in a few days. Two-thirds of that
regular force has arrived out since the spring of 1838.

I remain, sir, with great respect, your most obedient servant,

WINFIELD SCOTT.



WASHINGTON, _March 28, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I communicate to the House of Representatives, in compliance with their
resolution of the 9th instant, reports[67] from the Secretaries of State
and War, with documents, which contain information on the subject of
that resolution.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 67: Relating to the British naval armament on the American
lakes, etc.]



WASHINGTON, _March 31, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I communicate to the House of Representatives a report[68] from the
Secretary of State, with documents, containing the information called
for by their resolution of the 23d instant.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 68: Relating to the demand of the minister of Spain for the
surrender of the schooner _Amistad_, with Africans on board, detained by
the American brig of war _Washington_, etc.]



WASHINGTON CITY, _April 3, 1840_.

Hon. R.M.T. HUNTER,

_Speaker of the House of Representatives_.

SIR: In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of
the 9th ultimo, I communicate herewith, accompanied by a report from
the Secretary of War, "copies of the arrangement entered into between
the governor of Maine and Sir John Harvey, lieutenant-governor of New
Brunswick, through the mediation of Major-General Scott, in the month
of March last (1839), together with copies of the instructions given to
General Scott and of all correspondence with him relating to the subject
of controversy between the State of Maine and the Province of New
Brunswick."

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _April 10, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of
the 23d March last, I transmit a report[69] from the Secretary of State,
which, with the documents accompanying it, contains the information in
possession of the Department in relation to the subject of the resolution.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 69: Relating to the seizure and condemnation by British
authorities of American vessels engaged in the fisheries.]



WASHINGTON, _April, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit herewith communications from the Secretary of War and
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, giving the information "in possession of
the Government respecting the assemblage of Indians on the northwestern
frontier, and especially as to the interference of the officers or
agents of any foreign power with the Indians of the United States in the
vicinity of the Great Lakes," which I was requested to communicate by
the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 9th ultimo.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _April 14, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit to the House of Representatives a report[70] from the
Secretary of State, with documents, containing the information required
by their resolution of the 9th March last.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 70: Relating to the tobacco trade between the United States
and foreign countries.]



APRIL 15, 1840.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In further compliance with a resolution of the Senate passed December
30, 1839, I herewith submit reports[71] from the Secretary of the Navy
and the Postmaster-General, together with a supplemental statement
from the Secretary of the Treasury, and the correspondence annexed.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 71: Relating to the sale or exchange of Government drafts
for bank notes and the payment of Government creditors in depreciated
currency.]



WASHINGTON, _April 15, 1840_.

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

I transmit a copy of a convention for the adjustment of claims of
citizens of the United States upon the Government of the Mexican
Republic, for such legislative action on the part of Congress as may
be necessary to carry the engagements of the United States under the
convention into full effect.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _April 18, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of War,
accompanied by a letter from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,
indicating the importance of an extension of the authority given by
the sixteenth clause of the first section of the act entitled "An act
providing for the salaries of certain officers therein named, and for
other purposes," approved 9th May, 1836.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _April 24, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report and accompanying documents from the
Secretary of War, which furnish the information in relation to that
portion of the defenses[72] of the country intrusted to the charge and
direction of the Department of War, called for by the resolution of the
Senate of the 2d of March, 1839.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 72: Military and naval.]



WASHINGTON, _April 27, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I lay before the Senate a report[73] of the Postmaster-General,
in further compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 30th
December, 1839.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 73: Relating to the sale or exchange of Government drafts,
etc.]



WASHINGTON, _May 2, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate a report[74] from the Secretary of State, which,
with the papers accompanying it, contains in part the information
requested by a resolution of the Senate of the 30th December last.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 74: Relating to bonds of the Territory of Florida.]



WASHINGTON, _May 9, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I communicate to the House of Representatives a report[75] from the
Secretary of State, which, with the documents accompanying it, furnishes
the information requested by their resolution of the 23d of March last.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 75: Transmitting correspondence with France, Sweden, Denmark,
and Prussia relating to the surrender to the United States of persons
charged with piracy and murder on board the United States schooner
_Plattsburg_ in 1817; correspondence relating to the demand by the
chargé d'affaires of Great Britain for the surrender of a mutineer in
the British armed ship _Lee_ in 1819; opinion of the Attorney-General
with regard to the right of the President of the United States or the
governor of a State to deliver up, on the demand of any foreign
government, persons charged with crimes committed without the
jurisdiction of the United States.]



MAY 11, 1840.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In part compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 29th of
December last, I herewith submit a report[76] from the Secretary of the
Treasury, with the documents therein referred to.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 76: Relating to the sale or exchange of Government drafts,
etc.]



WASHINGTON, _May 12, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I communicate to the Senate a copy of a letter[77] from the secretary
of the Territory of Florida, with documents accompanying it, received
at the Department of State since my message of the 2d instant and
containing additional information on the subject of the resolution
of the Senate of the 30th of December last.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _May 16, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit the report of the Secretary of War furnishing a statement of
the amounts paid to persons concerned in negotiating Indian treaties
since 1829, etc., which completes the information called for by the
resolution of the House of Representatives dated the 28th January, 1839,
upon that subject and the disbursing officers in the War Department.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _May 18, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I communicate to the Senate a copy of a letter[77] from the governor of
Florida to the Secretary of State, containing, with the documents
accompanying it, further information on the subject of the resolution of
the Senate of the 30th of December last.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 77: Relating to bonds of the Territory of Florida.]



WASHINGTON, _May 21, 1840_.

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

I communicate to Congress sundry papers, from which it will be perceived
that the Imaum of Muscat has transmitted to this country and, through
the agency of the commander of one of his vessels, offered for my
acceptance a present, consisting of horses, pearls, and other articles
of value. The answer of the Secretary of State to a letter from the
agents of the vessel communicating the offer of the present, and my
own letter to the Imaum in reply to one which he addressed to me, were
intended to make known in the proper quarter the reasons which had
precluded my acceptance of the proffered gift. Inasmuch, however, as the
commander of the vessel, with the view, as he alleges, of carrying out
the wishes of his Sovereign, now offers the presents to the Government
of the United States, I deem it my duty to lay the proposition before
Congress for such disposition as they may think fit to make of it; and
I take the opportunity to suggest for their consideration the adoption
of legislative provisions pointing out the course which they may deem
proper for the Executive to pursue in any future instances where offers
of presents by foreign states, either to the Government, its legislative
or executive branches, or its agents abroad, may be made under
circumstances precluding a refusal without the risk of giving offense.

The correspondence between the Department of State and our consul at
Tangier will acquaint Congress with such an instance, in which every
proper exertion on the part of the consul to refrain from taking charge
of an intended present proved unavailing. The animals constituting it
may consequently, under the instructions from the Secretary of State,
be expected soon to arrive in the United States, when the authority of
Congress as to the disposition to be made of them will be necessary.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _May 23, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, together with the
papers therein referred to, relative to the proceedings instituted under
a resolution of Congress to try the title to the Pea Patch Island,
in the Delaware River, and recommend that Congress pass a special act
giving to the circuit court of the district of Maryland jurisdiction
to try the cause.

M. VAN BUREN.



JUNE 4, 1840.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I herewith submit a report from the Secretary of the Treasury, showing
the progress made in complying with the requirements of a resolution
passed February 6, 1839, concerning mineral lands of the United States.

The documents he communicates contain much important information on the
subject of those lands, and a plan for the sale of them is in a course
of preparation and will be presented as soon as completed.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _June 5, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate dated the 30th December,
1839, I transmit herewith the report[78] of the Secretary of War,
furnishing so much of the information called for by said resolution
as relates to the Executive Department under his charge.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 78: Relating to the refusal of banks to pay the Government
demands in specie since the general resumption in 1838, and the payment
of Government creditors in depreciated currency.]



WASHINGTON, _June 5, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 30th December,
1839, I communicate the report[79] of the Secretary of War, containing
the information called for by that resolution as far as it relates to
the Department under his charge.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 79: Relating to the manner in which the public funds have been
paid out by disbursing officers and agents during 1838 and 1839.]



WASHINGTON, _June 6, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I herewith submit a report from the Secretary of the Treasury, in
relation to certain lands falling within the Chickasaw cession which
have been sold at Chocchuma and Columbus, in Mississippi, and invite the
attention of Congress to the subject of further legislation in relation
to them.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _June 13, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I communicate to the House of Representatives a report[80] from the
Secretary of State, with documents, containing the information requested
by their resolution of the 26th of May last.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 80: Relating to charges preferred by Dr. John Baldwin, of
Louisiana, against Marmaduke Burroughs, consul at Vera Cruz.]



WASHINGTON, _June 19, 1840_.

The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR: I transmit a communication from the Secretary of the Navy,
suggesting that an appropriation of $50,000 be made by Congress to meet
claims of navy pensioners, payable on the 1st of July next, reimbursable
by a transfer of stocks belonging to the fund at their nominal value to
the amount so appropriated, and respectfully recommend the measure to
the consideration and action of Congress.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _June 22, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I lay before you, for your consideration, a treaty of commerce and
navigation between the United States of America and His Majesty the King
of Hanover, signed by their ministers on the 20th day of May last.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _June 27, 1840_.

_To the Senate_:

The importance of the subject to the tranquillity of our country makes
it proper that I should communicate to the Senate, in addition to the
information heretofore transmitted in reply to their resolution of the
17th of January last, the copy of a letter just received from Mr. Fox,
announcing the determination of the British Government to consent to the
principles of our last proposition for the settlement of the question of
the northeastern boundary, with a copy of the answer made to it by the
Secretary of State. I can not doubt that, with the sincere disposition
which actuates both Governments to prevent any other than an amicable
termination of the controversy, it will be found practicable so to
arrange the details of a conventional agreement on the principles
alluded to as to effect that object.

The British commissioners, in their report communicated by Mr. Fox,
express an opinion that the true line of the treaty of 1783 is
materially different from that so long contended for by Great Britain.
The report is altogether _ex parte_ in its character, and has not yet,
as far as we are informed, been adopted by the British Government. It
has, however, assumed a form sufficiently authentic and important to
justify the belief that it is to be used hereafter by the British
Government in the discussion of the question of boundary; and as
it differs essentially from the line claimed by the United States,
an immediate preparatory exploration and survey on our part, by
commissioners appointed for that purpose, of the portions of the
territory therein more particularly brought into view would, in my
opinion, be proper. If Congress concur with me in this view of the
subject, a provision by them to enable the Executive to carry it into
effect will be necessary.

M. VAN BUREN.



_Mr. Fox to Mr. Forsyth_.

WASHINGTON, _June 22, 1840_.

Hon. JOHN FORSYTH, etc.:

The undersigned, Her Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary, has the honor to transmit to the Secretary of
State of the United States, by order of his Government, the accompanying
printed copies of a report and map which have been presented to Her
Majesty's Government by Colonel Mudge and Mr. Featherstonhaugh, the
commissioners employed during the last season to survey the disputed
territory.

The undersigned is instructed to say that it will of course have become
the duty of Her Majesty's Government to lay the said report and map
before Parliament; but Her Majesty's Government have been desirous, as a
mark of courtesy and consideration toward the Government of the United
States, that documents bearing upon a question of so much interest
and importance to the two countries should in the first instance be
communicated to the President. The documents had been officially placed
in the hands of Her Majesty's Government only a few days previously
to the date of the instruction addressed to the undersigned.

Her Majesty's Government feel an unabated desire to bring the
long-pending questions connected with the boundary between the United
States and the British possessions in North America to a final and
satisfactory settlement, being well aware that questions of this nature,
as long as they remain open between two countries, must be the source of
frequent irritation on both sides and are liable at any moment to lead
to events that may endanger the existence of friendly relations.

It is obvious that the questions at issue between Great Britain and
the United States must be beset with various and really existing
difficulties, or else those questions would not have remained open ever
since the year 1783, notwithstanding the frequent and earnest endeavors
made by each Government to bring them to an adjustment; but Her
Majesty's Government do not relinquish the hope that the sincere desire
which is felt by both parties to arrive at an amicable settlement will
at length be attended with success.

The best clew to guide the two Governments in their future proceedings
may perhaps be obtained by an examination of the causes of past failure;
and the most prominent amongst these causes has certainly been a want of
correct information as to the topographical features and physical
character of the district in dispute.

This want of adequate information may be traced as one of the
difficulties which embarrassed the Netherlands Government in its
endeavors to decide the points submitted to its arbitration in 1830.
The same has been felt by the Government in England; it has been felt
and admitted by the Government of the United States, and even by the
local government of the contiguous State of Maine.

The British Government and the Government of the United States agreed,
therefore, two years ago that a survey of the disputed territory by a
joint commission would be the measure best calculated to elucidate and
solve the questions at issue. The President proposed such a commission
and Her Majesty's Government consented to it, and it was believed by
Her Majesty's Government that the general principles upon which the
commission was to be guided in its local operations had been settled by
mutual agreement, arrived at by means of a correspondence which took
place between the two Governments in 1837 and 1838. Her Majesty's
Government accordingly transmitted in April of last year, for the
consideration of the President, the draft of a convention to regulate
the proceedings of the proposed commission. The preamble of that draft
recited textually the agreement that had been come to by means of notes
which had been exchanged between the two Governments, and the articles
of the draft were framed, as Her Majesty's Government considered, in
strict conformity with that agreement.

But the Government of the United States did not think proper to assent
to the convention so proposed.

The United States Government did not, indeed, allege that the
proposed convention was at variance with the result of the previous
correspondence between the two Governments, but it thought that the
convention would establish a commission of "mere exploration and
survey," and the President was of opinion that the step next to be taken
by the two Governments should be to contract stipulations bearing upon
the face of them the promise of a final settlement under some form or
other and within a reasonable time.

The United States Government accordingly transmitted to the undersigned,
for communication to Her Majesty's Government, in the month of July last
a counter draft of convention varying considerably in some parts (as the
Secretary of State of the United States admitted in his letter to the
undersigned of the 29th of July last) from the draft proposed by Great
Britain, but the Secretary of State added that the United States
Government did not deem it necessary to comment upon the alterations
so made, as the text itself of the counter draft would be found
sufficiently perspicuous.

Her Majesty's Government might certainly well have expected that
some reasons would have been given to explain why the United States
Government declined to confirm an arrangement which was founded upon
propositions made by that Government itself and upon modifications to
which that Government had agreed, or that if the American Government
thought the draft of convention thus proposed was not in conformity with
the previous agreement it would have pointed out in what respect the two
were considered to differ.

Her Majesty's Government, considering the present state of the boundary
question, concur with the Government of the United States in thinking
that it is on every account expedient that the next measure to be
adopted by the two Governments should contain arrangements which will
necessarily lead to a final settlement, and they think that the
convention which they proposed last year to the President, instead of
being framed so as to constitute a mere commission of exploration and
survey, did, on the contrary, contain stipulations calculated to lead
to the final ascertainment of the boundary between the two countries.

There was, however, undoubtedly one essential difference between
the British draft and the American counter draft. The British draft
contained no provision embodying the principle of arbitration; the
American counter draft did contain such a provision.

The British draft contained no provision for arbitration, because the
principle of arbitration had not been proposed on either side during the
negotiations upon which that draft was founded, and because, moreover,
it was understood at that time that the principle of arbitration would
be decidedly objected to by the United States.

But as the United States Government have now expressed a wish to embody
the principle of arbitration in the proposed convention, Her Majesty's
Government are perfectly willing to accede to that wish.

The undersigned is accordingly instructed to state officially to Mr.
Forsyth that Her Majesty's Government consent to the two principles
which form the main foundation of the American counter draft, namely:
First, that the commission to be appointed shall be so constituted as
necessarily to lead to a final settlement of the questions of boundary
at issue between the two countries, and, secondly, that in order to
secure such a result the convention by which the commission is to be
created shall contain a provision for arbitration upon points as to
which the British and American commissioners may not be able to agree.

The undersigned is, however, instructed to add that there are many
matters of detail in the American counter draft which Her Majesty's
Government can not adopt. The undersigned will be furnished from his
Government, by an early opportunity, with an amended draft in conformity
with the principles above stated, to be submitted to the consideration
of the President. And the undersigned expects to be at the same time
furnished with instructions to propose to the Government of the
United States a fresh, local, and temporary convention for the better
prevention of incidental border collisions within the disputed territory
during the time that may be occupied in carrying through the operations
of survey or arbitration.

The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to the
Secretary of State the assurance of his distinguished consideration.

H.S. FOX.



_Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Fox_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, June 26, 1840_.

H.S. FOX, Esq., etc.:

The undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, has had the
honor to receive a note addressed to him on the 22d instant by Mr. Fox,
envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of Great Britain,
inclosing printed copies of the report and map laid before the British
Government by the commissioners employed during the last season
to survey the territory in dispute between the two countries, and
communicating the consent of Her Britannic Majesty's Government to the
two principles which form the main foundation of the counter proposition
of the United States for the adjustment of the question.

The undersigned, having laid Mr. Fox's note before the President, is
instructed to say in answer that the President duly appreciates the
motives of courtesy which prompted the British Government to communicate
to that of the United States the documents referred to, and that he
derives great satisfaction from the announcement that Her Majesty's
Government do not relinquish the hope that the sincere desire which is
felt by both parties to arrive at an amicable settlement will at length
be attended with success, and from the prospect held out by Mr. Fox of
his being accordingly furnished by an early opportunity with the draft
of a proposition amended in conformity with the principles to which Her
Majesty's Government has acceded, to be submitted to the consideration
of this Government.

Mr. Fox states that his Government might have expected that when the
American counter draft was communicated to him some reasons would have
been given to explain why the United States Government declined
accepting the British draft of convention, or that if it thought the
draft was not in conformity with previous agreement it would have
pointed out in what respect the two were considered to differ.

In the note which the undersigned addressed to Mr. Fox on the 29th July
of last year, transmitting the American counter draft, he stated that in
consequence of the then recent events on the frontier and the danger of
collision between the citizens and subjects of the two Governments a
mere commission of exploration and survey would be inadequate to the
exigencies of the occasion and fall behind the just expectations of the
people of both countries, and referred to the importance of having the
measure next adopted bear upon its face stipulations which must result
in a final settlement under some form and in a reasonable time. These
were the reasons which induced the President to introduce in the new
project the provisions which he thought calculated for the attainment
of so desirable an object, and which in his opinion rendered obviously
unnecessary any allusion to the previous agreements referred to by Mr.
Fox. The President is gratified to find that a concurrence in those
views has brought the minds of Her Majesty's Government to a similar
conclusion, and from this fresh indication of harmony in the wishes of
the two cabinets he permits himself to anticipate the most satisfactory
result from the measure under consideration.

The undersigned avails himself of the opportunity to offer to Mr. Fox
renewed assurances of his distinguished consideration.

JOHN FORSYTH.



WASHINGTON, _June 29, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit, in answer to a resolution of the Senate of the 12th of March
last, a communication of the Secretary of War, accompanied by such
information as could be obtained in relation to the military and naval
preparations of the British authorities on the northern frontier of the
United States from Lake Superior to the Atlantic Ocean.

M. VAN BUREN.



WAR DEPARTMENT, _June 27, 1840_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith a report of the Commanding
General, embracing the substance of the answers of the several
officers who were applied to to furnish the information required by a
resolution of the Senate of the 12th March last, referred by you to this
Department, requesting the President to communicate to the Senate, if in
his judgment compatible with the public interests, any information which
may be in the possession of the Government, or which can be conveniently
obtained, of the military and naval preparations of the British
authorities on the northern frontier of the United States from Lake
Superior to the Atlantic Ocean, distinguishing the permanent from the
temporary and field works, and particularly by noticing those which are
within the claimed limits of the United States.

This report and a letter of General Scott on the subject, which was
transmitted to the Senate on the 27th of March last, furnish all the
information the Department is in possession of in relation to the
requirements of the above resolution.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

J.R. POINSETT.



HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,

_Washington, June 26, 1840_.

The SECRETARY OF WAR.

SIR: I have the honor to report that in obedience to your instructions
letters have been addressed to the various officers who it was supposed
might be able to procure the information required by the resolution of
the Senate of the 12th of March, to wit: "_Resolved,_ That the President
of the United States be requested to communicate to the Senate, if in
his judgment compatible with the public interest, any information which
maybe in possession of the Government, or which can be conveniently
obtained, of the military and naval preparations of the British
authorities on the northern frontier of the United States from Lake
Superior to the Atlantic Ocean, distinguishing the permanent from the
temporary and field works, and particularly by noting those which are
within the claimed limits of the United States." In answer to the letter
addressed to him on the subject, and with regard to the Senate's
resolution as far as relates to "military preparations of the British
authorities on the northern frontier of the United States," General
Scott communicates the following facts: That he has paid but little
attention to the forts and barracks erected by the British authorities
near the borders of Maine _above_ Frederickton, in New Brunswick, or in
Upper Canada _above_ Cornwall, being of the fixed opinion that all such
structures would be of little or no military value to either of the
parties in the event of a new war between the United States and Great
Britain; that he was last summer at the foot of Lake Superior, and
neither saw nor heard of any British fort or barracks on the St. Marys
River; that between Lakes Huron and Brie the British have three sets of
barracks--one at Windsor, opposite to Detroit; one at Sandwich, a little
lower down; and the third at Malden, 18 miles below the first--all built
of sawed logs, strengthened by blockhouses, loopholes, etc.; that Malden
has long been a military post, with slight defenses; these have been
recently strengthened. The works at Sandwich and Windsor have also,
he thinks, been erected within the last six or eight months. That near
the mouth of the Niagara the British have two small forts--George and
Mississauga; both existed during the last war; the latter may be termed
a permanent work. Slight barracks have been erected within the last two
years on the same side near the Falls and at Chippewa, with breastworks
at the latter place, but nothing, he believes, above the work first
named on the Niagara which can be termed a fort.

That since the commencement of recent troubles and (consequent thereon)
within our own limits Fort William Henry, at Kingston, and Fort
Wellington, opposite to Ogdensburg (old works), have both been
strengthened within themselves, besides the addition of dependencies.
These forts may be called permanent. That on the St. Lawrence below
Prescott, and confronting our territory, he knows of no other military
post. Twelve miles above, at Brockville, there may be temporary barracks
and breastworks; that he knows that of late Brockville has been a
military station.

That in the system of defenses on the approaches to Montreal the Isle
aux Noix, a few miles below our line, and in the outlet of Lake
Champlain, stands at the head. This island contains within itself
a system of permanent works of great strength; on them the British
Government has from time to time expended much skill and labor.

That Odletown, near our line, on the western side of Lake Champlain,
has been a station for a body of Canadian militia for two years,
to guard the neighborhood from refugee incendiaries from our side.
He thinks that barracks have been erected there for the accommodation of
those troops, and also at a station, with the like object, near Alburgh,
Vt. He believes that there are no important British forts or extensive
British barracks on our borders from Vermont to Maine. In respect to
such structures on the disputed territory, that Governor Fairfield's
published letters contain fuller information than has reached him
through any other channel; that he has heard of no new military
preparations by the British authorities on the St. Croix or
Passamaquoddy Bay.

That among such preparations, perhaps he ought not to omit the fact
that Great Britain, besides numerous corps of well-organized and
well-instructed militia, has at this time within her North American
Provinces more than 20,000 of her best regular troops. The whole of
those forces might be brought to the verge of our territory in a few
days. Two-thirds of that regular force has arrived out since the spring
of 1838. General Scott states that he has had the honor to report
directly to the Secretary of War with regard to the naval force recently
maintained upon the American lakes by Great Britain. In answer to a
similar letter to that addressed to General Scott, General Brady writes
from Detroit that the only permanent work of which he has any knowledge
is the one at Fort Malden, which has in the last year been thoroughly
repaired, and good substantial barracks of wood have been erected within
the works, sufficient, he thinks, to contain six if not eight hundred
men; that the timber on the island of Bois Blanc has been partly taken
off and three small blockhouses erected on the island. These are all the
military improvements he knows of between the mouth of Detroit River and
the outlet of Lake Superior. That temporary barracks of wood capable of
containing perhaps 150 men have been erected opposite to Detroit; that
some British militia are stationed along the St. Clair River.

Colonel Bankhead writes that of the military and naval preparations of
the British on the northern frontier of the United States, he can only
state that Fort Mississauga, nearly opposite our Fort Niagara, has been
enlarged and strengthened; that permanent and extensive barracks were
commenced last summer at Toronto and are probably completed by this
time, and that a large vessel for a steamer was being constructed last
fall at Niagara City by and for the service of the Government; that
the British Government has on Lake Ontario a steamboat commanded and
officered by officers of the navy, and is commissioned, he presumes,
as a Government vessel; that the authorities of Upper Canada had last
summer in their service on Lake Erie two steamboats, which were at first
hired from citizens of Buffalo, but which they subsequently purchased,
as he was informed.

Lieutenant-Colonel Crane writes from Buffalo that the only military work
in that vicinity undergoing repairs (within his knowledge) is Fort
Mississauga, at the mouth of the Niagara River, on the Canada side,
which the English have been repairing and extending for two years past,
and it is believed to be now in a very efficient state; that there have
been rumors of armed steamers being built or building at Chippewa, but
on inquiry he could learn of none except the ordinary steamboats for the
navigation of the lakes. It has been said, however, that one is building
on Lake Ontario by the English, and intended for the revenue service,
but he does not know what truth there is in this statement.

Lieutenant-Colonel Pierce reports from Plattsburg that he has no
knowledge of any military or naval preparations of the British
authorities on the line of frontier adjacent to his command, comprising
what is generally called the Lake Champlain frontier, except the
introduction of troops at Odletown and Napierville, near the boundary
line between New York and Canada, on the west side of the lake, and also
the establishment of a line of posts from Missisquoi Bay, on the east
side of the lake, along and near to the Vermont frontier as far as the
Connecticut River, the erection of a new barrack and fieldwork at St.
John, and the repairs and armament of the Isle aux Noix, with increased
force at both of these posts; that none of the positions so occupied by
British troops are within the claimed limits of the United States; that
these military preparations (it has been heretofore understood) have
been made by the British authorities to suppress rebellion and
insurrection among the Canadian population.

Captain Johnson reports from Fort Brady that he has heard nothing on
the subject of the resolution but mere rumors, and that there is no
appearance of any works going up anywhere on the Canada side of the
St. Marys River. The files of the Adjutant-General's Office have been
examined, but no further information has been elicited.

Respectfully submitted,

ALEX. MACOMB,

_Major-General_.



WASHINGTON, _June 29, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a communication of the Secretary of War, accompanied
by a report of the Commanding General of the Army, embracing all the
information which can be obtained in answer to a resolution of the House
of Representatives of the 6th of April, 1840, requesting to be furnished
with any information in possession of the executive department showing
the military preparation of Great Britain by introducing troops into
Canada or New Brunswick or erecting or repairing fortifications on our
northern or northeastern boundary or by preparing naval armaments on any
of the great northern lakes, and what preparations, if any, have been
made by this Government to put the United States, and especially those
frontiers, in a posture of defense against Great Britain in case of war.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _June 29, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit the inclosed report of the Secretary of War, with
accompanying documents, furnishing all the information the Department
has been able to obtain in relation to any violation of or desire on the
part of Great Britain to annul the agreement entered into between that
Government and the United States in the month of April, 1817, relative
to the naval force to be maintained upon the American lakes, called for
by a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 9th March last.

M. VAN BUREN.



Hon. R.M. JOHNSON,

_President of the Senate_.

SIR: I transmit herewith to the Senate a statement from the Secretary of
the Navy of the transfers which have been made since the commencement of
the present year from different appropriations for the naval service to
other appropriations for the same service, which had become necessary
for the public interests.

The law under which these transfers were made conveys no authority for
refunding the different amounts which may be transferred. On the
contrary, so soon as the appropriations for the year shall pass and the
means be furnished for refunding these sums the repayments would be
prohibited by the law of 3d March, 1809, in relation to general
transfers.

Some authority to refund the amounts which may be transferred under
the law of 30th of June, 1834, seems so obviously indispensable to any
beneficial exercise of the power which it grants that its omission may
be presumed to have been accidental.

The subject is respectfully referred to the consideration of Congress
for such action as they may deem proper to accomplish the restoration of
these transfers, and thus confirm the original appropriations as they
are established by Congress, instead of leaving their expenditure
discretionary with the Executive.

M. VAN BUREN.

JULY 2, 1840.

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



WASHINGTON, _July 20, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, in reply to the resolution of the Senate of the
11th March last, a report[81] from the Secretary of War, accompanied
by a communication and other documents from the Commissioner of
Indian Affairs.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 81: Relating to purchases of Indian lands since the
establishment of the Federal Government.]



JULY 25, 1840.

The President of the United States, in pursuance of a resolution of
the Senate of the 20th instant, herewith transmits to the honorable
Secretary of the Senate a copy of the report of Captain M.C. Perry
in relation to the light-houses of England and France.

M. VAN BUREN.



EXECUTIVE ORDER.


WASHINGTON CITY, _March 31, 1840_.

The President of the United States, finding that different rules prevail
at different places as well in respect to the hours of labor by persons
employed on the public works under the immediate authority of himself
and the Departments as also in relation to the different classes of
workmen, and believing that much inconvenience and dissatisfaction would
be removed by adopting a uniform course, hereby directs that all such
persons, whether laborers or mechanics, be required to work only the
number of hours prescribed by the ten-hour system.

M. VAN BUREN.



FOURTH ANNUAL MESSAGE.


WASHINGTON, _December 5, 1840_.

_Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives_:

Our devout gratitude is due to the Supreme Being for having graciously
continued to our beloved country through the vicissitudes of another
year the invaluable blessings of health, plenty, and peace. Seldom
has this favored land been so generally exempted from the ravages of
disease or the labor of the husbandman more amply rewarded, and never
before have our relations with other countries been placed on a more
favorable basis than that which they so happily occupy at this critical
conjuncture in the affairs of the world. A rigid and persevering
abstinence from all interference with the domestic and political
relations of other States, alike due to the genius and distinctive
character of our Government and to the principles by which it is
directed; a faithful observance in the management of our foreign
relations of the practice of speaking plainly, dealing justly, and
requiring truth and justice in return as the best conservatives of
the peace of nations; a strict impartiality in our manifestations of
friendship in the commercial privileges we concede and those we require
from others--these, accompanied by a disposition as prompt to maintain
in every emergency our own rights as we are from principle averse to the
invasion of those of others, have given to our country and Government a
standing in the great family of nations of which we have just cause to
be proud and the advantages of which are experienced by our citizens
throughout every portion of the earth to which their enterprising and
adventurous spirit may carry them. Few, if any, remain insensible to
the value of our friendship or ignorant of the terms on which it can
be acquired and by which it can alone be preserved.

A series of questions of long standing, difficult in their adjustment
and important in their consequences, in which the rights of our citizens
and the honor of the country were deeply involved, have in the course of
a few years (the most of them during the successful Administration of my
immediate predecessor) been brought to a satisfactory conclusion; and
the most important of those remaining are, I am happy to believe, in a
fair way of being speedily and satisfactorily adjusted.

With all the powers of the world our relations are those of honorable
peace. Since your adjournment nothing serious has occurred to interrupt
or threaten this desirable harmony. If clouds have lowered above the
other hemisphere, they have not cast their portentous shadows upon our
happy shores. Bound by no entangling alliances, yet linked by a common
nature and interest with the other nations of mankind, our aspirations
are for the preservation of peace, in whose solid and civilizing
triumphs all may participate with a generous emulation. Yet it behooves
us to be prepared for any event and to be always ready to maintain those
just and enlightened principles of national intercourse for which this
Government has ever contended. In the shock of contending empires it
is only by assuming a resolute bearing and clothing themselves with
defensive armor that neutral nations can maintain their independent
rights.

The excitement which grew out of the territorial controversy between
the United States and Great Britain having in a great measure subsided,
it is hoped that a favorable period is approaching for its final
settlement. Both Governments must now be convinced of the dangers with
which the question is fraught, and it must be their desire, as it is
their interest, that this perpetual cause of irritation should be
removed as speedily as practicable. In my last annual message you were
informed that the proposition for a commission of exploration and survey
promised by Great Britain had been received, and that a counter project,
including also a provision for the certain and final adjustment of
the limits in dispute, was then before the British Government for its
consideration. The answer of that Government, accompanied by additional
propositions of its own, was received through its minister here since
your separation. These were promptly considered, such as were deemed
correct in principle and consistent with a due regard to the just rights
of the United States and of the State of Maine concurred in, and the
reasons for dissenting from the residue, with an additional suggestion
on our part, communicated by the Secretary of State to Mr. Fox. That
minister, not feeling himself sufficiently instructed upon some of the
points raised in the discussion, felt it to be his duty to refer the
matter to his own Government for its further decision. Having now been
for some time under its advisement, a speedy answer may be confidently
expected. From the character of the points still in difference and the
undoubted disposition of both parties to bring the matter to an early
conclusion, I look with entire confidence to a prompt and satisfactory
termination of the negotiation. Three commissioners were appointed
shortly after the adjournment of Congress under the act of the last
session providing for the exploration and survey of the line which
separates the States of Maine and New Hampshire from the British
Provinces. They have been actively employed until their progress was
interrupted by the inclemency of the season, and will resume their
labors as soon as practicable in the ensuing year.

It is understood that their respective examinations will throw new light
upon the subject in controversy and serve to remove any erroneous
impressions which may have been made elsewhere prejudicial to the rights
of the United States. It was, among other reasons, with a view of
preventing the embarrassments which in our peculiar system of government
impede and complicate negotiations involving the territorial rights of a
State that I thought it my duty, as you have been informed on a previous
occasion, to propose to the British Government, through its minister at
Washington, that early steps should be taken to adjust the points of
difference on the line of boundary from the entrance of Lake Superior to
the most northwestern point of the Lake of the Woods by the arbitration
of a friendly power in conformity with the seventh article of the treaty
of Ghent. No answer has yet been returned by the British Government to
this proposition.

With Austria, France, Prussia, Russia, and the remaining powers of
Europe I am happy to inform you our relations continue to be of the most
friendly character. With Belgium a treaty of commerce and navigation,
based upon liberal principles of reciprocity and equality, was concluded
in March last, and, having been ratified by the Belgian Government, will
be duly laid before the Senate. It is a subject of congratulation that
it provides for the satisfactory adjustment of a long-standing question
of controversy, thus removing the only obstacle which could obstruct the
friendly and mutually advantageous intercourse between the two nations.
A messenger has been dispatched with the Hanoverian treaty to Berlin,
where, according to stipulation, the ratifications are to be exchanged.
I am happy to announce to you that after many delays and difficulties a
treaty of commerce and navigation between the United States and Portugal
was concluded and signed at Lisbon on the 26th of August last by the
plenipotentiaries of the two Governments. Its stipulations are founded
upon those principles of mutual liberality and advantage which the
United States have always sought to make the basis of their intercourse
with foreign powers, and it is hoped they will tend to foster and
strengthen the commercial intercourse of the two countries.

Under the appropriation of the last session of Congress an agent has
been sent to Germany for the purpose of promoting the interests of our
tobacco trade.

The commissioners appointed under the convention for the adjustment
of claims of citizens of the United States upon Mexico having met and
organized at Washington in August last, the papers in the possession of
the Government relating to those claims were communicated to the board.
The claims not embraced by that convention are now the subject of
negotiation between the two Governments through the medium of our
minister at Mexico.

Nothing has occurred to disturb the harmony of our relations with the
different Governments of South America. I regret, however, to be obliged
to inform you that the claims of our citizens upon the late Republic of
Colombia have not yet been satisfied by the separate Governments into
which it has been resolved.

The chargé d'affaires of Brazil having expressed the intention of
his Government not to prolong the treaty of 1828, it will cease to be
obligatory upon either party on the 12th day of December, 1841, when the
extensive commercial intercourse between the United States and that vast
Empire will no longer be regulated by express stipulations.

It affords me pleasure to communicate to you that the Government of
Chili has entered into an agreement to indemnify the claimants in the
case of the _Macedonian_ for American property seized in 1819, and to
add that information has also been received which justifies the hope of
an early adjustment of the remaining claims upon that Government.

The commissioners appointed in pursuance of the convention between the
United States and Texas for marking the boundary between them have,
according to the last report received from our commissioner, surveyed
and established the whole extent of the boundary north along the western
bank of the Sabine River from its entrance into the Gulf of Mexico to
the thirty-second degree of north latitude. The commission adjourned
on the 16th of June last, to reassemble on the 1st of November for the
purpose of establishing accurately the intersection of the thirty-second
degree of latitude with the western bank of the Sabine and the meridian
line thence to Red River. It is presumed that the work will be concluded
in the present season.

The present sound condition of their finances and the success with which
embarrassments in regard to them, at times apparently insurmountable,
have been overcome are matters upon which the people and Government of
the United States may well congratulate themselves. An overflowing
Treasury, however it may be regarded as an evidence of public
prosperity, is seldom conducive to the permanent welfare of any people,
and experience has demonstrated its incompatibility with the salutary
action of political institutions like those of the United States. Our
safest reliance for financial efficiency and independence has, on the
contrary, been found to consist in ample resources unencumbered with
debt, and in this respect the Federal Government occupies a singularly
fortunate and truly enviable position.

When I entered upon the discharge of my official duties in March, 1837,
the act for the distribution of the surplus revenue was in a course
of rapid execution. Nearly $28,000,000 of the public moneys were, in
pursuance of its provisions, deposited with the States in the months of
January, April, and July of that year. In May there occurred a general
suspension of specie payments by the banks, including, with very few
exceptions, those in which the public moneys were deposited and upon
whose fidelity the Government had unfortunately made itself dependent
for the revenues which had been collected from the people and were
indispensable to the public service.

This suspension and the excesses in banking and commerce out of which it
arose, and which were greatly aggravated by its occurrence, made to a
great extent unavailable the principal part of the public money then on
hand, suspended the collection of many millions accruing on merchants'
bonds, and greatly reduced the revenue arising from customs and the
public lands. These effects have continued to operate in various degrees
to the present period, and in addition to the decrease in the revenue
thus produced two and a half millions of duties have been relinquished
by two biennial reductions under the act of 1833, and probably as much
more upon the importation of iron for railroads by special legislation.

Whilst such has been our condition for the last four years in relation
to revenue, we have during the same period been subjected to an
unavoidable continuance of large extraordinary expenses necessarily
growing out of past transactions, and which could not be immediately
arrested without great prejudice to the public interest. Of these, the
charge upon the Treasury in consequence of the Cherokee treaty alone,
without adverting to others arising out of Indian treaties, has already
exceeded $5,000,000; that for the prosecution of measures for the
removal of the Seminole Indians, which were found in progress, has been
nearly fourteen millions, and the public buildings have required the
unusual sum of nearly three millions.

It affords me, however, great pleasure to be able to say that from
the commencement of this period to the present day every demand upon
the Government, at home or abroad, has been promptly met. This has
been done not only without creating a permanent debt or a resort to
additional taxation in any form, but in the midst of a steadily
progressive reduction of existing burdens upon the people, leaving
still a considerable balance of available funds which will remain in
the Treasury at the end of the year. The small amount of Treasury notes,
not exceeding $4,500,000, still outstanding, and less by twenty-three
millions than the United States have in deposit with the States, is
composed of such only as are not yet due or have not been presented
for payment. They may be redeemed out of the accruing revenue if the
expenditures do not exceed the amount within which they may, it is
thought, be kept without prejudice to the public interest, and the
revenue shall prove to be as large as may justly be anticipated.

Among the reflections arising from the contemplation of these
circumstances, one, not the least gratifying, is the consciousness that
the Government had the resolution and the ability to adhere in every
emergency to the sacred obligations of law, to execute all its contracts
according to the requirements of the Constitution, and thus to present
when most needed a rallying point by which the business of the whole
country might be brought back to a safe and unvarying standard--a result
vitally important as well to the interests as to the morals of the
people. There can surely now be no difference of opinion in regard
to the incalculable evils that would have arisen if the Government at
that critical moment had suffered itself to be deterred from upholding
the only true standard of value, either by the pressure of adverse
circumstances or the violence of unmerited denunciation. The manner
in which the people sustained the performance of this duty was highly
honorable to their fortitude and patriotism. It can not fail to
stimulate their agents to adhere under all circumstances to the line of
duty and to satisfy them of the safety with which a course really right
and demanded by a financial crisis may in a community like ours be
pursued, however apparently severe its immediate operation.

The policy of the Federal Government in extinguishing as rapidly as
possible the national debt, and subsequently in resisting every
temptation to create a new one, deserves to be regarded in the same
favorable light. Among the many objections to a national debt, the
certain tendency of public securities to concentrate ultimately in the
coffers of foreign stockholders is one which is every day gathering
strength. Already have the resources of many of the States and the
future industry of their citizens been indefinitely mortgaged to the
subjects of European Governments to the amount of twelve millions
annually to pay the constantly accruing interest on borrowed money--a
sum exceeding half the ordinary revenues of the whole United States.
The pretext which this relation affords to foreigners to scrutinize the
management of our domestic affairs, if not actually to intermeddle with
them, presents a subject for earnest attention, not to say of serious
alarm. Fortunately, the Federal Government, with the exception of an
obligation entered into in behalf of the District of Columbia, which
must soon be discharged, is wholly exempt from any such embarrassment.
It is also, as is believed, the only Government which, having fully and
faithfully paid all its creditors, has also relieved itself entirely
from debt. To maintain a distinction so desirable and so honorable to
our national character should be an object of earnest solicitude. Never
should a free people, if it be possible to avoid it, expose themselves
to the necessity of having to treat of the peace, the honor, or the
safety of the Republic with the governments of foreign creditors, who,
however well disposed they may be to cultivate with us in general
friendly relations, are nevertheless by the law of their own condition
made hostile to the success and permanency of political institutions
like ours. Most humiliating may be the embarrassments consequent upon
such a condition. Another objection, scarcely less formidable, to the
commencement of a new debt is its inevitable tendency to increase in
magnitude and to foster national extravagance. He has been an
unprofitable observer of events who needs at this day to be admonished
of the difficulties which a government habitually dependent on loans
to sustain its ordinary expenditures has to encounter in resisting
the influences constantly exerted in favor of additional loans; by
capitalists, who enrich themselves by government securities for amounts
much exceeding the money they actually advance--a prolific source of
individual aggrandizement in all borrowing countries; by stockholders,
who seek their gains in the rise and fall of public stocks; and by
the selfish importunities of applicants for appropriations for works
avowedly for the accommodation of the public, but the real objects of
which are too frequently the advancement of private interests. The known
necessity which so many of the States will be under to impose taxes
for the payment of the interest on their debts furnishes an additional
and very cogent reason why the Federal Government should refrain from
creating a national debt, by which the people would be exposed to
double taxation for a similar object. We possess within ourselves
ample resources for every emergency, and we may be quite sure that
our citizens in no future exigency will be unwilling to supply the
Government with all the means asked for the defense of the country.
In time of peace there can, at all events, be no justification for the
creation of a permanent debt by the Federal Government. Its limited
range of constitutional duties may certainly under such circumstances be
performed without such a resort. It has, it is seen, been avoided during
four years of greater fiscal difficulties than have existed in a similar
period since the adoption of the Constitution, and one also remarkable
for the occurrence of extraordinary causes of expenditures.

But to accomplish so desirable an object two things are indispensable:
First, that the action of the Federal Government be kept within
the boundaries prescribed by its founders, and, secondly, that all
appropriations for objects admitted to be constitutional, and the
expenditure of them also, be subjected to a standard of rigid but
well-considered and practical economy. The first depends chiefly on
the people themselves--the opinions they form of the true construction
of the Constitution and the confidence they repose in the political
sentiments of those they select as their representatives in the Federal
Legislature; the second rests upon the fidelity with which their more
immediate representatives and other public functionaries discharge the
trusts committed to them. The duty of economizing the expenses of the
public service is admitted on all hands; yet there are few subjects upon
which there exists a wider difference of opinion than is constantly
manifested in regard to the fidelity with which that duty is discharged.
Neither diversity of sentiment nor even mutual recriminations upon a
point in respect to which the public mind is so justly sensitive can
well be entirely avoided, and least so at periods of great political
excitement. An intelligent people, however, seldom fail to arrive in the
end at correct conclusions in such a matter. Practical economy in the
management of public affairs can have no adverse influence to contend
with more powerful than a large surplus revenue, and the unusually
large appropriations for 1837 may without doubt, independently of the
extraordinary requisitions for the public service growing out of the
state of our Indian relations, be in no inconsiderable degree traced
to this source. The sudden and rapid distribution of the large surplus
then in the Treasury and the equally sudden and unprecedentedly severe
revulsion in the commerce and business of the country, pointing with
unerring certainty to a great and protracted reduction of the revenue,
strengthened the propriety of the earliest practicable reduction of the
public expenditures.

But to change a system operating upon so large a surface and applicable
to such numerous and diversified interests and objects was more than the
work of a day. The attention of every department of the Government was
immediately and in good faith directed to that end, and has been so
continued to the present moment. The estimates and appropriations for
the year 1838 (the first over which I had any control) were somewhat
diminished. The expenditures of 1839 were reduced $6,000,000. Those of
1840, exclusive of disbursements for public debt and trust claims, will
probably not exceed twenty-two and a half millions, being between two
and three millions less than those of the preceding year and nine or
ten millions less than those of 1837. Nor has it been found necessary
in order to produce this result to resort to the power conferred by
Congress of postponing certain classes of the public works, except by
deferring expenditures for a short period upon a limited portion of
them, and which postponement terminated some time since--at the moment
the Treasury Department by further receipts from the indebted banks
became fully assured of its ability to meet them without prejudice to
the public service in other respects. Causes are in operation which
will, it is believed, justify a still further reduction, without injury
to any important national interest. The expenses of sustaining the
troops employed in Florida have been gradually and greatly reduced
through the persevering efforts of the War Department, and a reasonable
hope may be entertained that the necessity for military operations in
that quarter will soon cease. The removal of the Indians from within
our settled borders is nearly completed. The pension list, one of the
heaviest charges upon the Treasury, is rapidly diminishing by death.
The most costly of our public buildings are either finished or nearly
so, and we may, I think, safely promise ourselves a continued exemption
from border difficulties.

The available balance in the Treasury on the 1st of January next is
estimated at $1,500,000. This sum, with the expected receipts from all
sources during the next year, will, it is believed, be sufficient to
enable the Government to meet every engagement and have a suitable
balance in the Treasury at the end of the year, if the remedial measures
connected with the customs and the public lands heretofore recommended
are adopted and the new appropriations by Congress shall not carry the
expenditures beyond the official estimates.

The new system established by Congress for the safe-keeping of the
public money, prescribing the kind of currency to be received for the
public revenue and providing additional guards and securities against
losses, has now been several months in operation. Although it might be
premature upon an experience of such limited duration to form a definite
opinion in regard to the extent of its influences in correcting many
evils under which the Federal Government and the country have hitherto
suffered, especially those that have grown out of banking expansions, a
depreciated currency, and official defalcations, yet it is but right to
say that nothing has occurred in the practical operation of the system
to weaken in the slightest degree, but much to strengthen, the confident
anticipations of its friends. The grounds of these have been heretofore
so fully explained as to require no recapitulation. In respect to the
facility and convenience it affords in conducting the public service,
and the ability of the Government to discharge through its agency every
duty attendant on the collection, transfer, and disbursement of the
public money with promptitude and success, I can say with confidence
that the apprehensions of those who felt it to be their duty to oppose
its adoption have proved to be unfounded. On the contrary, this branch
of the fiscal affairs of the Government has been, and it is believed may
always be, thus carried on with every desirable facility and security.
A few changes and improvements in the details of the system, without
affecting any principles involved in it, will be submitted to you by the
Secretary of the Treasury, and will, I am sure, receive at your hands
that attention to which they may on examination be found to be entitled.

I have deemed this brief summary of our fiscal affairs necessary
to the due performance of a duty specially enjoined upon me by the
Constitution. It will serve also to illustrate more fully the principles
by which I have been guided in reference to two contested points in our
public policy which were earliest in their development and have been
more important in their consequences than any that have arisen under
our complicated and difficult, yet admirable, system of government.
I allude to a national debt and a national bank. It was in these that the
political contests by which the country has been agitated ever since the
adoption of the Constitution in a great measure originated, and there is
too much reason to apprehend that the conflicting interests and opposing
principles thus marshaled will continue as heretofore to produce similar
if not aggravated consequences.

Coming into office the declared enemy of both, I have earnestly
endeavored to prevent a resort to either.

The consideration that a large public debt affords an apology, and
produces in some degree a necessity also, for resorting to a system
and extent of taxation which is not only oppressive throughout, but is
likewise so apt to lead in the end to the commission of that most odious
of all offenses against the principles of republican government, the
prostitution of political power, conferred for the general benefit,
to the aggrandizement of particular classes and the gratification of
individual cupidity, is alone sufficient, independently of the weighty
objections which have already been urged, to render its creation and
existence the sources of bitter and unappeasable discord. If we add
to this its inevitable tendency to produce and foster extravagant
expenditures of the public moneys, by which a necessity is created for
new loans and new burdens on the people, and, finally, refer to the
examples of every government which has existed for proof, how seldom it
is that the system, when once adopted and implanted in the policy of a
country, has failed to expand itself until public credit was exhausted
and the people were no longer able to endure its increasing weight, it
seems impossible to resist the conclusion that no benefits resulting
from its career, no extent of conquest, no accession of wealth to
particular classes, nor any nor all its combined advantages, can
counterbalance its ultimate but certain results--a splendid government
and an impoverished people.

If a national bank was, as is undeniable, repudiated by the framers of
the Constitution as incompatible with the rights of the States and the
liberties of the people; if from the beginning it has been regarded by
large portions of our citizens as coming in direct collision with that
great and vital amendment of the Constitution which declares that all
powers not conferred by that instrument on the General Government are
reserved to the States and to the people; if it has been viewed by them
as the first great step in the march of latitudinous construction, which
unchecked would render that sacred instrument of as little value as an
unwritten constitution, dependent, as it would alone be, for its meaning
on the interested interpretation of a dominant party, and affording no
security to the rights of the minority--if such is undeniably the case,
what rational grounds could have been conceived for anticipating aught
but determined opposition to such an institution at the present day.

Could a different result have been expected when the consequences which
have flowed from its creation, and particularly from its struggles to
perpetuate its existence, had confirmed in so striking a manner the
apprehensions of its earliest opponents; when it had been so clearly
demonstrated that a concentrated money power, wielding so vast a capital
and combining such incalculable means of influence, may in those
peculiar conjunctures to which this Government is unavoidably exposed
prove an overmatch for the political power of the people themselves;
when the true character of its capacity to regulate according to its
will and its interests and the interests of its favorites the value and
production of the labor and property of every man in this extended
country had been so fully and fearfully developed; when it was notorious
that all classes of this great community had, by means of the power and
influence it thus possesses, been infected to madness with a spirit of
heedless speculation; when it had been seen that, secure in the support
of the combination of influences by which it was surrounded, it could
violate its charter and set the laws at defiance with impunity; and
when, too, it had become most apparent that to believe that such an
accumulation of powers can ever be granted without the certainty of
being abused was to indulge in a fatal delusion?

To avoid the necessity of a permanent debt and its inevitable
consequences I have advocated and endeavored to carry into effect the
policy of confining the appropriations for the public service to such
objects only as are clearly within the constitutional authority of the
Federal Government; of excluding from its expenses those improvident and
unauthorized grants of public money for works of internal improvement
which were so wisely arrested by the constitutional interposition of my
predecessor, and which, if they had not been so checked, would long
before this time have involved the finances of the General Government
in embarrassments far greater than those which are now experienced by
any of the States; of limiting all our expenditures to that simple,
unostentatious, and economical administration of public affairs which is
alone consistent with the character of our institutions; of collecting
annually from the customs, and the sales of public lands a revenue fully
adequate to defray all the expenses thus incurred; but under no pretense
whatsoever to impose taxes upon the people to a greater amount than was
actually necessary to the public service conducted upon the principles
I have stated.

In lieu of a national bank or a dependence upon banks of any
description for the management of our fiscal affairs, I recommended
the adoption of the system which is now in successful operation.
That system affords every requisite facility for the transaction of
the pecuniary concerns of the Government; will, it is confidently
anticipated, produce in other respects many of the benefits which have
been from time to time expected from the creation of a national bank,
but which have never been realized; avoid the manifold evils inseparable
from such an institution; diminish to a greater extent than could be
accomplished by any other measure of reform the patronage of the Federal
Government--a wise policy in all governments, but more especially so in
one like ours, which works well only in proportion as it is made to rely
for its support upon the unbiased and unadulterated opinions of its
constituents; do away forever all dependence on corporate bodies either
in the raising, collecting, safekeeping, or disbursing the public
revenues, and place the Government equally above the temptation of
fostering a dangerous and unconstitutional institution at home or the
necessity of adapting its policy to the views and interests of a still
more formidable money power abroad.

It is by adopting and carrying out these principles under circumstances
the most arduous and discouraging that the attempt has been made, thus
far successfully, to demonstrate to the people of the United States that
a national bank at all times, and a national debt except it be incurred
at a period when the honor and safety of the nation demand the temporary
sacrifice of a policy which should only be abandoned in such exigencies,
are not merely unnecessary, but in direct and deadly hostility to the
principles of their Government and to their own permanent welfare.

The progress made in the development of these positions appears in the
preceding sketch of the past history and present state of the financial
concerns of the Federal Government. The facts there stated fully
authorize the assertion that all the purposes for which this Government
was instituted have been accomplished during four years of greater
pecuniary embarrassment than were ever before experienced in time of
peace, and in the face of opposition as formidable as any that was ever
before arrayed against the policy of an Administration; that this has
been done when the ordinary revenues of the Government were generally
decreasing as well from the operation of the laws as the condition
of the country, without the creation of a permanent public debt or
incurring any liability other than such as the ordinary resources of
the Government will speedily discharge, and without the agency of a
national bank.

If this view of the proceedings of the Government for the period it
embraces be warranted by the facts as they are known to exist; if the
Army and Navy have been sustained to the full extent authorized by law,
and which Congress deemed sufficient for the defense of the country and
the protection of its rights and its honor; if its civil and diplomatic
service has been equally sustained; if ample provision has been made for
the administration of justice and the execution of the laws; if the
claims upon public gratitude in behalf of the soldiers of the Revolution
have been promptly met and faithfully discharged; if there have been no
failures in defraying the very large expenditures growing out of that
long-continued and salutary policy of peacefully removing the Indians to
regions of comparative safety and prosperity; if the public faith has at
all times and everywhere been most scrupulously maintained by a prompt
discharge of the numerous, extended, and diversified claims on the
Treasury--if all these great and permanent objects, with many others
that might be stated, have for a series of years, marked by peculiar
obstacles and difficulties, been successfully accomplished without a
resort to a permanent debt or the aid of a national bank, have we not
a right to expect that a policy the object of which has been to sustain
the public service independently of either of these fruitful sources of
discord will receive the final sanction of a people whose unbiased and
fairly elicited judgment upon public affairs is never ultimately wrong?

That embarrassments in the pecuniary concerns of individuals of
unexampled extent and duration have recently existed in this as in other
commercial nations is undoubtedly true. To suppose it necessary now
to trace these reverses to their sources would be a reflection on the
intelligence of my fellow-citizens. Whatever may have been the obscurity
in which the subject was involved during the earlier stages of the
revulsion, there can not now be many by whom the whole question is not
fully understood.

Not deeming it within the constitutional powers of the General
Government to repair private losses sustained by reverses in business
having no connection with the public service, either by direct
appropriations from the Treasury or by special legislation designed to
secure exclusive privileges and immunities to individuals or classes
in preference to or at the expense of the great majority necessarily
debarred from any participation in them, no attempt to do so has been
either made, recommended, or encouraged by the present Executive.

It is believed, however, that the great purposes for the attainment of
which the Federal Government was instituted have not been lost sight
of. Intrusted only with certain limited powers, cautiously enumerated,
distinctly specified, and defined with a precision and clearness which
would seem to defy misconstruction, it has been my constant aim to
confine myself within the limits so clearly marked out and so carefully
guarded. Having always been of opinion that the best preservative of
the union of the States is to be found in a total abstinence from the
exercise of all doubtful powers on the part of the Federal Government
rather than in attempts to assume them by a loose construction of the
Constitution or an ingenious perversion of its words, I have endeavored
to avoid recommending any measure which I had reason to apprehend would,
in the opinion even of a considerable minority of my fellow-citizens, be
regarded as trenching on the rights of the States or the provisions of
the hallowed instrument of our Union. Viewing the aggregate powers of
the Federal Government as a voluntary concession of the States, it
seemed to me that such only should be exercised as were at the time
intended to be given.

I have been strengthened, too, in the propriety of this course by the
conviction that all efforts to go beyond this tend only to produce
dissatisfaction and distrust, to excite jealousies, and to provoke
resistance. Instead of adding strength to the Federal Government, even
when successful they must ever prove a source of incurable weakness by
alienating a portion of those whose adhesion is indispensable to the
great aggregate of united strength and whose voluntary attachment is
in my estimation far more essential to the efficiency of a government
strong in the best of all possible strength--the confidence and
attachment of all those who make up its constituent elements.

Thus believing, it has been my purpose to secure to the whole people and
to every member of the Confederacy, by general, salutary, and equal laws
alone, the benefit of those republican institutions which it was the end
and aim of the Constitution to establish, and the impartial influence
of which is in my judgment indispensable to their preservation. I can
not bring myself to believe that the lasting happiness of the people,
the prosperity of the States, or the permanency of their Union can be
maintained by giving preference or priority to any class of citizens
in the distribution of benefits or privileges, or by the adoption
of measures which enrich one portion of the Union at the expense of
another; nor can I see in the interference of the Federal Government
with the local legislation and reserved rights of the States a remedy
for present or a security against future dangers.

The first, and assuredly not the least, important step toward relieving
the country from the condition into which it had been plunged by
excesses in trade, banking, and credits of all kinds was to place the
business transactions of the Government itself on a solid basis, giving
and receiving in all cases value for value, and neither countenancing
nor encouraging in others that delusive system of credits from which it
has been found so difficult to escape, and which has left nothing behind
it but the wrecks that mark its fatal career.

That the financial affairs of the Government are now and have been
during the whole period of these wide-spreading difficulties conducted
with a strict and invariable regard to this great fundamental principle,
and that by the assumption and maintenance of the stand thus taken on
the very threshold of the approaching crisis more than by any other
cause or causes whatever the community at large has been shielded from
the incalculable evils of a general and indefinite suspension of specie
payments, and a consequent annihilation for the whole period it might
have lasted of a just and invariable standard of value, will, it is
believed, at this period scarcely be questioned.

A steady adherence on the part of the Government to the policy which has
produced such salutary results, aided by judicious State legislation
and, what is not less important, by the industry, enterprise,
perseverance, and economy of the American people, can not fail to raise
the whole country at an early period to a state of solid and enduring
prosperity, not subject to be again overthrown by the suspension of
banks or the explosion of a bloated credit system. It is for the people
and their representatives to decide whether or not the permanent welfare
of the country (which all good citizens equally desire, however widely
they may differ as to the means of its accomplishment) shall be in this
way secured, or whether the management of the pecuniary concerns of the
Government, and by consequence to a great extent those of individuals
also, shall be carried back to a condition of things which fostered
those contractions and expansions of the currency and those reckless
abuses of credit from the baleful effects of which the country has so
deeply suffered--a return that can promise in the end no better results
than to reproduce the embarrassments the Government has experienced, and
to remove from the shoulders of the present to those of fresh victims
the bitter fruits of that spirit of speculative enterprise to which our
countrymen are so liable and upon which the lessons of experience are so
unavailing. The choice is an important one, and I sincerely hope that it
may be wisely made.

A report from the Secretary of War, presenting a detailed view of the
affairs of that Department, accompanies this communication.

The desultory duties connected with the removal of the Indians, in
which the Army has been constantly engaged on the northern and western
frontiers and in Florida, have rendered it impracticable to carry into
full effect the plan recommended by the Secretary for improving its
discipline. In every instance where the regiments have been concentrated
they have made great progress, and the best results may be anticipated
from a continuance of this system. During the last season a part of the
troops have been employed in removing Indians from the interior to the
territory assigned them in the West--a duty which they have performed
efficiently and with praiseworthy humanity--and that portion of them
which has been stationed in Florida continued active operations there
throughout the heats of summer.

The policy of the United States in regard to the Indians, of which a
succinct account is given in my message of 1838, and of the wisdom and
expediency of which I am fully satisfied, has been continued in active
operation throughout the whole period of my Administration. Since the
spring of 1837 more than 40,000 Indians have been removed to their new
homes west of the Mississippi, and I am happy to add that all accounts
concur in representing the result of this measure as eminently
beneficial to that people.

The emigration of the Seminoles alone has been attended with serious
difficulty and occasioned bloodshed, hostilities having been commenced
by the Indians in Florida under the apprehension that they would be
compelled by force to comply with their treaty stipulations. The
execution of the treaty of Paynes Landing, signed in 1832, but not
ratified until 1834, was postponed at the solicitation of the Indians
until 1836, when they again renewed their agreement to remove peaceably
to their new homes in the West. In the face of this solemn and renewed
compact they broke their faith and commenced hostilities by the massacre
of Major Dade's command, the murder of their agent, General Thompson,
and other acts of cruel treachery. When this alarming and unexpected
intelligence reached the seat of Government, every effort appears to
have been made to reenforce General Clinch, who commanded the troops
then in Florida. General Eustis was dispatched with reenforcements from
Charleston, troops were called out from Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia,
and General Scott was sent to take the command, with ample powers and
ample means. At the first alarm General Gaines organized a force at
New Orleans, and without waiting for orders landed in Florida, where
he delivered over the troops he had brought with him to General Scott.

Governor Call was subsequently appointed to conduct a summer campaign,
and at the close of it was replaced by General Jesup. These events
and changes took place under the Administration of my predecessor.
Notwithstanding the exertions of the experienced officers who had
command there for eighteen months, on entering upon the administration
of the Government I found the Territory of Florida a prey to Indian
atrocities. A strenuous effort was immediately made to bring those
hostilities to a close, and the army under General Jesup was reenforced
until it amounted to 10,000 men, and furnished with abundant supplies
of every description. In this campaign a great number of the enemy
were captured and destroyed, but the character of the contest only
was changed. The Indians, having been defeated in every engagement,
dispersed in small bands throughout the country and became an
enterprising, formidable, and ruthless banditti. General Taylor, who
succeeded General Jesup, used his best exertions to subdue them, and was
seconded in his efforts by the officers under his command; but he too
failed to protect the Territory from their depredations. By an act
of signal and cruel treachery they broke the truce made with them by
General Macomb, who was sent from Washington for the purpose of carrying
into effect the expressed wishes of Congress, and have continued their
devastations ever since. General Armistead, who was in Florida when
General Taylor left the army by permission, assumed the command, and
after active summer operations was met by propositions for peace, and
from the fortunate coincidence of the arrival in Florida at the same
period of a delegation from the Seminoles who are happily settled west
of the Mississippi and are now anxious to persuade their countrymen to
join them there hopes were for some time entertained that the Indians
might be induced to leave the Territory without further difficulty.
These hopes have proved fallacious and hostilities have been renewed
throughout the whole of the Territory. That this contest has endured so
long is to be attributed to causes beyond the control of the Government.
Experienced generals have had the command of the troops, officers and
soldiers have alike distinguished themselves for their activity,
patience, and enduring courage, the army has been constantly furnished
with supplies of every description, and we must look for the causes
which have so long procrastinated the issue of the contest in the
vast extent of the theater of hostilities, the almost insurmountable
obstacles presented by the nature of the country, the climate, and
the wily character of the savages.

The sites for marine hospitals on the rivers and lakes which I was
authorized to select and cause to be purchased have all been designated,
but the appropriation not proving sufficient, conditional arrangements
only have been made for their acquisition. It is for Congress to decide
whether these conditional purchases shall be sanctioned and the humane
intentions of the law carried into full effect.

The Navy, as will appear from the accompanying report of the Secretary,
has been usefully and honorably employed in the protection of our
commerce and citizens in the Mediterranean, the Pacific, on the coast of
Brazil, and in the Gulf of Mexico. A small squadron, consisting of the
frigate _Constellation_ and the sloop of war _Boston_, under Commodore
Kearney, is now on its way to the China and Indian seas for the purpose
of attending to our interests in that quarter, and Commander Aulick, in
the sloop of war _Yorktown_, has been instructed to visit the Sandwich
and Society islands, the coasts of New Zealand and Japan, together with
other ports and islands frequented by our whale ships, for the purpose
of giving them countenance and protection should they be required. Other
smaller vessels have been and still are employed in prosecuting the
surveys of the coast of the United States directed by various acts of
Congress, and those which have been completed will shortly be laid
before you.

The exploring expedition at the latest date was preparing to leave the
Bay of Islands, New Zealand, in further prosecution of objects which
have thus far been successfully accomplished. The discovery of a new
continent, which was first seen in latitude 66° 2' south, longitude 154°
27' east, and afterwards in latitude 66° 31' south, longitude 153° 40'
east, by Lieutenants Wilkes and Hudson, for an extent of 1,800 miles,
but on which they were prevented from landing by vast bodies of ice
which encompassed it, is one of the honorable results of the enterprise.
Lieutenant Wilkes bears testimony to the zeal and good conduct of his
officers and men, and it is but justice to that officer to state that
he appears to have performed the duties assigned him with an ardor,
ability, and perseverance which give every assurance of an honorable
issue to the undertaking.

The report of the Postmaster-General herewith transmitted will exhibit
the service of that Department the past year and its present condition.
The transportation has been maintained during the year to the full
extent authorized by the existing laws; some improvements have been
effected which the public interest seemed urgently to demand, but not
involving any material additional expenditure; the contractors have
generally performed their engagements with fidelity; the postmasters,
with few exceptions, have rendered their accounts and paid their
quarterly balances with promptitude, and the whole service of the
Department has maintained the efficiency for which it has for several
years been distinguished.

The acts of Congress establishing new mail routes and requiring more
expensive services on others and the increasing wants of the country
have for three years past carried the expenditures something beyond the
accruing revenues, the excess having been met until the past year by
the surplus which had previously accumulated. That surplus having been
exhausted and the anticipated increase in the revenue not having been
realized owing to the depression in the commercial business of the
country, the finances of the Department exhibit a small deficiency at
the close of the last fiscal year. Its resources, however, are ample,
and the reduced rates of compensation for the transportation service
which may be expected on the future lettings from the general reduction
of prices, with the increase of revenue that may reasonably be
anticipated from the revival of commercial activity, must soon place
the finances of the Department in a prosperous condition.

Considering the unfavorable circumstances which have existed during the
past year, it is a gratifying result that the revenue has not declined
as compared with the preceding year, but, on the contrary, exhibits a
small increase, the circumstances referred to having had no other effect
than to check the expected income.

It will be seen that the Postmaster-General suggests certain
improvements in the establishment designed to reduce the weight of the
mails, cheapen the transportation, insure greater regularity in the
service, and secure a considerable reduction in the rates of letter
postage--an object highly desirable. The subject is one of general
interest to the community, and is respectfully recommended to your
consideration.

The suppression of the African slave trade has received the continued
attention of the Government. The brig _Dolphin_ and schooner _Grampus_
have been employed during the last season on the coast of Africa for the
purpose of preventing such portions of that trade as were said to be
prosecuted under the American flag. After cruising off those parts of
the coast most usually resorted to by slavers until the commencement
of the rainy season, these vessels returned to the United States for
supplies, and have since been dispatched on a similar service.

From the reports of the commanding officers it appears that the trade is
now principally carried on under Portuguese colors, and they express the
opinion that the apprehension of their presence on the slave coast has
in a great degree arrested the prostitution of the American flag to this
inhuman purpose. It is hoped that by continuing to maintain this force
in that quarter and by the exertions of the officers in command much
will be done to put a stop to whatever portion of this traffic may have
been carried on under the American flag and to prevent its use in a
trade which, while it violates the laws, is equally an outrage on the
rights of others and the feelings of humanity. The efforts of the
several Governments who are anxiously seeking to suppress this traffic
must, however, be directed against the facilities afforded by what are
now recognized as legitimate commercial pursuits before that object can
be fully accomplished.

Supplies of provisions, water casks, merchandise, and articles connected
with the prosecution of the slave trade are, it is understood, freely
carried by vessels of different nations to the slave factories, and the
effects of the factors are transported openly from one slave station to
another without interruption or punishment by either of the nations to
which they belong engaged in the commerce of that region. I submit
to your judgments whether this Government, having been the first to
prohibit by adequate penalties the slave trade, the first to declare it
piracy, should not be the first also to forbid to its citizens all trade
with the slave factories on the coast of Africa, giving an example to
all nations in this respect which if fairly followed can not fail to
produce the most effective results in breaking up those dens of
iniquity.

M. VAN BUREN.



SPECIAL MESSAGES.


WASHINGTON, _December 7, 1840_.

Hon. R.M.T. HUNTER,

_Speaker of the House of Representatives_.

SIR: I herewith transmit a letter from the Secretary of the Navy, in
relation to the navy pension fund, to which the attention of Congress is
invited, and recommend an immediate appropriation of $151,352.39 to meet
the payment of pensions becoming due on and after the 1st of January,
1841.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _December 10, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit, for the action of the Senate, a communication from the
Secretary of War, on the subject of the transfer of Chickasaw stock to
the Choctaw tribe, which the accompanying papers explain.

M. VAN BUREN.



WAR DEPARTMENT, _December 10, 1840_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR: I have the honor to lay before you a communication from the
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, relative to the transfer of $500,000
Chickasaw stock to the Choctaws in execution of the compact of 17th
January, 1837, between those tribes, that if you think it advisable you
may assent to the proposed transfer and lay the matter before the Senate
for the sanction of that body.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

J.R. POINSETT.



WAR DEPARTMENT, OFFICE INDIAN AFFAIRS,

_December, 1840_.

Hon. J.R. POINSETT,

_Secretary of War_.

SIR: A compact was made on the 17th January, 1837, "subject to the
approval of the President and Senate of the United States," which it
received from the former on the 24th March, 1837, in conformity with
the resolution of the Senate of 25th February, between the Choctaw and
Chickasaw tribes of Indians, of which I have the honor to inclose a copy.

By this instrument the right to occupy a portion of the Choctaw country
west of the Mississippi was, with certain privileges, secured to the
Chickasaws, who agreed to pay therefor $530,000, of which $30,000
were paid in 1837, and the remaining $500,000 it was agreed should be
invested under the direction of the Government of the United States
and that the interest should be paid annually to the Choctaws.

There being no money to place in the hands of the United States,
but a very large amount of Chickasaw stock under the direction of the
Treasury, the reasonable desire of the Choctaws that this large fund
belonging to them should be put in their own names on the books of the
Government can be gratified by a transfer of so much of the stock to the
Secretary of War for their use, upon which the interest will be received
and paid over to them. This will be an execution of the agreement of the
parties. A sale of stocks to raise the money and then a reinvestment of
it according to the letter of the compact ought not to be resorted to on
account of their present low price in the market.

In considering this subject in the course of the autumn the thirteenth
article of the treaty of 24th May, 1834, with the Chickasaws was
adverted to, by which it is provided: "If the Chickasaws shall be so
fortunate as to procure a home within the limits of the United States,
it is agreed that, with the consent of the President and Senate, so much
of their invested stock as may be necessary to the purchase of a country
for them to settle in shall be permitted to them to be sold, or the
United States will advance the necessary amount upon a guaranty and
pledge of an equal amount of their stocks." The compact before referred
to having been ratified by the President and Senate, it was doubted
whether that was not a virtual consent to the application of so much
of the stock as would be required to pay for the land and privileges
contracted for by the said compact, and an authority for the transfer
of it. The question was referred to the Attorney-General, who was of
opinion that the transfer could not be legally made without the assent
of the President and Senate to the particular act.

I have therefore respectfully to request that you will lay the matter
before the President, that if he concurs in the propriety of so doing he
may give his own and ask the consent of the Senate to the proposed
proceeding.

Very respectfully, your most obedient,

T. HARTLEY CRAWFORD.



WASHINGTON, _December 10, 1840_.

_To the Senate_:

I communicate a report[82] of the Secretary of State, with the documents
accompanying it, in compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the
20th of July last.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 82: Relating to sales and donations of public lots in
Washington, D.C.]



WASHINGTON, _December 21, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for the consideration of the Senate with a view to
its ratification, a treaty of commerce and navigation between the United
States of America and His Majesty the King of the Belgians, signed at
Washington on the 29th day of March, 1840.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _December 23, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

Herewith I transmit a communication[83] from the Secretary of the
Treasury and also copies of certain papers accompanying it, which are
believed to embrace the information contemplated by a resolution of the
House of Representatives of the 17th instant.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 83: Relating to the suspension of appropriations made at the
last session of Congress.]



WASHINGTON, _December 28, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives a report[84] from
the Secretary of State, with accompanying papers, in answer to their
resolution of the 21st instant.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 84: Transmitting correspondence with Great Britain relative
to the burning of the steamboat _Caroline_ at Schlosser, N.Y., December
29, 1837.]



WASHINGTON, _December 28, 1840_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for the consideration of the Senate with a view to
its ratification, a treaty of commerce and navigation between the United
States and Portugal, signed at Lisbon on the 26th day of August, 1840,
and certain letters relating thereto, of which a list is annexed.

M. VAN BUREN.



WASHINGTON, _December 20, 1840_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives a report[85] from
the Secretary of State, with accompanying papers, in answer to their
resolution of the 23d instant.

M. VAN BUREN.

[Footnote 85: Transmitting correspondence with Great Britain relative to
proceedings on the part of that Government which may have a tendency to
interrupt our commerce with China.]



WASHINGTON, _January 2, 1841_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I think proper to communicate to the House of Representatives, in further
answer to their resolution of the 21st ultimo, the correspondence which
has since occurred between the Secretary of State and the British
minister on the same subject.

M. VAN BUREN.



_Mr. Fox to Mr. Forsyth_.

WASHINGTON, _December 29, 1840_.

Hon. JOHN FORSYTH, etc.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the
26th instant, in which, in reply to a letter which I had addressed to
you on the 13th, you acquaint me that the President is not prepared to
comply with my demand for the liberation of Mr. Alexander McLeod, of
Upper Canada, now imprisoned at Lockport, in the State of New York, on
a pretended charge of murder and arson, as having been engaged in the
destruction of the piratical steamboat _Caroline_ on the 29th of
December, 1837.

I learn with deep regret that such is the decision of the President of
the United States, for I can not but foresee the very grave and serious
consequences that must ensue if, besides the injury already inflicted
upon Mr. McLeod of a vexatious and unjust imprisonment, any further harm
should be done to him in the progress of this extraordinary proceeding.

I have lost no time in forwarding to Her Majesty's Government in England
the correspondence that has taken place, and I shall await the further
orders of Her Majesty's Government with respect to the important
question which that correspondence involves.

But I feel it my duty not to close this communication without
likewise testifying my vast regret and surprise at the expressions which
I find repeated in your letter with reference to the destruction of the
steamboat _Caroline_. I had confidently hoped that the first erroneous
impression of the character of that event, imposed upon the mind of the
United States Government by partial and exaggerated representations,
would long since have been effaced by a more strict and accurate
examination of the facts. Such an investigation must even yet,
I am willing to believe, lead the United States Government to the
same conviction with which Her Majesty's authorities on the spot
were impressed--that the act was one, in the strictest sense, of
self-defense, rendered absolutely necessary by the circumstances of the
occasion for the safety and protection of Her Majesty's subjects, and
justified by the same motives and principles which upon similar and
well-known occasions have governed the conduct of illustrious officers
of the United States. The steamboat _Caroline_ was a hostile vessel
engaged in piratical war against Her Majesty's people, hired from
her owners for that express purpose, and known to be so beyond the
possibility of doubt. The place where the vessel was destroyed was
nominally, it is true, within the territory of a friendly power, but the
friendly power had been deprived through overbearing piratical violence
of the use of its proper authority over that portion of territory. The
authorities of New York had not even been able to prevent the artillery
of the State from being carried off publicly at midday to be used as
instruments of war against Her Majesty's subjects. It was under such
circumstances, which it is to be hoped will never recur, that the
vessel was attacked by a party of Her Majesty's people, captured, and
destroyed. A remonstrance against the act in question has been addressed
by the United States to Her Majesty's Government in England. I am not
authorized to pronounce the decision of Her Majesty's Government upon
that remonstrance, but I have felt myself bound to record in the
meantime the above opinion, in order to protest in the most solemn
manner against the spirited and loyal conduct of a party of Her
Majesty's officers and people being qualified, through an unfortunate
misapprehension, as I believe, of the facts, with the appellation of
outrage or of murder.

I avail myself of this occasion to renew to you the assurance of my
distinguished consideration.

H.S. FOX.



_Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Fox_.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, December 31, 1840_.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the
29th instant, in reply to mine of the 26th, on the subject of the arrest
and detention of Alexander McLeod as one of the perpetrators of the
outrage committed in New York when the steamboat _Caroline_ was seized
and burnt. Full evidence of that outrage has been presented to Her
Britannic Majesty's Government with a demand for redress, and of course
no discussion of the circumstances here can be either useful or proper,
nor can I suppose it to be your desire to invite it. I take leave of the
subject with this single remark, that the opinion so strongly expressed
by you on the facts and principles involved in the demand for reparation
on Her Majesty's Government by the United States would hardly have been
hazarded had you been possessed of the carefully collected testimony
whi